Theophilus ben Ananus, High Priest of Iudaea

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Theophilus ben Ananus, High Priest of Iudaea

Hebrew: תיאופילוס בן חנן, כהן גדול
Immediate Family:

Son of Annas בן שת
Father of Matthias ben Theophilus II, High Priest of Iudaea and Jonathan ben Theophilus
Brother of N.N. bat Annas; Eleazar ben Ananus, High Priest of Iudaea; Jonathan ben Ananus, High Priest of Iudaea; Ananus ben Ananus, High Priest of Iudaea and Matthias ben Ananus, High Priest of Iudaea

Managed by: Sharon Doubell
Last Updated:

About Theophilus ben Ananus, High Priest of Iudaea

Theophilus was the High Priest in the Second Temple in Jerusalem from AD 37 to 41 according to Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews. He was a member of one of the wealthiest and most influential Jewish families in Iudaea Province during the 1st century. A growing belief[1] points to this person as the person to whom the Gospel of Luke is addressed.

Theophilus was the son of Annas and the brother of Eleazar, Jonathan, Matthias and Ananus, all of whom served as High Priests. He was also the brother-in-law of Joseph Caiaphas, the High Priest before whom Jesus appeared. In addition, his son Matthias served as the next to the last High Priest before the destruction of the Temple by the Romans.

Archeological evidence confirming the existence of Theophilus, as an ossuary has been discovered bearing the inscription, "Johanna granddaughter of Theophilus, the High Priest".[2]} The details of this ossuary have been published in the Israel Exploration Journal. Therefore Theophilus had at least one other son named Jonathan, father to Johanna. Johanna appears twice in the New Testament in the Gospel of Luke. First as one of women healed by Jesus who travels with Jesus and the disciples to Jerusalem. Her second appearance also in the Gospel of Luke is on Easter Sunday when she and other women visits the empty tomb.

High Priests under Herodians and Romans

During the First Jewish-Roman War

  • Phannias ben Samuel 67-70

The House of Boethus

  • Simon ben Boethus 23-5 BC (his daughter Mariamne was third wife of Herod the Great)
  • Joazar, son of Boethus (4 BC and before 6 AD), unpopular and an advocate of compliance with the Roman census
  • Eleazar, son of Boethus (4-3 BC)
  • Simon Cantheras, son of Boethus (41-42 AD)
  • Elioneus, son of Simon Cantheras (43-44 AD)
  • Joshua, son of Gamaliel (64 AD), whose wife Martha belonged to the house

The House of Ananus