Titus Flavis Josephus – PB

Joseph was born in Jerusalem in 37 CE as the son of Matthias, a man from Titus Flavius Josephuspriestly descent, and a mother who claimed royal blood. Stated differently, he was born as a Sadducee and an aristocrat (the two main sects in Jesus’ time were the Sadducees and the Pharisees, both are bad.  The Apostle Paul had been a Pharisee before he met Jesus).  Joseph must have been a real know-it-all because he excelled in all his studies and at the age of 16 he decided to find out for himself what philosophy was best, that of the Sadducees, that of the Essenes, or that of the Pharisees. 

He was also fluent in Aramaic (I believe that is what Jesus spoke), Hebrew, and Greek.  Although he studied all three systems, he wasn’t content and for three years he lived in the desert with a hermit named Bannus.  Returning to Jerusalem at the age of 19 he chose to become a Pharisee.

The writings of Josephus are considered important secular historical documents that could shed light on the origins of Christianity.  His works include material about individuals, groups, customs, and geographical places.  Some of these, such as the city of Seron, aren’t referenced in the surviving texts of any other ancient authority.  His writings provide a significant extra-Biblical account of the post-Exilic period of the Maccabees, the Hasmonean dynasty, and the rise of Herod the Great, Agrippa I, Agrippa II, John the Baptist, James the brother of Jesus, and a disputed reference to Jesus (for more see Josephus on Jesus).  He is an important source of studies of immediate post-Temple Judaism and the context of early Christianity.

A careful reading of Josephus’ writings and years of excavation allowed Ehud Netzer, an archaeologist from Hebrew University, to discover that location of Herod’s Tomb after a search of 35 years.  It was above aqueducts and pools at a flattened desert site halfway up the hill to the Herodium, 12 kilometers south of Jerusalem, as described in Josephus’s writings.  Josephus is not mentioned in the Bible, but he had a lot to say about people, places, and events of the Bible.

 

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