Judas of Galilee

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Judas of Galilee, or Judas of Gamala , was a Jewish leader who led resistance to the census imposed for Roman tax purposes by Quirinius in Judea Province around 6 AD. [1] He encouraged Jews not to register and those that did had their houses burnt and their cattle stolen by his followers. [2] He began the "fourth philosophy" of the Jews which Josephus blames for the disastrous war with the Romans in 66–70 AD. These events are discussed by Josephus in The Jewish War and in Antiquities of the Jews and mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.

Gamla Ancient Jewish city

Gamla, alt. sp. Gamala was an ancient Jewish city on the Golan Heights. It is believed to have been founded as a Seleucid fort during the Syrian Wars which was turned into a city under Hasmonean rule in 81 BCE. During the Great Revolt, it became an important stronghold for rebels and because of this Gamla is a symbol of heroism for the modern state of Israel and an important historical and archaeological site. It lies within the current Gamla nature reserve and is a prominent tourist attraction.

The Census of Quirinius was a census of Judea taken by Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, Roman governor of Syria, upon the imposition of direct Roman rule in 6 CE. The Gospel of Luke uses it as the narrative means to establish the birth of Jesus, but places it within the reign of Herod the Great, who died 9 years earlier. No satisfactory explanation of the contradiction seems possible, and most scholars think that the author of the gospel made an error.

Roman Empire Period of Imperial Rome following the Roman Republic (27 BC–476 AD)

The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from Italy, homeland of the Romans and metropole of the empire, with the city of Rome as capital. The Roman Empire was then ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Senate of Rome sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople. The fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

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In Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus states that Judas, along with Zadok the Pharisee, founded the "fourth sect" of 1st century Judaism [3] (the first three being the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Essenes). Josephus blamed this fourth sect for the First Jewish–Roman War of 66–73 AD. Judas and Zaddok's group were theocratic nationalists who preached that God alone was the ruler of Israel and urged that no taxes should be paid to Rome. [4]

The Sadducees were a sect or group of Jews that was active in Judea during the Second Temple period, starting from the second century BC through the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. The sect was identified by Josephus with the upper social and economic echelon of Judean society. As a whole, the sect fulfilled various political, social, and religious roles, including maintaining the Temple. The Sadducees are often compared to other contemporaneous sects, including the Pharisees and the Essenes. Their sect is believed to have become extinct some time after the destruction of Herod's Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, but it has been speculated that the later Karaites may have had some roots in—or connections with—Sadducaic views.

The Pharisees were a social movement and a school of thought in the Holy Land during the time of Second Temple Judaism. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Pharisaic beliefs became the foundational, liturgical and ritualistic basis for Rabbinic Judaism.

The Essenes were a Jewish sect during the Second Temple period that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE.

Several scholars, such as Gunnar Haaland and James S. McLaren, have suggested that Josephus's description of the fourth sect does not reflect historical reality, but was constructed to serve his own interests. According to Haaland, the part covering the sect acts as a transition and an introduction to the excursion concerning the Jewish schools of thought, all of which Josephus presents to portray the majority of Jews in a positive light, and to show that the Jewish War was incited by a radical minority. [5] Similarly, McLaren proposes that Judas and his sect act as scapegoats for the war that are chronologically, geographically and socially removed from the priestly circles of Jerusalem (and Josephus himself). [6]

Josephus does not relate the death of Judas, although he does report that Judas' sons James and Simon were executed by procurator Tiberius Julius Alexander in about 46 AD. [7] He also reports that Menahem ben Judah, one of the early leaders of the Jewish Revolt in 66 AD, was Judas' "son", but some scholars doubt this. Menahem may have been Judas' grandson, however. [8] Menahem's cousin, Eleazar ben Ya'ir, then escaped to the fortress of Masada where he became a leader of the last doomed defenders against the Roman Empire.

Procurator was a title of certain officials in ancient Rome who were in charge of the financial affairs of a province, or imperial governor of a minor province.

Tiberius Julius Alexander was an equestrian governor and general in the Roman Empire. Born into a wealthy Jewish family of Alexandria but abandoning or neglecting the Jewish religion, he rose to become procurator of Judea under Claudius. While Prefect of Egypt (66–69), he employed his legions against the Alexandrian Jews in a brutal response to ethnic violence, and was instrumental in the Emperor Vespasian's rise to power. In 70, he participated in the Siege of Jerusalem as Titus' second-in-command.

Menahem ben Judah was one of several Jewish Messiah claimants around the time of the Jewish War and is mentioned by Josephus. He was the leader of a faction called the Sicarii who carried out assassinations of Romans and collaborators in the Holy Land.

Judas is referred to in Acts of the Apostles, in which a speech by Gamaliel, a member of the Sanhedrin, identifies Theudas and Judas as examples of failed Messianic movements, and suggests that the movement emerging in the name of Jesus of Nazareth could similarly fail. [9]

Acts of the Apostles Book of the New Testament

Acts of the Apostles, often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of the Christian church and the spread of its message to the Roman Empire.

Gamaliel Doctor of Jewish Law, member of the Sanhedrin

Gamaliel the Elder, or Rabban Gamaliel I, was a leading authority in the Sanhedrin in the early first century CE. He was the son of Simeon ben Hillel and grandson of the great Jewish teacher Hillel the Elder. Gamaliel is thought to have died in 52 CE. He fathered Simeon ben Gamliel, who was named for his father, and a daughter, who married a priest named Simon ben Nathanael.

Sanhedrin Ancient High Court and Legislature in the land of Israel

The Sanhedrin were assemblies of either twenty-three or seventy-one rabbis appointed to sit as a tribunal in every city in the ancient Land of Israel.

See also

Generically, a Galilean is an inhabitant of Galilee. The New Testament notes that the Apostle Peter's accent gave him away as a Galilean. The Galilean dialect referred to in the New Testament was a form of Jewish Aramaic spoken by people in Galilee from the late Second Temple period (530 BCE) through the Apostolic Age (c. 100 CE). Later the term was used to refer to the early Christians by Roman emperors Julian and Marcus Aurelius, among others.

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Josephus First-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer

Titus Flavius Josephus, born Yosef ben Matityahu, was a first-century Romano-Jewish historian who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry.

The Sicarii were a splinter group of the Jewish Zealots who, in the decades preceding Jerusalem's destruction in 70 CE, strongly opposed the Roman occupation of Judea and attempted to expel them and their sympathizers from the area. The Sicarii carried sicae, or small daggers, concealed in their cloaks. At public gatherings, they pulled out these daggers to attack Romans and Hebrew Roman sympathizers alike, blending into the crowd after the deed to escape detection.

Hasmonean dynasty dynasty

The Hasmonean dynasty was a ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity. Between c. 140 and c. 116 BCE the dynasty ruled Judea semi-autonomously from the Seleucids. From 110 BCE, with the Seleucid Empire disintegrating, the dynasty became fully independent, expanded into the neighbouring regions of Samaria, Galilee, Iturea, Perea, and Idumea, and took the title "basileus". Some modern scholars refer to this period as an independent kingdom of Israel.

The Nazarenes originated as a Christian sect of first-century Judaism. The first use of the term "sect of the Nazarenes" is in the Book of Acts in the New Testament, where Paul is accused of being a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. Then, the term simply designated followers of "Yeshua Natzri", as the Hebrew term נוֹצְרִי still does, but in the first to fourth centuries, the term was used for a sect of followers of Jesus who were closer to Judaism than most Christians. They are described by Epiphanius of Salamis and are mentioned later by Jerome and Augustine of Hippo. The writers made a distinction between the Nazarenes of their time and the "Nazarenes" mentioned in Acts 24:5, where Paul the Apostle is accused before Felix at Caesarea by Tertullus.

Theudas was a Jewish rebel of the 1st century AD. Scholars attribute to his name a Greek etymology possibly meant as “flowing with water”, although with a Hellenist-styled ending. At some point between 44 and 46 AD, Theudas led his followers in a short-lived revolt.

The Zealots were a political movement in 1st-century Second Temple Judaism, which sought to incite the people of Judea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the Holy Land by force of arms, most notably during the First Jewish–Roman War (66–70). Zealotry was the term used by Josephus for a "fourth sect" or "fourth Jewish philosophy" during this period.

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<i>Antiquities of the Jews</i> book by Flavius Josephus

Antiquities of the Jews is a 20-volume historiographical work, written in Greek, by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in the 13th year of the reign of Roman emperor Flavius Domitian which was around AD 93 or 94. Antiquities of the Jews contains an account of history of the Jewish people for Josephus' gentile patrons. In the first ten volumes, Josephus follows the events of the historical books of the Hebrew Bible beginning with the creation of Adam and Eve.

The Herodians (Herodiani) were a sect of Hellenistic Jews mentioned in the New Testament on two occasions — first in Galilee, and later in Jerusalem — being hostile to Jesus. In each of these cases their name is coupled with that of the Pharisees.

Hyrcanus II

John Hyrcanus II, a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, was for a long time the Jewish High Priest in the 1st century BCE. He was also briefly King of Judea 67–66 BCE and then the ethnarch (ruler) of Judea probably 47–40 BCE.

Alexander the Alabarch was an Alexandrian Jewish aristocrat. His brother was the exegete and philosopher Philo of Alexandria.

Ananias son of Nebedeus was a high priest who, according to the Acts of the Apostles, presided during the trials of the apostle Paul at Jerusalem ) and Caesarea.

Hyrcania (fortress) fortress in Palestine

Hyrcania was an ancient fortress in the Judean Desert. The site was rebuilt during the Byzantine period as a monastery called Kastellion.

The Jacob and Simon uprising was a revolt instigated in Roman Judea by brothers Simon and Jacob in 46–48 CE. The revolt, which was concentrated in the Galilee, began as a sporadic insurgency and when climaxed in 48 CE was quickly put down by Roman authorities and both brothers executed.

The Egyptian was a messianic Jewish revolt leader.

References

  1. Raymond Brown, An Adult Christ at Christmas: Essays on the Three Biblical Christmas Stories, Matthew 2 and Luke 2 by Raymond E. Brown (Liturgical Press, 1978), page 17.
  2. Julian Doyle, 'Crucifixion's a Doddle
  3. Flavius Josephus, Antiquities Book 18 Chapter 1
  4. Reza Aslan, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, pp. 40–41
  5. Gunnar Haaland, A Villain and the VIPs: Josephus on Judas the Galilean and the Essenes. In Anders Kolstergaard et al. (ed.), Northern Lights on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Proceedings of the Nordic Qumran Network 2003–2006. Studies on the Text of the Deserts of Judah v. 80. Leiden: Brill, 2009. Pp. 241–244.
  6. James S. McLaren, Constructing Judaean History in the Diaspora: Josephus’s Accounts of Judas. In John M.G. Barclay (ed.), Negotiating Diaspora: Jewish Strategies in the Roman Empire. London: T&T Clark, 2004. Pp. 90–108.
  7. Flavius Josephus, Antiquities 20.5.2 102
  8. Messianic claimants (12) Menahem
  9. Acts 5:37