Paul Dubuc's Reviews > The Jewish War

The Jewish War by Josephus
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Jan 19, 15

bookshelves: classics, history
Read in June, 1999

I bought this book to read before a trip to Israel in 1999. It's a very readable English translation. This gives Josephus' account of the war between the Romans and the Jews in the 1st century. Most fascinating (and horrible) are the accounts of the destruction of Gamla and Jerusalem and the final siege of Masada. Scholars are critical of Josephus because he puts too much of himself into the story and because it is probably biased in favor of his Roman benefactors. (Josephus began fighting against the Romans, but then came over to their side when he was captured and convinced of the hopelessness of the rebellion. He tried to convince the Jews not to fight, but to accept Roman rule. He wrote this history for the Romans' benefit after the war.) Nevertheless, there are very few good historical accounts of this place and time. Reading it gives you a taste of what life would have been like in that ancient land during this terrible period. It's well worth the time spent reading it, especially if you plan to visit the places described.
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