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Joseph ben Gorion

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Joseph ben Gorion (in Hebrew, Yosef ben Gurion) was a medieval Jewish historian best known as the author of the Sefer Yosippon, a history of the Jews from the time of the Creation to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, with historical accounts of Babylonia, Greece, Rome, and other countries.

In the current text the author professes to be the old Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus, giving to the name "Joseph" the Greek ending "on" ("Josephon," "Joseppon," or "Josippon". His Arabic name "Yusibus" is, according to Wellhausen, identical with "Egesippus"). A gloss gives the form from the Italian, "Giuseppe."

Down to the eighteenth century, his work was universally known as the "Hebrew Josephus" or the "smaller Josephus" as contrasted with the work now commonly known under the name of Josephus and written in Greek. It is generally held that the work was composed by a Jew living in southern Italy in either the ninth or the tenth century. The Muslim writer ibn Hazm (d. 1063) was acquainted with the Arabic translation of the "Yosippon" made by a Yemenite Jew, and Daniel Chwolson believed therefore that the author of the "Yosippon" lived at the beginning of the ninth century. No Jewish author mentions this chronicle before Dunash ibn Tamim (10th cent.), and even the passage in Dunash supposed to refer to the "Yosippon" does not definitely do so.

Trieber held the singular view that the author lived in the fourth century.

In the early twentieth century, David Ben-Gurion, the future prime minister of Israel, would take his name from ben Gurion.


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