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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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HERODIANS (Ἡρῳδιανοί).—Apart from the weakly attested reading in Mark 8:15, the Herodians are mentioned but three times in the NT and on only two occasions, Matthew 22:16 being parallel with Mark 12:13. The name Ἡρῳδιανοί does not occur in Josephus. In BJ i. xvi. 6 the form Ἡρῴδειοι is used of the party of Herod, and in Ant. xiv. xv. 10 the phrase οἰ τὰ Ἠρῴδου φρονοῦντες occurs (cf. also Ant. xiv. vii. 4). (For the formation in -ιανος like Χριστιανός, cf. Blass, Acta Apos. 136, Gram. of NT Greek, § 27, 4; Harnack, Mission u. Ausb. d. Christ. 294 ff.; Etym. Magn. s.v. Ἡρῳδιανός).

If the party of Herod in Josephus be the same as the Herodians of the NT (cf. O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeseh. 157 f., but, on the other hand, Cheyne, Encyc. Bibl. ii. 2034), then the origin of the party must be sought in the time of Herod the Great. This view of the origin of the party will also determine our conception of its nature. It cannot have been a religious sect or party like the Pharisees or Sadducees, but was most probably a political party composed of the adherents and supporters of the Herodian dynasty. From the combination of the Pharisees with the Herodians (Mark 3:6), and their common action in Jerusalem (Matthew 22:16, Mark 12:13), it is not unlikely that the Herodian party was composed principally of Sadducees (cf. Luke 20:19 and Mark 8:15 with Matthew 16:6). After the death of Herod the Great, the deposition of Archelaus, and the establishment of Roman rule in Judaea, the aims and purposes of the party would naturally centre in Antipas. The presence of the Herodians in Galilee, indicated in Mark 3:6, cannot he set aside with the remark of Cheyne: ‘This, however, is evidently a mistake. In the country of the tetrarch Antipas there could not be a party called the Herodians’ (op. cit. ii. 2043). Members of a party which wished to see Antipas sit upon the throne of his father may have been in Galilee as well as in Jerusalem; for their ideal was a national one, differing from the ideal of the Zealots as royalist from democratic. Their union with the strong Pharisaic party, and their attempt to entrap Jesus with the question about tribute to Caesar, find explanation not in any sympathy with the Pharisees or fondness for the traditions which Jesus’ activity imperilled, but in their readiness to oppose and suppress any Messianic agitation of the people.

Other views attach some religious significance to the party, connect them with the Bœthusians or with the court of Antipas as members of the Herodian family, officers or servants, and attribute to them a friendly or hostile attitude towards the Roman sovereignty (cf. Tert. ad Omn. Haer. i.; Epiph. Haer. xx.; Steph. Thesaur. s.v.; Ewald, HI [Note: I History of Israel.] v. 409 f.; Renan, Vie de Jésus, 226; Edersheim, Life and Times, i. 237 ff., ii. 384; Bleek, Syn. ii. 327; Zahn, Matth. 528, n. [Note: note.] 44, 632, n. [Note: note.] 45).

Literature.—Keim in Schenkel’s Bibel-lexikon, iii. 65 ff.; B. F. Westcott in Smith’s DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] 2 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] , ii. 1054 f.; Sieffert in PRE [Note: RE Real-Encyklopädie fur protest. Theologic und Kirche.] 3 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] , vii. 769; T. K. Cheyne in Encyc. Bibl. ii. 2043; D. Eaton in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible ii. 362; K. Kohler, Jewish Encyc. vi. 360; J. D. Davis, DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] 293.

W. P. Armstrong.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Herodians'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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