Biblical Archaeology Review 38:5, September/October 2012

Antipas—The Herod Jesus Knew

By Morten Hørning Jensen

Herod the Great gets all the press. His son Herod Antipas is known mostly, as the preceding article explains, as the Herod for whom Salome danced and who ordered John the Baptist to be beheaded.

Many people mistakenly think it was Herod the Great for whom Salome danced. This is understandable because the Gospels refer to Herod Antipas simply as “Herod,” or occasionally as “Herod the tetrarch” or even as “King Herod” (Mark 6:14), but never by his common name Antipas (see How Many?).

Herod Antipas ruled Galilee for most of Jesus’ life. His father, Herod the Great, reigned from 37 to 4 B.C. Jesus was apparently born in about 6 B.C. If so, from the time Jesus was 2 years old until his crucifixion in about 30 A.D., Herod Antipas governed Galilee (and Perea, where John the Baptist came from). Antipas served as tetrarch (appointed by the emperor Augustus to rule over one quarter of his father’s kingdom) from 4 B.C. until 39 A.D., almost exactly the time of Jesus.

According to the three synoptic Gospels, Herod Antipas’s relationship to Jesus is somewhat vague and indecisive.

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