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Josephus’ personality and the credibility of his narrative

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents an additional aspect that may shed some light on Josephus' tortuous way of telling the history of the Jewish revolt of 66-73 C.E. It discusses Josephus' personality and explores who is the Josephus that Josephus wishes us to have in mind. To understand this portrait of a man who did not exist we have to take account of Josephus' motives in depicting himself. It is clear that vanity and apologetics, as well as personal considerations and interests, play a part in the picture that Josephus draws of himself in his writings, but these are not enough to explain Josephus' pretensions. Foremost among them is the portrait of a commander with military expertise, a general highly appreciated by Vespasian, a builder of fortresses, an inventor of stratagems, which surprised and baffled the Roman army, and perhaps also a figure that resembles a sage and a prophet.

Keywords: Jewish revolt; Josephus' personality; Rome



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