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Joseph of Arimathea, Crusader? Hero? Benefactor?

Steven Biddlecombe
p. 97-117


This article examines the comparison, made by Baldric of Bourgueil in his Historia Ierosolimitana, of Joseph of Arimathea with the first crusaders. It examines the historical evolution of the figure of Joseph from his brief appearance in the Bible to the time Baldric made the comparison. It assesses what Joseph meant to Baldric, provides a route into understanding the meaning of the text for the author and his audience, and a better appreciation of what would become the crusade vocation.

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history, Crusades, chronicle, Latin
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Ce document sera publié en ligne en texte intégral en août 2022.

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Around the year 1105 at the Abbey of Bourgueil in the Loire Valley the abbot, Baldric, began writing a history of the First Crusade. Baldric had already written poems, saint’s lives, descriptions of his travels and numerous letters in his literary career and, in the enthusiasm and euphoria that swept through France in response to the miraculous success of the expedition to Jerusalem, he decided to turn his hand to writing history. In Historia Ierosolimitana Baldric celebrated the crusaders as heroes, remembered their piety and dedication, and pledged to write in such a style as to match the glorious deeds of the Jerusalemites. He did this by enhancing what he saw as the simplistic narrative of his primary source document, the Gesta Francorum. He added logical and believable amplifications and embellishments to the story and included classical features such as orations and sermons. Baldric stated his strong desire to provide a version of the history that is more worthy of the miracul...

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Steven Biddlecombe, « Joseph of Arimathea, Crusader? Hero? Benefactor? »Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes, 37 | 2019, 97-117.

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Steven Biddlecombe, « Joseph of Arimathea, Crusader? Hero? Benefactor? »Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes [En ligne], 37 | 2019, mis en ligne le 01 août 2022, consulté le 20 janvier 2022. URL : ; DOI :

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