Justus of Tiberias

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Justus of Tiberias was a Jewish author and historian living in the second half of the 1st century AD. Little is known about his life, except as told by his political and literary enemy Josephus Flavius. [1]


Justus, the son of Pistus,[2] was born in Tiberias, a highly Hellenistic Galilean city and was a man of learning. He was close to the Tetrarch Agrippa II and became a leading citizen of his hometown. [3]

During the First Jewish-Roman War (66-73), he ran into conflict with Josephus, a Jewish leader in Galilee. When the Romans had reconquered Galilee, Justus sought sanctuary with the Tetrach Agrippa. Vespasian, who led the Roman troops, demanded that Justus be put to death, but Agrippa spared him and merely imprisoned him. The tetrarch even appointed Justus as his secretary, but later dismissed him as unreliable.

Justus wrote a history of the war in which he blamed Josephus for the troubles of Galilee. He also portrayed his former master Agrippa in an unfavourable light, but did not publish the work until after Agrippa's death. Justus also wrote a chronicle of the Jewish people from Moses to Agrippa II. Both his works only survive in fragments.

Flavius Josephus, Justus' rival, criticized the Tiberian's account of the war and defended his own conduct in the Autobiography, from whose polemical passages we derive most of what we know about Justus' life.


As well as a history of the war, Justus also wrote a chronicle of the kings of Israel from the time of Moses to Agrippa II, which Photios remarked failed to make any mention of Jesus Christ. [4]

Neither of his works has survived. [5]


  1. ^ Shaye J. D. Cohen, Josephus in Galilee and Rome: His Vita and Development as a Historian, pages 114-144 (Leiden: Brill, 1979). ISBN 0-391-04158-4
  2. ^ Josephus, War p. 9
  3. ^ Joan Comay, Who's Who In Jewish History: After the Period of The Old Testament, page 210 (David McKay Company Inc., 1974; revised version by Lavinia Cohn-Sherbok, Routledge, 1995). ISBN 0-415-26030-2
  4. ^ James Carleton Paget, Jews, Christians and Jewish Christians In Antiquity, page 202, citing Photius' work Bibliotheke 33 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010). ISBN 978-3-16-150312-2
  5. ^ Joan Comay, page 210.

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