Simon, one of the apostles, was called "the Zealot" Zelotes from zeloo "to rival," "emulate," "be jealous," "admire," "desire greatly," Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13, the King James Version "Zelotes"). In Matthew 10:4 and Mark 3:18 he is called "the Cananean" (so the Revised Version (British and American) correctly; not "the Canaanite," as the King James Version says, following inferior manuscripts), ho Kananaios. From the time of the Maccabees there existed among the Jews a party who professed great zeal for the observance of the "law." According to Josephus (BJ, IV, iii, 9; v, 1; VII, viii, 1) they resorted to violence and assassination in their hatred of the foreigner, being at many points similar to the Chinese Boxers. It is not improbable that the "Assassins" (see ASSASSINS) of Acts 21:38 were identical, or at least closely associated, with this body of "Zealots," to which we must conclude that Simon had belonged before he became one of the Twelve.
See, further, SIMON THE ZEALOT.
William Arthur Heidel
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