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on 26 May 2011
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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on 19 July 2012
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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on 3 June 2018
A handy modern version in abridged form of a classic source. Most interesting is the latter part of Antiquities and the Jewish War as there were events that were closest to Josephus’s own times or that he even witnessed himself. A useful introduction by the translator.
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on 19 December 2015
Its another book that I skipped through so sorry cant recommend it.
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on 21 April 2012
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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on 10 July 2015
I hear this book being discussed in a programme on Radio 4 and wanted to read it to broaden my understanding of biblical times.
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on 7 April 2009
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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