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Imagine No ReligionHow Modern Abstractions Hide Ancient Realities$
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Carlin A. Barton and Daniel Boyarin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823271191

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823271191.001.0001

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Josephus without Judaism: Nomos, Eusebeia, Thrēskeia

Josephus without Judaism: Nomos, Eusebeia, Thrēskeia

(p.155) Ten Josephus without Judaism: Nomos, Eusebeia, Thrēskeia
Imagine No Religion

Carlin A. Barton

Daniel Boyarin

Fordham University Press

In this chapter, I continue to explore this writer who used this word thrēskeia more than any other writer of antiquity. I propose to show how it is possible and distinctly advantageous to describe Josephus’ world entirely without using the concept of “religion” at all. Josephus, the son of Mattias, was one of the generals of the revolt of the Jews of Palestine against Rome in the first century. At a certain point in the war, he changed his mind and his colors, and attempting to convince his fellows of the hopelessness of the war and the likelihood of total destruction, he became a client of Vespasian the Roman general (later to be emperor) and of his son Titus (also a future emperor), spending the rest of his days (20 years) in Rome in a palace provided by the former and writing all his books there. He not only changed his mind but also his name: the new nomen, Flavius, honoring his new patrons. Josephus is always in a cultural situation of negotiation or mediation between loyalties, writing apologetically, as it were, to both his Judaean and Roman audiences at one and the same time.

Keywords:   eusebia, Josephus, nomos, thrēskeia

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