REL 292 Fall 2013 Reading Josephus: Jewish, Graeco-Roman and Christian Perspectives

Cross Listed as JWST293, CLAS293, HIST325
This course offers a historical and literary approach to the varied works of the controversial Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus. Josephus was a personality intensely engaged in the events of his day. Born into a high priestly family, he participated unwillingly in the disastrous Jewish revolt of 66-73 CE against Rome, which resulted in the destruction of the Temple and city of Jerusalem. Having found refuge with the Roman commander, the future emperor Vespasian, Josephus went to live in Rome, concerned himself with the political and religious position of the Jews in a difficult time, and wrote histories in Greek, including his famous eyewitness account of the 'Jewish War'. Josephus has probably been the most widely read historian in European Christian culture, both because he appears to provide near-contemporary testimony to Jesus Christ and because he documents the catastrophic demise of Jewish Jerusalem. He is crucial to our understanding of the first century CE in Judaea and Galilee, as well as in the Roman empire generally. Through a close reading of key passages, along with a selection of secondary readings that employ new approaches to historiography, new documentary material (especially the Dead Sea Scrolls), and some remarkable archaeological finds, we will re-examine where Josephus stands, how he has been received, and where we might stand in relation to his writings. All readings are in translation.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, two presentations or responses; a mid-term paper (5-7 pages); and a final paper (8-10 pages)
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the Gaudino option
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: majors/concentrators in Classics, Jewish Studies, Religion, and History
Department Notes:
Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under CLAS; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under REL, JWST or HIST
Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes:
Enrollment Limit: 15
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1879
REL292-01(F) SEM Reading Josephus Division 2: Social Studies Tessa Rajak
TR 11:20 AM-12:35 PM Hollander 140 1879
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