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Unger's Bible Dictionary - Annas



AN'NAS (an'as; a contracted form of Ananias). A high priest of the Jews. Josephus calls him Ananus, the son of Seth. He was first appointed high priest by Quirinius, proconsul of Syria, about A.D. 7 but was removed after seven years (Kitto says fifteen years) by Valerius Gratus, procurator of Judea (Josephus Ant. 18.2.1-2). Annas is mentioned in Luke 3:2 as being high priest along with Caiaphas. Our Lord's first hearing was before Annas (John 18:13), who sent Him bound to Caiaphas (v. 24). In Acts 4:6 he is plainly called high priest. He had four sons who filled that office, besides his son-in-law, Caiaphas. There have been several theories advanced to reconcile the application of high priest to Annas and Caiaphas at the same time. Kitto thinks that Annas was regarded as being high priest jure divino and having authority in spiritual matters, whereas Caiaphas was the pontiff recognized by the government. The probability is that his great age, abilities, and influence, and his being the father-in-law of Caiaphas made him practically the high priest, although his son-in-law held the office.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. Josephus Ant. 18.2.1-2; 20.9.1; A. Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ (1961), pp. 239-48; E. Schurer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (1973-79), 2:184-236, 404-14.

(From The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

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