Latest Threads
newest posts

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Ask an Apologist

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

Thread Tools Search Thread Display
Old Sep 15, '04, 4:09 am
Mike Campana Mike Campana is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 27, 2004
Posts: 6
Default Did Jesus have brothers?

Did Jesus have brothers? Was James Jesus Brother?

Last edited by Peggy Frye; Sep 15, '04 at 7:32 am.
Old Sep 15, '04, 8:12 am
Peggy Frye Peggy Frye is offline
Catholic Answers Apologist
Join Date: May 4, 2004
Posts: 396
Default Re: Did Jesus have brothers?

Jesus did not have brothers (see links below). The "... October 2002 Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) announced that a first century stone ossuary had been discovered that is believed to have held the bones of St. James, the brother of Jesus, also known as "James the Just." The ossuary carries an inscription that says, in Aramaic, "James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus."

“Some non-Catholics were quick to tout the box as evidence against the perpetual virginity of Mary, however this does not follow. The ossuary identifies its James as the son of Joseph and the brother of Jesus, it does not identify him as the son-much less the biological son-of Mary. The only point that Catholic doctrine has defined regarding the "brethren of the Lord" is that they are not biological children of Mary.

What relationship they did have with her is a matter of speculation. They may have been Jesus' adoptive brothers, stepbrothers through Joseph, or-according to one popular theory-cousins.

As has often been pointed out, Aramaic had no word for "cousin," so the word for brother was used in its place. This inscription is in Aramaic, and so there would be little surprise if it were being used in that way. In fact, that's what you'd expect.

While the inscription does not establish the brethren of the Lord as biological children of Mary, it does have an impact on which theory may best explain the relationship of the brethren to Jesus. If James "the brother of the Lord" were Jesus' cousin then it would be unlikely for him also to have a father named Joseph. This would diminish the probability of the cousin theory in favor of the idea that this James was a stepbrother or an adoptive brother of Jesus.

The stepbrother hypothesis is, in fact, the earliest one on record. It is endorsed by a document known as the Protoevangelium of James, which dates to the year 120, within sixty years of James' death (A.D. 62). According to the Protoevangelium, Joseph was an elderly widower at the time he was betrothed to Mary. He already had a family and thus was willing to become the guardian of a virgin consecrated to God. The stepbrother hypothesis was the most common explanation of the brethren of the Lord until St. Jerome popularized the cousin hypothesis just before the year 400.

The stepbrother hypothesis is also supported by the fact that Joseph apparently was significantly older than Mary, as he appears to have died before our Lord's public ministry began.

Bottom line: If the ossuary of James bar-Joseph is that of James the brother of the Lord, it sheds light on which of the theories Catholics are permitted to hold is most likely the correct one, but it does nothing to refute Catholic doctrine.”
Full text here.

Further reading:

Brethren of the Lord

Mary Ever Virgin (Fathers)

Last edited by Peggy Frye; Sep 22, '04 at 7:52 pm.

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Ask an Apologist


Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Jesus and Mary Magdalene Maddalena Apologetics 106 Nov 18, '15 5:34 pm
i think im doomed SLTS Apologetics 70 Oct 8, '04 10:10 am

Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
6604CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: tawny
6147Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: hazcompat
5166Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: grateful_child
4628Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: neweggs
4289Poems and Reflections
Last by: PathWalker
4055OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: Fischli
3290For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: GLam8833
3261Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: Herculees
2824Let's Empty Purgatory 2
Last by: TheCrabNebula
Last by: beth40n2

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 5:19 pm.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2014, Catholic Answers.