Help with Ancient Texts: The PACE Project Revisited, Part 2

In this post, we continue our updated look at the PACE Project. You can read the first post, on Places and Archaeology, or go all the way back to the original. Below, we explain the Bibliography and Compare Text tools.

Other useful tools are the Bibliography, which lets you search for articles that deal with specific passages in the text. We saw some of the results for Jewish War 6 in the last post; here’s a reminder.

Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 2.54.35 PM

If you want to look for bibliography on a broader scale, like a whole book or a subtopic in Josephus, it is easier to use the Bibliography tool from the front page.

Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 3.10.31 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-27 at 3.10.42 PM

Here we’ve searched for Maccabee, and we get references that deal with the Jewish Antiquities 12 and 13. But you can also choose specific Josephus (or Polybius!) passages, and even limit the publication Year and Type: book, article, chapter (Book Section), and some very specific subtypes like Newspaper or Magazine Article, Thesis, Personal Communication (!), and Audiovisual Material (among others). You can’t limit by language, however, so this tool again seems more useful for advanced researchers.

TIP: I haven’t been able to find results later than 2008, so be aware that this database is better for initial research queries than for advanced searches. For the most up-to-date research, APh and JStor are better tools.

Similarly, you can use the Reception History to find parallel passages in other ancient authors. Again, in the last post I mentioned that Reception History on the PACE site isn’t clearly defined and seems to mean textual parallels. Here’s an example from searching the main page:

pace project Josephus reception

You can click on View to see the relevant Josephus passage. The way that the columns are arranged is a little confusing: Work refers only to Josephus (I haven’t found any Polybius in this section, although admittedly I have not gone through all 488 pages; there is no filter for Work). All Josephan works have references, but they are not ordered by Josephus. Instead, they are ordered by the Century column, and after that, by the Reference column. So individual Authors and their works (References) are listed together. The only filter for these columns is by Century, so it is a little hard to use.

Within each Josephus reference, you can find the Book number as well as the Niese page and the Whiston section. These will help you locate the Josephus passage in the linked texts (as you’ll see, there are multiple sections per web page). The Scholarly Resource seems to indicate the author who first proposed the parallel, although this is not made explicit anywhere on the site.

I’m using the Tacitus passage as an example. When you click on View, you go to the relevant page of the Josephus text, in this case Jewish War 6.5.4 (6.312):

pace project Josephus TacitusThis image should look familiar, because we’re basically back to where we started! You’ll have to do a lot of the legwork for yourself. Here, for example, is the Lacus Curtius text of Tacitus, Histories 5.13:

lacus Curtius Tacitus josephusScreen Shot 2018-01-27 at 5.45.45 PM

Note 44 is the only relevant note, and you’ll notice that the reference here is to Jewish War 6.299, rather than 6.312. So by doing your own research, you may find interesting new topics to explore. Depending on your level of familiarity with these texts, with textual traditions, and with technology, you may find this experience exciting or frustrating. (For what it’s worth, both are correct: 312 refers to the idea that a man from Judaea would become ruler of the world, which in Tacitus’ text comes right before note 45. But note 45 of this translation of Tacitus refers to Daniel and Suetonius, not to Josephus.)

If you find this sort of textual comparison fun, you can explore more by using the intratextuality tool. This is called Textual Parallels on the PACE site, and it is a list of known parallels between passages from Josephus’ works.

textual parallels Josephus pace project

These parallels are limited to Josephus, and while you can search by Work and Book, there’s no real way to filter. If, for example, you were to look for parallels with Jewish War 6, you would start at 6.1, go to 6.2, 6.3, and so on. If you are looking for a specific passage, such as 6.312, you will have to use the arrow buttons to scroll forward one page at a time.

If you find a parallel that seems interesting, you can click View to see both passages open up in a new window.

pace project textual parallels Josephus

(Sorry, there are no parallels to Jewish War 6. Here is the first parallel in book 7.)

By default, the passages show up in English, but you can use the radio buttons to see them in Greek as well. I would recommend doing this if at all possible, since parallels are usually more visible in the original language.

If you look at the right-side text (the Life), you’ll see something else interesting: the option of a different English translation. Older selections from Brill’s Flavius Josephus Online are available on this site (as of the time of writing, it seems to be everything published before 2007). The new translations cover Jewish Antiquities 1-10 and the Life, and they are never the default text. If they are available, you will have to use the Brill radio button to view them.

TIP: Do it.

These translations are markedly better than the Whiston translations. Here is a side-by-side comparison of Jewish Antiquities 10.1 (you can see them better by double-clicking):


The Whiston translation sounds old, because it is old. The Brill translation, on the other hand, is crisp. It also has significantly expanded footnotes, which cover many different aspects of the text: there are notes on historical context, the significance of particular words, and traditional philological commentary (along the lines of “this word appears only here in all of Josephus”). All of these aspects make research much easier. If I had the option of assigning one to my class, I would definitely choose the Brill translation.

A few caveats about using the Textual Parallels tool are in order, though. All of the other resources, like Bibliography and Places, are inaccessible from this page. You will have to take note of the individual passages or places you’re interested in and search for the associated works, images, and videos from the main page. You also lose access to cross-references with other parts of the text. The only extra tool that is available from the Textual Parallels page is the Commentary, which is actually just where the footnotes in the text show up. You can only view one footnote at a time, so if you are using the Commentary for research purposes, be especially careful: it is really easy to mistake which text you’re getting the note from.

pace project Josephus commentary

This note comes from the expanded Brill commentary, but there’s no way to tell based on the note itself. Notice also that the Commentary links out to Places, but not to other sections of the text (even when those texts are available on the PACE site). So you’ll have to do your own legwork there.

As we mentioned in our original posts, this site is basically an archive of a site that ceased to be actively updated a decade ago. We are glad that is has found a new home, and we’ll be sure to update readers if it begins to be updated again. Until then, please note that you cannot use the Contact buttons (the email address is not valid, because the project is no longer housed at York University), and you cannot add material or get a member account for advanced features. That being said, the existing resources are useful for specific research tasks. It’s great to have the Brill translations and commentaries on Josephus, as well as Walbank’s on Polybius, available as open-access tools. The media available for Josephus is also a useful teaching tool, although it has to be used with caution. The experienced non-specialist will probably find this site helpful.



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