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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

GALILaeAN ( Γαλιλαῖος).—Twice Jesus is mentioned as a Galilaean: once by a maid-servant ( Matthew 26:69); once when Pilate was anxious to transfer the trial of Jesus from his own to Herod’s court ( Luke 23:6). It was during the trial of Jesus also that Peter was recognized as a Galilaean by the bystanders ( Matthew 26:73,  Mark 14:70,  Luke 22:59; see Galilee, § 7). In  John 4:45 we read that Galilaeans, who had been at Jerusalem and had seen the works of Jesus there, received Him on that account in their own land. In  Luke 13:1 we are told of Pilate’s (evidently recent) punishment of some Galilaeans, whom he had slain even while they were sacrificing. This event cannot be identified with any revolt mentioned in history. Some suppose Barabbas to have been arrested in connexion therewith; some would associate it with the revolt of Judas of Galilee (Josephus BJ ii. viii. 1), but this took place, according to  Acts 5:37, more than twenty years before. Probably it refers to some small outbreak, severely punished by Pilate as usual (cf. Philo, Leg. ad Gaium , 37).

For characteristics of Galilaeans see Galilee, § 7, ‘People.’

G. W. Thatcher.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [2]

( Γαλιλαῖος ), a native or inhabitant ( John 4:45, "of Galilee,"  Matthew 26:69;  Acts 1:11;  Acts 5:37) of GALILEE (See Galilee) (q.v.); applied to the disciples of Christ as a term of contempt ( Luke 22:59;  Acts 2:7). They were easily recognized as such, for the Galileans spoke a dialect of the vernacular Syriac different from that of Judaea, and which was of course accounted rude and impure, as all provincial dialects are considered to be, in comparison with that of the metropolis. It was this which occasioned the detection of Peter as one of Christ's disciples ( Mark 14:70). The Galilaean dialect (as we learn from Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. col. 434; Lightfoot, Cent. Chorogr. in Matt. proem. c. 86, 87; and others) was of a broad and rustic tone, which affected the pronunciation not only of letters, but of words. It parttook much of the Samaritan and Syriac idiom; but, in the instance of Peter, it must have been the tone which betrayed him, the words being seemingly too few for that effect. (See A. Pfeiffer, Dissert. de lingua Galilaeor.; also in his de Talmude Judaeor. page 137 sq.) The Galilaens are imentioned by Josephus (Ant. 17:10, 2; War, 2:10, 6; 3:3, 2) as a tumulent and rebellious people, ready on all occasions to rise against the Roman authority. This character of them explains what is said in  Luke 13:1 with regard to "the Galileans whose blood Pilate Had Mias gled with their sacrifices." Josephus, indeed, does not mention any Galileans slain in the Temple by Pilate; but the character which he gives that people sufficiently corroborates the statement. The tumults to which be alludes were, as we know, chiefly raised at the great festivals, when sacrifices were slain in great abundance; and on all such occasions the Galilaeans were much more active than the men of Judaea, and Jerusalem, as is proved by the history of Archelaus (Joseph. Ant. 17:9, 10); which case, indeed, furnishes an answer to those who deny that the Gabibalans attended the feasts with the rest of the Jews. The seditious character of the Galilaeans also explains why Pilate, when sitting in judgment upon Jesus, caught at the word Galilee when used by the chief priests, and asked if he were a Galilaean ( Luke 23:6). To be known to belong to that country was of itself sufficient to prejudice Pilate against him, and to give some countenance to the charges, unsupported by impartial evidence, which were preferred against him, and which Pilate himself had, just before, virtually declared to be false. See Otho, Lex. Rab. page 254 sq.