Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism

ISBN : 9780199928613

Jonathan Klawans
400 Pages
162 x 237 mm
Pub date
Nov 2012
Send mail

Jonathan Klawans's Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism cuts against the grain of rabbinic studies to establish the value of Flavius Josephus's descriptions of the religious ideas of various Jewish sects for reconstructing the world of ideas (the theologies) at play in early Judaism. It is intended as a response to the prevalent approach to the study of early Judaism, which focuses on legal or halakhic issues rather than matters of religious belief. Klawans illuminates Josephus's description of early Jewish sects (the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes) against distinct bodies of literature including Rabbinic sources, Qumran scrolls, and wisdom literature, especially Ben Sira. He is also concerned to show how various beliefs operate in connection with historical events, from the Hasmonean rebellion to after the destruction of the Temple. He demonstrates, for example, that beliefs about resurrection may have been less a reaction to social or historical circumstances than scholars have claimed and that the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE may not have created such a severe theological crises as previously thought. He provides alternative explanations for beliefs about the afterlife and shows that the reaction to the Temple's loss may have been more easily dealt with in terms of preexisting theological ideas and analogies. In each case, Klawans brings to the forefront Josephus's own views about these matters and shows how they are important for a more balanced assessment of the history of early Judaism.


List of Abbreviations
Note on Translations and Editions
Chapter 1: Theology, Josephus, and Understandings of Ancient Judaism
Chapter 2: Fate, Free Will and Ancient Jewish Types of Compatibilism
Chapter 3: Afterlives and Noble Deaths
Chapter 4: Torah, Tradition, and Innovation
Chapter 5: Josephus and Judaism after 70 CE
Appendix: Essenes and Resurrection according to Hippolytus

About the author: 

Jonathan Klawans is Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.