Jesus son of Damneus

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Jesus ben Damneus
Religion Judaism
Temple Temple of Jerusalem
Other names Joshua ben Damneus, Yehoshua ben Damneus
Senior posting
Based in Jerusalem
Title High Priest of Israel
Predecessor Ananus ben Ananus
Successor Yehoshua ben Gamla
A page from a 1466 copy of Antiquities of the Jews

Jesus son of Damneus (Greek: Ἰησοῦς του Δαμναίου, Hebrew: ישוע בן דמנאי, Yeshua` ben Damnai) was a Herodian-era High Priest of Israel in Jerusalem, Iudaea Province.[1]

In the Antiquities of the Jews (Book 20, Chapter 9) first-century historian Josephus states that Jesus ben Damneus was made high priest after the previous high priest, Ananus son of Ananus, was removed from his position for executing James the brother of Jesus (James the Just).[2] After a large number of Jews complained and petitioned the king. Jesus ben Damneus himself was deposed less than a year later.

Josephus' reference to James the brother of Jesus
And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king, desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrin without his consent. Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest.

Flavius Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews Book 20, Chapter 9, 1[3] For Greek text see [1]

While the authenticity of some passages in Book 18 of Antiquities of the Jews has been subject to debate, the overwhelming majority of scholars consider the discussion of the death of James in Section 9 of Book 20 to be authentic.[4][5] Those who debate the authenticity of the passage argue that James brother of Jesus was James ben Damneus who was the brother of Jesus ben Damneus who is made high priest after the removal of Ananus.

The works of Josephus refer to at least twenty different people with the name Jesus, and in chapter 9 of Book 20, Jesus the son of Damneus is thought by many to be distinct from the reference to "Jesus called Christ", who is mentioned along with the identification of James.[6] John Painter states that phrase "who was called Christ" is used by Josephus in this passage "by way of distinguishing him from others of the same name such as the high priest Jesus son of Damneus, or Jesus son of Gamaliel" both having been mentioned by Josephus in this context.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Note that the Antiquities are in Greek, so it is not clear which variant in Hebrew would have corresponded to the name used by Josephus in this case
  2. ^ Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 20.9.1
  3. ^ Flavius Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, Chapter 9, 1, based on the translation of Louis H. Feldman, The Loeb Classical Library.
  4. ^ Louis Feldman and Gōhei Hata, eds. (1987). Josephus, Judaism and Christianity. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-08554-1. pages 54-57
  5. ^ Maier, Paul L. (December 1995). Josephus, the essential works: a condensation of Jewish antiquities and The Jewish war. Kregel Academic. ISBN 978-0-8254-3260-6. pp. 284-285.
  6. ^ Jesus Legend, The: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition by Gregory A. Boyd and Paul Rhodes Eddy (Aug 1, 2007) ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 129
  7. ^ Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition (Academic Paperback) by John Painter 2005 ISBN 0567041913 page 137
Jewish titles
Preceded by
Ananus ben Ananus
High Priest of Israel
63
Succeeded by
Yehoshua ben Gamla
Carrier, Richard (2012). "Origen, Eusebius, and the Accidental Interpolation in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.200". Journal of Early Christian Studies. 20 (4).