Mary's other children

I have LDS friends who believe that mary had other children because of verses like matthew 13:55 and others. How is the best way to defend catholic beliefs that mary indeed did not have other children.

There are only four brethren of Jesus named in the Gospels: **Matthew 13:55 ** “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?”

**Mark 6:2-3 ** - “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?”

Let’s begin with James. There are two men named James among the disciples. One, of course, is the brother of John and the son of Zebedee. This cannot be him then. So, this is the other James, called in Scripture James the less: Mark 15:40: “There were also women looking on afar off: among whom were Mary Magdalene, and ** Mary the mother of James the less, and of Joseph,** and Salome.” (emphasis added)
So James is indeed the son of a woman named Mary. Not only that, but Joseph is his brother. That’s two of the four, right? Then, in Matthew, reciting the names of the twelve: Matt 10:3: “…'James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus.” (emphasis added)
This too is talking of James the less, as the other James, son of Zebedee, is spoken of in the previous verse. It is NOT a trick or really that hard! * Alphaeus* is this James’ father, not Joseph, the husband of Mary, mother of the Lord.

Now go to John also speaking of those witnessing the Crucifixion: John 19:25: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother (Mary) and His mothers sister, *** Mary the wife of Cleophas***, and * Mary Magdalene*.” (emphasis added)
Look up John 19:25 at blueletterbible.org/ and click the ‘C’ icon (for the Strong’s Concordance), then click the Strong’s number for the name Cleophas. It comes up “father of James the less, the husband of Mary the sister of the mother of Jesus.”

Did you get that? That Mary, who was the mother of James the less, and of Joseph, from Mark 15:40, is the wife of Cleophas, the father of James the less, and she is called the ‘sister’ of Our Lord’s mother - Mary!

So, two of the four ‘brothers’ have been identified as the children of parents other than Joseph and the Virgin Mary. Of the brothers named, that still leaves Jude and Simon. Next, Jude: Acts 1:13 ** "…James, the son of Alphaeus , and Simon Zelo’tes, and ** Jude the brother of James…" (emphasis added)
There goes Jude out of the mix! *** Matter of fact, Jude says the same in his own epistle: Jude 1:1 "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ *** and brother of James…" (emphasis added)
Lastly, Simon. Simon, called the Zealot, is identified as coming from Cana, not Nazareth as were Joseph, Mary and the Christ! Luke 6:15 "and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and ** Simon who was called the Zealot
," (emphasis added)

Mark 3:18 “Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and ** Simon the Cananaean**…” (emphasis added)

Matt 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. (emphasis added)
Simon is a Cananean, while Jesus is a Nazarene!

We see that Simon the Zealot being from Cana, and a ‘brethren’ or ‘brother’ of the Christ. Let’s go to John’s Gospel, chapter 2. Mary and Our Lord are invited to a wedding there! So, close business associates, maybe, of Joseph from the carpentry trade, or more likely - family, or brethren, relatives, are having this wedding! Like, maybe the Holy Family had actual kinfolk in Cana, be they cousins, in-laws, nephews, aunts, uncles, all of which are routinely called ‘brethren’!

Remember what Mary said to the servants? She told them to ‘Do as He says.’

Think about that a second? What would give this humble woman from Nazareth any position to so speak to the servants of someone else in an entirely different town, at their wedding? The simplest and most easily understood answer would be – she is a family relation to those giving the wedding feast…

So Simon is from Cana, and a ‘brother’ of the Lord! He’s not a sibling though, but very likely related. And James, Joseph and Jude all have the same father and mother, and it is not Joseph and the Virgin Mary, but their mother is named Mary and called the sister of Jesus’ mother Mary. Even here ‘sister’ may not mean blood sibling, or we have two sisters with the same name in the same family.

Hard to argue with that. thanks so much and God Bless!

Also, whenever Mary is referenced as someone’s mother, it is only “Mary, the Mother of Jesus”. Never Jesus and James, etc.

Also remember that in Aramaic, there was no word for cousin, etc…, so the word for “brother” was the common word used. James, Joseph, Simon, etc… were cousins, children of the brothers and sisters of Mary and Joseph. It was also not uncommon for there to be more than one “Mary” in a family.

Also, if Mary had other children, especially sons, why would Jesus have left the care of his mother after his death on the cross to John, a non-relative. That would have been improper and unheard of at that time. A mother’s care would have automatically gone to the next oldest son. Jesus asked John to care for his mother because there were no other children to entrust her to.

[quote=SM26] Hard to argue with that. thanks so much and God Bless!
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I beg to differ! Erich has presented some good arguments. However, according to what he presented, 3 of the 4 brothers listed are 3 of the 12 apostles. John 7:2-5 says, “Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. And his brethren said to him: Pass from hence, and go into Judea; that thy disciples also may see thy works which thou dost. For there is no man that doth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, manifest thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him.” (DR Emphasis mine). Matt 12:46-47 says, “As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him. And one said unto him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee.” (DR Emphasis mine). If James, Simon and Judas were disciples of Jesus AND the brothers mentioned in Matt 13:55, how is it that these verses tell us that the brothers of Jesus didn’t believe in him, and traveled with his mother instead of the rest of the disciples?

[quote=NotWorthy] Also, whenever Mary is referenced as someone’s mother, it is only “Mary, the Mother of Jesus”. Never Jesus and James, etc.
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This makes perfect sense considering the subject of the Gospels was Jesus, not the rest of the family.

[quote=puppypatrol] Also remember that in Aramaic, there was no word for cousin, etc…, so the word for “brother” was the common word used. James, Joseph, Simon, etc… were cousins, children of the brothers and sisters of Mary and Joseph. It was also not uncommon for there to be more than one “Mary” in a family.

Also, if Mary had other children, especially sons, why would Jesus have left the care of his mother after his death on the cross to John, a non-relative. That would have been improper and unheard of at that time. A mother’s care would have automatically gone to the next oldest son. Jesus asked John to care for his mother because there were no other children to entrust her to.
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Of course, we know that Mary and Elizabeth were cousins because the Bible tells us plainly (Luke 1:36). I guess it’s a good thing the New Testament was written in Greek. Of course, we do have some examples of Aramaic (Matt 27:46). As for why Jesus gave John the charge of His mother, his brothers weren’t there, plus He had a covenant relationship with John (as well as the other Apostles. See Matt 12:46-50).

Regarding my comment that “Mary, the Mother of Jesus” is how she is referenced…

No, we see all the other “Children of the Gospel” listed with their mothers, as indicated in other posts regarding “Salome” and “James and Joses”. Why wouldn’t she be called “Mary, Mother of Jesus and James” if James was in the Gospels?

Or, at least, it might tell us plainly if it had been originally written in English.

The Greek συγγενής is, as you can see here, translated as “kinsman” 7 times, “kinsfolk” twice, “kin” once… but “cousin” only twice.

Jesus was called “the son of Mary” rather than “a son of Mary” in his hometown (Mark 6:3).

As you continue with your studies, you will learn that the bible was not originally spoken in Greek. Jesus and the apostles spoke Aramaic, not Greek and they were originally Jews with Jewish customs. Aramaic was translated to Greek and, since there was no word in Aramaic for “cousin” or many other titles for relatives, there couldn’t have been a translation to Greek for “cousin”. The Aramaic word used simply means a blood relative and was used to describe a cousin, nephew, and even brother.

As for the idea that Jesus gave John charge of His mother just because “he was there” still would not have happened and would have been totally inappropriate if Jesus had brothers according to Jewish law and customs. John would have also known better that to have accepted and usurp any claim a brother would have had.

In reference to the bible verse you supplied, read carefully and in context. Jesus is not speaking just to the apostles but many of those who came to listen. Jesus is stating that anyone who does the will of His Father are His brothers and sisters, not blood. He is also stating that Mary was His mother, not just because she gave birth to Him but because she did the will of the Father by giving birth to him. Jesus often regarded his followers as brothers and sisters just as we regard all christians our “brothers and sisters” in Christ. It doesn’t mean we are blood relatives.

I hope this will give you pause for further study with your own mind and that you will soon find your way back to the fullness of the faith.

[quote=NotWorthy] No, we see all the other “Children of the Gospel” listed with their mothers, as indicated in other posts regarding “Salome” and “James and Joses”. Why wouldn’t she be called “Mary, Mother of Jesus and James” if James was in the Gospels?
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We do. See Matt 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3. I know, the “Church” has “infallibly” declared that “brother” and “sister”, in these cases, does NOT mean “brother” and “sister”, but it DOESN’T “infallibly” declared their exact relationship to Jesus. I strongly disagree! The Gospels were written in Greek, and inspired by the Holy Spirit. These references to the brothers and sisters of Jesus come from people that grew up with Him. There is no mention of aunts, uncles, cousins, or other near relatives (even though there were words sufficient to identify these relationships in the Greek). If the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of Matthew and Mark to use ἀδελφὸς and ̓δελφαὶ, then it can only mean brother and sister. As for why they were not addressed as the children of Mary, remember, the focus is on Jesus, not Mary.

Well you have clearly made up your mind already and aren’t particularly interested in contrary facts (since you just disregard the careful delineation of the actual parentage of the named brothers of the Lord), but have you considered the problem that there are no early writings (in or out of the Church) to support your position? That in fact the earliest discussion of the issue is the Protoevangelium of James, which purports that the “brothers” were children of Joseph by a previous marriage?

Why in a land and culture that put so much value on preserving the knowledge of genealogies, burial sites, etc, are there no first-or-second century claims to being an immediate family member of Jesus or Mary?

Or how about the fact that there was much hoopla over that ossuary a few years ago that supposedly proved what Protestants have always proclaimed – except that, oops, it turned out to be a hoax.

This is a classic case of building an argument backwards to prove a conclusion that is important for some other reason - in this case a need to discredit the authority of the Church.

[quote=Erich] The Greek συγγενής is, as you can see here, translated as “kinsman” 7 times, “kinsfolk” twice, “kin” once… but “cousin” only twice.
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Still, there was an acceptable word besides brother and sister that could have been used, but wasn’t.

[quote=Erich] Jesus was called “the son of Mary” rather than “a son of Mary” in his hometown (Mark 6:3).
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Again, the focus is on Jesus, not Mary. The verse goes on to name His brothers and mention His sisters (though not by name).

[quote=puppypatrol] As you continue with your studies, you will learn that the bible was not originally spoken in Greek. Jesus and the apostles spoke Aramaic, not Greek and they were originally Jews with Jewish customs. Aramaic was translated to Greek and, since there was no word in Aramaic for “cousin” or many other titles for relatives, there couldn’t have been a translation to Greek for “cousin”. The Aramaic word used simply means a blood relative and was used to describe a cousin, nephew, and even brother.
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I guess if you could show me a gospel written in Aramaic from back then I might be more inclined to give some credence to what you’re saying. However, we do see Aramaic used in Matthew and Mark (Matt 27:46 and Mark 15:34). Notice how the Gospel writer distinguishes Aramaic from the Greek.

[quote=puppypatrol] As for the idea that Jesus gave John charge of His mother just because “he was there” still would not have happened and would have been totally inappropriate if Jesus had brothers according to Jewish law and customs. John would have also known better that to have accepted and usurp any claim a brother would have had.
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I suggest you do a study on Covenants. You will see where King David took in the son of Johnathan (whom he had a covenant with), and cared for him, even though he had living relatives that could have taken care of him. Even in the Middle East today there is a saying, “Blood is thicker than milk”. This indicates that a covenant bond is stronger even than the family bond.

[quote=puppypatrol] In reference to the bible verse you supplied, read carefully and in context. Jesus is not speaking just to the apostles but many of those who came to listen. Jesus is stating that anyone who does the will of His Father are His brothers and sisters, not blood. He is also stating that Mary was His mother, not just because she gave birth to Him but because she did the will of the Father by giving birth to him. Jesus often regarded his followers as brothers and sisters just as we regard all christians our “brothers and sisters” in Christ. It doesn’t mean we are blood relatives.
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It is amazing how far you missed the point! Who wanted to see Him? His mother and His BROTHERS! Not His disciples! He was told that His mother and BROTHERS wanted to see Him, not His mother and His disciples. It is not unreasonable to think that His disciples were with Him when He was teaching, since this was His normal pattern, so who were the “brothers” that were with Mary?

[quote=puppypatrol] I hope this will give you pause for further study with your own mind and that you will soon find your way back to the fullness of the faith.
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I truly appreciate your concern, and will also pray for you.

[quote=NHInsider] Well you have clearly made up your mind already and aren’t particularly interested in contrary facts (since you just disregard the careful delineation of the actual parentage of the named brothers of the Lord), but have you considered the problem that there are no early writings (in or out of the Church) to support your position? That in fact the earliest discussion of the issue is the Protoevangelium of James, which purports that the “brothers” were children of Joseph by a previous marriage?
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You don’t consider Matthew and Mark early writings? And pointing to the protevangelium of James doesn’t work (sure, it’s the basis for things like Mary’s perpetual virginity, immaculate conception and bodily assumption, but it’s a spurious writing at best from about the middle of the 2nd century). If Joseph had other children, Jesus would NOT be the rightful heir to the Throne of David.

[quote=NHInsider] Why in a land and culture that put so much value on preserving the knowledge of genealogies, burial sites, etc, are there no first-or-second century claims to being an immediate family member of Jesus or Mary?
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Considering the persecution that was going on, maybe His blood relatives were a little hesitant to draw attention to themselves. Who knows what records were lost when the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD? Of course, this is speculation on my part, but I haven’t heard anything to convince me otherwise.

[quote=NHInsider] Or how about the fact that there was much hoopla over that ossuary a few years ago that supposedly proved what Protestants have always proclaimed – except that, oops, it turned out to be a hoax.
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This is a straw man argument. Since this has been proven to be a hoax, it is not worthy of bringing into this discussion.

[quote=NHInsider] This is a classic case of building an argument backwards to prove a conclusion that is important for some other reason - in this case a need to discredit the authority of the Church.
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You mean like claiming Luke 1:28 and the greeting by the angel (“Hail, full of grace”, kecaritwmenh) means that Mary was immaculately conceived? I don’t think your claim is valid. The Scriptures use “Brother” and “Sister” in context of the family of Jesus (along with His mother and father), but no other relatives. How is it reading back into the text what I want to see when it’s the Church that says the Scriptures do NOT mean what they say?

A few points:

  1. Jesus’s ENTIRE FAMILY went to Jerusalem for the Passover, in Luke 2.44. Mary, Joseph, Jesus and RELATIVES and friends. Although these relatives and friends are mentioned, there is NO MENTION of any other children. Since Jesus was twelve at the time, and some here are claiming that Mary had at least SEVEN other surviving children apart from Jesus! at least one or two of them should have been mentioned here. Then we are to believe that both Mary AND Joseph abandoned these other extremely young children to go back to Jerusalem (a days journey) and search for Jesus for three days. If Mary had had other young children it is extremely unlikely she would have abandoned them. So not only are no other children mentioned, but neither Mary or Joseph ACT is if they had any other children.

  2. If Jude/Judas were truly the brother of Jesus, why wouldn’t he say so? He identifies himself in his letter as brother of James, but significantly as SERVANT of Jesus. To have identified himself as Jesus’s blood brother would have added enormous weight to his epistle, but he doesn’t so identify himself here. We know the reason, because James and Joseph are identified as sons of the OTHER Mary in Matthew 27 and Mark 15. Judas then seems to be a son of this other Mary.

  3. James “Brother of Jesus” is referred to as one of the APOSTLES by Paul in Galatians 1.9. Yet we know from Matthew 10:2-4 that neither of the Apostles named James was actually a Son of the Virgin Mary! .

  4. In order to allege that the Apostle James, “brother” of Jesus was a Son of Mary, you have to invent a shadowy third Apostle called James. But is this credible?

One could try to argue that a **third ** James, (supposed blood brother of Jesus), was elevated to the Apostleship at some time after the resurrection. However this presents a number of difficulties…

a) Why is this “third James” **never ** mentioned in the gospel accounts?
b) Why would the Apostles take a non-apostle as their leader in Jerusalem?
c) Why is the 3rd James’s elevation to Apostle not mentioned in scripture?
d) Why did Jesus give Mary as Mother to John, if this “third James” existed?
e) What happened to the “second” James, son of Alphaeus after the resurrection?
If we imagine a “third James”, then James the Apostle, son of Alphaeus disappears from history mysteriously at exactly the same time the supposed “third James”, just as mysteriously appears.

Is it not obvious that it is James the Apostle, Cousin of Jesus, who is the Apostle and “brother of the Lord” of the early church in Jerusalem?
The “Third James” hypothesis doesn’t hold water.

The Church has always taught that the Virgin Mary was ever virgin, a perpetual virgin. No other children were given birth by the Virgin Mary. Church tradition has taught this from apostolic times, and the Bible does NOT contradict this as Erich’s post clearly proves. If Muslims, Mormons, Evangelicals or Martians claim to be able to interpret the Sacred Scriptures as delivered by the Church of Christ to posterity, with more authority than herself, it is only because gullible people easily accept the testimony of men who tout their own claims, as Jesus himself sadly observed in the Gospels. :frowning:

Happily, Catholics are blessed with an infallible teacher, guided by the Holy Spirit, unlike the mere men who see through a lens of prejudice and foolishness but dimly.

No, I don’t consider that Matthew and Mark say what you claim they say, and I would suggest that the fact that you have to come forward in time considerably more than a century to find people defending your interpretation suggests that it is a later view.

If Joseph had other children, Jesus would NOT be the rightful heir to the Throne of David.

Huh? You’re suggesting that Jesus’ descent from David is through Joseph? If so we have a bigger point of difference than I thought.

Considering the persecution that was going on, maybe His blood relatives were a little hesitant to draw attention to themselves. Who knows what records were lost when the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD? Of course, this is speculation on my part, but I haven’t heard anything to convince me otherwise.

Speculation that doesn’t fit the evidence vis a vis the others of the inner circle.

This is a straw man argument. Since this has been proven to be a hoax, it is not worthy of bringing into this discussion.

It is evidence of the desperation of modern anti-catholic redactionists to “prove” what they want to be true.

The Scriptures use “Brother” and “Sister” in context of the family of Jesus (along with His mother and father), but no other relatives.

huh? What other relatives might it be referring to?

Look, to take seriously the argument that all the brothers and sisters mentioned in the Gospels are children of Mary the Mother of Jesus, you have to accept that Mary and Joseph had a child every 15 months or so for a decade after Jesus was born (and she still made that trip to Jerusalem when He was 12) AND that they gave a couple of them duplicate or near-duplicate names (which were also duplicated within at least two other families who wound up as Apostles), AND that none of them was a suitable person to undertake the obligation of caring for Mary after the death of her eldest AND that there is no further record or mention of them in the historic record, AND that those 7 siblings did not produce any offspring who in the second century would have known that they were grandchildren of Mary and Joseph.

From a purely practical standpoint the traditional belief that these relatives are the offspring of more than one couple is just way more likely. Granted that it is impossible to prove anything conclusively from a lack of evidence, your position, ardent as you may be about it, is implausible.

Huh? You’re suggesting that Jesus’ descent from David is through Joseph? If so we have a bigger point of difference than I thought.
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Actually NHInsider, there is some merit to Cachonga’s argument. In fact the Church has also had a long standing tradition that Joseph was also a perpetual virgin. Yes, there are other old traditions of him having children too, and his being an old geriatric case, but then, like now, those traditions were probably based on faulty readings of the Gospels, and in efforts to answer those who would have said those “brethren” were actual children of the Virgin Mother of God. Nevertheless, there are ancient traditions holding the perpetual virginity of both Joseph and Mary. As times progressed, and more was taught about the Holy Family, that tradition has grown in strength. :wink:

True, but Joseph’s celibacy or lack there of would have no bearing on whether or not Jesus is descended from King David. That has to have been through Our Blessed Mother, unless Cachonga is actually denying the Incarnation as well as Mary’s Perpetual Virginity. :slight_smile:

[quote=NHInsider] True, but Joseph’s celibacy or lack there of would have no bearing on whether or not Jesus is descended from King David. That has to have been through Our Blessed Mother, unless Cachonga is actually denying the Incarnation as well as Mary’s Perpetual Virginity.
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So, of the 2 genealogies we have (Matthew and Luke), which one is Mary’s? Why do they both go through Joseph? As the oldest son of Joseph (or step son, as the case truly was), Jesus inherits the right to the throne through Joseph. The genealogies confirm the royal line (through Joseph). If it was dependent upon Mary’s genealogy, why do we (supposedly) find it in a spurious work from the middle of the 2nd century (Protevangelium of James) instead of the Gospels?

I do not deny the Incarnation, and would suggest that anyone who would is not a Christian!

I agree with Cachonga on this issue.

I understand that Jesus is the son of David through His Adoption by Joseph. This is one of the reasons it was crucial for Joseph to stay with Mary, thus the angel’s intervention.

Another interesting angle to the angel’s intervention is that Joseph was told to “fear not” to take Mary as his wife. Why would Joseph have had any fear? Fear for Mary’s life because of the exactions of the Mosaic law? Or fear that somehow, however inexplicably, she was untrue to their mutual promises of celibacy. If there had been a mutual consent on this score, (and there would have needed to have been), then Mary’s mysterious pregnancy which became noticeable after her return from her cousin Elizabeth’s would have been a source of incredible anguish to Joseph. Could Joseph have questioned Mary directly? It appears he never did. Could Mary have explained the situation?

The fact that Joseph was unable to question Mary would have been likely due to her always tangible and amazing holiness and humility. How could such a question be asked of such a one?

If they had not mutually promised celibacy to one another beforehand, than Mary’s question to the Angel Gabriel would have been unnecessary. Also Joseph would not have had any doubts about her pregnancy, and her faithfulness. He would have known one way or the other very easily, as he was a Just man. In fact the whole need for the Angel’s intervention would have been unnecessary.

I know there’s no proof for any of this, but there is also no proof to the contrary, and also seems somehow right, given the nature of the Holy Family. :slight_smile:

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