The location provides a date for this legend, since the site of Eleutheropolis was a mere village called Betaris in the 1st century, whose inhabitants were slain and enslaved with others by Vespasian in AD 68 (Josephus). Barabbas’ full name was most likely Jesus Barabbas, in which the church father Origen took major issue, going as far to say that heretics put in the holy name of Jesus in front of Barabbas’ name. It was written to defend himself against the charges of his enemy Justus of Tiberias, who claimed that Josephus was responsible for the revolt. After the casting of lots he was not chosen, the lot instead favoring Matthias to be numbered with the remaining eleven apostles. (10:1), Theologian Robert Eisenman has read the shadowy figure of "Joseph Justus" as either a not-so-subtle cover for James the Just, or a cloned conflation who represents in a single figure all the Desposyni (Brothers of Jesus)—rejected, according to the author of Acts in favor of the otherwise-unknown Matthias. Barabbas makes an appearance throughout the Gospels, and receives even an implied mention in Acts. It is possible that Barabbas was merely a robber or highwayman, but more likely, given the use of the term ληστής (lhsth") in Josephus and other early sources, that he was a guerrilla warrior or revolutionary leader. According to his own account, he was a precocious youth who by the age of 14 was consulted by high priests in matters of Jewish law. We also know he had received a certain notoriety or popularity with the Jewish people. They didn’t like that Jesus’ message didn’t involve destroying the Romans. Even the rich young ruler does not get this privilege. If we truly are honest with ourselves, we may realize how often we call upon Jesus Barabbas, idols and solutions that don’t last, instead of the true solution: Jesus himself. They loved this Jesus guy, but Jesus’ message didn’t really align with their insurrectionist ideas to topple Rome. Of its two books, the first answers various anti-Semitic charges leveled at the Jews by Hellenistic writers, while the second provides an argument for the ethical superiority of Judaism over Hellenism and shows Josephus’ commitment to his religion and his culture. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. We have compiled these articles to help you study those whom God chose to set before us as examples in His Word. They brought in false witnesses who gave conflicting accounts and held his trial during the evening and early morning, certainly not protocol. Dirk Jongkind explains this issue more in his article here. [1] Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says that he was “surnamed Justus” or who “was called Justus”: “This is a Latin name, meaning just, and was probably given him on account of his distinguished integrity.”[citation needed] The Anglican Bible scholar J.B. Lightfoot “supposes that he [Joseph Barsabbas] was the son of Alphaeus and brother of James the Less, and that he was chosen on account of his relationship to the family of the Lord Jesus.”[citation needed], In Christian tradition, this Justus went on to become Bishop of Eleutheropolis, where he died a martyr and is venerated as Saint Justus of Eleutheropolis. The original Aramaic has been lost, but the extant Greek version was prepared under Josephus’ personal direction. We don’t really get many hints of this throughout the Old Testament, so perhaps the custom had woven its way into Jewish tradition later on. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. This may have also swayed the Jews to swing to Barabbas, whom they had more of a hope in overthrowing the Romans. The work has much narrative brilliance, particularly the description of the siege of Jerusalem; its fluent Greek contrasts sharply with the clumsier idiom of Josephus’ later works and attests the influence of his Greek assistants. There was not a shred of heroism in his character, and for his toadyism he well deserved the scorn heaped upon him by his countrymen. Announcing our NEW encyclopedia for Kids! His greatest work, Antiquitates Judaicae (The Antiquities of the Jews), completed in 20 books in ad 93, traces the history of the Jews from creation to just before the outbreak of the revolt of ad 66–70. Tradition states that after his release, Barabbas either watches Jesus’ crucifixion, or that he gets killed in another insurrection. Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. He stressed the invincibility of the Roman legions, and apparently one of his purposes in the works was to convince the Diasporan Jews in Mesopotamia, who may have been contemplating revolt, that resistance to Roman arms was pure folly. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Flavius-Josephus, Catholic Encyclopedia - Biography of Flavius Josephus, JewishEncyclopedia.com - Biography of Flavius Josephus, Jewish Virtual Library - Biography of Josephus Flavius, Flavius Josephus - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Some indicate he’d murdered someone, others said he robbed, and others say he participated in a revolt of some kind. But it may be said in his defense that he remained true to his Pharisee beliefs and, being no martyr, did what he could for his people. In other words, they were trying everything in their power to get Jesus convicted, through illegal means, because Jesus had not truly committed a crime. Compiled & Edited by BibleStudyTools Staff, The Life of Ruth - 5 Essential Faith Lessons, The Greatest Villain - King Nebuchadnezzar, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Politically, however, the Pharisees had no sympathy with the intense Jewish nationalism of such sects as the military patriotic Zealots and were willing to submit to Roman rule if only the Jews could maintain their religious independence. He shared a name with Jesus, but the similarities stopped there. We ought to analyze some of the reasons for their doing this. In Christian tradition he is numbered among the Seventy disciples mentioned in Luke 10:1–24, although the biblical text mentions no names. This most likely indicates he was a freedom fighter of some kind, similar to many of the zealot uprisings that occurred during that time. The Jewish War not only is the principal source for the Jewish revolt but is especially valuable for its description of Roman military tactics and strategy. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. What changed? Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain Image/Antonio Ciseri. Outside of the Bible do we have any historical evidence that Barabbas existed? After all, a week prior, they waved palm branches and sang “Hosanna” (“Save us, now!”) to Jesus. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Tomorrow I will deal with the second best – an argument from archaeology. As a historian, Josephus shares the faults of most ancient writers: his analyses are superficial, his chronology faulty, his facts exaggerated, his speeches contrived. Please enter your email address associated with your Salem All-Pass account, then click Continue. Flavius Josephus’s works contain faulty chronology and exaggerated facts. As we see in the Gospel accounts above, they seem to conflict in Barabbas’ crime. Flavius Josephus was appointed military commander of Galilee by Judaeans revolting against Rome. He adopted the name Flavius (Vespasian’s family name), accompanied his patron to Alexandria, and there married for the third time. The Bible is, of course, a historical book. of Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) Den (releasing July 2020), Dear Hero (releasing September 2020), and Dear Henchman (releasing 2021)  Find out more about her at her website. Appended to the Antiquities was a Vita (Life), which is less an autobiography than an apology for Josephus’ conduct in Galilee during the revolt. Scripture makes it clear that the religious leaders had kneaded their way through the crowds, convincing people to choose Barabbas over Jesus. Flavius Josephus was born of an aristocratic priestly family in Jerusalem. "After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come." Flavius Josephus was born of an aristocratic priestly Jewish family in Jerusalem. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. We do know from the historian Josephus that many Jews had rebelled similarly through insurrections, earning a great deal of these zealots a crucifixion punishment by the Romans. In the Acts of the Apostles, Joseph Barsabbas (also known as Justus) is one of two candidates qualified to be chosen for the office of apostle after Judas Iscariot lost his apostleship when he betrayed Jesus and committed suicide. Besides traditional accounts, where Barabbas dies in another insurrection, we don’t hear much else about this freedom fighter. Despite his moderate stance, he was appointed military commander of Galilee, where (if his own untrustworthy account may be believed) he was obstructed in his efforts at conciliation by the enmity of the local partisans led by John of Giscala. Barabbas was most likely a freedom fighter who had taken his zealous actions too far. His major books are History of the Jewish War (75–79), The Antiquities of the Jews (93), and Against Apion.

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