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Re: [XTalk] The Twelve

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  • Peter Kirby
    Reading over this list, I thought of my own comments. Are any of them novel? ... From: Peter Kirby To:
    Message 1 of 72 , Sep 3, 2002
      Reading over this list, I thought of my own comments. Are any of them

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Peter Kirby" <kirby@...>
      To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, September 03, 2002 7:56 PM
      Subject: Re: [XTalk] The Twelve

      > The Secret Book of James mentions the 'twelve disciples' as well as James,
      > Peter, and John.

      My list was drawn up hastily, and I may have made an error here. Here is
      the quote from the Apocryphon of James:

      The Lord answered and said: "Do you not know that the head of prophecy was
      cut off with John?"

      This is most obviously a reference to the Baptist (Mark 6:27), although I
      suppose it could technically be the son of Zebedee, if both sons of thunder
      were executed at the same time as some suggest. According to Acts 12:2,
      James the brother of John was beheaded.

      > The Gospel of the Ebionites mentions Simon Peter, John and James the sons
      > Zebedee, Simon, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, James the son of Alphaeus,
      > Thomas, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the Iscariot.

      The name 'Simon' should not appear twice, and the name 'Matthew' must be

      Here is the translation of the passage in Epiphanius from M. R. James,
      transcribed by me.


      "In the Gospel they have, called according to Matthew, but not wholly
      complete, but falsified and mutilated (they call it the Hebrew Gospel), it
      is contained that 'There was a certain man named Jesus, and he was about
      thirty years old, who chose us. And coming unto Capernaum he entered into
      the house of Simon who was surnamed Peter, and opened his mouth and said: As
      I passed by the lake of Tiberias, I chose John and James the sons of
      Zebedee, and Simon and Andrew and <Philip and Bartholomew, James the son of
      Alphaeus and Thomas> Thaddaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the Iscariot:
      and thee, Matthew, as thou satest as the receipt of custom I called, and
      thou followedst me. You therefore I will to be twelve apostles for a
      testimony unto (of) Israel."

      Here is the quote from Epiphanius in a different translation, which I pulled
      off the net somewhere.


      There appeared a certain man named Jesus of about thirty years of age, who
      chose us. And when he came to Capernaum, he entered into the house of Simon
      whose surname is Peter, and opened his mouth and said: "As I passed the Lake
      of Tiberias, I chose John and James the sons of Zebedee, and Simon and
      Andrew and Thaddeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the Iscariot, and you,
      Matthew, I called as you sat at the receipt of custom, and you followed me.
      You, therefore, I will to be twelve apostles for a testimony unto Israel."
      (Epiphanius, Panarion 30.13.2-3)

      > Papias mentions Andrew, Peter, Philip, Thomas, James, John, Matthew, and
      > Judas.

      Here is the quote of Papias from Eusebius as found in the Ante-Nicene


      But I shall not be unwilling to put down, along with my interpretations,
      whatsoever instructions I received with care at any time from the elders,
      and stored up with care in my memory, assuring you at the same time of their
      truth. For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those who spoke
      much, but in those who taught the truth; nor in those who related strange
      commandments, but in those who rehearsed the commandments given by the Lord
      to faith, and proceeding from truth itself. If, then, any one who had
      attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after their sayings,--what
      Andrew or Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James,
      or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the Lord's disciples: which
      things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say. For
      I imagined that what was to be got from books was not so profitable to me as
      what came from the living and abiding voice.

      > The Epistula Apostolorum mentions John, Thomas, Peter, Andrew, James,
      > Philip, Batholomew, Matthew, Nathanael, Judas Zelotes, and Cephas as well
      > Joseph and Mary.

      Here is the quote from the Epistula Apostolorum as translated by M. R. James
      from the Ethiopic.


      2 We, John, Thomas, Peter, Andrew, James, Philip, Batholomew, Matthew,
      Nathanael, Judas Zelotes, and Cephas, write unto the churches of the east
      and the west, of the north and the south, the declaring and imparting unto
      you that which concerneth our Lord Jesus Christ: we do write according as we
      have seen and heard and touched him, after that he was risen from the dead:
      and how that he revealed unto us things mighty and wonderful and true.

      Now let me quote from some lists of leaders or disciples found in the
      canonical writings.

      Mark 3:16-19. "Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John
      the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder;
      Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
      Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him."

      Matt 10:2-3. "The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon
      called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his
      brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector
      [note the name change in Mt 9:9 from Levi, son of Alphaeus, as compared with
      Mk 2:14]; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and
      Judas Iscariot who betrayed him."

      Luke 6:14-16. "Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James,
      John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon
      who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who
      became a traitor."

      Acts 1:13. "When they entered the city they went into the upper room where
      they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas,
      Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas
      son of James."

      The author of Luke-Acts also mentions the seventy and the seven.

      Luke 10:1-17. "Now after these things the Lord appointed seventy others
      also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place
      where he himself was about to come. . . . And the seventy returned with joy,
      saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us through thy name."

      Acts 6:3-5. "Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled
      with the spirit and wisdom . . ." So they chose Stephen, a man filled with
      faith and the holy spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,
      and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism."

      Some suggest that John 1:45-51 suggests that Nathanael can take his place
      among the college of the apostles. It is often observed that the fourth
      gospel has no list of the Twelve, but we do find this list in the Johannine

      John 21:2. "There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and
      Nathanael who was of Cana of Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two
      others of his disciples."

      If you count these, there are seven disciples mentioned. If you look up
      above, you will find that Papias also mentions seven disciples: Andrew,
      Peter, Philip, Thomas, James, John, and Matthew. Papias mentions Judas
      elsewhere but does not mention him as an apostle here. The Gospel of the
      Ebionites mentions eight people; the additional four names inserted by M. R.
      James are a conjectural emendation so that the list adds up to twelve, in
      accord with the mention of the twelve in Epiphanius' quote, but it is
      possible that two different traditions are reflected in this quote. If
      Judas may be excluded, as he is in Papias, the Jewish-Christian Gospel
      mentioned by Epiphanius names seven disciples: John and James the sons of
      Zebedee, and Simon and Andrew and Thaddaeus and Simon the Zealot and

      So we have three lists of seven: John, Papias, and the Ebionite Gospel
      quoted by Epiphanius. Let me repeat the list for each.

      Gospel of John: Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael who was of
      Cana of Galilee, son of Zebedee, son of Zebedee, one of two other disciples,
      one of two other disciples

      Papias in Eusebius: Andrew, Peter, Philip, Thomas, James, John, and Matthew

      Ebionite Gospel in Epiphanius: John son of Zebedee, James the son of
      Zebedee, Simon, Andrew, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, Matthew.

      There are three persons that appear in all these lists of seven, though
      without names in the fourth gospel (for his own literary purposes).

      = John - Papias - Ebionite =

      Simon Peter - Peter - Simon
      'sons of Zebedee' - John - John son of Zebedee
      'sons of Zebedee' - James - James son of Zebedee

      These are the same names found in the Big Three (Gal 2:9; Mark 5:37, 9:2,
      13:3, 14:33 and parallels.).

      There are then four persons whose names may vary.

      = John - Papias - Ebionite =

      Thomas called Didymus - Thomas - Thaddaeus/Simon the Zealot
      Nathanael - Matthew - Matthew
      'two others of his disciples' - Andrew - Andrew
      'two others of his disciples' - Philip - Thaddaeus/Simon the Zealot

      Here is how I constructed this table. First, I noted that Andrew and Philip
      often appear together in the apostolic lists (Mark 3:18, Acts 1:13). Also,
      I noted that Andrew and Philip were mentioned in the first chapter of the
      fourth gospel (Jn 1:40, 1:43-44). They were therefore obvious candidates
      for the two other disciples, and they both appear in Papias separated only
      by Peter (the brother of Andrew). Then, it is obvious that Thomas in Papias
      should be paired up with Thomas called Didymus in the fourth gospel. After
      that, the only name left unmatched in Papias is Matthew, so I placed it next
      to Nathanael by a process of elimination. For the Gospel of the Ebionites,
      Andrew and Matthew are mentioned and so appear in the table next to the
      names in the list from Papias. I saw no clear way to connect
      Thaddaeus/Simon the Zealot with Thomas/Philip, so I left these relationships

      With the exception of Nathanael, all of these names appear in the synoptic
      lists of Twelve, but not in the same order. The lack of a common order with
      the synoptic Twelve suggests to me that the Seven is a separate tradition
      from the Twelve. I am not sure how the apostolic Seven relates to the
      Hellenist Seven in Acts. Is the author of Luke-Acts somehow commenting on
      an earlier tradition of seven disciples? If so, what is the comment? I
      haven't worked that out.

      Now we come to the lists of Twelve. The slight discrepancy between the list
      in Mark/Matthew and the list in Luke/Acts is well-known, and the time-worn
      harmonization tells us that Judas the son of James is Thaddaeus. But not so
      well-known is the non-synoptic list of Twelve to be found in the Epistula
      Apostolorum. There we find it written:

      "We, John, Thomas, Peter, Andrew, James, Philip, Batholomew, Matthew,
      Nathanael, Judas Zelotes, and Cephas, write unto the churches . . ."

      Count them up, and you will reach the number eleven. Add in Judas Iscariot,
      excluded from the Twelve after the resurrection (Mt 28:16; Lk 24:9, 24:33),
      and what you see in the Epistula Apostolorum is a different list of the
      Twelve apostles.

      So let us compare the lists of the Eleven (minus the Iscariot) in these
      three sources.

      Gospel of Mark: Peter, James son of Zebedee, John the brother of James,
      Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
      Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean

      The Work of Luke-Acts: Simon whom he named Peter, his brother Andrew, James,
      John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon
      who was called a Zealot, Judas the son of James

      Epistula Apostolorum: John, Thomas, Peter, Andrew, James, Philip,
      Batholomew, Matthew, Nathanael, Judas Zelotes, Cephas

      The first thing that jumps out at you is that Peter is separated from Cephas
      in the Epistula Apostolorum. It has been suggested by some that the name of
      Peter was interpolated into the Pauline epistles to replace the name of
      Cephas in some places. (http://www.depts.drew.edu/jhc/barnikol.html) This
      list of the Eleven in the Epistula Apostolorum could provide independent
      attestation of the tradition that Peter and Cephas were not always
      identified, regardless of their etymological similarity.

      Other striking points in the Epistula Apostolorum include the priority of
      John, paralleled only in the Ebionite Gospel, and the high position given to
      Thomas as second, while Thomas usually appears much later. Andrew is
      mentioned along with Peter, which is not unusual, but three names now place
      a wedge between John and James: did the author of the Epistula Apostolorum
      think of them as brothers?

      Philip, Bartholomew, and Matthew appear together in the proper order in the
      Epistula Apostolorum. So far, all of these names are found in the synoptic
      list. But then we see the name of Nathanael: the list that places John
      first provides an additional testimony to the apostolate of Nathanael.

      Then we come to the apostle that I would dub "Jude the obscure," named here
      Judas Zelotes, who could be identified with Simon who was called the Zealot
      in Luke-Acts (Simon the Cananean in Matthew/Mark), or who could be
      identified with Judas the son of James in Luke-Acts (sometimes identified
      with Thaddeus in Matthew/Mark). Is it too much to suggest that a name was
      made up on occasion to round out the number of apostles?

      From the list in the Epistula Apostolorum, it is apparent that, if Jesus
      chose twelve disciples, their names were not committed to memory by the
      early church, perhaps analogous to the way they are not committed to memory
      in the church today. All the lists remember Peter and the sons of thunder,
      and then Andrew or Matthew or Thomas come to mind, but after that the memory
      gets fuzzy.

      We have examined the traditions of the Seven and of the Twelve. Brief
      mention can be made of the other traditions of disciples.

      The Two appear in the Apocryphon of James, "a secret book which was revealed
      to me and Peter by the Lord," in which Jesus says, "Let me have James and
      Peter, in order that I may fill them." Then there is that dynamic duo,
      Peter and Paul, mentioned in First Clement together as follows: "Let us set
      before our eyes the good Apostles. There was Peter who by reason of
      unrighteous jealousy endured not one not one but many labors, and thus
      having borne his testimony went to his appointed place of glory. By reason
      of jealousy and strife Paul by his example pointed out the prize of patient
      endurance. After that he had been seven times in bonds, had been driven into
      exile, had been stoned, had preached in the East and in the West, he won the
      noble renown which was the reward of his faith, having taught righteousness
      unto the whole world and having reached the farthest bounds of the West; and
      when he had borne his testimony before the rulers, so he departed from the
      world and went unto the holy place, having been found a notable pattern of
      patient endurance."

      The triumvirate of James, Peter, and John appear in Paul (Gal 2:9) and the
      synoptics (Mark 5:37, 9:2, 13:3, 14:33, parallels). I write in my summary
      of Eisenman: "Ancient tradition has it that the first Jewish revolt was
      sparked by the unjust execution of James the Just. In order to disassociate
      James the Just from his brother Jesus, the Gospels split him into two: on
      the one hand, the family of Jesus including James think Jesus is mad; on the
      other hand, James the son of Zebedee is one of the trio of James, Peter, and
      John as found in the Gospels. Yet the fiction is exposed when we look at the
      earlier letters of Paul, in which the trio is James the brother of the Lord,
      Peter, and John - what an odd coincidence, which so many scholars take at
      face value, that one James the son of Zebedee should have died only to be
      conveniently replaced by another by the name of James, the brother of
      Jesus!" A lesser-mentioned threesome is found in the Gospel of Thomas in
      the form of Simon Peter, Matthew, and Thomas (saying 13).

      For the Five, here is the quote from the Talmud. It is from TB Sanhedrin
      43a, as given by F. F. Bruce in _Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New
      Testament_, p. 62. It comes right after the story of hanging Jesus on the
      Passover Eve for sorcery and leading Israel astray into apostasy, which
      gives reasonable assurance that Jesus of Nazareth is intended. There
      follows a list of offenses supposedly committed by these people, with quotes
      from the Hebrew scriptures that pun on their names; giving names that would
      create puns may have been the principle behind the selection of names.
      Nevertheless it is interesting as providing a testimony to a tradition of a
      group of five. "The rabbis taught: Jesus had five disciples: Mathai, Naqai,
      Nezer, Buni, and Todah."

      Finally, for a group of seventy which would be a separate group from the
      apostles in any account, see Luke 10:1-17, which is worth noting for the
      sake of completeness. (The references in Paul to himself, Apollos, James
      the Lord's brother, the Twelve after the resurrection, "all the apostles" in
      addition, and those "prominent among the apostles" could be mentioned here
      as well.)

      So it seems that we are narrowing our focus prematurely when asking, "Are
      the Twelve historical?" We should really be asking, "Are the Two or the
      Three or the Five or the Seven or the Twelve or the Seventy historical?" At
      the least, I think that the tradition of the Seven deserves consideration
      along with the tradition of the Twelve.

      Peter Kirby
    • Karel Hanhart
      ... Frank, I was and am aware of this structure of the Qumran community. However, as you also know, the differences of the Jesus movement and the Qumran
      Message 72 of 72 , Sep 19, 2002
        Frank McCoy wrote:

        > --- Karel Hanhart <K.Hanhart@...> wrote:
        > Historically, the original group of twelve were formed
        > IMHO in the wake of the crucifixion, when various
        > Judean factions from within the land and from the
        > diaspora joined with Jesus' disciples, thus forming
        > the beginnings of christianity. Luke reports on this
        > major event in Acts 2 in hagadic fashion. As I
        > suspect, out of this larger group of converts (3000,
        > Acts 2,41) twelve 'apostles' were chosen to lead the
        > movement headed by 'James, Peter and John' called
        > 'pillars'. In other words, the 'historical' Jesus did
        > not select 12 disciples during his lifetime to
        > represent a 'new Israel'. The twelve, chosen soon
        > after the crucifixion, were honored as "witnesses" of
        > the risen Messiah and as such were called 'apostles'.
        > (Comp. Paul's claim to be an apostle not "by men").
        > I have tried to reconstruct the assumed original
        > pre-Markan list of the twelve without a fictive Judas
        > Iscariot and a symbolical Andrew, but including the
        > three 'pillars' on pg 445 as follows: James (Jesus'
        > brother), Simon (Cephas), John (of Jerusalem, an
        > Essene), James Zebedee, John Zebedee, Thomas, Matthew,
        > James (Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the Cananaean);
        > Judas, (brother of James).
        > I would very much appreciate your reactions to this
        > proposal,
        > Dear Karel Hanhart:
        > The early Jerusalem Church, with its three pillars and
        > twelve apostles, might be based on an Essene model,
        > thusly described in 1QS (VIII, 1-4), "In the Council
        > of the Community there shall be twelve men and three
        > Priests, perfectly versed in all that is revealed of
        > the Law, whose works shall be truth, righteousness,
        > justice, loving-kindness and humility."


        I was and am aware of this structure of the Qumran community.
        However, as you also know, the differences of the Jesus' movement
        and the Qumran community are considerable. On the other hand,
        it seems clear to me that many followers of Jesus could be called
        'chassidic' as compared to Pharisees, Zealotrs, Herodians and other
        As I see it,( - but who can make bold answers to historical
        questions concerning the early post-crucifixion Jesus' movement? -)
        various chassidim as well as Judeans from the diaspora joined with the
        disciples of Jesus and his Galilean followers soon after the
        crucifixion. It seems to me that there may well be some connection
        between the structure of the Qumran community and the number
        twelve. The twelve may well have been regarded as representing Israel,
        but certainly not as replacing the people of Israel..
        Simon Peter, however, was not a priest; neither James, Jesus'
        brother, as far as we know, James and Peter were naturally regarded
        as leaders from the beginning. It seems to me that John (of Jerusalem) may
        well have
        been a chassidic leader. We may not conclude, therefore,
        that the election was modeled precisely after that Qumran structure.
        The Jerusalem community could well be called chassidic in a broad sense.
        The fact that neither Paul nor the authors of the Gospels refer to the
        implies I think that many persons, sympathetic with the community at Qumran,
        had joined with the disciples. I dare not go further than assessing the texts
        Acts 1, 15 ff (some sort of an election took place!), the text of Acts 2; the
        of James and the "pillars" in Acts and the epistles and the obvious
        in the lists of the twelve we have.


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