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Herodians: Profile of the Herodians, Opposed to Jesus


Who were the Herodians?:

The Herodians appear to have been a Jewish political faction active around the time Jesus would have been alive. Not much is known about them, but based upon the name they would have primarily been a political rather than religious group interested in maintaining the power and authority of the Herodian Dynasty of rulers.

When did the Herodians live?:

The Herodians would have been active for as long as the Herodian rulers existed, and perhaps for some time afterwards — thus, from around 40 BCE through around 100 CE. Our only sources of information about the Herodians is Josephus and the gospels.

Where did the Herodians live?:

The Herodians would have been at least minimally active everywhere the Herodian rulers had power, thus throughout Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. It is also likely that they existed in Idumaea, where the Herodian family came from, and perhaps in Rome where the ultimate source of the Herodian power originated.

What did the Herodians do?:

The details of what the Herodians did is unknown, but it would have been consistent with supporting the image and power of the Herodian rulers.

Why were the Herodians important?:

The Herodians appear in the gospels in two incidents, both as opponents of Jesus. The first incident occurs when Jesus is depicted as healing the hand of a man in Capernaum where they plot with the Pharisees. The second occurs in the Temple at Jerusalem where they once again plot with the Pharisees. Why weren’t they plotting with the Sadducees at the Temple, where the Sadducees were likely powerful? Some have speculated that the Herodians were often the same as the Sadducees.

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