Name at birth: Joseph ben MatthiasFlavius Josephus is best known for his histories of the Jews, including a first-hand account of the revolt against the Romans (66-73 A.D.) and historical confirmation of the existence and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. A Jew of priestly and royal descent, Joseph ben Matthias (or Mattathias) was put in charge of Galilee and took part in the 66 A.D. revolt against Rome. His forces overwhelmed, he surrendered to the Roman Vespasian after a seven-week siege. Joseph won the favor of Vespasian, who became emperor after Nero committed suicide. Joseph adopted the Roman name Flavius Josephus and spent his career under the patronage of Vespasian and his successors (Titus and Domitian). Late in life Josephus wrote his History of the Jewish War, first in Aramaic, then Greek. His Antiquities of the Jews is a history from creation to 66 A.D. and mentions Jesus, John the Baptist and James, the martyred brother of Jesus. Although his original texts have been altered over the centuries, most scholars agree that he is one of the best sources of extra-biblical information for the early Christian era.
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