Flavius Josephus

Titus Flavius Josephus is a tough figure to classify. Was he a cultural aristocrat? A theologically minded Pharisee? A politician? An author? A historian? In Josephus we find all of these things—and more.

Josephus was born into the Jewish priestly order of Jehoiarib, the first of twenty-four priestly divisions organized by King David (1 Chronicles 24:7). Growing up, Josephus surpassed his peers in his study of Jewish law. After studying under the Pharisees, Essenes, and the Sadducees—the three major religious factions in first-century Jerusalem—he affiliated himself with the Pharisees.

Jerusalem was a powder keg. With a constant disdain for Jewish ideals, Rome inflamed their already tense relationship with the Jews. Between liberal use of Roman soldiers against Jewish citizens and Messianic Jewish factions who taught that the world would be ending soon, a number of factors were coming together to create the perfect climate for conflict. By the time Jospehus had returned from a trip to Rome to negotiate with Nero for the release of imprisoned priests, his nation was in revolt.

Despite skepticism about an uprising, Josephus took the post as military leader in the region of Galilee. Not all of Galilee was supportive of revolution, and insurgents hoped to use Josephus’ birthright and successful negotiations with Rome as inspiration to the hesitant Galileans. Josephus found himself fighting a defensive war against an overwhelming force while simultaneously trying to quell conflict within Jerusalem.

Josephus Supports Rome?

This is where Josephus’ story takes a strange turn and why many consider Josephus an opportunist and a traitor.

The Galilean city of  Jotapata had fallen, and Josephus had found himself trapped in a cave with forty other Jewish supporters. Fearing the worst, and not wanting to fall into Roman hands, a suicide pact was decided upon. They all agreed, standing in a circle  each second man would kill the third. Josephus considered it the providence of God that he and one other man were the last living. He convinced his fellow soldier they should give themselves over to the Romans.

Many modern scholars accuse Josephus of orchestrating this outcome. (In fact, the Josephus Problem has become a mathematical problem where a person must decide where to stand in this circle in order to be the last one living.)

Josephus began to work for the Romans giving them information on the insurgence. Rome also put him to use trying to convince the rebels to surrender. Jerusalem would not heed the warnings of this traitor however, and an agreement was never reached.

In 70 A.D., Josephus was eyewitness to the siege of Jerusalem. Rome destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem was sacked. According to Josephus, over 1,000,000 people were killed during the siege, with another 97,000 taken hostage. The death toll was high and the loss of the Temple dealt a destructive blow to both Jewish identity and their ability to rally. The revolution was brought to a swift end.

Josephus Writes His Histories

After becoming a Roman citizen, Josephus was commissioned by Caesar Vespasian to write an account of the Jewish revolt against Rome. Josephus finished The War of the Jews in 78 A.D. By the year 93, Josephus had finished his second major work The Antiquities of the Jews (a landmark history of the Jews from Creation through the occupation of Palestine). In the latter part of his life he wrote Against Apion and his autobiography The Life of Flavius Josephus. 

Flavius Josephus remains one of our best sources of first century history as well as an essential resource for Old Testament textual criticism.

Josephus Resources from Logos

Not only can you get the complete Works of Josephusas well as Josephus in Greek: Niese Critical Edition with Apparatusfrom Logos, but there are many more great references to help you get a grasp on his life and works.

Brill Academic has published many works on Josephus’ writings. The Brill Josephus and the Bible Collection (currently on Pre-Pub) contains four volumes full of enlightening research:

  • Studies in Josephus’ Rewritten Bible
  • Josephus, Judaism and Christianity
  • Josephus, the Bible and History
  • Passover in the Work of Josephus

If you are interested in what Josephus can bring to your Bible study and understanding of first century history, the Brill Josephus and the Bible Collection is a good selection to pick up while it is on Pre-Pub at over 50% off!

Other Great Resources

If you are still looking for some books on Josephus check out:

Leave us a comment and tell us how exposure to Josephus as improved your understanding of the New Testament context.

Honoring Stephen H. Levinsohn: The Backstory

We announced the Steven Runge’s presentation of  Discourse Studies and Biblical Interpretation: A Festschrift in Honor of Stephen H. Levinsohn to Levinsohn on the blog on July 5. Here is the story behind this event.

We all have people who’ve played a pivotal role in shaping and equipping us. It has been a great blessing working with Logos to produce projects like the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament, the Lexham High Definition New Testament, and A Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament. But these projects didn’t just come out of a vacuum. They began with a dissatisfaction with how I was taught Greek and Hebrew, and the inspiration of a mentor who showed me a way forward.

When I studied languages in seminary, I left feeling like I hadn’t gained the proficiency needed to really use them effectively in ministry. I soon found many others felt the same way about their language training, like something was missing. The question was, what exactly was that “something?” I felt called to find more effective ways of using biblical languages in ministry, but had little idea of where to start. I began praying that God would raise up a mentor who could equip me to do what I felt called to do.

The person that God raised up was Stephen Levinsohn. Levinsohn has spent his career as a Bible translator with Wycliffe and as an International Linguistics Consultant with SIL International. He was translating in the jungles of Columbia before I was born. By the time I’d finished seminary in 1999, Stephen had worked with literally hundreds of languages, becoming one of SIL’s top discourse specialists.

I stumbled across an article he had written in 2000 that was exactly the kind of work I wanted to be able to do. Levinsohn spent most of his year teaching translators, going to the remote corners of the world where the translators were located rather than having them come to where he lived in England. After several years of correspondence I hit a wall in my learning. I had read about all I could digest, and really needed face-to-face time where I could ask questions and get ideas clarified. I asked if there was any way I could go on one of his trips with him to learn more about what he did.

It just so happened that due to a medical issue Levinsohn was unable to travel for a few months, so he had arranged to teach a discourse analysis class in England. Thankfully, it was offered in the dead of winter, the easiest time for me to shut down my construction business. The skills I learned from that course, along with his continued mentoring, have proven invaluable to fulfilling my calling of helping pastors and students better understand the Bible in its original languages.

So how do you thank someone who’s had such a big influence on you? Well in the academic arena, former students and colleagues of a professor will write articles, collect them in a book called a Festschrift, and present them to the honoree on some special occasion, like their retirement or significant birthday. About two years ago I began laying the groundwork to organize such a book for Stephen Levinsohn. I contacted scholars he’d worked with, arranged for a special session when the book could be presented, and then served as editor for the project. John Barry of the Publications department did an incredible job overseeing the project and helping me through the process. The goal was to surprise Levinsohn and present the book to him at the International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in London this July.

On the morning of July 4, 2011, a group of scholars gathered for the sole purpose of honoring a career missionary’s contributions to biblical scholarship. Everything came off without a hitch, Levinsohn didn’t find out about any of it until the day before! Several of the contributors read papers we had written, and that night we had a lovely dinner overlooking the Thames River. What a memorable day!

Mentors have played an incredibly significant role in shaping me, and I believe its important to recognize their contribution. Seeing Stephen honored has been a bucket-list item for years. His work has largely gone unrecognized since much of it is focused on translation. His mentoring has saved me years of learning things the hard way.

Many times in the last year when I’d be telling someone about the Festschrift project and why I was doing it, I’d choke up or get tears in my eyes. It wasn’t business, it was very personal. It struck me that although God had given me a calling, I could not have done it without mentors like Stephen equipping and preparing me. During one of my last conversations with Stephen on the trip, he reminded me of the importance of 2 Timothy 2:2, asking “Who are you pouring into?” It was a great challenge.

If you have wondered about discourse studies and what it has to offer for interpreting the Bible, I’d strongly recommend ordering Discourse Studies and Biblical Interpretation: A Festschrift in Honor of Stephen H. Levinsohn. The list of contributors is a who’s who of biblical scholars working in this area. And on a personal note, think about those people who’ve played pivotal role in shaping you. Find some way of letting them know the impact they’ve had on you; don’t let it go unspoken. And be sure to pass on what has been entrusted to you!

If you could do a tribute project for a mentor who has been a huge influence and inspiration in your life, who would it be? Leave us a comment and tell us about them.

Logos 4: Reserve Bookmark 1 for the Passage You’re Studying

Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos training seminars and provides many training materials.

mp|seminars TipsYears ago when I prepared my sermons with print books, I of course opened my Bible to the passage I was studying. Knowing I would probably leave that specific location as I turned pages, I placed a ribbon or piece of paper in the Bible to mark my spot. Then, regardless of how far I moved from the week’s text, I easily returned with the aid of the bookmark. Now with Logos, I simply transferred that bookmark habit to my e-books, and I encourage you to do the same:

  • Open your Preferred Bible to the passage you’re studying
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + 1 (Mac: Cmd + Option + Shift + 1) to set the number 1 bookmark
  • Navigate to a different location in the Bible
  • Press Ctrl + 1 (Mac: Cmd + 1) to return to your passage

Get into the habit of reserving Bookmark 1 for the passage you’re studying. Then after wandering from it as you look up cross references, you can easily return with a simple keystroke. This little tip will save you a lot of time as you prepare each week’s sermon or lesson.

This tip comes from our latest DVD training product, Time Saving Tips, vol. 1, available now to pre-order from Logos.com. Watch this tip demonstrated below, and be sure check out Time Saving Tips, vol. 1 for more tips and to order your copy today.

PC Version:

Mac Version:

How do you use your digital bookmarks? What are your top 3 bookmarked resources? Leave a comment letting us and other Logos users know!

Introducing the Weekly Roundup

We’re introducing a regular feature on the Logos blog which will alert you to some of the significant things you may have missed. The Weekly Roundup is the perfect opportunity to get up on Saturday morning, grab a cup of coffee, and check out some of the things that may have fallen through the cracks during your busy week. Here’s the Roundup for the week of July 18–22, 2011.

Logos Talk

Interesting Discussions

Logos Forum

Logos Facebook Page

Products

New Pre-Pubs

Last Chance Pre-Pubs

These are Pre-Pubs shipping next week. Don’t miss your last chance to get these at their amazing Pre-Pub prices!

New Community Pricing Titles

The Dictionary of the Apostolic Church (2 vols.) is about to cross over! Make sure to get in on this great bargain!

Vyrso

Get the Vyrso Android App (Beta) today and be among the first to test the app! Go to the Android Market to download the app and Vyrso.com to buy your Christian e-books.

Press

Bible Study Magazine Reviews

Was there anything else that you found interesting this week? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Collins Bible Companion Wins Award for Best Reference Book

Logos Bible Software would like to congratulate Martin Manser, editor of the Collins Bible Companion, which recently won the 2011 Christian Resources Together Award for Best Reference Book of the Year. Manser’s Companion gives highly readable historical, social, and literary context for the Bible in an attractive, full color design. Opening this book up in Logos with your favorite Bible translation makes for a whole new experience in Bible study. Just check out some of its cool graphics:

Literary Genre Infographic

Solomon's Temple Infographic

Paul's Journeys

The Collins Bible Companion includes study sections on God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Humanity, Salvation, Last Things, and so much more. From the table of contents, you can jump to any book of the Bible, maps, articles, photographs, timelines, over fifty studies on how to apply the message of the Bible to your life, and more. This visually stunning book is packed with ideas and information that will take your Bible study, Sunday school classes, or small group conversations to a whole new level.

Its easy to see why Martin Manser’s Collins Bible Companion took first place as the Reference Book of the Year. And right now we have it on sale for only $29.95. Pick it up today!

If you already own the Collins Bible Companion, leave a comment and let everyone know what a great resource this is!

Digging Deeper into the Lives of Historical Figures

Charles Wesley wrote and published thousands of hymns during his career including “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.”

However, Charles was much more than a poet. In A Heart Set Free, Arnold Dallimore demonstrates how Charles earned a place in history as one of the most powerful preachers and evangelists of the Methodist Revival.

The Welwyn Biography Series, which includes A Heart Set Free: The Life of Charles Wesley, contains eight biographies that dig deeper into the lives and stories of important figures in both historical and contemporary church history.

From missionaries like David Brainerd to preachers like William Huntington, these individuals were influential in the life of the church. Examining the stories of these individuals in the social and spiritual context of their time can certainly encourage your work and ministry.

Be sure to check out the Welwyn Biography Series while it’s on Pre-Pub!

Which character in the Welwyn Biography Series are you most familiar with? Leave us a comment and let us know!

3 New Scripture Sharing Plugins from Biblia.com

You want simple and intuitive tools to share Scripture on your blog or webpage, and Logos wants to help. To that end, we have created three new plugins at Biblia.com you can add to your webpage.

Verse of the Day

With the Verse of the Day plugin, visitors to your website or blog will be greeted with a carefully selected verse in the translation of your choice. You will see a unique verse displayed nearly every day for two years. Each verse has been selected by hand and verses are aligned to dozens of major and minor holidays.

You won’t have to worry about how the plugin will fit on your webpage. Verse of the Day is “Medium Rectangle” sized (300×250) making it the standard size of most Internet ads. You can choose it to be displayed as an attractive artist-created graphic or as textual graphic. If you choose the textual display you can also choose from a set palette of colors to match your personal web design.

Visitors can click a button on the plugin to tweet it, share it as a Facebook status, or even email it to someone else who could benefit. Clicking on the verse itself will take them to Biblia.com where they can see the verse in context or even read it alongside a commentary.

Bible Search Box

The Bible Search Box plugin allows visitors to search the Bible for words, topics, or references and see the results instantly in a new window or tab at Biblia.com. You can choose the Bible translation for searches and—if your visitors don’t have access to that translation—the Bible Search Box will complete their search in “Top English Bibles.” If you choose the “Default Version,” Biblia will conduct the search for them in an appropriate translation.

You can choose the smaller (160 x 80) or larger (300 x 135) search box from one of two colors which best suit your site layout.

Bible Search Results

Like the Bible Search Box, the Bible Search Results plugin allows visitors to search the Bible translation of your choice for words, topics, or references. Unlike the Bible Search Box however, the results are delivered instantly to your website via the plugin frame.

A search I did (with the plugin’s default Bible translation) for the word “testimony” returned twenty ESV verses within the frame. Simply pressing “more” took me to Biblia.com for the remainder of my search.

The plugin comes in a couple of colors with a smaller (160 x 200)  or larger (300 x 400) frame size.

All three plugins are easily installed by simply pasting the code into the <body> of your HTML page.

We know that you have created your blog or webpage because you have something valuable you want to communicate. Logos wants to help when it comes to sharing the life-changing truths of Scripture. Head over to Biblia.com/plugins and see which plugin is right for you.

And Don’t Forget Reftagger!

Never again will you have to worry about using too many Bible references in your blog post. Let visitors to your blog or webpage instantly view a Bible passage by hovering their mouse over any biblical reference. It’s easy to install and completely free. You can get all of the installation details by visiting Reftagger.com.

Is there a plugin here that you are excited about? Have a suggestion for a future Biblia.com plugin? Leave us a comment and let us know!

5 Ways Logos Is Helping You Do Better Bible Study

To suggest that the quality of the Christian life is directly proportional to the time spent reading and studying the Bible is no overstatement. One significant way that God has chosen to reveal Himself is within the Christian Scriptures and through study we gain a better understanding of God and the world around us.

Bible study is important to you, and it is Logos Bible Software’s intent to provide you with the best Bible study tools imaginable. Here are a handful of ways that Logos is doing just that:

1. Logos 4

In November 2009, Logos released Logos 4, a huge step forward in Bible study software. Logos 4 provides the tools for a learning environment that caters to your needs. Whether you are new to Bible study, or are working on a doctrinal thesis in biblical studies, Logos 4 has what you need.

You might want to study the Bible’s original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, or gain a greater understanding of eastern geography, or need help understanding biblical genealogies. Logos 4 can help!

Logos 4 doesn’t bury you in a sea of text, there are tons of high-resolution infographics available to help you visualize the truths that you are learning. When you couple these infographics with Passage Analysis (another example), you can see that Logos 4 helps both the analytical and creative thinker get the most out of their study.

With a Logos 4 base package, you can begin your studies with some of the best resources imaginable. But that’s not all, you get these resources at truly crazy prices. Scholar’s Library: Platinum includes nearly 1,250 resources at 90% off of the equivalent print editions!

2. Logos iPhone App

For the longest time, the strength of a bound Bible was in its portability. Desktop computers introduced the ability to search and study the Bible with ease and speed, but they required Bible study to be done in the same location every day. Laptops increased the portability of Bible study software (in fact, Logos 4 syncs between multiple machines enabling you to work on your desktop PC or Mac and pick up right where you left off on your laptop whether at work or your favorite coffee shop).

But what if you could have the Scriptures and thousands of books right in your pocket? What if all of that lost time spent standing in lines, sitting in lobbies, waiting for appointments could be spent catching up on your daily reading plan or doing some of that research you wanted to get finished? What if some of that wasted time in the day could be redeemed? I mean really redeemed with the Word of God? What if you had one of those moments where someone could really benefit from what you were just reading this morning, and you would like to show it to them—right then and there? This is the beauty of Logos 4 combined with the portability of your *iPhone, iPad, or even your iPod Touch! You can take your research library anywhere.

You would be hard-pressed to find a free Bible app that can do as much as the Logos app does. Even without Logos 4, the app gives you immediate access to many resources and Bibles (including the ESV and New Living Translation). Simply sign up for a free account, and you get more than thirty extra resources including Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening and Easton’s Bible Dictionary (over $30.00 in free resources in those two books alone).

It’s when you add a base package into the mix, the app really blossoms. With a majority of your library available anywhere you have internet access and lots of great features, this is Bible study on the go.

* Android users, we are currently beta testing the Android app!

3. Biblia.com

Logos is looking to improve Bible study by giving you one license with many options to access your content. Biblia.com is another tool to that end.

With Biblia.com you can do online Bible study anywhere! It’s just that easy. Just like with the Logos app, Biblia.com will give you instant (free) access to a good number of Bibles. Sign up with a Logos.com account and add about 30 free Bible study books to that number. Already a user of Logos 4 or the iPhone app? Simply sign in with the same account.

When you sign in with your Logos 4 account, your resources are pulled down from the cloud for you. Read your Bible side-by-side with your favorite commentary or any of your other resources. With shared licenses between Logos 4 for Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, Mobile Web, and Biblia.com, your content is available wherever you are.

4. Bible Study Magazine

What if you could have someone stop by your house six times a year whose sole aim was to help you get more out of your Bible study? This person would provide you with deep insight, inspiring testimonies about the value of biblical study, suggested resources, and stories about how the world is being changed by those who place a high value on the study of the Word.

With Bible Study Magazine, this is almost precisely what you get—an inspirational tutor delivered right to your mailbox. The number of magazines dedicated to Christian themes is staggering, but Bible Study Magazine is the only magazine dedicated entirely to studying the Scriptures.

If you are on the fence, why don’t you check out this issue for free. We think you’ll agree, there is something special about Bible Study Magazine.

5. Logos.com

Logos.com is an amazing tool, providing valuable links to:

At Logos.com you can start with a base package, and then build the perfect resource library by adding the resources you want. Take advantage of our Pre-Publication specials, or try setting your own costs with Community Pricing.

Make the most with Logos 4 with help from the support page which includes videos, articles, training, and many other tools.

It has been nearly 20 years since Logos Bible Software was started with two programmers in a basement determined to create a tool to help people study the Bible. Times have changed, and those two programmers has grown into a company of over 200 people offering nearly 14,000 resources for Bible study. The times may have changed but the objective hasn’t. That goal is summed up in the Logos Bible Software mission:

To help more people do more and better Bible study.

We want to thank all of you who have joined us on this journey, and we look forward to supplying Bible study tools to those who will join us in the future. Leave us a comment and let us know how Logos has changed the way you do Bible study.

Logos 4: Windows and Tiles and Tabs. . .Oh My!

Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos training seminars and provides many training materials.

mp|seminars TipsSometimes, while lost in Logos study, you’ll discover you have numerous resources or panels open on the screen. With so much open you can seem to find the Bible, commentary, or guide you’re looking for. So you pause to clean up your desktop.

If you type close all in the Command box and press the Enter key, everything on the screen closes. That’s quick and easy, but then you must reopen just the resources you want.

You may want to try this:

  • Make sure the few resources you want to keep open are in separate tiles
  • Right click on the tab of a resource or panel you want to keep open
  • Select Close Other Tabs which means close the other tabs in this tile, but keep this tab open
  • Repeat the last two steps for other tiles on the screen

Logos 4: Windows, Tiles, and Tabs

By way of reminder here is an official Logos vocabulary review:

  • Windows contain tiles which contain panels (or tabs)
  • You can open as many windows as you want and divide each window into as many tiles as you want and divide each tile into as many panels (tabs) as you want

Logos 4: Windows, Tiles, and Tabs

While learning the Logos tab system, remember to right click on any tab and practice using each option. Pretty soon you’ll be a pro at Logos desktop management!

What does your Logos desktop look like? Leave a comment describing your desktop layout, or upload a screenshot to Facebook and tag Logos Bible Software!

Tackling the Thorny Issue of Hell

Back in February of 2011, the blogosphere erupted in response to a book challenging the traditionally accepted view of Hell. Social media outlets quickly blew up as well. All sorts of people were coming out of the woodwork to debate and defend a topic which might not normally receive a lot of attention.

Twitter was aflame with words like “universalism” and “annihilationism.” Theological terms regarding eternity were being discussed openly on a medium usually reserved for much more trivial concerns. It seemed that, even if momentarily, Hell had gone mainstream.

Opportunities to discuss issues of eternal consequence, while the general public’s interest is piqued, are rare. With all of the increased discussion, people generally want to know, “What exactly does the Bible say about Hell? How are these passages interpreted? And what are commonly accepted orthodox views?”

Logos has many resources available to help not only solidify your personal stance, but to prepare you for such discussions.

One thoughtful resource can be found in the Contemporary Issues Collection (7 vols.) In Hell: A Hard Look at a Hard QuestionAnglican priest and Archdeacon of Frankston, David Powys dissects the New Testament passages in regards to the fate of the unrighteous.

Powys divides his research into three parts:

  • Historical survey:
    In this section, Powys discusses the perspectives of church fathers like Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine of Hippo. Then he turns the microscope on the pre-reformation era’s views on eternity.
  • Jewish thought and Greco-Roman influence:
    Here Powys dissects Old Testament beliefs about judgment and the afterlife. He then uses the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha to examine how the Hasmonean era affected Jewish thought and rabbinic tradition. This is followed up by looking at both Roman influence and Pharisaical tradition.
  • New Testament passages:
    Looking closely at the Synoptic Gospels, Paul’s epistles, and Johannine literature, Powys interprets the New Testament’s passages dealing with the fate of the unrighteous.

At 508 pages, this book is the largest in the Contemporary Issues Collection. This collection comes with six other titles to help you tackle hot button contemporary issues from a biblical perspective. Whether you are looking for a resources regarding feminism, Christian political involvement, deistic sovereignty, Israel, or a scriptural view of law and justice, The Contemporary Issues Collection will help. And it is currently for sale on Pre-Pub for less than $.05 a page!

If you are looking for more resources dealing with the subject of Hell, Logos has you covered. Other helpful titles dealing with this hot button issue include:

Ultimately, public interest in discussions about Christian topics—even the thorny ones—is a win. Any opportunity to discuss a topic that leads back to the Gospel is positive. With Logos you can follow Paul’s admonition to “be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2, ESV)

What other Logos resources have helped you in your studies on the topic of Hell? Leave us a comment and tell us about them!