100 books like Josephus

By Tessa Rajak,

Here are 100 books that Josephus fans have personally recommended if you like Josephus. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth

Guy MacLean Rogers Author Of For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

From my list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for the topic of relations between Jews and Romans goes back to my introduction to the subject in an undergraduate seminar at University College London taught by the late, great Oxford historian Sir Fergus Millar. Taking the seminar with Millar and reading Josephus’ detailed account of the great revolt of Jews against Romans in 66 CE fascinated me: how and why would a small group of Jews take on the ancient world’s only superpower? This is a question that I've been thinking about for almost 50 years and have now written up my answers to in my book For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

Guy's book list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire

Guy MacLean Rogers Why did Guy love this book?

In 74 CE, 960 Jews on top of the rock fortress of Masada reportedly took their own lives rather than surrender to a Roman army. Their defiant self-sacrifice became a modern, nationalist rallying cry in Israel: “Masada shall not fall again.” Jodi Magness, who directed excavations of the Roman siege-works at Masada and is one of the preeminent archeologists of the ancient world, has written a superb book about Masada, describing its physical setting and development, the history of the site’s excavation, the story of the Roman siege, and the creation of Masada’s hotly contested modern myth. What happened in Masada in 74 CE continues to fascinate, inspire and trouble us: this book explains why.

By Jodi Magness,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Masada as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new account of the famous site and story of the last stand of a group of Jewish rebels who held out against the Roman Empire

Two thousand years ago, 967 Jewish men, women, and children-the last holdouts of the revolt against Rome following the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple-reportedly took their own lives rather than surrender to the Roman army. This dramatic event, which took place on top of Masada, a barren and windswept mountain overlooking the Dead Sea, spawned a powerful story of Jewish resistance that came to symbolize the embattled modern State…


Book cover of Jerusalem Under Siege: The Collapse of the Jewish State, 66-70 C.E.

Guy MacLean Rogers Author Of For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

From my list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for the topic of relations between Jews and Romans goes back to my introduction to the subject in an undergraduate seminar at University College London taught by the late, great Oxford historian Sir Fergus Millar. Taking the seminar with Millar and reading Josephus’ detailed account of the great revolt of Jews against Romans in 66 CE fascinated me: how and why would a small group of Jews take on the ancient world’s only superpower? This is a question that I've been thinking about for almost 50 years and have now written up my answers to in my book For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

Guy's book list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire

Guy MacLean Rogers Why did Guy love this book?

Based upon a stellar doctoral dissertation written at Princeton University Jonathan Price’s monograph about the first four years of the war of Jews against Romans is a treasure trove of information and insights about Jewish history, the various factions within Jewish society, and the tragic destruction of the Jewish Temple and a large part of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Sharp intelligence, learning, engagement, and balanced judgment can be found on every page of this impressive and readable book.

By Jonathan J. Price,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jerusalem Under Siege as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This internal history of the Jewish rebellion traces factionalism among the Jews from the decades before the war's outbreak through the constantly shifting and dangerous alliances that reigned in Jerusalem from 66 to 70 C.E.; rivalries and divisions are revealed even in the structure of the Jewish army and in the patterns of famine and desertion during the siege. Classical, rabbinic, archaeological and numismatic evidence are brought to bear on a new interpretation of Josephus' Bellum Judaicum.


Book cover of Heritage and Hellenism: The Reinvention of Jewish Tradition

Guy MacLean Rogers Author Of For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

From my list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for the topic of relations between Jews and Romans goes back to my introduction to the subject in an undergraduate seminar at University College London taught by the late, great Oxford historian Sir Fergus Millar. Taking the seminar with Millar and reading Josephus’ detailed account of the great revolt of Jews against Romans in 66 CE fascinated me: how and why would a small group of Jews take on the ancient world’s only superpower? This is a question that I've been thinking about for almost 50 years and have now written up my answers to in my book For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

Guy's book list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire

Guy MacLean Rogers Why did Guy love this book?

This book provided me with a magisterial overview of how Jewish writers both in the diaspora and Judaea during the period from c. 300 BCE until 100 CE produced a variety of texts that simultaneously engaged with Hellenic culture and traditions, and, with amazing creativity, imagination, and often playful humor, used the rich religious and philosophical traditions of Hellenism to assert the superiority of the Jews’ diverse, yet unique heritage. Written by one of the greatest contemporary historians of the ancient world this elegant and beautifully written book was a delight to read.

By Erich S. Gruen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heritage and Hellenism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The interaction of Jew and Greek in antiquity intrigues the imagination. Both civilizations boasted great traditions, their roots stretching back to legendary ancestors and divine sanction. In the wake of Alexander the Great's triumphant successes, Greeks and Macedonians came as conquerors and settled as ruling classes in the lands of the eastern Mediterranean. Hellenic culture, the culture of the ascendant classes in many of the cities of the Near East, held widespread attraction and appeal. Jews were certainly not immune. In this thoroughly researched, lucidly written work, Erich Gruen draws on a wide variety of literary and historical texts of…


Book cover of Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations

Guy MacLean Rogers Author Of For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

From my list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for the topic of relations between Jews and Romans goes back to my introduction to the subject in an undergraduate seminar at University College London taught by the late, great Oxford historian Sir Fergus Millar. Taking the seminar with Millar and reading Josephus’ detailed account of the great revolt of Jews against Romans in 66 CE fascinated me: how and why would a small group of Jews take on the ancient world’s only superpower? This is a question that I've been thinking about for almost 50 years and have now written up my answers to in my book For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

Guy's book list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire

Guy MacLean Rogers Why did Guy love this book?

This is a work on a grand scale about Rome and Jerusalem and relations between Romans and Jews written by a scholar of both Jewish and Roman history. It goes into great depth about the cultural, political, and religious beliefs and practices of Romans and Jews and uses the evidence for them to explain how and why these two ancient civilizations repeatedly came into tragic conflict. This book is probably the best and most informative guide to the antecedents of the great revolt of Jews against Romans.

By Martin Goodman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rome and Jerusalem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magisterial history of the titanic struggle between the Roman and Jewish worlds that led to the destruction of Jerusalem.

Martin Goodman—equally renowned in Jewish and in Roman studies—examines this conflict, its causes, and its consequences with unprecedented authority and thoroughness. He delineates the incompatibility between the cultural, political, and religious beliefs and practices of the two peoples and explains how Rome's interests were served by a policy of brutality against the Jews. At the same time, Christians began to distance themselves from their origins, becoming increasingly hostile toward Jews as Christian influence spread within the empire. This is the…


Book cover of Flavius ​​Josephus: Eyewitness to Rome's First-Century Conquest of Judea

Martha Marks Author Of Rubies of the Viper

From my list on the Roman Empire in 1st Century AD.

Why am I passionate about this?

I made my first visit to Pompeii at age seven. That day, I told my parents that I had been there before. It was all very familiar. And that sense of déjà vu has never left me. I feel it whenever I go back to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Roman Forum. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but... As an adult, I’ve returned many times to those places and visited others featured in my books: the Etruscan necropolis at Caere, which was already 1,000 years old at the time of my novels; Athens; and the ancient ports of Piraeus in Greece and Itanos in Crete. I earned a Ph.D. at Northwestern University, taught for many years, and enjoyed a million marvelous experiences, but my lifelong love of ancient Rome is the direct result of that long-ago visit to Pompeii with my parents.

Martha's book list on the Roman Empire in 1st Century AD

Martha Marks Why did Martha love this book?

Hadas-Lebel’s fine biography brings to life one of history’s most charismatic and controversial authors, generals, and traitors. The Jewish scholar turned Roman collaborator known today as Flavius Josephus was born Yosef ben Matityahu. His evolution from Yosef the aristocrat of Jerusalem to Josephus the “Jew of Rome” is a classic truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tale. As Yosef, he plays a key role in my second novel. As Josephus, he does the same in my third. So I had to internalize as much about his life, character, and personality as possible. This book gave me the level of detail that I needed to make Yosef/Josephus “real” in my own way.

By Mireille Hadas-Lebel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flavius ​​Josephus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard Miller translates this narration of an eye-witness account of Rome's first-century conquest of Judea.

Through the eyes of a Jewish priest, general, Roman captive, and historian, Miereille Hadas-Lebel, comes this narration of the key first-century events in Judeo-Christian culture.


Book cover of The New Complete Works of Josephus

Denny Sissom Author Of The Bridge to the New Testament: A Comprehensive Guide to the Forgotten Years of the Inter-Testament Period

From my list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I sought material to teach a class on the inter-testament period back in 1994, I discovered there was not much written on the subject. So, I decided to change that. From the creation of the world to the rebuilding of the Temple by Zerubbabel and reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, nothing has piqued my interest as much as what happened after these events. The study of inter-testament history is fascinating, important, and lacking in most Christian educations. Through our learning of the inter-testament, we can better understand the people, politics, and history of the New Testament.  

Denny's book list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament

Denny Sissom Why did Denny love this book?

Our knowledge of Jewish history would be sorely lacking if not for Titus Flavius Josephus. Josephus was a Hellenistic Jew who lived from AD 37-100, just a few decades after the end of the inter-testament period. He was a leader of the Galilean rebels during the Jewish revolt against the Romans. When the Jews led by him were soundly defeated in AD 67 in the town of Jotapata, he appealed to Vespasian, the Roman commander at the time, to spare his life and not send him to the emperor, Nero, for enslavement.  Josephus predicted that Vespasian and his son, Titus, would both become emperors. In time, Josephus became a patron of Vespasian and a prolific historian of the time.

By Flavius Josephus, William Whiston (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The New Complete Works of Josephus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No source, other than the Bible itself, provides more relevant information on the first century than the work of Flavius Josephus. This newly edited version updates the original 18th century language; includes commentary by the award winning author and historian, Dr. Paul L. Maier; features over forty photos of ancient sites and artifacts mentioned by Josephus; cross references numbers throughout to the Greek text of Josephus in the Loeb Classical Library; and offers revised indexes of subjects and Old Testament texts.


Book cover of The Jewish War

Lena Einhorn Author Of A Shift in Time: How Historical Documents Reveal the Surprising Truth about Jesus

From my list on ancient religious texts and actual history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lena Einhorn is a writer and filmmaker, with a background in medicine. She has portrayed Greta Garbo’s life before the breakthrough, in the novel Blekinge Street 32, and in Nina’s Journey, she told the story of her mother, one of the last to leave the Warsaw ghetto alive. Nina’s Journey also became a feature film, written and directed by Einhorn. The book received the National Book Award of Sweden, and the film received the National Film Award for best picture and best script, as well as a number of international awards. In 2019 the critically acclaimed autobiographical novel The Thin Ice came out.

Lena's book list on ancient religious texts and actual history

Lena Einhorn Why did Lena love this book?

This is the parallel companion book to the New Testament, for anyone who wants to try to discern "the true story behind the religious text." And it is also the biggest impediment to all historians and biblical scholars who have attempted to portray Jesus and his disciples as historical individuals. He simply does not seem to be there (if one excepts the paragraph "Testimonium Flavianum", which has been added or amended by later scribes). But perhaps he does... If one looks slightly beneath the surface....

By Flavius Josephus,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Jewish War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Josephus' account of a war marked by treachery and atrocity is a superbly detailed and evocative record of the Jewish rebellion against Rome between AD 66 and 70. Originally a rebel leader, Josephus changed sides after he was captured to become a Rome-appointed negotiator, and so was uniquely placed to observe these turbulent events, from the siege of Jerusalem to the final heroic resistance and mass suicides at Masada. His account provides much of what we know about the history of the Jews under Roman rule, with vivid portraits of such key figures as the Emperor Vespasian and Herod the…


Book cover of Apocalypse: The Great Jewish Revolt Against Rome AD 66-73

Martha Marks Author Of Rubies of the Viper

From my list on the Roman Empire in 1st Century AD.

Why am I passionate about this?

I made my first visit to Pompeii at age seven. That day, I told my parents that I had been there before. It was all very familiar. And that sense of déjà vu has never left me. I feel it whenever I go back to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Roman Forum. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but... As an adult, I’ve returned many times to those places and visited others featured in my books: the Etruscan necropolis at Caere, which was already 1,000 years old at the time of my novels; Athens; and the ancient ports of Piraeus in Greece and Itanos in Crete. I earned a Ph.D. at Northwestern University, taught for many years, and enjoyed a million marvelous experiences, but my lifelong love of ancient Rome is the direct result of that long-ago visit to Pompeii with my parents.

Martha's book list on the Roman Empire in 1st Century AD

Martha Marks Why did Martha love this book?

The empire-shaking Great Revolt looms over my second and third novels, and Faulkner’s book illuminated it for me in a way that nothing else did. He unravels the interwoven historical, social, religious, ethnic, cultural, and political conflicts that led to the disastrous Jewish rebellion against Rome. His work is controversial in some quarters because it goes against the grain of Christian thinking about this time and place. Personally, I found it revealing and eloquent. To me, this a must-read for anyone trying to understand the “why” behind the cataclysm that befell the Jewish people between 66 and 73 AD and still impacts our world today.

By Neil Faulkner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Apocalypse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ancient Palestine was a ferment of social and ideological conflict. Full-scale insurrectionary revolt exploded in AD 66 and took on a revolutionary character as moderate upper-class leaders were pushed aside and replaced by popular radicals. The war that followed was bitterly fought, and culminated in the five-month siege of Jerusalem in the summer of AD 70. which ended with the fall and destruction of the city amid appalling atrocities. Mopping-up operations concluded with the spectacular siege of Masada in AD 73. First published in 2002. Dt Neil Faulkner's acclaimed Apocalypse is a gripping account of a series of events that…


Book cover of The Source

Sam Foster Author Of Beardstown

From my list on creating civilization.

Why am I passionate about this?

Beardstown is my ancestral home. I grew up, sitting on my grandfather’s knee and listening to stories of great floods, huge winter storms, steamboat trade up and down the river, and even ancient tales of the Iroquois annihilating the Mascouten and the long-forgotten Indian mounds. It has been such a joy to be able to compile all those ancient memories into one pretty good story.

Sam's book list on creating civilization

Sam Foster Why did Sam love this book?

Michener’s fifty-year-old novel focuses on a natural spring that becomes a tell – one civilization stacked on top of another from the beginning of time. It is the spring that makes life. If it is life that creates civilization and then destroys it and then comes back to the water to create yet another. The eternal and lasting thing is the water. Michener makes a beautiful story of the civilizations that come and go and stack on top of one another. 

The town is a new civilization created, the founder believes, from wilderness. But it is not so. The spot he choose was previously occupied by indigenous natives and they took it from the natives there before them. How could I not love Michener’s story? It is the same as mine just 5,000 years earlier.

By James A. Michener,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Source as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his signature style of grand storytelling, James A. Michener transports us back thousands of years to the Holy Land. Through the discoveries of modern archaeologists excavating the site of Tell Makor, Michener vividly re-creates life in an ancient city and traces the profound history of the Jewish people—from the persecution of the early Hebrews, the rise of Christianity, and the Crusades to the founding of Israel and the modern conflict in the Middle East. An epic tale of love, strength, and faith, The Source is a richly written saga that encompasses the history of Western civilization and the great…


Book cover of The Jewish Moral Virtues

Ronald W. Pies Author Of The Ethics of the Jewish Mystics: An Introduction and Commentary

From my list on Jewish ethical teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychiatrist and medical ethicist—not a theologian or rabbinical scholar. And yet, for more than thirty years, I have had a kind of love affair with rabbinical ethics and have written several books on the topic. This is particularly ironic, since, in my youth, I rebelled against my own rabbi’s teachings and my father’s adherence to Orthodox Judaism. Much later in life, I took courses in Jewish ethics and studied briefly with a local rabbi. I eventually came to appreciate the deep psychological wisdom in so much of Jewish and rabbinical ethics. 

Ronald's book list on Jewish ethical teachings

Ronald W. Pies Why did Ronald love this book?

The team of renowned scholar (Professor Borowitz) and popular educator (Francie Schwartz) have produced a friendly, welcoming guide to living an ethical life, based on traditional Jewish virtues. Topics include trustworthiness, lovingkindness, compassion, humility, and contentedness. This book is really a guide to musar—the practical wisdom that has guided Jewish conduct throughout the centuries. 

By Eugene B. Borowitz, Frances Weinman Schwartz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jewish Moral Virtues as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A book of practtical ethical wisdom applied to contemporary life.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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