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Josephus, The Jewish War 2.409-2.413


ἅμα δὲ καὶ κατὰ τὸ ἱερὸν Ἐλεάζαρος υἱὸς Ἀνανία τοῦ ἀρχιερέως, νεανίας θρασύτατος, στρατηγῶν τότε τοὺς κατὰ τὴν λατρείαν λειτουργοῦντας ἀναπείθει μηδενὸς ἀλλοτρίου δῶρον ἢ θυσίαν προσδέχεσθαι. τοῦτο δ᾽ ἦν τοῦ πρὸς Ῥωμαίους πολέμου καταβολή: τὴν γὰρ ὑπὲρ τούτων θυσίαν Καίσαρος ἀπέρριψαν. καὶ πολλὰ τῶν τε ἀρχιερέων καὶ τῶν γνωρίμων παρακαλούντων μὴ παραλιπεῖν τὸ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἡγεμόνων ἔθος οὐκ ἐνέδοσαν, πολὺ μὲν καὶ τῷ σφετέρῳ πλήθει πεποιθότες, καὶ γὰρ τὸ ἀκμαιότατον τῶν νεωτεριζόντων συνήργει, μάλιστα δ᾽ ἀφορῶντες εἰς τὸν Ἐλεάζαρον στρατηγοῦντα. Συνελθόντες γοῦν οἱ δυνατοὶ τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν εἰς ταὐτὸ καὶ τοῖς τῶν Φαρισαίων γνωρίμοις ὡς ἐπ᾽ ἀνηκέστοις ἤδη συμφοραῖς ἐβουλεύοντο περὶ τῶν ὅλων: καὶ δόξαν ἀποπειραθῆναι τῶν στασιαστῶν λόγοις πρὸ τῆς χαλκῆς πύλης ἀθροίζουσι τὸν δῆμον, ἥτις ἦν τοῦ ἔνδον ἱεροῦ τετραμμένη πρὸς ἀνατολὰς ἡλίου. καὶ πρῶτον αὐτῶν πολλὰ πρὸς τὴν τόλμαν τῆς ἀποστάσεως χαλεπήναντες καὶ τὸ τηλικοῦτον ἐπισείειν τῇ πατρίδι πόλεμον, ἔπειτα τὸ τῆς προφάσεως ἄλογον διήλεγχον, φάμενοι τοὺς μὲν προγόνους αὐτῶν κεκοσμηκέναι τὸν ναὸν ἐκ τῶν ἀλλοφύλων τὸ πλέον ἀεὶ προσδεχομένους τὰς ἀπὸ τῶν ἔξωθεν ἐθνῶν δωρεάς, αὶ οὐ μόνον οὐ διακεκωλυκέναι θυσίας τινῶν, τοῦτο μὲν γὰρ ἀσεβέστατον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ βλεπόμενα καὶ τὰ παραμένοντα τοσοῦτον χρόνον ἀναθήματα περὶ τῷ ἱερῷ καθιδρυκέναι.1


At the same time Eleazar, the son of Ananias the high priest, a very bold youth, who was at that time governor of the temple, persuaded those that officiated in the Divine service to receive no gift or sacrifice for any foreigner. And this was the true beginning of our war with the Romans; for they rejected the sacrifice of Caesar on this account; and when many of the high priests and principal men besought them not to omit the sacrifice, which it was customary for them to offer for their princes, they would not be prevailed upon. These relied much upon their multitude, for the most flourishing part of the innovators assisted them; but they had the chief regard to Eleazar, the governor of the temple. Hereupon the men of power got together, and conferred with the high priests, as did also the principal of the Pharisees; and thinking all was at stake, and that their calamities were becoming incurable, took counsel what was to be done. Accordingly, they determined to try what they could do with the seditious by words, and assembled the people before the brazen gate, which was that gate of the inner temple [court of the priests] which looked toward the sun-rising. And, in the first place, they showed the great indignation they had at this attempt for a revolt, and for their bringing so great a war upon their country; after which they confuted their pretense as unjustifiable, and told them that their forefathers had adorned their temple in great part with donations bestowed on them by foreigners, and had always received what had been presented to them from foreign nations; and that they had been so far from rejecting any person's sacrifice (which would be the highest instance of impiety,) that they had themselves placed those donation about the temple which were still visible, and had remained there so long a time;2

Works Cited

  • 1 Flavius Josephus, De Bello Judaico Libri VII: Machine Readable Text, ed. B. Niese (Medford, MA: Trustees of Tufts University, 2013), section: 2.409-2.413.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews: Machine Readable Text, trans. William Whiston (Trustees of Tufts University, 2009), section: 2.409-2.413.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

Additional Bibliography

  • Josephus, De Bello Judaico Libri VII, in Flavii Iosephi opera, ed. Benedict Niese, vol. 6 (Berlin: Weidmann, 1885), section: 2.409-2.413.Link to Zotero Bibliographic RecordLink to Worldcat Bibliographic record
  • Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, in The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus: The Celebrated Jewish Historian. Comprising the History and Antiquities of the Jews, with the Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and Dissertations Concerning Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, James the Just, and the Sacrifice of Isaac, Together with a Discourse on Hades, or Hell ; With His Autobiography, trans. William Whiston (Chicago: Donohue, Henneberry & Co., 1895), 498–707, section: 2.409-2.413.Link to Zotero Bibliographic RecordLink to Worldcat Bibliographic recordLink to HathiTrust Bibliographic record

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How to Cite This Entry

Bianca Gardner et al., “Josephus, The Jewish War 2.409-2.413,” in Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, entry published March 30, 2020,


Bianca Gardner et al., “Josephus, The Jewish War 2.409-2.413.” In Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, edited by Joseph L. Rife., edited by Joseph L. Rife. Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project, 2020. Entry published March 30, 2020.

About this Entry

Entry Title: Josephus, The Jewish War 2.409-2.413

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Joseph L. Rife, general editor, Vanderbilt University
  • Joseph L. Rife, editor, Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia
  • David A. Michelson, Daniel L. Schwartz, and William L. Potter, technical editors, “Josephus, The Jewish War 2.409-2.413
  • Bianca Gardner and Joseph L. Rife, entry contributors, “Josephus, The Jewish War 2.409-2.413

Additional Credit:

  • TEI encoding by William L. Potter
  • Electronic text added by Bianca Gardner
  • Testimonia identified by Joseph L. Rife
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