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What difference does philosophy make? The three schools as a rhetorical Devicein Josephus

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses mainly upon the literary and historiographical perspectives of the three schools of Jewish philosophy, and deals with historical reconstruction only very briefly. It examines the excursuses in their respective contexts in order to determine their function within Josephus' narrative argument. The chapter examines a) to what extent the excursuses provide necessary, or at least relevant, background information that elucidates the storyline, and b) to what extent they are vehicles of other authorial concerns. The first point relates to the narrative on a very basic level, taking the interruption of the chronological record of events. The second aims at discovering how the introduction of an excursus enhances the narrative, reveals authorial strategies, hints at particular preferences, makes explicit certain judgments, etc. The overall analysis clearly indicates that Josephus considered the material on the three schools of philosophy a trump card, which he played carefully.

Keywords: excursuses; Josephus; three schools of Jewish philosophy



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