Some consider Jesus a new Joseph. See this article as an example.

According to the answer to this question, Dr. Brant Pitre considers the Beloved Disciple a new Benjamin. This consideration explains the Beloved Disciple's moniker, for, if Jesus is a new Joseph, and Joseph especially loved Benjamin, then a new Benjamin would be especially loved by Jesus. It also explains the adoption of Mary by the Beloved Disciple which, in the original Greek, reads more like an adoption than an assignment of a caretaker.

The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. (Genesis 46:19)

After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own. (John 19:27)

This article discusses the same claim, but it also credits Dr. Brant Pitre with the claim itself.

Who else has spoken or written that the Beloved Disciple is a new Benjamin?


1 Answer 1


The short answer is: NONE.

This is what Dr. Brant Pitre himself said in his 2018 Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary book, Chapter 7 (The New Rachel) section "Mary the New Rachel", subsection "The Mother of Jesus and the 'Beloved' Disciple" (emphasis mine):

The third and final connection between Mary and Rachel may be the most subtle of all, but it is also potentially the most significant. Although I do not know of any New Testament scholar who has recognized the parallel, I would suggest that Mary is also being depicted as a new Rachel in the Gospel of John, insofar as she becomes the mother of the Beloved Disciple through her suffering at Golgotha.


Perhaps most intriguing of all, if Mary is being depicted as a new Rachel and the apostle John as a kind of “new Benjamin,” then this would provide an explanation for the otherwise baffling question of why the author of John’s Gospel refers to himself as the “Beloved Disciple” (cf. John 13:23; 19:26; 21:7; 21:20). For decades, contemporary scholars have struggled to come up with a convincing explanation for why John refers to himself in this enigmatic (and seemingly prideful!) way.26 ...

I also consulted the (obligatory) treatment on the identity of the Beloved Disciple in the "Introduction" chapters of the following well-regarded commentaries on the Gospel of John, but none of them offers a theory that frames the Beloved Disciple as the New Benjamin:

The "Beloved Disciple" entry of the popular Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (IVP, 2nd Ed, 2013) also does NOT mention Benjamin at all even though that dictionary series is well known to summarize the latest research on a topic.

Why this connection has not surfaced until now? My guess is that it's due to:

  1. The explosion of Second Temple Judaism research which just started in the recent decades now that the 1940s Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi findings have been completely catalogued and published for everyone to study.
  2. Renewed appreciation of Talmudic, Coptic, and Syriac literature to shed light on the thought background of New Testament authors.
  3. Post-modern climate of wanting to find fresh perspectives on text.
  4. Assistance with the larger historical enterprise that focuses on social history: how actual people lived, not just major figures / ideas that exerted society-level change.
  5. More studies on how other religious traditions interpreted the OT and used the apocrypha, especially the early Rabbinic Judaism, the shamefully neglected Syriac & Coptic Christianities, and even Islam.
  6. The rise of Biblical theology (instead of older systematic theology) which in turn demands new research to reconstruct the world behind the text using new data.

We will see what future commentaries on the Gospel of John will say about Dr. Brant Pitre's findings.

  • Benjamin's one notable feature is that his mother died giving birth to him. Any parallel to John based on John becoming an adopted son of Mary is entirely misplaced IMO. I don't think other commentaries will pick it up, except to reject it.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 25, 2022 at 0:08
  • @curiousdannii That's too bad. I thought it's like a 2000 year puzzle solved. Maybe it's too good to be true. At least over time we'll read other scholars responded to the book. But wouldn't you think it possible that the author of John probably attempted to frame it that way even though it's not a perfect parallel? Jan 25, 2022 at 0:58
  • I really don't get how it can be a parallel when the nature of the relationship is totally different. And I don't get the impulse for seeing Jesus and John as Joseph and Benjamin either. Is Deut 33:12 the only verse that calls Benjamin "beloved"? And it's talking about the tribe not the individual... There is a definite type of Joseph for Jesus, being the persecuted beloved son of the father, but I'm not even sure Genesis specifically says that Joseph loved Benjamin more than his other brothers. He honours Benjamin with the best food and clothes, but that could be for the sake of their father.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 25, 2022 at 1:03
  • 2
    @curiousdannii When I read the Joseph story, my impression is that he loved Benjamin more than simply for the sake of his father. He couldn't contain himself (Gen 43:29-31). Anyway, I still want to give the parallel some benefit of the doubt since some other typologies that NT authors made are too me as contrived if not more than this one. I feel that I need to do a lot more background studies to find some rationale that the NT authors probably have but are lost to us. Need to study Don Carson's Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Jan 25, 2022 at 1:37
  • @curiousdannii - The notable feature seems to be that Rachel had Benjamin in her sorrow/suffering, which is what Benoni (the name Rachel intended to give Benjamin) means. I think most agree that the sword pierced Mary's soul (Luke 2:35) as she stood at the foot of her son's cross. And, to say that Joseph honors Benjamin, "his own mother’s son" (Genesis 43:29), only for the sake of his father, seems hard to defend based on the text.
    – qxn
    Jan 25, 2022 at 14:08

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