Jesus Brother James


#1

How do we explain Jesus brother James (galatians1:1-24) to a protestant from scripture and the Chuch History.


#2

My understanding is the in the ancient Aramaic and possibly Greek, the term “brother” connoted not only blood brothers but cousins and sometimes close friends.

One of the problems with our Protestant brethren is their absolute insistence on the “literal” interpretation of the Bible. These literal interpretations are very problematic when translations are involved. To indulge in Sola Scriptura correctly requires -in my mind- degrees in Ancient Greek and Aramaic, not to mention some degree in interpreting Ancient Scriptures. . .which very few Protestants have.

This is part of the reason we have the Church: for definitive translations, as well as a body of knowledge that we can rely upon to answer questions such as these, as opposed to relying on amateur knowledge in figuring things out ourselves.


#3

[quote=jamjostab]How do we explain Jesus brother James (galatians1:1-24) to a protestant from scripture and the Chuch History.
[/quote]

The word “brother” was used two other times in Galatians 1:1-24. I do not believe the term brother necessarily is referring to having the same mother. He was referring to the brotherhood in Christ the same way that I might call you my brother in Christ.
smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/17/17_1_19.gif


#4

There is no term for cousin. Thus brother can also refer to cousin.

Also, he may have been Jesus’ brother, his step brother son of Joseph but not of Mary.


#5

The “cousin as brother” thing is hardly unique to Aramaic as well. In Thai, for example, all extended relatives of the same generation are called brothers and sisters, as are, of course, one’s actual brothers and sisters. It can make family introductions very difficult for those of different cultural traditions, trust me :stuck_out_tongue:


#6

Look at the African American culture here in the US. Brother is used a lot, among them. Even in protestant religions, you are introduced to people as brother this and sister that.

When reading the bible, you need to take a literal view but not a literalist view.

For example the phrase “It was raining cats and dogs.”

The literal view: It was raining a lot.

The literalist view: Cats and dogs were falling from the sky like rain.

We must be careful, and not read the bible with a literalist view, it can lead to error and misunderstanding. Also when you read the bible, you must compare it to the teachings of the Church and as a Catholic you must accept ALL the teachings of the Church in regards to the Scripture.

The Church teaches that Mary was perpetually a virgin. Therefore, she had no other children, however, there isn’t much informaton on Joseph, and one theory is that he was a widower and had children from his first marriage, and therefore those could be called the brothers of Christ albeit stepbrothers. The theory supports the teachings of the Church and could be a plausible explantion for the term brother found in scripture.

Remember, the Church is the pillar of truth from which the bible came. The Bible can never contradict the Church and the Church never propogates error.

1 Timothy 15

if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth .

St. Augustine, one of the greatest intellectuals the Church has ever produced said the following.

“On my own part I confess to your charity that it is only to those books of Scripture which are now called canonical that I have learned to pay such honor and reverence as to believe most firmly that none of their writers has fallen into any error . And if in these books I meet anything which seems contrary to truth, I shall not hesitate to conclude either that the text is faulty, or that the translator has not expressed the meaning of the passage, or that I myself do not understand.”

What he is saying is that if he finds something contradictory, someone transcribed it wrong, translated it wrong, or he simply didn’t understand. So if he found things he couldn’t understand, what makes us think that we are going to be able to understand everything in the Bible? That is why we must turn to the Church to find out what the truth is.


#7

The James referred to here is the son of Alpheus, a relation of either Mary or Joseph, which makes this James Jesus’ cousin.


#8

[quote=MariaG]There is no term for cousin. Thus brother can also refer to cousin.

Also, he may have been Jesus’ brother, his step brother son of Joseph but not of Mary.
[/quote]

I don’t think Joseph would have children by any other women?


#9

I don’t think Joseph would have children by any other women?

It’s possible that he was a widower. It’s not said in Scripture, but there is a tradition that he was married to a woman before Mary, and may have had children with her.


#10

[quote=jamjostab]How do we explain Jesus brother James (galatians1:1-24) to a protestant from scripture and the Chuch History.
[/quote]

See the thorough explanation at CA
catholic.com/library/Burial_Box_of_St_James_Found.asp
catholic.com/library/Bad_Aramaic_Made_Easy.asp

The “Ossuary” which had rekindled this debate has been discredited now for some time, but most didn’t see the write-ups (discrediting it) since it went from “man bites dog” to “dog bites man” story.
Dano


#11

I think it’s highly possible St. Joseph was a widower and had children by a previous marriage.


#12

Lets put it this way even Calvin and Luther when reading the passages that relate James as Brother of Jesus thought it said in effect he was Jesus Cousin. So it its obvious as some protestants think as reading the English text than they have overllooked even their own protestant church history. Their is a lot going here culturally (Jewish) and in the transliteration from aramaic to greek.
But hey try telling this to those who think that the King James Bible was good enough for Jesus and that it fell from the sky and so forth and its and really a conversation going nowhere.

The treateise where the master bible scholar Saint Jerome relates how Jesus brothers are really cousins is really a masterpiece in Bible exegesis and I think he has the correct interpretation here.
The other possibility is not so much based on scripture exegesis but a tradition that came from the (protoevangelium) Gospel of James where it desribes the backround of Mary as a child and gets into more detail her relationship between her and her parents, her and Joseph and the Infacy particulars.
This is where the idea that Joseph is an old goat who married a young Mary but had previous kids from an earlier marriage.
Though this book was eventually deemed non-canonical by the East and West, the tradition stuck with the East especially via icons. Its acceptable in the West to beleive it but it has become the minority opinion as it seems based entirely on the Gospel of James.


#13

Luke 22:32 - Jesus tells Peter to strengthen his “brethren.” In this case, we clearly see Jesus using “brethren” to refer to the other apostles, not his biological brothers.

Acts 1:12-15 - the gathering of Jesus’ “brothers” amounts to about 120. That is a lot of “brothers.” Brother means kinsmen in Hebrew.

Acts 7:26; 11:1; 13:15,38; 15:3,23,32; 28:17,21 - these are some of many other examples where “brethren” does not mean blood relations.

Rom. 9:3 - Paul uses “brethren” and “kinsmen” interchangeably. “Brothers” of Jesus does not prove Mary had other children.

Gen. 11:26-28 - Lot is Abraham’s nephew (“anepsios”) / Gen. 13:8; 14:14,16 - Lot is still called Abraham’s brother (adelphos") . This proves that, although a Greek word for cousin is “anepsios,” Scripture also uses “adelphos” to describe a cousin. :blessyou:


#14

[quote=Ghosty]It’s possible that he was a widower. It’s not said in Scripture, but there is a tradition that he was married to a woman before Mary, and may have had children with her.
[/quote]

The perpetual virginity of Mary has always been reconciled with the biblical references to Christ’s brethren through a proper understanding of the meaning of the term “brethren.” The understanding that the brethren of the Lord were Jesus’ stepbrothers (children of Joseph) rather than half-brothers (children of Mary) was the most common one until the time of Jerome (fourth century). It was Jerome who introduced the possibility that Christ’s brethren were actually his cousins, since in Jewish idiom cousins were also referred to as “brethren.” The Catholic Church allows the faithful to hold either view, since both are compatible with the reality of Mary’s perpetual virginity.


#15

[quote=Ghosty]It’s possible that he was a widower. It’s not said in Scripture, but there is a tradition that he was married to a woman before Mary, and may have had children with her.
[/quote]

The only problem with that is it would have been unthinkable in the culture of the time, and in fact would have been somewhat horifying to the audience of people present for a younger sibling to have given advice to an older brother. Like respecting your elders.


#16

[quote=jamjostab]How do we explain Jesus brother James (galatians1:1-24) to a protestant from scripture and the Chuch History.
[/quote]

This is an easy one.

Gal 1
18: Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days.
19: But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother.

Now there were two Apostles named James.

Matt 10
2: The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the** son of Zeb’edee**, and John his brother;
3: Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

No James, son of Joseph.

Now there is a version that uses something other than Aposlte in Gal 1:19. Can’t recall what term it uses. But the term is not contradictory to the term Apostle and it is a minority translation as just about all translate it apostle. Further we do know that James the apostle stayed in Jerusalem.

This with the cultural explanation’s explained by others makes it extremely unlikely that this James was a son of Mary.


#17

Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaG
*There is no term for cousin. Thus brother can also refer to cousin.

Also, he may have been Jesus’ brother, his step brother son of Joseph but not of Mary.*

What Bible says?

Matthew 13: 53-56

" And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. 54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things"?

And Markus says in his gospel 6:3

" Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him".

On the basis of what has been stated it is quite clear, that Jesus had brothers and sisters and Mary was mother of all.

I doun´t think so, that Matthew and Markus can lieing.

Kostja


#18

[quote=Kostja]Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaG
*There is no term for cousin. Thus brother can also refer to cousin.

Also, he may have been Jesus’ brother, his step brother son of Joseph but not of Mary.*

What Bible says?

Matthew 13: 53-56

" And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. 54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things"?

And Markus says in his gospel 6:3

" Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him".

On the basis of what has been stated it is quite clear, that Jesus had brothers and sisters and Mary was mother of all.

I doun´t think so, that Matthew and Markus can lieing.

Kostja
[/quote]

The problem with your post is that there was another Mary at the Cross.

John 19
25: So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag’dalene.

It would be very odd for Mary, Jesus mother not to be identified as such so it seems more likely that this Mary is the mother of James and Joses. This fits well with Gal 1:19 where James is not the Lord’s literal, son of Mary brother quite clearly.

Likely the James is James son of Alpheus and Clopas is a form of Alpheus or in a diffrent language like Peter, Cephas. None of this can be proven with certainty but the things you site as proof are far from as certain as you make them.

Blessings


#19

Kostja, welcome to the forum,

[quote=Kostja] What Bible says?
Matthew 13: 53-56
" And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. 54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things"?
And Markus says in his gospel 6:3
" Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him".

On the basis of what has been stated it is quite clear, that Jesus had brothers and sisters and Mary was mother of all.

I doun´t think so, that Matthew and Markus can lieing.

Kostja
[/quote]

Wonderful explanation, however it disproves your contention and reinforces ours, please read carefully.

[quote=] 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things"?
[/quote]

It states that James is NOT the biological “brother” to Jesus, unless of course you are arguing that Joseph is the BIOLOGICAL father of Jesus. It is in the EXACT same relationship and they are NOT biological! Answer the question then

[quote=] 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son?
[/quote]

Well, yes, it is the carpenters son, in the same sense as James is His brother.
May the peace and love of our Lord, Jesus the Christ, be with you,
Tom


#20

[quote=thessalonian]It would be very odd for Mary, Jesus mother not to be identified as such so it seems more likely that this Mary is the mother of James and Joses. This fits well with Gal 1:19 where James is not the Lord’s literal, son of Mary brother quite clearly.

Likely the James is James son of Alpheus and Clopas is a form of Alpheus or in a diffrent language like Peter, Cephas. None of this can be proven with certainty but the things you site as proof are far from as certain as you make them.

[/quote]

You’ve got it nailed. Also, if challenged by someone that they can “prove” Jesus had a brother, go on the offensive: Challenge them to show you the verse saying ANY of these “brothers” were sons of Mary and Joseph. They won’t find it, because there is no such bible verse.

The second-century historian Hegesippus explains that Clopas was the brother of Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus. Now, Joseph had died while Jesus was still young, and there is no record or tradition that Mary had brothers of her own. It would have been an obligation of Joseph’s family, therefore, to take Joseph’s widow and orphan into their home and finish raising his orphan (Jesus) as one of their own sons. In the Middle East, even today, the extended family concept still lives. One’s “brothers” are not only sons of your own two parents, but also your close family members of your own generation.

Further, John 19:25 names the women under the cross as “his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” Mary was a common name in those days, but not so common as to be given to two blood sisters. “His mother’s sister,” when viewed through the understanding of the Middle Eastern extended family relationship, also includes a sister-in-law, i.e., the wife of Joseph’s brother. Matthew 27:56 clairfies the identity of “Mary the wife of Clopas” by naming her sons when naming the women standing under the cross: “among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.”

For a more comprehensive writeup on this, see the Catholic Answers tract “Brethren of the Lord” at catholic.com/library/brethren_of_the_lord.asp


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