Did Jesus have brothers and sisters?


I have read that scholars are claiming that Jesus had brothers and sisters. I do not believe this but just to make sure.


Hi, Han.

This subject has been covered in depth in other threads. use the search feature to find them.


The scholars refer to the passages in the Bible which are translated “brothers of the Lord”, but this proves little. In short, the original languages of the text do not have a word for “brother” but rather “kinsmen”, which can include step-brothers or cousins. This topic is addressed at length by the following Catholic Answers tract:

Brethren of the Lord


I believe he had brothers and possibly a sister, but it doesn’t change anything for me because he was the first born. I still believe Mary was a Virgin until the birth of Christ.


[quote=han]I have read that scholars are claiming that Jesus had brothers and sisters. I do not believe this but just to make sure.

In Genesis Lot is reffered to as Jacobs brother but when the relationship is explained in length you find Lot is Jacobs nephew. It’s the same thing with Jesus’ "brothers.


mind you, han, excatholic is not representing the beliefs of the catholic church.

many believe that Jesus had siblings. He might have, even by catholic teachings - other sons and daughters of joseph, by another wife, before mary.

the question is not whether or not Jesus had brothers and sisters. the question is whether mary had any other sons or daughters.

you might notice the scripture never says she does. :slight_smile:


Jesus couldn’t possibly have had blood brothers otherwise he never would have left his mother in the care of a non-relative. In that time and culture it simply wouldn’t have happened.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


Joseph was an elderly widower who had children by his daed wife when he took Mary.

*Why when Jesus was on the cross did he say, ”Mother, behold your son”? It was Jewish custom for the son’s of a mother to take care of her. She had no other sons. So Jesus gave John the task of caring for Mary. See John XIX:26 – 27. Yes, Jesus said to John, “Son behold your Mother”.

An important historical document which supports the teaching of Mary’s perpetual virginity is the Protoevangelium of James, which was written probably less than sixty years after the conclusion of Mary’s earthly life (around A.D. 120), when memories of her life were still vivid in the minds of many.

According to the world-renowned patristics scholar, Johannes Quasten: “The principal aim of the whole writing *Protoevangelium of James] *is to prove the perpetual and inviolate virginity of Mary before, in, and after the birth of Christ” (Patrology, 1:120–1).

To begin with, the Protoevangelium records that when Mary’s birth was prophesied, her mother, St. Anne, vowed that she would devote the child to the service of the Lord, as Samuel had been by his mother (1 Sam. 1:11). Mary would thus serve the Lord at the Temple, as women had for centuries (1 Sam. 2:22), and as Anna the prophetess did at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:36–37). A life of continual, devoted service to the Lord at the Temple meant that Mary would not be able to live the ordinary life of a child-rearing mother. Rather, she was vowed to a life of perpetual virginity.

However, due to considerations of ceremonial cleanliness, it was eventually necessary for Mary, a consecrated “virgin of the Lord,” to have a guardian or protector who would respect her vow of virginity. Thus, according to the Protoevangelium, Joseph, an elderly *widower who already had children, was chosen to be her spouse. (This would also explain why Joseph was apparently dead by the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, since he does not appear during it in the gospels, and since Mary is entrusted to *John, rather than to her husband Joseph, at the crucifixion).


To paraphrase what Jeffreedy789 already said, a brother or sister of Jesus need not have been a son or daughter of Mary. And indeed it has been the constant tradition and teaching of the Church that Mary had no other children and was perpetually virgin.


With regards to Mary’s perpetual virginity, as I understand it, the reason she was so surprised when the Angel Gabriel said she was to have a son wasn’t merely because she hadn’t yet “known man”, because she was betrothed, so one might assume she was anticipating knowing a man soon. Rather, it was because they had already declared that they would be living as consecrated virgins even after marriage.

Whether or not Joseph was a widower with children from a previous marriage or a young man who also consecrated his virginity to God doesn’t really affect the specifics of Christ’s existance. Either way, he accepted Mary as a wife and couldn’t have considered defiling the woman who had borne God in her womb. If a man assisting in bringing the Tabernacle was struck down dead for merely trying to keep the tabernacle from falling to the ground, how can we possibly believe that Joseph would be allowed to have relations with Mary, who had carried the body of Christ in her womb. Heck, the Tabernacle was important as a foreshadowing of Mary, the True Tabernacle. It held the Tablets, the Manna and The Rod, symbols of the Word that was to be made flesh. How much more Holy was Mary, who brought Christ, the Son of God, to us?
Also, I understand that the particulars of a consecrated virginal married life is consistant with her having been given to God as a young girl, something I’ve frequently heard over the years. I believe the parameters of a consecrated marriage is described in either Leviticus or Deuteronomy (sorry, don’t have the particular chapter and verse on this ).



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