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JOSHUA (Jesus) BEN GAMLA:

A high priest who officiated about 64 C.E. He married therich widow Martha of the high-priestly family Boethos (Yeb. vi. 4), and she by bribing Agrippa II. (not Jannai, as Talmudic sources say) secured for him the office of high priest (Yeb. 61a; Yoma 18a; comp. "Ant." xx. 9, § 4). Although Joshua himself was not a scholar, he was solicitous for the instruction of the young, and provided schools in every town for children over five years of age, earning thereby the praises of posterity (B. B. 21a). The two lots used on the Day of Atonement, hitherto of boxwood, he made of gold (Yoma iii. 9).

Joshua did not remain long in office, being forced, after a year, to give way to Matthias ben Theophil ("Ant." xx. 9, § 7). Together with the former high priest Anan and other men of rank, he opposed, but without success, the election of Phinehas b. Samuel (68) as high priest ("B. J." iv. 3, § 9). He attempted peaceably to prevent the fanatic and pugnacious Idumeans from entering Jerusalem, then torn by internal dissensions. After they had come into possession of the city, these fanatics took bloody vengeance on him, by executing him, as well as Anan, as traitors to their country (68) ("B. J." iv. 5, § 2).

Bibliography:
  • In addition to the authorities mentioned above, Derenbourg, Histoire de la Palestine, p. 248;
  • Grätz, in Monatsschrift, xxx. 59;
  • Strassburger, Gesch. der Erziehung bei den Israeliten, p. 20;
  • Schürer, Gesch. der Juden, i. 584, 618; ii. 221, 424.
G. S. Kr.
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