Oxford, June 20, 2014
The forum on this subject matter is the fourth and the last one in the series of conferences, held as part of the research project of the Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, dedicated to perception and comprehension of the literary heritage and the ideas of the outstanding Jewish writer and chronicler of the 1st century AD Josephus Flavius. At the three previous conferences issues connected with reception of Josephus’ works in the Judaic culture of the European Jewry from the antiquity and the medieval period till the beginning of the 20th century were raised.
The participants of the forum discussed the problems related to the influence which the personality and the literary heritage of Josephus Flavius had on the political, cultural and religious life of the Jewish communities of Europe, the USA and the Jewish community of Israel in the 20th-21st centuries since the foundation of the state Israel in 1948.
Specifically, the following subjects and issues were raised in the participants’ reports:
The role of Josephus in works of the Zionist figures and thinkers; how were his works and facts from his biography used by liberal, orthodox Jews as well as Bund members in the course of discussions around the theme of the Jewish nationalism?
How were the works of Josephus used during the Holocaust and afterwards?
What influence did the chronicles of Josephus have on scholars in the interpretation of archaeological and geographical findings, associated with Israel, particularly in the first years of the Jewish state?
What kind of an appraisal took place late in the 20th century and is still taking place today in the course of the post-Zionist criticism of the foundation and the ideology of the state Israel?
Use of the Josephus’ heritage in discussions on the present state of life of the Jewish communities in the diaspora.
How is Josephus represented in the modern Jewish children’s literature, educational materials and courses, in the museum and popular culture?
Scholars from universities and research centres as well as independent researchers from Great Britain, the USA and Israel took part in the international forum’s work.