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Josephus Flavius, the ancient Jewish writer of first century Palestine, wrote a number of historical, apologetical and autobiographical works which together comprise a major part of Hellenistic Jewish literature. The original Aramaic version of his first work, known as Bellum Judaicum, or The Jewish War, has been lost. However, the Greek version of this work, and the rest of his works written in Greek during his Roman exile after the destruction of Jerusalem, were preserved by the Church, particularly because of their general importance for the history of Palestine in the early Christian period and for the curious Testimonium Flavianum to the founder of Christianity contained in the Jewish Antiquities.

Latin translations of Josephus' oeuvre made between the fourth and sixth centuries were studied in Christian Europe for an entire millennium. The editio princeps of Josephus displayed here was in fact an edition of his works in Latin, still the intellectual language of Europe in 1470; the first edition of the Greek text did not appear in print until nearly 75 years later, after the Renaissance revival of Greek learning. Subsequently, hundreds of editions of Josephus' works appeared in all corners of the Western world, not only in Greek and Latin but in every modern vernacular as well. Among the most popular authors during the history of Christian printing, Josephus suffered a different fate among Jews: except for a pseudepigraphic medieval Hebrew paraphrase of The Jewish War, the works of Josephus were virtually forgotten by the Jewish people until modern times.

Josephus Flavius, of Jerusalem and
Rome, ca. 38-100

[ Ioudaikes archaiologias logoi eikosi ]
Flavii Josephi opera
Basel: H. Froben and N. Episcopius,

This editio princeps of the original text of Josephus' works, edited by A.P. Arlenius and S. Gelenius, served as the basis for all later editions of the Greek text until the end of the nineteenth century. Indented spaces with small guide-letters have been left for the illumination or rubrication of initial capitals, never executed in this copy.

Joseph us 1470
Joseph us 1470
Josephus Flavius, of Jerusalem and
Rome, ca. 38-100
De antiquitate Judaica. De bello
Augsburg: Johann Schüssler, 28 June
and 23 August 1470.

This first edition of any of the works of Josephus consists of the fourth-century Latin translation of The Jewish War ascribed to Rufinus, and the sixth-century translation of the Jewish Antiquities made at the behest of Cassiodorus. Printed only 14 years after Gutenberg's Bible, it is the first dated book of the printer J. Schüssler in Augsburg. In conformity with the still-living manuscript tradition, hand-illuminated initials in red, green, blue, and gold leaf were added in this copy after the printing of the Gothic-character book was completed.

Joseph us 1470
Joseph us 1470

Josephus Flavius, of Jerusalem and
Rome, ca. 38-100
Opera, ad multorum codicum
Latinorum fidem recognita ...
Colonia Agrippina [ Köln ]:
E. Cervicornus, 1524.

The apocryphal Fourth Book of the Maccabees, or "On the Supremacy of Reason," was erroneously ascribed by Christian tradition to Josephus. This edition of Josephus in Latin, edited by Jakob Sobius, is the first to include IV Maccabees (edited by Erasmus) as part of the Opera, or "complete works," beginning a tradition in printed editions of Josephus which was to last over 350 years.

Josephus Flavius, of Jerusalem and
Rome, ca. 38-100

[ Ta Heuriskomena ]
Flavii Josephi opera quae extant ...
Aurelia Allobrogum [ Geneva ]:
Petrus de la Rouiere, 1611.

In this first bilingual edition of Josephus' works in Greek and Latin, the texts in parallel columns are based on the Greek edition of Arlenius, the revised Latin version of Gelenius, and IV Maccabees with the paraphrase of Erasmus. A second volume with variae lectiones and critical notes, projected by de la Rouvière in the preface of this edition, never appeared.

Josephus Flavius, of Jerusalem and
Rome, ca. 38-100
Della historia della guerra hebbono
i Giudei co Romani
Florence: Bartolommeo di Libri,
6 July 1493.

The Florentine edition of the Guerra dei Giudei, prepared by an anonymous editor, was the first edition of any of the works of Josephus in Italian, and one of the first in a modern language. Translations of The Jewish War in Spanish and French had appeared the previous year in Seville and Paris; versions in Limousin (Catalonian) and Low German (Dutch) had been issued a decade earlier.

Josephus Flavius, of Jerusalem and
Rome, ca. 38-100 [ & Hegesippus ]
Flavii Josephi hooghberoemde
Joodsche historien, ende boecken.
noch Egesippus vande Ellendighe
verstoringe der Stadt Ierusalem
Amsterdam: by de Weduwe van Joost
Broersz, 1647 (1636).

Included in this unrecorded illustrated Dutch edition of Josephus' works is a translation of the Hegesippus, a fourth century free Latin version of The Jewish War. The Dutch translation of Josephus and Hegesippus, apparently by Eberhard Bomeel, was made from an earlier German translation by Conrad Lautenbach.

Josippon 1541
Joseph b. Gorion, pseudonym
[ Josippon ]

[ Yosef ben Goriyon ]
Josephus Hebraicus
Basel: Henricus Petri, 1541.

The Hebrew paraphrase of the Hegesippus, composed in southern Italy in the tenth century and generally known as Josippon, is sometimes referred to as the Pseudo-Josephus. Of the various editions and abstracts of the work published before modern times, this edition by Sebastian Münster, to which he added an incomplete Latin translation and notes, is the only one based on the original text of the incunabular editio princeps.

Josippon 1561
Joseph b. Gorion, pseudonym
[ Josippon ]
A compendious and moste marueylous
history of the latter times of the
Jewes commune weale ...
London: Rycharde Jugge, 1561.

This is the first revised edition of Peter Morwyng's translation of a Latin version (also by Münster) of Abraham Ibn Daud's twelfth century abstract of Josippon, "nowe newly corrected and amended by the sayde translatour." A single Hebrew word appears in the margin of one page, printed two years before the supposed introduction of Hebrew typography to England in 1563.

Josephus Flavius, of Jerusalem and
Rome, ca. 38-100
Flawia Jozeffa. O wálce Zidowské ...
Prostejow [ Prossnitz, Moravia ]:
Jan Günther, 1553.

By the first half of the 16th century Josephus had been translated into every Western European language. The first edition of Josephus in Czech, translated from the Latin by Pawel Aquilin Hradecký, was the first edition printed in a Slavic (or non-Western European) language.

Josephus Flavius, of Jerusalem and
Rome, ca. 38-100
The Works of Flavius Josephus, the
Learned and Authentic Jewish
Historian and Celebrated Warrior ...
Kingston, Upper Canada: N.G. Ellis,

The 18th century English translation of Josephus by William Whiston became one of the most popular books next to the Bible in English Protestantism, and was published throughout the Anglo-American world. This Kingston edition was the first printed in the Province of Canada.

Josephus Flavius, of Jerusalem and
Rome, ca. 38-100
Histoire des Juifs, écrite par Flavius
Joseph, Sous le Titre de Antiquitez
Judaïques ...
Amsterdam: George Gallet 1700.

The French translation of Josephus made by M. Arnauld d'Andilly was the first modern version of the works made from the original Greek text. This "Nouvelle Edition" includes a large number of engravings and plates illustrating the "Anciennes ceremonies des Juifs," as well as several large fold-out maps.

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