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Delving into the dark side: Josephus’ foresight as hindsight

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Chapter Summary

The bulk of the content of Jewish War, and all the content in Life, relate to events that took place while Josephus was alive. What Josephus wrote is regularly regarded as being critical of the war against Rome. This investigation centres on the crucial issue of Josephus' own involvement in the war. How did knowing the outcome impact on what Josephus says about his activities before 70 C.E.? Was he primarily trying to remember and describe what happened? Was he providing a revision of what happened, altering certain details in the light of the outcome? Was Josephus using hindsight to write an entirely new version of what he did during the war? The chapter concludes with two suggestions: one relates to our use of Josephus for interpreting the first century; the other pertains to our understanding of Josephus.

Keywords: foresight; hindsight; Jerusalem; Jewish War; Josephus; Rome



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