By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Life of Josephus, Part 3

Links to my previous posts about The Life of Flavius Josephus (There are additional links in the posts themselves.) :

"Flavius Josephus and His Works"
"A Bit More on Flavius Josephus" (scroll down--something's too long somewhere and crowds the post below the sidebar!)
"Life of Josephus, Part 1"
"Life of Josephus, Part 2"

A couple of links about Gessius Florus, who came up in "Part 2" and about whom Pop emailed to me a link suggesting Gessius Florus and Josephus might be the same person:

"Florus, Gessius" in the Jewish Encyclopedia
"Gessius Florus"

That last link sounds as if they are not the same person. But who knows?! Nevertheless, I gathered this bit of information on Gessius Florus from a Google search, and I place it here for anyone who is interested.

According to Josephus, this defeat of Gessius Florus resulted in the killing of the Jews in the neighboring cities in Syria, despite no rebellion on the part of the Syrian Jews. In Scythopolis, the Jews that lived there were forced to bear arms against other Jews. The Damascus Jews also went through the same types of things. Josephus writes, "...we have given a more accurate account of these things in the books of the Jewish war. I only mention them now [in The Life of Flavius Josephus], because I would demonstrate to my readers that the Jews' war with the Romans was not voluntary, but that, for the main, they were forced by necessity to enter into it." (This in paragraph 6 of The Life of Josephus Flavius.)

Now, in the little bit I've read so far, there were indeed some Jews eager for a rebellion, but I take it that many did not want to participate for fear of repercussions if they lost. And there were probably those Jews who were content with the way things were, because their lives were going well. Josephus strikes me as one of the latter. I do not know what his true position was--I have heard that he betrayed his fellow Jews, but I have also heard that it only appeared that way and that his writing of all these histories was his way of trying to make up to the Jews any wrongdoing they thought he had done. I am not sure that reading his writing will straighten that out for me, but it is interesting.

I am going through The Life of Josephus Flavius because I thought it might give me some knowledge about this often-quoted man. In addition, I can decide whether I want to continue discussing him through a reading of his other works, or if I want to move on to Eusebius. Or some other project. I do feel bad that I have been so lax about this project.

The next thing to occur after the defeat of Gessius Florus was that Josephus was sent to Galilee with Joazar and Judas ("two others of the priests") because not all of Galilee had revolted and Josephus and his companions were to attempt "to persuade the ill men there to lay down their arms." He's supposed to tell them that it's better to keep the arms for the most courageous men of the nation (Doesn't that sound insulting to the men he'll be telling this to?) and also that the Jews should wait to see what the Romans do. (Paragraph 7)

Stay tuned for the next episode.

Labels: ,


Anonymous Pop said...


Did you ever find anything on Gessius Florus outside of 64-66AD?


12:17 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

No, Pop, I didn't. I've about decided that whether or not he was the same as Josephus, he took "Gessius Florus" as a special name to use while serving as procurator. That or he was a "behind the scenes" man until then. I will probably look for more info on him some, but will put him on the shelf for now. It's frustrating to find some info about him, but not much and not outside of 64-66 AD, isn't it? I take it you haven't found anything else on him. I did think that link you sent was interesting and that is why I included it in my post. It could be that they took different names, whether for deceit or fraud, or just to represent life changes. I don't really know much about how they handled names back then.

I plan to continue to work through The Life of Flavius Josephus, but then to give much more general summaries of his other works, or parts of them. I thought it would be interesting to learn something about his life, since he is such a famous historian.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Pop said...

No, I haven't found anything more, but then I haven't read all of the many links I've found. It's sort of become a thing with me now, I want to know who he was and where he came from.


3:39 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Well, feel free to post any interesting findings on my blog comments. It does make a person wonder why there isn't more about him, but maybe more things will surface. I'll watch for his name and/or footnotes about him in Josephus' writings or anything else I run across.

I'm getting ready to post Part 4. Hold on to your hat!

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'I am an agnostic; I do not pretend to know what many ignorant men are sure of.'
Clarence Darrow

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've deleted it - but the question remains. Why is Josephus so ignorant about all the Christian references in the Gospels?

Just think - if he knew about such incredible things he'd have recorded them, even though he was a Roman supporter, and a traitor to his own people.

Have the courage to leave this in and let people make up their own minds who's on the right track!

7:03 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Dear Anonymous,

I do not know why you decided to comment on my blog (please note the word 'my'). I am neither atheist nor agnostic. Most of your comments haven't amounted to much--not like someone who wanted a real discussion. That is why I deleted them. I will leave up this last one for now as I do not mind discussion of what Josephus might have known and what he might have thought about it. It takes no courage to leave up a comment--I think you are misunderstanding why I deleted the others.

Be that as it may, you may make intelligent comments, but you may not be rude and insulting. It is, after all, my blog.

Thank you.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Titus Todd said...

Sounds like you would make a good forum moderator. :)

1:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home