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Josephus: Life & Times

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  • Polemon II, king of Pontus (c.-11 - 74)
    Sources ==* D. C. O'Driscoll, Emesa * Wikipedia, Royal Family of Emesa * Wikipedia, Polemon II of Pontus
  • Herod, King of Chalcis (c.-10 - 48)
    Herod of Chalcis (d. 48 AD), also known as Herod V, was a son of Aristobulus IV, and the grandson of Herod the Great , Roman client king of Judaea. He was the brother of Herod Agrippa I and Herodias. H...
  • Marcus Antonius Pallas (1 - 63)
    Marcus Antonius Pallas (c. 1–63) was a prominent Greek freedman and secretary during the reigns of the Roman Emperors Claudius and Nero. His younger brother was Marcus Antonius Felix, a procurator of I...
  • Marcus Antonius Agrippa (b. - 79)
    Wagner, Sir Anthony Richard; ‘Pedigree and Progress: Essays in the Genealogical Interpretation of History’ Agripa, que perdió la vida durante la erupción del volcán Vesubio (79 d.C.). Leer más: Diccion...
  • Julia Berenice, Princess of Judaea, Queen of Chalcis (28 - c.79)
    Princes Berenice (daughter of Herod Agrippa I) Berenice of Cilicia , also known as Julia Berenice and sometimes spelled Bernice (28 AD – ?), was a Jewish client queen of the Roman Empire during the sec...

Josephus (Titus Flavius) -


  • 4 CE Herod the Great dies. His kingdom is divided among his heirs into Judea, Galilee, and other states.
  • 6 CE Birth of Matthias ben Joseph, descendant of the Hasmonean (Maccaabean) kings and priests. Will be the father of Josephus. Archalaeus, Ethnarch of Judea, is deposed. Judea ceases to be governed by Jews and becomes a Roman province under Procurator Coponius. Census and taxes imposed.
  • 6 Resistance movement against Rome begun by Judas the Galilean and Zadok: "No ruler but the Almighty." Their insurgency will eventually lead to the War.
  • 14 Emperor Augustus dies, is succeeded by Tiberias.
  • 23 Herod the Great's free spending son Agrippa loses his friend Drusus, Tiberius' only son, who is poisoned in 23 CE
  • 26 Pontius Pilate becomes Procurator of Judea. Religious conflicts cause riots against him that are violently suppressed.
  • c. 31 Jesus of Nazareth gains following.
  • 32-35 Flacus is Roman Governor. "No great while" (Ant. 18.6.2 150) after Herod Antipas the Tetrarch gave Agrippa an allowance and a job, Agrippa attempted to alleviate his money woes by dealing with the Roman governor Flaccus; and that Flaccus was in power from 32 to 35 CE.
  • c. 33 Jesus executed in Jerusalem.
  • 34 Herod Antipas's quarrel with Aretas sprang up "about the time" (Ant. 18.5.1. 109) that Herod's brother Philip, the Tetrarch died in 34 CE (Ant. 18.4.6 106). Antiquities 18.6.2 148 refers to "Herodias (Herod Boethus ., II, of Judaea 's ex wife), as the wife of Herod the Tetrarch" but no date for this marriage is established, & bibical scholars say it could have been as early as just after 23 CE. John the Baptist's death is thus between 23 and 36, because Josephus says that some Jews attributed the defeat of Herod Antipas, which occurred during the winter of CE 36/37, to the putting to death of John the Baptist.
  • 35 Pilate replaced (by Marcellus?). Josephus says that Vitellius "sent Marcellus to take charge of affairs in Judea" when Pilate was removed.
  • 36 During this time Agrippa had gone to Rome "a year before the death of Tiberius" (Ant18.5.3 126), which places Agrippas's departure in 36 CE.
  • Winter 36-37 Battle with Aretas who invaded Herod's holdings, defeated his army, partly because soldiers from Philip's tetrarchy changed sides. Herod Antipas then appealed to Emperor Tiberius, who dispatched Lucius Vitellius the Elder the governor of Syria to attack Aretas. Vitellius mustered his legions and moved southward, stopping in Jerusalem for the passover of CE 37. On the fourth day of his stay in Jerusalem he learned of the death of Tiberius, which had occurred on March 16 37 CE (and it could have taken up to a month for Jerusalem to get the news), and the invasion of Nabataea was never completed.This puts the battle in the winter of 36/37 CE. Vitellius' action against Aretas must have occurred between his action against the Parthians, under Tiberius' orders, and the death of Tiberius. The Parthian war occurred in 35 and 36 CE, as indicated both by Josephus and by the Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius. (Herod the Tetrarch assisted Vitellius in negotiations between Tiberius and the Parthian king.) Before Aretas' death in 40 CE Paul, mentions that he had to sneak out of Damascus in a basket through a window in the wall to escape the ethnarch of King Aretas. (2 Corinthians 11:32, 33, cf Acts 9:23, 24). However, there is some dispute as to if troops belonging to Aretas actually controlled the city or if Paul was actually referring to "the official in control of a Nabataean community in Damascus, and not the city as a whole."
  • 37 Josephus born. His parents, of royal and priestly lines, are prominent in Jerusalem. March 16 37 Tiberias dies. Gaius Caligula becomes Emperor.
  • 41 Caligula assassinated. Claudius becomes emperor with the aid of Agrippa, grandson of Herod. Claudius bestows kingship of Judea and other lands on Agrippa. Around 41 AD, at the request of his brother, Herod Agrippa, emperor Claudius granted Herod [king of Chalcis] the rule of Chalcis, a territory north of Judaea, with the title of king. Three years later, after the death of his brother, he was also given responsibility for the Temple in Jerusalem, as well as the appointment of the Temple's High Priest. During the four years in which he exercised this right he appointed two high priests—Joseph, son of Camydus (44-46), and Ananias, son of Nedebeus (ca. 47-52).
  • c. 42-43 Agrippa I suppresses followers of Jesus, imprisons church leader Peter. Project to build "huge fortifications" around Jerusalem is begun.
  • 44 Agrippa I dies. Judea again comes under the rule of a Roman procurator (Fadus). Sometime between 44-46 Theudes leads shortlived rebellion.

It came to pass, while Cuspius Fadus was procurator of Judea, that a certain charlatan, whose name was Theudas, persuaded a great part of the people to take their effects with them, and follow him to the Jordan river; for he told them he was a prophet, and that he would, by his own command, divide the river, and afford them an easy passage over it. Many were deluded by his words. However, Fadus did not permit them to make any advantage of his wild attempt, but sent a troop of horsemen out against them. After falling upon them unexpectedly, they slew many of them, and took many of them alive. They also took Theudas alive, cut off his head, and carried it to Jerusalem.[3] (Jewish Antiquities 20.97-98)

  • 49 Ananias is appointed as High Priest. Herod [king of Chalcis] dies

Berenice lived a widow for a long time after the death of Herod [king of Chalcis], who had been both her husband and her uncle. But when the report circulated that she had sexual relations with her brother [Agrippa II], she persuaded Poleme, the king of Cilicia, to be circumcised and to marry her, supposing that in this way she would prove those accusations about her to be false. Poleme was prevailed upon chiefly on account of her riches. Yet this marriage did not endure long; for Berenice left Poleme, so it is said, out of licentiousness. He abandoned his marriage and the Jewish religion at the same time. Antiquities 20.7.3 145

  • 50 Some Jewish lands assigned to kingship of Agrippa II.
  • 51 Josephus at 14 is recognized for his understanding of Jewish law.
  • 52 Felix becomes Procurator of Judea.
  • 53 Josephus at 16 goes on spiritual search. Spends time with the Sadducees, Pharisees, and Essenes. Lives in desert with teacher Banus
  • 54 Death of Claudius. Nero becomes Emperor. Drusilla, Agrippa's (perhaps 16 yr old) sister, dissolves her marriage to Azizus, King of Emesa, to marry Felix.

Then Claudius sent Felix, the brother of Pallas, to manage the affairs of Judea. After completing the twelfth year of his reign, Claudius granted to Agrippa the tetrarchy of Philp, and Batanea, and added to them Trachonites with Abila, which had been the tetrarchy of Lysanius... After receiving this gift from the emperor, Agrippa gave his sister Drusilla in marriage to Azizus king of Emesa, who had consented to be circumcised. ...And when Agrippa had received these countries from the emperor, he gave his sister Drusilla in marriage to Azizus, king of Emesa, upon his consent to be circumcised. For Epiphanes, the son of king Antiochus, had refused to marry her, and although he had promised her father to convert to the Jewish religion he would not now fulfill his promise....The marriage of Drusilla to Azizus was not long afterward dissolved upon the following occasion: While Felix was procurator of Judea, he saw this Drusilla and fell in love with her; for she exceeded all other women in beauty. And so he sent to her one of his friends, Atomus, a Jew from Cyprus who pretended to be a magician, who endeavored to persuade her to leave her present husband and marry Felix. He promised, that if she would not refuse, he would make her a very happy [felix] woman. Accordingly she acted ill, and because she desired to avoid the jealousy of her sister Berenice-- for she was very ill treated by her on account of her beauty -- was prevailed upon to transgress the laws of her forefathers, and to marry Felix. She gave birth to a son by him whom she named Agrippa. How this young man and his wife perished in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, in the days of Titus Caesar, shall be described later. Antiquities 20.7.1 137-144

  • 54 and after. Jewish revolutionary activity heats up. "Sicarii" terrorists kill High Priest Jonathan. Felix uses force and executions to suppress revolt. Would-be prophets stir up the people; the "Egyptian," a Messianic figure, gains followers, many of whom are killed by Felix's army.
  • 56 Josephus returns to Jerusalem at age 19. Decides to align himself with the Pharisees.
  • 57 Paul visits Jerusalem to report to James about his efforts to gain followers among the non-Jews. While visiting the Temple he is accused of defiling the holy place and arrested and jailed for two years, says Acts.

As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks, he asked the commander, “May I say something to you?”“Do you speak Greek?” he replied. “Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the wilderness some time ago?” Paul answered, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.” After receiving the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic[a]:Then Paul said: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5 as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.6 “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’8 “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.“ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. 9 My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.“ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr[a] Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”“Yes, I am,” he answered.28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.”“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.29 Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.30 The commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews. So the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the members of the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.23 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’”6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)9 There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”12 The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.”16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him to the commander.The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”20 He said: “Some Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”22 The commander dismissed the young man with this warning: “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen[b] to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”25 He wrote a letter as follows:26 Claudius Lysias,To His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him. 31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.24 Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. 4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. [7] [a] 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”9 The other Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. 17 “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin— 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’” 22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” 23 He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs.Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him. When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison. Acts 21-25 STILL TO BE EDITED

  • late 50s: Felix attacks 'The Egyptian' prophet

These deeds of the robbers filled the city with all sorts of impiety. And now conjurers and deceivers persuaded the multitude to follow them into the wilderness, and pretended that they would show them manifest wonders and signs that would be performed by the providence of God. And many that were persuaded suffered the pain of their folly, for Felix brought them back and punished them. At this time there came out of Egypt to Jerusalem a man who said he was a prophet, and advised the multitude of the common people to go along with him to the mountain called the Mount of Olives, which lay a distance of five furlongs from the city. He said that he would show them that at his command the walls of Jerusalem would fall down, through which he promised that he would procure them an entrance into the city. Now when Felix was informed of this he ordered his soldiers to take up their weapons, and with a great number of horsemen and footmen from Jerusalem he attacked the Egyptian and the people that were with him. He slew four hundred of them and took two hundred alive. But the Egyptian himself escaped from the fight and did not appear any more. And again the robbers stirred up the people to make war with the Romans. Antiquities 20.8.5 169-172 (War 2.13.5 261)

  • 59 Festus becomes Procurator.

When Porcius Festus was sent by Nero as successor to Felix, the leaders of the Jewish community of Caesarea went up to Rome to accuse Felix. ...When Festus arrived in Judea, it happened that Judea was afflicted by robbers, for all the villages were being set on fire and plundered by them. And then it was that the sicarii, as they were called, who were robbers, grew more numerous. Antiquities 20.8.9-10 182-186

  • 59 Paul presents his case to Festus and Agrippa II, then is sent to Rome to appeal to the Emperor.

Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and the Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 3 They requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me, and if the man has done anything wrong, they can press charges against him there.”6 After spending eight or ten days with them, Festus went down to Caesarea. The next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him, but they could not prove them.8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.”9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over anyone before they have faced their accusers and have had an opportunity to defend themselves against the charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 But when Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.”He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the audience room with the high-ranking military officers and the prominent men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 Festus said: “King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 I found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome. 26 But I have nothing definite to write to His Majesty about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this investigation I may have something to write. 27 For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him.”Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.4 “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. 2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. 4 From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 5 When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board. 7 We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. 8 We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.9 Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement.[a] So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor[b] and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”27 On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic[c] Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. 28 They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet[d] deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet[e] deep. 29 Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. 30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. 31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.33 Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board. 38 When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.39 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 40 Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. 41 But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. 43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways; and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island—it was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.17 Three days later he called together the local Jewish leaders. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 The Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Caesar. I certainly did not intend to bring any charge against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of our people who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.”...30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Acts26-8 STILL TO BE EDITED

  • 59-62 Festus continues to battle Sicarii. Clashes between Jews and Greeks in Caesarea. An "impostor" promises salvation to Jews who followed him into the desert; he and his followers are killed by Festus' cavalry. High priest Ismael and others are imprisoned in Rome by Nero after a dispute with Agrippa II.
  • 62 Festus dies. While Judea waits for the new Procurator to arrive, the recently appointed High Priest Ananus arrests and executes "James, the brother of Jesus called the Christ." Prominent Jews are angered and denounce Ananus to Agrippa II, who subsequently deposes Ananus after three months as High Priest.
  • 62 Albinus is made Procurator.
  • 62/63 Paul's imprisonment in Rome. Josephus, at 26, travels to Rome to free priests imprisoned there. with the help of a Jewish stage actor he gains the favor of Nero's wife Poppaea, who attains their release.
  • 62-65 Albinus wages an anti-terrorist campaign. Hostage-taking by the sicarii becomes commonplace.
  • 65 Florus becomes Procurator. His abuses of power cause the sedition to gain followers. Violence breaks out in Caesarea and spreads to Jerusalem.
  • 65 Josephus returns to Jerusalem to find revolt beginning and the Antonia fortress captured. He advocates against war.
  • 66, Summer. Jewish War begins. Sacrifices for the Emperor are halted in the Temple. Masada is seized by the Zealots. The Roman garrison at the Antonia Fortress is captured. The High Priest Joshua 'Jesus' ben Gamla / Gamaliel is slain by the rebels.
  • August 66 CE -- Three actions occur "at the same time": 1. King Agrippa gives up his efforts to hold the revolutionary movement in check, and, having decided to let the Roman Procurator Florus handle his own problems, leaves Jerusalem. (2.17.1 407) The captain of the Temple, Eleazar son of Ananias, persuades the priests to suspend the twice-daily sacrifice for the Roman Emperor. (2.17.2 409). Revolutionaries take the fortress of Masada and kill the Roman garrison there. (2.17.2 408) 2.There is widespread elation in Jerusalem at the prospect of revolt from Rome. (Life 17 4) 3.The powerful men of the city with some of the high priests and the leaders of the Pharisees attempt to persuade the dissidents to restart the sacrifices for the Emperor. Failing this, Simon son of Ananias, Costobar, Saul and Antipas are sent to Florus and Agrippa for assistance. Florus does nothing but Agrippa sends 3000 cavalrymen. (2.173-4 411-421) Josephus joins in the efforts of the high priests to persuade the people not to rebel. (Life 19)
  • Av 6-13/ August 26 - Sept. 2 66 Seven days of bloody battles take place between the rebels and the pro-Roman parties in Jerusalem. Eleazar and the rebels hold the lower city and the Temple; the dunatoi party and the King's soldiers and Roman garrison hold the upper city and try to take the Temple.
  • Av 14/Sept. 3 66 The Sicarii and lower-class citizens force their way into the Temple and join themselves with the revolutionary priests (2.17.6 425) Together they force the royalists out of the upper city; the troops and Ananias take refuge in Herod the Great's palace. The rebels burn the houses of Ananias and the palaces of Agrippa and Berenice, along with the Record Office, destroying the records of outstanding debts.
  • Av 15/ Sept. 4 66 The Antonia fortress is captured by the rebels and the Roman soldiers stationed there slain. Herod the Great's palace is besieged by the rebels. Josephus takes refuge in the Temple, afraid of being taken for one of the pro-Roman party. (Life 20) Menahem, the son of Judas the Galilean, breaks into the armory at Masada and gives arms to his own people as well as to the "robbers". He returns to Jerusalem "as a king" and takes command of the revolutionary forces and the siege of the palace (2.17.8 434).
  • Elul 6/ Sept. 25 66 Menahem and his supporters allow the King's men and other Jews to leave Herod's palace; but the Roman soldiers flee to the neighboring towers. The palace is burned. (2.17.8 440) Elul 6/ Sept. 25, 66 C.E. The troops sent by King Agrippa are forced out of Jerusalem by the rebels. The Roman garrison begins its last defense and in a few days is slain
  • Elul 7/ Sept. 26 66 The former high priest Ananias and his brother Hezekiah are killed by the "robbers" (2.17.9 441). As a consequence, Menahem regards himself as absolute ruler. Eleazar and his supporters argue to the populace that if the Romans were overthrown because they were to have "no master but the Lord", then that should apply also to Menahem, who could not lead particularly as he was of a low class. Menahem, continuing to regard himself as an anointed King, enters the Temple in royal robes, surrounded by armed guards. He is attacked by Eleazar and his followers, and, after many tortures, Menahem is killed. Josephus leaves the refuge of the Temple and rejoins the high priests and leading Pharisees to discuss what can be done. Seeing no alternative, they join the rebels. (Life 21)
  • A Sabbath day The besieged Roman soldiers surrender to Eleazar and are subsequently put to death. (2.17.10 454) The city awaits the Roman reaction. "Seeing the grounds for war to be now beyond remedy, and the city polluted by such a stain of guilt as could not but arouse a dread of some visitation from heaven, if not of the vengeance of Rome, they gave themselves up to public mourning; the whole city was a scene of dejection, and among the moderates there was not one who was not racked with the thought that he would personally have to suffer for the rebels' crime."- Josephus, The Jewish War 2.17.10 455. (See also Life 5 22-23)
  • [26-27 Elul; October 15-16, 66 C.E.] Cestius Gallus, Governor of Syria, removes the Twelfth Legion stationed in Antioch, and together with additional infantry, cavalry, and non-Jewish native auxiliaries, marches to Ptolemais with King Agrippa. The total force numbers between 35,000 and 40,000 men. [War 2.18.9]
  • [28 Elul; October 17] The army attacks the city of Chabulon in Galilee, burning it, then plunders the villages in the countryside before returning to Ptolemais. [2.18.9]
  • [2-8 Tishri; October 20-26] Cestius marches to Caesarea; the army takes Joppa, killing 8400 citizens. The cavalry take the toparchy of Narbatene, plundering and burning the villages and killing many inhabitants. [W. 2.18.10]
  • [9-16 Tishri; October 27- November 3] Cestius sends the Twelfth Legion under Gallus Caesenius into Galilee. The strongest city of Galilee, Sepphoris, greets them willingly; the other cities remain peaceful. Rebels flee Sepphoris to nearby mountains, are soon flushed out by Roman forces, who kill over 2000 of them. [2.18.11]
  • [17-18 Tishri; November 4-5] The Twelfth Legion returns to Caesarea, joins the rest of Cestius' army in marching on Antipatris, dispersing Jewish forces in the tower of Aphek.
  • Sukkot: Tishri 15-22
  • [At Gabaon: Tishri 20; November 7] Marching on to Lydda, the city is found deserted, almost everyone having left for Jerusalem for the festival of Sukkot. The Romans march on towards Jerusalem, through the pass at Beth-Horon, pitching camp at Gabaon (Biblical Gibeon). [2.19.1] Rebellious of Jerusalem leave the city during the festival and on the Sabbath, and fall upon the Roman camp, killing 515 infantry and cavalrymen, while losing only 22. The Romans retreat to Beth-Horon while Simon, son of Gioras, leads his men in attacks on their rear, capturing many Roman weapons and supplies. The Jews occupy the mountains to cut off Beth-Horon [2.19.2].
  • Tishri 24-26; November 11-13 Cestius remains at Gabaon for three more days while Agrippa attempts to negotiate with the rebels, to no effect: his ambassadors are killed. (2.19.3)
  • November 14-16 Cestius attacks and pursues the rebels to Jerusalem. He pitches camp on Mount Scopus for three days to collect food from local villages. (2.19.4 527-528)
  • Tishri 30; November 17 Cestius advances on Jerusalem. He sets fire to to suburban districts, then moves to the wall of the upper city and pitches camp in the vicinity of the royal palace. (2.19.4 528-530) The principal pro-Roman men of Jerusalem invite Cestius into the city, but he delays. The rebels attack the pro-peace faction and murder their leaders, then bombard the Romans from the wall. After five days, the Romans, heavily shielded, are on the verge of undermining the wall and setting fire to the gate of the Temple. (2.19.5)
  • Heshvan 5; November 22 Cestius suddenly gives up and retreats from the city "without any reason in the world." [2.19.7 540] Josephus: "It was, I suppose, owing to the aversion God had already toward the city and the sanctuary that He delayed from putting an end to the war that very day." [2.19.6 539]
  • Heshvan 6-7; November 23-24 As Cestius retreats to Scopus and then to Gabaon he is pursued by the rebels, who devastate his army's flanks and rear and force the Romans to abandon most of their baggage train. Cestius halts at Gabao for two days to plan.
  • Heshvan 8; November 25 Cestius leads the army to Beth-Horon. Trapped in the mountain passes of Beth-Horon the Romans are easily cut down. Nightfall prevents their capture; under cover of darkness Cestius and the army slip away, leaving 400 men behind as a deception; when the trick is discovered at dawn, these are quickly slain by the rebels. Of the Romans, a total of 5300 infantry and 480 cavalry have been killed at Beth-Horon.
  • Heshvan 9-10; November 26-27 The remnant is chased to the Roman camp at Antipatris. The rebels carry off weapons, war engines, and supplies, and sing on their way back to Jerusalem. [2.19.7-9] "After this catastrophe had befallen Cestius, many of the distinguished Jews abandoned the city like swimmers from a sinking ship." (Josephus, 2.20.1 556) "This reverse of Cestius proved disastrous to our whole nation; for those who were bent on war were thereby still more elated and, having once defeated the Romans, hoped to continue victorious to the end." (Josephus, Life 5-6 22-24)
  • 66, Autumn. Gallus advances on Jerusalem with the Twelfth Roman Legion but withdraws. His forces are pursued into Syria.
  • 66 The revolutionary government appoints Josephus commander of Galilee. He strove with John of Gischala over the control of Galilee, who like Josephus, had amassed to himself a large band of supporters from Gischala (Gush Halab) and Gabara, including the support of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. Josephus fortified several towns and villages in Galilee, among which were Tiberias, Bersabe and Tarichaea.
  • Spring 67 The Roman forces under Vespasian march into Galilee. The city of Gadara falls. Josephus withdraws to Jotapata.
  • July 67 Yodfat (Jotapata) falls after a six-week siege. After the Jewish garrison of Yodfat fell under siege, the Romans invaded, killing thousands; the survivors committed suicide. According to Josephus, he was trapped in a cave with 40 of his companions in July 67 CE. The Romans (commanded by Flavius Vespasian and his son Titus, both subsequently Roman emperors) asked the group to surrender, but they refused. Josephus suggested a method of collective suicide; they drew lots and killed each other, one by one, counting to every third person. Two men were left (this method as a mathematical problem is referred to as the Josephus problem, or Roman roulette), who surrendered to the Roman forces and became prisoners. While being confined at Yodfat (Jotapata), Josephus claimed to have experienced a divine revelation that later led to his speech predicting Vespasian would become emperor. After the prediction came true, he was released by Vespasian, who considered his gift of prophecy to be divine. Josephus wrote that his revelation had taught him three things: that God, the creator of the Jewish people, had decided to "punish" them; that "fortune" had been given to the Romans; and that God had chosen him "to announce the things that are to come". Vespasian, charmed by his claims that the Messianic prophecies that began the war actually applied to Vespasian, who therefore was destined to become Emperor, retains Josephus as hostage and interpreter.
  • 67-68 Vespasian continues operations in Galilee. Prepares for assault on Jerusalem.
  • 68 Nero commits suicide. Galba and Otho, in turn become Emperor and are killed.
  • July 69 Vespasian's legions proclaim him Emperor. Josephus' prophecy having come true, he is freed. He takes Vespasian's family name of Flavius and marries a captive. According to his account, he acted as a negotiator with the defenders during the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, in which his parents and first wife died.
  • 70, Winter. Vitellius beheaded. Vespasian travels to Rome. Titus, the son of Vespasian, takes command of the forces in Judea. Josephus divorces his wife, marries another in Alexandria.
  • 70, May 1. Titus encamps outside Jerusalem, beginning the siege. Josephus attempts to persuade the leaders of the revolt to surrender, but fails.
  • 70, Tenth of Av (August 30). The Temple of Jerusalem is destroyed. Jerusalem is taken by Titus. The War effectively ends.
  • 71 Josephus rewarded with land in Judea, but moves to Rome. Becomes Roman citizen. Is given a commission by Vespasian to write a history of the war.
  • 73 Birth of Josephus' son Hyrcanus.
  • c. 75 Josephus receives a gift of land in Judea from Vespasian. Divorces his second wife. Marries a Jewish woman of Crete.
  • 76 Birth of Josephus' son Justus.
  • c. 78 The Jewish War, Josephus' first-hand account, is published.
  • 78 Birth of Josephus' son Simonides Agrippa.
  • 79 Death of Vespasian. Titus becomes Emperor.
  • 81 Death of Titus. Domitian becomes Emperor.
  • 93 Antiquities of the Jews
  • 95 Death of Agrippa II.
  • c. 95-100 Against Apion, a defense of his previous work.
  • c. 100 The Life of Josephus, an autobiography.
  • ? Death of Josephus.


Was Flavius Josephus the same person as Joseph of Arimathea?

Antonio L. Furtado ("Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro") has suggested Josephus was the same person as the biblical Joseph of Arimathea, in whose tomb Jesus was buried (Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:43-46; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38). Furtado bases on his theory primarily on two points.

First, the similarity of names. Joseph of Arimathea versus Joseph ben Matthias.

Second, Josephus relates an incident where he interceded for three men who had been crucified, and recovered one of them alive:

"And when I was sent by Titus Caesar with Cerealins, and a thousand horsemen, to a certain village called Thecoa, in order to know whether it were a place fit for a camp, as I came back, I saw many captives crucified, and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to Titus, and told him of them; so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician’s hands, while the third recovered." (Josephus, The Life of Flavius Josephus, or Autobiography of Flavius Josephus" 76, c. 99 CE)

Experts in the field have not been receptive to Furtado's speculation.

For more infomation, see: