Josephus and Philo in Rome

Maren R. Niehoff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Important insights into Flavius Josephus's role and achievements can be gained by looking at Philo of Alexandria, his famous Jewish predecessor in Rome. While Josephus started his literary career as an historian of contemporary events, which he knew from personal experience, Philo turned to historiography only at a later stage in his career. Both Jewish writers strongly identify with their people and adopt a pro-Roman attitude, and believed that divine providence proved their interpretation of contemporary politics to be the right one. A good example of Philo and Josephus sharing Stoic motifs popular in Rome is the creation of the cosmos. While the creation played hardly any role in Philo's early Alexandrian works, it became a central theme in his later Exposition. Josephus and Philo engage Stoic arguments of nature theology in order to offer a rational interpretation of the biblical creation account.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationA Companion to Josephus
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781118325162
ISBN (Print)9781444335330
StatePublished - 31 Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Ancient historians
  • Contemporary events
  • Flavius Josephus
  • Philo of Alexandria
  • Roman Stoicism
  • Rome


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