52 - ca.
A freed slave of Marc
Antony's daughter Antonia,
who rose to become the 10th Roman prefect of
Judea. With his brother Pallas, Felix
became a favorite of the emperor Claudius.
Claudius made him governor of most of the former kingdom of Agrippa
a position bolstered by his marriage to
Faced with having to maintain Rome's dominance, Felix showed little
sympathy for Jews of any rank. On the one hand, he conducted a sweeping
campaign against bandits; on the other, he bribed bandits to murder the high
priest who was responsible for his appointment [Jonathan bar Hanan].
He not only slaughtered the followers of a self-proclaimed prophet
known as "the Egyptian"--- Acts (21:27-38) dates the
apostle Paul's arrest soon after this event --- he even arrested
priests & sent them in chains to Rome. When Nero
relieved Felix of his command, leading Jews charged Felix with
misconduct. But he escaped imperial discipline since his brother,
Pallas, was at the height of his power & influence. He perished in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius (79 CE).
References: Josephus, Antiquities
Life of Claudius 28.
Acts 23:24-26; 24:2, 22-27; 25:14.
Other resources on line:
Judean bronze prutah
minted by Felix in 54 CE.
The Greek inscription reads (clockwise from top): [T.] Klaudios
Kai[sar Germ.] -- "of Tiberius Claudius
Germanicus"]. The date stamp (between the crossed
palms) indicates the 14th year of Claudius' reign, which was
also the year of his death. The other side is ominously
inscribed with the name of Claudius' last wife, Julia
Agrippina, who poisoned him.
Perspective on the
World of Jesus
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