Joseph of Arimathea


Joseph of Arimathea
   A minor figure in the Gospels, who entered folklore when *Glastonbury claimed he founded a church there in ad 63; this story first appears in 1247, as a forged chapter inserted into William of Malmes-bury's treatise On The Antiquity of Glastonbury Church (written c.1130). Such an early founder conferred great prestige; in the 14th and 15th centuries the Abbots of Glastonbury began calling Joseph 'Saint', dedicating a chapel to him, and claiming miracles. At first, no relics were mentioned, but in the late 15th century came the story that he had brought two flasks containing the blood and the sweat of Jesus, which were buried in his grave. This seems to be a religious adaptation of a theme long popular in romances of knightly adventure, where Joseph is regarded as the first custodian of the *Grail. The flasks and drops of blood were shown on the Abbey arms.
   Traditions about Joseph continued to grow after the Reformation, presumably because the idea of a mission to Britain predating that of Augustine suited Protestants. The story that the *Holy Thorn sprang from Joseph's staff was first printed in 1722, from a local innkeeper's account (Vickery, 1995: 182-7). Currently, there is a legend that Joseph was a tin merchant and the great-uncle of Jesus, and that he brought Jesus to Cornwall and/or to Somerset in the course of a trading journey. How old this legend is is disputed; those who believe it assume it to be medieval, but it is nowhere mentioned before the 1890s, unless William Blake is alluding to it in his poem of 1804 beginning, 'And did those feet in ancient times / Walk upon England's mountains green?' However, these lines could be merely symbolical. The story appeared in Sabine Baring-Gould's Book of Cornwall (1899) and subsequent guidebooks, and was widely publicized by three vicars in the 1920s and 1930s - the Revd L. S. Lewis of St John's, Glastonbury, the Revd H. A. Lewis of Talland (Cornwall), and the Revd C. C. Dobson of St Mary's, Hastings (Sussex).
   ■ R. F. Treharne, The Glastonbury Legends (1967) E. M. R. Dit-mas, Traditions of Glastonbury (1983) A. W. Smith, Folklore 100 (1989), 63-83; Rahtz, 1993.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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  • Joseph of Arimathea — • All that is known for certain concerning him is derived from the canonical Gospels Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Joseph of Arimathea     Joseph of Arimathea      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Joseph of Arimathea — n. Bible a wealthy disciple who provided a tomb for Jesus body: Matt. 27:57 60 * * * (1st century AD) a rich supporter of Jesus who appears in the Bible. He asks for Jesus’ body after he dies and puts it in his own tomb. In traditional English… …   Universalium

  • Joseph of Arimathea — n. Bible a wealthy disciple who provided a tomb for Jesus body: Matt. 27:57 60 …   English World dictionary

  • Joseph of Arimathea — Once the elders returned to the cell, the seal was still in place, but Joseph was gone. The elders later discover that Joseph had returned to Arimathea. Having a change in heart, the elders desired to have a more civil conversation with Joseph… …   Wikipedia

  • Joseph von Arimathea — Stich William Blakes mit dem Titel Joseph of Arimathea Among the Rocks of Albion Josef von Arimathäa oder Joseph von Arimathia war ein reicher Jude und wahrscheinlich ein Mitglied des Sanhedrins, des altjüdischen Gerichts in Jerusalem, der aber… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Joseph of Arimathea — Joseph of Ar|i|ma|the|a, Saint in the New Testament of the Bible, a rich follower of Jesus who asked to be given Jesus s dead body so that he could bury it in the ↑tomb that he had built for himself. There is also an old story that he brought the …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Joseph of Arimathea — Date: 14th century a rich councillor of the Sanhedrin who according to the Gospel accounts placed the body of Jesus in his own tomb and according to medieval legend took the Holy Grail to England …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Joseph of Arimathea —    He received and buried the body of Christ, and also possessed the Holy Grail until he passed it on to Bron …   The writer's dictionary of science fiction, fantasy, horror and mythology

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  • Joseph of Arimathea, Saint — ▪ biblical figure flourished c. AD 30, ; Western feast day March 17, Eastern feast day July 31       according to all four Gospels, a secret disciple of Jesus (Jesus Christ), whose body he buried in his own tomb. In designating him a “member of… …   Universalium