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Bronze prutah minted by Porcius Festus.
Obverse: Greek letters NEP WNO C (Nero) in wreath tied at the bottom with an X.
Reverse: Greek letters KAICAPOC (Caesar) and date LE (year 5 = 58/59 A.D), palm branch.

Porcius Festus was procurator of Judea from about AD 58 to 62, succeeding Antonius Felix. His exact time in office is not known. He inherited all of the problems of his predecessor in regard to the Roman practice of creating civic privileges for Jews. Only one other issue bedeviled his administration, the controversy between Agrippa II and the priests in Jerusalem regarding the wall erected at the temple to break the view of the new wing of Agrippa's palace.

During his administration, Jewish hostility to Rome was greatly inflamed by the civic privileges issue. Feelings were aroused which played an important part in the closely following Jewish War of AD 66.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul had his final hearing before Festus. In Acts 25:12, Festus sought to induce Paul to go to Jerusalem for trial; Paul appealed to the Emperor. the appeal resulted in Paul being deported to Rome in the autumn of AD 58.Acts 25-26

See also

Preceded by
Antonius Felix
Procurator of Judea
c. 58 to 62 AD
Succeeded by
Lucceius Albinus
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The successor of Felix (A.D. 60) as procurator of Judea (Acts 24:27). A few weeks after he had entered on his office the case of Paul, then a prisoner at Caesarea, was reported to him. The "next day," after he had gone down to Caesarea, he heard Paul defend himself in the presence of Herod Agrippa II. and his sister Bernice, and not finding in him anything worthy of death or of bonds, would have set him free had he not appealed unto Caesar (Acts 25:11ff). In consequence of this appeal Paul was sent to Rome. Festus, after being in office less than two years, died in Judea. (See Agrippa II.)

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Procurator of Judea about 60-62 C.E., after Felix (Josephus, "Ant." xx. 8, § 9; "B. J." ii. 14, § 1). Although he was more just than his predecessor, he could not allay the intense bitterness of feeling among the Jews, caused chiefly by their being slighted in the affair of Cæsarea. Felix left him also the suit with Paul (Acts xxiv.-xxvi.), whom he sent to Rome (ib. xxvii.), Paul having appealed to the emperor as a Roman citizen. Festus proceeded with rigor against the Sicarii, pursuing them with infantry and cavalry. He also took severe measures against a certain "magician," as Josephus calls him, but who was probably one of the numerous prophets who enticed the people into the desert, promising them salvation (compare "Ant." l.c.; "B. J." l.c.). When King Agrippa II., in order to be able to oversee the court of the Temple, erected a high wall in the former Hasmonean castle, the Jews in turn erected a higher wall to cut off his view. Festus, however, for military reasons would not allow this latter wall to stand; but he was just enough to permit the Jews to send an embassy to appeal against his decision to Nero, who decided in their favor ("Ant." xx. 8, § 11). Festus died after a short term of office, and was succeeded by Albinus.

Sources

  • Grätz, Gesch. 4th ed., iii. 441;
  • Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., i. 580;
  • Büchler, Das Synhedrion, p. 66, Vienna, 1902.
This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
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