JOSHUA BEN DAMNAI, high priest in 62–63 C.E. Joshua was appointed to succeed *Anan b. Anan after the latter had been deposed by Agrippa II at the request of Albinus, because of the execution of James, brother of Jesus (cf. Jos., Ant., 20:200–3). These were the days immediately preceding the Roman War when the anarchy which prevailed in Jerusalem began to assume major proportions. The high priesthood ceased to be a purely religious office, becoming more and more a position of power contested among influential members of the priestly families, of whom Joshua b. Damnai was one. When the high priesthood was taken from him and given to *Joshua b. Gamla, street fighting broke out between their followers (Jos., Ant., 20:213).


Klausner, Bayit Sheni, 5 (19512), 22–23.

[Abraham Schalit]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.