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Justus of Tiberias


Jewish historian and Josephus's rival in connection with the Jewish war against the Romans; fl. in the 1st Christian century. What little is known of his life and works is derived almost entirely from the writings of Flavius josephus (Life 343, 354358, 390393, 410), with whom he had strong differences. The recipient of a Greek education and favorably inclined to Greco-Roman culture, Justus joined his father, Pistus, perhaps unwillingly, at Tiberias in the general Jewish revolt against the Romans (a.d. 66). His part in the insurrection is not clear, and Josephus may well have been responsible for the local uprising; apparently each accused the other of complicity with the Romans to remove the blame from himself, or perhaps neither was very zealous for the Jewish cause. Shortly after the outbreak, Justus fled to agrippa ii at Beirut. Denounced before Vespasian, he was ordered to be executed by Agrippa but instead he was imprisoned. After being freed and again imprisoned, he eventually gained the favor of Agrippa, who appointed him as his secretary. When he was later found incompetent and unreliable, he was expelled.

Among the books Justus is reported to have written is a History of the Jewish War, which was published probably about 25 years after the end of the war (a.d. 70), for he would hardly have criticized Agrippa II so severely, as Josephus claimed he did, before the king's death (c. 93). Josephus, in his Life, contradicts the contentions and facts of Justus's presentation and thus gives an idea of the contents of his rival's work. The knowledge that some of the Church Fathers had of Justus was derived probably from the prejudiced statements of Josephus, rather than from Justus's own writings. According to photius, another work of Justus was a Chronicle of the Jewish Kings from Moses to Agrippa II, of which perhaps the History of the Jewish War was a part. Jerome (De viris illustribus 14) ascribes to Justus a short commentary on the Scriptures.

Bibliography: h. luther, Josephus und Justus von Tiberias (Halle 1910). e. schÜrer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Christ, tr. j. macpherson et al., 5 v. (Edinburgh 189798) 1.1:6569, with bibliog., 92; 2.3:222. f. jacoby, Paulys Realenzkylopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft (1919) 10.2:134146. s. krauss, Jewish Encyclopedia, ed. j. singer (New York 190106) 7:398399. a. schalit, Encyclopedia Judaica (Berlin 192834) 9:623626. j. schmid, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765) 5:1230.

[r. krinsky]

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