Moses proves his case: Historical examples in A.J. 4.43–45

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Josephus’ rewriting of the account of Korah’s rebellion (Numbers 16) consists of a lengthy juridical prayer/speech not attested in the biblical source in which a list of historical episodes is embedded. Moses’ representation as standing in court before God and the people and defending his leadership by recalling past events appears to derive from 1 Samuel 12. At the same time, however, the catalogue of historical incidents in A.J. 4.43–45 elaborates the “works” in Num 16:28, demonstrating that everything happens according to God’s will – including the granting of the priesthood to Aaron. An analysis of A.J. 4.43–45 evinces that it combines conventions from both biblical historical summaries and Hellenistic catalogues, the individual episodes (e.g., the Exodus) constituting a sophisticated reworking of Pentateuchal narratives and passages from Deutero-Isaiah and the Psalms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-204
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Ancient Judaism
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Exemplum
  • Historical summary
  • Jewish Antiquities
  • Juridical prayer
  • Moses
  • Numbers 16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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