Flavius Josephus, whose Hebrew name was Joseph ben Mattathias, was born in the year 37/38 AD in Jerusalem. His father was a priest of the course of Jehoiarib (see 1 Chr. 24:7), and his mother was descended from the Hasmonean high priests and kings who had ruled in Jerusalem until the time of Herod. From an early age he took an interest and played a part in political life. His career, first as Jewish general, then as a client of the Flavian emperors, is known to us from his writings which include his Life, published around 95 AD. The date of his death is not precisely known, but is often given as around the year 100 AD. His account of the Jewish War (published towards the end of the 70s), his Jewish Antiquities (completed some twenty years after War), and his tract against the anti-Semitic Apion (Contra Apionem) written towards the end of his life, all provide information about the Second Temple which Josephus had known, and had possibly served as priest, during its final years.1