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Judah the Galilean


JUDAH THE GALILEAN (d. c. 6 c.e.), considered by many scholars identical with Judah, the son of *Hezekiah who was put to death by Herod in Galilee. Judah came from Gamala in the Golan (Jos., Ant., 18:4). Immediately after the death of Herod (4 b.c.e.) Judah participated in the widespread disturbances in the country. He had put himself at the head of a band of rebels near Sepphoris and had seized control of the armory in Herod's palace in the city. According to Josephus, he had even aspired to the throne (Ant., 17:271–2; Wars, 2:56). Though the rebels were defeated, Judah apparently succeeded in escaping (Jos., Ant., 17:289ff.). Together with *Zadok the Pharisee, he was one of the founders of the "fourth philosophy," i.e., the Sicarii (Ant., 18:23–5). When Sulpicius *Quirinius, the governor of Syria, arrived in Judea in 6 c.e. to take a census, as the first step toward converting the country into a Roman province, Judah and Zadok urged the people to resist, maintaining that submitting to a census in Judea was a religious sin, the Jewish people being forbidden to acknowledge any other master but God (Jos., Wars, 2:118, 433). Judah's doctrine struck root among the embittered people, especially among the youth, and its consequences were visible in the period of the procurators, particularly in the last years before the Roman War and during the war itself.

Of his three sons, Jacob and Simeon both continued the zealot tradition and headed the rebels. Both brothers were arrested and crucified during the procuratorship of Tiberius Alexander (46–48 c.e.; Jos., Ant., 20:102). Their brother Menahem was one of the Jewish leaders in the Roman War. For the "fourth philosophy" founded by Judah the Galilean, see *Zealots and *Sicarii.


Schuerer, Hist, index, s.v.Judas of Galilee and p. 226 (for his sons); Klausner, Bayit Sheni, index, s.v.Yehudah ha-Galili; A.H.M. Jones, The Herods of Judaea (1938), 163, 225, 243.

[Abraham Schalit]

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