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Title: The Adiabene narrative in the Jewish Antiquities of Josephus
Author: Rabin, Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 3182
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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The story of the conversion to Judaism of the Royal House of Adiabene, a satellite kingdom of Parthia, is contained in Book 20, the final book of Josephus's Jewish Antiquities. It is an ostensibly strange interlude in an otherwise chronological account of events in Judaea in the first century CE leading up to the Jewish Revolt against Rome. The narrative has often been thought of by scholars as a makeweight, copied from other sources, without much authorial intervention by Josephus. The thesis shows that the Adiabene narrative is no makeweight, but is crafted by Josephus to link closely to the themes of the Jewish Antiquities as a whole and indeed forms a coda to the work. The primary links are in the messages that Judaism is attractive to distinguished non-Jews, that Jews are a respectable people who can display Greco-Roman virtues and that the Jewish God is all-powerful and protects from harm those who worship him in piety. The links to the rest of the Jewish Antiquities are reinforced by the similarity of the characterisation of the hero Izates, King of Adiabene, with Josephus's characterisation of biblical heroes, and by a continuity of style of historiography, showing a definite authorial imprint. The thesis also concludes, contrary to most scholarly opinion, that Josephus viewed the hero, Izates, as a Jew before he became circumcised. The thesis concludes that much of the narrative's historiographical style would have resonated with a non-Jewish Greco-Roman readership, Josephus's probable audience, albeit his treatment of Parthian incest and extensive focus on circumcision would have probably seemed strange. In addition, Josephus's use of a royal Parthian as hero would have been credible, notwithstanding Greco-Roman cultural prejudices.
Supervisor: Goodman, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: The Adiabene narrative ; Judaism--Conversion ; Adiabene ; Jews and Parthia ; Jews--Relations with Ancient Rome ; Jews--Historiography ; Flavius Josephus ; Jewish Antiquities