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Josippon

JOSIPPON, the name usually given to a popular chronicle of Jewish history from Adam to the age of Titus, attributed to an author Josippon or Joseph ben Gorion. 1 The name, though at one time identified with that of the historian Josephus, is perhaps a corruption of Hegesippus, from whom (according to Trieber) the author derived much of his material. The chronicle was probably compiled in Hebrew early in the 1cth century, by a Jewish native of south Italy. The first edition was printed in Mantua in 1476. Josippon subsequently appeared in many forms, one of the most popular being in Yiddish ( JudaeoGerman), with quaint illustrations. Though the chronicle is more legendary than historical, it is not unlikely that some good and even ancient sources were used by the first compiler, the Josippon known to us having passed through the hands of many interpolators. The book enjoyed much vogue in England. Peter Morvyn in 1558 translated an abbreviated version into English, and edition after edition was called for. Lucien Wolf has shown that the English translations of the Bible aroused so much interest in the Jews that there was a widespread desire to know more about them. This led to the circulation of many editions of Josippon, which thus formed a link in the chain of events which culminated in the readmission of the Jews to England by Cromwell. (I. A.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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