Again the variations are what we might expect in oral transmission: Simon Peter is as firmly rooted at the top as Judas Iscariot is at the end, though Philip and James (son of Alphaeus) also hold regular places at the head of the other two groups of four; otherwise the order varies (even between the two Lukan lists) for no obvious reason (beyond keeping Andrew with his brother). Most interesting is the discrepancy among the third groups of four: Thaddeus or
Jude (of) James (Luke),89 not to mention a certain degree of confusion as to who is 'the son of Alphaeus' ,90 This suggests that the degree of fixity in the oral transmission varied among the three groups of four, implying that the membership of the third group was deemed less important than that of the other two and so was ever, do observe numerical propriety (Matt. 28.16; Luke 24.9, 33; Acts 1.26). How little of any of this can be attributed to Pauline influence is indicated by the total absence of any attempt to resolve or ease the dilemma that 'the apostle Paul' (a designation on which Paul himself was most insistent) was not one of the twelve apostles.
89. As is well known, John 14.22 attests a second Jude/(Judas). Pesch wonders whether Jude was introduced to the list in order to secure apostolic authority for the author of the letter of Jude (Markusevangelium 1.208). Meier ('Circle of Twelve' 648; Marginal Jew 3.131) and Casey (Aramaic Sources 196) air the possibility that one early member of the twelve left the group during Jesus' ministry and was replaced by another, though there is no hint of a replacement prior to Acts
90. Levi (Mark 2.14; Gos. Pet. 14.60) = Matthew (Matt. 9.9) or James (Mark 3.18 pars.; Acts 1.13)?
recalled with less care.91 Which suggests in turn that members of that group played a less prominent role in the earliest groups and churches, with the result that their identity (as members of Jesus' own inner circle) became somewhat confused in the corporate memory.92 If this is indeed the case, then it is all the more striking that the fact of twelve core disciples was so firmly established in the tradition.
This line of reflection becomes stronger when we remember that the Jesus tradition records the actual calls of only five of the core disciples, the first four93 and Levi/Matthew.94 One might have expected that the tendency to glorify Jesus' twelve intimates evident from the second century95 would already have resulted in their conversions/calls being regarded as a treasured item in repeated performances of the Jesus tradition during the first century.96 But we hear nothing of how Thomas, Bartholomew and the last group of four came to follow Jesus. This presumably means that the early tradition was not much interested in them or their personalities.97 Which presumably confirms that they made little impact on the corporate memory of the first Christian groups and churches. Several of those
91. It is perhaps significant in this regard that Papias mentions only the first seven (excluding Bartholomew) (Eusebius, HE 3.39.4).
92. 'So quickly did they fade from the scene that the majority of the names in the lists of the Twelve arejust that — names and little more' (Meier, Marginal Jew 3.147). Cf. Casey, Aramaic Sources 195-96.
93. Peter and Andrew, James and John (Mark 1,16-20/Matt. 4.18-22 with Luke 5.1-11 and John 1.37-42). Note also Philip (John 1.43). Nathanael (John 1.45-51) has been identified with Simon the Cananean in the Greek liturgy, and with Bartholomew, but with insufficient reason (Brown, John 1-12 82); as we saw above (§13.2c) Jesus 'called' more than the twelve.
94. Levi/Matthew (Mark 2.14-15 pars.); but the puzzling disagreement between Mark/ Luke (Levi) and Matthew (Matthew) raises the question whether the two were different persons and whether Mark 2.14-15 remembers the call of a toll-collector called 'Levi' but not the call of Matthew, one of the twelve, a question resolved by Matthew in renaming the toll-collector 'Matthew' (see discussion in Gnilka, Matthäusevangelium 1.330-31; Davies and Allison, Matthew 2.98-99).
95. See, e.g., W. A. Bienert in Schneemelcher and Wilson, New Testament Apocrypha 2.18-25.
96. Cf. § 18.4c below. Undoubtedly the call of the two pairs of brothers (Mark 1.16-20 pars.) has been idealized, at least to some extent, presumably to give them paradigmatic status; the fact that the Synoptists have passed over any information regarding earlier contacts between Jesus and Andrew and Simon (John 1.40-42) gives the episodes added drama. But the performative flourish should not detract from the essential historicity of Jesus' call of the brothers (see particularly Pesch, Markusevangelium 112-14; Davies and Allison, Matthew 1.393-95; also below, chapter 14 n. 60).
97. In the Fourth Gospel, Andrew (John 1.40-42, 44; 6.8; 12.22), Thomas (11.16; 14.5; 20.24-28; 21.2), Philip (1.43-48; 6.5-7; 12.21-22; 14.8-9), and Judas, not Iscariot (John 14.22) all have larger roles.
whom Jesus chose literally left little or no mark.98 Once again, then, it was the memory of twelve which stuck; the detail of who made up the twelve was of much less significance.
(3) Above all there is the presence of Judas the traitor in the list. That it was indeed 'one of the twelve'," 'who handed him (Jesus) over',100 is again firmly rooted in the tradition of the first Christians. It must be judged very unlikely that the earliest tradents would have chosen on their own initiative to retroject such a choice back into the life of Jesus, raising questions as it did about Jesus' own insight into the character of his most intimate group of disciples.101
The point here is that the symbolism of 'twelve' is quite clear. The implication is that these disciples were thus chosen by Jesus for a role somewhat analogous to that of the twelve patriarchs of Israel.102 That is, they were somehow to represent the restored people, the number twelve presumably indicating the reunification of the separated tribes, as in Ezek. That this deduction is on the right lines is strongly confirmed by the only Q passage which speaks of twelve: those thus specially chosen by Jesus will sit on (twelve) thrones judging
98. Even with James and John, the fact that they were nicknamed 'Boanerges, sons of thunder' (according to Mark 3.17) and the reason for the nickname are hardly to be explained by any traditions regarding them surviving from the period of the first churches (on the possible Galilean provenance of the nickname, see Dalman, Words 49). But there is always 'the beloved disciple' of the Fourth Gospel to be considered (see below, vol. 3).
99. Meier refers particularly to Mark 14.43 and John 6.71 as evidence of old tradition ('Circle of Twelve' 645).
100. Mark 3.19/Matt. 10.4/Luke 6.16; Matt. 26.25; 27.3; John 6.71; 18.2, 5. See also Mark 14.10, 43 pars.; Acts 1.16. See further below, §17.lb.
101. Meier naturally emphasises the criterion of embarrassment at this point ('Circle of Twelve' 663-70; Marginal Jew 3.143). 'It is harder to imagine how the promise of messianic dignity to the Twelve could have arisen only after Easter' (Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus 216-17). Charlesworth relates how he changed his mind on the subject (Jesus 13638). Because he cannot envisage the role played by such a betrayer, Funk judges 'Judas Is-cariot the betrayer in all probability a gospel fiction' (Honest 234). Similarly Crossan, against the obvious trend of the evidence, argues that Judas was not one of the Twelve, since the institution 'did not exist until after Jesus' death' (Who Killed Jesus? [San Francisco: Harper, 1996] 81).
102. Cf. Jas. 1.1; Rev. 7.4-8; 22.2. 'The twelve are a visible symbol that the proclamation of the Kingdom of God is directed to all Israel' (Becker, Jesus 233).
103. Of the texts listed in chapter 12 n. 57, note also particularly Jer. 3.18 and Sir. 36.11. See also Horsley, Jesus 199-201; Gnilka, Jesus 183; Meier, Marginal Jew 3.148-54; S. McKnight, 'Jesus and the Twelve', BBR 11 (2001) 203-31. Pace Rowland, Christian Origins
'twelve' implies restoration rather than remnant theology. Wright wonders whether the inner group of three (Peter, James, and John; see below, chapter 13 n. 250) was a Davidic symbol echoing the three who were David's closest bodyguards (2 Sam. 23.8-23; 1 Chron. Jesus 300).
the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. At the same time, we should note that no attempt is made to choose each of the twelve from each of the twelve tribes, even symbolically; the symbolism was not dependent on any genealogy. And the note of restoration is also ambivalent, since the only role attributed to the twelve is that of dispensing judgment on Israel.105 Nonetheless, the significance of the twelve as somehow symbolizing Israel in its (restored) wholeness is clear enough.106
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