Onias IV, Ananias and Chelkias - Annas and Boethus??

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yakovzutolmai
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Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 6:03 am

Onias IV, Ananias and Chelkias - Annas and Boethus??

Post by yakovzutolmai »

Ananias, famous as Jeremiah's opponent, who increased Israel's yoke. Fitting for a heterodox, Pauline point of view that accepts Gentiles and promotes accommodation. When Rome replaced Herodian rule with direct rule, making the Sons of Annas their high priests, was this not replacing the wooden yoke with an iron yoke? As far as I can tell, there is no independent corroboration of the name "Ananus" outside of Josephus other than in works which almost certainly are derived from the very text of Josesphus. Ananas was also noted in Armenian and Syriac history (derived from Josephus), as having a relationship with the Babylonian kings. Of course, Josephus places an Ananias in Babylon anyway.

Chelkias is the name of Josiah's master of the temple.

Could these two sons of Onias IV, who helped him support Cleopatra III and thereby preserved Judean independence (which is why Josephus even mentions them at all), have been the forebears by one or two generations of Simon Boethus and Annas himself?

One imagines these are pseudonyms (I am in the habit of assuming Josephus employs them frequently). Ananias would be the master of the mercenary troupe loyal to Onias, which translates into a Babylonian merchant career. It is only a parallel, but a substantive one, that merchant and mercenary share a linguistic root. In this case, "merx" which I would translate in this context to "loot". Here the merchant and mercenary find common cause in a shared environment.

The trade environment translates stature within the household of Onias into a position in Babylon that fits Josephus's Ananias, and the idea of Annas "the rich man". My personal belief is that Arab and Israelite are the successors of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and continued to operate its ancient trade routes, which stretch from Ethiopia to India. The Arabs as traders and raiders, and the Israelites as paraofficial merchants and mercenary protectors. It would be precisely because of Ananias, via the stature of Onias among Assyrian Israelites, given the Neo-Assyrian legacy, that the Alexandrian Jews would be selected as trade liaisons with the Arabs by Egypt and Rome.

Here Ananias leverages his legacy for commercial and diplomatic purposes.

Meanwhile, quiet "Chelkias" keeps the scorned Oniad temple, which falls much short of Onias IV's ambitions that the greater diaspora would turn to it over Jerusalem. The Alexandrians pay polite acknowledgment to the temple, but maintain their preference for Jerusalem. The Pharisees despise the Egyptian temple.

Thus, the sons of Ananias and the sons of Chelkias become Annas and Boethus. Their legacy grants them undisputed, if not entirely welcome, rights to the High Priesthood in the aftermath of the demise of the Hasmoneans.

I would not even be surprised to learn these inspire our Houses of Hillel and Shammai. Annas being more worldly, Boethus more ethnically insular.

Just speculation. I feel as if the historical truth is not buried very deep at all in Josephus, but our eyes are blinded by orthodoxy.
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