From Bible Encyclopedia
tha-dē´us (Θαδδαῖος, Thaddaíos, "Breast"):
The name of One of the Twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18), called “Lebbaeus” in Matthew 10:3, and in Luke 6:16, “Judas the brother of James;” while John (John 14:22), probably referring to the same person, speaks of “Judas, not Iscariot.” These different names all designate the same person, viz., Jude or Judas, the author of the epistle. In Matthew 10:3 the King James Version, the reading is “Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus.” The name corresponds to Judas, the son (Revised Version), or brother (the King James Version), of James, given in the lists of Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13. See Judas, Not Iscariot; Lebbaeus.
The “Gospel of the Ebionites,” or “Gospel of the Twelve Apostles,” of the 2nd century and mentioned by Origen, narrates that Thaddaeus was also among those who received their call to follow Jesus at the Sea of Tiberias (compare Matthew 4:18-22). See also Simon The Cananaean.
According to the “Genealogies of the Twelve Apostles” (compare Budge, Contendings of the Apostles, II, 50), Thaddaeus was of the house of Joseph; according to the “Book of the Bee” he was of the tribe of Judah. There is abundant testimony in apocryphal literature of the missionary activity of a certain Thaddaeus in Syria, but doubt exists as to whether this was the apostle. Thus
- (1) according to the “Acts of Peter” (compare Budge, II, 466 ff) Peter appointed Thaddaeus over the island of Syria and Edessa.
- (2) The “Preaching of the blessed Judas, the brother of our Lord, who was surnamed Thaddaeus” (Budge, 357 ff), describes his mission in Syria and in Dacia, and indicates him as one of the Twelve.
- (3) The “Acta Thaddaei” (compare Tischendorf, Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, 1851, 261 ff) refers to this Thaddaeus in the text as one of the Twelve, but in the heading as one of the Seventy.
- (4) The Abgar legend, dealing with a supposed correspondence between Abgar, king of Syria, and Christ, states in its Syriac form, as translated by Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, I, xiii, 6-22) (compare Thomas), that “after the ascension of Christ, Judas, who was also called Thomas, sent to Abgar the apostle Thaddaeus, one of the Seventy” (compare Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, 76 ff). Jerome, however, identifies this same Thaddaeus with Lebbaeus and “Judas ... of James” of Luke (Luke 6:16). Hennecks (op. cit., 473, 474) surmises that in the original form of the Abgar legend Thomas was the central figure, but that through the influence of the later “Acts of Thomas”, which required room to be made for Thomas' activity in India, a later Syriac recension was made, in which Thomas became merely the sender of Thaddaeus to Edessa, and that this was the form which Eusebius made use of in his translation According to Phillips (compare Phillips, The Doctrine of Addai the Apostle), who quotes Zahn in support, the confusion may be due to the substitution of the Greek name Thaddaeus for the name Addai of the Syriac manuscripts.
See Apocryphal Acts.
The general consensus seems to indicate, however, that both Thomas and Thaddaeus the apostle had some connection with Edessa. Of the various identifications of Thaddaeus with other Biblical personages which might be inferred from the foregoing, that with “Judas ... of James” is the only one that has received wide acceptance.
The burial place of Thaddaeus is variously placed at Beirut and in Egypt. A “Gospel of Thaddaeus” is mentioned in the Decree of Gelasius.