Joseph of Tiberias

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Joseph of Tiberias (c. 285 – c. 356) was a Christian convert from Judaism. He is also known as Count Joseph and is venerated as Saint Joseph of Palestine. His memorial day is 22 July.

The main source about his life is a book by Epiphanius, the Panarion, which in chapter 30 retells the stories Epiphanius heard from Joseph during their encounter in Scythopolis around the year 355. According to Epiphanius, Joseph was a contemporary of Emperor Constantine, a Rabbinical scholar, member of the Sanhedrin and a disciple of Hillel II. Following his conversion, Emperor Constantine gave him the rank of count (comes), appointed him as supervisor of the churches in Palestine and gave him permission to build churches in the Galilee. Specifically, Joseph wished to build churches in Jewish towns which didn't yet have a Christian community. One of the churches attributed to him was the first Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish at Heptapegon, erected around AD 350.[1] Despite his high position, he opposed the Arian policies of Constantine's successors, and got married after his first wife died in order to evade Arian pressure to become a Bishop for that sect.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ray Pritz, "Joseph of Tiberias — The Legend of a 4th Century Jewish Christian" Mishkan 2 (1985)

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