Josephus' reasons for the Jewish War

Benson, Derrick (2001-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this thesis I will examine and discuss the reasons given for the Jewish War of AD 66 - 70. Reasons put forward by modern scholars specializing in the study of the works of Flavius Josephus are examined and discussed. However, the bulk of my study centres on the reasons that Flavius Josephus supplies for the war as found in his major work Bellum Judaicum. One is lead to the conclusion that he firmly believes that reasons on the human and transcendent planes contributed to the catastrophic events that lead to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. The worldview of this Jewish priest, general and accomplished historiographer was strongly influenced by the religious tenets of the Torah and the past history of the Jewish nation. He cannot countenance the wicked and evil deeds committed shamefacedly by his people against the clear standards that God had given to the nation, and believes that retribution by God will follow. He cannot forget occasions on the past when God intervened in the affairs of his nation by using a pagan world power to accomplish the purposes of God. He sees a similar recurrence of the events that lead to the destruction of the Jerusalem and the Temple in 587/6 BC being manifested in the Jewish War of AD 66 - 70.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie tesis word die redes wat vir die Joodse Oorlog van AD 66-70 aangebied word, ondersoek en bespreek. Veral die redes wat moderne geleerdes wat in die bestudering van Flavius Josephus se werk spesialiseer, word nagespeur en bespreek. Die grootste deel van die studie fokus egter op die redes wat Flavius Josephus self vir die gebeurtenis voorhou, soos wat hy dit in sy belangrike werk, Bellum Judaicum, uiteensit. 'n Mens kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat hy met groot oortuiging glo dat die redes wat tot die katastrofiese gebeure rondom die vernietiging van Jerusalem en die Tempel 'n bydrae gelewer het, op die vlak van sowel die menslike as bomenslike te vinde is. Die wêreldbeskouing van hierdie bedrewe geskiedskrywer en Joodse priester is deur beide die Torah se godsdienstige voorskrifte en volksgeskiedenis sterk beïnvloed. Hy kan nie sy steun aan die blatante en bose dade van sy volksgenote teen die duidelike standaarde wat God gegee het, toesê nie. Volgens hom moes God se vergelding volg. Hy kan ook nie vergeet hoe God in sy volk se verlede ingegryp het deur om goddelose wêreldmagte aan te wend om sy Goddelike doelwitte te bereik nie. Hy gewaar 'n soortgelyke herhaling van gebeurtenisse wat tot die vernietiging van Jerusalem en die tempel in 587/6 vC gelei het, in die aanloop tot die Joodse Oorlog van AD 66-70.

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