The Purpose of Acts II
As noted in Friday’s post, Anananias and the elders filed charges against Paul that were to be heard by Felix. During the time Paul remained in the custody of Felix, Ananias was replaced as High Priest by Ismael, son of Phiabi[i] and Felix was replaced as governor by Festus.[ii] Fitzmyer assigns 58 CE as the year of Paul’s trial before the Sanhedrin since Felix’s term probably ended in 60 CE when the Empereor Nero recalled him. Festus sent Paul to Rome when he asserted his right as a Roman citizen for a hearing before the emperor. According to Acts Paul remained in custody in Rome for two years. Thus the Acts ends in 62 CE.
Did Ananias and the elders ever appear in Rome to continue the prosecution of Paul? The evidence suggests that Ananias was actively involved in the affairs and events occuring in Jerusalem from the end of his reign as High Priest until his death in 66 CE.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia summarizes these events as follow: “He was deposed shortly before Felix left the province, but continued to wield great influence, which he used in a lawless and violent way. He was a typical Sadducee, wealthy, haughty, unscrupulous, filling his sacred office for purely selfish and political ends, anti-nationalist in his relation to the Jews, friendly to the Romans. He died an ignominious death, being assassinated by the popular zealots (sicarii) at the beginning of the last Jewish war.”
These facts recorded by Josephus as summarized above indicate Ananias continued to exercise influence although he was no longer high priest. It is unlikely Ananias ever appeared in Rome to continue the prosecution of Paul or that Paul ever faced trial in Rome on the charges filed by Ananias.
[i] Ant. xx. 8, 9 [§ 179].
[ii] Acts 24:27; Josephus, Ant. xx. 8, 9.