Ananias of Adiabene

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ANANIAS OF ADIABENE (early first century c.e.), Jewish merchant who was instrumental in the conversion of *Izates and the royal family of *Adiabene. Izates, son of King Monabaz and Queen Helena of Adiabene, was sent as a youth to Charax Spasinu, capital of the tiny kingdom of Charakene between the mouths of the Tigris and the Euphrates. Izates was converted to Judaism by Ananias, a Jewish merchant who had previously converted the wives of the local ruler. After he became king of Adiabene, Izates learned that his mother had also converted to Judaism; consequently he wished to complete his own conversion by having himself circumcised. However, both his mother and Ananias rejected this idea, the latter on the grounds that "the king could worship God even without being circumcised if indeed he had fully decided to be a devoted adherent of Judaism, for this counted more than circumcision."


Jos., Ant., 20:34 ff.; Josephus, Works (Loeb ed.), 9 (1965), 410–1, 586.

[Isaiah Gafni]