Ananias, A.D. 48

Ananias the Chief Priest (Chief Priest from A.D. 48 to A.D. 58 or 59):

Ananias was the son of Nedebaeus. He was a Sadducee (a member of the sect of Jewish “realists” who did not believe in life after death, and therefor did not believe in the resurrection of the soul and hence did not believe either in the resurrection of Christ or in the final resurrection, i.e. the final judgement of all souls). Ananias reigned as high priest from A.D. 48 to 58 or 59. He was known for his avarice and liberal use of violence.

Josephus says he confiscated for himself the tithes given the ordinary priests and gave lavish bribes to Romans and also Jews (cf. Antiq. XX, 205-7 [ix.2], 213 [ix.4]). He was a brutal and scheming man, hated by Jewish nationalists (i.e. the heterodox Jerusalem Judaizers and the Zealots) for his pro-Roman policies.

Josephus also tells us that when the Jews began to fight against the Romans in A.D. 66 in the 1st Roman Jewish War, the Jewish nationalists (that is probably the group I am describing as the Heterodox Judaizers or the Zealots) burned his house down (cf. Jos. War II, 426 [xvii.6]) and he was forced to flee to the palace of Herod the Great in the northern part of Jerusalem (ibid., 429 [xvii.6]). Ananias was finally trapped while hiding in an aqueduct on the palace grounds and was killed along with his brother Hezekiah (ibid., 441-42 [xvii.9]).