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Josephus And Variety In First-Century judaism

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Chapter Summary

It is a commonplace that Judaism before 70 CE included a number of distinct varieties. Scholarship on late Second Temple Judaism is voluminous. This chapter provides a rationale for preferring one approach over the other, so that in future investigations of the evidence scholars may have a better idea of what the significance of the similarities between groups they discover is likely to be. It demonstrates that it is better to distinguish than to harmonize, and the chapter does so through an investigation of the main source of evidence for Second Temple Judaism, the writings of Flavius Josephus. The Jewish War and the Antiquities concentrated on political and military history, in imitation of Thucydides and Polybius and of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, so there was no need to refer to any variety of Judaism except when it had an impact on political events.

Keywords: Flavius Josephus; Jewish War; Judaism



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