Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament 
(Gr. Ἄννας, Heb. הָנָן, ‘merciful’ [in Josephus, Ananos ])
Annas the son of Sethi, appointed high priest by Quirinius in a.d. 6 or 7, retained office till he was deposed by Valerius Gratus in a.d. 15 (Jos. Ant . XVIII. ii. 1, 2). Josephus tells us that he was regarded as the most fortunate of men, for he had live sons who all held the office of high priest ( Ant . XX. ix. 1). From the Fourth Gospel we learn that Joseph Caiaphas, the high priest at the date of the Crucifixion, was a son-in-law of Annas ( John 18:13). His removal from office in a.d. 15 did not by any means diminish his influence. Being extremely wealthy, he was able to exert the powers of high priest long after he was deposed. His wealth and that of his sons was acquired by the institution of the ‘booths or bazaars of the sons of Annas,’ which enjoyed the monopoly for the sale of all kinds of sacrificial requirements. These booths were situated either in the temple court (Keim, Jesus of Nazara , v. 116; Edersheim, LT [Note: T Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Edersheim).]iii. 5) or on the Mount of Olives (J. Derenbourg, Essai sur l’histoire … de la Palestine , 1867, p. 465). The words of Jesus regarding the unholy traffic ( Matthew 21:13, Luke 19:46) aroused the hostility of the priestly party and led to His arrest and examination by Annas ( John 18:13-24). The Talmud accuses the sons of Annas of ‘serpentlike hissings’ (or whisperings [ Pes . 57 a ]). Probably the meaning is that they exerted private influence on the judges and perverted justice for their own ends. Their attitude towards Jesus and the apostles as revealed in the NT seems to bear out this interpretation. Although, as we have seen, Annas was deposed from the high-priestly office in a.d. 15, he retains the title all through the NT. Both Josephus and the writers of the NT uniformly give the title ‘high priest’ not only to the actual occupant of the office at the time, but to all his predecessors who were still alive, as well as to all the more influential members of the families from which the high priests were selected. The phrase in Luke 3:2 ‘in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas’ is unique, and may be accounted for by the fact that the combination had become so familiar in connexion with the history of the Crucifixion that St. Luke couples the two together here (Ewald, Hl , vol. vi.  p. 430, n.[Note: . note.]3).
The important and influential position held by Annas even after his deposition is proved by the fact that it was to him that Jesus was first sent before He appeared at the more formal tribunal of the Sanhedrin ( John 18:13). The interview with Annas ( John 18:19-23) determined the fate of the prisoner, and probably Annas was the chief instigator in compassing the death. In Acts 4:6 Annas again appears as the head of the party who tried the apostles and enjoined them to keep silent about the Resurrection.
Literature.-Josephus, Antiquities, passim ; A. Edersheim, LT [Note: T Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Edersheim).]i.  263; T. Keim, Jesus of Nazara , 1867-1882, vi. 36ff.; E. Schürer, GJV [Note: JV Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes (Schürer).]4 ii.  256, 270, 274, 275.
W. F. Boyd.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
ANNAS . 1 . High priest from a.d. 6 to 15, an astute and powerful ecclesiastical statesman. At the time of our Lord’s trial he was merely high priest emeritus , and his son-in-law Caiaphas, the acting high priest, presided ex officio over the meeting of the Sanhedrin ( John 18:24 , Matthew 26:67 ). Nevertheless, since the high priest emeritus retained not only his title (cf. John 18:15-16; John 18:19; John 18:22 , Acts 4:6 ), but all his obligations and many of his prerogatives, it is not surprising that the masterful Annas took an active and independent part in the proceedings. After Jesus’ arrest at dead of night, ‘they led him to Annas first’ ( John 18:13 ). The Sanhedrin might not meet until daybreak, and the interval seemed well employed in a preliminary examination of the prisoner by the skilful veteran ( John 18:12; John 18:19-23 ). Subsequently be took part also in the trial of Peter and John ( Acts 4:6 ). 2 . Esther 9:32 Esther 9:32 = Ezra 10:31 Harim .
People's Dictionary of the Bible 
Annas ( Ăn'Nas ), Answer, Response. The son of Seth, and a high priest of the Jews. He was appointed by Quirinus, governor of Syria, a.d. 7, and was removed by Valerius Gratus, procurator of Judæa, a.d. 23.
The office was originally held for life, but in Judæa's degenerate and dependent position it was one of the spoils of office, to be given to the ruler's favorite, and to be taken away upon the loss of favor. After his deposition Annas continued to hold the title; and although Caiaphas, his son-in-law, was the actual high priest, he was the ruling power. This explains the reference in Luke 3:2. This power he retained for nearly fifty years, having had five sons in succession in the high priest's office. Our Lord was brought first before Annas on the night of his seizure. John 18:13; John 18:24. The guilt of Christ's crucifixion rests most upon Annas, since Pilate tried to shield him, and Caiaphas was but Annas' tool. Annas is mentioned as the president of the Sanhedrin, before whom Peter and John were brought. Acts 4:6.
Smith's Bible Dictionary 
Annas. (Humble). The son of one Seth was appointed high priest, A.D. 7, by Quirinus, the imperial governor of Syria, but was obliged by Valerius Gratus, procurator of Judea, to give way to Ismael, son of Phabi, at the beginning of the reign of Tiberius, A.D. 14. About A.D. 25, Joseph Caiaphas, son-in-law of Annas, became high priest, John 18:13, but in Luke 3:2, Annas and Caiaphas are both called high priests.
Our Lord's first hearing, John 18:13, was before Annas, who then sent him bound to Caiaphas. Some maintain that the two, Annas and Caiaphas, were together at the head of the Jewish people, Caiaphas as actual high priest, Annas as resident of the Sanhedrin. Acts 4:6. Others again suppose that Annas held the office of sagin , or Substitute Of The High Priest ; others still that Annas held the title and was really the ruling power. He lived to old age, having had five sons high priests.
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary 
or Ananus as Josephus calls him, was the son of Seth, and high priest of the Jews. He succeeded Joazar, the son of Simon, enjoyed the high priesthood eleven years, and was succeeded by Ishmael, the son of Phabi. After he was deposed, he still preserved the title of high priest, and had a great share in the management of public affairs. He is called high priest in conjunction with Caiaphas, when John the Baptist entered upon the exercise of his mission; though Calmet thinks that at that time he did not, strictly speaking, possess or officiate in that character, Luke 3:2 . On the contrary, Macknight and some others are of opinion, that at this time Caiaphas was only the deputy of Annas. He was father-in-law to Caiaphas; and Jesus Christ was carried before him, directly after his seizure in the garden of Olives, John 18:13 . Josephus remarks, that Annas was considered as one of the happiest men of his nation, for five of his sons were high priests, and he himself possessed that great dignity many years. This was an instance of good fortune which, till that time, had happened to no person.
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary 
A high priest of the Jews, Luke 3:2; John 18:13,24; Acts 4:6 . He is mentioned in Luke as being high priest along with Caiaphas, his son in-law. He was first appointed to that office by Cyrenius, or Quirinus, proconsul of Syria, about A. D. 7 or 8, but was afterwards deprived of it. After various changes, the office was given to Joseph, also called Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas, about A. D. 25, who continued in office until A. D. 35 or 36. In the passages of the New Testament above cited, therefore, it is apparent that Caiaphas was the only actual and proper high priest; but Annas being his father-in-law, and having been formerly himself high priest, and being also perhaps his substitute, had great influence and authority, and could with propriety be still termed high priest along with Caiaphas. It was before him that Christ was first taken on the night of his seizure. He also assisted in presiding over the Sanhedrin which sat in judgment upon Peter and John, Acts 4:6 .
Fausset's Bible Dictionary 
Son of Seth. Appointed A.D. 7, in his 37th year, to the high priesthood by Quirinius, the imperial governor of Syria; obliged to give way to Ismael by Valerius Gratus, procurator of Judaea, in the beginning of Tiberius' reign, A.D. 14. Eleazar, son of Annas, followed Ismael; then Simon; then Joseph Caiaphas, son-in-law of Annas ( John 18:13.) He remained until A.D. 37. Annas is put before Caiaphas, and both are called "high priests ( Luke 3:2). Jesus' case was first heard before Annas, who virtually wielded the high priest's power, and perhaps was sagan, the high priest's deputy; then He was tried before Caiaphas. Annas probably was president of the Sanhedrin, Caiaphas actually high priest. But in Acts 4:6 Annas is called "high priest," Caiaphas, John, and Alexander are called "of his kindred." He lived to old age, and had five sons high priests.
Morrish Bible Dictionary 
High priest, appointed in A.D. 7 by Cyrenius, or Quirinus, governor of Syria. In the reign of Tiberius he was deposed, and was followed at short intervals by Ismael, Eleasar son of Ananus or Annas, Simon, and Joseph Caiaphas, son-in-law of Annas. Luke 3:2; John 18:13,24; Acts 4:6 . It is supposed that Annas was called high priest by courtesy, having once held the office: the Lord was taken to him first, perhaps as being the father-in-law of Caiaphas. Josephus relates that the five sons of Annas became high priests, and under the last, also named Annas, James the Lord's brother was martyred. Ant. xx. 9,1.
Easton's Bible Dictionary 
John 18:13 Luke 3:2 Numbers 3:10 John 18:19-23 Matthew 26:57-68 Acts 4:6
Holman Bible Dictionary 
Luke 3:2 John 18:13 Acts 4:6
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 
an´as ( Ἄννας , Ánnas ; Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek Hannas ; Josephus Ananos , the Greek form of Hebrew חנן , ḥānān ; "merciful," "gracious"; compare Nehemiah 8:7 , etc.):
(1) A high priest of the Jews, the virtual head of the priestly party in Jerusalem in the time of Christ, a man of commanding influence. He was the son of Seth (Josephus: Sethi), and was elevated to the high-priesthood by Quirinius, governor of Syria, 7 ad. At this period the office was filled and vacated at the caprice of the Roman procurators, and Annas was deposed by Valerius Gratus, 15 ad. But though deprived of official status, he continued to wield great power as the dominant member of the hierarchy, using members of his family as his willing instruments. That he was an adroit diplomatist is shown by the fact that five of his sons ( Ant. , XX, ix, 1) and his son-in-law Caiaphas ( John 18:13 ) held the high-priesthood in almost unbroken succession, though he did not survive to see the office filled by his fifth son Annas or Ananus II, who caused Jas the Lord's brother to be stoned to death (circa 62 ad). Another mark of his continued influence is, that long after he had lost his office he was still called "high priest," and his name appears first wherever the names of the chief members of the sacerdotal faction are given. Acts 4:6 , "And Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest." Annas is almost certainly called high priest in John 18:19 , John 18:22 , though in John 18:13 , John 18:24 Caiaphas is mentioned as the high priest. Note especially the remarkable phrase in Luke 3:2 , "in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas," as if they were joint holders of the office. The cases In which Josephus gives the title "high-priest" to persons who no longer held the office afford no real parallel to this. The explanation seems to be that owing to age, ability and force of character Annas was the virtual, though Caiaphas the titular, high priest. He belonged to the Sadducean aristocracy, and, like others of that class, he seems to have been arrogant, astute, ambitious and enormously wealthy. He and his family were proverbial for their rapacity and greed. The chief source of their wealth seems to have been the sale of requisites for the temple sacrifices, such as sheep, doves, wine and oil, which they carried on in the four famous "booths of the sons of Annas" on the Mount of Olives, with a branch within the precincts of the temple itself. During the great feasts, they were able to extort high monopoly prices for theft goods. Hence, our Lord's strong denunciation of those who made the house of prayer "a den of robbers" ( Mark 11:15-19 ), and the curse in the Talmud, "Woe to the family of Annas! Woe to the serpent-like hisses" (Pes 57 a ). As to the part he played in the trial and death of our Lord, although he does not figure very prominently in the gospel narratives, he seems to have been mainly responsible for the course of events. Renan's emphatic statement is substantially correct, "Annas was the principal actor in the terrible drama, and far more than Caiaphas, far more than Pilate, ought to bear the weight of the maledictions of mankind" ( Life of Jesus ). Caiaphas, indeed, as actual high priest, was the nominal head of the Sanhedrin which condemned Jesus, but the aged Annas was the ruling spirit. According to John 18:12 , John 18:13 , it was to him that the officers who arrested Jesus led Him first. "The reason given for that proceeding (" for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas") lays open alike the character of the man and the character of the trial" (Westcott, in the place cited). Annas (if he is the high priest of John 18:19-23 , as seems most likely) questioned Him concerning His disciples and teaching. This trial is not mentioned by the synoptists, probably because it was merely informal and preliminary and of a private nature, meant to gather material for the subsequent trial. Failing to elicit anything to his purpose from Jesus, "Annas therefore sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest" ( John 18:24 the King James Version is incorrect and misleading) for formal trial before the Sanhedrin, "but as one already stamped with a sign of condemnation" (Westcott). Doubtless Annas was present at the subsequent proceedings, but no further mention is made of him in New Testament, except that he was present at the meeting of the Sanhedrin after Pentecost when Peter and John defended themselves for preaching the gospel of the resurrection ( Acts 4:6 ).
(2) Head of a family who returned with Ezra (1 Esdras 9:32), called "Harim" in Ezra 10:31 .
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
( ῎Αννας , probably a contracted form of the name Ananiah in its Greek form, ῎Ανανος ) , a highpriest of the Jews mentioned in Luke (3, 2) as being high-priest Along With Caiaphas his son-in-law. Our Lord's first hearing ( John 18:13) was before Annas, who then sent him bound to Caiaphas. In Acts 4:6, he is plainly called the high-priest, and Caiaphas merely named with others of his family. He is called by Josephus Ananus (q.v.) the son of Seth; and was first appointed to that office in his 37th year by Quirinus, proconsul of Syria, about A.D. 7 (Ant. 18, 2, 1), but was afterward deprived of it by Valerius Gratus, procurator of Judaea (A.D. 14), who gave the office first to Ismael the son of Phabaeus, and a short time after to Eleazar the son of Annas (Josephus, Ant. 18, 2, 1 and 2). He held the office one year, and was then succeeded by Simon the son of Camithus, who, after another year, was followed by Joseph, also called Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas, A.D. ante 27, who continued in office until A.D. 37. In the passages of the New Testament above cited, therefore, it is apparent that Caiaphas was the only actual and proper high- priest; but Annas, being his father-in-law, and having been formerly himself high-priest, and being also perhaps his substitute (sagan), had great influence and authority, and could with great propriety be still termed high- priest along with Caiaphas. — (See Anger, De temp. p. 185: Lightfoot, Hor. Hebrews p. 744 sq.; Rus, Harmon. Evang. 1, 313 sq.; III, 2:962 sq.; Vitringa, Observ. Sacr. 6, 529 sq.; Casaubon, Exerc. antibar. p. 216 sq.; Wieseler, Chronol. Synops. p. 186 sq.; Selden, De Synedriis, 2, 655; Saubert, De Sacerdotio Ebrceor. 1, 5; Kuinol, Comment. on Luke 3:2.) (See High-Priest). He died at an advanced age, and was succeeded by his first son in the sacerdotal dignity (Josephus, Ant. 20, 9, 1).
- Annas from Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
- Annas from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- Annas from People's Dictionary of the Bible
- Annas from Smith's Bible Dictionary
- Annas from Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
- Annas from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
- Annas from Fausset's Bible Dictionary
- Annas from Morrish Bible Dictionary
- Annas from Easton's Bible Dictionary
- Annas from Holman Bible Dictionary
- Annas from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
- Annas from Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature