Choosing the Twelve

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One day Yeshua called his disciples together and chose twelve of them to be his emissaries to Israel. Their names were Shimon Petros and Andrai (his brother), Yaakov, Yohanan, Pelipah, Talmai’s son, Matai, Tomah, Yaakov Halfi’s son, zealous Shimon, Yehudah Yaakov’s son, and Yehudah from Keriyot, who was a traitor.

Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:13

(Huck 72; Aland 49; Crook 72, 103)[1]

Updated: 25 February 2022

וַיְהִי הַיּוֹם וַיִּקְרָא לְתַלְמִידָיו וַיִּבְחַר מֵהֶם שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה שְׁלִיחִים שִׁמְעוֹן פֶּטְרוֹס וְאַנְדְּרַיי אָחִיו וְיַעֲקֹב וְיוֹחָנָן וּפְלִיפּוֹס וּבַר תַּלְמַי וּמַתַּי וְתוֹמָה וְיַעֲקֹב בֶּן חַלְפִי וְשִׁמְעוֹן הַקַּנַּאי וִיהוּדָה בֶן יַעֲקֹב וִיהוּדָה אִישׁ קְרִיּוֹת שֶׁהָיָה מָסוֹר

One day Yeshua called his disciples together and chose twelve of them to be his emissaries to Israel. Their names were Shimon Petros and Andrai (his brother), Yaakov, Yohanan, Pelipos, Talmai’s son, Matai, Tomah, Yaakov Halfi’s son, zealous Shimon, Yehudah Yaakov’s son, and Yehudah from Keriyot, who was a traitor.[2]







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“Mission of the Twelve” complex
Choosing the Twelve

Sending the Twelve: Commissioning

Sending the Twelve: “The Harvest Is
Plentiful” and “A Flock Among Wolves”

Sending the Twelve: Conduct on the Road

Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town

Sending the Twelve: Apostle and Sender

Story Placement

Although Matthew combined the choosing and the sending of the Twelve into a single account, both Luke and Mark recorded the choosing and the sending of the apostles as separate events. The conflation of the two events in Matt. 10 was the author of Matthew’s editorial decision.

Where to place the Choosing the Twelve pericope in the outline of the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua is a difficult question. Our decision was guided in part by the supposition that Jesus probably selected the twelve apostles only after the period of training disciples had been completed. Jesus would then have been able to select from among a larger group of fully-trained disciples twelve emissaries who had proved their ability to handle the task with which they were charged. We have therefore included the Choosing the Twelve pericope in the “Mission of the Twelve” complex, as its opening pericope. The “Mission” complex occurs toward the end of Jesus’ itinerating career, immediately before his final journey to Jerusalem. To see an overview of the entire “Mission of the Twelve” complex, click here.

Click here to view the Map of the Conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua. __________________________________________________________________

Conjectured Stages of Transmission

LOY 120 Choosing TwelveLuke’s version of the Choosing the Twelve pericope was probably copied from the Anthology (Anth.). Although Luke’s version has undergone a degree of editing, the redaction is of a kind that is more characteristic of the author of Luke himself, rather than that which we expect from the First Reconstruction (FR). Mark’s version of the Choosing the Twelve pericope appears to be a paraphrase of Luke’s. It is possible that Mark’s version of the apostolic list was also influenced by the list in Acts (see below, Comment to L20). Matthew’s apostolic list, which he incorporated into the Sending the Twelve pericope, depends on Mark, but the minor agreements with Luke show that Matthew also knew the Anthology’s version of the Choosing the Twelve pericope.

Crucial Issues

  1. What is the difference between “disciple” and “apostle”?
  2. How do the Twelve differ from other apostles?
  3. Do the names Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot (= assassin?) give us clues about Jesus’ political views?


L1-2 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις ἐξελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ ὄρος (Luke 6:12). The structure ἐγένετο δέ + intervening time phrase + infinitive as the main verb is un-Hebraic,[3] and the intervening time phrase itself is not what we would expect from a Hebraic source.[4] On the other hand, the use of “in these days” to introduce a narrative does not appear to be typical of Greek authors either, since it never occurs in the Pseudepigrapha, the writings of Philo or the works of Josephus, and is not used in this manner in LXX or anywhere in NT except in writings authored by Luke.[5] Given the un-Hebraic quality of the rest of the verse (see Comments to L2-L4), it seems probable that Luke penned the entire opening verse of the Choosing the Twelve pericope on his own, without any use of a source, to provide a setting for this pericope.

Desert of Betsaida

In the foreground the River Jordan flows into the Sea of Galilee. Far in the distance the snow-capped peak of Mount Hermon is visible. (This photograph was on the back cover of Jerusalem Perspective magazine, issue 53).

L2 ἐξελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ ὄρος (Luke 6:12). The mention of a mountain is practically the only detail Luke and Mark agree upon in their respective introductions to the Choosing the Twelve pericope. There are seven stories in the Synoptic Gospels that take place in whole or in part on an unspecified mountain:

  • 1) Yeshua’s Testing
  • 2) The Sermon on the Mount
  • 3) Choosing the Twelve
  • 4) Walking on Water
  • 5) Healing of Many Sick People
  • 6) Transfiguration
  • 7) Resurrection Appearance in the Galilee

Of these seven stories, only the Transfiguration appears in all three Synoptic Gospels (Matt. 17:1; Mark 9:2; Luke 9:28). Luke reports only two stories—Choosing the Twelve and Transfiguration—that take place on unspecified mountains (Luke 6:12; 9:28). In addition to these two stories, Mark adds a notice that Jesus went to pray on an unidentified mountain in the Walking on Water story (Mark 6:46). Matthew’s Gospel has the most stories that take place on unidentified mountains. In addition to the Walking on Water (Matt. 14:23) and Transfiguration stories (Matt. 17:1), Matthew places one scene in the story of Yeshua’s Testing on an unnamed mountain (Matt. 4:8; cf. Luke 4:5) and, unlike Mark, he places the Healing of Many Sick People pericope on a mountain (Matt. 15:29; cf. Mark 7:31). Matthew is also the only Gospel to report a resurrection appearance on an unidentified mountain in the Galilee (Matt. 28:16). Matthew does not include the Choosing the Twelve as a separate pericope, but Matt. 5:1, which describes the setting of the Sermon on the Mount, may have been influenced by Mark’s introduction to the Choosing the Twelve pericope (Mark 3:13). We suspect that the mountain mentioned in the Choosing the Twelve pericope was the literary invention of the author of Luke and that this detail was picked up by Mark and later influenced Matthew.

ἀναβαίνει (Mark 3:13). Mark uses the “historical present” to introduce this pericope (ἀναβαίνει, “he goes up,” in L2, and προσκαλεῖτε, “he calls,” in L6), one of his favorite literary devices for dramatizing his Gospel. Since Matthew and Luke frequently agree against Mark’s use of the historical present,[6] and since, with the exception of 1 Kgdms., the historical present is relatively rare in LXX[7] (an indication that the historical present is un-Hebraic), it is likely that most of the historical presents in Mark are the result of Mark’s editorial activity.

Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane as depicted in a mosaic from the Church of All Nations in Jerusalem. Photograph courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.

Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane as depicted in a mosaic from the Church of All Nations in Jerusalem. Photograph courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.

L3 προσεύξασθαι (Luke 6:12). Luke portrays Jesus praying more often than the authors of Mark or Matthew do. Jesus’ anguish in Gethsemane is the only depiction of Jesus going off to pray by himself reported in all three Synoptic Gospels.[8] Whereas Mark mentions two occasions on which Jesus withdrew from his followers to pray privately prior to the Gethsemane narrative,[9] and Matthew only one such occasion,[10] Luke reports five instances of Jesus praying in private and also mentions Jesus praying during his baptism (Luke 3:21; cf. Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:9), in addition to the prayers described in the Gethsemane narrative.[11] Luke’s predilection for portraying Jesus in prayer leads us to suspect that this detail did not stem from Luke’s source.

L4 καὶ ἦν διανυκτερεύων ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ τοῦ θεοῦ (Luke 6:12). The description of Jesus spending the entire night in prayer with God is written in a very un-Hebraic style. The verb διανυκτερεύειν (dianūkterevein, “to pass the night”) occurs only once in LXX (Job 2:9), where it has no Hebrew equivalent. Luke 6:12 has the sole occurrence of διανυκτερεύειν in NT. In the Pseudepigrapha διανυκτερεύειν occurs 2xx (T. Job 24:3; Hist. Rech. 10:4). It also occurs 2xx in the writings of Philo (Aet. §4; Flacc. §36) and 7xx in the works of Josephus (J.W. 1:572; 2:312, 418; 5:299, 308; Ant. 6:239, 311). In non-Jewish Greek authors διανυκτερεύειν is also relatively rare.[12] The phrase ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ τοῦ θεοῦ (en tē prosevchē tou theou, “in the prayer of God”) is also unusual. It is unparalleled in LXX, the Pseudepigrapha, and the works of Philo and Josephus.[13] The vocabulary and style are more polished than we would expect even from the First Reconstructor (the creator of FR), which leads us to conclude that this verse was reworked by the author of Luke himself.

L5 καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἡμέρα (Luke 6:13). We suspect that it is here, in Luke 6:13, that the author of Luke began to copy a source. The phrase ὅτε ἐγένετο ἡμέρα (“when it became day”) does not occur in LXX, Pseudepigrapha, Philo, or Josephus.[14] However, in LXX the phrases καὶ ἐγένετο ἡμέρα (4 Kgdms. 4:8, 11) and καὶ γίνεται ἡμέρα (1 Kgdms. 14:1) are used to introduce the beginning of a new scene in a narrative. Both phrases mean “One day….” Perhaps in Luke’s source the Choosing the Twelve pericope opened with the phrase καὶ ἐγένετο ἡμέρα and Luke inserted ὅτε into the phrase in order to link the material Luke authored in 6:12 to the material from his source in 6:13. In this way, Luke changed the meaning of the phrase from “One day…” to “When it became day….”

וַיְהִי הַיּוֹם (HR). In LXX ἡμέρα (hēmera, “day”) is nearly always the translation of יוֹם (yōm, “day”).[15] Likewise, יוֹם was rendered in the vast majority of instances as ἡμέρα by the LXX translators.[16] The phrases καὶ ἐγένετο ἡμέρα and καὶ γίνεται ἡμέρα discussed in the previous paragraph are translations of the phrase וַיְהִי הַיּוֹם (vayehi hayōm, “one day”). This phrase is used 7xx in MT to introduce a new scene in a longer narrative. Three of these instances are found in the story of Elisha and the Shunammite woman (2 Kgs. 4:8, 11, 18),[17] another three are found in the narrative prologue of Job (Job 1:6, 13; 2:1), and one is found in the story of Jonathan’s rout of the Philistines (1 Sam. 14:1). In each instance, the phrase is used when the timing of the events were either unknown or unimportant to the narrative, similar to our use of “On one occasion…” in English. Such an introduction for the Choosing the Twelve pericope in the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua would reflect BH style, which is what we expect in narrative portions of the conjectured Hebrew Ur-text.

L6 προσεφώνησεν (Luke 6:13). The verb προσφωνεῖν (prosfōnein, “to summon”) occurs 7xx in NT (6xx in Luke-Acts; 1x in Matt. 11:16).[18] Since προσφωνεῖν is a characteristically Lukan term, and since this verb has no Hebrew equivalent in LXX,[19] we suspect that it did not appear in Luke’s source (Anth.).

καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος (GR). Mark used the verb προσκαλεῖν (proskalein, “to call,” “to summon”) opposite Luke’s προσφωνεῖν.[20] Matthew 10:1, which is discussed in Sending the Twelve: Commissioning, has a participial form of προσκαλεῖν. It is possible that the author of Matthew found it convenient to conflate the Calling and Sending pericopae in part because the introductions to both passages in his non-Markan, pre-synoptic source used similar vocabulary, including the verb προσκαλεῖν.[21]

וַיִּקְרָא (HR). In LXX the verb προσκαλεῖν appears 24xx. Several of these instances occur in books originally composed in Greek (Wis. 1:16; 18:8; 2 Macc. 4:28; 7:25; 8:1; 14:5; 3 Macc. 5:1, 18, 37; 6:30). Where προσκαλεῖν translates a Hebrew source, it usually renders the root ק-ר-א:‎ קָרָא (Gen. 28:1; 1 Kgdms. 26:14; Esth. 4:5; Job 17:14 [Alexandrinus, Sinaiticus]; Ps. 49[50]:4; Prov. 9:15; Amos 5:8; 9:6; Joel 3:5); נִקְרָא (Exod. 5:3).[22] Compare the following examples to our reconstructions:

וַיִּקְרָא דָוִד אֶל הָעָם‎

καὶ προσεκαλέσατο Δαυιδ τὸν λαὸν

And David called the people…. (1 Sam. 26:14 = 1 Kgdms. 26:14)

יִקְרָא אֶל הַשָּׁמַיִם

προσκαλέσεται τὸν οὐρανόν

He will call the heavens…. (Ps. 50:4 = Ps. 49:4)

וַיִּקְרָא יִצְחָק אֶל יַעֲקֹב

προσκαλεσάμενος δὲ Ισαακ τὸν Ιακωβ

And Isaac called Jacob…. (Gen. 28:1)

In the above examples the verb קָרָא appears in conjunction with the preposition אֶל, but reconstructions with קָרָא אֶת or -קָרָא לְ are also possible. Our decision to reconstruct with -קָרָא לְ is based on the following considerations:

  1. In MT the combination -קָרָא לְ for “summon,” which occurs 93xx,[23] is more common than either קָרָא אֶל‎ (62xx)[24] or קָרָא אֶת‎ (15xx).[25]
  2. In the Mishnah קָרָא אֶת always means “read,” “recite” or “proclaim,” but never “summon.”
  3. We do not find examples in the Mishnah of קָרָא אֶל for “summon,” but we do find one instance of -קָרָא לְ for “summon” in m. Shab. 18:3.[26]
  4. Later rabbinic literature furnishes further examples of -קָרָא לְ in the sense of “summon.”

Examples of -קָרָא לְ in rabbinic literature include:

מְיַלְּדִין אֶת הָאִשָּׁה בַשַּׁבָּת וְקוֹרִין לַחֲכָמָה מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם

They deliver a woman on the Sabbath, and they summon a midwife from one place to another. (m. Shab. 18:3)

שלחה וקראה לו ואמרה לו מפני מה לא עשית עם אשה זאת כדרך שיעשו בני אדם

She sent and summoned him and said to him, “Why didn’t you do with this woman what men usually do?” (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 16:2 [ed. Schechter, 63])

שלח וקרא לו א″ל מפני מה לא עשית עם הנשים הללו כדרך שבני אדם עושים לנשים

He sent and summoned him and said to him, “Why didn’t you do with these women what men usually do with women?” (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 16:2 [ed. Schechter, 63])[27]

שלחו וקראו לו אמרו לו שמעת מימיך כשחל י″ד להיות בשבת אם דוחה את השבת אם לאו

They sent and summoned him and said to him, “Have you heard in your days when the fourteenth of Nisan falls on the Sabbath whether Passover overrides the restrictions of the Sabbath?” (y. Pes. 6:1 [39a])

מעשה בינאי המלך שהלך לכוחלית שבמדבר וכיבש שם ששים כרכים ובחזרתו היה שמח שמחה גדולה וקרא לכל חכמי ישראל

An anecdote about Yannai the king, who went to Kochalit in the desert and captured sixty cities there. And as he returned he rejoiced with great joy, and he summoned all the sages of Israel…. (b. Kid. 66a)[28]

L7 τοὺς δώδεκα μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ (Matt. 10:1). The author of Matthew is the only synoptic writer to ever use the phrase “the twelve disciples” (cf. Matt. 10:1; 11:1; 20:17). The other Gospel writers are clear that the Twelve were a subset chosen from a larger group of full-time disciples.[29] As a consequence, Luke and Mark make reference to “the Twelve” but never to “the twelve disciples.” Matthew’s restriction of the number of disciples to twelve is strange, but it may account for his decision to identify the apostle Matthew as “the toll collector” (L35; Matt. 10:3) and to change the name of the toll collector from Levi (as in Luke and Mark) to Matthew in the Call of Levi story (Matt. 9:9-13; Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32).[30] Since the author of Matthew believed there were only twelve disciples, and since in the Call of Levi story Jesus clearly invited Levi to become a disciple (cf. Matt. 9:9), the author of Matthew was forced to make the toll collector one of the Twelve. He accomplished this by changing the name of Levi to Matthew in the Call of Levi story and by identifying Matthew as the toll collector in his list of the twelve apostles.

לְתַלְמִידָיו (HR). On תַּלְמִיד (talmid, “disciple”) as the reconstruction of μαθητής (mathētēs, “disciple”), see Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L4.

L8 ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν πνευμάτων ἀκαθάρτων ὥστε ἐκβάλλειν αὐτὰ καὶ θεραπεύειν πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν (Matt. 10:1). The author of Matthew conflated the accounts of the Choosing and the Sending of the Twelve into a single pericope, with the result that Matthew mentions the investiture of the apostles with authority as though it occurred at the same time as the selection of the Twelve (See the discussion in Sending the Twelve: Commissioning, under the subheading “Conjectured Stages of Transmission”). Matthew’s procedure of conflation was probably inspired by Mark’s editorial activity, for it appears that in Mark 3:14-15 the author of Mark inserted material from the Sending pericope into the Choosing context (see below, Comment to L12-15).[31] We believe that Luke is closer to the pre-synoptic source in keeping the investiture of the Twelve with authority separate from the Choosing narrative.

L9 καὶ ἀπῆλθον πρὸς αὐτόν (Mark 3:13). Although the verb ἀπέρχεσθαι occurs 117xx in NT, the combination of ἀπέρχεσθαι + πρός (“to go away to”) occurs only 8xx (2xx in Mark, 1x in Luke, 4xx in John and 1x in Rev.).[32] Likewise, in LXX, where ἀπέρχεσθαι occurs 217xx, the combination of ἀπέρχεσθαι + πρός occurs only 10xx.[33] In Philo’s works ἀπέρχεσθαι occurs 16xx, and the combination of ἀπέρχεσθαι + πρός occurs 3xx, all of which are quotations of Gen. 15:15. Josephus has 99 instances of ἀπέρχεσθαι and 13 examples of ἀπέρχεσθαι + πρός.[34] The phrase “and they went away to him” is probably an editorial addition introduced by the author of Mark.

L10 καὶ ἐποίησεν δώδεκα (Mark 3:14). Some scholars argue that Mark’s phrase “and he made twelve” is an example of translation Greek, and this is taken as evidence of Mark’s reliance on a Semitic source.[35] It is true that the verb עָשָׂה (‘āsāh, “do,” “make”) can sometimes be used in the sense of “appoint,” as is done in 1 Kgs. 12:31; 13:33; 2 Chr. 2:17,[36] and that LXX translates עָשָׂה with ποιεῖν (poiein, “to do,” “to make”) in these cases, which goes against normal Greek usage.

It is also true that עָשָׂה is the normal verb used for the appointment of a שָׁלִיחַ (shāliaḥ), the Hebrew equivalent of ἀπόστολος (apostolos, “emissary,” “apostle”),[37] as we see in the following examples:

אֵין הַקָּטָן עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלִיחַ

A minor cannot appoint an agent. (m. Git. 6:3)

עשה שליח להוליך את הגט צריך ליתנו לה בפני שנים

One who appoints an agent to bring a bill of divorce [i.e., to his wife—DNB and JNT] needs to give it to her in the presence of two [witnesses—DNB and JNT]. (y. Git. 4:1 [20a])

אין העבד נעשה שליח לקבל גט לאשה מיד בעלה

A slave may not be appointed an agent to receive a bill of divorce on behalf of a wife from the hand of her husband. (b. Git. 23b; cf. b. Kid. 41b)

אין הבן נעשה שליח לאביו להכותו ולקללו

A son is not appointed an agent to flog or curse his father. (b. Sanh. 85b; cf. b. Mak. 12a)[38]

Nevertheless, Mark’s phrase, “he made twelve, whom he also called apostles,” departs from Hebrew usage in one significant point: all the Hebrew examples specify the office to which the person is appointed. Thus, we have examples of appointing priests (1 Kgs. 12:31; 13:33), of appointing burden-bearers (2 Chr. 2:17), and even of appointing sheliḥim, or apostles (cf. the examples cited above). Mark’s sentence leaves us expecting a noun after the word “twelve” (i.e., “he appointed twelve apostles”). The phrase οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν, which is probably not an authentic part of Mark 3:14 (see below, Comment to L11), does not resolve this difficulty. Lacking a specified office to which the twelve are appointed, καὶ ἐποίησεν δώδεκα is at best a Hebraic-looking fragment. We must therefore examine Luke’s version before reaching a decision regarding the reconstruction of the pre-synoptic sources.

καὶ ἐκλεξάμενος ἀπ᾿ αὐτῶν δώδεκα (Luke 6:13). The verb ἐκλέγειν (eklegein, “to choose”) occurs 22xx in NT, with eleven of these occurrences in Luke-Acts.[39] It is possible, therefore, that the author of Luke used ἐκλέγειν as a replacement for the verb he found in his source. On the other hand, ἐκλέγειν occurs 68xx in LXX, where it is overwhelmingly the translation of בָּחַר (bāḥar, “choose”). In Hebrew we find the construction ִבָּחַר + מִן (“choose from”) both in MT and DSS.[40] In LXX the construction ִבָּחַר + מִן is translated with ἐκλέγειν + ἐκ (Deut. 18:5; 1 Kgdms. 2:28; 2 Kgdms. 24:12; 3 Kgdms. 11:32; 4 Kgdms. 21:7; 1 Chr. 19:10; 21:10; 2 Chr. 33:7), ἐκλέγειν + ἐν (Deut. 12:5; 3 Kgdms. 8:16), ἐπιλέγειν + ἀπό (Exod. 18:25), or ἐπιλέγειν + ἐκ (2 Kgdms. 10:9). We have found only two instances of ἐκλέγειν + ἀπό in LXX (2 Chr. 6:5; Sir. 45:16), and in both cases the Hebrew text has ִבָּחַר + מִן.‎[41] Since ἐκλέγειν + ἀπό as the translation of ִבָּחַר + מִן in LXX is so rare, if Luke’s text reflects a Hebrew source that read וַיִּבְחַר מֵהֶם, the translation was probably not guided by LXX.

L11 οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν (Luke 6:13). The phrase οὓς καὶ…ὠνόμασεν (“whom he also named”) appears 3xx in NT (Luke 6:13, 14; Mark 3:14). In many NT manuscripts οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν is omitted in Mark 3:14, and it is possible that this phrase is an interpolation from Luke 6:13 by copyists who attempted to harmonize the parallel texts.[42] We have retained οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν in the Mark column at L11 in our text document since this is the reading of Vaticanus, upon which our reconstruction is based.[43] Nevertheless, we do not regard “whom he also named apostles” as an authentic reading in Mark.

Whether Luke found οὓς καὶ…ὠνόμασεν in his source seems doubtful. This phrase does not occur in LXX, and the verb ὀνομάζειν (onomazein, “to name”) itself has no standard Hebrew equivalent. Of the 23 instances of ὀνομάζειν in LXX, it is the translation of the root ק-ר-א‎ 2xx,[44] the translation of the root ז-כ-ר‎ 7xx,[45] and the translation of נ-ק-ב‎ 5xx.[46] Eight of the instances of ὀνομάζειν occur in books that have no counterpart in MT.[47] While Luke’s phrase is unparalleled in LXX, it can be compared to a similar usage in Philo:

συνάπτει δὲ τοῖς διαβατηρίοις ἑορτὴν διάφορον ἔχουσαν καὶ οὐ συνήθη τροφῆς χρῆσιν, ἄζυμα, ἀφ᾽οὗ καὶ ὠνόμασται.

With the Crossing-feast [i.e., Passover—DNB and JNT] he combines one in which the food consumed is of a different and unfamiliar kind, namely, unleavened bread, from which it is also named [ἀφ᾽οὗ καὶ ὠνόμασται]. (Spec. 2:150; adapted from Loeb).[48]

We believe that Luke probably added οὓς καὶ…ὠνόμασεν to his pre-synoptic source.

L10-11 וַיִּבְחַר מֵהֶם שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה שְׁלִיחִים (HR). The fact is, in L10-11, neither Luke nor Mark are easy to reconstruct in Hebrew. In Hebrew we would expect to find one of the following options:

  • Option A: וַיַּעַשׂ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שְׁלִיחִים (“and he appointed twelve emissaries”)
  • Option B: וַיַּעַשׂ מֵהֶם שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שְׁלִיחִים (“and he appointed from them twelve emissaries”)
  • Option C: וַיִּבְחַר מֵהֶם שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר וַיַּעַשׂ אוֹתָם שְׁלִיחִים (“and he chose from them twelve and appointed them emissaries”)
  • Option D: וַיִּבְחַר מֵהֶם שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה שְׁלִיחִים (“and he chose from them twelve whom he appointed emissaries”)
  • Option E: וַיִּבְחַר מֵהֶם שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שְׁלִיחִים (“and he chose from them twelve emissaries”).

Option A translated into Greek would probably read: καὶ ἐποίησεν δώδεκα ἀποστόλους (“and he made twelve apostles”).

Option B translated into Greek would probably read: καὶ ἐποίησεν ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν δώδεκα ἀποστόλους or καὶ ἐποίησεν ἐκ αὐτῶν δώδεκα ἀποστόλους (“and he made from them twelve apostles”).

Option C translated into Greek would probably read: καὶ ἐξελέξατο ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν δώδεκα καὶ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς ἀποστόλους (“and he chose from them twelve and made them apostles”).

Option D translated into Greek would probably read: καὶ ἐξελέξατο ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν δώδεκα οὓς ἐποίησεν ἀποστόλους (“and he chose from them twelve whom he made apostles”).

Option E translated into Greek would probably read: καὶ ἐξελέξατο ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν δώδεκα ἀποστόλους (“and he chose from them twelve apostles”).

Option A favors Mark 3:14 over Luke 6:13. The advantage of option A is its simplicity. If this option were selected we would have a narrative that begins: “And he summoned his disciples and made twelve apostles.” Against this option are 1) the lack of logical connection between the summoning of disciples and the making of apostles (option A does not state that the apostles were chosen from the disciples) and 2) the fact that since the noun ἀπόστολος probably does not belong to the authentic text of Mark 3:14,[49] it is necessary to supply this noun in GR. Supplying a noun such as ἀπόστολος is necessary because, in Hebrew, while it is possible to appoint twelve someones or twelve somethings (e.g., apostles), it does not appear to be grammatically possible to say “He appointed twelve.”

Option B represents a blend of Luke 6:13 and Mark 3:14, but prioritizes Mark. The advantage of this option is that it preserves Mark’s Hebraic use of ποιεῖν, and it makes explicit the logical connection between calling the disciples and appointing the apostles: “and he made from them twelve apostles.” This option presumes a great deal of editorial activity on the part of both Luke and Mark. If option B is adopted, then Mark probably deleted “from them” and “apostles,” while Luke probably added “choosing” and “whom he also named.”

Option C is also a blend of Luke 6:13 and Mark 3:14, but prioritizes Luke. The advantage of this option is that it makes the logical connection between summoning the disciples and appointing apostles even clearer than in the previous option: “and he chose from them twelve and made them apostles.” Option C also might explain why Luke added “whom he also named.” Luke might have added this phrase because he wanted to avoid the unusual use of ποιεῖν, and so instead of writing “and he made them apostles,” he wrote “whom he also called apostles.” However, Mark 3:14 has “made twelve” not “made apostles.” This option drifts away from Mark’s Hebraism.

Option D prioritizes Luke even more than option C. Option D represents the most elegant Hebrew reconstruction and does the most to explain Luke’s editorial activity while minimizing its extent. If this option were adopted, we could say that Luke changed ἐξελέξατο to a participle for stylistic purposes and that “whom he also named apostles” was his attempt to paraphrase in better Greek the Hebraic “whom he made apostles.” Although this option is very attractive, it requires us to suspect Mark of extensive editorial activity. Supposing that Mark had before him copies of Luke and the Anthology that read like this,

Luke Anth.
καὶ ἐκλεξάμενος ἀπ᾿ αὐτῶν δώδεκα οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν καὶ ἐξελέξατο ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν δώδεκα οὓς ἐποίησεν ἀποστόλους

option D presumes that Mark combined and condensed these texts as καὶ ἐποίησεν δώδεκα. Such a distillation of Luke and the Anthology is not impossible given Mark’s pervasive and unusual editorial style.

Option E dispenses with Mark entirely. Another disadvantage of this option is that it cannot explain why Luke added “whom he also named.” Option E also falters because of the absence of linguistic parallels for “choose an apostle” in ancient Hebrew sources, which regularly have “make an apostle.”

For our reconstruction of the pre-synoptic sources we have accepted option D, which enables us to explain Luke’s editorial activity and which credits Mark with preserving a Hebraic usage that he probably encountered in the Anthology.

שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר (HR). When the numeral δώδεκα (dōdeka, “twelve”) occurs in LXX, in almost invariably does so as the equivalent of שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר (shenēm ‘āsār, “twelve [masc.]”) or its feminine form שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה (shetēm ‘esrēh, “twelve”).[50] In any case, there is no other viable option for reconstructing δώδεκα in Hebrew.

The appointment of twelve apostles is intimately related to Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven, since it was through God’s reign breaking into the human sphere through Jesus and his band of followers that God was redeeming his people Israel.[51] One aspect of this redemption would be the restoration of Israel’s lost tribes.[52] Numerous ancient Jewish sources attest to the widespread understanding that only members of three tribes—Judah, Benjamin and Levi—had returned to the land of Israel from exile (cf. Ezra 1:5; 1 Enoch 89:72; As. Mos. 4:5-9; 1QM I, 2; Jos., Ant. 11:133).[53] Ancient sources also attest to the expectation that the gathering of the twelve tribes would take place at the time of Israel’s redemption.[54] Jesus himself referred to this hope when he stated that the twelve apostles were appointed to judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:30; Matt. 19:28).

Jesus’ saying about the judgment of the twelve tribes should be compared to the Psalms of Solomon 17:21-29, where the Messiah is depicted as evicting the Gentile rulers from Israel, gathering the tribes, and judging them (Pss. Sol. 17:26). In this context judgment clearly does not imply condemnation. Rather, the author of the Psalms of Solomon had in mind an act of deliverance and vindication, which he called “judgment,” and this is probably the way judgment should be understood in Jesus’ saying about the twelve tribes as well.[55] In other words, Jesus envisioned the restoration of the twelve tribes as one of the results of his mission.

The appointment of a twelve-member body that symbolized the restoration of the twelve tribes would not have been a foreign concept to Jesus’ contemporaries. There are hints that other twelve-member bodies representing the tribes of Israel either existed or were anticipated in certain Jewish circles in the late Second Temple period. The Qumran community, for instance, had a governing council of twelve men and three priests (1QS VIII, 1), while the War Scroll describes a liturgical body of twelve priests, twelve Levites (“one per tribe”), and twelve heads of the tribes who will serve in the Temple during the eschatological war at a point when the twelve tribes will have been restored (1QM II, 1-3),[56] and the Temple Scroll envisions a judicial college of twelve princes, twelve priests, and twelve Levites who will counsel the king in his legal decisions (11QTa LVII, 11-15). A judicial function also appears to be ascribed to a twelve-member body (or a body of twelve priests and twelve heads of the tribes, depending on how the text is reconstructed) described in Pesher Isaiah (4QpIsad 1 I, 1-8).[57] There may also be a hint in Acts 19:7 that the followers of John the Baptist organized themselves according to a twelvefold pattern. Likewise, some early Christian sources may suggest that James, the brother of Jesus, presided over a twelve-member body of elders.[58] Although some scholars have suggested that a twelve-member body during Jesus’ lifetime is anachronistic and reflects the reality of the post-Easter Church,[59] the restoration of the twelve tribes implied by the appointment of the Twelve is wholly consistent with Jesus’ understanding of his mission even prior to his crucifixion.[60]

אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה שְׁלִיחִים (HR). In a survey of the fifty-three instances of the relative pronoun ὅς (hos, “who,” “which”) that occur in the first eleven chapters of Genesis we found that forty-one occur as the translation of אֲשֶׁר (asher, “who,” “which”).[61] This survey is sufficient to establish our reconstruction of ὅς with אֲשֶׁר.

On reconstructing ποιεῖν (poiein, “to do,” “to make”) with עָשָׂה (‘āsāh, “do,” “make”), see Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, Comment to L8.

According to rabbinic sources, a שָׁלִיחַ (shāliaḥ, “agent,” “emissary”) was an authorized representative either of a private individual or of a particular community who could act on behalf of his sender in a legally binding manner.[62] For the purposes of his mission, the shāliaḥ effectually was identical to the sender.[63] For example, a shāliaḥ could contract a marriage or enact a divorce on his sender’s behalf, and in such situations the sender was bound by the shāliaḥ’s actions even if the sender had in the meantime changed his mind (m. Kid. 2:1; m. Git. 4:1). Likewise, the sender was liable for any misdeeds committed by his shāliaḥ if the actions were within the scope of his mission (m. Meil. 6:1).[64] The responsibilities of sheliḥim appointed by the nāsi’ or the Sanhedrin included public preaching, giving halakhic rulings, bearing circular letters to diaspora communities, and raising revenues to support public Jewish institutions.[65]

The parallel roles of the shāliaḥ and the NT apostle are striking. Like sheliḥim, Jesus’ apostles were sent with authority to teach and to act in his name, to make halakhic decisions (Matt. 16:19),[66] and in language similar to m. Ber. 5:5, Jesus told his apostles that “whoever receives you receives me” (Matt. 10:40; cf. Luke 10:16; John 13:20). Like the sheliḥim of the nāsi’, the apostles of the early Church carried letters from Jerusalem[67] and collected funds for the support of the congregation in Jerusalem.

Several Christian sources from the fourth century C.E. refer to Jewish “apostles”: Eusebius[68] and Epiphanius[69] using the Greek word ἀπόστολος, Jerome[70] and the Theodosian Code[71] using the Latin apostolos, a transliteration of the Greek term.[72]

The Jewish apostles who are mentioned by Christian authors so strongly resemble the sheliḥim described in rabbinic sources that it is reasonable to suppose that these Christian authors used “apostle” to translate the Hebrew word שָׁלִיחַ. The question is whether ἀπόστολος was the Greek equivalent of שָׁלִיחַ in the pre-Christian period.

This question is complicated by the fact that the Hebrew sources that mention sheliḥim are later than NT. The word שָׁלִיחַ does not appear in BH or in DSS. The earliest source that mentions sheliḥim is the Mishnah, which received its final form ca. 200 C.E. Therefore, it is impossible to prove from Jewish sources that the shāliaḥ institution existed in the Second Temple period. On the other hand, the use of the noun ἀπόστολος for a messenger or emissary in pre-Christian Greek sources is virtually unattested.[73] Nevertheless, Paul used ἀπόστολος as though it were already an established term that required no explanation. The term ἀπόστολος even appears in the pre-Pauline tradition quoted in 1 Cor. 15:3-7. This novel NT usage demands some kind of explanation, and many scholars have concluded that rather than driving a wedge between Jewish and Christian sources, the NT references to apostles should be regarded as evidence that the shāliaḥ institution described in rabbinic sources already existed in some form during the late Second Temple period, and that the unprecedented NT usage of ἀπόστολος should be regarded as an early example of the translation of שָׁלִיחַ into Greek as ἀπόστολος.[74] From the perspective of Lindsey’s hypothesis, which supposes that the Synoptic Gospels are descended from a written Hebrew source, there is no other term than שָׁלִיחַ that so readily explains the use of ἀπόστολος in the Choosing the Twelve pericope.

L12-15 (Mark 3:14-15). Mark describes Jesus’ purpose for choosing the Twelve: they are to be with him and they are to be sent out and have authority to preach and cast out demons. Mark’s description anticipates and partially duplicates the information we find in the Sending the Twelve pericope. Mark 3:14-15 look like a paraphrase of Luke 9:1-2.

Mark 3:14-15

καὶ ἐποίησεν δώδεκα…
ἵνα ὦσιν μετ’ αὐτοῦ
καὶ ἀποστέλλῃ αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν
καὶ ἔχειν ἐξουσίαν ἐκβάλλειν τὰ δαιμόνια

Luke 9:1-2

Συγκαλεσάμενος δὲ τοὺς δώδεκα
ἔδωκεν δύναμιν αὐτοῖς
καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἐπὶ πάντα τὰ δαιμόνια
καὶ νόσους θεραπεύειν,
καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ
καὶ ἰᾶσθαι

It is possible that the author of Matthew observed Mark’s incorporation of material from the Sending pericope into the Choosing pericope and that this observation inspired Matthew to conflate the two episodes into a single account.

L16 καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς δώδεκα (Mark 3:16). Mark’s repetition of “and he made twelve” in L10 and L16 is an indication that the intervening material was introduced by the author of Mark, and did not originally appear at this point in his source.[75] Mark repeats the phrase in order to pick up the thread from his source.[76]

L17-19 καὶ ἐπέθηκεν ὄνομα τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρον (Mark 3:16). “And he added a name to Simon: Peter” is an awkward way to begin a list of names,[77] and in some manuscripts we find an attempt to improve the style with the insertion of πρῶτον Σίμωνα before καὶ ἐπέθηκεν ὄνομα τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρον so that the list begins “First Simon (and to Simon he gave the name Peter)….” But this reading is not well attested and is, moreover, probably a scribal “correction” based on Matthew’s version of the apostolic list.[78] The only other place the combination ἐπιτιθέναι + ὄνομα occurs in NT is Mark 3:17 (see below, Comment to L27-28).

Might καὶ ἐπέθηκεν ὄνομα τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρον reflect a Hebraic source? In LXX we find ἐπιτιθέναι + ὄνομα 4xx (Num. 6:23; Judg. 8:31; 4 Kgdms. 24:17; 2 Esd. 19:7). Of these four instances, three have the meaning “to give a name.”[79] We cite them here together with the underlying Hebrew text:

καὶ ἐπέθηκεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Αβιμελεχ

וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת שְׁמוֹ אֲבִימֶלֶךְ

And he made his name Abimelech…. (Judg. 8:31)

καὶ ἐπέθηκεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Σεδεκια

And he made his name Zedekiah…. (4 Kgdms. 24:17)

וַיַּסֵּב אֶת שְׁמוֹ צִדְקִיָּהוּ

And he changed his name to Zedekiah…. (2 Kgs. 24:17)

καὶ ἐπέθηκας αὐτῷ ὄνομα Αβρααμ

And you added to him a name, Abraham…. (2 Esd. 19:7)

וְשַׂמְתָּ שְּׁמוֹ אַבְרָהָם

And you made his name Abraham…. (Neh. 9:7)

If Mark’s phrase καὶ ἐπέθηκεν ὄνομα τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρον reflects an underlying Hebrew source, the most likely options, therefore, are שָׂם שֵׁם (sām shēm, “set [i.e., change] a name”) as in Judg. 8:31 and Neh. 9:7, or הֵסֵב שֵׁם (hēsēv shēm, “change a name”) as in 2 Kgs. 24:17.

In addition to the verses cited above, there is only one other instance where שָׂם שֵׁם appears in MT with the meaning “change a name”:[80]

אֶת בְּנֵי יַעֲקֹב אֲשֶׁר שָׂם שְׁמוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל

τοῖς υἱοῖς Ιακωβ οὗ ἔθηκεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ισραηλ

…the sons of Jacob, whose name he made Israel. (2 Kgs. 17:34 = 4 Kgdms. 17:34)

Likewise, there are only two other examples of הֵסֵב שֵׁם in MT:

וַיַּסֵּב אֶת שְׁמוֹ יְהוֹיָקִים

καὶ ἐπέστρεψεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ιωακιμ

And he changed his name to Jehoiakim…. (2 Kgs. 23:34 = 4 Kgdms. 23:34)

וַיַּסֵּב אֶת שְׁמוֹ יְהוֹיָקִים

καὶ μετέστρεψεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ιωακιμ

And he changed his name to Jehoiakim…. (2 Chr. 36:4)

The most likely reconstruction of ἐπιτιθέναι + ὄνομα in Mark 3:16 would, therefore, probably have שָׂם שֵׁם.

What would we expect a Hebrew source listing the apostles’ names to look like if it included the information in Mark 3:16 about Simon’s name? Below are the most likely options:

  • Option A: שִׁמְעוֹן (אֲשֶׁר שָׂם שְׁמוֹ פֶּטְרוֹס)‏, which translated to Greek would probably read Σίμων (οὗ ἐπέθηκεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Πέτρον); cf. 2 Kgs. 17:34 = 4 Kgdms. 17:34.
  • Option B: שִׁמְעוֹן (וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת שְׁמוֹ פֶּטְרוֹס)‏, which translated to Greek would probably read Σίμων (καὶ ἐπέθηκεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Πέτρον), or possibly Σίμων (καὶ ἐπέθηκεν αὐτῷ ὄνομα Πέτρον); cf. Judg. 8:31.
  • Option C: שִׁמְעוֹן (וְשָׂם שְׁמוֹ פֶּטְרוֹס)‏, which translated to Greek would probably also read Σίμων (καὶ ἐπέθηκεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Πέτρον), or possibly Σίμων (καὶ ἐπέθηκεν αὐτῷ ὄνομα Πέτρον); cf. Neh. 9:7 = 2 Esd. 19:7.

None of these options resemble Mark’s καὶ ἐπέθηκεν ὄνομα τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρον, which is quite difficult to reconstruct in Hebrew: should it be וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת שְׁמוֹ שֶׁלְשִׁמְעוֹן פֶּטְרוֹס or perhaps וַיַּסֵּב אֶת שְׁמוֹ שֶׁלְשִׁמְעוֹן פֶּטְרוֹס? But neither of these reconstructions would make a fitting opening to a list of names. It should also be noted that the combinations שָׂם שֵׁם and הֵסֵב שֵׁם in naming formulae are quite rare compared to the much more common קָרָא שֵׁם (qārā’ shēm, “call a name”), which occurs more than 50xx in Genesis alone. What is more, Taylor (231) noted that the combination πιτιθέναι + ὄνομα is found in Herodotus (Persian Histories 5:68) and Plato (Symp. 205 B), to which we add Josephus (Ant. 1:122). Therefore, Mark’s notice about Simon’s name could have been composed in Greek. The content in Mark 3:16 (L17-19) might simply be a paraphrase of Luke 6:14 (L18-19).

L18-42 The list of twelve apostles appears in four versions in NT. In addition to the parallel versions in Matthew, Mark and Luke, there is also a list of the apostles in Acts. None of the lists agree completely with respect to the order of the names that appear in the lists. Comparable lists of names appear in rabbinic sources, for instance:

חֲמִשָּׁה תַלְמִידִים הָיוּ [לוֹ]ֹ לְרַ′ָ [יוֹחָנָן בֶּן זַכַּיִי וְאֵילּוּ הֵן] אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן הוֹרְקָנוֹס ר′ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן חֲנַנְיָה ר′ יוֹסֵף [הַכֹּהֵן] ור′ שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן נְתַנְאֵל [[ו]]ר′ אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עָרָךְ

Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai had five disciples, and these are they: Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Hananiah, Rabbi Yosef the priest, Rabbi Shimon ben Netanel and Rabbi Eleazar ben Arach. (m. Avot 2:8)

There is even a rabbinic tradition that purports to list the names of Jesus’ disciples:

תנו רבנן חמשה תלמידים היו לו לישו הנצרי ואלו הן מתאי נקי נצר בוני ותודה

Our Rabbis taught [in a baraita]: Yeshu the Notzri had five disciples, and these are they: Matthai, Nakai, Netzer, and Buni and Todah. (b. Sanh. 43a)[81]

This tradition about Jesus’ disciples is part of a polemical text that does not preserve an authentic historical recollection. Five was the conventional number of disciples trained by rabbinic sages, as attested in the tradition about Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai’s disciples cited above. Likewise, the five names of Jesus’ disciples were not meant to preserve accurate historical data, rather the names were chosen because they lent themselves to anti-Christian interpretations of select verses of Scripture.[82] That one of the names in the rabbinic tradition also happens to appear in the apostolic lists in NT is probably pure coincidence.

One wonders whether in the Hebrew Life of Yeshua there might have been an introduction to the apostolic list such as וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹתָם (“and these are their names”), an introduction found in Gen. 25:16; Num. 13:4; 1 Kgs. 4:8; Ezra 8:13; 1 Chr. 8:38; 9:44, where it is rendered in LXX as καὶ ταῦτα τὰ ὀνόματα αὐτῶν. Despite our feeling that perhaps such an addition ought to be present, we have omitted it from the Greek and Hebrew reconstructions since it has no support from the Synoptic Gospels.[83]

L18 Σίμων (GR). The name Σίμων (Simōn, “Simon”) existed in Greek in non-Jewish sources,[84] and it is true that when the name שִׁמְעוֹן (shim‘ōn) appears in MT it is usually transliterated Συμεων (Sūmeōn) in LXX,[85] but never as Σίμων, the name we find in the lists of the apostles. Nevertheless, there is abundant evidence that Σίμων was used as the equivalent of שִׁמְעוֹן by Jews in the late Second Temple period.

This pre-70 C.E. ossuray, is engraved with the name סמון (Simōn), a transliteration of the Greek name Σίμων (Simōn). Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This pre-70 C.E. ossuary is engraved with the name סמון (simōn), a transliteration of the Greek name Σίμων (Simōn). Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

First, there are individuals who are referred to both as Σίμων and as Συμεων either in parallel sources or in the very same works, which suggests that Greek translators regarded both forms as equivalent to שִׁמְעוֹן. For example, Mattathias’ son Simon is usually referred to as Σίμων in 1 Maccabees, but on one occasion he is referred to as Συμεων (1 Macc. 2:65).[86] Second, there are individuals who are referred to as Σίμων in Greek sources and שִׁמְעוֹן in Hebrew sources, such as the high priest Simon son of Camithus mentioned by Josephus (Ant. 18:34; Σίμωνι τῷ Καμίθου), who is usually identified with the high priest Shimon ben Kimhit mentioned in rabbinic sources (t. Yom. 3:15[20]; שמעון בן קמחית).‎[87] We even find that some individuals (e.g., Shimon ben Gamliel) are referred to by all three forms: Σίμων, Συμεων and שִׁמְעוֹן (cf. Jos., J.W. 4:159; Life 190; m. Avot 1:18).[88] Most decisively, we find that the same individuals are referred to as Σίμων and שִׁמְעוֹן in funerary inscriptions[89] and in bilingual texts from the Bar Kochva letters and the Babatha archive.[90]

Jesus’ most trusted disciple was himself referred to by both Σίμων and Συμεων by the same author (Luke 6:14; Acts 15:14),[91] which makes our reconstruction with שִׁמְעוֹן (shim‘ōn) as opposed to סִמוֹן (simōn)—which is also attested in the first century C.E.[92] —practically certain.

L19 Πέτρος (GR). We have already discussed the un-Hebraic quality of Luke’s construction relative pronoun + καὶ + ὠνόμασεν (“whom he also named”) in the Comment to L11. Matthew’s phrase, ὁ λεγόμενος (“the one called”), is also un-Hebraic. In LXX instances of ὁ λεγόμενος meaning “the one called” appear in books originally composed in Greek or in sentences where ὁ λεγόμενος does not reflect an underlying Hebrew phrase.[93] We regard Matthew’s πρῶτος Σίμων ὁ λεγόμενος Πέτρος as a more refined paraphrase of Mark’s awkward opening of the apostolic list (see above, Comment to L17-19).

The conjectured pre-synoptic source upon which the list of apostles’ names was based may simply have given the name “Simon Peter” at the head of the list. It is also possible that the pre-synoptic source omitted the nickname “Peter” altogether, that Luke supplied this clarifying detail for the sake of his readers, and that in this he was followed by Mark who was then followed by Matthew. In the version of the list in Acts, only Simon’s nickname is given. On balance, it seems best to retain the nickname in GR.

פֶּטְרוֹס (HR). Rather than regarding Πέτρος (Petros, “Peter”) as the translation of the Aramaic name כֵּפָא (kēfā’), we believe that Simon’s Hebrew nickname was פֶּטְרוֹס (peṭrōs), borrowed from the Greek word for “stone.” The name פֶּטְרוֹס is attested in rabbinic literature (cf. Gen. Rab. 52:2; 94:5) and a variant form פטרין is known from an ostracon discovered at Masada (Mas. no. 413) dating to the end of the Second Temple period.[94] Bivin has suggested that the reason Simon Peter was usually referred to as Κηφᾶς (Kēfas, “Cephas”) in early Christian sources originally composed in Greek (e.g., the Pauline Epistles)—but never in the Synoptic Gospels—is that the name Petros, which is not known to have existed as a Greek name prior to the rise of Christianity, may have sounded jarring or at least amusing to Greek speakers.[95] The Aramaic name כֵּפָא is known from Elephantine and the Greek form Κεφᾶς (Kefas) is recorded in Egyptian papyri.[96] In a Greek-speaking context, a foreign name like Kefas would have sounded more normal than Petros, just as for English speakers a Chinese name sounds more normal than “Eleven,” which a native Chinese speaker reportedly adopted recently for an English name.[97] On the other hand, in the Synoptic Gospels, which are based on early traditions originating in the land of Israel and which may have descended from a Hebrew source, Simon’s nickname is recorded as Petros. As a Hebrew nickname, Petros would not have sounded outlandish in the way it did in a Greek-speaking context.[98] Paradoxically, the name Πέτρος probably reflects Simon’s Hebrew nickname that was recorded in the Hebrew source that ultimately stands behind the Greek of the Synoptic Gospels.[99]

L19-25 Πέτρον καὶ Ἰάκωβον…καὶ Ἰωάνην (Mark 3:16-17). These three names—Peter, James and John—appear together in Mark 5:37; 9:2; 13:3; 14:33.[100] In Matthew these three names appear together only in Matt. 17:1 (= Mark 9:2). In Luke-Acts the three names appear together in Luke 8:51 (= Mark 5:37); 9:28 (= Mark 9:2 and Matt. 17:1); Acts 1:13, but the order of the names is always Peter, John and James (see below, Comment to L22).

L20 καὶ Ἀνδρέας (Matt. 10:2; cf. Luke 6:14). Matthew and Luke agree against Mark in the placement of Andrew’s name in their apostolic lists. Mark agrees with Acts in placing Andrew in fourth place on the list. Lindsey believed there are indications that the author of Mark was influenced by the book of Acts,[101] and it is possible that Mark followed Acts in the placement of Andrew, but this is difficult to prove since this is the only point of agreement between the lists in Mark and Acts against the lists in Matthew and Luke.

The name Ἀνδρέας (Andreas, “Andrew”), meaning “manly,”[102] was rare for Jews living in the land of Israel at the end of the Second Temple period. Apart from the brother of Simon, we know of only two other Jews who lived in the land of Israel prior to 70 C.E. who bore this name. Their names appear on ossuary inscriptions written in Greek.[103]

וְאַנְדְּרַיי (HR). Although the name Andrai (the Semitic form of the Greek name Andreas) does not appear in Hebrew sources from the Second Temple period, it does occur as a patronymic in the Jerusalem Talmud, spelled variously as אנדראי (y. Ket. 9:2 [53b]) and אנדריי (y. Ber. 1:1 [4a]; y. Meg. 4:5 [31b]).[104] Despite this late attestation, there is no reason why Jesus’ disciple could not have borne this name in an earlier period.[105]

L21 ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ (Matt. 10:2; cf. Luke 6:14). Luke and Matthew agree against Mark to include the notice that Andrew was Simon’s brother. Such “minor agreements” are crucial evidence indicating that Luke and Matthew shared a pre-synoptic source independent of Mark.[106]

אָחִיו (HR). On reconstructing ἀδελφός (adelfos, “brother”) with אָח (’āḥ, “brother”), see Demands of Discipleship, Comment to L15.

L22 καὶ Ἰωάνης (Acts 1:13). The apostolic list in Acts is unique in placing John in second place after Peter. Some scholars have suggested that Luke rearranged the order of the apostolic list in Acts in this way because in Acts Peter and John frequently appear in stories together.[107] Even in his Gospel, Luke is unique in pairing Peter and John.[108]

L23 καὶ Ἰάκωβος (GR). Although in English we refer to this apostle as “James,” the Greek form Ἰάκωβος (Iakōbos) clearly points to its derivation from the Hebrew name יַעֲקֹב (ya‘ aqov, “Jacob”).[109] In LXX the name יַעֲקֹב is always transliterated as Ιακωβ (Iakōb), and this is the form Philo, whose works are mainly philosophical commentaries on LXX, consistently uses.[110] In NT the form Ἰακώβ appears 27xx, always in reference to the biblical patriarch, except in Matt. 1:15, 16 where Ἰακώβ appears as the name of Jesus’ paternal grandfather. In the books of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha the form Ἰακώβ is reserved for the biblical patriarch, while the more refined Hellenized form Ἰάκωβος is used both for the biblical figure and for non-biblical characters (cf. Let. Aris. §48). Josephus consistently used the form Ἰάκωβος, even when referring to the father of the twelve patriarchs.

וְיַעֲקֹב (HR). For Jews living in the land of Israel in the late Second Temple period, the name Yaakov was relatively rare, but not unusual.[111] The spelling יעקב as well as the longer spelling יעקוב are both attested in epigraphic finds from the first century C.E.[112] The same individual is referred to as Ιακωβος and יעקוב in documents from the Babatha archive (128 C.E.).[113]

L24 Ζεβεδαίου (Matt. 10:2; Mark 3:17). The name Ζεβεδαῖος (Zebedaios, “Zebedee”) could represent the name זְבַדְיָה (zevadyāh)[114] or זַבְדִּי (zavdi).[115] The long form זְבַדְיָהוּ (zevadyāhū), which occurs 3xx in MT,[116] would not have been used in the late Second Temple period.[117] Although the spelling זְבַדְיָה is attested on an ostracon discovered in Jerusalem dating to the late Second Temple period,[118] the short form זַבְדִּי is more likely to have been the name given to the father of John and James, even though the short form is not attested in Second Temple-period inscriptions. The -αῖος ending usually indicates that the name being transliterated from Hebrew ended with yod, for example, Ἐλαῖος, Ἐλεαῖος = אלעי; Ζακχαῖος, Ζαχχαῖος = זכאי; Ἰανναῖος = ינאי; Σαμαῖος = שמאי‎,‎[119] and, most significantly, in his paraphrase of Josh. 7, Josephus gives Ζεβεδαῖος, the exact form that appears in the Gospels, as the equivalent of זַבְדִּי (Ant. 5:33).[120] We have not included the reference to Zebedee in GR or HR since the father of John and James is not mentioned in Luke, and Mark shows a tendency to add biographical detail to his sources.[121] Matthew probably copied this detail from Mark.

L25 καὶ Ἰωάνης (GR). “John” was among the most common names borne by first-century Jewish males in the land of Israel.[122] In LXX we usually find the indeclinable form Ιωαναν (Iōanan) as the transliteration of יוֹחָנָן (yōḥānān) and יְהוֹחָנָן (yehōḥānān).[123] The form Ἰωανάν also occurs once in NT, where it appears in Luke’s genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:27). In one instance in LXX we find the form Ιωανου (Iōanou), the genitive of Ἰωάνης (Iōanēs), in the phrase Ουδια ὁ τοῦ Ιωανου (Oudia ho tou Iōanou, “Oudia the son of Ioanes”; NETS), which is the translation of עֲזַרְיָהוּ בֶן יְהוֹחָנָן (azaryāhū ven yehōḥānān, “Azariah the son of Yehohanan”) in 2 Chr. 28:12. In books of LXX that are not included in the Jewish canon, however, and in later Hellenistic Jewish writings, the form Ἰωάννης predominates.[124] The form Ἰωάνης (single ν), but never Ιωαναν, is found on ossuaries and in papyri.[125] In GR the spelling conforms to that of Codex Vaticanus, which we use as the base text for our reconstructions.[126]

Coin from the Hasmonean period during the rule of John Hyrcanus bearing in paleo-Hebrew letters the words:יהוחנן כהן גדול חבר היהודים ("Yehohanan the High Priest and the council of the Jews"). Photo courtesy of the Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. via Wikimedia Commons.

Coin from the Hasmonean period during the rule of John Hyrcanus bearing in paleo-Hebrew letters the words:יהוחנן כהן גדול חבר היהודים (“Yehohanan the High Priest and the council of the Jews”). Photo courtesy of the Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. via Wikimedia Commons.

וְיוֹחָנָן (HR). While in non-literary papyri and in inscriptions on ossuaries and ostraca we usually find the longer spelling יְהוֹחָנָן, in literary sources the shorter spelling יוֹחָנָן is most common (cf., e.g., 4Q477 2 II, 3).[127] Since the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua falls into the latter category, we have reconstructed with the shorter spelling.

L27-28 καὶ ἐπέθηκεν αὐτοῖς ὄνομα Βοανηργές ὅ ἐστιν υἱοὶ βροντῆς (Mark 3:17). The explanation that James and John were given the name Boanerges, which means “Sons of Thunder,” is unique to Mark. “Sons of Thunder” suggests the Hebrew בְּנֵי רַעַם (benē ra‘am, “sons of thunder”),[128] but if so, we would have expected the Hebrew to have been transliterated as βανερέγεμ (baneregem) or βονερέγεμ (boneregem),[129] rather than Mark’s Βοανηργές (Boanērges).

Lindsey supposed that the Hebrew name was actually בְּנֵי רַעַשׁ (benē ra‘ash, “sons of an earthquake”) and that Mark’s explanation of the name as “sons of thunder” was evidence either of Mark’s ignorance of Hebrew or a type of midrashic association of the terms רַעַשׁ and רַעַם.‎[130] Buth, on the other hand, suggested that since the name βονερέγεμ was meaningless to Greek speakers, the author of Mark toyed with the spelling, giving βοανερέγεμ (boaneregem) in order to suggest the Greek word βοᾶν (boan, “to shout”).[131] According to Buth, later copyists subsequently changed βοανερέγεμ to βοανεργες (boanerges), reflecting a popular etymology βοαν-εργες (“shout workers”), in order to further make sense of the perplexing name in Mark’s text.[132]

Can Mark’s notice about the “Sons of Thunder” be reconstructed in Hebrew? In the Comment to L17-19 above we saw that the similar phrase καὶ ἐπέθηκεν ὄνομα τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρον (“and he added a name to Simon: Peter”) in Mark 3:16 was quite difficult to reconstruct in Hebrew. Here in L27 we once again encounter the combination ἐπιτιθέναι + ὄνομα in the sense “to give a name,” but unlike the phrase in Mark 3:16, καὶ ἐπέθηκεν αὐτοῖς ὄνομα Βοανηργές (“and he added to them a name: Boanerges”; Mark 3:17) shares almost exactly the same form as the statement καὶ ἐπέθηκας αὐτῷ ὄνομα Αβρααμ (“and you added to him a name: Abraham”) in 2 Esd. 19:7, which is the translation of וְשַׂמְתָּ שְּׁמוֹ אַבְרָהָם (“and you made his name Abraham”; Neh. 9:7). Following this model, Mark’s phrase in L27 could be reconstructed as וְשָׂם שְׁמָם בְּנֵי רַעַם.

Since the comment in L28 (ὅ ἐστιν υἱοὶ βροντῆς; “which is, ‘sons of thunder’”) would be superfluous in Hebrew, it could easily be regarded as an explanatory gloss supplied by the author of Mark for his Greek readers. This type of explanatory gloss (relative pronoun + ἐστιν + noun [without participle])[133] is a typically Markan feature, occurring 6xx in Mark; 0xx in Matt.;[134] 0xx in Luke-Acts.[135] This construction (relative pronoun + ἐστιν + noun [without participle]) is un-Semitic: of the nine examples of this construction in LXX, only four are translations of a phrase in the source text.[136] The other five examples are explanatory glosses inserted by the translators of LXX to clarify a Semitic word for their Greek readers.[137] This same construction is used by other Hellenistic Jewish authors to introduce explanatory glosses of Hebrew names, Hebrew words, and Jewish concepts in the Pseudepigrapha,[138] the writings of Philo,[139] and Josephus.[140]

Thus, we could have in L27 a statement derived from a Hebraic source with an explanatory gloss in L28 added for the benefit of Greek readers. On the other hand, Matthew and Luke agree against Mark to omit the notice about the “Sons of Thunder” from their apostolic lists, which strongly suggests that the material in L27-28 is the result of Mark’s editorial activity. For this reason we have omitted the material in L27-28 from our Greek and Hebrew reconstructions. Perhaps Mark took the statement καὶ ἐπέθηκεν αὐτοῖς ὄνομα Βοανηργές (“And he added to them a name: Boanerges”) from some other part of the pre-synoptic source shared by the authors of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and inserted it into his version of the apostolic list.[141]

L29 καὶ Ἀνδρέαν (Mark 3:18). Luke and Matthew agree against Mark’s placement of Andrew in the apostolic list. Remarkably, Mark’s placement of Andrew in fourth place agrees with the order in Acts. See above, Comment to L20.

L30 וּפְלִיפּוֹס (HR). All four canonical apostolic lists agree to mention Philip in fifth place. Φίλιππος (Filippos), a Greek name meaning “lover of horses,” was relatively rare for Jews living in Israel at the end of the Second Temple period, but the name was well known in the first century, since it was borne by one of Herod’s sons who ruled the region on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

First-century C.E. Nabatean inscription mentioning Philip the tetrarch, son of Herod the Great, known from the Gospels and the writings of Josephus. Philip’s name appears on the far right of the second line of the inscription, spelled פלפס. Image courtesy of the Howard Crosby Butler Archive, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University. Used with permission.

The name “Philip” is not attested in Hebrew inscriptions or literary sources prior to 70 C.E., but a Jewish sage bearing the name פליפי (“Pelipi”) is mentioned in Gen. Rab. 71:9 (ed. Theodor-Albeck, 2:834), and another sage whose name is variously spelled as פליפה בר פריטה (“Pelipah bar Peritah”; y. Taan. 4:3 [21b]) or פליפא בר פרוטה (“Pelipa bar Perutah”; y. Meg. 1:1 [3b]) is mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud. While we initially considered adopting the form פְּלִיפָּה (pelipāh) for HR, the spelling פְּלִיפּוֹס (pelipōs) would not only be closer to the Greek pronunciation, but the וֹס- ending would also be more in line with the way Greek names typically entered Hebrew. Above in Comment to L19, we noted that the Greek nickname Πέτρος (petros) entered Hebrew as פֶּטְרוֹס (peṭrōs). From the Dead Sea Scrolls we learn that the Greek names Ἀντίοχος (Antiochos, “Antiochus”) and Δημήτριος (Dēmētrios, “Demetrius”) entered Hebrew with וֹס- endings: אנטיכוס (“Antiochus”; 4QpNah 3-4 I, 3) and דמי]טרוס] (“Demetrius”; 4QpNah 3-4 I, 2). Similarly, the Mishnah demonstrates that the Greek name Ἀντίγονος (Antigonos, “Antigonos”) entered Hebrew as אַנְטִיגְנוֹס (’anṭignōs, “Antigonos”; var. אַנְטִיגְנָס [’anṭignos]; cf., e.g., m. Shev. 6:3; m. Eruv. 4:8; m. Yev. 13:2; m. Avot 1:3).[142] Moreover, we learn from a first-century inscription that Philip the tetrarch’s name entered Nabatean, a Semitic language, as פלפס (p-l-p-s), perhaps to be vocalized as “pelipōs.”[143] Thus, despite the names of the amoraic sages, we suspect that in the first century Philip’s name would have entered Hebrew as פְּלִיפּוֹס, and therefore we have adopted this unattested form for HR.

L32 καὶ Βαρθολομαῖος (GR). The name Βαρθολομαῖος (Bartholomaios, “Bartholomew”) is made up of two components: Βαρ, which almost certainly represents בַּר (bar, “son [of]”), and Θολομαῖος (Tholomaios). In Ant. 7:21, Θολομαῖος appears as Josephus’ equivalent of תַּלְמַי (talmai), the name of the king of Geshur mentioned in 2 Sam. 3:3; 13:37; 1 Chr. 3:2.[144] In Ant. 20:5, Josephus mentions another individual named Tholomaios, spelled Θολεμαῖος (Tholemaios) in some manuscripts, who was executed as a brigand by the governor Fadus (44-45 C.E.). Yet another individual, whose name Josephus gives as Θολεμαῖος in J.W. 1:314 and as Πτολεμαῖος (Ptolemaios, “Ptolemy”) in Ant. 14:431, was put in charge of the Galilee by Herod in 38-39 C.E.

וּבַר תַּלְמַי (HR). The interchangeability of Θολεμαῖος and Πτολεμαῖος in Josephus is paralleled in rabbinic literature where תַּלְמַי refers either to the biblical figures who bore that name or to the Ptolemy of Egypt who commissioned the translation of the Torah into Greek.[145] The two individuals Josephus referred to as Θολομαῖος/Θολεμαῖος probably called themselves תַּלְמַי. In addition, the name תלמי has been discovered on an ostracon from Masada (Mas. no. 578).[146] Thus, our reconstruction of Βαρθολομαῖος as בַּר תַּלְמַי is secure. But are we justified in referring to this as a Hebrew reconstruction, given that the first element, בַּר, is Aramaic?[147] Baltes points out that there are a number of inscriptions that are clearly written in Hebrew despite referring to persons with a בר patronym.[148] It appears that בַּר was used interchangeably with בֶּן in the Hebrew of the late Second Temple period, and therefore the Βαρ element of the name Βαρθολομαῖος cannot help us determine the language Jesus’ disciple Bartholomew spoke or in what language the apostolic list was composed before being translated into Greek.

L34 וּמַתַּי (HR). The name מַתַּי (matai) is a shortened form of the biblical name מַתִּתְיָה (matityāh),[149] which itself is a shortened form of the biblical name מַתִּתְיָהוּ (matityāhū).[150] Although the spellings מתתיה and מתיה are more common in inscriptions from the Second Temple period, we have chosen to reconstruct Μαθθαῖος with מַתַּי because the -αῖος ending usually indicates that the Hebrew name ended in yod (see above, Comment to L24). The spelling מתי is attested on two pre-70 C.E. inscriptions,[151] and the Mishnah records this form as the name of a Jewish sage who lived ca. 120 B.C.E.[152] in Arbel, a Jewish village (see Ant. 14:415) located near the caves of Arbel above the village of Magdala at the southern tip of the Plain of Gennesaret (m. Avot 1:6).

L35 ὁ τελώνης (Matt. 10:3). Only in Matthew’s apostolic list is the apostle Matthew identified as “the toll collector.”[153] Meier suggested that the identification of Matthew as “the toll collector” was motivated by the author of Matthew’s erroneous opinion that Jesus had only twelve disciples (see above, Comment to L7). Since the author of Matthew knew that Jesus had a disciple who had formerly been a toll collector (named Levi in Mark and Luke), he changed Levi’s name to Matthew and identified Matthew as the toll collector in his apostolic list.[154]

Bauckham offered an alternative explanation. Buackham suggested that the Gospel of Matthew was written for a community that had a special connection with apostle Matthew and that in this community there existed a deeply rooted tradition that the apostle Matthew had been a toll collector. According to Bauckham, on the basis of this tradition, the author of Matthew, who wished to associate his Gospel with the apostle Matthew, transferred the Call of Levi story to the apostle Matthew in order to relate the story of the calling of the apostle who was so highly esteemed in his community.[155] What ever the explanation, both scholars are agreed that the description of the apostle Matthew as “the toll collector” in Matt. 10:3 is an addition the author of Matthew inserted into a received list of the twelve apostles.

We have not included L35 in GR or HR, since we, too, agree that this notice is the product of the author of Matthew’s editorial activity.

L36 καὶ Θωμᾶς (GR). In our reconstruction we have accepted the Lukan-Markan placement of Thomas.[156]

וְתוֹמָה (HR). Three times in the Gospel of John we find Θωμᾶς ὁ λεγόμενος Δίδυμος (“Thomas, the one called Didymos”; John 11:16; 20:24; 21:2). The equation of Θωμᾶς (Thōmas) with δίδυμος (didūmos), a Greek word meaning “twin,” suggests that Θωμᾶς comes from the Hebrew word תְּאוֹמִים (te’ōmim, “twins”).[157] It is uncertain, however, whether John’s testimony is from tradition or an attempt to account for an unusual name. The name תומה appears in the Babatha archive.[158] We have used this form as the basis of our reconstruction.

L37 וְיַעֲקֹב בֶּן חַלְפִי (HR). All four canonical apostolic lists agree to mention James (son) of Alphaeus in ninth place. For the reconstruction of Ἰάκωβος see above, Comment to L23.

Ilan refers to Ἁλφάιος (Halfaios) as “a sensible Greek transliteration” of the name חלפי[159] which she derives from the Hebrew word חֵלֶף (ḥēlef, “reversion”).[160] Ilan also regards Χαλφι (Chalfi), spelled Χαλφεί (Chalfei) in some manuscripts, mentioned in 1 Macc. 11:70, as a different transliteration of this name. The attempts to identify Alphaeus with Κλεόπας (Kleopas) mentioned in Luke 24:18 and/or Κλωπᾶς (Klōpas) mentioned in John 19:25 are speculative and unconvincing.[161]

L38 Θαδδαῖος (Matt. 10:3; cf. Mark 3:18). Mark and Matthew add Θαδδαῖος (Thaddaios, “Thaddaeus”) to the apostolic list and omit Judas (son) of James mentioned in Luke and Acts (L40).[162] We have cited examples where we believe Mark supplemented his list with information from an additional source or sources, whether written, oral, or from first-hand knowledge (see above, Comment to L27-28). It is possible that Mark identified Judas of James and Thaddaeus as the same person and therefore replaced one name for the other. Another possibility is that membership among the twelve was not completely static, and that Thaddaeus, who was familiar to Mark, had taken the place of Judas of James.[163]

Theodotos inscription from a first-century Jerusalem synagogue. The name Theodotos is highlighted in red. Photo courtesy of

Theodotos inscription from a first-century Jerusalem synagogue. The name Theodotos is highlighted in red. Photo courtesy of

Rahmani regards Θαδδαῖος, a name also found on an ossuary (Rahmani, no. 145) and attested in papyri from the Judean desert,[164] as a transliteration of תדאי (tadai), a name known from rabbinic literature.[165] According to Rahmani, תדאי is itself a Semitic form of the Greek name Θεόδοτος (Theodotos) or Θεόδωρος (Theodōros).[166] Ilan adds Θεοδόσιος (Theodosios) as a third possibility.[167] Since we regard Θαδδαῖος as a Markan addition that was copied by Matthew, we have not included Thaddaeus’ name in GR or HR.

L39 καὶ Σίμων ὁ ζηλωτὴς (GR). In Acts, Luke gives this apostle’s name simply as “Simon the Zealot,” while in his Gospel Luke refers to him as “Simon, the one called Zealot.” The introduction of a person’s nickname with ὁ καλούμενος (ho kaloumenos, “the one called”) occurs 6xx in Luke-Acts but never in Mark or Matthew.[168] This construction is not used in LXX for introducing a person’s nickname in books that are included in MT,[169] but it does occur 5xx in 1 Maccabees and 1x in 2 Maccabees.[170] We have omitted ὁ καλούμενος from GR since it appears to be a stylistic improvement introduced by the author of Luke.

Why accept ὁ ζηλωτής (ho zēlōtēs) for GR rather than ὁ Καναναῖος (ho Kananaios) as in Mark and Matthew, especially since Καναναῖος appears to be a transliteration of the Aramaic word קַנְאָנָא (qan’ānā’, “the zealous”)?[171] The primary reason for this decision is our acceptance of Lindsey’s theory that the author of Mark relied on the Gospel of Luke as his main source.

Lindsey described the Gospel of Mark as a highly-edited epitome of Luke’s Gospel. The author of Mark’s editorial habits included replacing words he found in Luke with synonyms and adding transliterations of Aramaic words and phrases to his narrative. Mark may have replaced ὁ ζηλωτής with a transliteration of its Aramaic equivalent קַנְאָנָא in order to give the name a more Semitic feeling for his Greek readers. It is also possible that the author of Mark wished to avoid the political connotations of the word ζηλωτής, for in the period between Jesus’ mission and the writing of Mark’s Gospel this name had been appropriated by a group of militant nationalist priests,[172] whom many blamed for the outbreak of the revolt against Rome that resulted in the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. It is possible that the negative connotations the name “Zealot” had for Mark’s Gentile readers motivated him to replace the Greek word ζηλωτής with the foreign name Καναναῖος, which would have been meaningless to average Greek-speaking readers.

וְשִׁמְעוֹן הַקַּנַּאי (HR). On the reconstruction of Σίμων with שִׁמְעוֹן, see above, Comment to L18.

In LXX the noun ζηλωτής (“ardent adherent,” “zealous admirer”) occurs 8xx,[173] where it translates קַנָּא (qanā’, “jealous,” “zealous”) 5xx[174] and קַנּוֹא (qanō’, “jealous,” “zealous”) 1x (Nah. 1:2). In 4 Macc. 18:12 we find ζηλωτής employed in a manner similar to its use as a title in the apostolic lists of Luke and Acts: τὸν ζηλωτὴν Φινεες (“the zealot Phinees”; NETS). This usage is paralleled in rabbinic literature, which refers to Phineas as קנאי בן קנאי (“a zealous man, son of a zealous man”).[175] Phineas’ epithet קנאי בן קנאי is an example of how in MH the form קַנַּאי (qanai, “zealous”) replaced the biblical קַנָּא.‎[176]

Either the biblical form קַנָּא or the MH form קַנַּאי could have served as Simon’s nickname. In our reconstruction we usually favor using a BH style in narrative contexts and a MH style in dialogue. Simon the Zealot’s name is preserved in a narrative list, but his name would have been used in speech settings, which is why we have favored the MH form. We also note that at least one other individual may have borne the epithet “the Zealot” in the late Second Temple period: a pre-73 C.E. jar discovered at Masada bears the name יהוסף קני (yehōsēf qanai; Mas. no. 474).[177] Since the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua was a literary source, we have reconstructed with the standard spelling, קַנַּאי.

Does Simon’s nickname imply that at one time he belonged to the party of militant nationalist priests who sparked the revolt against Rome? The answer to this question must surely be “No,” since there is no proof that an organized Zealot party existed prior to the eve of the Judean revolt.[178] There is, however, ample evidence of an ideology of zeal that appealed to a segment of the Jewish population in the first century B.C.E. through the first century C.E. This ideology is linked to violent action aimed toward enforcing conformity with Jewish religious norms on the one hand and achieving political independence on the other. The ideology of zeal also appears to be centered on Temple and priesthood and was expressed in part through an anti-Gentile attitude.

An early example of this zeal ideology is found in the book of 1 Maccabees, which places heavy emphasis on the religious zeal of Mattathias and his sons as the justification for the Hasmoneans’ ascension to the high priesthood: “Phineas our father, because he was deeply zealous, received the covenant of everlasting priesthood” (1 Macc. 2:54; RSV). According to Numbers 25:6-15, Phineas was granted the high priesthood after he stopped a plague that was consuming the Israelites by putting Zimri, who had brought idolatry and sexual immorality into the Israelite camp, to death in his tent. The Hasmoneans, who could not claim descent from the traditional high priestly family of Zadok, found it useful to compare the deeds of Mattathias to the actions of Phineas (cf. 1 Macc. 2:26), reasoning that just as religious zeal had secured the high priesthood for Phineas, so the religious zeal of Mattathias and his sons should do the same for them.

The specific point of comparison between Phineas and Mattathias is Mattathias’ slaying of a Jew who participated in a pagan sacrifice during the period of religious persecution under Antiochus IV Epiphanes:

When Mattathias saw it [i.e., a fellow Jew offering a pagan sacrifice—DNB and JNT], he burned with zeal and his heart was stirred. He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him upon the altar. At the same time he killed the king’s officer who was forcing them to sacrifice, and he tore down the altar. Thus he burned with zeal for the law, as Phinehas did against Zimri the son of Salu. (1 Macc. 2:24-26; RSV; emphasis ours)

From the point of view of the author of 1 Maccabees, this violent enforcement of Jewish religious norms was the turning point of the story. From that moment on Antiochus’ power began to wane and the Hasmoneans began to save the people of Israel and lead them to political independence.

The apostle Paul also appears to have been influenced by zeal ideology in the period prior to his “conversion.”[179] In his letters, Paul laments his persecution of the Church (1 Cor. 15:9; Gal. 1:13; Phil. 3:6), which he explicitly links to his zeal. According to Acts, Paul’s religious zeal is especially centered on the issues of Temple and priesthood: the stoning of Stephen was a reaction to Stephen’s alleged marginalization of the Temple (Acts 6:13),[180] while Paul’s zeal-motivated pursuit of Christians led to cooperation with the high priest (Acts 9:1-2).[181]

In rabbinic literature, also, zeal ideology is linked to issues of cult and priesthood. According to the Mishnah,

הַגּוֹנֵב אֶת הַקִּסְוָה וְהַמְקַלֵּל בַּקּוֹסֵם וְהַבּוֹעֵל אֲרָמִית קַנָּאִים פּוֹגְעִים בָּהֶן

The one who steals a sacred vessel, and the one who curses by divination, and the one who has sexual relations with an Aramean: the zealots strike them down. (m. Sanh. 9:6)

Stealing consecrated vessels involves trampling on priestly prerogatives, while divination is associated with pagan practices and idolatrous worship, which were regarded as competing with the Temple for prestige and the loyalty of the Jewish people. The violent intolerance of sexual relations with non-Jews reminds us of the story of Phineas (Num. 25:6-15).

While these sources do not prove the existence of a Zealot party during the time of Jesus, they certainly describe the religious milieu from which this party eventually emerged. It is possible that Jesus’ disciple Simon the Zealot had at one point been attracted to zeal ideology, and it could be that he even participated in violent coercive activities.[182] If so, he must have experienced a change of heart similar to Paul’s, for Jesus’ approach was to reject violence and coercive means.[183] In this respect, Jesus was closer to the Hillelite stream of first-century Pharisaism. Rabbinic literature in general shows a distancing from zeal ideology. The Zealot party is remembered for its extreme and unfair activity during the revolt that broke out in 66 C.E. (cf. Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 6:3 [ed. Schechter, 32]). Likewise, zeal is mentioned as a negative quality that “puts a person out of the world” in m. Avot 4:21.

Even with respect to Phineas the sages reveal their ambivalence. The name “zealot, son of a zealot” refers to the similarity between Phineas’ violent actions and those of Levi, his forefather, who took bloody revenge on the people of Shechem when Shechem dared to have sexual relations with Levi’s sister Dinah,[184] for which deed Levi was rebuked by his father Jacob (Gen. 34:1-31). Since Phineas is commended in Scripture, the rabbis could not criticize him directly, but by highlighting the similarity between Phineas and Levi and reminding us of Jacob’s rebuke, their anti-zeal message comes through clearly enough.[185]

The anti-zeal opinion of the sages was, of course, informed by hindsight. But even in the period before the Temple’s destruction there were advocates of a “live and let live” attitude, as attested in Gamaliel’s speech to the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:33-40), as well as in Jesus’ teachings.[186] If Simon the Zealot ever did entertain violent zeal ideology, he must have abandoned this approach by the time Jesus appointed him an apostle, but as so often, the name stuck.[187]

L40 καὶ Ἰούδας Ἰακώβου (GR). We have accepted Judas (son) of James in our reconstruction of the apostolic list despite the omission of this name in Mark and Matthew. Since Judas of James plays no further role in Luke-Acts beyond the mere mention of his name in the apostolic lists, the unique Lukan detail cannot be attributed to Luke’s special interest in this individual.[188] The best explanation for the presence of Judas of James in the list is that this name appeared in Luke’s source(s). The inclusion of Judas of James is indirectly supported by John’s mention of “Judas, not Iscariot” among those present with Jesus during his final days in Jerusalem (John 14:22). However, John does not state whether this Judas was one of the Twelve.

וִיהוּדָה בֶן יַעֲקֹב (HR).[189] In LXX the name Ιουδας (Ioudas) is the equivalent of יְהוּדָה (yehūdāh) over 700xx. The name Yehudah is a widely-attested name in the first century. In papyri from the Babatha archive the same individual is referred to as Ιουδας in Greek and יהודה in Hebrew.[190] On the reconstruction of Ἰάκωβος with יַעֲקֹב, see above, Comment to L23.

L41 καὶ Ἰούδας Ἰσκαριώθ (GR). Luke, Mark and Matthew agree to place Judas Iscariot in the final position in their apostolic lists. Luke and Mark give Judas’ nickname as Ἰσκαριώθ (Iskariōth), which looks like a transliteration from Hebrew or Aramaic, whereas Matthew gives a more Graecized form, Ἰσκαριώτης (Iskariōtēs).[191] Apart from his mention in the apostolic lists, Judas’ nickname is always given in the Graecized form except for one instance in Mark 14:10.[192] This gives the impression that the form Ἰσκαριώθ in the Lukan-Markan versions of the apostolic list reflects an earlier source, and explains our preference for Ἰσκαριώθ in GR.

אִישׁ קְרִיּוֹת (HR). At least since the time of Origen, scholars have struggled to understand the origin and meaning of the name Ἰσκαριώθ. Numerous proposals have been advanced, but no solution has proven to be completely satisfactory. The three most important hypotheses are the following:

  • 1) Ἰσκαριώθ derives from σικάριος (sicarios, “assassin”),[193] which in turn comes from the Latin sicarius (“assassin”; from the Latin sica, “dagger”). Judas would presumably have borne this name because of his association with the Sicarii, a Jewish terrorist group that operated in the years leading up to the revolt against Rome in 66 C.E.
  • 2) Ἰσκαριώθ is derived from the Hebrew/Aramaic word אַסְכָּרָא (’askārā’, “choking,” “croup”).
  • 3) Ἰσκαριώθ is a transliteration of אִישׁ קְרִיּוֹת (’ish qeriyōt, “man of Keriyot”).[194]
Roman gladiators depicted in a mosiac discovered in Germany. The gladiator on the left wields a sica the curved dagger which gave its name to the Sicarii. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Roman gladiators depicted in a mosaic discovered in Germany. The gladiator on the left wields a sica, the curved dagger which gave its name to the Sicarii. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Of these three proposals, the derivation from sicarius is the most unlikely on historical as well as philological grounds. Stern and others have pointed out that Josephus makes no mention of the existence of the Sicarii prior to Felix’s term as governor of Judea (52-58 C.E.), well after Judas Iscariot’s death.[195] In addition, the word Sicarii entered Hebrew as סִיקָרִין (siqārin; cf. m. Maksh. 1:6),[196] a form that cannot explain the initial ι or the ωθ ending of Ἰσκαριώθ.[197]

The suggestion that Ἰσκαριώθ is derived from אַסְכָּרָא and thus refers to the manner of Judas’ death may go back as far as Origen, who stated, “I have heard it explained that the name of the native-place [of Judas—DNB and JNT] is, in Hebrew, suffocated” (Commentary on Matthew to Matt. 26:14-16).[198] Origen’s testimony, preserved only in Latin translation, may point to a derivation from אַסְכָּרָא, a Hebrew/Aramaic word referring to choking or asphyxiation.

In rabbinic literature אַסְכָּרָא is considered a particularly horrible affliction. According to the Talmud, one of the thrice weekly fasts was observed על אסכרא שלא תיפול על התינוקות (“because of ’askārā’, that it may not afflict infants”; b. Taan. 27b). According to another tradition:

תניא…תשע מאות ושלשה מיני מיתה נבראו בעולם…. קשה שבכלן אסכרא

It was taught [in a baraita]…Nine hundred and three types of death were created in the world…. The worst of them all is ’askārā’. (b. Ber. 8a)

The horror with which the sages regarded ’askārā’ lent it to associations with divine punishment:

רבי סימון אמר ממתאוננים שנאמר [במדבר יא] עד אשר יצא מאפכם והיה לכם לזרא מהו לזרא רבי הונא אמר לזרנא ולבוטנא וריש לקיש אמר לאסכרא רבי אבא אמר לאזהרה ר′ אביתר אמר לקרדא

Rabbi Simon said, “[צָרַעַת (tzāra‘at, ‘Scale disease’)] comes on account of murmurers, since it is said, Until it comes out of your nostrils, and becomes to you לְזָרָא [‘like zārā’’] (Num. 11:20).”[199] What is zārā’? Rabbi Huna says, “[Until it becomes to you] like vomiting [זָרָנָא, zārānā’] and swelling.” Resh Lakish says, “[Until it becomes to you] like ’askārā’ [אַסְכָּרָא].” Rabbi Abba says, “[Until it becomes to you] like a warning [אַזְהָרָה, ’azhārāh].” Rabbi Abiathar says, “[Until it becomes to you] like severe abdominal pain caused by worms [קַרְדָּא, qardā’].” (Lev. Rab. 18:4)

Here ’askārā’ is put on par with scale disease and worms, two classic signs of divine wrath.[200] It would hardly be surprising to find Judas associated with signs of divine punishment, given his betrayal of Jesus and the Gospel report that Judas died by some form of strangulation (Matt. 27:5).[201]

In his 1683 commentary on Matthew, Lightfoot (2:179-180) suggested that Ἰσκαριώθ could be derived from אַסְכָּרָא. Gill, in his 1809 commentary on the Gospels, likewise discusses this suggestion at greater length than any other of the solutions he mentions, although without reaching a conclusion on the issue (Gill, 7:102), and Joan Taylor has revived this suggestion in the twenty-first century. Taylor attempts to refine Lightfoot’s suggestion by noting that “Jastrow cites numerous instances [of אַסְכָּרָא—DNB and JNT], and has recorded that this word is found also in Mishnaic Hebrew/Aramaic (fem.) as אִסְכַּרְיָא, with the inclusion of an important yod prior to the final alef.”[202] On the basis of this observation Taylor proposes a hypothetical Aramaic word אִסְכַּרְיוּתָא (’iskaryūtā’, “chokiness,” “constriction”) as the origin of the name Iscariot.[203] Apart from the danger of basing a reconstruction on hypothetical forms, Taylor plainly misunderstood Jastrow’s entry for אסכריא, which merely says, “v. אִסְכַּדְיָא a. אִסְקַרְיָא” (Jastrow, 94). In other words, Jastrow regarded אסכריא as a textual corruption—this is the reason he left אסכריא unpointed—that ought to have read either אִסְכַּדְיָא or אִסְקַרְיָא, and he therefore refers his readers to those entries. Jastrow did not consider אִסְכַּרְיָא to be a variant form of אַסְכָּרָא. Of course, Taylor’s mistake does not discredit Lightfoot or Gill, but the fact remains that it is difficult to see how אַסְכָּרָא could yield Ἰσκαριώθ.

The third possibility, that Ἰσκαριώθ represents a transliteration of אִישׁ קְרִיּוֹת, which we have adopted in our reconstruction, is not without its difficulties. Although the examples of individuals referred to as “man of X” in rabbinic literature are manifold,[204] Torrey raised two serious challenges to this solution: 1) “We have no satisfactory evidence of any Palestinian town named Καριώθ”;[205] 2) “If the epithet was merely a designation of the place from which Judas came, the employment of a mystifying transliteration instead of the simple ὁ ἀπό (as e.g. in John 12:21 and 21:2) would be very strange indeed.”[206]

The Mesha Stele, or Moabite Stone (ca. 830 B.C.E.), refers to a city named Keriyot located in the territory of ancient Moab. Photo courtesy of

The Mesha Stele, or Moabite Stone (ca. 830 B.C.E.), refers to a city named Keriyot located in the territory of ancient Moab. Photo courtesy of

As to Torrey’s first objection, we concede that there is no solid evidence for a city named Καριώθ/קְרִיּוֹת within the borders of Israel during Jesus’ lifetime. In Joshua 15:25 there is mention of a city in the tribal allotment of Judah named קְרִיּוֹת (qeriyōt), but since this city is never mentioned again it is impossible to prove that it still existed in the late Second Temple period. From the pre-monarchic period to the first century C.E. is a long gap of silence.[207] However, there was another city named Keriyot that existed beyond the ancient borders of Israel that could have been Judas Iscariot’s hometown. The Keriyot to which we refer was located to the east of the Dead Sea in the territory of ancient Moab. This Keriyot is mentioned in Jeremiah 48:24, 41 and Amos 2:2, and its name appears in LXX as Καριωθ (Jer. 31:24).[208] The Moabite city of Keriyot is also mentioned on the Mesha Stele (ca. 830 B.C.E.).[209] According to Rainey, the Moabite city of Keriyot should be identified with the present day village of el-Qereiyât in Jordan.[210] The nearly identical names of the Moabite city and the present day village may suggest continuous, or near continuous, occupation of the site from biblical to modern times, in which case there may be evidence that a city named Καριωθ did exist in the late Second Temple period, although not within the bounds of biblical Israel. Torrey was aware of this Keriyot, but dismissed this possibility for reasons he does not explain, simply asserting, “If it should be proposed to connect Judas with the Moabite city Qeriyyōth, there are still great difficulties to be met [emphasis original].”[211] Torrey does not state why Judas’ hometown could not have been in the region of Moab, but he may have assumed that Jews would not have occupied this region in the first century C.E.

Is the assumption that there were no Jews living in the region of Moab in Jesus’ time correct? It appears not. Only a short distance from Keriyot stands the fortress of Macherus,[212] which according to Josephus (J.W. 2:485; 7:171-172) was established by Alexander Yannai (ca. 90 B.C.E.), renovated by Herod the Great (ca. 20 B.C.E.), and occupied by Jewish rebels in the revolt against Rome (ca. 70 C.E.). It is not unreasonable to suppose that the area surrounding Macherus, including the site of Keriyot, was occupied by Jews during Jesus’ lifetime. Indeed, the region of Perea, to which Macherus and Keriyot belonged, was presumed in ancient sources to be predominantly Jewish from the time of Hasmoneans to the end of the Second Temple period.[213]

A rabbinic tradition might also attest to a Jewish presence in the region of Macherus in the Second Temple period:

‏[אָמַ] ר׳ אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן דַּלְגַּייִ עִזִּים הָיוּ לְבֵית אַבָּא בְהָרֵי מִכְבַר וְהָיוּ מִ[תְ]עַטְּשׁוֹת מֵרֵיַח פִּטּוּם הַקְּטֹרֶת

Rabbi Eleazar ben Dalgai said, “My father’s house had goats in the mountains of Michvar, and they would sneeze from the smell of the preparation of the incense.” (m. Tam. 3:8; cf. Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version B, chpt. 39 [ed. Schechter, 106]; b. Yom. 39b)

Avi-Yonah and Gibson suggest that מִכְבַר (variant: מִכְוַור) in this text should be understood as a reference to Macherus.[214] If this identification is correct, then Rabbi Eleazar ben Dalgai’s recollection must refer to the late Second Temple period, since preparation of incense only took place while the Temple stood (cf. m. Mak. 3:2).

Could a Jew from the region of Macherus end up as one of Jesus’ disciples? There is no a priori reason why he could not. During Jesus’ preaching and teaching career the region of Macherus belonged to the territory of Herod Antipas, who also ruled the Galilee, so commerce between the two regions does not seem implausible. Moreover, according to the Gospel of John, Judas was the son of Simon Iscariot (cf. John 6:71; 13:2, 26), so it may be that it was Judas’ father who moved the family from Keriyot to the Galilee.

Panoramic view of Macherus from the east. Photo courtesy of

Panoramic view of Macherus (the cone-shaped structure on the left) from the east. Photo courtesy of

As to Torrey’s second objection, it is true that אִישׁ קְרִיּוֹת could have been translated into Greek as Ἰούδας ὁ ἀπὸ Καριώθ (“Judas, the one from Keriyot”), on the model of Ἰησοῦς ὁ ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲθ (“Jesus, the one from Nazareth”; Matt. 21:11; cf. Acts 10:38), Φιλίππῳ τῷ ἀπὸ Βηθσαϊδὰ (“Philip, the one from Bethsaida”; John 12:21), and Ἰωσὴφ [ὁ] ἀπὸ Ἁριμαθαίας (“Joseph, the one from Arimathea”; Mark 15:43; John 19:38). But arguing that the name could have been translated does not prove that it must have been translated, nor does it prove that it could not have been transliterated.[215] One reason why early believers in Jesus might have regarded a transliteration of Judas’ epithet preferable to a translation is if a Hebrew wordplay based on the name of Judas Iscariot’s hometown was developed at an early stage, perhaps a wordplay that reflected the earliest believers’ perception of Judas’ character, his act of betrayal, or his manner of death. A wordplay would attach greater significance to the sound of the name than its meaning, and it might therefore have been important to preserve the sound of Judas Iscariot’s name. Abbott noted that there are ancient Christian traditions that hint at a wordplay based on the name of Judas’ hometown. In addition to Origen’s testimony that Judas’ hometown was called suffocated, suggesting a wordplay on אִישׁ קְרִיּוֹת and אַסְכָּרָא, Abbott noted that Jerome linked the name Ἰσκαριώθ to Issachar, which he interpreted as “hire,”[216] which could suggest a wordplay based on אִישׁ קְרִיּוֹת and שָׂכָר (sāchār, “hire,” “wages”), since Judas had been hired by the chief priests to be an informant.[217] Another possibility is a wordplay on אִישׁ קְרִיּוֹת and the word שֶׁקֶר (sheqer, “lie,” “falsehood”), since Judas proved untrue to his teacher Jesus.

Despite the difficulties with reconstructing Ἰσκαριώθ as אִישׁ קְרִיּוֹת, we have yet to discover a preferable alternative.

L42 שֶׁהָיָה מָסוֹר (HR). The word προδότης (prodotēs, “traitor”) occurs 4xx in LXX, but only in books that have no Hebrew equivalent.[218] In MH, however, the word for traitor is מָסוֹר (māsōr).[219] In rabbinic traditions, traitors are ranked among the worst of sinners and are classed with heretics and apostates (cf. Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 16:4 [ed. Schechter, 64]). Traitors are those who hand over fellow Jews to foreign rulers. In a rabbinic tradition referring to the period of the revolt (66-73 C.E.), the sages forbade teaching Greek to one’s son, “because of the traitors.”[220] Another source states that traitors are destined to be destroyed in Gehenna:

אבל המינין והמשומדים והמסורות ואפיקורסין ושכפרו בתורה ושפורשין מדרכי ציבור ושכפרו בתחיית המתים וכל מי שחטא והחטיא את הרבים…גיהנם נינעלת בפניהם ונידונין בה לדורי דורות

But the heretics, and the apostates, and the traitors, and the epikorsin, and those who deny the Torah, and those who separate themselves from the ways of the public, and those who deny the resurrection of the dead, and all who sin and cause others to sin…Gehenna is locked before them and they are condemned to it for all generations. (t. Sanh. 13:2[5]; Zuckermandel)

The harsh condemnation of traitors in rabbinic sources is similar to the woe Jesus pronounced upon the one who betrays the Son of Man (Matt. 26:24; Mark 14:21; Luke 22:22).

Redaction Analysis

Only in Luke and Mark is the Choosing the Twelve its own separate pericope. We believe that in the pre-synoptic source this pericope had only the barest narrative framework. Luke appears to have expanded the narrative by adding a description of Jesus praying on a mountain the night before selecting the Twelve. Mark retained very little of Luke’s additions, perhaps because he saw that it was not present in the Anthology, but taking Luke’s lead he too expanded the narrative by explaining the purpose for which the apostles were chosen. In order to do so, Mark took material from the Sending the Twelve: Commissioning pericope and incorporated it into the Choosing the Twelve pericope, thereby creating a doublet (Mark 3:14-15 = Mark 6:7). Matthew observed how Mark combined the Choosing and the Sending material and opted to report only a single episode in which the apostolic list is reported in the account of the Sending. In this decision Matthew might also have been influenced by the brevity of the Choosing pericope as it appeared in the Anthology.

Since Luke repeated the apostolic list in Acts, we have four versions of the list in NT. None of the four versions of the apostolic list are identical, but the differences mainly consist of the addition or omission of biographical detail, and variations in the order in which the names are given. The variations of order reveal an interesting pattern: the twelve names[221] are arranged in three groups of four and the first name in each group is the same in all four lists. Simon always heads the first group, Philip always heads the second group, and James son of Alphaeus always heads the third group.[222] The only true disagreement among the lists is the name Judas son of James, which appears in the third group of names in Luke and Acts opposite the name Thaddaeus, which appears in the third group in the versions of Mark and Matthew. The overall agreement of the apostolic lists is remarkable, especially since so many of the apostles’ names are otherwise unknown. It is probable that the twelve names of the apostles are derived from a very early stage of the Jesus tradition.

Luke’s Version[223]

Choosing the Twelve
Luke Anthology
75 Total
to Anth.:
29 Total
Taken Over
in Luke:
to Anth.:
38.67 % of Anth.
in Luke:
Click here for details.

The most extensive editorial activity we observe in Luke’s version of the Choosing the Twelve pericope is concentrated in its introduction, where the author of Luke attempted to provide a narrative setting for the momentous occasion of the Choosing and emphasized the gravity of this event by adding the detail about Jesus praying on a mountain throughout the previous night. Prayer is an important theme in Luke’s Gospel, and we have therefore attributed the editorial activity in this pericope to the author of Luke rather than to the First Reconstructor. Apart from the opening verse, Luke’s editorial changes are minimal: Luke probably inserted ὅτε (“when”) in L5 in order to tie in the material he had composed with the material in his source. In L6 Luke probably replaced προσεκαλέσατο (“called”) with προσεφώνησεν (“summoned”), a minor stylistic improvement. In L11 and L19 Luke is probably responsible for the words “whom he named.” Similarly, “the one being called” in L39 is likely a Lukan addition.

Luke’s version of the apostolic list lacks some of the biographical details found in Mark and Matthew (cf. L24, L26-28, L35). Luke also made no attempt to name the apostles in pairs, as καί (kai, “and”) appears before every name in the list except for James son of Alphaeus.[224]

The Version in Acts

Despite being penned by the same author, the version of the apostolic list in Acts differs somewhat from the version in Luke. In Acts three names are listed without a conjunction (Philip, Bartholomew and James son of Alphaeus) and the order is slightly rearranged: John is promoted to second place in the list, and Andrew appears after James in the first grouping of four. In the second grouping of four Thomas appears before Bartholomew and Matthew in Acts, but after Bartholomew and Matthew in Luke. In the third group of names the Acts version has the simpler “Simon the Zealot” opposite “Simon, the one being called Zealot” in Luke (L39), and in the third group of names Judas Iscariot is omitted from the list in order to fit the narrative context in which the list appears.

Mark’s Version[225]

Choosing the Twelve
Mark Anthology
93 Total
to Anth.:
19 Total
Taken Over
in Mark:
to Anth.:
20.43 % of Anth.
in Mark:
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Perhaps because he was able to compare Luke and the Anthology, Mark dropped most of the introduction to the Choosing the Twelve periocope that Luke had composed. Nevertheless, Mark was not interested in preserving the pre-synoptic source the way that he found it. Instead, Mark added a great deal of additional material, explaining the purpose for which the Twelve were chosen (L12-15), adding biographical details about the sons of Zebedee (L24, L26-28), replacing Judas of James with Thaddaeus (L38), and replacing ζηλωτής with an Aramaic transliteration. Some of Mark’s editorial activity resulted in an odd style. The repetition of “and he made (the) Twelve” (L10, L16) and the awkward transition from the Choosing narrative to the list of names (L17-19) prompted later copyists to introduce changes to the text. As Meier observes, “…the various repetitions, parenthetical explanations, and disruptions of syntax in Mark 3:13-19 create the overall impression that Mark is reworking and explaining an earlier tradition.”[226]

Matthew’s Version[227]

Pericope Title
Matthew Anthology
53 Total
to Anth.:
24 Total
Taken Over
in Matt.:
to Anth.:
45.28 % of Anth.
in Matt.:
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Matthew’s apostolic list shows many signs of dependence on Mark (cf. L24, L26, L38, L39, L42), and it is likely that even his decision to conflate the Choosing and the Sending pericopae into a single episode can be partly attributed to Mark’s influence (see above, Comment to L8). Details that are unique to Matthew include an apparent attempt to list the apostles in pairs,[228] the description of the apostle Matthew as a toll collector (see above, Comment to L35), and the Hellenized spelling of Iscariot as Ἰσκαριώτης. Matthew is also unique in using the phrases “the twelve disciples” and “the twelve apostles” (L7, L10). It is possible that these phrases are evidence that the author of Matthew held the erroneous opinion that Jesus had only twelve disciples and that all of Jesus’ disciples were also apostles.

Results of This Research

1. What is the difference between “disciple” and “apostle”? Anyone who left his family, trade and possessions behind to study full-time with Jesus as he traveled throughout the Galilee and Judea was a disciple, but the apostles were appointed for a specific mission which involved dispersing out from Jesus’ itinerating band of followers in order to reach a wider audience with Jesus’ message. Luke and Mark are clear that the apostles were chosen from among the disciples. This makes sense because Jesus would want those he sent to be fully trained so that they would be qualified to teach and act in his name. Matthew appears to have conflated the concepts of disciple and apostle, limiting Jesus’ followers to a total of twelve. Matthew’s misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the data has led to persistent confusion about the distinction between apostles and disciples.

2. How do the Twelve differ from other apostles? Early Christians applied the term “apostle” not only to the twelve emissaries Jesus appointed prior to his death and resurrection, but also to other important individuals within their community. Paul counted himself among the apostles, apparently equal in authority to the Twelve qua apostles (cf. 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:9).[229] Paul also considered James, Jesus’ brother, to be among the apostles (cf. Gal. 1:19; 1 Cor. 15:7),[230] perhaps preeminent among them, even though James was not numbered among the Twelve. Paul also recognized other, lesser apostles (Rom. 16:7; 2 Cor. 8:23), and in his letters he contended with “false apostles” whose authority was recognized by at least some early Christians (cf. 2 Cor. 11:3). Luke, who usually restricts the title “apostle” to the Twelve, refers to Barnabas as an apostle on one occasion (Acts 14:14), and the instructions for showing hospitality to apostles in the Didache pertain to a period later than the lifetime of the Twelve (Did. 11:3-6).

The key distinction between the Twelve and the other apostles is their function in relation to the tribes of Israel. Jesus appointed the Twelve as a permanent body of fixed number that were sent out to spread his message and who were appointed to judge (that is, to deliver or rescue) the twelve tribes.[231] The distinct functions of the Twelve vis-à-vis the other apostles is highlighted by the story of how the early believers considered it necessary to appoint a replacement for Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:15-26). The relation of the Twelve to the tribes of Israel was so intrinsic to their function that a new member had to be appointed so that their number could be maintained.[232] This distinction is also evident in the fact that Paul, whose appointment as apostle was not linked to the tribes of Israel (he was rather “apostle to the Gentiles”; Rom. 11:13), did not seek to expand their number to “the Thirteen,” even though he claimed to have authority equal to that enjoyed by the other apostles.

Another key distinction among those bearing the title “apostle” is the origin of their appointment. Paul, James the brother of Jesus, and the Twelve were appointed by Jesus himself, whereas the “lesser” apostles were appointed by members of the Christian community. Paul’s repeated references to himself as “apostle of the Messiah Jesus” in the opening of his letters,[233] and his reference to others as “apostles of the churches” (2 Cor. 8:23), reflect this distinction, as does Luke’s reference to “the apostles whom he [i.e., Jesus—DNB and JNT] had chosen” (Acts 1:2; RSV).[234]

3. Do the names Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot (= assassin?) give us clues about Jesus’ political views? It is sometimes asserted, solely on the basis of their names, that Simon the Zealot was a member of the Zealot party, a militant Jewish nationalist organization that sought to overthrow Roman rule in Israel, and that Judas Iscariot was one of the Sicarii, Jewish assassins who murdered collaborators with the Roman empire. Some scholars have even used the nicknames of Simon and Judas to draw far-reaching conclusions about Jesus’ political views.[235] There is no evidence, however, that either the Zealot party or the Sicarii terrorists existed in Jesus’ time.

There were, indeed, those who not only longed for Israel’s political independence, but who desired vengeance on the Romans and who were willing to take up arms for the cause of freedom. An ideology of zeal that was mainly focused on the Temple and that justified taking violent measures to enforce Jewish religious norms on the population also seems to have been influential in Jesus’ time. However, it is clear from his teaching that Jesus opposed these ideologies. Rather than coercing sinners, Jesus befriended them. Rather than allying himself with the Temple authorities, Jesus criticized them.[236] And Jesus offended many of his contemporaries by speaking about “the year of the LORD’s favor” rather than about “the day of vengeance of our God” (Luke 4:19; cf. Isa. 61:2). Participation in the Kingdom of Heaven rather than revolt against Rome would usher in the redemption of Israel.

Identifying Simon and Judas as members of the Zealot and Sicarii parties involves glaring anachronism and, in the case of Judas Iscariot, an untenable philological hypothesis. If Simon the Zealot did have leanings toward zeal ideology, he must have renounced them, as Paul later did, when he was called to follow Jesus.


One might have expected that the Choosing the Twelve pericope, which is so short and seemingly so straightforward, would be easy to reconstruct in Hebrew. However, the complex interrelationship of the Synoptic Gospels and the difficult issues raised in this pericope have made the reconstruction and the accompanying commentary quite challenging. Despite the imprint each synoptic author left on this pericope, the names of Jesus’ emissaries to Israel have been carefully preserved. For all the editorial activity we have detected in this pericope, the agreement of all four apostolic lists is striking.

Among the most important issues raised in this pericope is Jesus’ attitude towards Israel. Jesus’ choice of twelve emissaries to Israel exemplifies his positive and open attitude toward Israel. Rather than founding a “new” Israel as a replacement for “old” Israel,[237] the appointment of the Twelve signaled the restoration of the twelve tribes and a redemption that embraced everyone in Israel, not only those who accepted the “right” doctrine or who practiced the “correct” halachah.

Yeshua's twelve apostles as depicted in a 17th-cent. illuminated Ethiopian manuscript containing the first eight books of the Hebrew Bible, the Gospels, and various records of Church councils. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The twelve apostles as depicted in a 17th-cent. illuminated Ethiopian manuscript containing the first eight books of the Hebrew Bible, the Gospels, and various records of Church councils. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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  • [1] For abbreviations and bibliographical references, see “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.’
  • [2] This translation is a dynamic rendition of our reconstruction of the conjectured Hebrew source that stands behind the Greek of the Synoptic Gospels. It is not a translation of the Greek text of a canonical source.
  • [3] See Randall Buth and Brian Kvasnica, “Critical Notes on the VTS” (JS1, 270).
  • [4] The phrase ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις (“in these days [plur.]”) occurs 3xx in LXX (Jdt. 14:8; Zech. 8:9, 15) and always appears in direct discourse, as opposed to the introduction of a narrative as in Luke 6:12.
  • [5] Luke introduces narratives with ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις in Luke 1:39; 6:12; Acts 1:15.
  • [6] We count 84 Lukan-Matthean agreements against Mark’s use of the historical present. See “LOY Excursus: Mark’s Editorial Style,” under the subheading “Mark’s Freedom and Creativity.”
  • [7] On the historical present in LXX, see Hawkins, 213-214.
  • [8] In this discussion we make a distinction between reciting blessings (referred to by the verbs εὐλογεῖν [evlogein, “to bless”] and εὐχαριστεῖν [evcharistein, “to thank”]), which Jesus did in public (cf. Matt. 14:19; Mark 6:41; Luke 9:16), and praying (referred to by the verb προσεύχεσθαι [prosevchesthai, “to pray”]), which Jesus did privately. On the use of εὐλογεῖν and εὐχαριστεῖν for blessings, see Peter J. Tomson, “Blessing in Disguise: Ευλογεω and Ευχαριστεω Between ‘Biblical’ and Everyday Greek Usage,” in Voces Biblicae: Septuagint Greek and its Significance for the New Testament (ed. Jan Joosten and Peter J. Tomson; Leuven: Peeters, 2007), 35-61.
  • [9] Mark reports Jesus praying privately in Mark 1:35 (no Matthean or Lukan parallel) and in Mark 6:46 in agreement with Matt. 14:23 (no Lukan parallel).
  • [10] Matt. 14:23 in agreement with Mark 6:46 (no Lukan parallel). Unlike Mark and Luke, Matthew mentions prayer in the Yeshua Blesses Children story (Matt. 19:13; cf. Mark 10:13; Luke 18:15). However, this is not an example of private prayer.
  • [11] Luke reports Jesus withdrawing for prayer in Luke 5:16 (cf. Mark 1:45; no Matthean parallel); 6:12 (cf. Mark 3:13; no Matthean parallel); 9:18 (cf. Matt. 16:13; Mark 8:27); 9:28-29 (cf. Matt. 17:1-2; Mark 9:2); 11:1 (no Markan or Matthean parallel).
  • [12] For instance, διανυκτερεύειν occurs only 2xx in the huge corpus of Galen, 2xx in the works of Oribasius, 1x in Diodorus Siculus, 1x in Lucianus, and 3xx in Plutarch.
  • [13] In LXX we do find a single instance of the phrase προσευχὴ τῷ θεῷ (prosevchē tō theō, “prayer to God”; Ps. 41:9), which is the translation of תְּפִלָּה לְאֵל (tefilāh le’ēl, “prayer to God”; Ps. 42:9).
  • [14] To express the thought “when day came,” Josephus wrote γενομένης ἡμέρας in Ant. 10:202; Life 405.
  • [15] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:607-618.
  • [16] See Dos Santos, 79.
  • [17] On the numerous similarities between the Elijah-Elisha narratives and the Gospel stories, see Widow’s Son in Nain, Comments to L1, L18; Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple, Comments to L32, L35-36.
  • [18] The six instances of προσφωνεῖν in Luke-Acts are found in Luke 6:13; 7:32; 13:12; 23:20; Acts 21:40; 22:2.
  • [19] In LXX the four instances of προσφωνεῖν appear exclusively in books composed in Greek (1 Esd. 2:16; 6:6, 21; 2 Macc. 15:15). In the Pseudepigrapha, προσφωνεῖν occurs 3xx, likewise in sources originally composed in Greek (Let. Aris. §312; Aristob. 1:1; 3:1). Προσφωνεῖν does not appear at all in the writings of Philo or Josephus.
  • [20] Taylor (229-230) noted that προσκαλεῖν is a typically Markan term.
  • [21] For examples where LXX translates vav consecutive verbs with participles, see Healing Shimon’s Mother-in-law, Comment to L2-3.
  • [22] The only instances where the LXX translators used προσκαλεῖν to translate a different root are in Exod. 3:18, where προσκέκληται translates נִקְרָה (niqrāh, “he met”), in Job 19:17, where LXX does not resemble MT, and in Esth. 8:1, where προσεκλήθη translates בָּא (bā’, “he came”).
  • [23] In MT -קָרָא לְ in the sense of “summon” or “call” occurs in Gen. 12:18; 20:8, 9; 24:57, 58; 26:9; 27:42; 31:4, 54; 39:14; 46:33; 47:29; Exod. 2:20; 8:4, 21; 9:27; 10:16; 12:21, 31; 19:7, 20; 34:15; Lev. 9:1; Num. 16:12; 22:5, 20, 37; 25:2; Deut. 25:8; 31:7; Josh. 9:22; 22:1; 23:2; 24:1, 9; Judg. 4:6; 8:1; 12:1; 14:15; 16:18, 19, 25 (2xx); 1 Sam. 3:5, 6, 8 (2xx); 6:2; 16:3, 5; 19:7; 2 Sam. 1:15; 9:2; 11:13; 13:23; 1 Kgs. 1:9, 19, 25, 28, 32; 2:36, 42; 12:3; 2 Kgs. 3:10, 13; 4:12 (2xx), 15 (2xx); 8:1; 9:1; Isa. 22:20; Jer. 1:15; 3:4; 9:16; 42:8; Hos. 11:1, 2; Amos 5:8; 9:6; Ps. 57:3; Job 1:4; 12:4; Prov. 2:3; 9:15; Lam. 1:19; Esth. 4:5; Dan. 2:2; 1 Chr. 4:10; 15:11; 22:6; 2 Chr. 10:3; 18:12.
  • [24] In MT קָרָא אֶל in the sense of “summon” or “call” occurs in Gen. 19:5; 22:11; 28:1; 49:1; Exod. 3:4; 8:21; 10:24; 19:3; 24:16; 34:31; 36:2; Lev. 1:1; 10:4; Deut. 5:1; 29:1; Josh. 4:4; 10:24; Judg. 15:18; 16:28; 18:23; 1 Sam. 3:4, 9; 9:26; 12:17, 18; 16:8; 17:8; 26:14 (2xx); 29:6; 2 Sam. 1:7; 2:26; 14:33; 15:2; 1 Kgs. 8:43; 13:21; 17:10, 11, 20, 21; 18:3; 2 Kgs. 4:22, 36 (2xx); 6:11; 7:10; 10:19; 18:18; Jer. 7:27; 33:3; 42:8; Ezek. 9:3; 36:29; Jonah 1:6, 14; 3:8; Ps. 50:4; 99:6; Esth. 4:11; 1 Chr. 21:26; 2 Chr. 6:33; 14:10.
  • [25] In MT קָרָא אֶת in the sense of “summon” or “call” occurs in Gen. 27:1; 41:8, 14; Exod. 2:8; Deut. 31:14; 1 Sam. 3:16; 22:11; 2 Sam. 13:17; 1 Kgs. 1:9, 10; 12:20; Jer. 7:13; 29:12; 36:4; Neh. 5:12.
  • [26] Usually -קָרָא לְ means “to designate” or “to read” in the Mishnah.
  • [27] The two examples from Avot de-Rabbi Natan cited here describe interactions between Roman aristocrats and Rabbi Zadok and Rabbi Akiva, respectively. On these incidents, see Moshe David Herr, “The Historical Significance of the Dialogues Between Jewish Sages and Roman Dignitaries,” Scripta Hierosolymitana 22 (1971): 123-150, esp. 136-137.
  • [28] On the unique importance of this baraita, see David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction’ Addendum: Linguistic Features of the Baraita in b. Kid. 66a.”
  • [29] See David N. Bivin, “The Traveling Teacher,” under the subheading “Making Disciples.”
  • [30] See John P. Meier, “The Circle of the Twelve: Did It Exist During Jesus’ Public Ministry?” Journal of Biblical Literature 116.4 (1997): 635-672, esp. 638 n. 8.
  • [31] In the margins of his copy of Vincent Taylor, The Gospel According to St. Mark (2d ed.; London: Macmillan, 1966), 234, Lindsey wrote, “Mk. 3:14-15 are a doublet of Mk. 6:7…. It is clear that Mk., in contrast to Lk., is mixing calling & sending preambles, and Mt. takes this lead in Mk. to combine the two.”
  • [32] The combination of ἀπέρχεσθαι + πρός occurs in Mark 3:13; 14:10; Luke 24:12; John 4:47; 6:68; 11:46; 20:10; Rev. 10:9.
  • [33] The combination of ἀπέρχεσθαι + πρός occurs in Gen. 15:15; 24:54, 56; 31:18; Exod. 5:4; Num. 24:25; 1 Kgdms. 25:5; 4 Kgdms. 6:22, 23; 1 Macc. 7:20.
  • [34] The combination of ἀπέρχεσθαι + πρός occurs in J.W. 6:380; Ant. 5:287; 6:157; 7:132, 204; 8:269, 385; 10:60; 12:162, 196, 209; 13:156; 14:448.
  • [35] See Taylor, 230; Nolland, Luke, 1:269; France, 160.
  • [36] Sometimes 1 Sam. 12:6 is also cited as an example, where עָשָׂה means “he appointed,” however BDB (795) does not do so, and it seems that in this case אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה אֶת מֹשֶׁה וְאֶת אַהֲרֹן can just as easily mean “who made” or “who created Moses and Aaron,” for in the other instances where עָשָׂה means “appoint,” the office to which the person is appointed is specified.
  • [37] On ἀπόστολος as the Greek equivalent of שָׁלִיחַ, see below, Comment to L10-11.
  • [38] For further examples where עָשָׂה is used for “appoint an agent,” see y. Ter. 1:1 [4b]; y. Yev. 13:2 [72a]; b. Ned. 8b; b. Kid. 23b.
  • [39] In NT the verb ἐκλέγειν appears in Mark 13:20; Luke 6:13; 9:35; 10:42; 14:7; John 6:70; 13:18; 15:16 (2xx), 19; Acts 1:2, 24; 6:5; 13:17; 15:7, 22, 25; 1 Cor. 1:27 (2xx), 28; Eph. 1:4; James 2:5.
  • [40] Examples of ִבָּחַר + מִן in MT include Exod. 18:25; Deut. 12:5; 18:5; 1 Sam. 2:28; 2 Sam. 10:9; 24:12; 1 Kgs. 8:16; 11:32; 2 Kgs. 21:7; 1 Chr. 19:10; 21:10; 2 Chr. 6:5; 33:7. For examples in DSS, see 1QHa VII, 26-27; 5Q13 1 I, 6; 11QTa [11Q19] LX, 10.
  • [41] Cf. Gen. 6:2, where וַיִּקְחוּ לָהֶם נָשִׁים מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר בָּחָרוּ is translated as ἔλαβον ἑαυτοῖς γυναῖκας ἀπὸ πασῶν ὧν ἐξελέξαντο.
  • [42] See Metzger, 80.
  • [43] On the rationale for basing our reconstruction on a single NT manuscript, see the “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction,’” under the subheading “Codex Vaticanus or an Eclectic Text?”
  • [44] In LXX ὀνομάζειν translates ק-ר-א in Deut. 2:20 and Jer. 32[25]:29.
  • [45] In LXX ὀνομάζειν translates ז-כ-ר in Josh. 23:7; Amos 6:10; Isa. 19:17; 26:13; Jer. 3:16; 20:9; 23:36.
  • [46] In LXX ὀνομάζειν translates נ-ק-ב in Lev. 24:16 (2xx); Isa. 62:2; 1 Chr. 12:32; 2 Chr. 31:19.
  • [47] In LXX books that have no counterpart in MT, ὀνομάζειν occurs in 1 Esd. 4:63; 1 Macc. 3:9; 14:10; 3 Macc. 7:17; Wis. 2:13; 14:8; Sir. 23:10; Bar. 4:30.
  • [48] Cf. Philo, Spec. 2:200.
  • [49] See above, Comment to L11.
  • [50] In the Pentateuch alone δώδεκα occurs as the translation of שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר/שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה in Gen. 5:8; 14:4; 17:20; 25:16; 35:22; 42:13, 32; 49:28; Exod. 15:27; 24:4 (2xx); 36:21 (2xx); Lev. 24:5; Num. 1:44; 7:83 (3xx), 86, 87 (4xx); 17:17, 21; 29:17; 31:5; 33:9; Deut. 1:23.
  • [51] On the Kingdom of Heaven in Jesus’ teaching, see David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “LOY Excursus: The Kingdom of Heaven in the Life of Yeshua.”
  • [52] See Davies-Allison, 2:152; Nolland, Matt., 409.
  • [53] See Daniel R. Schwartz, “The Tribes of As. Mos. 4:7-9,” Journal of Biblical Literature 99 (1980): 217-223; Shlomo Pines, “Notes on the Twelve Tribes in Qumran, Early Christianity and Christian Tradition,” in Messiah and Christos: Studies in the Jewish Origins of Christianity Presented to David Flusser on the Occasion of his Seventy-fifth Birthday (ed. Ithmar Gruenwald, Shaul Shaked, Gedaliahu G. Stroumsa; Tübingen: Mohr, 1992), 151-154.
  • [54] For examples of the eschatological restoration of the twelve tribes, cf. Isa. 49:6; Sir. 36:11; 48:10; Pss. Sol. 17:21-29; Rev. 7:4-8; 4 Ezra 13:39-47. According to m. Sanh. 10:3 (cf. t. Sanh. 13:12), Rabbi Akiva denied that the lost tribes would be restored, whereas Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, who usually preserved older and more conservative traditions, maintained that the lost tribes will someday be restored.
  • [55] See Richard A. Horsely, Jesus and the Spiral of Violence: Popular Jewish Resistance in Roman Palestine (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987), 203-206.
  • [56] See Brian Schultz, Conquering the World: The War Scroll (1QM) Reconsidered (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 205.
  • [57] See David Flusser, “The Isaiah Pesher and the Notion of the Twelve Apostles in the Early Church” (Flusser, JSTP2, 305-326); Joseph M. Baumgarten, “The Duodecimal Courts of Qumran, Revelation, and the Sanhedrin,” Journal of Biblical Literature 95 (1976): 59-78.
  • [58] See the lists of Jerusalem Bishops in Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 4:5 §3-4; 5:12 §1-2; Epiphanius, Panarion 66:21-22; and the discussion of these lists in Richard Bauckham, Jude and the Relatives of Jesus (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1990), 70-76; cf. Jack Poirier, “Essenic Piety and the Epistle of James.”
  • [59] Cf. Bundy, 251.
  • [60] Moreover, as numerous scholars have pointed out, Judas the traitor is consistently identified as “one of the Twelve.” It is difficult to understand why the early Christians would invent such an embarrassing story about the Twelve if this body had not come into existence until after the resurrection. The most plausible explanation for Judas’ inclusion in this body is that the Twelve already existed prior to Jesus’ crucifixion. See Fredriksen, From Jesus, 102; Meier, “The Circle of the Twelve,” 663-667.
  • [61] The relative pronoun ὅς occurs as the translation of אֲשֶׁר in Gen. 1:7, 11, 12, 21, 29 (2xx), 30; 2:2 (2xx), 3, 8, 11, 19, 22; 3:1, 3, 11, 12, 17, 23; 4:11; 5:5, 29; 6:2, 7, 17, 21; 7:4, 15, 19, 22, 23; 8:6; 9:3, 12 (2xx), 15, 16, 17 (2xx); 11:5. The relative pronoun ὅς occurs as the translation of כִּי (ki, “that,” “because”) in Gen. 2:17; 3:5, 19 and 4:15 and was supplied by the LXX translators in Gen. 2:4, 15; 5:1, 2, 27; 8:13; 11:4, 28.
  • [62] On the laws pertaining to the shāliaḥ as these were worked out in rabbinic sources, see Z. W. Falk, “Jewish Private Law” (Safrai-Stern, 2:504-534, esp.512-513).
  • [63] The rabbinic formulation is: שְׁלוּחוֹ שֶׁלָּאָדָם כְּמוֹתוֹ (“the emissary of a man is as himself”; m. Ber. 5:5; t. Taan. 3:2; Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Pisḥa chpt. 3 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:18]). In rabbinic sources שָׁלִיחַ and שָׁלוּחַ are synonymous and interchangeable.
  • [64] See Peter J. Tomson, Paul and the Jewish Law: Halakhah in the Letters of the Apostle to the Gentiles (CRINT III.1; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990), 146-147; idem, If This Be, 132-13.
  • [65] See Sandt-Flusser, 353.
  • [66] On Matt. 16:19, see David N. Bivin, “‘Binding’ and ‘Loosing’ in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
  • [67] See also Peter J. Tomson, “Halakic Correspondence in Antiquity: Qumran, Paul, and the Babylonian Talmud,” in Reinterpreting Revelation and Tradition: Jews and Christians in Conversation (ed. John T. Pawlikowski and Hayim Goren Perelmuter; Franklin, Wisc.: Sheed & Ward, 2000), 201-230.
  • [68] Referring to his own day (first half of the fourth cent. C.E.), Eusebius wrote:

    Ἀποστόλους δὲ εἰσέτι καὶ νῦν ἔθος ἐστὶν Ἰουδαίοις ὀνομάζειν τοὺς ἐγκύκλια γράμματα παρὰ τῶν ἀρχόντων αὐτῶν ἐπικομιζομένους.

    And it is convention even now to call those who bear circular letters from the Jewish rulers apostles. (Commentary on Isaiah 18:1)

    The English translation is according to Commentary on Isaiah: Eusebius of Caesarea (trans. Jonathan J. Armstrong; Ancient Christian Texts; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2013), 91.

  • [69] Referring to the Jewish patriarchs in the land of Israel late in Constantine’s reign (mid-fourth cent. C.E.), Epiphanius wrote:

    εἰσὶ δὲ οὓτοι μετὰ τὸν πατριὰρχην ἀπόστολοι καλούμενοι, προσεδεὺουσι δὲ τῲ πατριάρχῃ, καὶ σὺν αὐτῷ πολλάκις καὶ ἐν νυκτὶ καὶ ἐν ἡμέρᾳ συνεχῶς διάγουσι διὰ τὸ συμβουλεύειν καὶ ἀναφέρειν αὐτῷ τὰ κατὰ νόμον.

    There are such persons, called “apostles,” <who> stand next after the patriarch. They attend on the patriarch, and often stay with him day and night without intermission, to give him counsel and refer matters of law to him. (Panarion 30:4 §2)

    The English translation is according to The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis (trans. Frank Williams; 2 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 1987), 1:122.

  • [70] In his commentary on Galatians Jerome states:

    Apostolus autem, hoc est, “missus,” Hebraeorum proprie vocabulum est, quod Silas quoque sonat, cui a mittendo “missi” nomen impositum est.

    Now “apostle,” that is, “one sent,” is a uniquely Hebrew word that is expressed as well by the name “Silas,” which derives from sending and was given to him when he was sent. (Comm. Gal. 1:1)

    Jerome’s comment may reflect his awareness that ἀπόστολος is not used in the sense of “emissary” outside Christian sources (see below) and that this Christian usage is based on the Greek translation of a Hebrew term. “Silas” may be “a bad transliteration” of שָׁלִיחַ “with transposition of the vowels,” to use the words of Foakes Jackson-Lake (5:48 n. 2); cf. Karl H. Rengstorf, “ἀπόστολος,” TDNT 1:414: “Slias [sic] from שליחא.” The quotation of Jerome is according to St. Jerome’s Commentaries on Galatians, Titus, and Philemon (trans. Thomas P. Scheck; Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), 53-54.

  • [71] The Theodosian Code states:

    Superstitionis indignae est, ut archisynagogi sive presbyteri iudaeorum vel quos ipsi apostolos vocant, qui ad exigendum aurum adque argentum a patriarcha certo tempore diriguntur, a singulis synagogis exactam summam adque susceptam ad eundem reportent. Qua de re omne, quidquid considerata temporis ratione confidimus esse collectum, fideliter ad nostrum dirigatur aerarium: de cetero autem nihil praedicto decernimus esse mittendum. Noverint igitur populi iudaeorum removisse nos depraedationis huiusmodi functionem. Quod si qui ab illo depopulatore iudaeorum ad hoc officium exactionis fuerint directi, iudicibus offerantur, ita ut tamquam in legum nostrarum violatores sententia proferatur.

    It is characteristic of an unworthy superstition that the rulers of the synagogues or the elders of the Jews or those whom they themselves call apostles, who are dispatched by the patriarch at a certain time to collect gold and silver, should bring back to the patriarch the sum which has been exacted and collected from each of the synagogues. Wherefore, everything that we are confident has been collected, taking into consideration the period of time, shall be faithfully dispatched to our treasury. For the future, moreover, we decree that nothing shall be sent to the aforesaid patriarch. The people of the Jews shall know, therefore, that we have abolished the practice of such depredation. But if any persons should be sent on such a mission of collection by that despoiler of the Jews, they shall be brought before the judges, in order that a sentence may be pronounced against them as violators of our laws. (Theodosian Code 16:8 §14 [April 11, 399 C.E.])

    The English translation is adapted from The Theodosian Code and Novels and the Sirmondian Constitutions: A Translation with Commentary, Glossary, and Bibliography (trans. Clyde Pharr; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1952).

  • [72] For the patristic references, we are indebted to Foakes Jackson-Lake, 5:48-49. Rengstorf noted that in the Syrian church the word for apostle was שְׁלִיחָא (sheliḥā’), a cognate of the Hebrew shāliaḥ (“ἀπόστολος,” TDNT 1:407-445, esp. 414). We also note that in a Jewish-Christian source preserved in Arabic, the Pauline Epistles are referred to as “The Apostle,” in Arabic salīḥ, a translation of the Syriac sheliḥā’. See Samuel M. Stern, “‘Abd Al-Jabbar’s Account of how Christ’s Religion was Falsified by the Adoption of Roman Customs,” Journal of Theological Studies 19.1 (1968): 128-185, esp. 133 n. 6. On the origins of this Arabic text, see Shlomo Pines, “The Jewish Christians of the Early Centuries According to a New Source,” Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities 2 (1968).
  • [73] See Foakes Jackson-Lake, 5:46; Rengstorf, “ἀπόστολος,” TDNT 1:407-408.
  • [74] See C. K. Barrett, “Shaliaḥ and Apostle,” in Donum Gentilicum: New Testament Studies in Honour of David Daube (ed. E. Bammel, C. K. Barrett, and W. D. Davies; Oxford: Clarendon, 1978), 88-102; Francis H. Agnew, “The Origin of the NT Apostle-Concept: A Review of Research,” Journal of Biblical Literature 105.1 (1986): 75-96; Tomson, Paul and the Jewish Law, 147; Davies-Allison, 2:153-154; Sandt-Flusser, 354 n. 76.
  • [75] Cf. Marcus, 265.
  • [76] According to France (157), “The clause καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς δώδεκα…both resumes the sense after the long double ἵνα clause setting out the function of the Twelve, and now provides a titular heading (note τοὺς δώδεκα here, unlike v. 14) for the list which follows.”
  • [77] See Mann, 248-249; France, 160.
  • [78] See Metzger, 81.
  • [79] In Num. 6:23 (= 6:27 MT) ἐπιτιθέναι + ὄνομα does not mean “to give a name,” rather it appears in the phrase “and they shall put my name on the sons of Israel” (NETS).
  • [80] Usually in MT שָׂם שֵׁם appears in phrases like “in Jerusalem I will place my name” or “to put your/his/my name there.” For examples of “in Jerusalem I will place my name” or “to put a name there” in which שָׂם שֵׁם appears, see Deut. 12:21; 14:24; 1 Kgs. 9:3; 11:36; 14:21; 2 Kgs. 21:4, 7; 2 Chr. 6:20; 12:13; 33:7. Cf. 4Q216 II, 10.
  • [81] Text according to MS Jerusalem, Yad Harav Herzog 1. With the exception of a few differences in spelling the text of MS Firenze, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, II.1.8-9 is identical. See the National Library of Israel’s Rabbinic Manuscripts Online.
  • [82] See Tal Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity: Part I Palestine 330 BCE—200 CE (Tübingen: Mohr [Siebeck], 2002), 284 n. 2.
  • [83] The phrase τὰ ὀνόματά ἐστιν ταῦτα in Matt. 10:2 (L11) is more likely a redactional bridge written by the author of Matthew than a reflection of a Hebraic source.
  • [84] See LSJ, “Σίμων,” 1599; cf. Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 226 n. 2. The derivation of the Greek name Σίμων from σιμός (simos, “snub-nosed”), tentatively suggested by some scholars and confidently asserted by others, is improbable. See E. P. Blair, “Simon,” in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible: An Illustrated Encyclopedia (5 vols.; ed. George A. Buttrick, et al.; Nashville: Abingdon, 1962), 4:357; Margaret H. Williams, “Palestinian Jewish Personal Names in Acts,” in The Book of Acts in its Palestinian Setting (ed. Richard Bauckham; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 79-113, esp. 93.
  • [85] In LXX Συμεων transliterates שִׁמְעוֹן‎ 46xx in books where there is a Hebrew counterpart in MT. The name Συμεων appears another 5xx in books that have no Hebrew counterpart (2xx in Judith; 2xx in 1 Macc.; 1x in 4 Macc.). In 2 Esd. 10:31 שִׁמְעוֹן is transliterated as Σεμεων.
  • [86] On this point, see Daniel R. Schwartz, “Mattathias’ Final Speech (1 Maccabees 2): From Religious Zeal to Simonide Propaganda,” in ‘Go Out and Study the Land’ (Judges 18:2): Archaeological, Historical and Textual Studies in Honor of Hanan Eshel (ed. Aren M. Maeir, Jodi Magness, and Lawrence H. Schiffman; Leiden: Brill, 2012), 213-223, esp. 219.
  • [87] Shimon ben Kimhit is also mentioned in y. Yom. 1:1 [5a]; y. Meg. 1:12 [14a]; y. Hor. 3:2 [16b]. In b. Yom. 47a, however, his name is given as Ishmael ben Kimhit. See James C. Vanderkam, From Joshua to Caiaphas: High Priests after the Exile (Minneapolis: Fortress; Assen: Van Gorcum, 2004), 425-426.
  • [88] On the identification of the Simon son of Gamaliel mentioned in Josephus with the Shimon ben Gamliel mentioned in m. Avot 1:18—as opposed to this man’s grandson who bore the same name—see R. Travers Herford, ed., The Ethics of the Talmud: Sayings of the Fathers (New York: Schocken, 1962), 36-38.
  • [89] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 231 n. 214, 232 n. 257, n. 258.
  • [90] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 233 n. 314, 234 n. 387, n. 391. Likewise, the high priest who is named Simon son of Onias (Σιμων Ονιου) in the Greek translation of Ben Sira (Sir. 50:1) is referred to as Shimon ben Yohanan (שמעון בן יוחנן) in a Hebrew manuscript of Ben Sira (MS B 19r 7). Both Josephus and rabbinic sources refer to a high priest named “Simon the Righteous” (Ant. 12:43 [Σίμων…ὁ καὶ δίκαιος ἐπικληθεὶς]; m. Avot 1:2 [שִׁמְעוֹן הַצַדִּיק]), who may be identical with the high priest mentioned in Ben Sira. However, in this case there is a problem of chronology, since it is possible that whereas Josephus refers to Simon I of the pre-Hasmonean, Zadokite line, the rabbinic sources may refer to his grandson Simon II. See Vanderkam, From Joshua to Caiaphas, 137-157.
  • [91] Simon Peter is also referred to as Συμεων in 2 Peter 1:1.
  • [92] For examples of the name סמון appearing on Jewish ossuaries, see Rahmani, nos. 41, 61, 150, 151, 200. This name also appears on a first-century ostracon discovered at Masada (Mas. no. 415). The name סימון (simōn) appears in both Talmuds as the name of several different sages of the amoraic period. See Jastrow, 981.
  • [93] The eight examples of ὁ λεγόμενος meaning “the one called” in LXX are found in 1 Sam. 21:3; 1 Esd. 8:41; 2 Macc. 9:2; 12:17, 21, 32; 14:6; 3 Macc. 4:11.
  • [94] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 303.
  • [95] See David N. Bivin, “Jesus’ Petros-petra Wordplay” (JS2, 389-392).
  • [96] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 436.
  • [97] For this example, see Frank Langfitt, “So Long ‘Cinderella,’ Website Helps Chinese Find Better English Names,” National Public Radio Morning Edition, April 20, 2015.
  • [98] A comparable example of a Greek word used as a Hebrew nickname is nōtōs, attested at Qumran (4Q477 2 II, 5 [נותוס]) and Masada (Mas. no. 462 [נוטוס]). This nickname probably comes from the Greek word νότος (notos, “south,” “southern”). See Esther Eshel, “Personal Names in the Qumran Sect,” in These Are the Names: Studies in Jewish Onomastics vol. 1 (ed. Aaron Demsky, Joseph A. Reif, and Joseph Tabory; Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan, 1997), 39-52, esp. 51; Rachel Hachlili, “Hebrew Names, Personal Names, Family Names and Nicknames of Jews in the Second Temple Period,” in Families and Family Relations as Represented in Early Judaisms and Early Christianities: Texts and Fictions (ed. Jan Willem van Henten and Athalya Brenner; Leiden: Deo, 2000), 83-115, esp. 99; David N. Bivin, “Hananiah Notos: The Never-ending Importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls”; idem, “Jesus’ Petros-petra Wordplay” (JS2, 381 n. 17). Another example is the name יהודה יסון (yehūdāh yāsōn), found on an ossuary (Rahmani, no. 477).
  • [99] For a fuller discussion, see David N. Bivin, “Matthew 16:18: The Petros-petra Wordplay—Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew?
  • [100] Cf. Mann, 249.
  • [101] See Robert L. Lindsey, “Introduction to A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark,” under the subheading “Sources of the Markan Pick-ups”; idem, “Measuring the Disparity Between Matthew, Mark and Luke”; Joshua N. Tilton and David N. Bivin, “LOY Excursus: Catalog of Markan Stereotypes and Possible Markan Pick-ups.”
  • [102] See Fitzmyer, 1:618.
  • [103] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 262-263. Nolland (Luke, 1:270) cites Cassius Dio (Hist. Rom. 68:32.1), who mentions a Jew named Andreas from Crete who led a revolt against Trajan in 115-117 C.E. (cf. Joseph Jacobs, “Andrew,” JE 1:580). According to Stern, Cassius Dio is the only ancient author to refer to this leader as Andreas—other sources call him Lukas (Stern, 2:385-389).
  • [104] Cf. Jastrow, 81, 82.
  • [105] See Lightfoot 2:178.
  • [106] See Robert L. Lindsey, “The Major Importance of the ‘Minor’ Agreements.”
  • [107] See Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Acts of the Apostles (AB 31; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 214. Peter and John are mentioned together in Acts 3:1, 3, 4, 11; 4:13, 19; 8:14.
  • [108] The order Peter, John and James also appears in Luke 8:51 (Mark 5:37 has Peter, James and John) and 9:28 (Matt. 17:1 and Mark 9:2 have Peter, James and John), and in Luke 22:8 Peter and John appear as a pair (Mark 14:13 merely has “two disciples”; cf. Matt. 26:17). In Gal. 2:9 Paul mentions Cephas (i.e., Peter) and John together with James the brother of Jesus as pillars of the Church.
  • [109] The form “James” is the result of this name passing from Greek to Latin to Old French before reaching English. See The Oxford English Dictionary (13 vols.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1933), 8:549.
  • [110] The form Ἰακώβ occurs 118xx in the writings of Philo.
  • [111] See Hachlili, “Hebrew Names, Personal Names, Family Names and Nicknames of Jews in the Second Temple Period,” 85; Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 171-174.
  • [112] For the spelling יעקב on ossuaries, see Rahmani, nos. 285 and 290. The short spelling was also found on a jar from Masada (Mas. no. 472). For the spelling יעקוב on ossuaries, see Rahmani, nos. 104, 396 and 678. The long spelling was also found on an ostracon and on jars from Masada (Mas. nos. 402, 500, 501).
  • [113] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 172 no. 38.
  • [114] The name זְבַדְיָה occurs 6xx in MT: Ezra 8:8 (= Ζαβδια; 2 Esd. 8:8); 10:20 (= Ζαβδια; 2 Esd. 10:20); 1 Chr. 8:15 (= Ζαβαδια), 17 (= Ζαβαδια); 12:8 (= Ζαβαδια); 27:7 (= Ζαβδιας).
  • [115] The name זַבְדִּי occurs 6xx in MT: Josh. 7:1 (= Ζαμβρι), 17 (no Greek equivalent), 18 (= Ζαμβρι); Neh. 11:17 (no Greek equivalent); 1 Chr. 8:19 (= Ζαβδι); 27:27 (= Ζαχρι). Elsewhere in LXX, Ζαμβρι (Zambri) usually stands for זִמְרִי (zimri): Num 25:14; 3 Kgdms. 16:9, 10, 15, 16, 18, 20; 4 Kgdms. 9:31; 1 Chr. 2:6; 8:36 (2xx); 9:42 (2xx). In Mic. 6:16 we find Ζαμβρι where MT has עָמְרִי (‘omri). In 2 Chr. 17:16 Ζαχρι (Zachri) stands for זִכְרִי (zichri).
  • [116] The name זְבַדְיָהוּ occurs in 1 Chr. 26:2 (= Ζαβαδιας); 2 Chr. 17:8 (= Ζαβδιας); 19:11 (= Ζαβδιας).
  • [117] Ilan notes that there is not a single example of a name with the theophoric יָהוּ- ending from the Second Temple period. See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 5.
  • [118] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 89 no. 2. In rabbinic literature the form זבדיה is found in y. Ber. 1:2 [7b] and y. Sot. 1:4 [5a].
  • [119] For these examples, see Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 24.
  • [120] In rabbinic literature a individual named זַבְדִּי בֶּן לֵוִי (“Zavdi ben Levi”) is mentioned in Gen. Rab. 19:8 (ed. Theodor-Albeck, 1:178), 92:2 (ed. Theodor-Albeck, 3:1138); Lev. Rab. 7:2 (ed. Margulies, 2:103). Cf. Exod. Rab. 52:3 (ed. Merkin, 6:215); y. Ber. 1:2 [7b].
  • [121] See “LOY Excursus: Mark’s Editorial Style,” under the subheading “Mark’s Freedom and Creativity.”
  • [122] Scholars rank the relative frequency of names differently, but the fact that “John” was among the most common is not disputed. See Hachlili, “Hebrew Names, Personal Names, Family Names and Nicknames of Jews in the Second Temple Period,” 113-115; Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 56-57; Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gosepls as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 70.
  • [123] In 1 Chr. 5:36 the name יוֹחָנָן is rendered as Ιωανας.
  • [124] The form Ἰωάννης occurs 1x in 1 Esd. 9:29; 13xx in 1 Macc.; 1x in 2 Macc.; 3xx in Let. Aris.; 140xx in NT; 188xx in the works of Josephus.
  • [125] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 134-143.
  • [126] On the rationale for basing our reconstruction on a single NT manuscript, see David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction,’” under the subheading “Codex Vaticanus or an Eclectic Text?”
  • [127] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 138 n. 23.
  • [128] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 431; Craig A. Evans, Jesus and the Ossuaries (Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2003), 73.
  • [129] Both βανε and βονε are acceptable transliterations of בְּנֵי. See Randall Buth, “Mark 3:17 ΒΟΑΝΕΡΕΓΕΜ and Popular Etymology,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 10 (1981): 29-33, esp. 29, 31 n. 3. The letter ע (‘ayin) is frequently transliterated to Greek with γ (gamma), e.g., רְעוּאֵל (re‘ū’ēl; Exod. 2:18) is transliterated in LXX as Ραγουηλ (Ragouēl). See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 18; Buth, “ΒΟΑΝΕΡΕΓΕΜ and Popular Etymology,” 33 n. 12.
  • [130] See Robert L. Lindsey, “A New Two-source Solution to the Synoptic Problem,” footnote 19; idem, HTGM, 95. See also John T. Rook, “‘Boanerges, Sons of Thunder’ (Mark 3:17),” Journal of Biblical Literature 100.1 (1981): 94-95.
  • [131] See Buth, “ΒΟΑΝΕΡΕΓΕΜ and Popular Etymology,” 29; idem, “The Riddle of Jesus’ Cry from the Cross: The Meaning of ηλι ηλι λαμα σαβαχθανι (Matthew 27:46) and the Literary Function of ελωι ελωι λειμα σαβαχθανι (Mark 15:34)” (JS2, 407).
  • [132] Buth, “ΒΟΑΝΕΡΕΓΕΜ and Popular Etymology,” 30-31. According to Buth, the spelling Βοανεργες, which appears in Byzantine texts, is preferable to the spelling Βοανηργες known from Alexandrian texts.
  • [133] A similar construction, relative pronoun + ἐστιν + μεθερμηνευόμενον (“being translated”) + Greek equivalent of the word or phrase in question, used as an explanatory gloss is also found in the Gospels: 1x in Matt. (Matt. 1:23); 3xx in Mark (Mark 5:41; 15:22, 34); 0xx in Luke; 1x in John (John 1:41; cf. John 1:38); 1x in Acts (Acts 4:36).
  • [134] In Matt. 27:33 we find Γολγοθᾶ, ὅ ἐστιν Κρανίου Τόπος λεγόμενος (“Golgotha, which is called Place of a Skull”), which is like the construction under discussion (relative pronoun + ἐστιν + noun [without participle]), but it adds the participle λεγόμενος.
  • [135] See Hawkins, 34; cf. Mann, 169.
  • [136] By contrast, the similar, though distinct, construction demonstrative pronoun + ἐστιν + noun (without participle), which occurs 22xx in LXX, appears 21xx as the translation of the Hebrew construction personal pronoun + noun, e.g., Ιεβους αὕτη ἐστὶν Ιερουσαλημ = יְבוּס הִיא יְרוּשָׁלִָם (“Jebus, that is, Jerusalem”; Judg. 19:10). See Gen. 14:2, 7, 8, 17; 23:19; 35:19, 27; 48:7; Num. 27:14; 33:36; Josh. 15:8, 9, 10, 54; 18:13, 14, 28; 20:7; Judg. 19:10; 3 Kgdms. 8:1; 2 Chr. 20:2. Only in Josh. 15:59 is there no Hebrew equivalent to the Greek construction demonstrative pronoun + ἐστιν + noun (without participle).
  • [137] In LXX the construction relative pronoun + ἐστιν + noun (without participle) is found in Gen. 30:18 (Ισσαχαρ ὅ ἐστιν Μισθός [no Hebrew equivalent]); 35:6 (Λουζα…ἥ ἐστιν Βαιθηλ = לוּזָה…הִוא בֵּית אֵל); Exod. 1:11 (Ων, ἥ ἐστιν Ἡλίου πόλις [no Hebrew equivalent]); Deut. 4:48 (Σηων ὅ ἐστιν Αερμων = שִׂיאֹן הוּא חֶרְמוֹן); Judg. 1:27 (Βαιθσαν ἥ ἐστιν Σκυθῶν πόλις [no Hebrew equivalent]); 2 Kgdms. 24:6 (εἰς γῆν Θαβασων ἥ ἐστιν Αδασαι = וְאֶל אֶרֶץ תַּחְתִּים חָדְשִׁי [thus no equivalent for ἥ ἐστιν]); 4 Kgdms. 9:27 (ἐν τῷ ἀναβαίνειν Γαι ἥ ἐστιν Ιεβλααμ = בְּמַעֲלֵה גוּר אֲשֶׁר אֶת יִבְלְעָם); ‎2 Esd. 4:9 (Σουσαναχαῖοι οἵ εἰσιν Ηλαμαῖοι = שׁוּשַׁנְכָיֵא דֶּהָוֵא עֵלְמָיֵא); Tob. 2:1 (ἐν τῇ πεντηκοστῇ τῇ ἑορτῇ ἥ ἐστιν ἁγία ἑπτὰ ἑβδομάδων [no equivalent in Aramaic 4Q196 = 4QpapTobb ar 2 I, 10]).
  • [138] In the Pseudepigrapha, the construction relative pronoun + ἐστιν + noun (without participle) is found, e.g., in T. Levi 11:6, 7; T. Benj. 1:6.
  • [139] In the writings of Philo, the construction relative pronoun + ἐστιν + noun (without participle) is found in Leg. 3:45 (2xx); Cher. §7; Post. §44; Her. 78.
  • [140] In the writings of Josephus, the construction relative pronoun + ἐστιν + noun (without participle) is found in Ant. 1:81; 7:67.
  • [141] According to Justin Martyr:

    Καὶ τὸ εἰπεῖν μετωνομακέναι αὐτὸν Πέτρον ἕνα τῶν ἀποστόλων, καὶ γεγράφθαι έν τοῖς ἀπομνημονεύμασιν αὐτοῦ γεγενημένον καὶ τοῦτο, μετὰ τοῦ καὶ ἄλλους δύο ἀδελφοὺς, υἱοὺς Ζεβεδαίου ὄντας, μετωνομακέναι ὀνόματι τοῦ Βοανεργὲς, ὅ ἐστιν υἱοὶ βροντῆς….

    And when it is said that he changed the name of one of his disciples to Peter; and when it is written in his memoirs that this so happened, as well as that he changed the names of the other two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means the sons of thunder…. (Dial., chpt. 106)

    Translation adapted from The Ante-Nicene Fathers (10 vols.; ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and Allan Menzies; repr. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980-1986), 1:252.

    Does “his memoirs” in Justin’s statement refer to the memoirs of Peter, and thereby hint at the tradition that the Gospel of Mark is based on the recollections of Peter (cf. Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3:39 §15), or does “his memoirs” refer rather to recollections about Jesus, perhaps refering to a noncanonical source? Justin’s wording is ambiguous. Against the identification of the Gospel of Mark as Justin’s source for the Boanerges tradition, Griesbach noted that Justin never cited Mark’s Gospel anywhere else in his writings (see Bernard Orchard, trans., “A Demonstration That Mark Was Written After Matthew and Luke [A translation of J. J. Greisbach’s Commentatio qua Marci Evangelium totum e Matthaei et Lucae commentariis decerptum esse monstratur],” in J. J. Griesbach: Synoptic and Text-Critical Studies 1776-1976 [ed. Bernard Orchard and Thomas R. W. Longstaff; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978], 103-135, esp. 116). Griesbach also noted that Justin never refers to ἀπομνημονεύματων Πέτρου (“recollections of Peter”), but either refers simply to ἀπομνημονεύματα (“recollections”) or to ἀπομνημονεύματα τῶν ἀποστόλων (“recollections of the apostles”); however, Trollope (2:74) noted that the phrase ἀπoμνημονεύματα Χριστοῦ (“recollections about Christ”) never occurs in the writings of Justin either. In any case, it is possible that Justin Martyr drew on a source other than the Gospel of Mark for his information about the nickname Boanerges.

  • [142] We also know of several Latin names that entered Hebrew via Greek, in which the Greek forms had -ος endings that were put into Hebrew with וֹס- endings: Ἁδριανός (Hadrianos, “Hadrian”)→אַדְרְיָינוֹס (’adreyānōs)/הַדְרְיָינוֹס (hadreyānōs); Ῥοῦφος (Roufos, “Rufus”)→רוּפוֹס (rūfōs); Τιβέριος (Tiberios, “Tiberius”)→טִיבִירְיוֹס (ṭiviryōs); Τίτος (Titos, “Titus”)→טִיטוֹס (ṭiṭōs); Τραϊανός (Traianos, “Trajan”)→טְרָיָינוֹס (erāyānōs); Οὐεσπασιανός (Ouespasiaons, “Vespasian”)→אִסְפַּסְיָינוֹס (’ispasyānōs).
  • [143] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 310. On the Nabatean inscription, see Joseph Offord, “A Nabataean Inscription Concerning Philip, Tetrarch of Auranitis,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 51.2 (1919): 82-85. The inscription, which does not mention Iturea or Trachonitis, reads as follows:

    בשנת XXXIII למרנא

    פלפס עבדו ותרו בר

    בדר וקציו בר שדי

    וחנאל בר משכאל ומנע ב[ר]

    גרמו בומס צלם גלשו בר בנתו

    אנעם בר עצבו אמנא שלם

    In the year 33 of our lord

    Philippos; there was made by Witr son of

    Budar (?) and Kasiu son of Sudai

    and Hann’ēl son of Masak’ēl and Nuna (?) son of

    Garm, this altar of the stature of Galis the son of Banat (?)

    ’An‘am son of Asb (was) the sculptor. Peace!

    Text and translation according to Offord.

  • [144] LXX renders the king of Geshur’s name as Θολμι (2 Kgdms. 3:3) and Θολμαι (2 Kgdms. 13:37; 1 Chr. 3:2).
  • [145] תלמי המלך (talmai hamelech, “King Ptolemy”), referring to the Ptolemy who commissioned LXX, is mentioned in Gen. Rab. 8:11; 10:9; 38:10; 48:17; 98:5; y. Meg. 1:9 [12b]; b. Meg. 9a; and in the minor tractates Sefer Torah 1:6 [ed. Higger, 23]; Soferim 1:8 [ed. Higger, 82].
  • [146] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 304-305.
  • [147] Cf. Fitzmyer (1:618) who writes, “Bartholomaios is a Grecized form of Aramaic bar Tolmai or Talmai (see 2 Sam 3:3 MT and LXX).”
  • [148] See Guido Baltes, “The Use of Hebrew and Aramaic in Epigraphic Sources of the New Testament Era” (JS2, 35-65, esp. 47-48).
  • [149] The name מַתִּתְיָה is attested in post-exilic books of the Hebrew Bible (Ezra 10:43; Neh. 8:4; 1 Chr. 9:31; 16:5). LXX transliterates מַתִּתְיָה both as Μαθαθια (Mathathia; 2 Esd. 10:43) and Ματταθιας (Mattathias; 2 Esd. 18:4; 1 Chr. 9:31; 16:5). The form Ματταθιας also appears in 1 Esdras, and 1 and 2 Maccabees, books that have no counterpart in MT, as well as in 1 Chr. 15:21; 25:3, 21 as the transliteration of מַתִּתְיָהוּ (see following footnote). Josephus knew the spelling Ματταθίας, but he usually used the form Ματθίας, except when referring to the Hasmonean leader. See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 193 n. 6.
  • [150] The name מַתִּתְיָהוּ is found 4xx in 1 Chronicles (1 Chr. 15:18, 21; 25:3, 21). LXX transliterates מַתִּתְיָהוּ with both Ματταθια (1 Chr. 15:18) and Ματταθιας (1 Chr. 15:21; 25:3, 21).
  • [151] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 192 nos. 32, 40.
  • [152] Printed texts of the Mishnah read נִתַּאי הָאַרְבֵּלִי (m. Avot 1:6), but Kaufmann has מַתַּיִי הָאַרְבְּלִי; Parma A has מתיי הארבילי; and Cambridge has מתאי הארבלי. “Nitai” is therefore a textual corruption.
  • [153] On (τελώνης; telōnēs) as “toll collector,” rather than the traditional rendering “tax collector,” see Call of Levi, Comment to L10.
  • [154] See Meier, “The Circle of the Twelve,” 638.
  • [155] Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, 111-112.
  • [156] On speculations—ancient and modern—that Thomas was the twin brother of Jesus, see Bauckham, Jude and the Relatives of Jesus, 32-36.
  • [157] Only the plural form תְּאוֹמִים occurs in MT. LXX translates תְּאוֹמִים with δίδυμος in Gen. 25:24; 38:27; Song 4:5; 7:4. The four instances of δίδυμος in Josephus’ works appear in his paraphrase of Genesis and refer to the twins Jacob and Esau (Ant. 1:257, 258, 270, 295).
  • [158] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 416.
  • [159] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 382 n. 6. We have pointed the name חלפי as חַלְפִי (ḥalfi), however BDAG (48) points this name as חַלְפִּי (ḥalpi), with a dagesh in the פ. Jastrow (457) cites חִילְפַי (ḥilfai), חִילְפַיי (ḥilfaiy) and חִלְפַי (ḥilfai) as other variants of this name that are found in rabbinic literature.
  • [160] Ibid., 382 n. 2.
  • [161] See Lightfoot’s comment on Matt. 10:3, and the repudiation of this identification by Taylor (233); Bauckham, Jude and the Relatives of Jesus, 16-17.
  • [162] Some manuscripts of Matthew and Mark read Λεββαῖος (Lebbaios) in place of Θαδδαῖος. See Metzger, 26, 80.
  • [163] See Meier, “The Circle of the Twelve,” 648.
  • [164] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 283-284.
  • [165] The sage Eleazar ben Tadai, for example, is mentioned in t. Shab. 17:7[16:10]; t. Eruv. 5:7[9]; t. Git. 5:4; y. Eruv. 6:5 [40b] where his name is spelled אלעזר בן תדאי. In y. Kil. 1:9 [4b]; y. Shab. 3:3 [23a]; y. Sot. 1:1 [2a], his name appears as לעזר בן תדאי.
  • [166] Rahmani, 114.
  • [167] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 284 n. 1.
  • [168] The author of Luke-Acts introduces a person’s nickname with ὁ καλούμενος in Luke 6:15 (Σίμωνα τὸν καλούμενον ζηλωτήν [“Simon, the one called Zealot”]); 8:2 (Μαρία ἡ καλουμένη Μαγδαληνή [“Mary, the one called Magdalene”]); 22:3 (Ἰούδαν τὸν καλούμενον Ἰσκαριώτην [“Judas, the one called Iscariot”]); Acts 1:23 (Ἰωσὴφ τὸν καλούμενον Βαρσαββᾶν [“Joseph, the one called Barsabbas”]); 13:1 (Συμεὼν ὁ καλούμενος Νίγερ [“Symeon, the one called Niger”]); 15:22 (Ἰούδαν τὸν καλούμενον Βαρσαββᾶν [“Judas, the one called Barsabbas”]); 15:37 (τὸν Ἰωάννην τὸν καλούμενον Μᾶρκον [“John, the one called Mark”]).
  • [169] There is one exception, in Job 42:17, where we find Ιωβαβ ὁ καλούμενος Ιωβ (“Jobab, the one called Job”), but this has no equivalent in MT.
  • [170] See 1 Macc. 2:3 (Σιμον ὁ καλούμενος Θασσι [“Simon, the one called Thassi”]); 2:4 (Ιουδας ὁ καλούμενος Μακκαβαῖος [“Judas, the one called Maccabee”]); 2:5 (Ελεαζαρ ὁ καλούμενος Αυαραν [“Eleazar, the one called Avran”]); 2:5 (Ιωναθης ὁ καλούμενος Απφους [“Jonathan, the one called Apfous”]); 3:1 (Ιουδας ὁ καλούμενος Μακκαβαῖος [“Judas, the one called Maccabee”]); 2 Macc. 10:12 (Πτολεμαῖος γὰρ ὁ καλούμενος ΜάκρωνJ.W. 2:433 (Ἰούδα τοῦ καλουμένου Γαλιλαίου [“Judas, the one called Galilean”]); Ant. 10:231 (βαλτασάρην τὸν καλούμενον Ναβοάνδηλον [“Baltasar, the one called Naboandelos”]); 12:266 (Ἰωάννης ὁ καλούμενος Γάδδης [“John, the one called Gaddes”]); 12:266 (καὶ Ἰούδας ὁ καλούμενος Μακαβαῖος [“and Judas, the one called Maccabee”]).
  • [171] See Plummer, Luke, 174; Taylor, 234; Hagner, 1:266; Nolland, Luke, 1:271; Evans, Jesus and the Ossuaries, 78. Other scholars have argued that Καναναῖος refers to Cana of Galilee. See Charles Cutler Torrey, The Four Gospels: A New Translation (New York: Harper, 1933), 307-308; cf. Ephraim E. Urbach, The Sages: Their Concepts and Beliefs (2 vols.; trans. Israel Abrahams; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1975), 2:958 n. 20.
  • [172] See Menahem Stern, “Zealots,” Encyclopedia Judaica Yearbook 1973 (Jerusalem: Keter, 1973), 135-152, esp. 145.
  • [173] In LXX ζηλωτής is found in Exod. 20:5, 34:14; Deut. 4:24; 5:9; 6:15; Nah. 1:2; 2 Macc. 4:2; 4 Macc. 18:12.
  • [174] Ζηλωτής is the translation of קַנָּא in Exod. 20:5; 34:14; Deut. 4:24; 5:9; 6:15.
  • [175] This description of Phineas appears in Sifre Num. §131 [ed. Horovitz, 173]; b. Sanh. 82b; Lev. Rab. 33:4.
  • [176] See Jastrow, 1388.
  • [177] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 409. קני might be a defective or non-literary spelling of קנאי.
  • [178] See Kirsopp Lake, “Simon Zelotes,” Harvard Theological Review 10.1 (1917): 57-63; Urbach, The Sages, 2:958 n. 20.
  • [179] It is misleading to characterize Paul’s dramatic change of outlook as a conversion from one religion to another, since Paul insisted on his continuing solidarity with the Jewish faith and the Jewish people. However, conversion may also be understood as moving from one type of expression of Judaism to another, including accepting new halachic positions that contradicted those to which Paul had previously adhered. See Peter J. Tomson, “Paul’s Jewish Background in View of His Law Teaching in 1Cor 7,” in Paul and the Mosaic Law (ed. James D. G. Dunn; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), 251-270.
  • [180] On the marginalization of the Temple in Stephen’s speech, see Daniel R. Schwartz, “Residents and Exiles, Jerusalemites and Judeans (Acts 7:4; 2:5, 14): On Stephen, Pentecost and the Structure of Acts,” in Studies in the Jewish Background of Christianity (Tübingen: Mohr [Siebeck], 1992), 117-127; idem, “Humbly Second-Rate in the Diaspora? Philo and Stephen on the Tabernacle and the Temple,” in Envisioning Judaism: Studies in Honor of Peter Schäfer on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday (2 vols.; ed. Ra’anan S. Boustan et al.; Tübingen: Mohr [Siebeck], 2013), 1:81-89.
  • [181] On Paul’s attraction to zeal ideology, see Justin Taylor, “Why Did Paul Persecute the Church?” in Tolerance and Intolerance in Early Judaism and Christianity (ed. Graham Stanton and Guy Stroumsa; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 99-120. Taylor, however, is not careful to distinguish between zeal ideology and the later Zealot party.
  • [182] It is also possible that Simon earned the name Zealot for expressions of religious devotion not specifically linked to violent zeal ideology.
  • [183] See David Flusser, “Character Profiles: Gamaliel and Nicodemus,” under the subheading “Nicodemus.”
  • [184] It is unclear whether the incident with Dinah was a case of rape. The relations between Shechem and Dinah may have been consensual. In any case, according to Gen. 34:7, 31, it is not the question of Dinah’s willingness that incensed Levi, but the fact of sexual relations between holy Israel and foreign peoples.
  • [185] Even the biblical story of Phineas betrays a certain degree of tension. Although Phineas’ zeal is commended, the eternal covenant the LORD establishes with Phineas is pointedly called a “covenant of peace” (Num. 25:12), as if to rule out religious violence as a valid form of holy devotion.
  • [186] On Gamaliel’s speech in Acts 5, see Peter J. Tomson, “Gamaliel’s Counsel and the Apologetic Strategy of Luke-Acts,” in The Unity of Luke-Acts (ed. J. Verheyden; Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1999), 585-604. See also, David Flusser, “Character Profiles: Gamaliel and Nicodemus.”
  • [187] The Mishnah twice mentions an individual named נְחוֹנְיָה בֶן הַקָּנָה (neḥōnyāh ven haqānāh; m. Avot 3:5, spelled נְחוֹנְיָיא בֶן הַקָּנָה in m. Ber. 4:2). Is הַקָּנָה a variation of הַקַּנַּאי, the probable nickname of Jesus’ disciple? Some scholars have suggested that this may be the case. See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 447; Evans, Jesus and the Ossuaries, 78. Was Rabbi Nehonyah the son of a Zealot? It is impossible to say. Flusser, however, suggested that Rabbi Nehonyah ben ha-Kanah’s statement in m. Avot 3:5 is anti-Zealot in tone. See Flusser, Jesus, 107.
  • [188] See Meier, “The Circle of the Twelve,” 650-651.
  • [189] Compare our reconstruction using בֶן (instead of בֶּן) with the following examples: Neh. 11:9 (וִיהוּדָה בֶן־הַסְּנוּאָה); m. Bik. 1:6 (יְהוּדָה בֶן בְּתִירָה); m. Shab. 9:7 (יְהוּדָה בֶן בְּתִירָה); m. Eruv. 2:4, 5 (both examples: יְהוּדָה בֶן בָּבָא); m. Hag. 2:2 (יְהוּדָה בֶן טָבַיִי); m. Yev. 16:4, 5, 7 (2xx) (all four examples: יְהוּדָה בֶן בָּבָא); m. Ned. 6:8 (יְהוּדָה בֶן בְּתֵירָה); m. Git. 2:4 (יְהוּדָה בֶן בְּתִירָה); m. Shevu. 3:6 (יְהודָה בֶן בְּתִירָה); m. Edu. 6:1 (יְהוּדָה בֶן אַבָּא);‎ 8:2 (יְהוּדָה בֶן אָבָּא); m. Avot 1:8 (2xx) (יְהוּדָה בֶן טָּבַיִי; יְהוּדָה בֶן טָבַיִי)‎; 5:20 ‎(יְהוּדָהּ בֶן תֵימָה); m. Arach. 8:6 (יְהוּדָה בֶן בְּתִירָה); m. Kel. 2:4 (יְהוּדָה בֶן בְּתִירָה); m. Ohol. 11:7 (2xx) (יְהוּדָה בֶן בְּתֵירָה; יְהוּדָה בֶן בְּתִירָא); m. Neg. 9:3; 11:7 (both examples: יְהוּדָה בֶן בְּתִירָה); m. Mik. 4:5 (יְהוּדָה בֶן בְּתִירָה). Only two examples from the Mishnah use יְהוּדָה בֶּן (m. Yev. 4:9; m. Ket. 6:1). Neh. 11:9 is the only example from MT of the formula “Yehudah, son of so-and-so….”
  • [190] See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 124 n. 279.
  • [191] See Allen, 101; Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names, 435. Luz (2:68) states, “Matthew was not aware that Ἰσκαριώθ might come from אִישׁ קְרִיּוֹת…[since—DNB and JNT] the article then would not be necessary.”
  • [192] The form Ἰσκαριώτης appears in Matt. 10:4; 26:14; Luke 22:3; John 6:71; 12:4; 13:2, 26; 14:22.
  • [193] According to Applebaum, the Acts of the Apostles and the works of Josephs are the only sources to employ the Greek term σικάριος (sicarios, “assassin”). See Shimon Applebaum, “The Zealots: The Case for Revaluation,” Journal of Roman Studies 61 (1971): 155-170, esp. 163. The term σικάριος occurs in Acts 21:38; J.W. 2:254, 425; 4:400, 516; 7:253, 254, 262, 275, 297, 311, 410, 412, 415, 437, 444; <iAnt. 20:186, 204, 208, 210.
  • [194] For other proposals, see Charles C. Torrey, “The Name ‘Iscariot,'” Harvard Theological Review 36 (1943): 51-62; Albert Ehrman, “Judas Iscariot and Abba Saqqara,” Journal of Biblical Literature 97.4 (1978): 572-573.
  • [195] See Stern, “Zealots,” 137. According to Applebaum, however, “It seems probable, in view of the word’s regular use for murderers and men of violence ever since the promulgation of Lex Cornelia de sicariis et veneficis (83 B.C.), that it [i.e., Sicarii—DNB and JNT] was a term applied by the Roman government and armed forces to the Jewish insurgents as a whole” (“The Zealots,” 163).
  • [196] See Jastrow, 986. In rabbinic sources we also find mention of the Sicarii in Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version B, chpt. 7 (ed. Schechter, 20); chpt. 13 (ed. Schechter, 31).
  • [197] See Joan E. Taylor, “The Name ‘Iskarioth’ (Iscariot),” Journal of Biblical Literature 129.2 (2010): 367-383, esp. 375.
  • [198] This quotation is cited according to Edwin A. Abbott, The Fourfold Gospel (5 vols.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1913-1917), 3:418.
  • [199] In this midrash the rabbis involved suggest various meanings of זָרָא (zārā’, “loathsome”) based on similar-sounding words.
  • [200] In the Bible, Miriam (Num. 12:10), Gehazi (2 Kgs. 5:27) and Uzziah (2 Chr. 26:19) are stricken with scale disease as a divine punishment. Antiochus IV Epiphanes was consumed by worms according to 2 Macc. 9:9, Herod the Great was consumed by worms according to Josephus (J.W. 1:656; Ant. 17:169), and (Herod) Agrippa I was consumed by worms according to Acts 12:23, all by way of divine punishment. On worms as a divine punishment, see Thomas Africa, “Worms and the Death of Kings: A Cautionary Note on Disease and History,” Classical Antiquity 1.1 (1982): 1-17.
  • [201] Acts 1:18 records that, with his reward, Judas bought a field where “he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out” (NIV).
  • [202] Taylor, “The Name ‘Iskarioth’ (Iscariot),” 379.
  • [203] Taylor, “The Name ‘Iskarioth’ (Iscariot),” 382.
  • [204] In the Mishnah alone we note the following examples: שִׁמְעוֹן אִישׁ הַמִּצְפָּה (“Shimon, man of Mitzpah”; m. Peah 2:6); נַתּיִי אִישׁ תְּקוֹעַ (“Nati, man of Tekoa”; m. Hal. 4:10); דּוֹסְתּי אִישׁ כְּפַר יַתְמָה (“Dostai, man of Kefar Yatmah”; m. Orl. 2:5); נְחֶמְיָא אִישׁ בֵּית דְּלִי (“Nehemiah, man of Bet Deli”; cf. m. Yev. 16:7; m. Edu. 8:5); חֲנַנְיהָ אִישׁ אוֹנוֹ (“Hananiah, man of Ono”; m. Git. 6:7); יוֹסֵה בֶן יוֹעֶזֶר אִישׁ צְרֵידָה וְיוֹסֵה בֶן יוֹחָנָן אִישׁ יְרוּשָ׳ַ (“Yoseh ben Yoezer, man of Tzeredah, and Yoseh ben Yohanan, man of Jerusalem”; m. Sot. 9:9; for Yoseh ben Yoezer, cf. m. Edu. 8:4; m. Avot 1:4); נְחֶמְיָא בֶן אֶלְנָתָן אִישׁ כְּפַר הַבַּבְלִי (“Nehemiah ben Elnatan, man of the Babylonian village”; m. Edu. 6:2); יָקִים אִישׁ חָדִיר (“Yakim, man of Hadir”; m. Edu. 7:5); אַנְטִיגְנַס אִישׁ סוֹכוֹ (“Antigonos, man of Socho”; m. Avot 1:3); יוֹסֵה בֵן יוֹחָנָן אִישׁ יְרוּשָׁ׳ַ (“Yoseh ben Yohanan, man of Jerusalem”; m. Avot 1:4, 5); חֶלְפְּתָה אִישׁ כְּפַר חֲנַנְיָה (“Helpetah, man of Kefar Hananiah”; m. Avot 3:6); אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן יְהוּדָה אִישׁ בִּרְתוֹתָה (“Eleazar ben Yehudah, man of Birtotah”; m. Avot 3:7; cf. m. Tev. Yom 3:4, 5; m. Orl. 1:4); לְוִייטַס אִישׁ יַבְנֶה (“Levitas, man of Yavneh”; m. Avot 4:4); יוֹסֵה בֶן יְהוּדָה אִישׁ כְּפַר הַבַּבְלִי (“Yoseh ben Yehudah, man of the Babylonian village”; m. Avot 4:20); אַבָּא יוֹסֵה חֹלִיקוֹפְרִי אִישׁ טִיבְּעוֹן (“Abba Yoseh Holikofri, man of Tibon”; m. Maksh. 1:3). Dalman (51-52) cites numerous further examples from later rabbinic works. Smith noted that an early follower of Jesus who is mentioned in rabbinic literature bore the name יעקב איש כפר סמא (“Yaakov, man of Kefar Sama”; t. Hul. 2:6[22]; y. Shab. 14:4 [77a]; y. Avod. Zar. 2:2 [11a]). See Morton Smith, Tannaitic Parallels to the Gospels (2d ed.; Philadelphia: Society of Biblical Literature, 1968), 1-2.
  • [205] Torrey, “The Name ‘Iscariot,'” 52.
  • [206] Ibid., 53; cf. Dalman, 51-52.
  • [207] There is an additional problem with the Keriyot mentioned in Josh. 15:25, since LXX takes this name together with the next name in the list and translates קְרִיּוֹת חֶצְרֹון as αἱ πόλεις Ασερων (“the cities of Aseron”), and thus does not regard קְרִיּוֹת as the name of a city, but as a plural noun meaning “cities (of)”.
  • [208] Cf. Jer. 31:41 in LXX, where הַקְּרִיּוֹת is transliterated as Ακκαριωθ.
  • [209] See James B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (3d ed.; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), 320-321.
  • [210] See Rainey-Notley, 204.
  • [211] Torrey, “The Name ‘Iscariot,’” 52.
  • [212] Compare the maps in Rainey-Notley, 203, 393.
  • [213] On the predominantly Jewish character of the population of Perea, see Harold W. Hoehner, Herod Antipas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972; repr. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980), 54-55.
  • [214] See Michael Avi-Yonah and Shimon Gibson, “Machaerus,” in Encyclopaedia Judaica (2d ed.; ed. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik; Detroit: Macmillan, 2007), 13:323. See also See also Zev Vilnay, Legends of Galilee, Jordan, and Sinai (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1978), 304. The identification of מכוור with Macherus was already made by Lightfoot (1:348). According to a baraita cited in y. Sev. 9:2 [25b], Michvar was located in the mountains of the Transjordan (cf. y. Rosh Hash. 2:2 [12a]).
  • [215] Moreover, as Torrey notes (See Torrey, “The Name ‘Iscariot,’” 54-55), in some manuscripts of John we find Ἰούδας Σίμωνος ὁ ἀπὸ Καρυώτου (“Judas [son of] Simon, the one from Karuot”; John 6:71; 13:2, 26), Ἰούδας ὁ ἀπὸ Καρυώτου (“Judas, the one from Karuot”; John 12:4) and Ἰούδας οὐχ ὁ ἀπὸ Καρυώτου (“Judas, not the one from Karuot”; John 14:22). On the text variant ὁ ἀπὸ Καρυώτου, see Metzger, 26, 215. Do these variants preserve an early tradition, or are they late attempts of learned scribes to make sense of the name “Iscariot,” as Torrey suggests?
  • [216] Already in the LXX version of Gen. 30:18 we find Ισσαχαρ ὅ ἐστιν Μισθός (“Issachar, that is, ‘hire’”).
  • [217] See Abbott, Fourfold Gospel, 3:417-418.
  • [218] The word προδότης is found in 2 Macc. 5:15; 10:13, 22; 3 Macc. 3:24.
  • [219] See Jastrow, 805.
  • [220] See y. Peah 1:1 [3a]; y. Sot. 9:15 [46b].
  • [221] The apostolic list in Acts, of course, includes only eleven names since Judas Iscariot had already betrayed Jesus and was dead.
  • [222] See Plummer, Luke, 172.
  • [223]
    Choosing the Twelve
    Luke’s Version Anthology’s Wording (Reconstructed)
    ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις ἐξελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι καὶ ἦν διανυκτερεύων ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἡμέρα προσεφώνησεν τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκλεξάμενος ἀπ᾿ αὐτῶν δώδεκα οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν Σίμωνα ὃν καὶ ὠνόμασεν Πέτρον καὶ Ἀνδρέαν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ Ἰάκωβον καὶ Ἰωάνην καὶ Φίλιππον καὶ Βαρθολομαῖον καὶ Μαθθαῖον καὶ Θωμᾶν Ἰάκωβον Ἁλφαίου καὶ Σίμωνα τὸν καλούμενον ζηλωτὴν καὶ Ἰούδαν Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰούδαν Ἰσκαριώθ ὃς ἐγένετο προδότης καὶ ἐγένετο ἡμέρα καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐξελέξατο ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν δώδεκα οὓς ἐποίησεν ἀποστόλους Σίμων Πέτρος καὶ Ἀνδρέας ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωάνης καὶ Φίλιππος καὶ Βαρθολομαῖος καὶ Μαθθαῖος καὶ Θωμᾶς καὶ Ἰάκωβος Ἁλφαίου καὶ Σίμων ὁ ζηλωτὴς καὶ Ἰούδας Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰούδας Ἰσκαριώθ ὃς ἐγένετο προδότης
    Total Words: 75 Total Words: 51
    Total Words Identical to Anth.: 29 Total Words Taken Over in Luke: 29
    Percentage Identical to Anth.: 38.67% Percentage of Anth. Represented in Luke: 56.86%

  • [224] On this point, see Plummer, Luke, 172.
  • [225]
    Choosing the Twelve
    Mark’s Version Anthology’s Wording (Reconstructed)
    καὶ ἀναβαίνει εἰς τὸ ὄρος καὶ προσκαλεῖτε οὓς ἤθελεν αὐτός καὶ ἀπῆλθον πρὸς αὐτόν καὶ ἐποίησεν δώδεκα οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν ἵνα ὦσιν μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀποστέλλῃ αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν καὶ ἔχειν ἐξουσίαν ἐκβάλλειν τὰ δαιμόνια καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς δώδεκα καὶ ἐπέθηκεν ὄνομα τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρον καὶ Ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ Ἰωάνην τὸν ἀδελφὸν τοῦ Ἰακώβου καὶ ἐπέθηκεν αὐτοῖς ὄνομα Βοανηργές ὅ ἐστιν υἱοὶ βροντῆς καὶ Ἀνδρέαν καὶ Φίλιππον καὶ Βαρθολομαῖον καὶ Μαθθαῖον καὶ Θωμᾶν καὶ Ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ἁλφαίου καὶ Θαδδαῖον καὶ Σίμωνα τὸν Καναναῖον καὶ Ἰούδαν Ἰσκαριώθ ὃς καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτόν καὶ ἐγένετο ἡμέρα καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐξελέξατο ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν δώδεκα οὓς ἐποίησεν ἀποστόλους Σίμων Πέτρος καὶ Ἀνδρέας ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωάνης καὶ Φίλιππος καὶ Βαρθολομαῖος καὶ Μαθθαῖος καὶ Θωμᾶς καὶ Ἰάκωβος Ἁλφαίου καὶ Σίμων ὁ ζηλωτὴς καὶ Ἰούδας Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰούδας Ἰσκαριώθ ὃς ἐγένετο προδότης
    Total Words: 93 Total Words: 51
    Total Words Identical to Anth.: 19 Total Words Taken Over in Mark: 19
    Percentage Identical to Anth.: 20.43% Percentage of Anth. Represented in Mark: 37.25%

  • [226] See Meier, “The Circle of the Twelve,” 645.
  • [227]
    Choosing the Twelve
    Matthew’s Version Anthology’s Wording (Reconstructed)
    τῶν δὲ δώδεκα ἀποστόλων τὰ ὀνόματά ἐστιν ταῦτα πρῶτος Σίμων ὁ λεγόμενος Πέτρος καὶ Ἀνδρέας ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ Ἰωάνης ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ Φίλιππος καὶ Βαρθολομαῖος Θωμᾶς καὶ Μαθθαῖος ὁ τελώνης Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ἁλφαίου καὶ Θαδδαῖος Σίμων ὁ Καναναῖος καὶ Ἰούδας ὁ Ἰσκαριώτης ὁ καὶ παραδοὺς αὐτόν καὶ ἐγένετο ἡμέρα καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐξελέξατο ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν δώδεκα οὓς ἐποίησεν ἀποστόλους Σίμων Πέτρος καὶ Ἀνδρέας ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωάνης καὶ Φίλιππος καὶ Βαρθολομαῖος καὶ Μαθθαῖος καὶ Θωμᾶς καὶ Ἰάκωβος Ἁλφαίου καὶ Σίμων ὁ ζηλωτὴς καὶ Ἰούδας Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰούδας Ἰσκαριώθ ὃς ἐγένετο προδότης
    Total Words: 53 Total Words: 51
    Total Words Identical to Anth.: 24 Total Words Taken Over in Matt: 24
    Percentage Identical to Anth.: 45.28% Percentage of Anth. Represented in Matt.: 47.06%

  • [228] Matthew names the apostles in pairs in the second and third groupings, perhaps to match the pairs of brothers in the first grouping or maybe because he was influenced by the statement that Jesus sent them out two by two (Mark 6:7; cf. Luke 10:1; Sending the Twelve: Commissioning, L30). See Allen, 99.
  • [229] On Paul’s equality with the other apostles, see Peter J. Tomson, Paul and the Jewish Law: Halakhah in the Letters of the Apostle to the Gentiles (CRINT III.1; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990), 146.
  • [230] There has been some debate over James’ status as an apostle. See Schnackenburg, “Apostles Before and During Paul’s Time,” in Apostolic History and the Gospel: Biblical and Historical Essays Presented to F.F. Bruce on his Sixtieth Birthday (ed. W. Ward Gasque and Ralph P. Martin; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), 287-303, esp. 290-291. A comparison of 1 Cor. 15:5, “he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve,” with 1 Cor. 15:7, “he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,” strongly suggests that just as Cephas (i.e., Peter) was among the Twelve, so James was among the apostles. Villegas’ illustration is worth quoting:

    If one does not attribute to James the character of an apostle, the beginning of the phrase is as much incongruous as if we said: ‘I greeted Bob Dylan and later all the Beatles’, while everyone would find the following construction normal: ‘I greeted Ringo and later all the Beatles’.

    See Beltran Villegas, “Peter, Philip and James of Alphaeus,” New Testament Studies 33 (1987): 292-294, quotation on 294.

  • [231] The appointment of twelve apostles signals an important aspect of Jesus’ understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven: through his band of full-time disciples God was bringing about the redemption of Israel, which would include the restoration of the twelve tribes. The reconstitution of the tribes implies the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel that they would be delivered from all their enemies and vindicated for their faithfulness to the Torah. The restoration of the tribes is probably also linked to the concept of resurrection, since all the tribes apart from Judah, Benjamin and Levi had long since disappeared. If this is the case, then it is another example of Jesus’ belief that redemption would come not through political or military means, but through divine intervention in response to the people’s repentance and joyful acceptance of Jesus’ interpretation of the Torah. On the link between resurrection and the restoration of Israel, see especially Jacob Jervell, “The Twelve on Israel’s Thrones: Luke’s Understanding of the Apostolate,” in Luke and the People of God: A New Look at Luke-Acts (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1972), 75-112; cf. Fredriksen, From Jesus, 102.
  • [232] See Jervell, “The Twelve on Israel’s Thrones,” 83-89.
  • [233] Paul introduces himself as ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ (“apostle of Messiah Jesus”) in 1 Cor. 1:1; 2 Cor. 1:1; Col. 1:1. Cf. 1 Thess. 2:7, and esp. Gal. 1:1.
  • [234] Some have argued that being witness to a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus was a defining criterion of apostleship. This supposition is primarily based on the link in Paul’s writings between seeing the resurrected Lord and his apostolic commission, e.g., “Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” (1 Cor. 9:1; RSV). Nevertheless, seeing the resurrected Lord was not what defined an apostle, for the Twelve were apostles prior to the crucifixion, and many who did see the risen Lord (e.g., the women who went to Jesus’ tomb, and the 500+ believers mentioned in 1 Cor. 15:6) were not called apostles, while others who had not seen the risen Lord did receive this title. The reason Paul links seeing the Lord with apostolic appointment is that in his case they were linked: Paul was appointed by Jesus himself and therefore equal in authority to the other apostles whom Jesus appointed, as opposed to those who were apostles of the churches. Paul’s statement that Jesus “appeared to James, then to all the apostles” (1 Cor. 15:7) need not imply that his appearance to them was what qualified them as apostles. Rather, we may understand this statement to mean that Jesus appeared to all those whom he had already appointed as apostles.
  • [235] Cf., e.g., Buchanan, 1:436-438.
  • [236] It is possible that zeal ideology tended to stifle criticism of the Temple authorities, which might help account for Paul’s collaboration with the high priest (Acts 9:1-2). Zeal ideology probably led to an idealization not only of the Temple, but also of the office of the high priest, which may have blinded the adherents of zeal ideology to the actual opinions and practices of the office holder. Criticism of the Temple authorities appears to have come mainly from the Hillelite wing of the Pharisaic movement (t. Men. 13:21; b. Pes. 57a; cf. m. Ker. 1:7). The Hillelite wing of the Pharisaic movement was also opposed to zeal ideology, whereas the Shammaite wing of the Pharisaic movement appears to have been more sympathetic to militant nationalist views. On Shammaite sympathy for zeal ideology, see David Flusser, “Character Profiles: Gamaliel and Nicodemus”; Peter J. Tomson, “Gamaliel’s Counsel and the Apologetic Strategy of Luke-Acts,” 588; idem, “‘Jews’ in the Gospel of John as Compared with the Palestinian Talmud, the Synoptics, and Some New Testament Apocrypha,” in Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel (ed. R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001), 197.
  • [237] Contra Hagner, 1:265.

Comments 31

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  21. Do you discount Josephus’ account of the Zealots? “Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities states that there were three main Jewish sects at this time, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. The Zealots were a “fourth sect”, founded by Judas of Galilee (also called Judas of Gamala) in the year 6 CE against Quirinius’ tax reform….”

    1. Joshua N. Tilton

      We think it is a mistake to equate Josephus’ “Fourth Philosophy” with the Zealots. The “Fourth Philosophy” probably refers to the Sicarii or to the ideology that gave birth to them. Whereas the Sicarii were a non-priestly group close to the Pharisees who championed the cause of the under-privileged classes (by, for instance, burning the records of debts), the Zealots were a group of priests closer to the Sadducees whose focus was on the Temple and who even attracted members of the privileged classes (the son of a high priest was numbered among their ranks). Despite their differences, both the Sicarii and the Zealots were religious extremists who espoused nationalist views and embraced violence. Their religious nationalist extremism was a major factor that led to the outbreak of the revolt in 66 C.E.

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    David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin is founder and editor of Jerusalem Perspective. A native of Cleveland, Oklahoma, U.S.A., Bivin has lived in Israel since 1963, when he came to Jerusalem on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to do postgraduate work at the Hebrew University. He studied at the Hebrew…
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    Joshua N. Tilton studied at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, where he earned a B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies (2002). Joshua continued his studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, where he obtained a Master of Divinity degree in 2005. After seminary…
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