Monday, June 10

Wars of the Jews {Review}

When hubs got word that we'd been given the opportunity to review a book about Bocephus, he was elated! Finally - we were going to do a unit on something he loved. But sadly, The Wars of the Jews set from Memoria Press is all about JOsephus, rather than BOcephus. So he cranked up his Hank Jr., went back to work, and let the high school freshman tackle his history...

Fortunately, said high schooler is all about some ancient history, so this set was right up his alley! Designed for grades 9-12, this set includes the student book, teacher guide, student workbook, and a printable test. Because we were close to the end of school, and because he loves this subject so much, he was able to finish the entire set in only two weeks. However, it's designed to be used over a period of a couple of months as an introduction to the history of Christianity.

Learn more about the Jewish culture in our free Jewish Holidays in Literature units!

Who is Josephus?
Josephus was born in Jerusalem during the first century.  He fought against the Romans in the First Jewish-Roman War, but surrendered to the Romans.  He was kept as a slave and interpreter by the Emperor Vespasian.  Upon receiving his freedom two years later, Jospehus changed his name to Flavius (the emperor's family name).  He defected to the Roman side of the Jewish-Roman conflict and served as a translator to Titus during the Seige of Jerusalem.  His first-hand accounts of this era provide insight into the world of Judaism and early Christianity.

Having reached a point in his adolescence where he interested in other religions, particularly Judaism, the timing of our using The Wars of the Jews couldn't have been better.  Josephus is a renowned historian known for reporting Jewish events of the first century.  This particular set focuses only on his fifth and sixth books, and the text has been abridged so that students can understand it.  These particular books feature the conflict between the Romans and Jews.

How does the set work?
Set up similarly to other Memoria Press products (of which we are a fan!), there is a section of text to read followed by the student workbook components, including vocabulary (only in the first lesson), comprehension questions, and an overview of important facts. The textbook has black and white illustrations and features the abridged works of Josephus from Books V and VI.  (Because they were abridged, my son found them a bit easier to understand.)  
The meat of this text comes in the section on important facts.  Much of it is important people, places, and key events that the student will need to understand to digest the material.

Check out some samples of the pages to see what we mean...
In total, there are ten lessons plus the review, making this the shortest book we've used from them. It's a nice segue between books or, in our case, a summer study for someone who is particularly interested in the topic.

I would recommend using this as a supplement to Bible or Torah studies and / or for the student who is interested in ancient history.  It can be completed independently, without much help from the parent.  I used the teacher book to check his answers occasionally, and then checked his test answers at the end.  

See what others are saying about Memoria Press at the Homeschool Review Crew!
Crew DisclaimerClassical Writing & Spelling, American History & Jewish Wars {Memoria Press Reviews}

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