JUDAEA | <Region
(See also wiki article Judea
JUDAEA - The Graeco-Latin name of Judah, but derived from the Aramaic gentilic ye'hudha'i. In Persian times it was called Ye'hudh (so on coins), and the term was restricted to the district round Jerusalem. The oldest instance of the form Judaea is found in a fragment of c 320 BC (Jos., c. Ap. i. 22 ). It is regularly used in 2 Maccabees, but in 1 Maccabees both Judah and Judaea are employed. In the latter work the concept does not include the northern districts that were acquired under Jonathan in 147 BC (1 Mac 11.28, 34). in the NT it can include these districts. Idumaea, which began south of Beth-zur (q.v.), was sometimes considered separate (Mk.3.7), though Josephus makes it one of the eleven districts of Judaea (BJ iii. iii. 5 ). Samaria and Galilee were separate geographical concepts. However, the expansion of Judaea under the Maccabees, until the kingdom embraced all Palestine (except some Hellenistic cities), and the realm of Herod, which was governed from Jerusalem, gave the term Judaea a more comprehensive use, alongside of the narrower one. This can be seen in numerous passages of Josephus. In the NT we also find it employed broadly (cf Lk.1.5, 4.44, 7.17, 23.5, Ac.10.37, 11.1, 29, 26.20). It can even be used of Transjordan (Mt.19.1). Its mention in the enumeration of Acts 2.9 is uncertain as to dependability or application. The broad use once established continued even after Augustus ousted Archelaus (AD 6) and took Judaea proper as well as Samaria under Roman administration, with the governor residing at Caesarea, while Galilee and Peraea were left to the tetrarch Herod Antipas. A temporary restoration of Herodian Judaea took place under the kingship of Herod Agrippa (AD 41-44), but thereafter Roman governors held sway until the Jewish revolt broke out in AD 66.
A part of Judaea proper is the wilderness of Judaea (in the OT the wilderness of Judah, Jg.1.16, Ps.63.1), the bad-lands country of rocky gorges descending from the high plateau to the Jordan and the Dead Sea. John the Baptist was in the wilderness until he began his ministry (Lk.1.80). This suggests - as many believe - that he may have been a member of the Essene community at Qumran, the Dead Sea Scrolls community made famous by modern discoveries. His preaching in the wilderness (Mk.1.4 etc.) may, however, be an echo of prophecy (Is.40.3). Actually he preached at the Jordan fords. [Article: Dictionary of the Bible, J.Hastings, 2nd Ed., T&T.Clark, 1963 - E.G.K.]