10. Enter the legends of the Holy Grail
Joseph of Arimathea appears in the authorized canon of the Bible – in all four of the gospels – as the rich man who took responsibility for the burial of the crucified Jesus after his death. According to the gospel of Mark, it was he who supervised the removal of the body from Golgotha and its entombment, assisted by Nicodemus, who brought with him the spices and oils with which the body was prepared. His role completed, Joseph vanishes from the text of the gospels and the subsequent books of the New Testament. According to just one of the four gospels, that of Matthew, it was a tomb meant for his own use where Joseph had Jesus’ body placed.
Though he vanished from the biblical accounts in the aftermath of the entombment, he quickly grew in legend, including in some books of the Apocrypha, such as the Acts of Pilate and the Gospel of Nicodemus. Works by early church leaders, including Hippolytus and Eusebius, exaggerated the legends, and he became accepted as one of the 70 Disciples, which according to the Gospel of Luke were appointed by Jesus and dispatched on their missions in pairs. By the beginning of the 12th century, through oral tradition and written legends, Joseph of Arithamea became the keeper of the Holy Grail, the cup or chalice which had been used by Jesus at the Last Supper. This position linked him with England’s King Arthur, the Knight’s Templar, and the Arthurian legends, and pre-supposed a youthful visit by Jesus to the British Isles.