Friend of the Hasmonean prince John Hyrcanus (135-104 B.C.). As the Pharisees belittled the prince's fitness for the office of high priest, Jonathan incited the prince against them, with the intention of driving them out of office. He succeeded in doing so, for toward the end of his life John Hyrcanus turned from the Pharisees and favored the Sadducees (Josephus, "Ant." xiii. 10, § 6). Josephus calls Jonathan Ἰωνάθης. In the corresponding Talmudic account (Ḳid. 66a) Eleazar b. Po'era is mentioned as having worked for the same object.
Bibliography:G. S. Kr.
- Derenbourg, Hist. p. 79, Paris, 1867;
- Grätz, Gesch. 4th ed., iii. 116, 684;
- Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., i. 272;
- I. Lévi, in R. E. J. xxxv. 220.