Justus of Tiberias


Photius, Bibliotheca

This long work is divided into chapters, which are called 'codices', each chapter being a codex that Photius read.  Here is the one for Justus of Tiberias in the only English version made.

XXIII.  Read the Chronicle of Justus of Tiberias, entitled A Chronicle of the Kings of the Jews in the form of a genealogy, by Justus of Tiberias. He came from Tiberias in Galilee, from which he took his name.  He begins his history with Moses and carries it down to the death of the seventh Agrippa of the family of Herod and the last of the Kings of the Jews.  His kingdom, which was bestowed upon him by Claudius, was extended by Nero, and still more  by Vespasian.   He died in the third year of Trajan, when the history ends. Justus' style is very concise and he omits a great deal that is of utmost importance.  Suffering from the common fault of the Jews, to which race he belonged, he does not even mention the coming of Christ, the events of his life, or the miracles performed by Him.  His father was a Jew named Pistus; Justus himself, according to Josephus, was one of the most abandoned of men, a slave to vice and greed.   He was a political opponent of Josephus, against whom he is said to have concocted several plots; but Josephus, although on several occasions he had his enemy in his power, only chastised him with words and let him go free.   It is said that the history which he wrote is in great part fictitious, especially where he describes the Judaeo-Roman war and the capture of Jerusalem.

From: J.H.Freese, The Library of Photius, vol. I, SPCK, London (1920).  This includes an English version of codices 1-165 only; vol. II was never made, and there is no complete version in English.  NOW ONLINE HERE.

N.G.Wilson has given a selection in English in Photius: The Bibliotheca, Duckworth (1994), which includes some of the Josephus portions: 47, 48 and 76. There is no bibliography - the reader is left to wonder what the Greek text translated is - and the notes and introduction are frustratingly scanty.

The complete critical edition is that of R. Henry, in Greek and French:  René Henry, Photius: Bibliothéque, CNRS, Paris (1959), many volumes, with an index volume.  Vol. I contains a good introduction, a discussion of the manuscripts and editions, and a bibliography.  The volumes have facing Greek and French text.

The Josephus reviews are codices 47 (on The Jewish War), 76 and 238  (Antiquities). c.48 (on The Universe) which Photius ascribes to Josephus is actually by Hippolytus.  

Constructive feedback is welcomed to Roger Pearse.

Last updated 12th June, 2001.

This page has been online since 26th April 2000.

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