Flavius Josephus (A.D. 37-c.100) is the author of what has become for Christianity perhaps the most significant extra-biblical writings of the first century. His works are the principal source for the history of the Jews from the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (B.C. 17-63) to the fall of Masada in A.D. 73, and therefore, are of incomparable value for determining the setting of late inter-testamental and New Testament times. Josephus, born the son of a priest, was named Joseph ben Matthias (Joseph, son of Matthias). Being of a priestly family and a descendant of the Hasmoneans, he was well educated and rose to a respected position in the Jewish community.