Leader of a popular revolt against the Romans at the time when the first census was taken in Judea, in which revolt he perished and his followers were dispersed (Acts v. 37); born at Gamala in Gaulonitis (Josephus, "Ant." xviii. 1, § 1). In the year 6 or 7 C.E., when Quirinus came into Judea to take an account of the substance of the Jews, Judas, together with Zadok, a Pharisee, headed a large number of Zealots and offered strenuous resistance (ib. xviii. 1, § 6; xx. 5, § 2; idem, "B. J." ii. 8, § 1). Judas proclaimed the Jewish state as a republic recognizing God alone as king and ruler and His laws as supreme. The revolt continued to spread, and in some places serious conflicts ensued. Even after Judas had perished, his spirit continued to animate his followers. Two of his sons, Jacob and Simon, were crucified by Tiberius Alexander ("Ant." xx. 5, § 2); another son, Menahem, became the leader of the Sicarii and for a time had much power; he was finally slain by the high-priestly party ("B. J." ii. 17, §§ 8-9).
Grätz ("Gesch." iii. 251) and Schürer ("Gesch." i. 486) identify Judas the Galilean with Judas, son of Hezekiah the Zealot, who, according to Josephus ("Ant." xvii. 10, § 5; "B. J." ii. 4, § 1), led a revolt in the time of Quintilius Varus. He took possession of the arsenal of Sepphoris, armed hisfollowers, who were in great numbers, and soon became the terror of the Romans.
Bibliography:K. M. Sel.
- Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., iii. 260, 364;
- Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., i. 420, passim.