Monday, March 12, 2018

The Latin Josephus Project

The Latin Josephus Project
Flavius Josephus (c. 37100 CE) was a historian who wrote the Antiquities, a history of the Jews up to Roman times, and the Jewish War, describing the Jewish rebellion against the Romans in 66–73 CE, as well as the Against Apion.

While Josephus originally wrote these works in Greek, they were extremely popular and influential during late antiquity and the Middle Ages in Latin translations (see here for more details). James J. O'Donnell suggested that the Antiquities was 'the single most often copied historical work of the Middle Ages'.

This Project

This site will offer a transcription of the Latin versions of Flavius Josephus' two largest works, the Jewish War and the Antiquities. At UBC, in 2013, we began with the latter, based on a Carolingian era (s. IXmed) copy: Bamberg Msc.Class.78 (Blatt, no. 113).  The Latin has been made to align with the Greek text (from Niese), which is then aligned with the English translation produced by Whiston in 1737.

In 2014–15, the project transcribed much of Book 1 of the Bellum Judaicum (i.e. Jewish War) from the 1524 Frobenius edition. This was done with the help of William Glaeser.  This again has been paired with the Niese Greek text and the Whiston translation. (This text has now been labelled as the "Froben" for Book 1).

In 2016-17, at UQAM, at great deal of progress was made.  Books 9 to 12 of the Antiquities were transcribed by Maxime Laprade and Jonathan di Gregorio, all of which are available in either polished or raw versions at the moment.  Also, in June 2017, Richard Pollard produced an electronic text of the complete Latin Bellum Judaicum, using the edition of Edward Cardwell from 1837, which is based on the Galenius edition of 1534.  This means that the text occasionally contains hyper-corrections based on the Greek text, but on the whole it is a decent approximation of the Latin text found in the medieval manuscript tradition.

This project will supersede the editions of both Blatt and the Frobenius (see below): it will eventually provide a complete, searchable text of the Latin versions of Josephus' two largest works (Blatt is incomplete).  It is based on an early manuscript only for the Antiquities, but both works have now been carefully organised according to the modern editorial divisions in the text (the latter two both lacking in Frobenius). As of Oct 27th 2017, the site provides Antiquities I-XII, as well as the complete Latin Jewish War, far exceeding the coverage of Blatt (Ant. I-V).

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