An early Judaeo-Christian endowed with the charism of prophecy. Agabus is first mentioned in Acts 11.27–28, where he is spoken of as accompanying a group of prophets who journeyed from Jerusalem to Antioch. There he predicted that a famine would soon overtake the world. Luke notes the fulfillment of his prophecy in the reign of the Emperor Claudius (a. d. 41–54). This is most probably the famine of Judea that Josephus describes in Ant. 3.15.3; 20.2.5; 5.2. As a result of Agabus's prediction, the Antiochian community collected alms for the Jerusalem Church, which had become impoverished through its charity to the poor. Agabus is almost certainly the same prophet who met Paul at Caesarea c. a. d. 58 and, through a symbolic action, predicted that Paul would be imprisoned in Jerusalem and given over to the Gentiles (Acts 21.10–11). In the Eastern Church Agabus is venerated as a martyr whose feast day is celebrated on March 8; in the West, he is included as a confessor in the Roman Martyrology on February 13.
Bibliography: a. wikenhauser, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 4:1314; Die Apostelgeschichte und ihr Geschichtswert (Münster 1921) 407–409. b. h. throckmorton, The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, g. a. buttrick, ed. (Nashville 1962) 1:52. k. s. gapp, "The Universal Famine under Claudius," Harvard Theological Review 28 (1935) 258–265.
[j. a. grassi]