“Lege Iosephum!” Reading Josephus in the Latin Middle Ages

About us

Carson Bay

Postdoctoral Researcher

Postal Address
D312 Unitobler,
Universität Bern
Längassstrasse 49
Bern 3012

Carson Bay is a researcher trained in the literature, cultures, and religion of the ancient Mediterranean world. After earning a B.S. in Biblical Studies from Moody Bible Institute and an M.A. in Theology & Religious Studies from John Carroll University, he completed an M.A. in Classics and a Ph.D. in Religions of Western Antiquity at Florida State University. His research and teaching combines the traditionally-distinguished academic disciplines of biblical studies, early Judaism, ancient Christianity, and classics. His approach seeks to combine a foundational grounding in historical and philological inquiry with rigorous conceptual methodologies that engage salient social, anthropological, and literary theories (as well as, occasionally, philosophy, theology, and ethics).

Carson wrote his doctoral dissertation on the little-studied fourth-century Latin text, De Excidio Hierosolymitano (On the Destruction of Jerusalem, aka 'Pseudo-Hegesippus'). This text, and its primary source -- Flavius Josephus' first-century Greek work, the Jewish War -- both represent a confluence of cultural and linguistic worlds in antiquity. Carson's first book project will explore how heroes from the Hebrew Bible and a particular conception of Jewish history and identity come together within the Christian historiography represented by De Excidio. At the University of Bern, Carson is part of the SNF-Sinergia Project: "Lege Iosephum! Ways of Reading Josephus in the Latin Middle Ages." There, his research concerns a medieval Jewish text called Sefer Yosippon. In particular, Carson is looking into how this Hebrew history makes use of earlier Latin sources, both Christian and classical, and what this means for our understanding of medieval Judaism and Hebrew historiography in the Middle Ages. In broader relief, this project comports with Carson's research trajectory inasmuch as Sefer Yosippon is an important part of Flavius Josephus' reception history, as is De Excidio. Furthermore, De Excidio happens to be a primary source of Sefer Yosippon. Thus, in some part Carson's research explores the Christian and Jewish trajectories of the reception of Flavius Josephus and the transformation of the tradition represented in his writings. Such a project involves comparative philology, historical inquiry, and the critical question of how texts and traditions are transmitted and transformed.
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