May 21st, 2015
Episode 461 of 533 episodes
Josephus was a 1st-century AD Jewish historian who was born in Roman Judea. It is said that, in Britain from the 18th century, copies of Josephus' works were as well read as The Bible. Christians valued "The Antiquities of the Jews" in particular, for apparently corroborating the historical existence of Jesus. Born in Jerusalem in 37AD, he fought the Romans in Galilee in the First Jewish-Roman War. He was captured by the Emperor Vespasian's troops and became a Roman citizen, later describing the fall of Jerusalem. His actions and writings made him a controversial figure, from his lifetime to the present day. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Tessa Rajak, Professor Emeritus of Ancient History, University of Reading; Philip Alexander, Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies, University of Manchester and Martin Goodman, Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Oxford and President of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.