RUFUS, TINEIUS (written also Tinnius):

Governor of Judea in the first century of the common era. Jerome, on Zech. viii. 16, has "T. Annius Rufus," and the editor, Vallarsi, conjectures that the full prænomen is "Tyrannius," a name which would correspond to the of Jewish tradition. Rufus was governor at the time of the outbreak of the Bar Kokba war (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." iv. 6, § 1; idem, "Chronicon," ed. Schoene, ii. 166). The course of this struggle is described under Bar Kokba; it is, therefore, only necessary to mention here the fact that Rufus took a prominent part in the conflict, as appears from the works of Eusebius. He was unable, however, to withstand the vigorous onslaught of the Jews, so that Publicius Marcellus, the governor of Syria, and later Julius Severus, the most prominent Roman general of the time, had to be sent against them.

Rufus is not mentioned again until the suppression of the insurrection, when it is said (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." iv. 6, § 1) that on the plea of martial law he cleared the land of the Jews of its inhabitants. An insult to Judaism which left a deep impression on the minds of the survivors was the plowing up of the Temple mount, which is expressly designated as the deed of Rufus (Ta'an. iv. 6; comp. Baraita Ta'an. 29a; Jerome on Zech. viii. 19: "aratum templum in ignominiam gentis oppressæ a T. Annio Rufo").

The severe religious persecutions by Hadrian are for the most part to be laid to the charge of Rufus, including the cruel decree that the bodies of those who fell in battle might not be buried for a long time (Yer. Ta'an. 69a), and the bitter pursuit and merciless execution of Jewish teachers of the Law, of which tradition speaks. Jewish literature portrays Rufus as one of the bitterest enemies of the race, and often means Rufus when it names his master Hadrian; for it was not the emperor far away in Rome, but the governor in Palestine, who was guilty of these acts of cruelty.

Legend tells of religious conversations between Rabbi Akiba and Rufus. The wife of Rufus also came within the charmed circle of that great son of Israel, and tradition relates that she became a convert to Judaism (Rashi on Ned. 50b).

  • Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., iv. 139, 154.
  • Concerning Rufus' wife: Grätz, in Monatsschrift, 1884, xxxiii. 36;
  • Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., i. 647, 687-689;
  • Prosopographia Imperii Romani, iii. 321, No. 168.
  • Rabbinical sources are given in Krauss, Lehnwörter, ii. 259.
S. S. Kr.
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