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The Concept Of Exile In Josephus

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Chapter Summary

One would expect that Josephus would have a positive attitude toward the concept of exile. One indication of this is to be found in his autobiography, where he remarks that Titus, upon his departure for Rome in 70 C.E., took Josephus with him, treating him with every mark of respect. A clearly negative view of exile is to be seen in the statement of the third-century Babylonian rabbi Hana bar Abba, namely that there are four things of which G-d repents that He had created, namely Exile, the Chaldeans, the Ishmaelites, and the Evil Inclination. To understand what Josephus has done with the biblical narrative in the Antiquities one must first ask for whom the work is intended. Most significantly, and in sharp contrast to Philo, who envisages an ingathering of the exiled Jewish people, Josephus clearly regarded the exile as everlasting and never foresees an end to it.

Keywords: Antiquities; Babylonian exile; G-d; Jews; Josephus; Philo; Rome



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