I SUPPOSE that by my books of the Antiquity of the Jews, most excellent Epaphroditus, (2) have made it evident to those who peruse them, that our Jewish nation is of very great antiquity, and had a distinct subsistence of its own originally; as also, I have therein declared how we came to inhabit this country wherein we now live. Those Antiquities contain the history of five thousand years, and are taken out of our sacred books, but are translated by me into the Greek tongue. However, since I observe a considerable number of people giving ear to the reproaches that are laid against us by those who bear ill-will to us, and will not believe what I have written concerning the antiquity of our nation, while they take it for a plain sign that our nation is of a late date, because they are not so much as vouchsafed a bare mention by the most famous historiographers among the Grecians. I therefore have thought myself under an obligation to write somewhat briefly about these subjects, in order to convict those that reproach us of spite and voluntary falsehood, and to correct the ignorance of others, and withal to instruct all those who are desirous of knowing the truth of what great antiquity we really are. As for the witnesses whom I shall produce for the proof of what I say, they shall be such as are esteemed to be of the greatest reputation for truth, and the most skillful in the knowledge of all antiquity by the Greeks themselves. I will also show, that those who have written so reproachfully and falsely about us are to be convicted by what they have written themselves to the contrary. I shall also endeavor to give an account of the reasons why it hath so happened, that there have not been a great number of Greeks who have made mention of our nation in their histories. I will, however, bring those Grecians to light who have not omitted such our history, for the sake of those that either do not know them, or pretend not to know them already.
(1) This first book has a wrong title. It is not written against Apion, as is the first part of the second book, but against those Greeks in general who would not believe Josephus's former accounts of the very ancient state of the Jewish nation, in his 20 books of Antiquities; and particularly against Agatharelddes, Manetho, Cheremon, and Lysimachus. it is one of the most learned, excellent, and useful books of all antiquity; and upon Jerome's perusal of this and the following book, he declares that it seems to him a miraculous thing "how one that was a Hebrew, who had been from his infancy instructed in sacred learning, should be able to pronounce such a number of testimonies out of profane authors, as if he had read over all the Grecian libraries," Epist. 8. ad Magnum; and the learned Jew, Manasseh-Ben-Israel, esteemed these two books so excellent, as to translate them into the Hebrew; this we learn from his own catalogue of his works, which I have seen. As to the time and place when and where these two books were written, the learned have not hitherto been able to determine them any further than that they were written some time after his Antiquities, or some time after A.D. 93; which indeed is too obvious at their entrance to be overlooked by even a careless peruser, they being directly intended against those that would not believe what he had advanced in those books con-the great of the Jewish nation As to the place, they all imagine that these two books were written where the former were, I mean at Rome; and I confess that I myself believed both those determinations, till I came to finish my notes upon these books, when I met with plain indications that they were written not at Rome, but in Judea, and this after the third of Trajan, or A.D. 100.
(2) Take Dr. Hudson's note here, which as it justly contradicts the common opinion that Josephus either died under Domitian, or at least wrote nothing later than his days, so does it perfectly agree to my own determination, from Justus of Tiberias, that he wrote or finished his own Life after the third of Trajan, or A.D. 100. To which Noldius also agrees, de Herod, No. 383 [Epaphroditus]. "Since Florius Josephus," says Dr. Hudson, "wrote [or finished] his books of Antiquities on the thirteenth of Domitian, [A.D. 93,] and after that wrote the Memoirs of his own Life, as an appendix to the books of Antiquities, and at last his two books against Apion, and yet dedicated all those writings to Epaphroditus; he can hardly be that Epaphroditus who was formerly secretary to Nero, and was slain on the fourteenth [or fifteenth] of Domitian, after he had been for a good while in banishment; but another Epaphroditas, a freed-man, and procurator of Trajan, as says Grotius on Luke 1:3.