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of their splendid temple, and the complete dispersion of their unhappy race ; ---Calomities which mock the weak attempt af the artist's pencil, and far erceed the poriers of the most descriptive pen!
But whilst the works of the Jewish historian are truly important in themselves, and interesting to almost every class of redders, it is a subject of regret that few persons, comparatively speaking, find it possible to obtain a genuine copy. To obviate this difficulty, it was proposed to republish Whiston's Translation of Josephus, according to the original plan. Pro ponderous folio volumes, however, were ruther uninviting in point of appearance ; and on a careful cramination it was deemed necessary to omit many obsolete phrases, indelicate expressions, and a redundancy of notes and marginal references ; the contents of many of the chapters evidently required to be re-written, in order to accommodate them to the general mode of expression in the present day; and the Dissertations of the reverend Translator, though highly credilable to himself, were judged superfluous in a work designed for general utility. Such corrections and alterations were, therefore, made as seemed most likely to accommodate the work to the majority of English readers, and in consequence of the retrenchments and abbreviations, it appeared that the History of the Jewish Antiquities, together with the Wars of the Jews, and the Life of the Author, might be comprised in two quarto volumes equally, handsome and convenient.
The great value of Whiston's Translation is too well known to require any comment ; but it
may be necessary to remark, that notwithstanding the trivial alterations which have occasionally been made in the new edition now submitted to the Public, the language of the learned Translator has never been changed but in instances where, had he lived to the present time, he would certainly have altered it himself ; and as the references to our English Bible are all retained, together with every truly valuable and illustrative note, which promised instruction or gratification to the reader, the Editors and Proprietors are enabled to announce the present Edition as a faithful and corrected copy of Whiston's Josephus, and consequently as an accurate translation from the invaluable original.
THOSE who undertake to write histories
, do not, I perceive, take that trouble on one and the same account; but for many,
For some apply themselves to this part of learning to shew their great skill in composition; and that they may therein acquire a reputation. Others write histories in order to gratify those who happen to be concerned in them; and on that account spare no pains, but rather exceed their own abilities in the performance. But there are others who of necessity are driven to write history, because they were concerned in the facts, and so cannot excuse themselves from committing them to writing, for the advantage of posterity. Nay, there are not a few who are induced to draw their historical facts out of darkness into light, and to produce them for the benefit of the public, on account of the great importance of the facts themselves, with which they have been concerned. Now of these several reasons for writing history, I must profess the two last were my own. For since I was myself interested in that war which we Jews had with the Romans, and knew myself its particular actions and conclusion, I was forced to give the history of it, because I saw that others perverted the truth of those actions in their writings.
Now I have undertaken the present work, as thinking it will appear to all the Greekst worthy of their study: for it will contain all our antiquities, and the constitution of our government, as interpreted out of the Hebrew scriptures. And indeed, I did formerly intend when Iß wrote of the war, to explain who the Jews originally were; what fortunes they had been subject to; and by what legislator they had been instructed in piety and the exercise of other virtues; wbat wars also they had made in remote ages, till they were unwillingly engaged
. This preface of Josephus's is excellent in its kind; and highly worthy the repeated perusal of the reader, before
Josephus never followed the Septuagint, nor any other Greek version, in these his antiquities, or other works, but only the Hebrew original; and this so punctually through all his known writings, as to make use of none of the sacred books but those that were written in Hebrew, and belonged to the Jerusalem catalogue.
Josephus wrote his seven books of the Jewish War, long before he wrote his Antiquities. Those books of the
in this last with the Romans. But because this work would take up a great compass,
I formed it into a distinct treatise, with a beginning of its own, and its own conclusion. But in process of time, as usually happens to such as undertake great things, I grew weary, and went on slowly; it being a large subject, and a difficult thing to translate our history into a foreign and to us, unaccustomed language. However, there were some persons who desired to know our history, and exhorted me to go on with it, and above all the rest Epaphroditus,* a man who is a lover of all kinds of learning, but is principally delighted with the knowledge of history, and this on account of his having been himself concerned in great affairs, and many turns of fortune, and having shewn a wonderful vigor of an excellent nature, and an immoveable virtuous resolution in them all. I yielded to this man's persuasions, who always excites such as have abilities in what is useful and acceptable, to join their endeavours with his. I was also ashamed to permit any indolence of disposition to have a greater influence upon me, than the delight of taking pains in such studies as were very useful. I therefore stirred up myself, and went on with my work more cheerfully. Besides the foregoing motives, I had others, which I greatly reflected on; and these were, that our forefathers were willing to communicate such things to others; and that some of the Greeks took considerable pains to learn the affairs of our nation.
I found, therefore, that the second of the Ptolemies was a king who was extraordinarily diligent in what concerned learning and the collection of books; that? he was also peculiarly ambitious to procure a translation of our law, and of the constitution of our government therein contained, into the Greek tongue. Now Eleazar the high priest, one not inferior to any other of that dignity among us, did not envy the king the participation of that advantage, which otherwise he would certainly have denied him; but that he knew the custom of our nation was, to hinder nothing of what we esteemed ourselves from being communicated to others. Accordingly, I thought it became me, both to imitate the generosity of our high priest, and to suppose there might even now be many lovers of learning like the king. For he did not obtain all our writings at that time; but those who were sent to Alexandria 'as interpreters, gave him only the books of the law. While there were a vast number of other matters in our sacred books. indeed containt the history of five thousand years. In which time happened many strange accidents, many chances of war, and great actions of the commanders, and mutations of the form of our government. Upon the whole, a man that will peruse this history may principally learn from it, that all events succeed well, even to an incredible degree, and the reward of felicity is proposed
* This Epaphroditus was certainly alive in the third year of Trajan, A. D. 100. Who he was we do not know. For as to Epaphroditus, the freed man of Nero, Tacit, Annal. XV. 55, Nero's, and afterwards Domitian's secretary, who was put to death by Domitian in the fourteenth or fifteenth year of his reigol, he could not be alive in the third of Trajan.
ť That Josephus's chronology agreed neither with the Masorete llebrew, nor with the present Septuagint, but almosd always with that of the Samaritan Pentateuch, and contained not much less than 5000 years. See Essays on the OlTestament, page 195, 203, which is here recommended by Fabricius to the consideration of the reader, ap. Havert camp, page 59.
by God; but then it is to those that follow bis will, and do not venture to break his excellent laws: and that so far as men any way apostatize from the accurate observation of them,* what was practicable before, becomes impracticable; and whatsoever they set about as a good thing, is converted into an incurable calamity. And now I exhort all those that peruse these books to apply their minds to God; and to examine the mind of our legislator, whether he hath not understood his nature in a manner worthy of him, and hath not ever ascribed to him such operations as become his power, and hath not preserved bis writings from those indecent fables which others have framed, although by the great distance of time when he lived, he might have securely forged such falsehoods. For be lived+ two thousand years ago. At which vast distance of ages, the poets themselves have not been so hardy as toʻfix even the generations of their gods; much less the actions of their men, or their own laws. As I proceed, therefore, I shall accu. rately describe what is contained in our records, in the order of time that belongs to them. For I have already promised so to do throughout this undertaking; and this without adding any thing to what is therein contained, or taking away any thing therefrom.
But because almost all our constitution depends on the wisdom of Moses, our legislator, I cannot avoid saying somewhat concerning him before-hand, though I shall do it briefly. I mean because otherwise those that read my books may wonder how it comes to
my discourse, which promises an account of laws and historical facts, contains so much of philosophy. The reader is therefore to know, that Moses deemed it exceedingly necessary, that he who would conduct his own life well, and give laws to others, in the first place should consider the divine nature; and upon the contemplation of God's operations, should thereby imitate the best of all patterns, so far as it is possible for human nature to do, and to endeavour to follow after it; neither could the legislator himself have a right mind, without such a contemplation, nor would any thing he should write tend to the promotion of virtue in bis readers : I mean unless they be taught first of all, that God is the father and lord of all things, and sees all things, and that thence he bestows a happy life upon those that follow him; but plunges such as do not walk in the paths of virtue into inevitable miseries. Now when Moses was desirous to teach this lesson to his countrymen, he did not begin the establishment of his laws after the same manner that other legislators did: I mean upon contracts, and other rights between one man and another ; but by raising their minds upward to regard God, and his creation of the world; and by persuading them that men are the most excellent of the creatures of God upon earth.
Josephus here plainly alludes to the famous Greek proverb es dagóvo dāvātofov Dogileon. If God be with us, every thing that is impossible, becomes possible.
+ of Josephus's chronology both here and hereafter, the reader is not to expect much account in these Notes. However, he is to observe, that though the numbers at the beginning of every book are translations from the last editions of Josephus, and so imperfect; yet all those in the margin are my own numbers, as they are more perfectly discovered and stated in the chronology, and my chronological table, published A. D. 1721. Josephus often corrected his own chronology, and for want of Ptolemy's Canon, and of the knowledge of the years of Jubilee, which are sure guides to me in this matter, was often mistaken; so I choose rather to give the reader in the margin the true chronology, than to perplex him with such an one as we now know to be often very erroneous. 1
Now when once he had brought them to submit to religion, he easily persuaded them to submit in all other things. For as to other legislators, they followed fables; and by their discourses transferred the most reproachful of human vices unto the gods, and so afforded wicked men the most plausible excuses for their crimes. But as for our legislator, when he had once demonstrated that God was possessed of perfect virtue, he supposed that men also ought to strive after the participation of it. And on those who did not so think and so believe, he inflicted the severest punishments. I therefore exhort my readers to examine the whole of this undertaking in that view; for thereby it will appear to them that there is nothing therein disagreeable either to the majesty of God, or to his love to mankind. For all things have here a reference to the nature of the universe ; while our legislator speaks some things wisely, but enigmatically; and others under a decent allegory: but still explains such things as require a direct explication plainly and expressly. However, those who have a mind to know the reasons of every thing, may find here a very curious philosophical theory, which I now indeed shall wave the explication of, but if God afford me time for it,* I will set about writing it after I have finished the present work. I shall now betake myself to the history before me, after I have first mentioned what Moses says of the creation of the world, which I find described in the sacred books, after the manner following:
* As to this intended work of Josephus's concerning the reasons of many of the Jewish laws, and what philosophical or allegorical sense they would bear; the loss of which work is by some of the learned not much regretted ; I am inclinable, in part, to Fabricius's opinion, ap. Havercamp, page 63, 64, that “ We need not doubt but, among some vain and frigid conjectures derived from Jewish imaginations, Josephus would have taught us a great number of excellent and useful things; which, perhaps, nobody, neither among the Jews, nor among the Christians can now inform us of.”