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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Βαρθολομαῖος, for Chald. תָּלְמִי בִּר, i.e. son of Tolmai; the latter being a name that occurs in Joshua 15:14, Sept. Θολαμί and Θολμαϊ v; Auth. Vers. Talmai; 2 Samuel 13:37, Sept. Θολμί and Θολομαι. In Josephus we find Θολομαῖος, Ant. 20:1, 1. The Θολμαῖος in Ant. 14:8, 1, is called Πτολεμαῖος in War, 1:9, 3, not improbably by an error of the transcriber, as another person of the latter name is mentioned in the same sentence), one of the twelve apostles of Christ (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13), generally supposed to have been the same individual who in John's Gospel is called NATHANAEL (See NATHANAEL) (q.v.). The reason of this opinion is that in the first three gospels Philip and Bartholomew are constantly named together, while Nathanael is nowhere mentioned; on the contrary, in the fourth gospel the names of Philip and Nathanael are similarly combined, but nothing is said of Bartholomew (see Assemani, Biblioth. Orient. III, 1:306; 2:4 sq.; Nahr, De Nathan. a Bartholom. non diverso, Lips. 1740). Nathanael, therefore, must be considered as his real name, while Bartholomew merely expresses his filial relation (see Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. p. 325). If so, he was a native of Cana in Galilee (John 21:2). Bernard and Abbot Rupert were of opinion that he was the bridegroom at the marriage of Cana. (For traditions respecting his parentage, see Cotelerius, Patr. Apost. 372). He was introduced by Philip to Jesus, who, on seeing him approach, at once pronounced that eulogy on his character which has made his name almost synonymous with sincerity, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile" (John 1:47). A.D. 26. He was one of the disciples to whom our Lord appeared after his resurrection, at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:2); he was also a witness of the ascension, and returned with the other apostles to Jerusalem (Acts 1:4; Acts 1:12-13). A.D. 29. On his character, see Niemeyer, Charakt. 1:111 sq. (See APOSTLE).

Of the subsequent history of Bartholomew, or Nathanael, we have little more than vague traditions. According to Eusebius (Hist. Eccles.v. 10), when Pantaenus went on a mission to the Indians (toward the close of the second century), he found among them the Gospel of Matthew, written in Hebrew, which had been left there by the Apostle Bartholomew. Jerome (De Vir. Illustr. c. 36) gives a similar account, and adds that Pantaenus brought the copy of Matthew's Gospel back to Alexandria with him. (See MATTHEW, GOSPEL OF). But the title of "Indians" is applied by ancient writers to so many different nations that it is difficult to determine the scene of Bartholomew's labors. Mosheim (with whom Neander agrees) is of opinion that it was a part' of Arabia Felix, inhabited by Jews to whom alone a Hebrew gospel could be of any service. Socrates (Hist. Eccles. 1, 19) says that it was the India bordering on Ethiopia; and Sophronius reports that Bartholomew preached the Gospel of Christ to the inhabitants of India Felix (Ι᾿νδοῖς τοῖς καλουμένοις εὐδαίμοσιν ). This apostle is said to have suffered crucifixion with his head downward at Albanopolis, in Armenia Minor (Assemani, Bibl. Orient. III, 2:20), or, according to the pseudo-Chrysostom (Opp. 8:622, ed. Par. nov.), in Lycaonia; according to Nicephorus. at, Urbanopolis, in Cilicia (see Abdias, in Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. 2:685 sq.; Baronius, ad Martyrol. Romans p. 500 sq.; Perionii Vitae Apostolor. p. 127 sq.). (See BARTHOLOMEW'S DAY).

A spurious GOSPEL which bears his name is in the catalogue of apocryphal books condemned by Pope Gelasius (Fabric. Cod. Apocr. N.T. 1:341 sq.). (See GOSPELS, SPURIOUS).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Bartholomew'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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