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JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA
A rich Israelite and member of the Sanhedrin. At Jesus' trial he took no part in the prosecution. That he was a secret disciple is made clear in the testimony of Matthew and Mark (Matthew 27:57; Mark 15:43). Shortly after Jesus died, Joseph appeared before Pilate and requested permission to take charge of the burial (Jewish law required that the body of the executed be removed the same day) (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). Pilate granted permission. Joseph had the body wrapped in a shroud and laid in a new tomb, one in which he intended to be buried himself. Then he had a great stone rolled across the entrance (Matthew 27:57-60).
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.