Forum

Who Was Barnabus?

The "University of Yuya-Joe" wanted to know ...

1) What are the main historical names of Jesus Christ?
2) Who was Barnabus (of Paul and Barnabus fame)?

Paul strove to be "all things to all people". This was quite succinctly the royal motto. To the Jews he was a Jew, to the Romans a Roman, to the Armenians an Armenian, and so on and so forth. Jesus was no different from Paul in that respect. This aspect of royal culture was already ancient by the time of Jesus and would continue for many more centuries (even after the adoption of Christianity by the Roman Empire).

The major historical names of Jesus are:

a) M. Crassus Frugi
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b) Decimus Junius Silanus Torquatus
(satirized by Josephus as Decius Mundus, a take-off on legendary Roman sacrificial military hero Decius Mus)
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c) Alexander II (Tigranes II) of Armenia
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d) Izates of Edessa
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e) Aristobulus (III) of Chalcis
(with Mary Magdalene becoming the "Chalice of Chalcis" in Grail legends!) This regional kingly identity relates to him being called "the Nazarene". Of course Jesus also assumed epithets associated with pseudo-historical biblical figures such as Joshua, David, Moses, etc.

Regarding Barnabus, I never followed through to find a Greco-Roman identity for him. However, I think you're on the right track though. It makes sense that Barnabus was either an alias of Jesus himself or one of his sons, such as Josephes/Josephus, Jesus Justus or Herodian.

From the earlier Persian pattern, Barnabas would have been a member of the House of Joseph, and Jesus was called the "son of Joseph" in the Gospels:

In the New Testament, the role of Tissaphernes was one (of many) assumed by the Apostle Paul/Phasaelus. (Note the word play between Phasaelus and Tissaphernes.) The on-again off-again relationship of Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus was emulated by Paul and Barnabus in the Book of Acts. Olmstead in 'History of the Persian Empire' (p 358), calls Tissaphernes 'the ablest and most unscrupulous diplomat that Persia ever produced'. Paul like Tissaphernes was a master strategist. Paul had also been made ruler of Egypt (under the name Paulus), but was afterward accused of insurrection and taken into custody. He cleverly appealed to Caesar (the Great King) rather than risk being executed (like Tissaphernes) by royal subordinates.
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There was also a leading priest named Nedebaeus, but I don't know who he represents within the Herodian/Julio-Claudian complex, so that remains a loose bit of evidence. In other words, Bar-Nedebaeus might correspond to Barnabas.

Finally, Barnabus could be associated with with Bran of Britain. And, again, the leading candidate for Bran is Jesus or one of his sons.
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-Adjunct, School of Silly Names, U.S. Extension Campus of U. of Yu