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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Josephus, Judea, and Christian Origins: Methods and Categories
Mason, Steve

Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2009 pp. xx + 443. $34.95

Description: This is a collection of essays focusing on the threads in Josephus (a first century Jewish historian and apologist whose works provide valuable insight into the background of first century Judaism and early Christianity) that are of particular interest to people studying the background and development of Christianity. "Some of our most basic analytical categories, such as `religion,' `Judaism,' and even `gospel,' do not map onto ancient conceptions or language." This insight, gained from long study in the biblical world, governs Josephus, Judea, and Christian Origins. Steve Mason combines recently published essays with new studies to produce a coherent, sequential exploration of "methods and categories" important for the study of Roman Judea and Christian beginnings. This book takes up basic but often overlooked questions of historical method in studying first-century Judea and the origins of Christianity. Many of these questions concern the use of Josephus (the first-century Jewish historian whose work is of crucial importance for this period) for reconstructing this history. Chapters deal with Josephus' authority, his method of publication and audiences, "Judaism," Pharisees, Essenes, "gospel," and much else.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Early Church Origins

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Review by Sean Freyne
Published 11/27/2009
Citation: Sean Freyne, review of Steve Mason, Josephus, Judea, and Christian Origins: Methods and Categories, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2009).

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