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The ancient lists of contents of Josephus’ antiquities

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Chapter Summary

The ancient reader, not unlike the postmodern individual suffering from information overload, was apt to seek information about the contents of a book before reading through it, or to have it summarized at some point. Ancient authors and ‘editors’ sought to fill this need in various ways. Historians such as Polybius and orators like Isocrates provided summaries. Such summaries need to be distinguished from the lists of contents found at the beginning of each book of Josephus’ Antiquities and of other historical writings. In almost the entire Greek and Latin manuscript tradition, each book of Josephus’ Antiquities is preceded by a somewhat schematic list of its contents. Although printed in most editions and in some translations, these lists have received scarce attention from scholars. This chapter offers a systematic study of these lists of contents of Josephus’ Antiquities.

Keywords: Josephus’ Antiquities; lists of contents; manuscript tradition

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