The incineration of Saul's and his sons' corpses according to Josephus

Michael Avioz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This article deals with Josephus's retelling of the Bible story of the incineration of the bones of Saul and his sons in 1 Samuel 31. In several places in the biblical text, researchers have found echoes of the practice of cremation, a practice borne out in archaeological excavations. The question dealt with in the Bible is: How does Josephus treat the practice of cremation? This question is examined through comparison of earlier texts that retell the biblical accounts. It is argued that Josephus (Ant. 6.375-77) omits cremation from his account in order not to draw similarities between Israelite burial practices and pagan ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-292
Number of pages8
JournalJournal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Burial practices
  • Cremation
  • Jewish antiquities
  • Josephus
  • King Saul


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