Flavius Josephus and the Jewish Wars

Louis Finkelstein, in his bookThe Jews: Their History, Culture and Religion, quotes a lecture given by Henry St. John Thackeray in which Thackeray reminded “his audience that there was a time in his country (England) when almost every house possessed two books, a Bible and a Josephus in the old eighteenth-century version of William Whiston.”  Finkelstein then goes on to explain to his reader how no ancient historian was more widely read, or held more influence on Christian and Jewish history than Flavius Josephus.
Flavius Josephus.  His name is as synonymous with Jewish history as George Stinbrenner’s is with the New York Yankees.  He is one of the main sources historians use when looking into the events of the Jewish Diaspora, and the single source scholars have when piecing together the events which took place during the Great Jewish Revolt of A.D. 65 – 73, or theJewish Waras Josephus himself would title his work on the subject.  “We know of the Pharisees as a specific group largely from two non-Hebrew sources: Josephus and the New Testament.”  So writes historian Daniel J. Silver in his 1974 work,History of Judaism: From Abraham to Maimonides.  Author Erich S. Gruen writes, when addressing the subject of whether the Jews living in Rome during the time of Julius Caesar were considered a collegia,  that Josephus “…includes in his collection of documents [a letter] detailing Roman affirmation of Jewish privileges in the East…from a state probably written in the mid-40s and probably to the island of Paros.”(A “collegia” was considered an association or group organized as trade guilds, social clubs or religious organizations.  They had existed in Rome for generations, buy beginning around 64 BC and continuing, on and off through the time of Caesar, an effort had been employed to, as Gruen writes, “abolish those collegia that [the Senate] regarded as formed against the interest of the state.” Page 24).   In fact Gruen references Josephus’ work no less than 20 times in his book.  John J. Collins, writing about Jewish historiography in the First Century clearly sees Josephus as an invaluable source.  “Josephus…stands with Philo as one of the Hellenistic Jewish writers whose work has survived in substantial quantity…His Antiquities were designed, in his own words, to demonstrate the extreme antiquity of our Jewish race, the purity of the original stock, and the manner in which it established itself in the country which we occupy today.”
But who was Josephus?  What was his background?  And why are his accounts of the Jewish War considered such a valuable resource, especially in light that there are no other sources to back up his version of history?  For the last several years many historians have come forward to question both the motives for his work, as well as the work itself. Are his accounts accurate, were they self-serving, how much was invented by the author himself, who was he writing for (Roman or Jewish readers)?  Historians seem to be divided on how to read and the interpretation of Josephus, but Nachman Ben-Yehuda, of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem clearly puts the conundrum into perspective when he states, “there…seems to be two different schools of though regarding the reading and interpretation of Josephus.  One school tends to infuse much interpretation into Josephus Flavius and reads him very liberally.  The other school emphasizes that one should read and interpret Josephus as is, that is as close as possible to the text itself, without allowing for much free interpretation.”  Others have stated that the notion that one needs to “take Josephus with a grain of salt is really a linguistic code that implies that his accounts are not to be trusted.”  Magen Broshi, of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, also voices the problem historians have when using Josephus.  “In numerous instances,” Broshi writes, “numerous details provided by Josephus can be checked, including architectural data, and their accuracy confirmed.”  But as Broshi so clearly acknowledges, Josephus was not always correct.  “His inaccuracies,” Broshi writes, “range from vagueness to blatant exaggeration…it still cannot be denied that he was by nature somewhat negligent.”  With this in mind we must address the question as to why do historians even consider Josephus as a source?
Was Josephus really the great Jewish historian that history and historians have made him out to be, or, as the evidence suggests, was he himself, a self-serving individual who betrayed his own people and then spent the rest of his life trying to make up for it?  This question begs to be asked.  It may be that the criticism leveled against Josephus is not only warranted, but desires to be addressed in a whole new light.  We know that Josephus embellished his histories, and we accepted this, as it was the norm of his day for historians to do so.  Yet other historians of the first century who have embellished their histories have had other historical accounts to back them up.  But, as we will see, Josephus’ histories contain more than just simple embellishments, and it is possible to accuse him of out right lying.  But a more important point which we will address will be whether Josephus’ work (having no other documents from that time period to reference in support of his description of events), has any merit at all.  As historians the question should not be whether or not Josephus’ work has validity as a source, but whether it should be considered at all.  It may be that in the end, we may find that Josephus’ work bears no more consideration than the so-called Hitler Diaries.  (Claimed to be discovered by the German magazineDer Sternin April 1983, the “diaries” were propertied to have been written by Hitler between the years 1932 – 1945.  Later the dairies were proven to be faked when the fibers in the paper were shown to be of postwar manufacture).
Once again we must ask, who was Josephus and what was his background?  And did this background affect the way in which he viewed both his, as well as the Roman world?  To better understand the man’s motives, we must first understand the man.

An Overview of the Life of Flavius Josephus

Flavius Josephus was born Joseph ben Mattathias in the city of Jerusalem around A.D. 37. His father Matthias ben Joseph was a descendant of Hasmonean (or Maccaabean), kings and priests.  This lineage is questionable however; as we only have Josephus as the source of this information, and some historians claim that his connection to the house of Hasmonean was through his mother’s side.  Apparently from a very young age both he and his brother, Matthias, received an intensive education in law, “as their house was constantly visited by learned rabbis,”  author Heinrich Graetz states.  Josephus himself, in his autobiography The Life of Josephus (written around A.D. 95), would imply that these “learned rabbis,” were in fact coming to see him.  It was therefore only natural that at the age 16 Josephus embarked on a spiritual search spending time with several religious orders and becoming the disciple of Vanus. Vanus was a hermit belonging to the Essences order and Josephus spent several years with him, “living on the wild fruits of the earth and bathing daily in cold water.”10
At age 19 he returned to his home in Jerusalem aligning himself with the Pharisees, and immersing himself in the study of Greek.  It was around this time (A.D. 54), that Sicarii revolutionist began to focus their attention on the Roman occupation.  But instead of attacking Roman officials outright, the Sicarii focused their attacks on their own people, who they considered traitors.  Josephus himself describes these attacks as being “against those that were willing to submit to the Romans…[treating] them in all respect as if they had been their enemies.”11   Killing the high Priest Jonathan, the Sicarii would set off a chain of events that would eventually lead to the Great Rebellion or the Jewish War.
In A.D. 63, when several Jewish priests were imprisoned by the Emperor Nero, Josephus, now 26, traveled as an emissary to Rome to negotiate their release.  Graetz writes, “Rome itself could not fail to exercise a great influence upon the character of Josephus.”12   This influence dazzled Josephus according to Graetz, as the young scholar was captivated by the busy life, immensity, and splendor of the imperial city.  One can assume that for Josephus, the experience was not unlike the modern equivalent of a person from a small American town visiting New York City for the first time.  Josephus was hooked, and as Graetz states, Josephus believed that “the Roman empire would be an eternal one and that it was specially favored by Divine Providence.”13   It therefore must have taken a considerable effort for Josephus to return to the relative “backwardness” of Jerusalem, especially in light of the gifts and acclimation he had received from the Empress while in Rome.  It is also around this same time that the Sicarii began a series of raids against Roman power.  Hostage taking became a common practice for the Sicarii, and the Jewish War begins outright in the summer of A.D. 65.
When the war broke out Josephus was appointment by the Sanhedrin as Governor and commander of the revolutionary forces in Galilee, trusted with the defense of the area.  Why this position was appointed to, as Graetz calls him, “the devoted adherent of Rome,”14 has never fully been explored.  Josephus himself claimed “he was sent there in order to tranquilize the province and to keep it faithful to the Romans, for only part of it had revolted.”15   Once again we cannot trust the validity of Josephus’ statement, since Galilee was known to be “most incline to war.”16   In addition Josephus himself contradicts his own explanation as to his position, as well as reasons for traveling to Galilee.  In Jewish War he implies that “the responsible leaders appointed him commander of the Jewish forces in Galilee.”17   This clearly implies that he was posted there as a leader or commander of military or rebel forces.  But years later in The Life, the author contradicts his previous statements, stating that “he and two other priests were chosen to induce the rebels in Galilee to lay down their arms and leave the decision of war to the authorities in Jerusalem.”18   This now suggests that he was posted to the area as a negotiator.
Instead of building up the garrison in Galilee however, what historians have pieced together is that Josephus spent most of his time controlling internal factions within the Jewish community, bringing him into conflict with the Galilean leadership, and it is during this period that Josephus’ character and motivation is brought under question.  According to The Jewish Encyclopedia, Josephus was accused by John of Giscala of treason against his own people for seizing money John had arranged to be stolen from the treasury of the Governor of Dabaritta. (John of Giscala was a native of the small Galilean city of Giscala.  He was the head of one of several political factions defending Jerusalem when the Roman besieged the city in A.D. 70.  Fell into conflict with Josephus over control of the provinces of Galilee, allying himself with the cities of Giscala and Gabara against Josephus. He is reported to have survived the burning of the temple in Jerusalem only to be captured by Roman forces pillaging the city, after being forced from hiding by hunger.  He most likely died while in a Roman prison.).  It is accreted that John had intended to use this money to back the revolt, but Josephus claimed that he had seized the funds with the intentions of returning the money to King Agrippa.  The Sanhedrin, according to the account, “sent four of their members [and] a force of 2,500 [men] to depose of him.”19   Josephus delayed this meeting by pretending to be occupied with battle plans for the war, later falling “upon his opponents with armed guards.”20   Now secured in his position as governor, Josephus reportedly “sent the Sanhedrin delegates back to Jerusalem in chains.”21   The question of Josephus motives for siding against his own people in this incident goes back to his own accretions that he was in Galilee to “to tranquilize the province and to keep it faithful to the Romans.”22   As for John of Giscala’s motivation for bring the accusations; it may have to do with the possibility that John had lost command of Galilee in part due to Josephus.  According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, it “remains uncertain whether John was actually ousted from leadership…on explicated instructions from Jerusalem, since [Josephus’] operations in Galilee (contained in The Life) is extremely vague.”23   Either way the two would remain rivals through the end of the revolt.

The Fall of Jotapata

With Roman forces converging on Galilee Josephus decided that the best place to mount a defense was from within the city walls of Jotapata, and he therefore bolstered the defenses for that city.  It is here that the first case against Josephus as a traitor is clearly present, and it is here that we must first question the account of the incident, as Josephus himself is the only source.  According to Josephus, when the city fell to the forces of the Roman General Vespasian, Josephus and 40 of his men hid in a secret cave located beneath the city.  Whether Josephus proceeded to these caves with his men or stumbled upon these soldiers while heading to the caves on his own accord is in question.  According to several interpretations of Josephus’ account, after three days the Romans discovered their hiding place and ordered their surrender, guaranteeing the lives of all who gave in.  Now according to Josephus, the men, refusing to give up, preferred death to capitulation to Rome.  Drawing lots, they preceded to kill each other.  Only Josephus and one other survived, and being brought before Vespasian, Josephus presented himself as a prophet, asserting that Vespasian was destined to become Emperor of Rome.  When this prophecy came true, Josephus was rewarded handsomely, and adopted into Vespasian family, thus taking Vespasian’s family name of Flavius.  Josephus’ account of the Siege of Jotapata however, where he suggested to his men that suicide was a sin and that it would be better to draw lots and kill each other (the first killing whoever drew the second lot and so on), and he emerging, thanks to heavenly intervention, as the only survivor, may have never actually taken place.  It should be pointed out at this juncture, that this account was written years after the revolts, and is suspiciously close to his Masada story.  In addition, there is no clear archeological evidence that the events described within the caves ever actually took place. The lack of archeological evidence to corroborate Josephus’ accounts will play a major roll in discrediting him as a source.  Several sources even impugn the motives of Josephus himself, suggesting that he manipulated the drawing in order to ensure his own survival.  The Jewish Encyclopedia recounts that when the party was discovered by Vespasian’s forces, Josephus, “whose life had been assured to him by the Romans through the intervention of a friend named Nicanor, escaped only by playing a trick on his companions.”24   This argument is further taken up by Professor Shaye Cohen of the Semitic Museum at Harvard University, who states, “Josephus is a very slippery fellow…he is a man who clearly looks out for himself…and is capable of not telling the truth, or at least the whole truth when it doesn’t suit him.”25   At the very least Josephus is accused of arranging the outcome of the drawings.  “It has been suggested” historian Mark Biggs writes, “that Josephus slyly counted the lots.”26
After his capture at Jotapata, Josephus accompanies Vespasian’s son, Titus, on his siege of Jerusalem, acting as Titus’ assistant and attempting to persuade the defenders of Jerusalem to surrender the city.  Unable to accomplish this, Josephus thus becomes a witness to its destruction in A.D. 70.  After this, Josephus continued to reside within the Flavian court, living in a villa given to him by Vespasian, and it is at this time he begins to pen the first of his two most famous works.  The history of the Jewish War, written around A.D. 78, will serve as the only surviving source scholars have depicting the events of that struggle, including the events at Masada.  His second and most ambitious piece, a justification of Jewish law and tradition as well as the rewriting of the first books of the Bible translated into Greek, Jewish Antiquities, would be published around A.D. 93.  It is within these books that the conflict, which shadows Josephus’ life to this very day, would find its beginnings.  It will be contradictions between the accounts in these two books that will help foster Josephus’ reputation, for the most part, as being a both traitor to his own people, and a self serving individual.  For Jewish War seems to favor the Romans, flatter Vespasian and act as a warning to others thinking of opposing Rome, and it is for this that the validity of his “histories” comes under question.          As historian Walter Zanger puts it, Josephus “would spend the rest of his miserable life as a Roman stooge, eating off of Caesar’s table, writing history [that] flatters Herod [and] Vespasian…[because] they were paying his bills.”27   Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies Lawrence H. Schiffman, feels that Josephus’ work “was not done seriously [because he] believed that the Jews should not be revolting against Rome.”28   This may account for what has been described as his lack-luster involvement with the building up of the garrison at Galilee, as it may have had more to do with his belief that the revolt was pointless and less to do with controlling internal factions within the Jewish community.
There are also questions regarding his description on the fall of Gamala.  Josephus claims that he recorded the account based on the eyewitness testimony of the two only survivors of the siege, the daughters of Philip.  According to his account, once the city’s walls were breached the inhabitants chose suicide rather than capture, throwing themselves from the high cliffs on which the city was built.  Yet there is very little actual evidence for this, and while archeological evidenced clearly shows that a battle did take place, historians believe that the deaths took place at the hands of the Roman army.   This case goes to the heart of what is the problem with Josephus’ accounts.  While archeological evidence can confirm the existence of the places he describes and revile evidence that a battle did, or did not take place, it cannot confirm actual events.  And no incident better illustrates this point than single most publicized story of the Jewish revolt, the mass suicide of 960 Sicarii at the mountain fortress of M’tzada.

Masada: Fact or Myth?

“Most of what we know about the Great Revolt comes from the writings of Josephus Flavius,”28 writes Nachman Ben-Yehuda.  “We would not have know much at all about Masada without him as a source.”29   And while Josephus himself did not witness these events, a fact clearly pointed out in the article Methodological Framing, historians still tend to accept his descriptions of the events as gospel.  An example of this “acceptance” can be found within the article itself, “It is true that Josephus was…not present during the siege of Masada, and one may doubt the literal depiction of the two speeches he attributes to Elazar Ben-Yair.”30   However the article then goes on to ask, “why should we doubt the accuracy of his description of other facts?  Moreover, if we discount Josephus…then there is no Masada.”31   The question has to be asked, why should we forgive him for creating the speech of Ben-Yair and take the rest of his account at face value?  And if the account is flawed at best, what would be so wrong with discounting Josephus and having “no Masada,” at least from a historical point of view?
Professor Yigael Yadin first excavated Masada in 1963 under sponsorship of the Hebrew University of Antiquities.  According to the Encyclopedia of Zionism and Israel the excavations “revealed Herod’s palaces, storerooms, fortifications and an elaborate water supply system.”32   They also unearthed several household items including clothing and artifacts belonging to the Sicarii and their families.  There is no archeological evidence however, of mass suicide of 960 Sicarii. None.  In fact Trude Weiss-Rosmarin, author of You Take Jesus, I’ll Take God and Judaism and Christianity: The Differences, is quoted as saying “Josephus consciously fabricated the whole event, partly in order to cover up his own suicide tale at Yotfata [Jotapata] and that such a suicide pact did not in fact take place at Masada.”33   Other writers have pointed out the same fact using other sources, as Mordechai Beck points out in his paper for the World Zionist Organization.  “In the Book of Josiphon (written before the redaction of the Talmud) no mention of suicide is made,” Beck writes.34  “The defenders are made out rather to have killed their loved ones and then met the enemy in battle.”35   Nachman Ben-Yehuda takes this fact one step further when he points out that “Jewish traditional sources (e.g., the Talmud and the Midrash) do not even mention Masada.”36
While several historians either agree or disagree with these statements, the simple fact remains that there is no archeological evidence to support the Josephus story.  And the greatest expounder of this fact is Shaye Cohen in his essay Masada: Literary Tradition, Archaeological Remains and the Credibility of Josephus written for the Journal of Jewish Studies: Essays in Honor of Yigael Yadin, in the spring of 1982.    Cohen points out that during Yadin’s excavations three skeleton were discovered on the lower terrace of Herod’s northern palace, and an additional twenty-five skeletons were discovered in a cave located along the southern slop of the cliff face.  Cohen states that Yadin believed that the Romans had tossed the twenty-five bodies down the cliff face once the fortress had been taken.  Yet Cohen cannot account for where the other 932 bodies went, and the discovery in the cave suggest for Cohen, “the remains of Jews who attempted to hide from the Romans but were discovered and killed.”37   In addition Nachman Ben-Yehuda, in a promotional tour for his book, Sacrificing Truth, stated that the three graves located on the terrace of the northern places had pig bones buried with them.  A fact Ben-Yehuda states Yadin suppressed, and a possible indication that the bodies belonged to Roman, not Jewish warriors.  “Roman soldiers could have been buried there with pig bones; the pig was a sacrificial animals for the Roman army in that period.”38
In examining the actual course of events which Josephus claims to have taken place that night, Cohen points out that “Josephus’ theory of unanimity of purpose and unity of action among the Sicarii,”39  falls apart in the face of the archeological evidence.  Josephus testifies that when the time was drawing near and the Sicarii knew that the end was close, they gathered up all of their belongings and set it a blaze.  However there is evidence of several small fires having been set throughout the fortress, and where Josephus states that Eleazar ordered his men to destroy everything but the food storehouses, evidence clearly shows that fires were set in these places as well.  Cohen’s most compelling argument against the accounts of Josephus however, has to do with the actions of the Romans themselves.  According to Josephus, once the outer walls of the fortress were breached, and the inner wall (quickly constructed as a barrier to soften the Roman siege ram) set afire, the Romans retreated, placing guards on the ramp to insure no Jew escaped.  And yet these Roman soldiers, positioned on the ramp, only a few feet from inside the fortress, heard not a sound, not a scream, not a cry.  They were completely oblivious to the activities of that night.  “They did not notice,” Cohen writes, “that 960 men, women and children were slain, and that at least two large fires were set…destroying the palace and cremating the corpses.”40   Another point of contention has to do with Eleazar’s speeches and the drawing of lots during that night.  Josephus quotes in Jewish War Eleazar’s speeches verbatim, claiming he had been told what the rebel leader said by the seven remaining survivors of the siege.  “This was Eleazar’s speech to them,” Josephus writes after quoting the entire speech.  “Yet did not the opinion of all the auditors acquiesce therein: but although some of them were very zealous to put his advice in practice, and were in a manner filled with pleasure at it, and thought death to be a good thing.”41   It is hard to believe that these survivors had remembered these speeches exactly as they were spoken.  Cohen points out that the rank and social position of these survivors most likely meant that they were not even present when the speech was given.  “Only the manliest of comrades were invited,”  Cohen writes.42  But even if we do accept the fact that somehow, these seven individuals were present during the speech, anyone who has ever played “telephone” as a child knows that stories, or sayings, get changed rather quickly after only one or two retelling.
It is therefore plausible, based on the actual archeological evidence, to suggest that on the night in question the Sicarii faced two fates.  The warriors, along with their women and children, were either captured or massacred by the Roman forces, or they resisted the Roman onslaught to the very end, fighting the invading forces, and were killed.  It is clear that Josephus, “whose fondness for literary commonplaces and types is well known,” Cohen writes, “substituted a collective suicide story for the truth.”43   It is in light of this evidence that we now re-examine our original question; should Josephus be considered as a source at all?

Josephus As A Source

The answer to our question must be a resounding no.  Especially if taken in light of current historical thinking.  Only the archeological evidence from this time period should be taken into account, especially if there are no other written accounts to back up, or contradict Josephus’ stories.  Despite the fact that some of Josephus physical descriptions can be confirmed, it is clear from the evidence presented here that Josephus, at the very least embellished his accounts, and at the very worst, out and out lied.  The mere fact that historians have suggested that “Josephus [be taken] with a grain of salt,” should be enough to discredit him.  But even if we accept his accounts as accurate, there is still one final, very good reason why we should not look to Josephus.
His is the only account, and we have nothing in which to judge it against.  “One way that historians evaluate primary sources,” writes Mary Lynn Rampolla, in her book, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, “a fact or description contained in one source is more likely to be accepted as trustworthy if other sources support or corroborate it.”44   Josephus has no such sources to support or corroborate his accounts.  In fact, Edward Carr expounded the notion that all material from ancient times is untrustworthy in his 1961 book, What Is History?  Within its pages Carr states, “I suspect that even today one of the fascinations of ancient…history is that it gives us the illusion of having all the facts at our disposal.”45   And as we have seen with Josephus, we most definitely do not have “all the facts at our disposal.”  In addition the very nature of modern historical research compels us to discount Josephus’ accounts.  “Historians have to weigh evidence carefully to see whether those who participated in an event understood it well enough to accurately describe it,”46  writes Jules R. Benjamin, author of A Student’s Guide to History.  Benjamin’s books is required reading in several graduate programs in history, and he provided the litmus test to which we may judge Josephus.  “To check the reliability of evidence,” Benjamin writes, “historians use the tests of consistency and corroboration.”47   If we then apply the author’s tests to Josephus we ask the questions:

  1.  “Does the evidence contradict itself.”   In the case of Josephus, the answer is, yes.
  2. “Does [the evidence] disagree with evidence from other sources?” In the case of Josephus there is no other written evidence to compare it with, but when taking into account that actual archeological evidence, the answer is also, yes.

By applying the basic rules of historical research to Josephus’ accounts, we must conclude that; Josephus’ accounts cannot be corroborated by other sources. The archeological evidence contradicts some of Josephus’ accounts. The author’s own writings contradict themselves.  And Josephus’ “histories” were self-serving, containing several examples of embellishing by the author.  It is therefore within the light of these facts that we should disregard Josephus as a source in his entirety.
However this will never happen, and Josephus will continue to referenced as a historical source.  Why this is the case may not be fully understood.  The case may have something to do with the fact that Josephus is considered such an important resource to both Jewish as well as Christian communities.  The Christians see him as the “living” proof, out side of the Gospels, of the existence of Christ.  Jews place so much on of their current identity (after the destruction of the Temple), on his writings.  The Masada story alone has become mythical within the general Jewish population, and to suggest that the events as described by Josephus did not exactly (or at all), play out this way is considered sacrosanct by some.

·    Singer, Isidore, ed. The Jewish Encyclopedia, Volume Seven. Funk and Wagnalls Company. 1906.
·    Graetz, Heinrich. History of the Jews, Volume Two. DeVinne-Hallenbeck Publishers. New York. 1927.
·    Finkelstein, Louis. The Jews: Their History, Culture and Religion. Harper & Brothers Publishers. New York. 1949.
·    Carr, Edward Hallett. What Is History? Random House. New York. 1961.
·    Roth, Cecil, ed. Encyclopedia Judaica. Keter Publishing House. 1971.
·    Patai, Raphael, ed. Encyclopedia of Zionism and Israel. Volume Two. Herzl Press/McGraw-Hill. New York. 1971.
·    Silver, Daniel J. History of Judaism: From Abraham to Maimonides. Basic Books, Inc. New York. 1974.
·    Collins, John J. Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora. William B. Eerdmans Publishing         Company. Grand Rapids/Cambridge.  2000.
·    Gruen, Erich S. Diaspora: Jews Amidst Greeks and Romans. Harvard University Press. Cambridge. 2002.
·    Rampolla, Mary Lynn. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. Bedford/St. Martin’s Press. Boston. 2004.
·    Benjamin, Jules R. A Student’s Guide to History.  Bedford/St. Martin’s Press. Boston. 2004.

·    Nachman Ben-Yehuda, The Masada Myth.
·    Magen Broshi. The Credibility of Josephus.
·    From Jesus to Christ: A Portrait of Jesus’ World.                   
·    Mordechai Beck. The Enigma of Masada.
·    Nachman Ben-Yehuda, Is the Masada Story a Myth? Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Sociology and Anthropology.
·    The Flavius Josephus Home Page
·    The Online Jewish Encyclopedia

·    Mysteries of the Bible: The Last Revolt. 1 hour. A&E Entertainment. February 1997.
·    Biggs, Mark W. Military History Magazine: Forty Days at Jotapata. Primedia History Group. April 1999.

·    Ben-Yehuda, Nachman. The Masada Myth. University of Wisconsin Press.
·    Methodological Framing. Course Packet #2. Week Ten.
·    Josephus. Concerning Masada and Those Who Kept It… Blackboard assignment. Chapter 8, page 1.