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Josephus in Medieval Christian Art

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Chapter Summary

Josephus was passed on almost exclusively in the Christian sphere. It appears that he was forgotten soon after his death by his fellow Jews. Since no Jewish transmission of Josephus manuscripts exists, either ancient or medieval, neither are there miniatures to his work from the hands of Jewish artists. Further developing work published elsewhere on medieval iconography concerning Jews, the chapter intends to describe the specific representation of Josephus in medieval Christian art. This investigation confirms and supplements the Christian assessment of Judaism within the literary Josephus tradition. Josephus portraits are numerous in illuminated books, generally as 'author portrait' to his works, but otherwise are not found in sacred art. This indicates an ongoing consciousness of Josephus' Jewishness. He remained in some respects the alien; indeed, this was probably necessary. Josephus is seen here in clear affinity with others who wear the hat for whom Jewishness carries no negative connotation.

Keywords: Deutsch; Jewish artists; Jewishness; Josephus; medieval biblical manuscripts; medieval Christian art



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