Did Jesus have siblings?


#1

Now I know in the Gospels there are referrals to Jesus having brothers and sisters, but reading the defence put on the website on this matter is not still clear to me. Jesus’ siblings are cousins since there is no word for cousin back then, but read this quote

And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. (Luke 1:36)

Now luke specifically relates Mary and Elizabeth as cousins, why could not Matthew use the word ‘cousins’ instead of brothers and sisters if they were in fact Jesus’ cousins.

“Is not this the carpenter’s son?,” the Jews asked, “is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are thy not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?” (Matt. 13: 55, 56).

This has bothered me since I recently watched part 1 of a two part series documentary called ‘The real family of Jesus’ where an expert Geneologist was tracking down our Lord’s supposable brothers and sisters while revealing the true identities of Jesus’ family as first century Jews.


#2

[quote=DEESYPAL]Now I know in the Gospels there are referrals to Jesus having brothers and sisters, but reading the defence put on the website on this matter is not still clear to me. Jesus’ siblings are cousins since there is no word for cousin back then, but read this quote

And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. (Luke 1:36)

Now luke specifically relates Mary and Elizabeth as cousins, why could not Matthew use the word ‘cousins’ instead of brothers and sisters if they were in fact Jesus’ cousins.

“Is not this the carpenter’s son?,” the Jews asked, “is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are thy not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?” (Matt. 13: 55, 56).

**This has bothered me since I recently watched part 1 of a two part series documentary called ‘The real family of Jesus’ where an expert Geneologist was tracking down our Lord’s supposable brothers and sisters while revealing the true identities of Jesus’ family as first century Jews./**QUOTE]

Is this one of the same experts that Dan Brown used to tell all his lies in the Da Vinci Code??
[/quote]


#3

James the Apostle is often referred to as a brother of Jesus.

Yet we know from Matt 10: 2-4 that there are two apostles named James.
One is the son of Zebedee, the other the son of Alphaeus.

Yet James is referred to as “the brother of the Lord.”


#4

Actually, there were words for cousin in Greek (anopsios), there were none in Hebrew or Aramaic, which was the language Christ and his immediate followers would have spoken primarily.

Also, in Jewish culture, if someone was an only child, for reasons such as inheritence his most immediate relatives (cousins) were legally and culturally considered to be siblings. Keep in mind also that we don’t know that the original language of the gospels was Greek as some ancient writings, such as the writings of Eusabus of Caserea (sp?), indicate that at least the gospel of Matthew may have been written in Hebrew. In addition, they would have been raised in the Old Testament tradition in which there certainly was no word for cousin ([font=Arial]Gen 14:14, Gen 11:26-28, Gen 29:15, 1 Chron 23:21-22, Dt. 23:7, 2 Est 5:7, Jer 34:9, 2 King 10:13-14, 2 Sam 1:26, 1 Kings 9:13, 20:30, Amos 1:9). So, if their writings or teachings were translated into Greek, or if the Gospels were “authored” by a student and translator who took, for instance, Matthew’s Hebrew dictation and put it into Greek (for a Greek-speaking audience), we would see Jesus’ cousins refered to as brothers and sisters.[/font]


#5

According to the Blue Letter Bible
blueletterbible.org/

The Greek word translated “cousin” from Luke 1:36 (in some translations) is Strong’s Word # 4773 suggenes which is used in Scripture to refer to 1) of the same kin, akin to, related by blood 2) in a wider sense, of the same nation, a fellow countryman.

I’m not sure how it is determined that Elizabeth and Zechariah are either a sister or brother to either Mary’s mother or father. It may be that “cousin” is again a case of modern English conveying a more limited meaning than the Biblical language calls for.

I’m not sure at this point.

From the following translations we see that suggenes can be translated more generally:

New International Version - "Even Elizabeth your relative…"
New American Standard - "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth…"
New King James Version - “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative…”

The Greek word translitered “brothers” in reference to Our Lord’s “brothers” is Strong’s Word #80 adelphos which can mean:

  1. a brother, whether born of the same two parents or only of the same father or mother (emphasis mine)
  2. having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, or countryman
  3. any fellow or man
  4. a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection
  5. an associate in employment or office
  6. brethren in Christ

a) his brothers by blood
b) all men
c) apostles
d) Christians, as those who are exalted to the same heavenly place

Now, to pin down the exact relationship of these “brothers” it must be shown that at least one of them is a “son of Mary”, our Lord’s mother…and that simply cannot be done.

Consider the following relationships of the “brothers of Jesus” to Mary:

  1. they could be actual uterine offspring of Mary
    or
  2. they could be children of Joseph by a prior marriage (the Orthodox position)
  3. orphaned children of relatives of either Mary or Joseph whom Mary and Joseph adopted into their family
  4. “cousins” as per Catholic reasoning from the Scripture.

Given that the Scriptures nowhere state that any one of the “brothers and sisters of the Lord” are “uterine sons and daughters of Mary” how can a “Bible only” teacher exclude 2 through 4 inorder to even reasonably arrive at 1?

Keep the Faith
jmt


#6

If Mary had other children why would Jesus on the cross entrust Mary to the beloved disciple? Wouldn’t he have entrusted her to his brothers and sisters?? Despite all the ambiguity in the scriptures for me this act is the telling one.


#7

A fundamentalist said this to me that:

**Some argue that the word “brothers,” found in this passage, merely means relatives such as cousins. If that is the true intended meaning, then one must wonder why the Greek word meaning “cousin” (anepsios) was not used there as it was in Col. 4:10: **

Col. 4:10. —> Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, saluteth you: and Mark, the cousin german of Barnabas, touching whom you have received commandments. If he come unto you, receive him.

How will I justify these? Thanks in advance!

Viva Pit Señor Sto. Niño!

Janry


#8

#9

Hi Deesypal,

I’d like to first offer this link from New Advent. It’s St. Jerome’s reply to the question of Mary’s perpetual virginity. If I had to listen to anyone speak of Scriptural interpretation, it would be him.
newadvent.org/fathers/3007.htm

Secondly, I would seriously doubt the information gathered from the TV show you mentioned. I watched some of it, they are the same people that give the Gospel of Judas and other heretical Gnostic writing credibility in contrast to the Holy Scriptures.

With love,
George


#10

Col. 4:10. —> Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, saluteth you: and Mark, the cousin german of Barnabas, touching whom you have received commandments. If he come unto you, receive him.

How will I justify these? Thanks in advance!

/QUOTE]

The Bible wasn’t written by a single person at one time. So usage is not always the same. For instance we used to call out next door neighbour “Aunty Gwen”. She was unrelated. That was the convention where I grew up; adult friends of your parents were given honourary family status. In other cultures that might be unheard of.

That there were words which meant “cousin” or “step-brother” or “brother-in-law” specifically is a point worth making, but it is not conclusive.

it is St. Paul who wrote to the Collosians, right Sir? the Fundamentalist says that the letter to Collosians were in Greek…and so it would have been “brother/sister” not cousin…

Is there a firm hold to refute his claim as he point on the verse? I am indeed not knowledgeable…but I am very eager to know and to refute him…

Thanks Sir!

Janry
[/quote]


#11

Col. 4:10. —> Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, saluteth you: and Mark, the cousin german of Barnabas, touching whom you have received commandments. If he come unto you, receive him.

How will I justify these? Thanks in advance!

/QUOTE]

The Bible wasn’t written by a single person at one time. So usage is not always the same. For instance we used to call out next door neighbour “Aunty Gwen”. She was unrelated. That was the convention where I grew up; adult friends of your parents were given honourary family status. In other cultures that might be unheard of.

That there were words which meant “cousin” or “step-brother” or “brother-in-law” specifically is a point worth making, but it is not conclusive.

it is St. Paul who wrote to the Collosians, right Sir? the Fundamentalist says that the letter to Collosians were in Greek…and so it would have been “brother/sister” not cousin…

Is there a firm hold to refute his claim as he point on the verse? I am indeed not knowledgeable…but I am very eager to know and to refute him…

Thanks Sir!

Janry
[/quote]


#12

Aren’t there apocryphal (which may have some accurate history in them, even though they aren’t scripture) writings that suggest that St. Joseph may have been widowed?

bulin.com/stjoe/sjlife.html
catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=4464
(check out these links and just search for the text “widowed”)…

Just a thought… who knows… maybe Joseph had children before marrying Mary… those would “technically” be Jesus’ “brothers”, right?


#13

With this line of thought, he should have then intrusted her care to her nephews or step-children before a stranger. The Lord has his reasons.

The relationship was explained in Greek, what it means in Hebrew or Armaic is distracting conjecture.


#14

[FONT=Times New Roman]We can cross Simon off the list because Mark 3:18 tells us he is a Canaanite,

"And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite

…" Jude, we are told in Jude 1:1, is the

"servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James

." [/FONT]


#15

Just a thought… who knows… maybe Joseph had children before marrying Mary… those would “technically” be Jesus’ “brothers”, right?

Yes, there is some tradition to this effect.


#16

Are you sure that this was how the Jewish custom was practiced?

Jewish custom dictated that the care of a mother would fall to the second born if the firstborn died, and if the widow had no other child she would be left to take care of herself. Since she is without other children, her Son gives her into the care of the beloved disciple.
goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article9174.asp


#17

If you can find me a Jewish source stating this is the custom…
I have read this many times in Catholic sources but not a Jewish one.
No, I am not sure.


#18

Acts 1
14
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
15
During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said,
16
"My brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled which the holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.
17
He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry.

So. There you have it. Jesus had 120 brothers.:slight_smile:


#19

My source was Orthodox, but I will see if I can find a Jewish source.


#20

Here’s a couple of interesting ways to look at this, besides all the other great responses here:

First of all, we believe Mary was conceived without sin, the perfect “New Ark” or tabernacle to house the growing body of our Lord in her womb.

Okay…let’s just suppose for the sake of the argument that she did have children with Joseph after the birth of Jesus. Knowing that every couple since Adam and Eve pass on Original Sin to their offspring, then what kind of children would Mary and Joseph have? Mary was free from Original Sin. Joseph was not. Would their children only inherit 1/2 of Original Sin? Does that mean they’d only sin half the time? What about *their *kids? Are they 1/4 without sin? What about 20 generations down the road. Doesn’t this give you a headache to think about what it would mean theologically?

Second, Mary has always been called the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. If Mary was also living with Joseph in a traditional husband-and-wife relationship and having children…well, wouldn’t you call it bigamy? Sure, this sort of thing went on back then, but it was not God’s plan for us. (After all, He didn’t create Adam and Eve and Susan and Gertrude and …)

Mary is already the spouse of another, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. (I didn’t see any divorce decree issued anywhere, either.) Do you think that Joseph would have stepped in on the wife of another? His “job duties” were to be guardian and caretaker and to provide his leadership to the Holy Family.

Third, think about what would happen through the ages if Mary and Joseph had children, who would be half-siblings to Jesus. I’d bet my last dollar that sometime, somewhere, that someone would have “used” that connection for their own gain. (Can you say “nepotism?”) I can hear it now…“You have to appoint me to be _____ (fill in the blank)–emporer, king, president, high priest, head dog catcher, whatever…because my great-great-great-etc-etc-grandfather was the half brother of Jesus and that makes me better than you!” I really think there would unscrupulous people who would use a relationship like that, if it had happened. In fact, it is known that royal genealogists in England often “enhanced” some of the birthlines of the ruling families and would claim an ancestry back to the family of Jesus in an effort to make it look like these people had more of a right to sit on the throne than some other guy. Anyone who has seen the “Anna, cousin of Mary the Blessed Mother” family lines knows what I’m talking about. I’ve seen people try to connect their family lines to a relative of Mary before, but I’ve never seen anyone with the brass to claim they were a half-descendant of Jesus. That would really be crossing the line. Even those old royal genealogists from the 12th century didn’t go quite that far.

There’s just no way that Mary had other children, and Jesus had no biological half-siblings. Mary was a unique person with a unique, never-to-be-repeated Grace, with a special and unique relationship to the Holy Trinity–daughter of the Father, mother of the Son, spouse of the Holy Spirit. Jesus didn’t have biological siblings–so that no one could ever say, “Well, this guy is your bio-brother, and that woman, your bio-sister–and they must be somehow better than this other one over here who is not your bio-sibling.” (We are all his siblings by adoption through our baptism, anyway.)

Anyway, that’s just a different way of looking at it.


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