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{Jewish Sects and Orders}

The name of Galilean was always used by the Jews of the South with an undertone of contempt, as that of a rustic and unlettered community, rendered moreover impure by the admixture of Gentile blood. But in the time of Jesus and His Apostles, certain recent events had brought the title into deeper disfavor with the ruling authorities, and the word had become a synonym for disaffection and rebellion. "In the days of the taxing," or enrollment, under Quirinus (Cyrenius), A.D. 6, which followed the dethronement of Archelaus, Judas of Galilee, a Gaulonite of the city of Gamala, raised the standard of rebellion. "Would Israelites," he demanded, "be such cowards as to pay tribute to Romans? Would they, after God, submit to any mortal man for lord?" His followers doubtless thought that the days of his Maccabean namesake were returning; and Josephus thus describes their bearing: "They do not value dying any kind of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relatives and friends, not can any such fear make them call any man lord."

For a time, these Zealots overran the country, and while Jesus was quietly dwelling in His mother's home at Nazareth, the whole surrounding country was given up to wild and lawless rebellion; but the might of Rome prevailed; Judas was slain, his followers were dispersed: but the "Galilean" spirit survived - a constant sourse of dread to the authorities. Subsequent attempts at revolt, in fact, were made by the sons of Judas, penetrating even to Jerusalem (A.D. 47 and 66); and were more ruthlessly repressed than at first.

Bearing this state of things in mind, the expression used at Jesus's trial, "Jesus the Galilean" and "You are a Galilean" (Matthew 26:69; Mark 14:70), receive a new significance, as betraying a malicious desire to identify Jesus and His followers with the promoters of sedition, and thus to create a prejudice against them. In after years the pagans sought to fasten the same ill name, and with the same application, upon the whole Christian body; a fact which throws much light upon the care of the apostles to inculcate subordination to the ruling powers (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; 1 Peter 2:13-17).

Gal`i*le"an (?), a.

Of or pertaining to Galileo; as, the Galilean telescope. See Telescope.


© Webster 1913.

Gal`i*le"an (?), a. [L. Galilaeus, fr. Galilaea Galilee, Gr. : cf. F. galil'een.]

Of or relating to Galilee.


© Webster 1913.

Gal`i*le"an, n.


A native or inhabitant of Galilee, the northern province of Palestine under the Romans.

2. Jewish Hist.

One of the party among the Jews, who opposed the payment of tribute to the Romans; -- called also Gaulonite.


A Christian in general; -- used as a term of reproach by Mohammedans and Pagans.



© Webster 1913.

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