A group of men mentioned in the New Testament as united with the Pharisees against Jesus (Mk 3.6; 12.13; Mt 22.16). The Herodians (ἡρῳδιανοι) did not constitute a religious sect, but probably were members of a small clique of avowed partisans of the Herodian dynasty represented by herod antipas. After the deposition of Archelaus, c. a.d. 7, Judea was placed under a Roman procurator. The Jews resented this foreign rule and grew bitter because of the cruelty of many of these governors. Some Jews regarded the reestablishment of the Herodian rule over all of Palestine as necessary for the nation's preservation and for its eventual full independence.
Bibliography: h. h. rowley, "The Herodians of the Gospel," Journal of Theological Studies 41 (London 1940) 14–27. Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, tr. and adap. by l. hartman (New York 1963) 990–991.
[j. m. dougherty]
HERODIANS , a sect or party mentioned in the New Testament together with the *Pharisees as opponents of Jesus (Mark 3:6; 12:13; Matt. 22:16). There are differences of opinion as to their identity, and the Church Fathers already put forward various theories all connected in one form or another with the name of *Herod the Great. Some recent scholars identify the Herodians with the "partisans of Herod" mentioned by Josephus (Ant., 14:479), though he mentions them as living at the beginning of Herod's rule in Judea. Others connect the name with Herod *Antipas, the son of Herod. In the absence of clear evidence, these must be regarded as mere conjectures. A. Schalit, who identifies the Herodians with the partisans of Herod, is of the opinion that they were his supporters among the Jewish community who urged the people to accept his sovereignty and spread messianic ideas which they applied to Herod and his rule.
Bickerman, in: rb, 47 (1938), 184–97; Avi-Yonah, in: iej, 16 (1966), 264; A. Schalit, Koenig Herodes (1969), 479ff.