Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Giosefette, Josafas, Josaphas, Joseph, Josephes, Josephet, Josephus

The son of Joseph of Arimathea, first mentioned in the Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal and Estoire del Sainte Graal, in which he takes on many of the characteristics assigned to Joseph by Robert de Boron. The author of the Queste probably invented him to provide a pure, virginal precursor to Galahad.

Joseph’s wife Elyab bore him while his father languished in a Jewish prison for four decades. After his father’s release, the family led an expidition to western lands. Josephus became the first Christian bishop – concecrated by God at Sarras – and the leader of Joseph’s followers. When Joseph and his followers crossed the sea to Britain, it was said that the pure ones did so on Josephe’s outspread shirt.

He sat in the Perilous Seat (Feared Seat) at the Grail Table. Josephus helped convert the kingdom of Sarras, in which he baptized Mordrain and Nascien, and the various sovereignties in Britain.

He became the first Grail Keeper of Arthurian legend, and consecrated Alan (Alain the Large) his successor before he died and was buried in Scotland. The Queste del Sainte Graal, however, has him living long enough to give Communion to Galahad.

At the culmination of the Grail Quest, the spirit of either Josephus or his father presided over a mass held for Galahad, Perceval, and Bors – the successful Grail Knights.

Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal | 1215-1230
Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal | 1220-1235
Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal | 1230-1240