A follower of Jesus and one of the Twelve (Mark 3.18 par.). Other than his Aramaic name, which means “son of Tolmai,” nothing is recorded about him in the New Testament. Because Nathanael is not mentioned in the synoptic Gospels, and Bartholomew does not occur in the gospel of John, but both are linked with *Philip, it has been suggested that they are the same person, in which case Bartholomew would be Nathanael's patronymic. Later tradition ascribes an apocryphal gospel to Bartholomew and describes his missionary activities in Egypt, Persia, India, and Armenia, where he was reportedly martyred by being flayed alive. Hence he is the patron of tanners.
Michael D. Coogan