Alexander the Zealot

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ALEXANDER THE ZEALOT , joint leader, with *Eleazar b. Dinai, of an armed band of Jews during the administration of the Roman procurator Ventidius *Cumanus (48–52 c.e.). They led a punitive expedition after a group of Galilean Jewish pilgrims had been murdered while passing through Samaria on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate one of the festivals. Cumanus, bribed by the Samaritans, took no steps to punish the guilty parties. The Jews thereupon abandoned the celebration of the festival and, under the leadership of Alexander and Eleazar, attacked several Samaritan villages, "massacred the inhabitants without distinction of age and burnt the villages." After a show of force by Cumanus and entreaties by the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem the armed bands dispersed, the zealots returning to their former strongholds in Judea.


Jos., Wars, 2:232 ff.; Jos., Ant., 20:118–24, Schuerer, Gesch, 1 (19014), 569 ff.

[Isaiah Gafni]

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Alexander the Zealot

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