NATHANAEL, a character in the New Testament, who appears in John i. 45 sqq. as one of the first disciples of Jesus. In John xxi. 2 he is described as belonging to Cana of Galilee. The account of his call reveals to us a man of a deeply spiritual and sincere nature. Otherwise we know nothing beyond the mention of his name as one of the seven to whom, after the Resurrection, Christ revealed himself at the sea of Tiberias (John xxi. 2). But the interest he has evoked is shown by the attempts to identify him with other New Testament characters. Of these the one which has found most favour sees in him the apostle Bartholomew (q.v.). The actual identification must however remain a matter of pure conjecture. Still less can be said for the attempts to find in Nathanael another name for the apostle Matthew, or for Matthias, or for Paul " the apostle of visions," or even for the writer of the Fourth Gospel himself.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. For the story of Nathanael's call see Archbishop Trench, Studies in the Gospels, No. 2, and on his character, J. H. Newman's Sermons for the Festivals of the Church, No. 27.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)