Implicit criticism of scriptures and Josephus’ rewritten Bible

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This article discusses scriptural authority among ancient Jews. Josephus' metho-dological statement about rearranging the order of the biblical laws (Ant. 4.197) is examined within the context of scholarly discussions about the »rewritten Bible.« It is shown that Josephus intended that the laws and narratives of scripture to be reordered to accommodate a better sense of the content of the laws and the flow of the events. He perceived that the writings (scriptures) were left in a scattered con-dition, so he innovated to rearrange the order of the topics of the laws and narratives. Josephus held that the twenty--two books of the Jewish canon was authoritative and accurate for historiographical purposes, but he also believed that scripture could be changed and added to, especially for the period extending from the reign of Artaxerxes to his own day at the end of the first century CE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalHebrew Bible and Ancient Israel
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022


  • rewritten Bible
  • Josephus
  • authority
  • scripture
  • history


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