JASON: A Greek name borne often by Jews of Maccabean or later times and by Jewish Christians. On account of its resemblance to the Hebrew-Jewish name Jesus or Joshua, it was often assumed by Jews inclined to Greek culture or living in a Greek environment. The following are notable bearers of the name.

1. A brother of the high priest Onias III., himself occupying the office 174-172 B.C. Two very different accounts of him exist, the first in II Macc. iv. 7 sqq., v. 5 sqq. (cf. i. 7), and the second in Josephus, Ant. XII., v. l (cf. XV., iii. 1). According to the first account, Jason became an apostate from the Jewish religion, bought from Antiochus IV. the office of high priest for 440 talents, and for 150 more the right to erect in Jerusalem training-places for Greek athletics and to enroll Jerusalemites as citizens of Antioch. He encouraged Greek sports, and sent an embassy with a gift to the Heracles-Melcarth festival at Tyre. After three years he was superseded by Menelaus, who outbid him for the office. He fled to the Ammonites across the Jordan, but returned in 170 B.C. with a band of 1,000 men, when a report was spread that Antiochus had died on his second Egyptian expedition, took Jerusalem, and inflicted great slaughter there. He was compelled again to flee, first to the Ammonites, then to the Arabian Prince Aretas, next to Egypt, and finally to Lacedemonia, where he died. According to Josephus he came into the office in an orderly manner, after the death of his brother, fell into disfavor with Antiochus, and was compelled to yield his office to his brother Menelaus, who was the real sponsor for Greek culture. Willrich accepts Josephus' account on the ground that II Maccabees is a falsified "tendency-writing," but the majority of scholars are against this.

2. The son of Eleazar, who, according to I Macc. viii. 17 (cf. II Macc. iv. 11 and Josephus, Ant. XII., x. 6), was sent about 161 B.C.with Eupolemus to Rome by Judas Maccabeus as ambassador to make a treaty of friendship. The treaty was made, though its results were not actually apparent. Willrich casts doubts upon the historicity of the event.

3. Jason of Cyrene, a Hellenistic Jew who, according to II Macc. ii. 19, wrote a history in Greek in five books on the Maccabees, the purification of the temple, the wars of the Jews against Antiochus Epiphanes and Eupator, and the divine help which came in those times. It embraced the period 171-161 B.C., and is the basis of II Maccabees, the author of which lays the responsibility for his form of statement of the facts upon Jason, though probably Jason is also a mask through which his own personality speaks. Jason wrote between 162 and 125 B.C., and probably in Egypt.

4. In Rom. xvi. 21 Paul speaks of a kinsman Jason, who possibly lived in Corinth (cf. Rom. xvi. 1).


5. According to Acts xvii. 5-9, Paul, while at Thessalonica, dwelt at the house of a Jason, who is probably to be distinguished from the foregoing.

6. For the Jason of the "Dialogue between Jason and Papiscus" see ARISTO OF PELLA.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: A treatment of the whole subject may be found in DB, ii. 551-552; EB, ii. 2336-37; and of 1-3 in JE, vii. 74-75.

For 1 consult: H. Willrich, Juden und Griechen vor der makkabäischen Erhebung, Göttingen, 1895; A. P. Stanley, Lectures on the Hist. of the Jewish Church, iii. 324, London, 1884; J. Wellhausen, lsraelitische und jüdische Geschichte, p. 325, Berlin, 1895; A. Büchler, Die Tobiaden und die Oniaden, pp. 106 sqq., Vienna, 1899; Schürer, Geschichte, i. 220, 194-196, Eng. transl., I., i. 202-205, 231 (on 1 and 2).

On 3: Trieber, in Nachrichten der königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, 1895, pp. 401, 408; Willrich, ut sup., chap. ii.; idem, Judaica, chap. iv., Göttingen, 1900; A. Schlatter, in Festschrift der Universität Greifswald, Greifswald, 1899; Schürer, ut sup., i. 40, 359-361, Eng. transl., I., i. 47, II., iii. 211-216.

On 5 consult: W. M. Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller, p. 231, London, 1897.


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