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#263066 - 11/18/07 04:12 AM Who was St Jude/Judas/Labbeus/Thaddeus?
crule Offline

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 151
Loc: The South
Ok - so I'm preparing for my Sunday School lesson (I'm teaching high school kids ECF and using Fr Jack Custer's "The Holy Gospel - a Byzantine Perspective" as my text).

I'll admit that I've never given this particular item much thought until now:

The 12 Apostles.

Ok - all the lists in the synoptics agree except with this 11th man.

Matthew and Mark call him "Thaddeus / Labbeus"
Luke calls him "Judas of James"

So, in Fr Jack's text, I started chasing down a footnote talking about the whole "Judas of James" / Judas Son of James. It mentions that while the scripture eludes "Son of" - the Church Fathers attribute Judas to be BROTHER of James.

Well, we also know from Tradition that James is the half-brother of Jesus by way of Joseph's first wife now deceased.

Later in the scripture, there's that line that asks "Is this the carpenter.... brother of James, Simon, and Judas" .

So, I'm chasing this down some more and Tradition says that the James, Brother of Jesus, is also the first bishop of Jersusalem and was author of the Epistle of St James.

In the Epistle of St Jude, the other says he is the Brother of James.

Now here's where it gets slippery: In the Orthodox Study Bible, it says in the introduction to the Epistle of St Jude that this is *NOT* the same Judas Thaddeus Labbeaus who was of the 12.

Then, I go consult New Advent - and it throws everything into disarray by saying that Judas Thaddeus Labbeus, the brother of James, is the brother of James son of Alpheus (James the Less).

So by now I'm really confused. I asked a priest friend of mine and he didn't know.

So, here's the question:

Judas Thaddeus Labbeaus - one of the Twelve. Who was he? Was he the brother or son of St James the Just, author of the Epistle of St James? Or was he the son or brother of James The Less (Son of Alpheus) ?

Did Judas Thaddeus Labbeus write the epistle of St Jude? Or is this a different guy?

Thanks in advance!

#263476 - 11/20/07 02:31 PM Re: Who was St Jude/Judas/Labbeus/Thaddeus? [Re: crule]
crule Offline

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 151
Loc: The South

Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?

#263484 - 11/20/07 02:52 PM Re: Who was St Jude/Judas/Labbeus/Thaddeus? [Re: crule]
PrJ Offline

Registered: 01/14/07
Posts: 496
Loc: Midwest
The short answer is that nobody knows for sure. Of course, as with everything biblical and historical, there are plenty of theories and lots of supporting (contradictory) evidence.

Biblical scholars today, on the basis of internal and external evidence, believe that the book was written c. 100 CE -- long after the apostles' time -- and thus is not the work of any apostle named Jude. I would also note that the authorship of this book was disputed in the early Church.

For a general introduction, see

For a more scholarly discussion, see

Edited by PrJ (11/20/07 02:53 PM)

#263609 - 11/20/07 10:37 PM Re: Who was St Jude/Judas/Labbeus/Thaddeus? [Re: PrJ]
crule Offline

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 151
Loc: The South
Fr John - thank you very much for the reply. So it seems that there is no easy answer to this. The best of the scholars are as equally as confused as I am! (grin)

My very best wishes to you and yours!

#263642 - 11/21/07 12:51 AM Re: Who was St Jude/Judas/Labbeus/Thaddeus? [Re: crule]
Terry Bohannon Offline

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 2232
Loc: Houston, TX USA
A similar question could be raised with who St. Matthias was and how he served the early Church after filling Judas Iscariot's place among the twelve. We know less of him than St. Jude.

In a class setting it may be best to address the question of 'historicity' of St. Matthias or of St. Jude from a theological perspective that's aware of its limitations.



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