Anan, Son of Anan

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ANAN, SON OF ANAN , high priest of the family of *Anan the son of Seth. Appointed to the office by *Agrippa ii in 62 c.e., Anan officiated for three months only. He used the interval between the death of the procurator *Festus and the arrival of his successor *Albinus to convene the Sanhedrin and have several persons condemned to death, including James, brother of Jesus. The people resented Anan's audacity and successfully persuaded Agrippa and Albinus to depose him. Anan was elected to the government constituted after the defeat of Cestius Gallus in the autumn of 66. He played a central role at the beginning of the war against the Romans when he was entrusted with defending the walls of Jerusalem. However, he was not wholeheartedly in favor of the war. Anan tried to hold on to the reigns of government even when his conciliatory policy toward the Romans was no longer popular. When the *Zealots prevailed in Jerusalem, mistreating the pacifists among the local aristocrats and appointing an illegitimate high priest, Anan, with other heads of government, decided to suppress them by force. He convened an assembly of the people and hoped to incite them against the Zealots, whom he condemned for converting the Temple into a fortress and for abusing its ritual purity. Claiming that the Zealots' deeds were worse than those of the Romans, he blamed the people for allowing them to come to power. Many answered his call. Though Anan hesitated to use the Temple precincts as a battleground, his men captured the Temple courtyard where they besieged the Zealots. In this struggle *John of Giscala played an important role. At first he belonged to Anan's camp and tried to mediate between both parties. Finally convinced that Anan was collaborating with Romans, John went over to the Zealots. Upon his suggestion, the Zealots solicited the aid of the Idumeans, whose forces decided the conflict. Anan was a victim of the ensuing wholesale massacre in the city. Josephus once criticized Anan as a willful conceited Sadducee, but later eulogized him by saying that, had he lived, the city would have been saved and peace achieved between the Jews and Romans. Anan is identified by some scholars with the "Wicked Priest" of the Dead Sea Scrolls.


Jos., Ant., 20:197 ff.; Jos., Wars, 2:563, 648, 651; 4:160 ff., 314 ff., 508; Jos., Life, 38, 39, 44, 60; Schuerer, Gesch, 1 (19044), 581 ff., 618 ff.; 2 (1907), 273; Graetz, Hist, 6 (1898), 168f. (index).

[Lea Roth]