Josephus’s Elusive Command

When the Jewish war against Rome erupted in 66 C.E., Flavius Josephus was appointed commander of the Galilee, and a substantial portion of his account of the early years of the war concerns his relationship to the region and its inhabitants. His self-professed genius as a military leader and motivator played out there, even as he struggled against certain obdurate local factions. His arch nemesis—the “Galilean” John of Gischala—complicates the landscape, as does an apparent divide between the inhabitants of the region’s major cities and the rural peoples.