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Josephus’ Liberties In Interpreting The Bible In The Jewish War And In The Antiquities

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Chapter Summary

The fact that Josephus devotes so much space to his paraphrase of the Letter of Aristeas, which tells the story of the translation of the Pentateuch into Greek and which has only the most tangential relationship to the political and military history of the Jews, which is the most central subject of the work, would indicate how important this precedent was in his eyes. If one examines the liberties that Josephus took in interpreting the Bible in his Jewish War as against his Antiquities, one can see that the divergences from the biblical narrative are much greater in the Jewish War. In conclusion, there is evidence that Josephus in the War took greater liberties with the biblical narrative than he did in the Antiquities, relying upon the precedent of Callisthenes, Timaeus, and Polybius, that one may take liberties with the truth in a monograph as against a general history.

Keywords: Antiquities; Bible; Jewish War; Josephus



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