Vol. 8 No 13
Meet the Apostles
James the son of Alphaeus
James the son of Alphaeus
James is the English translation of the Greek name IAKOBOS from IAKOB or Jacob, which means “supplanter”. The Hebrew equivalent is YAAQOB.
father is Alphaeus, Mat 10:3;
So James the son of Alphaeus means “supplanter, changing”.
James the Less is better translated James the Little, as the Greek HO
MIKROS means “the small or little” in
The James’ of the Bible get highly confused. Some lump
them together or combine them in various ways. Nelson’s Dictionary does a good
job of defining each separately. As such James “the son of Alphaeus” is always
mentioned as such in the apostolic lists. Where “James the Less” is only
mentioned to identify one of the Mary’s at the Cross of our Lord,
Others equate James the Less with James the brother of our Lord which is very unlikely.
Some have applied the phrase “his mother’s sister” in
Given His father’s name Alphaeus from the Hebrew Celeph a region in the
If this James is also called “the less”, then from the
accounting of his mother Mary, we know that James had a brother, Joses or Joseph, Mat
27:56. Of interest our Lord also had
brothers named James, Jose and Judas,
As we noted above, Matthew (Levi), is also a son of
Alphaeus (compare Mat 9:9;
The King James translation has added further confusion
In addition, there is evidence in apocryphal literature of a Simon, a son of Clopas, who was also one of the disciples. If this be the same as Simon Zelotes, it would explain why he and James, (assuming them to be brothers), were coupled together in the apostolic lists of Luke and Acts. Again we have no conclusive evidence of this.
We know nothing about him. Some say he was a tax collector but this is not verified.
His Role Among the Apostles:
He is listed as one of the twelve disciples, Mat 10:3;
As stated above, his legacy is highly confused: Foxes book of Martyrs states “Is supposed by some to have been the brother of our Lord, by a former wife of Joseph. This is very doubtful, and accords too much with the Catholic superstition, that Mary never had any other children except our Savior.”
that point right but then confuses James the Less with our Lord’s true half
brother James who was not an Apostle by stating, “He was elected to the
oversight of the churches of
We have no real information about this apostle.
Foxes Book of Martyrs:
At the age of ninety-four he was beat and stoned by the Jews; and finally had his brains dashed out with a fuller’s club.
In addition, The Martyrdom of James, the son of Alphaeus (compare Budge, Contendings of the Apostles, 264-66) records that James was stoned by the Jews for preaching Christ, and was “buried by the Sanctuary In Jerusalem.” But this sounds similar to, the brother of our Lord, James’ account.
also say he was martyred by crucifixion at Ostrakine
Thaddaeus, a.k.a. Lebbaeus a.k.a. Judas son of James, was one of Jesus’
twelve disciples that included two named Judas.
The surname Thaddaeus is
used in Mat 10:3 and
The name by which Luke
calls the Apostle, "Judas of James", in
In addition, others have supposed the reason for the change to “Judas of James” was that sometime during the ministry of our Lord Thaddaeus had died and “Judas of James” replaced him. But this can not be verified.
Continuing in the use of
Judas, the Gospel of John once mentions this same Judas as “not Iscariot",
John 14:22. The use of Judas has led
many to confuse him with the ˝ brother of our Lord. When comparing the listings
of the apostles between Matthew and Mark with Luke (Luke ;
makes this statement because opinion is divided on whether Jude the apostle is
the same as Jude, brother of Jesus, who is mentioned in
Some say that because the name "Judas" was so tarnished by Judas Iscariot, it was natural for Mark and Matthew to refer to him by his alternate name.
Finally, it is noted that some even called him Judas the Zealot, either confusing him with Simon or that he may have been from the same sect as Simon that sought to overthrow Roman occupation.
Meaning of the names:
Thaddaeus means “gift of God” in Greek but derived from
Hebrew and Aramaic meaning, “breast.” Lebbaeus also taken from “breast” means
“heart or courageous”. Judas
is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew personal name
Many scholars say, as we saw with James the son of Alphaeus, that there is no information on this apostle. Yet some talk about him. Much seems to be confused with either a Thaddaeus of Edessa or Jude the Lord’s half brother. Nevertheless we have the following.
say that Thaddaues/Jude was born into a Jewish family
a town in
Thaddaeus a.k.a. Jude, is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed our Lord Jesus.
“Gospel of the Ebionites,” or “Gospel of the Twelve
Apostles,” of the 2nd century and mentioned by Origen,
narrates that Thaddaeus was also among those who received their call to follow
Jesus at the
to the “Genealogies of the Twelve Apostles” (compare Budge, Contendings
of the Apostles, II, 50), Thaddaeus was of the house of Joseph; according
to the “Book of the Bee” he was of the tribe of
14th century writer Nicephorus Callistus
makes Thaddaeus/Jude the bridegroom at the wedding at
Of the various identifications of Thaddaeus with other Biblical personages which might be inferred from him, that with “Judas of James” is the only one that has received wide acceptance.
We can not say much about his personality other than
that if he were bi-lingual and a farmer he would have been a hard worker and
had tremendous patience. From the question he asks our Lord in
His Role Among the Apostles:
One of the Twelve Apostles,
His only recorded words are
He was perplexed at our Lord’s statements in verse 1-21, but specifically verse 19. Having been in a very public ministry for 3.5 years he now understands the Lord to be saying “I am going to disclose myself to you all only, and not to the world”. He too did not understand the Lord’s statements in regards to His death, resurrection and ascension, as well as the sending of the Holy Spirit. His understanding of our Lord to be removing himself from the public eye and going into recluse, gave our Lord the opportunity to expand on the relationship of the believer with the Lord during the Church Age by means of the Word and the Holy Spirit in verses 23-26.
Most scholars say we know nothing about Thaddaeus either Biblically or extra-Biblically. Many of the accounts associated with him seem to be of another Thaddaeus, Thaddeus of Edessa, one of the Seventy Disciples.
Saint Gregory the Illuminator is credited as the "Apostle to the
Armenians," when he baptized King Tiridates
is abundant testimony in apocryphal literature of the missionary activity of a
certain Thaddaeus in
1) According to the “Acts of Peter” (compare Budge,
II, 466 ff) Peter appointed Thaddaeus over the island of
2) The “Preaching of the blessed Judas, the brother of
our Lord, who was surnamed Thaddaeus” (Budge, 357 ff), describes his mission in
3) The “Acta Thaddaei” (compare Tischendorf, Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, 1851, 261 ff) refers to this Thaddaeus in the text as one of the Twelve, but in the heading as one of the Seventy.
4) The Abgar legend, dealing with a supposed correspondence between Abgar, (king of Syria in the Osroene kingdom holding his capital at Edessa), and Christ, states in its Syriac form, as translated by Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, I, xiii, 6-22), that “after the ascension of Christ, Judas, who was also called Thomas, sent to Abgar the apostle Thaddaeus, one of the Seventy” (compare Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, 76 ff). Jerome, however, identifies this same Thaddaeus with Lebbaeus and “Judas of James” of Luke (Lk ). Hennecks (op. cit., 473, 474) surmises that in the original form of the Abgar legend Thomas was the central figure, but that through the influence of the later “Acts of Thomas”, which required room to be made for Thomas’ activity in India, a later Syriac recension was made, in which Thomas became merely the sender of Thaddaeus to Edessa, and that this was the form which Eusebius made use of in his translation. According to Phillips (compare Phillips, The Doctrine of Addai the Apostle), who quotes Zahn in support; the confusion may be due to the substitution of the Greek name Thaddaeus for the name Addai of the Syriac manuscripts.
The general consensus seems
to indicate, however, that both Thomas and Thaddaeus the apostle had some
he may have preached in
Finally, a “Gospel of Thaddaeus” is mentioned in the Decree of Gelasius.
Foxes Book of Martyrs:
He was crucified at
According to the Armenian tradition, Thaddaues/Jude suffered martyrdom about AD 65 in Beirut, Lebanon together with the apostle Simon the Zealot, with whom he is usually connected. Their acts and martyrdom were recorded in an Acts of Simon and Jude.
he is represented holding an axe or halberd, as he was brought to death by one
of these weapons. The burial place of Thaddaeus is variously placed at
tradition (probably confusing Jude the writer of the Epistle) states that
sometime after his death, Saint Jude's body was brought from
Copyright 2009 - All Rights Reserved