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Title: The image of Solomon in Josephus
Author: Ping, Zhou
ISNI:       0000 0001 3490 8621
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis exammes the image of Solomon in Flavius Josephus, chiefly in his Solomon narrative in the Jewish Antiquities from a socia-cultural perspective. It is intended as a contribution to the as yet inadequate assessment of Josephus's characterization of Solomon. The study is divided into four sections which investigate Josephus's presentation of Solomon as sage, as temple builder, as mler and as sinner. The investigation shows how in various ways Josephus writes within the Jewish tradition and belongs in the genre of 'rewritten Bible'. However, his professed primary concern is not to produce an updated version of the Bible, but to present the first complete history of the Jews to the Gentile audience through the medium of the Bible. The major themes presented in Josephus's Solomon narrative are not presented as isolated elements, but woven together into an interdependent system. They are consistent with those themes recurrent in the whole biblical narrative which help interpret how Josephus wishes Judaism and the Jews, their past and present, to be understood by the Gentile readers. The Greek forms and conceptions in Josephus indicate that by the time of Josephus, Greek culture has become prevailing in the Greco-Roman world, which Judaism draws into itself. What Josephus tries to do is not to 'hellenize' Judaism in order to make it more Greek, but to 'universalize' it in Greek ways in order to make its distinctive aspects intelligible and respectable. Apologetic tendencies 111 Josephus's Solomon narrative are obvious. Nevertheless, the overall presentation of the Solomon narrative does not lead to the conclusion that Josephus's Antiquities should be seen as a primarily apologetic history. There is a clear distinction between this work and the treatise Against Apion. StilL patriotism and pride in Judaism contribute a great deal to the way Josephus presents the image of Solomon as it is. The study shows that the possibility is high that Josephus may have used both Greek and the Hebrew Bible. The fact that Josephus shuttles between the books of Sam-Kings and Chronicles for building up his image of Solomon shows how effectively Josephus uses the biblical material to achieve his own purposes. He also exhibits a high proficiency in incorporating into his own account some elements and concepts found in other books of the Bible. The image of Solomon in Josephus shows how much the Jewish authors depend on the Bible to express their past and present and at the same time how flexibly they treat the material in order to bring its significance up to date. This is, perhaps, where the everlasting vitality of the Bible lies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available