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Constructing Herod As A Tyrant: Assessing Josephus’ Parallel Passages

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Chapter Summary

Herod the Great has been remembered as a tyrant for almost twenty centuries and even scholars have characterized him as such. For Christians, Herods image as a tyrant has been fuelled by the New Testament story about the three wise men who came to honor Jesus. Josephus is the primary source for Herod the Great, but it is important to note that he tells the Herod story twice. As a matter of fact, the presentations of Herod as a tyrant in The Jewish War and The Antiquities differ greatly, requiring a separate discussion of both works. Josephus introductory comments in the golden eagle report suggest that Herod had turned into a cruel tyrant because of his incurable illness. Josephus depiction of Herod in the War passage about the eagle differs considerably from the picture in the Antiquities.

Keywords: Christians; Herod; Josephus; New Testament; The Antiquities; The Jewish War



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