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Yehuda bar Yeshua: The Beloved Disciple?

Ossuary 80/501: “Yehuda bar Yeshua” – “Judah, son of Jesus”

“Yehuda bar Yeshua.” Written in Aramaic. Translated, it means “Judah, son of Jesus.”

It is the ossuary of a male child, but we have no way of knowing how he died.

There is no written tradition that Jesus had a son. There is, however, embodied within the Gospel of John, the mysterious youngster who seems to be sleeping in Jesus’ lap at the last supper – who is this boy?

At the crucifixion, there is only one male from Jesus’ followers - the “beloved disciple.” Who is this person? If the oral tradition – popularized in The Da Vinci Code—that Jesus had a child with Mary Magdalene is historically accurate, this might be the ossuary of that child, the hidden heir to the throne of King David from which Jesus claimed descent.

In other words, the “Judah, son of Jesus” ossuary may have held the mortal remains of the son of Jesus and Mary.

Romans, in revolution-prone Jerusalem, would have viewed the bloodline of any claimant to the Davidic throne as a real and lingering danger. According to John 19:19, the Roman Prefect Pilate wrote, on the placard above the Jesus’ head, “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.” They mocked him by fixing a crown of thorns on his head and clothing him in the purple of royalty (John 19:2). The disciples knew what the Romans would do next. They would have looked for a wife and children and killed them. They would have to be hidden and protected.

A wife of Jesus, if she existed, might be also be referred to as the “companion,” or “beloved” friend of Jesus. Judah would have been known—even to most of the disciples, perhaps—not as “Judah, son of Jesus;” but as someone else’s child, perhaps a younger brother of Jesus.

Given Roman policy, if there did indeed exist a “Judah, son of Jesus,” then the surviving members of the Jesus movement would not have been inclined to shout his name out in the marketplace. Instead, a code was bound to arise: Have you seen Jesus’ ‘brother?’ Or, Have you seen his little ‘twin’ today?


Jesus of Nazareth Mary Magdalene: Mariamne Early Christianity
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