Son of the high priest Anan; was appointed by Vitellius high priest in the place of Joseph Caiaphas, at the time of the Passover in the year 36 (Josephus, "Ant." xviii. 4, § 3). For reasons unknown he was deposed by Vitellius when the latter was in Jerusalem the second time, and his brother Theophilus was appointed in his place (ib. 5, § 3). When King Agrippa I. deposed Simon Cantheras (c. 43) he wished to appoint Jonathan again as high priest; but the latter refused the office, saying he was satisfied to have once worn the high-priestly garments. He recommended his brother Matthias for the office; and the latter was appointed (ib. xix. 6, § 4).

During the sanguinary conflict between the Judeans and the Samaritans, under the procurator Cumanus, Jonathan together with several nobles represented the cause of the Judeans before the Syrian legate at Tyre, and he also went in the same capacity to the emperor Claudius at Rome. He brought about the appointment of Felix as procurator in the year 52 (Josephus, "B. J." ii. 12, §§ 5, 6; comp. "Ant." xx. 8, § 5). Jonathan often exhorted Felix to mend his ways, in order that the people might not reproach him (Jonathan) for having brought the procurator into the country. As Jonathan was hated by the Sicarii also, this just and peaceable man was treacherously assassinated at the instigation of Felix ("B. J." ii. 13, § 3; "Ant." xx. 8, § 5).

G. S. Kr.
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