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Document and rhetoric in Josephus: Revisiting the ‘charter’ for the jews

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Chapter Summary

In recent years research on Greek and Roman historiography has in various ways emphasized the role of rhetoric. The newer writing on Josephus has to an extent reflected this interest and scholars have begun to pay attention to his manifold rhetorical strategies: much work remains to be done. The decrees concerning Jewish communities, especially those which appear in Antiquities book XIV and XVI, seem at first sight to be something rather different: they appear as raw insertions into the text, clumsily produced and lacking in verbal polish. Marcus in his Loeb translation conveys the flavour admirably with the phrase ‘of which we subjoin copies’, used to render the author’s formalistic hypetaxamen ta antigrapha at AJ 16.161. Yet even the un-literary handling of the acta is susceptible to analysis in terms of rhetorical strategy.

Keywords: Antiquities; charter; Jewish communities; Jews; Josephus; rhetoric



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