Anan (2)

Anan (Ananias, or Ananus), BEN-DAVID, the celebrated founder of Karaism. The exact date of his birth cannot now be ascertained. All that we know about him is that his uncle Solomon, who was prince or patriarch of the exiled Jews, died childless in A.D. 761 or 762; that Anan was the legitimate successor to the patriarchate; and that he was then old enough to become the prince of the Captivity, so that he was most probably about thirty years of age. He was, however, prevented from obtaining the patriarchate by the brothers R. Jehudai the Blind and R. Dudai, who were at that time the gaonim, or presidents, of the academies (the former at Sora, from 759 to 762; and the latter at Pumbaditha, from 761 to 764), because he rejected the traditions of the fathers and made the Bible the only rule of his faith;

and his younger brother, Chanaizja, or Achunai, was elected in his stead. Anan, however, was not disposed to submit meekly to such a slight, and his partisans encouraged him to appeal to the caliph Abugafar Almansor, against the'decision of the colleges. At first the caliph was disposed to favor his claim, but finally the Rabbinical party succeeded, and Anan was obliged to leave the country. He retired to Jerusalem, where he built a synagogue, the walls of which were still standing in the time of the First Crusade. With the establishment of the community the schism became formal. The Rabbinical Jews excommunicated Anan with his party; and Anan, on the other hand, declared he wished that all the Rabbinical Jews were in his body; he would then destroy himself, so that they might die with him. The writings of Anan are unfortunately lost, and we are mainly indebted to the statements and allusions in the works of the Arabic historians Makrizi, Masudi, Sharastani, and Abulfeda for our knowledge of his doctrinal system. The ground principles are the unity of God and his justice. Anan absolutely rejected the Talmud, and advised his followers to "search the Scriptures diligently." He also rejected the calendar introduced by Hillel II, and reinstituted the scriptural beginning of the month, which is when the new moon appears. The Sabbath was to be kept according to the Scripture, and he was in this respect stricter in his theory than the rabbins. He abrogated the use of phylacteries by explaining Ex 13:9 figuratively, as in Pr 3:3; Pr 6:21. In matters of inheritance he put sons and daughters upon an equality, and declared that a husband has no right to inherit his departed wife's property. Of Christ, as the founder of Christianity, Anan spoke in terms of the highest respect. "The lovers of the truth should know," thus runs a Hebrew passage in Wolf, Bibl. Hebri 4, 1086," that Jesus the Nazarene was a great teacher, a just and good man; one who feared God, and who taught nothing as a statute or judgment except the written law of God (תורת האלחים), setting aside all that shall. be proved diverse or contrary to whatsoever Moses (upon whom be peace) wrote in the law." Anan's followers looked upon him with such adoration and reverence that they ordained a prayer to commemorate his death, which the Karaites offer up for him every Sabbath to the present day, and which is as follows: "Our Lord and God of our fathers, have mercy on our dead and on thy dead, and on the whole dead of all his people, the house of Israel; chiefly and before all, on our rabbi Anan the prince, the man of God, the patriarch of the Captivity, who opened the way of the law, enlightened the eyes of the Karaites, and turned many from sin and transgression, and guided us in the right way." See Rule, Hist. of the Karaite Jews, p. 103 sq.;

Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 5, 174 sq.; Furst, Gesch. des Karderthums, 1, 36 sq.; the זכרונות, in הקראיםאּחלק ראשון סדר תפלית (Vienna, 1854). (B. P.)

Bible concordance for ANAN.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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