Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism
Author: Jonathan Klawans
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Though considered one of the most important informants regarding first century Judaism, Josephus's testimony is often overlooked or downplayed. Were ancient Jewish sectarian disputes primarily about ritual law and cultic practices, or as Jewish historian Flavius Josephus asserts, due to disagreements on theology, such as determinism and free will; the afterlife; scriptural authority?
Without denying the importance of Jewish law—and recognizing Josephus's embellishments and exagerations—Professor Jonathan Klawan's Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism calls for a renewed focus on Josephus's testimony, and models an approach to Ancient Judaism that offers theological questions a deserved place alongside matters of legal concern. Klawan analyzes Josephus's descriptions of sectarian disagreements in light of his works' general concerns as well as relevant biblical, rabbinic, and Dead Sea texts. In this way, Klawan demonstrates that ancient Jewish theology was indeed significant, diverse, and sufficiently robust to respond to the crisis of its day.
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