JOSEPHUS, Flavius (ca. 37-ca. 100). Opera, in Greek. Edited by Arnoldus Peraxylus Arlenius. Basel: Hieronymus Frobenius and Nicolaus Episcopius, 1544.
Median 2o (330 x 22 mm). Collation: *6; a-z A-Z Aa-Hh6 Ii4; Kk-Zz AA-MM6 (1r title in red and black and printer's woodcut device in red, 2r editor's Latin preface to Diego Hurtado de Mendoza; a1r De Antiquitate Judaica; Kk1r De Bello Judaico, MM6r colophon and register, MM6v printer's device). Greek type, initial spaces with guide-letters. (Tiny marginal wormhole at beginning and end, some occasional light staining.) Contemporary blind-tooled pigskin over oak boards (rubbed, foot of spine repaired, one clasp defective).
Provenance: M.A. Haring: inscription on front flyleaf, stating it was purchased at a Zurich auction -- I.N. Landseer, Kent 1814: inscription on front free endpaper -- Lord Harewood: bookplate and note on front flyleaf -- [Christie's London, 24 June 1992, lot 276]
EDITIO PRINCEPS. Flavius Josephus, originally named Joseph Ben Matthias, was born to an aristocratic priestly family in Jerusalem. According to his own account, he was an inquisitive child and by the age of 14 was being consulted by high priests in matters of Jewish law. He undertook a three week sojourn at age 16 with the hermit Bannus, a member of one of the ascetic Jewish sects that flourished in Judaea around the time of Christ. Upon returning to Jerusalem, he joined the Pharisees whose rejection of Jewish nationalism influenced his later writings. His most valuable works are the Bellum Judaicum, on the Jewish revolt of 66-70 A.D. when the Jews of Judea ousted the Roman procurator and set up a revolutionary government in Jerusalem, and the Antiquitates Judaicae, an account of Jewish history. This work is thought to contain the only two historical references to Christ outside the text of the Bible, although some scholars have questioned whether these may be due to early interpolation or modification of the text by Christians. Josephus also left an autobiography and a treatise Contra Apionem, which includes an apology for Judaism. Adams J-351; Hoffmann II, 443.