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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Judas

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JUDAS

1. Judas the son of James. The eleventh name in two lists of the Apostles (Luke 6:16, Acts 1:13) is Ἰούδος Ἰακώβου. Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 ‘Judas the son of James’ is a better rendering than Authorized Version ‘Judas the brother of James.’ The note in (Revised Version margin) is ‘Or brother. See Judges 1:1’; but in Judges 1:1 there is no ambiguity; the Gr. text is ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου. The Authorized Version rendering is grammatically possible; but it is improbable that the genitive has two different meanings in one short list of names (cf. Authorized Version and Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 ‘James the son of Alphaeus’), and it is noteworthy that in Luke 3:1; Luke 6:14 ἀδελφός is expressed. The Authorized Version rendering may have been caused by Judges 1:1; certainly it has led to the erroneous identification of these two Judases. The evidence of Versions is in favour of Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885. Syrpesh and Theb. have ‘son of’; ‘none suggests the exceptional rendering “the brother of” (Plummer in Smith’s DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] , vol. i. pt. 2). Syrsin has ‘Judas son of James’ instead of Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus in Matthew 10:4.

In two lists of the Apostles (Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:18) ‘Judas the son of James’ has no place; the other names correspond in all four lists. In Mt. and Mk. Thaddaeus (v.l., in Mt., Lebbaeus) is one of the Twelve. There is little doubt that ‘Judas the son of James’ had a second name ‘Thaddaeus,’ and perhaps a third name ‘Lebbaeus.’ Jerome (Com. in loc.) calls him trinomius. Cf. Nestle in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible iv. 741.

It is significant that on the only occasion when this obscure Apostle is referred to in the Gospels, he is distinguished from his notorious namesake as ‘Judas, not Iscariot’ (John 14:22). All that we know of ‘Judas Thaddaeus’ is that he asked the question, ‘Lord, what is come to pass that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?’ He could not understand how the kingdom was to come unless the Messiah would make a public disclosure (ἐμφανίζω) of His glory. The answer of Jesus explains that in the very nature of the case it is not possible for Him to reveal His glory to unloving and disobedient hearts. The question of Judas Thaddaeus expressed the thought not only of other members of the Apostolic band, but also of many who have since believed in Christ. Our Lord’s words have a message for all disciples whose impatience is an evidence of the influence of the spirit of the world. Well may St. Paul claim to ‘have the mind of Christ’ when he affirms that ‘the natural man’ is not only unable to ‘receive’ and to ‘know’ spiritual things, but is also incompetent to ‘interpret’ and to ‘judge’ them (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:13 ff.).

Concerning the name of this Apostle, who is little more than a name to us, there has been much discussion. In John 14:22 Syrsin has ‘Thomas,’ Syrcur has ‘Judas Thomas.’ Plummer (op. cit.) is probably right in regarding the latter as ‘a corrupt reading arising from the fact that the Syrian Christians called Thomas the Apostle, Judas.’ Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica i. 13. 10) refers, in his narrative concerning Abgar, king of Edessa, to ‘Judas who was also called Thomas.’ McGiffert (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, i. 562) suggests that ‘it is possible that Eusebius, or the translator of the document, made a mistake, and applied to Thomas a name which in the original was given to Thaddaeus.’ But Thomas is also called Judas Thomas in Acts of Thomas, c. 11f., 31, 39, and in the Syriac Doctrina Apostolorum. Preuschen (Hennecke, Handbuch zu den NT Apokryphen, p. 562) says: ‘In regard to the name Judas-Thomas, i.e. Judas the Twin, cf. Doctrine of Addai (p. 5, ed. Phillips), Bar-Hebraeus, Chronicon Ecc. iii. 2. The Syriac translation of Eusebius, Ch. Hist. 1:13, 10, renders the Gr. Ἰούδας ὁ καὶ Θωμᾶς by יהורא חאומא which, according to the Nestorian pronunciation of the Syriac, must have been understood to mean Judas the Twin.’ It is possible that these Syriac traditions preserve the personal name of Thomas ‘the Twin’; it is impossible to believe that in the Fourth Gospel the Judas of 14:22 and the doubting Apostle are the same.

2. Judas the brother of James.—In two Gospels (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3) ‘James and Joseph and Simon and Judas’ are named as brothers of Jesus. In Judges 1:1 the author of that Epistle is described as ‘Judas … the brother of James’ ( Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885). The Authorized Version has ‘Jude’; and in Mark 6:3 ‘Juda.’ ‘Judas the brother of James’ is, therefore, a designation both Scriptural and simple, yet sufficient to distinguish the person so named from ‘Judas the son of James,’ who was an Apostle. The use of the full expression ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου in the Epistle of Jude, and the statement (Matthew 13:55) that Judas and James were οἱ ἀδελφοὶ [Ἰησοῦ], justifies the limiting of the title ‘the brother of James’ to the Judas who was also a ‘brother of Jesus.’ Much confusion has been caused by the erroneous Authorized Version rendering of Ἰούδας Ἰακώβου(cf. No. 1 above).

Of ‘Judas the brother of James’ as an individual we know nothing; but account should be taken of what is said collectively of our Lord’s brothers. He was probably a son of Joseph and Mary, and a younger brother of Jesus (cf. ‘Brethren of the Lord’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible); he misunderstood the popularity of Jesus (Matthew 12:46 ff.), who was, in his estimation, a foolish enthusiast (Mark 3:21); before the resurrection of Jesus he did not acknowledge his Brother as the Messiah (John 7:3 ff.), but after the resurrection he is found ‘in prayer’ in the upper room (Acts 1:14); his doubts, like those of his brother James (1 Corinthians 15:7), may have vanished in the presence of the risen Lord. The distinct mention of the brothers of Jesus (Acts 1:14) after the Eleven have been named, is another reason for rejecting the tradition which identifies ‘Judas the brother of James’ with Judas Thaddaeus the Apostle.

The authorship of the Epistle of Jude is much disputed. Harnack regards the words ‘brother of James’ as an interpolation added towards the end of the 2nd cent. to enhance the value of the Epistle ‘as a weapon against Gnosticism.’ But ‘the simplest interpretation of the salutation, which identifies the writer … with the brother of the Lord, is the best’ (Chase, Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible ii. 804a).

Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica iii. 19, 20:1–8, 32) quotes from Hegesippus the account of an accusation brought against the grandchildren of Judas; they are described as ‘descended from one of the so-called brothers of the Saviour, whose name was Judas’; it is further said that ‘after they had borne testimony before Domitian in behalf of faith in Christ … they took the lead of every church as witnesses and as relatives of the Lord.’ If ‘Judas the brother of James’ presided over the Church in the city where he lived, he may well have been the author of an Epistle. Mrs. Lewis conjectures that ‘Thomas, the doubting disciple, is identical with Jude, the youngest brother of our Lord’; but this theory involves his exclusion from the statement in John 7:5 that our Lord’s brothers did not believe that He was the Messiah (cf. ExpT [Note: xpT Expository Times.] xiv. 398; also Rendel Harris, The Dioscuri in the Christian Legends).

3. Judas Iscariot.—See following article.

J. G. Tasker.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Judas'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/j/judas.html. 1906-1918.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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