ANAN, SON OF ANAN:
Born about the beginning of the common era (compare Josephus, "B. J." iv. 3, §§ 7 and 10); was appointed high priest by Agrippa II., in the year 62, but officiated only three months. As president of the Sanhedrin he availed himself of a vacancy occurring in the procuratorship in Judea, to convene that body and to have certain persons obnoxious to him condemned and stoned to death as lawbreakers. (That among thesevictims was James, brother of Jesus, is a Christian interpolation in Josephus; compare Schürer, i. 486.) Albinus, the new procurator, rebuked him for this high-handed proceeding, and Agrippa deprived him of his position ("Ant." xx. 9, § 1).Opposes Zealots.
At the outbreak of the war of the Jews, however, in the year 66, he was still a leading personage. Together with Joseph, son of Gorion, he prepared the defenses of Jerusalem against the Romans ("B. J." ii. 20, § 3; 22, § 1, 2), but he immediately took stand against the Zealots and their leader, Simon bar-Giora. When, after the conquest of Galilee, the fugitive Zealots under John of Giscala entered Jerusalem, and the Judean Zealots, having imprisoned all prominent men of moderate views as being friendly to Rome, obtained possession of the Temple and control of the high-priestly office, Anan put himself at the head of the people to oppose the Zealots, and confined them in the Temple. But John, who hitherto had supported him, now suspected him of friendship for Rome, and went over to the Zealots. He summoned the Idumeans to the city, and they murdered Anan, who with other leaders had refused them entrance ("B. J." iv. 5, § 2).Anan's Sadducean Tendencies.
Anan is described as upright and unselfish, ready of speech, influential, democratic, and liberty-loving, one who justly discerned that the only hope for Jerusalem lay in reconciliation with Rome. On the other hand, when it was suggested that Josephus should be recalled from his post as general in Galilee, Anan, who with Simon ben Gamaliel recommended his recall ("Vita," 38, 39, 44, 60), is characterized by Josephus as venal. His behavior in the Sanhedrin is pronounced Sadducean. This reference to his Sadducean tendencies finds remarkable confirmation in the Talmudic account (Grätz, "Gesch. d. Juden," iv. 747) of the Sadducean form of Temple-worship in the decade before 70, and of the opposition to it, fostered by the Pharisaic teachers of the time. These reports gave rise to the general opinion that this was a forcible effort to reestablish Sadduceeism, which had long been supplanted by Pharisaism, though the revival was short-lived (compare Schürer, 3d ed., ii. 405). It has recently, however, been suggested that the Sadducean view of the sacrificial cult had up to that time predominated, and was only then giving way to Pharisaism (Chwolson, "Das Letzte Passahmahl," p. 87; Büchler, "Priester und Cultus," pp. 54, 109).