Friday, March 20, 2015

Josephus; Thrones of Blood

This second book read and reported on by Timothy Young, age 17.  

Dear Readers;
The book on topic is Josephus; Thrones of Blood; A History of The Times of Jesus 37B.C. To A.D. 70.   It is the hacked down edition meant for the mythical creature of the common man.  It is 231 pages long, divided into sixteen chapters and prologue.
Generally it achieves the translators goal of being able to be read by the common man.  In other words the simpler words are chosen rather then words of complexity even when it does great damage to the general flow of the history.   
It somewhat picks up as it goes along, becoming more interesting towards the beginning of Agrippa's maneuvering through Roman court life.  As a history book it is an ideal source, however it is not, for the average person, a real page turner.  
It really gets interesting once the Roman governor Florus arrives.  After doing something that was bad enough to know he would be in trouble he decided to save his career by inciting the Jews to revolt.  It is amazing how short sighted some politicians were back then isn't it?  It is also surprising how much it took for the Jews to be rallied up into revolt, but eventually he succeeded in his goal.  
After the rebellion was begun however there was no particular leader, and Jerusalem was ruled by robber/assassins who generally ruined whatever chance there had been of holding the city.  They also fought in the temple constantly, destroying most of the supplies that possibly could have aided in the siege, so that at the beginning of the siege already the poor of the city were starving.  With this great disadvantage it is entirely unsurprising that the city fell.  The siege is unlike the last five or six sieges that I have studied in that the defenders had no commander-in-chief, and no discipline.  The walls of Jerusalem were capable of holding out forever against the army in front of them had it not been for for the three above mentioned factors, and of course the fourth that God had decided to judge that city.  
The siege was well conducted only from the outside point of view.  The defenders of Jerusalem were, from the sound of things, well deserving of their fate.  A simple reading of the book will convince the unprejudiced of that.  In short one finds oneself siding with the Romans the moment Florus and company have left the scene. 


  1. Thanks Timothy, I was doing some research on this book, when I stumbled on your Mom's blog. I wonder if the original would be a better read, with better flow? We're also a South African homeschool family.

    1. Dear Anonymous;

      Thanks for commenting!

      I have read the "original" (that is a fuller edition) a number of years ago while we were boarding at a seminary. It does have a better flow, but similarly is more awkward to the modern English reader. However the hardest part to stay focused with is the fact that almost every man at that stage named his son one of the following, Herod, Antiochus, or Philip. This goes on for three or four generations, and as they constantly change sides, and betray each other, it gets confusing and tedious.

      This cannot be solved with any translation, but is the fault of the parents who named their sons after their heroes (and everybody did the same thing at the same time.)

      Where do you live in South Africa?