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Josephus’s Political Vision: Policy and Career Ambitions

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Discussing texts on political issues, my article shows that Josephus’s Jewish War reveals far more about his own ambitions in the existing political system than about positive political changes for his country or people, which in the 70s he at best hoped for. Anyone who wants to identify those hopes must distinguish him from “visionaries” like Paul, who were likewise concerned to present their convictions as not in conflict with political realities. Josephus must be understood as a tactician, who, unlike these authors, used his skills as a writer to profile himself and his people and who because of his own career ambitions was not willing to disclose anything that could have jeopardized him. My article suggests, moreover, that after the confusion of the war Josephus took up the role of a compassionate advocate for his people and as their “patron” found a career-promoting niche as mediator between Rome and Judaism.

Affiliations: 1: Theologische Fakultät der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena Fürstengraben 6, 07743 Jena


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