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Re: Josephus & DSS
well we may well be reading past each other jim but here goes again. to say
that josephus didnt wish to be a reliable historian is to imply that he knew
of some criteria by which he might be considered such & just decided not to
do that. "reliable" here is a term relative to modernist understandings of
what history is for. to josephus history (historia) means something
different. i would submit that he did indeed wish to be considered a
reliable historian according to the canons of hellenistic historiography.
this is different from the question of his usefulness as source material for
sure josephus tells stories but storytelling (narrativity) is a feature of
all historiography. it is not accurate to call him a novelist because there
were novelists even in antiquity (chariton - xenophon of ephesus -
heliodorus etc.) & the differences between their texts & josephus' are very
evident. novelists dont have the monopoly on storytelling.
i suppose i would call him a hellenistic historiographer (at least
w/reference to him as an author). & certainly someone will disagree. thats a
given in this business. :-)
josephus' historical accuracy has to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
sometimes hes right ("deserves such credence") sometimes not. like all of us
historians or otherwise.
gordon lyn watley
the university of virginia
At 02:39 PM 9/19/96 -0400, jim west wrote:
>Since you desire that we not use modern labels to describe the work of
>ancients, what would you have us call them? And I assure you someone will
>Nevertheless, I suspect that you have misread me. I simply maintained that
>Josephus is not a reliable historian. He did not wish to be. He simply
>told a story and that is what a novelist does.
>And you have not answered the basic question- why does Josephus deserve such