Annas, son of Seth, succeeded (A.D. 6 or 7) Joazar in the high-priesthood by appointment of Quirinius who had come to Judea to attend to the incorporation of Archelaus's territory into the Roman province of Syria (Josephus, Ant., XVIII, ii, 1). After his deposition (A.D. 15) by V. Gratus, the high-priests followed upon one another in rapid succession: Ismael, Eleazar (son of Annas; perhaps the Alexander of Acts 4:6, Alexander being the Græcized name of Eleazar), Simon, until we come to Joseph, called Caiaphas, who knew how to retain the favour of the Roman authorities from A.D. 18 to 36 (Josephus, Ant., XVIII, ii, 2). But his deposition did not deprive Annas of his influence which must have remained considerable, to judge by the fact that beside Eleazar, his son, and Joseph Caiaphas, his son-in-law (John 18:13), four other sons, viz., Jonathan (perhaps the John of Acts 4:6, where D reads ionathas), Theophilus, Matthias, Annas (Ananos) II, obtained the dignity of high-priests (Jos., Ant., XVIII, iv, 3; v, 3; XIX, vi, 4; XX, ix, I). The New Testament references to Annas convey the same impression. His name appears with that of Joseph Caiaphas, who was the actual high-priest during the ministry of the Saviour (Matthew 26:3, 57; John 11:49, 51) in the elaborate synchronisms wherewith St. Luke introduces the public ministry of Our Lord (Luke 3:2). The commanding position of the former high-priest is attested also by the prominent place awarded to him in Acts 4:6; here Annas is introduced as "the High-Priest", whilst Joseph Caiaphas's name simply follows with those of the other members of the high-priestly race. Those formulæ, which might leave on the reader the impression that the author considered Annas and Caiaphas as discharging the functions of the high-priesthood simultaneously (Luke 3:2), or even that Annas alone was the actual high-priest (Acts 4:6), have given rise to many hypotheses — more or less plausible. They are to be considered as not strictly accurate, but they are a testimony to the ascendency of Annas. But Annas is more than a mere chronological landmark in the life of the Saviour; according to our common text of John 18:13-27, Annas would have played a part at a decisive point of the life of Jesus. After His arrest, the Lord is brought directly to Annas, in whose palace a kind of unofficial, preliminary interrogatory takes place, an episode entirely omitted by the Synoptists. It must be said, however, that the common text seems to be here in a disturbed condition, as Maldonatus had already remarked (I, 427-428). If the order of Syr. Sin. (XVIII, 13, 24, 14-15, 19-23, 16-18, 25-27) be adopted, the succession of the facts gains in clearness and consistency, though the Annas episode becomes altogether secondary in the narrative. The "house of Annas", wealthy and unscrupulous, is pronounced accursed in the Talmud, together with "the corrupt leaders of the priesthood", whose presence defiled the sanctuary (Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah I, 263 f.).
Commentaries on Luke, iii, 2, especially those of SCHANZ, PLUMMER, WEISS, and HOLTZMANN; on Acts, iv, 6. KNOWLING, Expositor's Greek Testament (New York, 1900), II, and BLASS; on John, xxviii, 12-27, CALMES, Commentaries (Paris, 1904), 419-422; ZARN, Einl. in das N. T. (Leipzig, 1900), II, 509, 510, 524; DRUMMOND, The Authorship and Character of the Fourth Gospel (London, 1903), 434-436; MOFFATT, The Historical N. T. (Edinburgh, 1901), p. xl and 693 sqq.; BRUNEAU, Harmony of the Gospels (New York, 1898), 121 sqq. of Synopse évangélique (Paris, 1901), 165 sqq.; SCHÜRER, The Jewish People in the Time of J. C. (tr.) Div. II, I, 182 sqq., 198, and 202-206.
APA citation. (1907). Annas. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01536a.htm
MLA citation. "Annas." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01536a.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is feedback732 at newadvent.org. (To help fight spam, this address might change occasionally.) Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.