By Frederic Raphael
From the acclaimed biographer, screenwriter, and novelist Frederic Raphael, this is an audacious historical past of Josephus (37–c.100), the Jewish common became Roman historian, whose emblematic betrayal is a touchstone for the Jew by myself within the Gentile world.
Joseph ben Mattathias’s transformation into Titus Flavius Josephus, historian to the Roman emperor Vespasian, is a gripping and dramatic tale. His existence, within the arms of Frederic Raphael, turns into some extent of departure for an appraisal of Diasporan Jews looking a spot within the dominant cultures they inhabit. Raphael brings a scholar’s rigor, a historian’s viewpoint, and a novelist’s mind's eye to this venture. He is going past the interesting info of Josephus’s existence and his singular literary achievements to ascertain how Josephus has been seen by way of posterity, discovering in him the prototype for the un-Jewish Jew, the assimilated highbrow, and the abiding apostate: the recurrent figures within the lengthy centuries of the Diaspora. Raphael’s insightful images of Yehuda Halevi, Baruch Spinoza, Karl Kraus, Benjamin Disraeli, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Hannah Arendt expand and remove darkness from the Josephean worldview Raphael so eloquently lays out.
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Extra resources for A Jew Among Romans: The Life and Legacy of Flavius Josephus
According to one source, at least sixteen hundred men were killed in this way, although the historian Orosius raised the death toll to nine thousand. Sulla’s actions were cruel in the extreme and Cicero was disgusted by the unjust ferocity of the proscriptions, but in the short term these methods were also effective. There was no longer anyone left to oppose Sulla in Rome, and he assumed the ofﬁce of dictator for the purpose of restoring the republican constitution. This ‘ofﬁce’ had not been used for many years, but it was essentially a safety valve for the Republic: in moments of crisis, one man could take supreme control for a speciﬁed period of time – up to a maximum of six months.
In addition to the province of Africa that Rome created from the ruins around Carthage (roughly modern Tunisia), she acquired Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and Spain (which she divided into two provinces: Nearer Spain and Further Spain). And from her campaigns over the Hellenistic kingdoms of the Greek East, Rome had gained control of Macedonia (including Greece) and Illyria (former Yugoslavia). Rome’s conquest of both the eastern and western territories was further increased in 133 bc, when she acquired Pergamum in the rich province of Asia.
It was privatization on a massive scale, and men could become hugely rich by collecting taxes, lending money at high interest rates, as well as from general trades such as the slave trade or the import and export of luxury goods. When Gaius Gracchus – Tiberius’ younger brother and tribune of the plebs in 123/122 bc – gave the equestrians the right to collect taxes in the new and lucrative province of Asia, he gave them a huge bounty. But it was not an act of pure generosity; he saw the political force that their support could offer against the dominant factions in the senate.
A Jew Among Romans: The Life and Legacy of Flavius Josephus by Frederic Raphael