Lies den Josephus! – aber welchen? Zur handschriftlichen Überlieferung des Flavius Josephus im lateinischen Mittelalter

Huber-Rebenich, Gerlinde (2020). Lies den Josephus! – aber welchen? Zur handschriftlichen Überlieferung des Flavius Josephus im lateinischen Mittelalter. In: Kampmann, Claudia; Volp, Ulrich; Wallraff, Martin; Winnebeck, Julia (eds.) Kirchengeschichte. Historisches Spezialgebiet und/oder theologische Disziplin. Theologie | Kultur | Hermeneutik: Vol. 28 (pp. 119-142). Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt

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Lege Iosephi historias! This exhortation, issued multiple times and in various forms by the Church Father Jerome, has been followed by countless scholars and literary figures. But which Josephus did they actually read? In the Latin West from the 5th century onwards it was the late antique Latin translations of the two main historiographical works, the Bellum Iudaicum and the Antiquitates Iudaicae, and to a lesser extent the translation of the apologetic tract Contra Apionem. The Vita was not translated into Latin until the 16th century. The Christianizing adaptation of the Bellum, the so-called Ps. Hegesippus (De excidio urbis Hierosolymitanae), also circulated until about 1000 under the name of Josephus.
These texts, which between them constitute the ancient Josephus Latinus, has an extremely rich tradition with some 230 preserved manuscripts. It is also multiform: Not all manuscripts contain the same collection of texts. Readers who only had the Bellum got to know a different Josephus to those who had access to a manuscript in which the "Old Testament" books of the Antiquitates (I-XII) were combined with the early Christian testimonies of Books XVIII-XX, possibly supplemented by the Ps.-Hegesippus.
It was not only the composition of the available manuscripts that influenced the understanding of author and work. Individual presentation - for instance by book decoration - likewise drew attention to certain passages, and the provision of annotations could suggest a certain understanding of the text.
This article offers an insight into various material manifestations of Josephus Latinus and explores their effects on his reception.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Classical Philology

UniBE Contributor:

Huber-Rebenich, Gerlinde


800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism
400 Language
100 Philosophy > 180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
200 Religion
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 870 Latin & Italic literatures
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 880 Classical & modern Greek literatures




Theologie | Kultur | Hermeneutik


Evangelische Verlagsanstalt




Janna Viktoria Büchi

Date Deposited:

07 May 2021 07:38

Last Modified:

18 Jan 2024 07:12

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Handschriften, Textüberlieferung;


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