A Jew Among Romans
A Jew Among Romans: The Life And Legacy Of Flavius Josephus by Frederic Raphael
First-century Roman-Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus has become emblematic of the singular Jew in the Gentile world. With A Jew Among Romans, Frederic Raphael has written a bold new history of Josephus that places his life and works in proper context.
Joseph ben Mattahias fought in the Jewish uprising against Rome that began in 66 C.E. After making peace with the Roman commander and future Emperor Vespasian, he became a historian of the Jewish War and a Roman citizen. When Vespasian’s son Titus laid siege to Jerusalem, Josephus tried and failed to convince the Jewish leaders to surrender. While his histories, The Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities, have been criticized as Roman propaganda, they are nevertheless historical landmarks.
Raphael charts Josephus’ transformation in a narrative that offers an incisive historical appraisal of Diasporan Jews seeking to blend into the cultures they inhabited. In portraying Josephus as the prototype for the assimilated Jew, he illuminates the lives of recurrent figures in the Diaspora, from Spinoza to Disraeli to Arendt.
Written with scholarly rigor and a novelist’s imagination, A Jew Among Romans is a fascinating look at an emblematic life.