The History of Saint Iodasaph

The traditional calendar of saints includes Saint "Josaphat" or "Iodasaph," son of a fourth-century king of India. A convert to Christianity, Iodasaph abdicated the throne to embrace a life of ascetic piety. As scholars now widely acknowledge, what was once taken to be the biography of a Christian saint is instead the accidental Christianization of a story of Prince Siddhartha from the Jataka Tales.

The legend of "Iodasaph," a garbled form of "Bodhisattva," meandered over various Buddhist, Manichean, and Arabic paths on its way to being baptized as a piece of medieval Christian hagiography. In various texts, the name appears as "Budhasaf," "Bodisav," and "Bwdysdf" — all even closer to the original. So there you have it: Gautama Buddha, a Catholic saint!

How tempting it is to imagine the hybrid saint as if the historical-critical understanding of the tale were a component of it, as if there really had been a Christian saint named Iodasaph who had Buddhist leanings. What sort of saintly wisdom would he have imparted?

Longstanding Christian*New Age Quarterly readers will recall Robert M. Price's "Tales of Saint Iodasaph," a series that ran intermittently from our January-March 1991 to October-December 1994 issues. Then, a decade later, the Saint reappeared! In all these tales — not quite fiction, more than intellectual ingenuity — Dr. Price weaves together Eastern and Western wisdom using as mouthpiece the curious historical happenstance of a Buddhist legend that became a Christian saint.

Now, Dr. Price has gathered the "Tales" into an eBook collection, Biblical Buddhism: Tales and Sermons of Saint Iodasaph, published by For more information, check out the Reverend Daniel B. Hahn's Summer 2012 "Peek Between the Covers."

If, however, you are interested in a particular title — or would prefer to read the "Tales" in hardcopy form — you are most welcome to order from our list below.


"The Tales of Saint Iodasaph"

"The Scripture is Fulfilled" — Autumn 2015 (V22, N1+)
(reprint from July-September-1992 [V4, N3])

"The Transformation Body" — Spring 2014 (V21, N2+)
(reprint from October-December 1991 [V3, N4])

"Saint Iodasaph" and "A Sermon of Saint Iodasaph: The Great Commandment"
— Spring 2012 (V20, N2+)

(reprint of the series' introduction from January-March 1991 [V3, N1])

"Blessed are the Blind" — Winter 2009 (V19, N2)

"The Serpent's Wisdom" — Summer 2009 (V19, N1)

"Invisible Light" — June 2008-February 2009 (V18, N4)

"Revelation of Nothing" — November 2007-May 2008 (V18, N3)

"The Cross and the Raft" — May-October 2007 (V18, N2)

"Back in the Womb" — August 2006-April 2007 (V18, N1)

"Seeking for Signs" — October 2005-July 2006 (V17, N4)

"Gods in the Gutter" — July-September 2005 (V17, N3)

"Temptations Must Come" — April-June 2005 (V17, N2)

Earlier "Tales"
(for descriptions, ask for our full Back Issues List*)

"The Ferryman" — October-December 1994 (V6, N4)

"The Dancing Corpse" — January-March 1994 (V6, N1)

"The Tree of Enlightenment" — January-March 1993 (V5, N1)

"The Scripture is Fulfilled" — July-September-1992 (V4, N3)

"The Banquet Without Guests" — April-June 1992 (V4, N2)

"The Man Beset by Robbers" — January-March 1992 (V4, N1)

"The Transformation Body" — October-December 1991 (V3, N4)

"The Koan of the Sheep and the Goats" — July-September 1991 (V3, N3)

"Saint Iodasaph" and "A Sermon of Saint Iodasaph: The Great Commandment"
— January-March 1991 (V3, N1)

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As Christian*New Age Quarterly began publication in 1989 — prior to the start of our website — information on issues earlier than our July-September 1998 edition is not available online. If you would like a complete, detailed hardcopy list of all available back issues, please send a #10 SASE to Christian*New Age Quarterly, PO Box 276, Clifton, New Jersey 07015-0276, USA.

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