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Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome$
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Jonathan Edmondson, Steve Mason, and James Rives

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199262120

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199262120.001.0001

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Josephus and Greek Literature in Flavian Rome

Josephus and Greek Literature in Flavian Rome

(p.201) 10 Josephus and Greek Literature in Flavian Rome
Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome

Christopher P. Jones

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the ways in which Josephus’ rhetorical style of historical writing was influenced by other Greek writers in the Flavian period. It is somewhat difficult to locate such writers at Rome precisely during Josephus’ residence in the city. The chapter underlines the prologue to the Judaean War, where Josephus responds to previous histories of the war, some likely to have been in Greek, which he thought of poor quality. It argues that Josephus was particularly influenced by Dio Chrysostom, the orator from Prusa in Bithynia, and Plutarch, the philosopher and priest from Chaeronea in Boeotia. Dio’s Alexandrian oration, for example, may have been used by Josephus as a model for his narrative of the tension between Judeans and Greeks in that city in his Judaean Antiquities. As for Plutarch, the chapter maintains that Josephus was particularly influenced by his imperial biographies. However, Domitian’s eventual persecution of Judaean sympathizers likely forced Josephus into literary isolation.

Keywords:   Dio Chrysostom, Alexandria, Plutarch, historiography, biography, influence, narrative technique, Domitian, Judaean sympathizers

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