[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

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
modernist historiography.

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
grad student
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