Yehuda ben Yosef, Twin
|Also Known As:||"Judah", "Judas", "Yehudah ben Josef", "Saint Jude / Judas Thomas"|
|Death:||Died in Judea?|
Son of Saint Joseph and Blessed Virgin Mary
|Managed by:||Sharon Doubell|
About Saint Jude
Saint Jude is the only one of Jesus' brothers who is known to have left descendants.
Some modern sources call him the 3rd Bishop of Jerusalem, identifying him with Justus I, Bishop 107-113, who was named by Eusebius of Caesarea (4th century). The source for the identification is unknown.
He is named in Estoire del Saint Graal, an Arthurian romance written in the 1230s, along with his fictional son Elzasus, ancestor of a Grail family.
Eusebius of Caesarea (d. c.339) preserved Sextus Julius Africanus' reference to the Desposyni (early 3rd century): "For the relatives of our Lord according to the flesh, whether with the desire of boasting or simply wishing to state the fact, in either case truly, have handed down the following account . . . But as there had been kept in the archives up to that time the genealogies of the Hebrews as well as of those who traced their lineage back to proselytes, such as Achior the Ammonite and Ruth the Moabitess, and to those who were mingled with the Israelites and came out of Egypt with them, Herod, inasmuch as the lineage of the Israelites contributed nothing to his advantage, and since he was goaded with the consciousness of his own ignoble extraction, burned all the genealogical records, thinking that he might appear of noble origin if no one else were able, from the public registers, to trace back his lineage to the patriarchs or proselytes and to those mingled with them, who were called Georae. A few of the careful, however, having obtained private records of their own, either by remembering the names or by getting them in some other way from the registers, pride themselves on preserving the memory of their noble extraction. Among these are those already mentioned, called Desposyni, on account of their connection with the family of the Saviour. Coming from Nazara and Cochaba, villages of Judea, into other parts of the world, they drew the aforesaid genealogy from memory and from the book of daily records as faithfully as possible. Whether then the case stand thus or not no one could find a clearer explanation, according to my own opinion and that of every candid person. And let this suffice us, for, although we can urge no testimony in its support, we have nothing better or truer to offer. In any case the Gospel states the truth." And at the end of the same epistle he adds these words: "Matthan, who was descended from Solomon, begat Jacob. And when Matthan was dead, Melchi, who was descended from Nathan begat Eli by the same woman. Eli and Jacob were thus uterine brothers. Eli having died childless, Jacob raised up seed to him, begetting Joseph, his own son by nature, but by law the son of Eli. Thus Joseph was the son of both." (Historia Ecclesiae, 1:7:11, 1:7:13-14).
Eusebius also preserved an extract from a work by Hegesippus (d. 180). "There still survived of the kindred of the Lord the grandsons of Judas, who according to the flesh was called his brother. These were informed against, as belonging to the family of David, and Evocatus brought them before Domitian Caesar: for that emperor dreaded the advent of Christ, as Herod had done. So he asked them whether they were of the family of David; and they confessed they were. Next he asked them what property they had, or how much money they possessed. They both replied that they had only 9000 denaria between them, each of them owning half that sum; but even this they said they did not possess in cash, but as the estimated value of some land, consisting of thirty-nine plethra only, out of which they had to pay the dues, and that they supported themselves by their own labour. And then they began to hold out their hands, exhibiting, as proof of their manual labour, the roughness of their skin, and the corns raised on their hands by constant work. Being then asked concerning Christ and His kingdom, what was its nature, and when and where it was to appear, they returned answer that it was not of this world, nor of the earth, but belonging to the sphere of heaven and angels, and would make its appearance at the end of time, when He shall come in glory, and judge living and dead, and render to every one according to the course of his life. Thereupon Domitian passed no condemnation upon them, but treated them with contempt, as too mean for notice, and let them go free. At the same time he issued a command, and put a stop to the persecution against the Church. When they were released they became leaders of the churches, as was natural in the case of those who were at once martyrs and of the kindred of the Lord. And, after the establishment of peace to the Church, their lives were prolonged to the reign of Trajan." (Eusebius of Caesarea, Historia Ecclesiae, 3:20).
Thomas (Tau'ma) means twin in Syriac, a form of the Aramaic which was the language of Jesus and his followers. And Didymus, a name by which the apostle is also called in the gospel of John, means twin in Greek.
A long-suppressed, long-forgotten form of Christianity in which Thomas was the chief apostle has come to light in recent years. In western Christendom Thomas is known chiefly as the Doubter, the close follower of Jesus who had to touch his master's wounds in order to be convinced that he had really risen from the dead. Among some of the earliest followers of Jesus in the Fertile Crescent, from northern Syria to Egypt, Thomas emerged much more prominently. He was seen as the special confidant of Jesus, recorder of his master's sayings, and, in some sense, his twin. Churches across Asia came to regard him as their founding apostle And in the sayings purportedly recorded by Thomas, Jesus appears as an inspired sage imparting spiritual wisdom to his hearers, not as the Christ, part of the godhead, presented in Paul's writings and the canonical gospels.
In these pages the lore surrounding the apostle in his recently-rediscovered role has been brought together for the first time -- lore that appears in historical records, myths, legends, cultural artifacts, and religious literature, and in modern speculations about their meaning. Much of this material has come to light at a time when many scholars, clerics, and lay people are looking beyond the traditional New Testament -- the texts that church leaders picked out as authoritative some seventeen or eighteen centuries ago -- to the mass of other early writings concerning Jesus and his followers. Many of those writings have been found in the twentieth century. In this view the original selection served purposes -- social, political, theological, ecclesiastical -- that should not be regarded as binding for all time.
In the Syriac-speaking culture of upper Mesopotamia and Syria the apostle was called Judas Thomas.