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Our Young Folk's Josephus by  William Shepard
Table of Contents



Front Matter


The following pages are merely what they claim to be, a simplification of the story of the Jews as related by Josephus. In matters pertaining to the Old Testament, I have not deemed it my duty to supplement his narrative from the Bible even where he is most obviously deficient, although I have indicated the fact of such deficiency in notes. With regard to the New Testament, it must be borne in mind that Josephus makes no mention of Christ or of the Christian religion, except in one short paragraph in the Jewish Antiquities, which is held by some authorities to be an interpolation. Josephus wrote his histories for the Romans, and we need not therefore wonder at his passing over in silence the unpalatable doctrine of the Messiah, or at his modifying and toning down the historical statements of the Mosaic records to recommend them to the prejudices of his readers.

In conclusion, it only remains to express my thanks for assistance rendered by Mr. Henry C. Walsh in the preparation of the manuscript.


Life of Flavius Josephus

Flavius Josephus was born at Jerusalem A.D. 37. He was of illustrious birth, his father being a priest, which was considered a great distinction among the Jews, and his mother a member of the royal family of the Asmonæans. He received an excellent education, and profited so well by what he had learned that at the age of sixteen he was frequently consulted by the chief priests when they could not agree on difficult questions. About this time he joined the sect of the Essenes, and went to live in the desert with a celebrated hermit named Banun. After three years he returned to Jerusalem, where he abandoned the doctrines of the Essenes and became a Pharisee. In the year 63 he visited Rome to procure the liberation of some Jewish prisoners that had been sent there by the governor, Felix; was favorably received, and was successful in his mission through the influence of Poppæa, the wife of Nero. When the Jews revolted against Rome he was appointed governor of Galilee, and the story of his brave defence of Jotapata, of its final capture, and of his escape from death, alone among the Jewish warriors, through the intercession of Titus, has been told by himself in "The Jewish War," one of the works of which the following pages are an abstract. At the destruction of Jerusalem, his influence with the emperor, Vespasian, procured the liberation of his brothers and fifty of his friends. It was out of gratitude for these and other favors that Josephus about this time assumed the emperor's family name of Flavius. His history of "The Jewish War," which was finished 12

A.D. 75, was undertaken at the command of Vespasian, and is a noble and pathetic narrative of events that had been witnessed by himself. His other important work, "The Antiquities of the Jews," was finished about A.D. 93, and was an attempt to familiarize the Roman people with the early history of the Jews as it is recorded in the Scripture. He also wrote a memoir of himself and two books against Apion, a great adversary of the Jews. The date of his death is not known with certainty, but is placed by some writers at about A.D. 95.

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