Jonathan (High Priest)

Born 1st century BCE or CE

Died c.  AD 58 [1]

Cause of death Slayed by robbers hired by Felix[1]
Nationality Israelite [2]
Parent(s) Unknown, possibly Theophilus or Ananus

Jonathan (High Priest) (Hebrew: יוֹנָתָן‎, Aramaic: יוֹנָתָן‎)(c. AD 58), also referred to as Jonathan the High Priest, was a first-century Jewish high priest and religious leader. Shortly after he was announced High Priest of Israel, he was killed by Antonius Felix in AD 58, the Roman procurator of the province Judea. He was stabbed by robbers hired by Felix with daggers at the Temple.[1] The crew of robbers was led by a man named Eleazar ben Dineas, a robber who was caught by Felix but made a deal to be set free if he accepted. However, he tricked him and sent him to Rome.[1] After some time, Felix devised a plan to kill Jonathan due to rivalry. He told one of Jonathan's friends, Doras, to assemble the robbers to kill Jonathan.[1] After they slew Jonathan, they received much respect from the government and many perks, such as extra security.[1] The main source that mentions this high priest is the Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus.

It is suggested that this Jonathan is the son of Theophilus ben Ananus mentioned on an Aramaic ossuary of the granddaughter of Theophilus, named Johanna. The inscription of the ossuary reads, "Yehoḥanah (Johanna) daughter of Yehoḥanan (Jonathan) son of Thefilus (Theophilus), the High Priest."[3]Since many male descendants of Ananus ben Seth also became high priests in the 1st century CE, it is possible that this Jonathan is the son of Theophilus. However, the ossuary only refers to Theophilus as a high priest, so it may have been a different person. According to Tal Ilan, Jonathan was the eighth most common male Jewish name in Palestine.[4]

Another possible identification for him is that he was Jonathan ben Ananus.[5] It is possible that the title was restored to him for a second time after 14 years. This could explain why Josephus refers to him only by his first name rather than his full name.

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Josephus, Flavius. Antiquities of the Jews 20.8.5
  2. ^ Leviticus 21:17
  3. ^ Barag, Dan. The Ossuary of Yehoḥanah Granddaughter of the High Priest Theophilus
  4. ^ Ilan, Tal. Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity: Palestine 330 BCE - 200 CE
  5. ^
Jewish titles
Preceded by

Ananias son of Nedebeus
High Priest of Israel

Succeeded by

Ishmael II ben Fabus
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