I have mentioned previously Craig Evans’ recent suggestion that events in the development of early Christianity can be partially explained by an ongoing vendetta on the part of the aristocratic priestly family of Annas against the family and followers of Jesus. I also mentioned that this idea has been mentioned by Paul Barnett. I’ve now found a place where Barnett hints at the possibility (although he certainly doesn’t explore it as fully as Evans):
James [brother of Jesus] was killed because of dynastic jealousy. James, brother of Jesus, was leader of a large community of Jerusalem Jews whose loyalty to him would have exceeded the loyalty the members of the wider community had towards the high priest. Moreover, from Annas’ point of view [Barnett is referring to Annas the younger, also known as Ananus] James was brother of the false-messiah, Jesus, whose execution Annas the Elder had secured thirty years earlier. Dynasties were a fact of life in Palestine at that time, as the following tables relating to dynasties of high priests, Jesus, rabbis and revolutionaries indicates. This table of dynasties shows how customary it was for members of the family to continue the teaching and traditions of their relatives. Once Peter was unable to continue as leader of the Jerusalem church the choice would have fallen, fairly naturally, upon Jesus’ brother James and then, after his death, on Jesus’ next close relative, his cousin Simean. (Bethlehem to Patmos, p171; table on p172)
Also, Bauckham describes something similar (in Skarsaune & Hvalvik 2007: 75-76):
It is noteworthy that in every known case action against the Jerusalem church or its leaders was taken when the reigning high priest was one of those who belonged to the powerful Sadducean family of Annas (Ananus). Caiaphas, son-in-law of Annas, had presided over the trial and condemnation of Jesus and was still high priest when Stephen was tried before his council and stoned. Matthias son of Annas was probably high priest when Agrippa I had James the son of Zebedee executed and Peter arrested… Finally, James the brother of Jesus was put to death by another son of Annas, Ananus II, who took advantage of a period when the previous Roman governor had died and the rest had not yet arrived in Jerusalem … We may suspect something of a family vendetta against the followers of a man whose movement Caiaphas had expected but failed to stamp out.
I think that Evans is the first to propose that Jesus ben Ananias was also a member of the Christian movement, who likewise suffered at the hands of the high-priestly dynasty of Annas (Evans, From Jesus to Church, 114):
What motivated ben Ananias to take up his prophecy of woe [against the Jerusalem temple in the 60s of the first century]? Given the number of parallels with Jesus of Nazareth and given the possibility that the peasant prophet was a follower of jesus of Nazareth, the martyrdom of James brother of Jesus may have been what prompted ben Ananias to begin his ministry.