The summary of the selected article appears at the bottom of the page. In order to get back to the contents of the issue this article belongs to you have to access the link from the title. In order to see all the articles of the archive which have as author/co-author one of the authors mentioned below, you have to access the link from the author's name.


  Abstract:   Jesus called twelve disciples according to the synoptic gospels in order to be with him, to follow him and to be sent out to carry on his earthly ministry. He named these twelve disciples also apostles. In the synoptic gospels there are three lists of names (Mk 3,16–19; cf. Mt 10,2–4; Lk 6,14–16), but beside those we have to mention the list found in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1,13). The four lists are absolutely identical in three cases (these three cases are interestingly at the first, fifth and ninth line) and at the last line there is rather an absence than a divergence. Alexander Balmain Bruce supposed after observing this symmetry that the names of the twelve disciples were split in three groups of four. In each list at the beginning of a group of four there are mentioned the leaders of the group. Considering the four lists of the disciples’ names it easily can be observed on the one hand that there are differences in the order of arrangements, and on the other hand that Mark’s and Matthew’s lists have a name which is missing from Luke’s lists (Thaddaeus) and Luke’s lists include a name which does not occur at the first two evangelists (Judas son of James). The explanation for the first observation is that the lists of names do not derive from the same source or if the origin is the same source then they reflect different local traditions. Günther Schwarz suggests as a solution for the second difference a slip of the pen, respectively a miscalculation. William L. Lane wrote that the number twelve has salvation-historical importance. The apostles represent in a new way the twelve tribes of Israel. The election of the twelve apostles shows Jesus’ claim to everybody without any distinction. This number refers back to the history of Israel when they lived their lives as twelve tribes. Gerd Theißen speaks about the social situation of those who follow Jesus as wandering radicalism, because they had to leave everything behind in order to follow the master. The first four apostles who were called in the synoptic gospels (who’s vocation represent the other’s as well), were Galilean fishermen. There aroused quite a few questions in connection with the historical existence of the disciples. Kingsbury asserts, with other New Testament scholars, that the historicity of the disciples is bound with the historicity of Jesus.

Keywords: disciples, call, Jesus, twelve.
      Back to previous page