The Bellum Judaicum of T. Flavius Josephus in Its Jewish and Roman Contexts

Bertram Cornelis Schewel, Fordham University


T. Flavius Josephus was a Hellenistic Jew who wrote under the patronage of the Flavian dynasty. As such, he represents the intersection of three Mediterranean cultures during the early years of the Roman empire: Jewish, Roman, and Greek. His earliest work, the Bellum Judaicum, is thus best understood by placing it in the context of all three. This dissertation positions Josephus in the tradition of Greco-Roman historiography with consideration towards his life as a Jewish priest, a Judaean statesman and soldier, and a Roman captive and citizen. To that end, I first take a comprehensive view of his life to better evaluate the rhetorical program at work in the Bellum. I then consider the traditional elements of Greco-Roman historiography as well as the Jewish and Hellenistic religious undertones present in the Bellum. Finally, with a view towards his complicated relationship with Rome, I consider the image he creates of the Roman empire and Roman leaders, who were responsible for the destruction of the Jewish state, the sacking of Jerusalem, and the demolition of the Second Temple.

Subject Area

Classical Studies|Judaic studies

Recommended Citation

Schewel, Bertram Cornelis, "The Bellum Judaicum of T. Flavius Josephus in Its Jewish and Roman Contexts" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29257694.