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John (Johannan) the Essene

JOHN (Johannan) THE ESSENE (d. 66 C.E.), patriot and leader, described by Josephus as a man of outstanding courage and sagacity. Already recognized for his ability at the beginning of the revolt against the Romans, he was placed in command of the province of Thamna by the revolutionary government. Shortly afterward, in association with Niger of Perea, the deputy governor of Idumea, and Silas the Babylonian, a trained soldier formerly in the service of King Agrippa (both of whom had distinguished themselves in the victory over *Cestius), he was put in charge of the disastrous expedition against Ashkelon.

He and Silas were killed in the first attack. It is doubtful if "the Essene" implies that he belonged to that body. It may mean "a man of Esse," i.e., Gerasa in Transjordan.


Jos., Wars, 2:567; 3:19; Klausner, Bayit Sheni, 5 (19512), 309, index.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.