James "brother" of Jesus?


I was reading one of John Martignoni’s e-letters and he pointed out Gal 1:19 which I thought was pretty cool so I decided to post it here. Here is Gal 1:19,17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. 18Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. 19I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother.
So does this mean the apostle James was literally the blood brother of Jesus?
Lets check some other Scripture and see, Mark 3:16These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); 18Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas,** James son of Alphaeus**, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Did you catch that? There were two apostles named James, but neither of them had a father named Joseph. Thus it is clear that the term “brother” is not necessarily a literal blood brother, but such a relation can, and in this case did, extend to cousins as it is clear from Gal 1:19.

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Funny thing is I didnt see this verse in the Catholic.com database.


Let me start by saying I agree, James was not the “blood” brother of Jesus. The problem arises when we consider the fact that when Paul meets with James it is nine years after the resurrection, Saul didn’t convert until six years after the resurrection and then waited an additional three years. As Paul was not an original Apostle (he was still called an Apostle), it would be entirely possible for this James, brother or not, to have become an Apostle sometime after the resurrection, although, like Paul not one of the original twelve. Although an argument may be made for James not being a blood relative, this is not a “proof”. However we require no single “proof” the preponderance of Scriptural evidence points to Jesus being the only child of Mary.


Could you please provide the Scriptural prrof that Jesus was the only child of Mary?


This topic has been talked into the ground here and there’s numerous articles explaining this in the Catholic Answers archives if a sincere questioner really wanted to know. Even so, I’m sure you’ll get some good answers in this thread (although for the bellicose person who doesn’t really care what the answers are and is just looking for a chance to attack Catholicism, no answer is acceptable).

However, before all that, I just want to know: Why do you (and other Protestants who pose this question) even ask this question? Why do you even care what Catholics believe about Mary and whether or not she had children? Whether she did or not does not affect your salvation personally, so why does this endlessly answered question get endlessly asked?


I suggest you do a key word search and dig up one of the many many many ongoing threads on this issue to save CAF from having yet another thread on the James and Jesus:thumbsup:


I cannot offer proof other than the fact that Mary Our Blessed Mother was assumed into heaven due to her being incorrrupt, and in several Littanies it referred to St. Joseph as her “most chaste spouse.” I believe that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and in scripture that is how Jesus addresses those he loves. If I am wrong , my apologies, but if Blessed Virgin Mary, is indeed as she is called, and I believe she is, then we only know of 2 Immaculate Conceptions, one being the Conception of Mary, 2 being Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit…God Bless…Lisa


I agree with Martin Luther on this question. He believed that Jesus was the only son of Mary, and that Jesus had no blood brothers.



Sure, my favorite is Luke chapter 1, review this thread:
But there are many.
The major protestant reformers all believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary. It wasn’t even a point of contention. You think you’ve got a better grasp than Luther, Calvin, et al.?
Most modern protestants use the “brothers and sisters” to imply they must have been children of Mary. There are so many holes in that theory it’s not even worth debating. If Joseph had other children from a previous marriage (and I’m not saying he did) wouldn’t those children have been called the brothers and sisters of Jesus? There are many threads on this but here’s a short one:
It’s really a non-issue to me. Why would it matter except to attempt to disprove a teaching of His Church? Which is why it is important to a protestant, because “if” the Church has the authority it is right, and those outside of it have no authority. It is only in proving the Church is incorrect that any one outside of the Church could have any authority to teach their own gospel. Really does this issue have any effect on your faith, except of course to justify your not being in the Catholic Church?


Remember, there is also a tradition that St. Joseph was a widower with children. People at the time would have thought these people were brothers and sisters of Jesus, not knowing about the Incarnation.

God Bless


Hi there, All due respect intended, new conversion here of just 1 year, I read alot and was not aware of St Joseph being a widower, could you please tell me where I can read this in scripture, I love to read scripture, or can you tell me where you learned this? Thanks, God Bless…Lisa


There are several ancient traditions, one as you said, previous marriage, another that Joseph himself was under a vow of celibacy, therefore making a perfect marriage to a virgin also under a vow of virginity. BTW the book of Numbers tells why she would have remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus. The Church hasn’t denied any of the possibilities, probably because it really doesn’t much matter. It only requires you believe Mary remained a virgin her entire life. How or why you’re free to believe your own reason.


Ok Thanks much, peace of Jesus to you …Lisa


It isn’t in Scripture, we wouldn’t expect it to be would we? It comes from the Protoevangelium of James.


Ok Thank you, I love to read and learn new things, so thanks again…Lisa


I guess it depends on what type of proof you need in order to believe; If you accept the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, then, the scriptural proofs are implications leading to the belief in question, but are not direct proofs.
In my opinion, the words of Mary to the angel Gabriel very strongly implies that she did not intend in having any children at all.
I also believe that Catholic Dude has a strong case on hand.
While it is true that others, beside the twelve, were called apostles, when St Paul uses the word, he implies those associated with Peter, which, to me can only mean the twelve. The support for this would be found in the fact that when he (Paul) arrived in Jerusalem, he is greeted by Barnabas, also identified as being an apostle…so why did Paul claim that he only saw Peter and James, if Barnabas also greeted him?
James is also known as one of the three pillars of the Church. Notice that even Paul is not one among the three pillars. Jesus chose three apostles from the twelve, and gave only to them, specific revelations.These three apostles had a distinct position within the church as the apostles were distinct from among the other disciples. When James,the brother of John died, the Lord’s brother replaced him as “pillar within the church”.
From here, the teaching that James is to be identified as an unbelieving brother of Jesus, who, after repenting (this being nowhere found in scriptures) became not only an apostle, but, one of the three pillars, must have been due to a great act of conversion on the part of James. However, scriptural proof of this can nowhere be found. It would have been much more appropriate for the apostles in having chosen one of the twelve as a replacement.

A first century document, called the gosple according to the Hebrews, places James, the Lord’s brother at the last supper.
This writer, which some believe to be Matthew must have believed James to be one of the twelve.



I asked because the post said:

However we require no single “proof” the preponderance of Scriptural evidence points to Jesus being the only child of Mary.

Matthew 12: 46-47
46 While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him.
47 (Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.”)

Matthew 13:55-56
55 Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
56 Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?"

Mark 3:31-32
31 His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him.
32 A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers (and your sisters) are outside asking for you.”

Mark 6:3
3 Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.

Luke 8:19-20
19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
20 He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.”

John 2:12
12 After this, he and his mother, (his) brothers, and his disciples went down to Capernaum and stayed there only a few days.

John 7:3-5
3 So his brothers said to him, "Leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing.
4 No one works in secret if he wants to be known publicly. If you do these things, manifest yourself to the world."
5 For his brothers did not believe in him.

Acts 1:14
14 All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Galatians 1:19
19 But I did not see any other of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.


Now my understanding is the Church has the full deposit of faith in Scripture and Tradition. If they know the Tradition, why was the basis for Mary’s perpetual virginity based on Joseph being a widower until Jerome, and then based on the words meaning cousin or kinsmen after Jerome offered that explanation? What is the actual content of the Traditionbehind the position?


Why would Jesus asked St. John to take care of Virgin Mary if there was another brother?


I should perhaps explain my position. I do not say that the Marian doctrines may not be true. I do not feel that it hurts to believe them. I do not mean to disrespect Mary, she was a humble and faithful woman who provides a model to be followed. What bothers me is that the doctrines are stated as required for belief, even though some of them were not proclaimed until 1854 and 1950 and there is minimal Scriptural proof…


Because John tells us in Chapter 7 that Jesus’ brothers did not believe in him.

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