Lives of Illustrious Men – Josephus, son of Matthias

Article

Josephus, the son of Matthias, priest of Jerusalem, taken prisoner by Vespasian and his son Titus, was banished. Coming to Rome he presented to the emperors, father and son, seven books On the captivity of the Jews, which were deposited in the public library and, on account of his genius, was found worthy of a statue at Rome. He wrote also twenty books of Antiquities, from the beginning of the world until the fourteenth year of Domitian Caesar, and two of Antiquities against Appion, the grammarian of Alexandria who, under Caligula, sent as legate on the part of the Gentiles against Philo, wrote also a book containing a vituperation of the Jewish nation. Another book of his entitled, On all ruling wisdom, in which the martyr deaths of the Maccabeans are related is highly esteemed. In the eighth book of his Antiquities he most openly acknowledges that Christ was slain by the Pharisees on account of the greatness of his miracles, that John the Baptist was truly a prophet, and that Jerusalem was destroyed because of the murder of James the apostle. He wrote also concerning the Lord after this fashion: “In this same time was Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it be lawful to call him man. For he was a worker of wonderful miracles, and a teacher of those who freely receive the truth. He had very many adherents also, both of the Jews and of the Gentiles, and was believed to be Christ, and when through the envy of our chief men Pilate had crucified him, nevertheless those who had loved him at first continued to the end, for he appeared to them the third day alive. Many things, both these and other wonderful things are in the songs of the prophets who prophesied concerning him and the sect of Christians, so named from Him, exists to the present day.”

MLA Citation

  • Saint Jerome. “Josephus, son of Matthias”. Lives of Illustrious Men, with the Authors whom Gennadius Added after the Death of the Blessed Jerome, translated by Ernest Cushing Richardson. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 November 2014. Web. 24 November 2017. <>