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ROMAN PERIOD. 459
repulsive feature in the character of Josephus. His early visit to Rome, and introduction to the sweets of court favor, must have brought more home to him the lesson he might have learned, at all events, from the example of Herod the Great and others—that adherence to the Roman cause was the path to worldly distinction. And the awe with which the greatness and power of Rome inspired him lay always like a spell upon his mind, and stifled his patriotism. He felt pride, indeed, in the antiquity of his nation and in its ancient glories, as is clear from what are commonly called his books against Apion; neither do we find in him any want of sympathy with his country's misfortunes. But the fault of Josephus was that (as patriots never do) he despaired of his country. Again, holding, in the main, the abstract doctrines of a pharisee, but with the principles and temper of an Herodian, he strove to accommodate his religion to heathen tastes and prejudices, and this by actual omissions, no less than by a rationalistic system of modification. Thus he speaks of Moses and his law in a tone which might be adopted by any disbeliever in his divine legation. He says that Abraham went into Egypt, intending to adopt the Egyptian views of religion, should he find them better than his own. He intimates a doubt of there having been any miracle in the passage of the Red Sea. Numerous other instances of a similar nature our limits forbid us to specify.
The celebrated passage in which mention is made by him of the founder of our religion is now generally regarded as an interpolation.1
The writings of Josephus have always been regarded, and with justice, as indispensable for the theological student. For the determination of various readings, both in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament and in the Septuagint version, they are by no means without their value. But their chief use consists in such points as their testimony to the striking fulfillment of our Savior's prophecies, their confirmation of the canon, facts, and statements of Scripture, and the obvious collateral aid which they supply for its elucidation. The character of a faithful historian is claimed by Josephus for himself, and has been pretty generally acknowledged, though, from what has been said of his anxiety to conciliate his heathen readers, it can not be admitted without some drawbacks. The language of Josephus is remarkably pure, though we meet occasionally with unclassical, or, at least, unusual expressions and constructions, in some of which instances, however, the readings are doubtful. The speeches which he introduces have much spirit and vigor ; and there is a graphic liveliness in his descriptions which carries our feelings along with it, and fully justifies the title of the Greek Livy applied to him by St. Jerome.2
The works of Josephus are as follows: 1. The History of the Jewish War (Kepi rov 'lowSat/coD tto\€/jlov r) 'lovfiaiKys Iffropias Trepl aAxotreeys), in seven books. Josephus tells us that he wrote it first in his own language, and then translated it into Greek, for the information of European readers.3 The Hebrew copy is no longer extant. The Greek was published about A..D. 75, under the patronage and with the especial recommendation of
1 Elder, I. c. 2 Hieron. ad Eustoch., De Oust. Virg, Ep., xviii. 3 Procem, ad Bell. Jud., 1. .