Also in A.D. 6 – The Zealots

The Census Revolt of 6 A.D. and the rise of the Jewish Sect of the Zealots:

After the banishment of the ethnarch Herod Archelaus in A.D. 6, Iudaea (the Roman conglomeration of Samaria, Judea and Idumea) came under direct Roman administration with Coponius appointed as prefect. At the same time, Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was appointed Legate of Syria, with instructions to assess the Iudean Province for taxation purposes. One of his first duties was to carry out a census as part of this order. The Jews already hated their pagan conquerors, and some said that censuses were forbidden under Jewish law. The assessment was greatly resented by the Jews, and open revolt was prevented around Jerusalem by the efforts of the high priest Joazar.

Judas of Galilee, or Judas of Gamala, was a Jewish leader who led resistance to the census imposed for Roman tax purposes by Quirinius in the Roman Province Idumea in A.D. 6. He encouraged Jews not to register and those that did had their houses burnt and their cattle stolen by his followers. He founded what Josephus referred to as the “fourth philosophical sect” of the Jews, the Zealots. In Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus states that Judas, along with Zadok the Pharisee, established the “fourth sect” of 1st century Judaism, the “we’re mad, and we’re not going to take it anymore” group. The first three being the Sadducees, a small but wealthy sect of Jews who controlled the Temple in Jerusalem, the Pharisees the pious group Jewish scholar/lawyers, and the Essenes the Jewish fundamentalist, separatist sect who were the keepers of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Josephus blamed this fourth sect for the First Jewish–Roman War of A.D. 66–73. Judas and Zadok’s group were anti-Roman, theocratic nationalists who preached that God alone was the ruler of Israel and urged that no taxes should be paid to Rome.

Judas is referred to in the Acts of the Apostles, in which a speech by the Pharisee Gamaliel, a member of the Sanhedrin, who identifies Theudas and Judas as examples of failed Messianic movements, and suggests that the movement emerging in the name of Jesus of Nazareth could similarly fail.