Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Theophilus ben Ananus

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Theophilus (Hebrew: תפלוס בר חנן‎) was the High Priest in the Second Temple in Jerusalem from 37 to 41 CE 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 but still uncommon belief points to this person as the person to whom the Gospel of Luke is addressed, but Theophilus is a common enough name that there are many other possibilities for the addressee of Luke's Gospel and Acts.

Theophilus was the son of Ananus (Hebrew: חנן‎) 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 of Nazareth 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". 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. The name 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. It is uncertain, however, whether the Johanna in the Gospel of Luke is the same Johanna as the one mentioned on the ossuary. According to Richard Bauckham, Johanna was "the fifth most popular woman's name in Jewish Palestine," and the Johanna of the Gospel of Luke was likely from Galilee, not from Jerusalem.

References

Theophilus ben Ananus Wikipedia


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