Anan ben Seth

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ANAN BEN SETH (Σεθί), high priest from 6 to 15 c.e. Anan was appointed by *Quirinius, governor of Syria, to succeed *Joezer b. Boethus but was deposed by *Valerius Gratus, procurator of Judea. During his high priesthood, the Samaritans succeeded in penetrating into the Temple during Passover and desecrated it by scattering bones in the porticoes (Zev. 113a; Tosef. Eduy. 3:3). Entrance to the Temple was thereupon forbidden and a strict watch imposed. Many of Anan's family served as high priests, including his five sons: Eleazar, Jonathan, Theophilus, Matthias, and Anan. Joseph Caiaphas, the high priest in the time of Jesus, was his son-in-law. Evidently Anan was an important figure in Jerusalem even after his deposition, since Jesus was first sent to him for interrogation after his arrest. The family of Anan (Bet Ḥanin) is one of the high-priestly families censured in the Talmud (Pes. 57a) for extortionate practices.


Jos., Ant., 18:26, 29–30, 34; John, 18:13 ff.; Acts, 4:6; Schuerer, Gesch, 2 (19074), 270.

[Lea Roth]