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Josephus (37 – c.100 AD/CE),[2] also Yoseph Ben Mattithyahu in Biblical Hebrew (Joseph son of Matthias) and Titus Flavius Josephus[3] was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded 1st century Jewish history, such as the First Jewish–Roman War which resulted in the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. He has been credited by many as recording some of the earliest history of Jesus Christ outside of the gospels,[citation needed] this being an item of contention among historians.

Josephus was a law-observant Jew who believed in the compatibility of Judaism and Graeco-Roman thought, commonly referred to as Hellenistic Judaism. His most important works were The Jewish War (c. 75 AD/CE) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94 AD/CE).[4] The Jewish War recounts the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation (66–70). Antiquities of the Jews recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective for a Roman audience. These works provide valuable insight into 1st century Judaism and the background of Early Christianity.[4]



Josephus, who introduced himself in Greek as "Iosepos (Ιώσηπος), son of Matthias, an ethnic Jew of Arab origin, a priest from Jerusalem",[5] fought the Romans in the First Jewish-Roman War of 66–73 as a Jewish military leader in Galilee. Prior to this, however, he was sent as a young man in his early twenties for negotiations with Emperor Nero for the release of several Jewish priests. He later returned to Jerusalem and was drafted as a commander of the Galilean forces.[6] After the Jewish garrison of Yodfat fell under siege, the Romans invaded, killing thousands; the survivors committed suicide.

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