From the Catholic Enclyclopedia at New Advent, the entry on Josephus, Flavius:
Jewish historian, born A.D. 37, at Jerusalem; died about 101. He belonged to a distinguished priestly family, whose paternal ancestors he himself traces back five generations; his mother's family claimed descent from the Machabeans. He received a good education, and association with distinguished scholars developed his intellectual gifts, more especially his memory and power of judgment. He also made himself fully acquainted with and tried the leading politico-religious Jewish parties of his age -- the Essenes, Pharisees, and Sadducees.
Impressed by the outward importance of the Pharisees and hoping to secure through them a position of influence, he attached himself to their party at the age of nineteen, although he shared neither their religious nor political views.
I have been trying to get a handle on Josephus. It would help if I had more time to spend reading his works and his life. I get an impression from the above that he was not deeply religious, but rather looked at what would provide the best situation in life for him. Would this make his history less biased and more reliable, do you think? (Of course, now that I think of it, "less biased" toward what?!) Have any of you formed an idea as to whether his history is considered a good source to depend upon?
I have been all over the map with my reading, but find that more and more I am interested in non-fiction, particularly history and religion. Since I am new to Josephus, I will probably ask ignorant questions, but how else can I shed my ignorance?
Edited to add: I did a search at lds.org and found that Josephus has been occasionally quoted throughout the years and the quotes are always treated as a very reliable history. It's been several years since the last quote I could find, though, so what I am asking is have there been any recent findings that seem to question the authenticity of Josephus, or that find him authentic, but of questionable reliability? I am continuing to look around on the internet, but if any of you have studied Josephus, I thought you might give me a hint or two. Thanks!
Labels: history, Josephus