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Josephus, Flavius

37/38-c100). Historian of the Jews who was born of a priestly family in Jerusalem. He lived for three years in the desert with a hermit named Bannus, after which time he became a Pharisee. About 64 CE, he is believed to have visited Rome pleading for the release of Jewish prisoners. In 66 it appears that he was fighting in the Jewish War and was made a prisoner, but gained his freedom when he made a correct prophecy about Vespasian becoming emperor. He was not popular with the Jews who accused him of changing sides and being too friendly with the Romans.

Josephus eventually became a Roman citizen and settled in Rome where he concentrated on writing history. He is often quoted by Helena P. BLAVATSKY in The Secret Doctrine and other works.

Josephus’ most important work is his Antiquities of the Jews, which is often quoted by Christian theologians, because there are in it two references to Jesus. Blavatsky points out that these references are certainly later interpolations since, if they are removed, the text runs on without lacunae (CW IV:363). It is worth noting that an early copy of the Antiquities found in Russia omits all mention of Jesus, which seems to support the charge of forgery.


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