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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Zealots, the followers of Judas the Gaulonite or Galilean [JUDAS]. Josephus speaks of them as forming the 'fourth sect of Jewish philosophy,' and as distinguished from the Pharisees chiefly by a quenchless love of liberty and a contempt of death. Their leading tenet was the unlawfulness of paying tribute to the Romans, as being a violation of the theocratic constitution. This principle, which they maintained by force of arms against the Roman government, was soon converted into a pretext for deeds of violence against their own countrymen; and during the last days of the Jewish polity, the Zealots were lawless brigands or guerillas, the pest and terror of the land. After the death of Judas, and of his two sons, Jacob and Simon (who suffered crucifixion), they were headed by Eleazar, one of his descendants, and were often denominated Sicarii, from the use of a weapon resembling the Roman Sica.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Zealots'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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