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The Jewish War (Classics) [Paperback]

Josephus , G. Williamson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 Sep 1981 Classics
Josephus' account of a war marked by treachery and atrocity is a superbly detailed and evocative record of the Jewish rebellion against Rome between AD 66 and 70. Originally a rebel leader, Josephus changed sides after he was captured to become a Rome-appointed negotiator, and so was uniquely placed to observe these turbulent events, from the siege of Jerusalem to the final heroic resistance and mass suicides at Masada. His account provides much of what we know about the history of the Jews under Roman rule, with vivid portraits of such key figures as the Emperor Vespasian and Herod the Great. Often self-justifying and divided in its loyalties, The Jewish War nevertheless remains one of the most immediate accounts of war, its heroism and its horrors, ever written.

Frequently Bought Together

The Jewish War (Classics) + Jewish Antiquities (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature) + The Annals of Imperial Rome (Classics)
Price For All Three: £19.67

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Rev Ed edition (17 Sep 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140444203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140444209
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 12.7 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Josephus was born in 37 AD. He was one of the Jewish leaders at the time of the revolt of the Jews in the reign of Nero. His two most important works are The Jewish War and The Jewish Antiquities.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THE war of the Jews against the Romans was the greatest of our time; greater too, perhaps, than any recorded struggle whether between cities or nations. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An accessible classic 2 May 2008
By Davywavy2 VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having gone through the state education system, I came out of school completely uneducated about things like history and classic literature and I've been trying to rectify this omission for many years. This has resulted in me reading a lot of the classics line, and something I've realised is what hard work many of them are. As times change, so do writing styles and ideas of what makes a narrative work, and to the modern reader many books written hundreds of years past can be a challenging read.
This is why Josephus is such a pleasure. For all that we are separated from him by almost two thousand years, his humanity shines through. His history of the Jewish war against the Romans in the late 1st century AD is very much a history of his own activities therein, and what an unashamedly self-serving document it is. Originally a regional commander in the rebellious jewish army, Josephus wrote his history after his capture by the Romans and defection to their side (he became a Roman citizen and a courtier to more than one emperor). By turns witty, outrageously immodest and deceitful, Josephus wrote a hagiography of himself and his roman patrons and a tremendously enjoyable read it is too. By humanising his narrative, he also succeeds in making it accessible.

We have so few records of the ancient world it is impossible to be absolutely certain how accurate any given historical document is. However, as well as being enjoyable, the archaelogical and historical record suggests that when Josephus talks about the facts of the war (who won and fought who, where and when) he can be trusted in the broad sweep if not in the details.
It's a fascinating and human insight into the ancient world which shows that people, wherever and whenever they lived, are just as human - and as worried about their reputations - as are we.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Josephus - the Jewish War, Penguin 15 Mar 2010
In keeping with Penguin classics generally, this is an excellent translation of Josephus 'The Jewish War' - and easily readable. This alone is a major advantage over the older translation still in print; hopefully a Penguin version of his other main work 'The antiquities of the Jews' will follow. A downside is that it does not use the Loeb referencing system, which makes cross referencing of commentaries a little difficult - but this does not detract from the translation. Scholars could usefully buy both translations - one using the Loeb system (for ease of reference)The Jewish War (Classics), and the Penguin version (much more understandable translation)
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
As a translation of classical literature, the Penguin edition serves as a useful companion to any student of Josephus, or of the period of Roman control over Israel in the first pre-Christian and post-Christian centuries. It is the cheaper alternative to the expensive Loeb translation.
However, since most scholarship tends to use the Loeb referencing system, it would be useful if the Penguin edition has better cross-refencing with this system. This would make it far easier for the student to find the approriate passage in the Penguin, given a Loeb citation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Josephus, bombarding you with information 20 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's a most interesting book and I'd recommend it to everyone. The extra information and appendixes at the back add extra interesting information, complementing the narrative as written 2000 years ago.

Although Josephus is most articulate he has a habit of bombarding the reader with information sometimes. It goes so fast that it's hard to follow fully sometimes, also because there are so many names it's hard to keep up. Nevertheless an enjoyable read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 15 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good information
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