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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Flavius Josephus, author of The Jewish War.

It is said that, in Britain from the 18th Century, copies of Josephus' works were as widespread and as well read as The Bible. Christians valued "The Antiquities of the Jews" in particular, for the retelling of parts of the Old Testament and apparently corroborating the historical existence of Jesus. Born Joseph son of Matthias, in Jerusalem, in 37AD, he fought the Romans in Galilee in the First Jewish-Roman War. He was captured by Vespasian's troops and became a Roman citizen, later describing the siege and fall of Jerusalem. His actions and writings made him a controversial figure, from his lifetime to the present day.


Tessa Rajak
Professor Emeritus of Ancient History, University of Reading

Philip Alexander
Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies, University of Manchester


Martin Goodman
Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Oxford and President of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

46 minutes

Last on

Thu 21 May 2015 21:30


Tessa Rajak at the University of Reading

Philip Alexander at the University of Manchester

Martin Goodman at the University of Oxford

The Works of Flavius Josephus

Josephus - Wikipedia



Jonathan Edmondson, Steve Mason and James Rives (eds.), Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Louis H. Feldman, Josephus’s Interpretation of the Bible (University of California Press, 1999)

Martin Goodman, The Ruling Class of Judaea: The Origins of the Jewish Revolt against Rome, A.D. 66-70 (Cambridge University Press, 1987)

Martin Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations (Allen Lane, 2007)

Rebecca Gray, Prophetic Figures in Late Second Temple Palestine: The Evidence from Josephus (Oxford University Press, 1997)

William den Hollander, Josephus, the Emperors and the City of Rome (Brill, 2014)

Josephus (trans. G. A. Williamson), The Jewish War (Penguin, 1981)

Steve Mason (ed.), Flavius Josephus, Translation and Commentary (Brill, 1999)

Steve Mason, Josephus, Judea and Christian Origins: Methods and Categories (Baker, 2008)

Tessa Rajak, Josephus: The Historian and his Society (Duckworth, 2002)

Zuleika Rodgers (ed.), Making History: Josephus and Historical Method (Brill, 2006)



Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Tessa Rajak
Interviewed Guest Philip Alexander
Interviewed Guest Martin Goodman
Producer Simon Tillotson


  • Thu 21 May 2015 09:00
  • Thu 21 May 2015 21:30

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