Theudas ( // ; died c. 46 AD) 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.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
Our principal source for the story is Josephus, who wrote:
Titus Flavius Josephus, born Yosef ben Matityahu, was a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer, who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry.
It came to pass, while Cuspius Fadus was procurator of Judea, that a certain charlatan, whose name was Theudas, persuaded a great part of the people to take their effects with them, and follow him to the Jordan river; for he told them he was a prophet, and that he would, by his own command, divide the river, and afford them an easy passage over it. Many were deluded by his words. However, Fadus did not permit them to make any advantage of his wild attempt, but sent a troop of horsemen out against them. After falling upon them unexpectedly, they slew many of them, and took many of them alive. They also took Theudas alive, cut off his head, and carried it to Jerusalem.(Jewish Antiquities 20.97-98)
Cuspius Fadus was an Ancient Roman eques and procurator of Iudaea Province in 44–46 AD.
A charlatan is a person practicing quackery or some similar confidence trick or deception in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception. Synonyms for "charlatan" include "shyster", "quack", or "faker". "Mountebank" comes from the Italian montambanco or montimbanco based on the phrase monta in banco - literally referring to the action of a seller of dubious medicines getting up on a bench to address his audience of potential customers. "Quack" is a reference to "quackery" or the practice of dubious medicine or a person who does not have actual medical training who purports to provide medical services.
In religion, a prophet is an individual who is regarded as being in contact with a divine being and is said to speak on that entity's behalf, serving as an intermediary with humanity by delivering messages or teachings from the supernatural source to other people. The message that the prophet conveys is called a prophecy.
The movement was dispersed, and was never heard of again.
Josephus does not provide a number for Theudas's followers, but Acts 5:36, if it is referring to the same Theudas (see below), reports that they numbered about 400.
The sole reference to Theudas presents a problem of chronology if one assumes the Acts of the Apostles and Josephus are speaking of the same person and Josephus is correct.In Acts, Gamaliel, a member of the Sanhedrin, defends the apostles by referring to Theudas:
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 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.
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.
Men of Israel, be cautious in deciding what to do with these men. Some time ago, Theudas came forward, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. But he was killed and his whole following was broken up and disappeared. After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census; he induced some people to revolt under his leadership, but he too perished and his whole following was scattered. (Acts 5:36-8 NEB)
The difficulty is that Gamaliel, speaking before the year 37, is described as referring to the rising of Theudas, linking it to the revolt of Judas of Galilee at the time of the Census of Quirinius decades before, in 6 CE. However, Josephus makes clear that the revolt of Theudas took place around 45, which is after Gamaliel is said to have spoken, and long after the time of Judas the Galilean.
It has been proposed that the writer of Acts used Josephus as a source, and made a mistake in reading the text, taking a later reference to the execution of the "sons of Judas the Galilean" after the rebellion of Theudas as saying that the rebellion of Judas was later; however it is a minority view as to whether the author of Luke used Josephus.It has also been suggested that the reference in Acts is to a different revolt by another, unknown Theudas, because Josephus states that there were numerous uprisings, saying there were "ten thousand disorders", but he gives details on only four and Theudas was not a unique name. According to ancient historian and New Testament scholar Paul Barnett "It seems unlikely that Luke would have made an error about an infamous contemporary".
The Gospel According to Luke, also called the Gospel of Luke, or simply Luke, is the third of the four canonical Gospels. It tells of the origins, birth, ministry, atonement, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.
The extant manuscripts of the writings of the first-century Romano-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus include references to Jesus and the origins of Christianity. Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, written around 93–94 AD, includes two references to the biblical Jesus Christ in Books 18 and 20 and a reference to John the Baptist in Book 18. Scholarly opinion varies on the total or partial authenticity of the reference in Book 18, Chapter 3, 3 of the Antiquities, a passage that states that Jesus the Messiah was a wise teacher who was crucified by Pilate, usually called the Testimonium Flavianum. The general scholarly view is that while the Testimonium Flavianum is most likely not authentic in its entirety, it is broadly agreed upon that it originally consisted of an authentic nucleus, which was then subject to Christian interpolation and/or alteration. Although the exact nature and extent of the Christian redaction remains unclear, broad consensus exists as to what the original text of the Testimonium by Josephus would have looked like.
Matthew the Apostle was, according to the Christian Bible, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to Christian tradition, one of the four Evangelists.
The historicity of Jesus is the question if Jesus of Nazareth can be regarded as a historical figure. Virtually all New Testament scholars and Near East historians, applying the standard criteria of historical-critical investigation, find that the historicity of Jesus is effectively certain, although they differ about the beliefs and teachings of Jesus as well as the accuracy of the details of his life that have been described in the gospels.
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.
A chronology of Jesus aims to establish a timeline for the events of the life of Jesus. Scholars have correlated Jewish and Greco-Roman documents and astronomical calendars with the New Testament accounts to estimate dates for the major events in Jesus's life.
Most scholars who study the historical Jesus and early Christianity believe that the canonical gospels and life of Jesus must be viewed within his historical and cultural context, rather than purely in terms of Christian orthodoxy. They look at Second Temple Judaism, the tensions, trends, and changes in the region under the influence of Hellenism and the Roman occupation, and the Jewish factions of the time, seeing Jesus as a Jew in this environment; and the written New Testament as arising from a period of oral gospel traditions after his death.
Jesus, also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity and is widely described as the most influential person in history. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah (Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament.
The four canonical gospels of the New Testament are the primary sources of information for the narrative of the life of Jesus. However, other parts of the New Testament, such as the Pauline epistles which were likely written within 20–30 years of each other, also include references to key episodes in his life such as the Last Supper. And the Acts of the Apostles (1:1–11) says more about the Ascension episode than the canonical gospels.
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 CE. He encouraged Jews not to register and those that did had their houses burnt and their cattle stolen by his followers. He began the "fourth philosophy" of the Jews which Josephus blames for the disastrous war with the Romans in 66–70 CE. These events are discussed by Josephus in The Jewish War and in Antiquities of the Jews and mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.
The baptism of Jesus is described in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John's gospel does not directly describe Jesus' baptism.
In the Christian gospels, the ministry of Jesus begins with his baptism in the countryside of Roman Judea and Transjordan, near the river Jordan, and ends in Jerusalem, following the Last Supper with his disciples. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" at the start of his ministry. A chronology of Jesus typically has the date of the start of his ministry estimated at around AD 27–29 and the end in the range AD 30–36.
Christianity in the 1st century deals with the formative years of the Early Christian community. The earliest followers of Jesus were a Jewish sect, which historians refer to as Jewish Christianity. The split of early Christianity from Judaism was gradual, as Christianity became a predominantly Gentile religion.
The historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles, the principal historical source for the Apostolic Age, is of interest for biblical scholars and historians of Early Christianity as part of the debate over the historicity of the Bible.
Simon son of Boethus was a Jewish High priest in the 1st century BCE and father-in-law of Herod the Great. According to Josephus, he was also known by the name Cantheras. His family is believed to have been connected to the school of the Boethusians, and a family whose origins are from Alexandria in Egypt.