Scholars and students of ancient Israel are heavily indebted to a Jewish historian named Josephus. Born Yosef ben Matityahu to an aristocratic family of Kohanim around the year 37 CE, he lived through one of the most tumultuous centuries in Jewish history, culminating in the disastrous Roman-Jewish war of 66-74 CE and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, events he recorded in his many books in great detail and gripping prose.It's a story worth retelling now and again.
His backstory, however, is quite complicated, even troubling.
For another recent overview essay on Flavius Josephus, see here. And for that suicide pact during the siege of Jotapata (Yodfat), see the posts on the "Josephus Problem" linked to there.
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