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Lundy, Isle of Avalon

 Joseph of Arimathea

   Lundy, Isle of Avalon         Gods, Saints and Heroes

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Joseph of Arimathea & Nicodemus Joseph of Arimathea in Judea Joseph in the Tin Trade
Joseph's flight from Judea nobilis decurio Joseph of Arimathea In Welsh Legend.
Joseph of Arimathea and the White Isle


Joseph of Arimathea & Nicodemus

Joseph of Arimathea is mentioned in several New testament gospels and also in what are called the books of the Apocrypha or Pseudepigrapha; these are Jewish and Christian biblical writings not included in some versions of the Bible. They include the Book of Jubilees, the Psalms of Solomon, the Fourth Book of Maccabees, the Book of Enoch, the Fourth Book of Ezra and the Gospel of Nicodemus.

"As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus." - Matthew 27:57

'( Joseph ) had not consented to the counsel and deed of them; he was of Arimathea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.' - Luke 23 51.

'And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. ' - John 19 38

Joseph of Arimathea was a highly respected Jewish councillor, a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of the Judaic community under the Romans. He was a secret disciple of Jesus who took no part in Jesus condemnation. Joseph seems to have done his utmost to persuade Pilate to speed the release of the body of Jesus. One source seems to suggest that a large bribe was paid by the wealthy Joseph to expedite matters. This is quite possible. The Bishop of Antioch writing in 180 AD quoted from the Apocryphal 'Gospel of Peter' that Joseph of Arimathea was a close friend of Pontius Pilate.

"Now there stood there Joseph, the friend of Pilate and of the Lord, and knowing that they were about to crucify him he came to Pilate and begged the body of the Lord for Burial. And Pilate sent to Herod and begged his body. And Herod said, 'Brother Pilate, even if no one had begged him, we should bury him, since the Sabbath is drawing on. For it stands written in the law: the sun should not set on one that has been put to death." - Gospel of Peter 2:2-5a

With regard to the role of Joseph in the burial of Jesus; both Jewish and Roman Law laid down that it was the duty of the nearest relatives to dispose of the dead, irrespective of the manner of death. If Joseph was a relative of Jesus, then he was obeying both Jewish and Roman law in claiming the body, and Pilate would have no choice but to give his consent. Joseph wrapped the body in a linen cloth and laid the body in a newly excavated rock tomb which he owned. According to the Gospel of St. John the unguents for the burial were bought by Nicodemus, another secret follower of Jesus. -

He ( Joseph ) was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices. '.". - John 19:38-40

' Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and the centurion Longinus were among the secret followers of Jesus ... Joseph was highly respected as a member of the Sanhedrin (high council of the supreme Jewish authorities); Nicodemus, who was initiated by Jesus under cover of night (John 3:1-22), was also a Jewish councillor.' from 'The Jesus Conspiracy.'

The fact that Joseph was a relative of our Lord is an Eastern tradition and may be inferred from two Bible passages. from 'Did Our Lord Visit Britain?'

"Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away." - Matthew 27:59-60

The apocryphal 'Evangelium Nicodemi - The Gospel of Nicodemus' tells how Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, spoke up for Jesus during his trial before Pontius Pilate. It also contains the nucleus of the story of Joseph of Arimathea.

 Joseph is credited with a share in founding the first Christian community at Lydda with Philip?.

"But in the large body of New Testament apocrypha which grew up one of the most widely know was the Evangelium Nicodemi. Here we read that during the trail of Christ before Pilate, Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, testified in His favor infuriated the accusers. After Joseph had deposited the body of the Crucified in the sepulchre, the Jews imprisoned him, but when on Easter day the door was opened, he was not to be found . Search was made at Nicodemus' advice, and Joseph was discovered at his home in Arimathea. Brought to Jerusalem he testified that at midnight of the Sabbath day, the prison in which he was confined rose into the air, and fell to the earth. The risen Christ appeared to him, lifted him up, and brought him to his house." - Roger Sherman Loomis, The Grail, From Celtic Myth to Christian Symbol

Another apocryphon which mentions Joseph of Arimathea is the 'Vindicta Salvatoris.

This manuscript tells of the conversion to Christianity of Vespasian, son of the Roman emperor, after his miraculous cure brought about by the sight of the veil of Veronica, on which was an image of the face of Jesus. Vespasian then set out to avenge the death of Jesus by crucifying a large number of Jews for their complicity in the Crucifixion. Vespasian then went on to free Joseph of Arimathea from his incarceration. Subsequently Joseph left the Holy Land accompanied by his brother in law Hebron or Bron.

'Then about the beginning of the 11th century another apocryphon was translated into Old English: the Vindicta Salvatoris. Joseph of Arimathea then became a figure in western literature for the second time. Joseph always stood in close relationship with the apostle Philip and the evangelisation of England. Whether or not such a connection is justified or not is hard to judge. It is however conspicuous that 10th and 11th century manuscripts in the Georgian (or Gruzinian) language, originating in Palestine, translated into Greek, and probably based on a Syrian original, yet again characterise Joseph as the protagonist. Here, the story is told by Joseph himself, which is almost identical with Robert's: Christ's burial, Joseph's captivity, the appearance of the risen Jesus, and the collection of Jesus' blood. In this originally Syrian version, a sort of grail - slab [Grals-Tafel] is erected - as was done by a man named Petrus in Robert's version - and also a special sacrament was introduced. In 1974 Burdach came to the conclusion that a comparison of the two texts compels one 'to assume that the Joseph legend known and loved in England in early times derives from a Syrian source, or at least partially through Syrian traditions'. In this Syrian version, however, there is no vessel resembling the grail. Therefore the essential grail part of the legend, deriving as has been shown from Celtic origins, should be considered separate from the Christian components such as Joseph of Arimathea and the collection of the blood.' - Johannes and Peter Fiebag, The Discovery of the Grail, translated from the German by George Sassoon

Joseph is also mentioned in other early uncanonical text. One has Philip the Apostle preaching in Gaul before sending Joseph and his (12) companions to Britain

next pre Joseph's flight from Judea


Joseph of Arimathea & Nicodemus Joseph of Arimathea in Judea Joseph in the Tin Trade
Joseph's flight from Judea nobilis decurio Joseph of Arimathea In Welsh Legend.
Joseph of Arimathea and the White Isle


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