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Jewish Historian Josephus

QUESTION: What works did the Jewish historian Josephus write?


The Jewish historian Josephus left the world with a vast literary legacy. Numerous texts have survived through the ages and have been translated for our benefit. Among Josephus' works are:
  • The Jewish War -This was the first work of the Jewish historian Josephus and was most likely written in his own tongue, Aramaic. It was later translated into Greek by Josephus' assistants. In the Greek version of this manuscript, it is obvious that he considered his readers to be gentiles. He explained Jewish observations of Passover, Pentecost, and various other festivals. The Jewish War is a compilation of sever books detailing battles from the Maccabean era to Masada (AD 73).

  • The Jewish Antiquities - This was Josephus' next work and it appeared around 15 years following The Jewish War. This work comprises Jewish history from creation through AD 62. It details Jewish achievements, as well as scandals and strife. He often quotes or paraphrases from the Greek Septuagint.

  • Life - This is a brief autobiography of the life of the Jewish historian Josephus.

  • Against Apion - This is apparently Josephus' final work. In the first part of the book, Josephus writes to any Greek who had doubted his previous writings or the Jewish antiquity. Part 2 of this book is dedicated to responding to the attacks of Apion. "The book remains one of the most brilliant defenses of Judaism extant." 1
Historians believe that Josephus may have intended to write more works, specifically on the Mosaic law, Jerusalem, the Temple, and on the nature of God. Either these works were never written or they have been lost.

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