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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Lebbaeus

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LEBBAEUS.—The name ‘Lebbaeus’ has completely disappeared from the Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 ; in the Authorized Version it occurs (Matthew 10:3) in the list of the Apostles: ‘Lebbeus, whose surname was Thaddeus.’ [On this spelling see Scrivener’s Paragraph Bible, p. lxxxi, note 3]. This is the reading of the Received Text, which is still maintained in the Patriarchal Edition of the Greek Testament (Constantinople, 1904), and supported by most of the Greek Manuscripts , to which was added lately the Palimpsest of Cairo. The modern critical editions are unanimous in the omission of ‘whose surname was,’ but are divided about the name itself, reading either ‘Thaddaeus,’ as Lachmann, Tregelles, WH [Note: H Westcott and Hort’s text.] , Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 , or ‘Lebbaeus,’ as Alford, Tischendorf, and WH [Note: H Westcott and Hort’s text.] in the margin. The question of reading is here of singular importance; for the name is one of the test passages of textual criticism in the NT. WH [Note: H Westcott and Hort’s text.] (§ 304) adduce the reading ‘Thaddaeus’ found only in אB as proof of the unique excellence of these Manuscripts , and are inclined to attribute the name ‘Lebbaeus’ to an attempt to bring Levi (Mark 2:14) within the number of the Twelve. But if so, why was this attempt not made in Mark 3:18? There ‘Lebbaeus’ is attested only by D [Note: Deuteronomist.] and the Old Latin Manuscripts a b d ff i q r, whereas in Mt. D [Note: Deuteronomist.] has the support of at least one Greek minuscule (122), of k—the oldest Latin witness, spelt iebbœus [the others, a b g h gat, read in Mt. ‘Judas Zelotes’]—and of all witnesses for the Textus Receptus . The reading of the latter is apparently a conflation of the name Lebbaeus (Mt.) with the name Thaddaeus (Mk.); while D [Note: Deuteronomist.] , as is its custom, assimilated Mk. to Mt. Allen (EBi [Note: Bi Encyclopaedia Biblica.] 5032) sees in ‘Lebbaeus’ the ‘Western’ gloss of a copyist, who connected the name Thaddaeus with thĕdâ = mamma, and wished to substitute a not dissimilar name, which should be more appropriate to an Apostle and less undignified.

A trace of the name ‘Lebbaeus’ is also found in the list of the Apostles as given in Tatian’s Diatessaron according to Ishodad; but here ‘Lebbaeus’ is inserted between ‘James’ and ‘son of Alphai,’ and Judas Jacobi is added afterwards (see Zahn’s Com. on Mt., and Burkitt, Evangelion da-Mepharreshe, ii. 270). The Syriac lexicographer Bar Bahlul explained that Judas Thomas was called Lebbaeus and Thaddaeus on account of his wisdom. Very curious is the testimony of the Manuscripts of the Evangeliarium Hierosolymitanum. The Manuscripts AB give וליביום הדין דאתקרי תאדי סימון ק׳ C has וליזדם הרין רחקדי סימן ק׳ Here וליודם seems to be a combination of ‘Lebbaeus’ and ‘Judas,’ and תקדי a confusion of ‘Thaddaeus’ with ‘was surnamed.’ In the ap. Const. vi. 14, cod. h spells Λευαιος, viii. 25, cod. d Λεβαιος; it is a pity that the new edition of Funk does not contain the lists of the Apostles given by de Lagarde, p. 282 f. In ap. Const. vii. 46, Judas Jacobi is mentioned as third bishop of Jerusalem. The list of Lag. p. 283, distinguishes Judas Jacobi as the tenth Apostle from Θαδδαῖος ὁ Λεβαῖος καὶ Ἰούδας as the eleventh. In the Synaxaries of the Greek Church (1) Judas (in Lk.), ‘who is called by Mt. and Mk. Thaddaeus and Lebbaeus,’ the brother of Jesus after the flesh, is celebrated on the 19th June, and, together with the other Apostles, on 30th June, as the last of them. From him is distinguished (2) the Apostle Thaddaeus, who is also Lebbaeus, one of the Seventy, celebrated on the 21st August; and (3) Judas Zelotes on the 22nd May.

As supplement to the art. Judas (i. 906), it may be stated that this strange combination ‘Judas Zelotes,’ mentioned above as the reading of the Old Latin Manuscripts in Matthew 10:3, is attested for Rome by the chronographer of the year 334, by the list of the canonical books of the year 382; and for Ravenna by the mosaics of the great Baptistry (5th cent.). From the oldest Manuscripts of the Martyrologium Hieronymianum it would appear that also in the name of the 28th Oct. ‘SS. Simon and Jude App. M M. the latter name is not an abbreviation of Judas Jacobi, but of Judas Zelotes.

The meaning of the name ‘Lebbaeus’ is equally doubtful. The explanation corculum by Jerome (after the surname of Scipio Nasica) is not proved. For relationship with Levi the spelling Λευαιος and Λαβιδ might be adduced, against it the double bb. A l at the beginning of a name may have the same origin as the L in Lulianus = Julianus, Lestus = Justus, etc. J. Lightfoot (Hor. Heb. 325) derived ‘Lebbaeus’ from the home of the man, and so already Ishodad. Josephus (Ant. xiii. § 97) mentions a town Lemba in Moab, which he calls Libba (xiv. 17 [v.l. Libias]). Dalman (Words of Jesus, 50, Grammatik2 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] , 178) compares Phœn. [Note: Phœnician.] לבא (CIS [Note: IS Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum.] i. 147), and Sinaitic לבא׳ (Euting, Sin. [Note: Sinaitic.] Inschriften, 421) and denies affinity with Levi. Finally, the name Labbu (= Nebo) may be compared in the Syriac Doctrine of Addai.

That there was another Judas besides the traitor among the Twelve is attested by John 14:22, and it is possible that later his name was less used to avoid remembrance of the traitor and confusion with him, and that his original name ‘Judas’ was replaced by ‘Thaddaeus’ in Mk. and by ‘Lebbaeus’ in Mt. (if this be the true reading for Mt.). In Acts 1:13 we have three names—Joseph, Barsabbas, Justus; in a similar way we should get here three or even four—Judas, son of James, Lebbaeus, Thaddaeus. The testimony of Origen (c. Cels. i. 62 [Berlin ed. i. 113]) is rather confused. Against Celsus, who mentioned ‘publicans and sailors’ in the plural among the ten or eleven followers of Jesus, Origen says that by the sailors Celsus may mean the sons of Zebedee; but of publicans there was only Matthew among the Twelve. Even if the publican Λευής (so cod. A, Λευΐς P) followed Jesus, yet he was not of the number of the Twelve, εἰ μὴ κατά τινα τῶν ἀντιγράφων τοῦ κατὰ Μάρκον εὐαγγελίου. Did Origen know the reading of D [Note: Deuteronomist.] and its Latin allies in Mk., and identify Lebbaeus with Levi?* [Note: On the reading Θαδδαῖος ὁ ἰκικληθεὶς Δεββαῑοδ for Mt. see v. Soden, 1. p. 1074, and ib. p. 1313 for the reading of D in Mk. What, according to v. Soden, the true reading in Mt. is we have not been able to discover. The MSS אB represent, according to him (and others), the recension of Hesychius.]

Literature.—See vol. i. pp. 103, 457, 906; and below at end of art. Thaddaeus.

Eb. Nestle.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Lebbaeus'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/l/lebbaeus.html. 1906-1918.

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