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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible for Historians, and History for Bible-Readers, 26 May 2011
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This review is from: Josephus:The Essential Works: A Condensation of "Jewish Antiquities", and, "the Jewish War" (Hardcover)
This superb edition comprises abridgements of Josephus' major works, "Jewish Antiquities" and "The Jewish War".

Josephus was a Jewish general with first-hand experience fighting against, and later for, the Romans in the 1st-century Holy Land. The translation is in lively and modern prose, and the abridgement is very well-chosen. Mr. Meier has done a superb job, and his own comments provide very useful context and additional information.

"Antiquities" is a comprehensive history of the Jewish people. It retells the Old Testament, including corroborating information from Greek, Egyptian and Mesopotamian authors. This retelling is short (200 pages) and very, very sharp indeed; with no tedious begattings and irrelevant poetry, it might be renamed "The Old Testament for Historians". Josephus then bridges the gap between New and Old, covering the historical information of the Apocrypha, and the Roman occupation. The history of the 1st Century Levant is very comprehensive, including a respectful mention of "a wise man called Jesus" whose "tribe of the Christians... has not disappeared to this day" (pp. 269-270).

"War" is extraordinarily exciting reading. The Roman war machine is brilliantly evoked, and the retelling packed with incident. Mr. Meier adds appropriate cautionary notes regarding the author's position and intentions, but this only adds to the appeal of the work.

The binding is luxurious, the maps and photographs of "National Geographic" standard, and the font is refreshingly large. An excellent book all round.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Josephus and visiting Israel, 19 July 2012
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This review is from: Josephus:The Essential Works: A Condensation of "Jewish Antiquities", and, "the Jewish War" (Hardcover)
On a tour of the Holy Land earlier this year, our excellent guide often spoke of Josephus. The guide had a deep knowledge of the geography of the country, together with its history and the Bible. He was able to pull together what was happening at whichever site we were visiting down through the ages and integrate it into the belief systems of the local community, Jewish, Christian or Islamic. He quoted Josephus expensively, both the Antiquities where he covers Jewish history and the Jewish War, where Josephus is often writing about contemporary events where he was an eye-witness. I bought the book when I got home and found it fascinating. It is very simply written (or perhaps translated) and is very readable. It covers a wide sweep of history and belief with eye-witness testimony from the first century. I really recommend this translation which condenses a huge amount of material into an excellent readable book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully produced and illustrated book, 7 April 2009
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This review is from: Josephus:The Essential Works: A Condensation of "Jewish Antiquities", and, "the Jewish War" (Hardcover)
If you're a scholar and are happy to try and plough thru' J's somewhat turgid and repetitive prose then you can be excused reading this wonderful 'condensation'.

For the rest of us this is the version of Josephus all should start with. Not only a very readable translation but beautifully illustrated.

I should add one word of warning though - those were bloody times and J does not spare the details. At times it gets quite stomach turning. Definitely an "18"!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read, 12 Oct. 2014
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Uncle Barbar (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Josephus:The Essential Works: A Condensation of "Jewish Antiquities", and, "the Jewish War" (Hardcover)
The works of Josephus Flavius are a really fascinating read and give you a marvellous insight into the mores of that era. A must read for any serious historian interested in this period.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Josephus: The Essential Works, 21 April 2012
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This review is from: Josephus:The Essential Works: A Condensation of "Jewish Antiquities", and, "the Jewish War" (Hardcover)
This is a fine collection of the most important parts of Josephus' many letters. It charts the history of the Jewish people including information about Jesus, the Christ.
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