Saint Joseph of Arimathea

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Also Known As: ""The Tin Man"", "Joseph of Arimathaea", "Saint Joseph d'Arimathie / de Marmore (Marmorica in Egypt)"
Birthplace: now Ramallah, of Arimathaea, Ramathaim- Zophim, Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Matthat Son of Levi ben Melchi and Esthra / Estha
Husband of Anna bat Simon, of Arimathea and Alyuba bat Eléazar
Brother of Saint Joachim; Heli ben Matat and Bianca
Half brother of JoAnna of Arimathea

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About Saint Joseph of Arimathea

Joseph of Arimathea (abt 005 BCE?, Arimathea, Judea - 27 Jul 82?, Glastonbury, UK). According to the Gospels, he donated his tomb for the body of Jesus after the Jesus' Crucifixion.

For the version of St. Joseph of Arimathea from the legend of King Arthur, see Joseph of Arimathea.

According to the Talmud, he was the younger brother of Joachim the father of the Virgin Mary, that is, he was Mary's uncle and Jesus' great-uncle. In medieval genealogies he is also Mary's uncle, but sometimes the uncle of her husband Joseph.

Some enthusiasts venture that he might be identified with Josephus (Hebrew: Yosef ben Matityahu, Roman: Titus Flavius Josephus), a Jewish historian and an apologist for the Roman empire. However, Josephus was born in 37 CE, making him a generation younger than Jesus, so it does not seem possible he was Jesus' great uncle.

REF: "Britannia Internet Magazine": Joseph of Arimathaea was a wealthy disciple of Jesus, who, according to the book of Matthew 27:57-60, asked Pontius Pilate for permission to take Jesus' dead body in order to prepare it for burial. He also provided the tomb where the crucified Lord was laid until his Resurrection. Joseph is mentioned in a few times in parallel passages in Mark, Luke and John, but nothing further is heard about his later activities. Legend, however, supplies us with the rest of his story by claiming that Joseph, accompanying the Apostle Philip on a preaching mission to Gaul, was sent to Britain for the purpose of converting the island to Christianity. The year 63 AD is commonly given for this "event", with 37 AD sometimes being put forth as an alternative. It was said that Joseph achieved his wealth in the metals trade, and in the course of conducting his business, he probably became acquainted with Britain, at least the southwestern parts of it. Cornwall was a chief mining district and well-known in the Roman empire for its tin and other metals. Some have even said that Joseph was the uncle of Jesus, and that he may have brought the young boy along on one of his business trips to the island. It was only natural, then, that Joseph should have been chosen for the first mission to Britain, and appropriate that he should come first to Glastonbury, that gravitational center for legendary activity in the West Country. Much more was added to Joseph's legend during the middle ages, and he was gradually inflated into a major saint and cult hero. For example, he is said to have brought with him either a cup, said to have been used at the Last Supper and also used to catch the blood dripping from Christ as he hung on the Cross. A variation of this story is that Joseph brought with him two cruets, one containing the blood and the other, the sweat of Christ. Either of these items are known as The Holy Grail, and were the object(s) of the quests of the Knights of King Arthur's Round Table. The legend goes on to suggest that Joseph hid the "Grail" in Chalice Well at Glastonbury for safe-keeping. There is a wide variance of scholarly opinion on this subject, however, and a good deal of doubt exists as to whether Joseph ever came to Britain at all, for any purpose.

!NAME:Ancestry of Richard Plantagenet & Cecily de Neville, Ancestry of Richard Plantagenet & Cecily de Neville, Ernst-Friedrich Kraentzler, published by author 1978, Chart 1827, p 393

St. Joseph of Arimathea


- - Anna of Arimatha Queen of Britain (Roman)

Forrás / Source: Joseph of Arimathea
Matthat aka 'Mathonwy'.
1 Notes for Joseph Arimathea: Joseph of Arimathea, according to all four Gospels of the New Testament, a rich Jew of Arimathea, probably a member of the Sanhedrin, the ancient Jewish court in Jerusalem, who after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, requested the body from the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate and placed it in his own tomb. According to some ancient writers he was later the founder of Christianity in Britain and of a monastery at Glastonbury; scholars, however, reject these claims. In the Arthurian cycle of romances and in late medieval legend he brings the Holy Grail into Britain.

2 Notes for Joseph Arimathea: Joseph of Arimathea, according to the Gospels, was the man who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after his crucifixion. A native of Arimathea, he was apparently a man of wealth, and a member of the Sanhedrin (which is the way bouleutes, literally "senator", is interpreted in Matthew 27:57 and Luke 23:50). Joseph was an "honourable counsellor, who waited (or "was searching" which is not the same thing) for the kingdom of God" (Mark, 15:43). As soon as he heard the news of Jesus' death, he "went in boldly" (literally "having summoned courage, he went") "unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus."

Pilate, who was reassured by a centurion that the death had really taken place, allowed Joseph's request. Joseph immediately purchased fine linen (Mark 15:46) and proceeded to Golgotha to take the body down from the cross. There, assisted by Nicodemus, he took the body and wrapped it in the fine linen, sprinkling it with the myrrh and aloes which Nicodemus had brought (John 19:39). The body was then conveyed to a new tomb that had been hewn for Joseph himself out of a rock in his garden nearby. There they laid it, in the presence of Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and other women, and rolled a great stone to the entrance, and departed (Luke 23:53, 55).

This was done speedily, "for the Sabbath was drawing on". Thus was fulfilled Isaiah's prediction that the grave of the Messiah would be with a rich man (Isaiah 53:9).

The skeptical tradition, which reads the various fulfillments of prophecies in the life of Jesus as inventions designed for that purpose, reads Joseph of Arimathea as a meme created to fulfill this prophecy in Isaiah. With this in mind, it is worth quoting the passage from Isaiah, chapter 53, the "man of sorrows" passage, because so much of the meaningfulness of Joseph of Arimathea hinges upon these prophetic words:

He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. The Greek Septuagint text is not quite the same:

And I will give the wicked for his burial, and the rich for his death; for he practised no iniquity, nor craft with his mouth. In the Qumran community's Great Isaiah Scroll, dated at ca 100 BC the words are not identical to the Masoretic text:

And they gave wicked ones his grave and [a scribbled word, probably accusative sign "eth"] rich ones in his death although he worked no violence neither deceit in his mouth. Is the "Man of Sorrows" assigned a shameful grave with the rich and wicked? Or are the wicked and rich given his grave? The question cannot be resolved simply from the three parallel surviving manuscript traditions.

Contents [hide] 1 Historical development 1.1 Christian interpretations 1.2 Gospel of Nicodemus 2 Other Medieval texts 2.1 Legendary Accounts: First Century Evangelist? 2.2 Legendary Accounts: The Holy Grail 2.3 Legendary Accounts: The flowering staff 3 Arimathea 4 Additional Notes 5 References 6 External links

Historical development

Since the 2nd century a mass of legendary details has accumulated around the figure of Joseph of Arimathea in addition to the New Testament references. Joseph is also referenced in apocryphal and non-canonical accounts such as the Acts of Pilate given the medieval title Gospel of Nicodemus and The Narrative of Joseph. Early church historians such as Irenaeus (AD 125-1890), Hippolytus (AD 170-236), Tertullian (AD 155-222), Eusebius (AD 260-340) added details not in the canonical accounts. Hilary of Poitiers (AD 300-367) enriched the legend. St. John Chrysostom (C.E. 347-407), the Patriarch of Constantinople, wrote in Homilies of St. John Chrysostum on the Gospel of John that Joseph was likely one of the seventy appointed in Luke 10.

During the late 12th century, Joseph became connected with the Arthurian cycle as the first keeper of the Holy Grail. This idea first appears in Robert de Boron's Joseph d'Arimathie, in which Joseph receives the Grail from an apparition of Jesus and sends it with his followers to Britain; it is elaborated upon in Boron's sequels and in later Arthurian works. Later retellings of the story contend that Joseph of Arimathea himself travelled to Britain and became the first (or at least an early) bishop of Christianity, and one version, popular during the Romantic period, even claims Joseph had taken Jesus to the island as a boy. This was the inspiration for William Blake's mystical hymn Jerusalem.

Christian interpretations Joseph's actions are taken by the authors of the Gospel Passion narratives to be a fulfillment of Isaiah's prediction that the grave of the Messiah would be with a rich man (Isaiah 53:9), though sceptics interpret Joseph of Arimathea as a meme created to fulfil this prophetic interpretation of Isaiah 53, the "man of sorrows" passage.

Biblical text amplifies both the Characteristics of Joseph, and the involvement he had with the burial of Christ. According to Dwight Moody in Bible Characters (p. 115ff) seldom is anything mentioned by all four Evangelists. If something is mentioned by Matthew and Mark, it is often omitted by Luke and John. However in the case of Joseph of Arimathea, he and his actions are mentioned by all four writers: Matthew 27:57-60, Mark 15:43-46, Luke 23:50-55 and John 19:38-42.

Gospel of Nicodemus The medieval Gospel of Nicodemus provides additional details. After Joseph asked for the body of Christ from Pilate, and prepared the body with Nicodemus' help, Christ's body was delivered to a new tomb, we learn, that Joseph had built for himself. In Gospel of Nicodemus, the Jewish elders are represented as expressing anger at Joseph for burying the body of Christ in the following exchange:

And likewise Joseph also stepped out and said to them: Why are you angry against me because I begged the body of Jesus? Behold, I have put him in my new tomb, wrapping in clean linen; and I have rolled a stone to the door of the tomb. And you have acted not well against the just man, because you have not repented of crucifying him, but also have pierced him with a spear.(Gospel of Nicodemus, Translated by Alexander Walker). The Jewish elders then captured Joseph, and imprisoned him, and placed a seal on the door to his cell after first posting a guard. Joseph warned the elders;

The Son of God whom you hanged upon the cross, is able to deliver me out of your hands. All your wickedness will return upon you.. Once the elders returned to the cell, the seal was still in place, but Joseph was gone. The elders later discover that Joseph had returned to Arimathea. Having a change in heart, the elders desired to have a more civil conversation with Joseph about his actions and sent a letter of apology to him by means of seven of his friends. Joseph travelled back from Arimathea to Jerusalem to meet with the elders, where they questioned by them about his escape. He told them this story;

On the day of the Preparation, about the tenth hour, you shut me in, and I remained there the whole Sabbath in full. And when midnight came, as I was standing and praying, the house where you shut me in was hung up by the four corners, and there was a flashing of light in mine eyes. And I fell to the ground trembling. Then some one lifted me up from the place where I had fallen, and poured over me an abundance of water from the head even to the feet, and put round my nostrils the odour of a wonderful ointment, and rubbed my face with the water itself, as if washing me, and kissed me, and said to me, Joseph, fear not; but open thine eyes, and see who it is that speaks to thee. And looking, I saw Jesus; and being terrified, I thought it was a phantom. And with prayer and the commandments I spoke to him, and he spoke with me. And I said to him: Art thou Rabbi Elias? And he said to me: I am not Elias. And I said: Who art thou, my Lord? And he said to me: I am Jesus, whose body thou didst beg from Pilate, and wrap in clean linen; and thou didst lay a napkin on my face, and didst lay me in thy new tomb, and roll a stone to the door of the tomb. Then I said to him that was speaking to me: Show me, Lord, where I laid thee. And he led me, and showed me the place where I laid him, and the linen which I had put on him, and the napkin which I had wrapped upon his face; and I knew that it was Jesus. And he took hold of me with his hand, and put me in the midst of my house though the gates were shut, and put me in my bed, and said to me: Peace to thee! And he kissed me, and said to me: For forty days go not out of thy house; for, lo, I go to my brethren into Galilee. (Gospel of Nicodemus, Translated by Alexander Walker) According to the Gospel of Nicodemus, Joseph testified to the Jewish elders, and specifically to Chief priest Caiaphas and Annas that Jesus had risen from the dead and ascended to heaven and he indicated that others were raised from the dead at the resurrection of Christ (repeating Matt 27:52-53). He specifically identified the two sons of the high-priest Simeon (again in Luke 2:25-35). The elders Annas, Caiaphas, Nicodemus, and Joseph himself, along with Gamaliel under whom Paul studied, travelled to Arimathea to interview Simeon's sons Charinus and Lenthius.

Other Medieval texts Medieval interest in Joseph centred around two themes;

i. Joseph is portrayed as the founder of British Christianity (even before it had taken hold in Rome). ii. Joseph is thought to be the original guardian of the Holy Grail. [edit] Legendary Accounts: First Century Evangelist? Of the two 'legends' surrounding Joseph, the idea that he founded the Celtic Church had more support from early church writers, though most modern scholars are sceptical. Tertullian (AD 155-222) wrote in Adversus Judaeos that Britain had already received and accepted the Gospel in his life time, writing;

..all the limits of the Spains, and the diverse nations of the Gauls, and the haunts of the Britons--inaccessible to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ. Tertullian doesn't say how the Gospel came to Britain before AD 222. However Eusebius, (C.E. 260-340) Bishop of Caesarea and father of Ecclesiastical History wrote in Demonstratio Evangelica Bk. 3;

The Apostles passed beyond the ocean to the isles called the Britannic Isles. St. Hilary of Pottiers (C.E. 300-376) also wrote (Tract XIV, Ps 8) that the Apostles had built churches and that the Gospel had passed into Britain and this claim is echoed by St. John Chrysostom (C.E. 347-407), the Patriarch of Constantinople in Chrysostomo Orat. O Theos Xristos;

The British Isles which are beyond the sea, and which lie in the ocean, have received virtue of the Word. Churches are there found and altars erected ... Though thou shouldst go to the ocean, to the British Isles, there though shouldst hear all men everywhere discoursing matters out of the scriptures, with another voice indeed, but not another faith, with a different tongue, but the same judgement. Hippolytus (AD 170-236), considered to have been one of the most learned Christian historians, identifies the seventy whom Jesus sent in Luke 10, and includes Aristobulus listed in Romans 16:10 with Joseph and states that he ended up becoming a Pastor in Britain. This is further argued by St. Hilary of Pottiers in Tract XIV, Ps 8.

These earliest references to Christianity’s arrival in Britain resulted in interest and later research by Medieval writers who wanted to explain these references. Rabanus Maurus (AD 766-856), Archbishop of Mayence states in Life of Mary Magdalene that Joseph of Arimathea was sent to Britain, and he goes on to detail who travelled with him as far as France, claiming that he was accompanied by;

the two Bethany sisters, Mary and Martha, Lazarus (who was raised from the dead), St. Eutropius, St. Salome, St. Cleon, St. Saturnius, St. Mary Magdalen, Marcella (the maid of the Bethany sisters), St. Maxium or Maximin, St. Martial, and St. Trophimus or Restitutus. An authentic copy of the Maurus text is housed in the Bodleian Library of Oxford University. manuscripts MSS Laud 108 of the Bodleian.

Rabanus Maurus describes their voyage to Britain :Leaving the shores of Asia and favoured by an east wind, they went round about, down the Tyrrhenian Sea, between Europe and Africa, leaving the city of Rome and all the land to the right. Then happily turning their course to the right, they came near to the city of Marseilles, in the Viennoise province of the Gauls, where the river Rhone is received by the sea. There, having called upon God, the great King of all the world, they parted; each company going to the province where the Holy Spirit directed them; presently preaching everywhere ... His claim is that Joseph, Mary and others followed the well-known Phoenician trade route to Britain as described by Diodorus Siculus.

[1] Cardinal Caesar Baronius (C.E. 1538-1609), Vatican Librarian and historian, recorded this voyage by Joseph of Arimathea, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, Martha, Marcella and others in his Annales Ecclesiatici', volume 1, section 35.

Many of the details repeated by medieval writers were originally recorded in Historia de Rebus Brittannicis by a 6th century Welsh bard, Maelgwn (aka Melkin or Melchinus). Maelgwn's work was well known to Medieval writers but was destroyed when the Abbey at Glastonbury burned in 1184 AD.

Legendary Accounts: The Holy Grail According to legend it was Joseph who was given responsibility over the Holy Grail, the cup into which the blood of Jesus flowed during his Crucifixion. This association Joseph had with the Grail is not the same as the 'modern' Grail of Arthurian legends, as the earliest writers who mention Joseph do not mention “King Arthur”, rather the association that Joseph had with the Grail was based upon the tradition that when Joseph came to Britain he brought with him a wooden cup used in the Last Supper, and two cruets, one holding the blood of Christ, and the other sweat from Jesus, washed from his wounded body on the Cross. This legend is the source of the Grail claim by the Nanteous cup on display in the museum in Aberystwyth, however it should be noted that there is no references to this tradition in ancient or medieval text.

The significance of the tradition that Joseph brought the Gospel to Britain, is that it gave rise to the claim that he also brought with him 'Holy Relics'. Therefore, this tradition explains his association with the Holy Grail, and therefore helps also to explain how he became connected to the legendary figure Arthur.

John of Glastonbury (AD 1393-1464) claims King Arthur was descended from Joseph, listing the following imaginative pedigree through King Arthur's mother;

Helaius, Nepos Joseph, Genuit Josus, Josue Genuit Aminadab, Aminadab Genuit Filium, qui Genuit Ygernam, de qua Rex Pen-Dragon, Genuit Nobilem et Famosum Regum Arthurum, per Quod Patet, Quod Rex Arthurus de Stirpe Joseph descendit. It should also be noted that by 1393, when John of Glastonbury was writing, Grail and Aurthurian legends were already fairly developed and Arthur already a popular figure, and so this lineage may have resulted from an attempt to connect the two, and it can be found in no other source. Regardless, the implication was not lost on later writers who picked up on the suggested connection and developed the theme; by right of descent, a relic of importance claimed to have been brought by Joseph to Britain, fell into the hands of King Arthur though inheritance. No sources earlier than John of Glastonbury's chronicles provide this same lineage but the connection between King Arthur and the Grail persists. From the time of Mallory onward the Grail legend and the Arthurian legend are quite inextricable.

Legendary Accounts: The flowering staff The mytheme of the staff that Joseph of Arimathea set in the ground at Galstonbury, which broke into leaf and flower as the Glastonbury Thorn is a common miracle in hagiography. Such a miracle is told of the Anglo-Saxon saint Etheldreda:

"Continuing her flight to Ely, Etheldreda halted for some days at Alfham, near Wintringham, where she founded a church; and near this place occurred the "miracle of her staff." Wearied with her journey, she one day slept by the wayside, having fixed her staff in the ground at her head. On waking she found the dry staff had burst into leaf; it became an ash tree, the "greatest tree in all that country;" and the place of her rest, where a church was afterwards built, became known as 'Etheldredestow.'" (King 1862) Richard John King, 1862. Handbook of the Cathedrals of England (Oxford) (On-line text) [edit] Arimathea Main article: Arimathea. Arimathea itself is not otherwise documented, though it was "a city of Judea" according to Luke (xxiii, 51). Arimathea is usually identified with either Ramleh or Ramathaim-Zophim, where David came to Samuel (1 Samuel chapter 19).

Additional Notes The Catholic Encyclopedia asserts that "the additional details which are found concerning him in the apocryphal Acta Pilati [Acts of Pilate], are unworthy of credence."

"Likewise fabulous is the legend", continues the Catholic Encyclopedia, that Joseph of Arimathea was the uncle of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and a merchant involved in the tin trade with Britain who took Jesus there at some time in his life. After the Crucifixion, around the year AD 63, he was said to have returned to Britain as one of the first Christian missionaries to visit the country. He carried the Holy Grail with him, concealing it somewhere in the vicinity of Glastonbury Tor for safekeeping when he established the first church in the British Isles, which developed into Glastonbury Abbey. When Joseph set his walking staff on the ground to sleep, it miraculously took root, leafed out, and blossomed as the "Glastonbury thorn". There is little historical substance for any of this legend, but its retelling did encourage the pilgrimage trade at Glastonbury until the Abbey was dissolved in 1539, at the English Reformation. More information about the debate about the suggested connection of Joseph of Arimathea with Britain can be found in Celtic Christianity.

Author Glenn Kimball further links the arrival, in Britain, of Joseph of Arimathea by 63 AD to the revolt of Boudica in England at nearly precisely that time (61 AD).

References Note 1: Moody, Dwight Lyman. 1997. Moody’s Bible Characters Come Alive. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 115 p. ISBN

More About Joseph Arimathea: Date born 2: 100, Judea, BC, Canada.5 Died 2: 100, Jul Ad, Glastonbury, Wales.5

Children of Joseph Arimathea and Anna are:


"Pietro Perugino 012" by Pietro Perugino - The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -


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Saint Joseph of Arimathea's Timeline

now Ramallah, of Arimathaea, Ramathaim- Zophim, Israel
- 29
Age 11
now, Ramah, Mark 15:43, John 19:38
now, Ramah, Mark 15:43, John 19:38
now, Ramah, Mark 15:43, John 19:38