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Journal > Volumes > 49 (2018) / 1 (Spring)
What Was Thomas Lodge's Josephus in Early Modern England
Freja Cox Jensen
University of Exeter

Thomas Lodge’s English rendering of the complete works of Josephus was the most frequently reprinted translation of an ancient historian in early modern England. Entering over twenty editions by the end of the seventeenth century, the book was demonstrably a high-value product, aimed at a market of educated and aspiring members of the upper social orders. A focus on the materiality of the book reveals a dominant reception of Lodge’s Josephus that differs markedly from previous assessments, which have been drawn predominantly from a close reading of the text. Lodge’s Josephus thus provides an object lesson in the need to consider more aspects of a book’s history than a reading of the core text alone in order to fully comprehend the function of a book or text in society, and to arrive at a richer understanding of the early modern world than examples of individual readers and writers can provide.

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