(c. 37–c. 100 C.E.) A Jewish historian from a priestly family. Josephus became a Pharisee and was later appointed by the Sanhedrin as a commander during the Jewish revolt against Rome. His original name was Joseph ben Matthias (Yoseph ben Mattityahu).
During the Jewish revolt, Josephus and his men were defeated in Galilee in 67 C.E. He surrendered to the then Roman commander, Vespasian, who released him. As was the custom of the time, he adopted Vespasian’s family name, Flavius. By then, Josephus had recognized Rome’s superior strength, and he even attempted to mediate between the Romans and the besieged rebels in Jerusalem. After the city fell to Vespasian’s son Titus in 70 C.E., Josephus accompanied Titus to Rome and there devoted himself to writing. His works include The Jewish War, The Jewish Antiquities, Against Apion, and his autobiography, entitled Life.
Josephus is considered a credible but not infallible historian whose works fill important gaps in Jewish history and provide historical background for parts of the Bible. Next to the Bible, his writings are the main source of historical information regarding first-century Jerusalem and its temple. His writings also make reference to Jesus, Jesus’ half brother James, and John the Baptist. Moreover, Josephus’ eyewitness account of the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple sheds light on the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.—Da 9:24-27; Lu 19:41-44; 21:20-24.