Book Note: H.W. Hoehner, Herod Antipas

Herod Antipas was the Tetrarch overseeing Galilee and Peraea during the time of John the Baptist and Jesus. This is why I am interested in the man. I wanted to know what sort of ruler was being challenged by the Baptist and called a "fox" by Jesus. It turns out that in respect to other rulers in this region he was a descent one who managed his territory well in spite of a few missteps.

As far as I can tell the standard biography on the man remains H.W. Hoehner's Herod Antipas: A Contemporary of Jesus Christ. This is a well written book, thoroughly researched. Hoehner provides the backdrop to Antipas' rise to power beginning with his childhood as a son of Herod the Great and Antipas' struggle for his inheritance after Herod's death. There is a sustained study of the geographical, sociological, and economic aspects of Antipas' territory: the territories, the people, the interconnectivity with internally and with other nations. 

Hoehner does a fine job of outlining Antipas' reign. He dedicates two large chapters to Antipas' relationship to John the Baptist and Jesus, and also a short chapter to Antipas' relationship with Pilate. The final chapter summarizes the end of Antipas' reign finishing with his exile by Gaius. There are several appendices at the end of the book covering subjects from Herod the Great's various wills to the meaning of "fox" in that day (as relates to Jesus calling Antipas a "fox").

Again, as I said above, I believe this remains the standard biographical sketch and scholarly monograph on Antipas. Anyone interested in the man, or his relationship to people like the Baptist, Jesus, or Pilate, will find it to be worth reading. Originally written in 1972 it would be wise to supplement the book with other books on similar subjects and more recent articles.