There are two men named James


#1

One of the men named James was the son of Zebedee. Who was James the Lord’s brother (Gal1:19)?

Thanks,


#2

There are actually three men named James. James the son of Zebedee, and James the son of Alphaeus are the two within the Twelve. This James was neither of the two mentioned; he did NOT believe in Jesus until AFTER His resurrection.


#3

The other James (called James the Lesser) was a relative of Jesus who became a disciple probably after Jesus’ Resurrection. He was the author of the Epistle that bears his name and the bishop of Jerusalem. It was he that, after Peter declared that the Gentiles could become Christians without becoming Jews, defined the limited restrictions they were required to follow to associate with Jewish believers (Acts 15). According to tradition, he was later martyred by the Jewish leaders by being thrown off of the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem.

James the Lesser - Catholic Online


#4

According to the traditions of some of the Eastern Churches, James, the Brother of the Lord was a son of St. Joseph from a previous marriage. This is reflected in the iconography of the Flight into Egypt.


#5

James, the brother of the Lord, was the son of St. Joseph the Betrothed and Salome. He later believed after Christ’s death and became the leader of the Christians in Jerusalem.


#6

There are actually three or four men named ‘Jacob’ or ‘James’ (Jameses?) 1st-century Jews did not have a large pool of names to choose from, and there was apparently a custom of reusing the same names within the family, so there were a lot of people named ‘James/Jacob’, ‘Mary’ and ‘Jesus’ around at the time.

  • James son of Zebedee
  • James son of Alphaeus
  • James brother of Jesus
  • James the younger (or ‘James the less’)

‘James the younger’ is mostly identified with James son of Alphaeus. A few people have gone so far as to identify James son of Alphaeus with James brother of Jesus.

We could also add in the ‘Jacob’ who appears in Matthew’s genealogy (1:16) as Joseph’s father. So that’s, like, five Jacobs now.


#7

Some apologists make a pretty strong case that James the son of Alpheus and James the brother of the Lord are one and the same James.

A few biblical texts are
Mark 6:3,
Matt 13:55,
John 19:25, Mark 15:40, Matt 27:56

It is also generally accepted that Alpheus (Mark 3:18) and Cleophas (John 19:25) are the same person.


#8

Yep. James the Less was related to Jesus. But, those two are two different people.


#9

What is the evidence that they are two different people?


#10

John 7:5.

James the Less was crucified in Egypt. James the brother of Jesus was killed in Jerusalem.


#11

From Agape Bible Studies:

In the Biblical passages referring to James, the “brother” or kinsman of Jesus the first Christian Bishop of Jerusalem, none of these passages identifies James the bishop as one of the 12 Apostles: Mark 5:37; 6:3; Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; Gal.1:19; 2:9; 2:12; James 1:1; Jude 1:1; 1 Corinthians 15:3-7. Let’s take for example St. Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 written circa 54AD: “I handed on to you first of all what I myself received that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that He was buried and, in accordance with the Scriptures, rose on the third day; that He was seen by Cephas, then by the Twelve. After that He was seen by 500 brothers at once, most of whom are still alive, although some have fallen asleep. Next He was seen by James; then by all the apostles.” Paul notes that the resurrected Savior was seen by:
Cephas = Simon-Peter, who Paul identifies by his title ROCK in Aramaic which is rendered “Kepha” but transliterated into Greek is rendered as Kephas or Cephas.
The Twelve, which had become a title for the original Apostles chosen from among the 70 disciples as the leaders of the Church.
500 believers
James
By the rest of the disciples, or apostles which we might designate with a small “a” to distinguish them men from the 12 Apostles. The other “apostles” includes the original 70 men who were Jesus’ disciples during His 3 years of ministry, among them Barnabas and Stephen, and men like St. Paul who came to believe after the Resurrection and became leaders in the Church.

Notice that Paul does not place the man he names as “James” within the framework of the first 12 Apostles selected by Jesus, nor in all the existing ancient writings of the Church fathers is James the brother of Jesus ever identified as one of the 12 Apostles. James the Just can be identified as an “apostle” in the same way Paul and Barnabas and others of influence in the early Church are identified as “apostles” or messengers sent out by the authority of the Twelve [see Acts 14:14; Romans 1:1; 16:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28ff; Ephesians 2:20; Philippians 2:18 (“messenger” or “representative” in the Greek in this passage is apostolos), but he is not identified in this way by Paul in this passage.

However, the most powerful Biblical evidence eliminating the Apostle James son of Alphaeus as the “brother/kinsman” of Jesus is found in the statement in the Gospel of John that Jesus’ brothers/kinsmen did not believe in Him during His ministry: “Not even his brothers had faith in him.” John 7:5 [also see Mark 3:21, 31-35]. It is only after Jesus’ Resurrection and His post Resurrection appearance to His “brother/kinsman” James [1 Corinthians 15:3-8] that we find the “brothers/kinsmen” of Jesus praying with the Virgin Mary and the Apostles and disciples in the Upper Room: “”…they went to the Upper Room where they were staying; there were Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Jude son of James. With one heart all these joined constantly in prayer, together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers." Acts 1:13-14. Notice that in this passage none of the Apostles are identified as Jesus’ “brothers.”


#12

Not exactly.

First of all, St. Paul was not following any logical order when he listed those who had seen the Resurrected Jesus.

First he mentions St. Peter, the head of the Apostles. Then he mentions the 12. But Peter was one of the 12. Then he mentions that he was seen by St. James. And then by all of the apostles, meaning, I agree, more than the 12.

Apparentlly, he singles out Sts. Peter and James because they are the highest ranking Apostles.

As for the Jameses, they are both related to Our Lord. One of them is a first cousin, and thus a “brother” of the Lord. The other, more distantly related. Here is how it is discovered in Scripture.

Now, the first mention of Jesus’ brothers, in Scripture, is this:

Matthew 13:55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Jude:

Who is this James?

He is the son of Mary’s sister, so called because she is Mary’s cousin. She is married to Alphaeus and her children are all Jesus’ brethren. James, Simon and Jude are all Apostles. Members of the 12.

Matthew 10New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 10
The Mission of the Twelve. 1 Then he summoned his twelve disciples** and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. 2 The names of the twelve apostles[c] are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector;

James, the son of Alphaeus,(This is James, son of Mary of Clophas.)
and Thaddeus; (This is Jude, also the son of Mary of Clophas)
4 Simon the Cananean, (And this is Simon, also the son of Mary of Clophas)…

Notice that they are always lumped together when the names are recited. The other one which is always mentioned with them is Matthew. I think he is Joses, or Levi because Scripture says:

Matthew 9:9
And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

Mark 2:14And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.

Notice that Matthew is Levi, another son of Alphaeus.

These are all Jesus’ brethren. Cousins.

But, how about James and John?

Well, have you noticed that Jesus leaves His mother to St. John to take into his home? In Jewish custom, the mother could not be left to a stranger, but to the closest kin. This is strong proof that St. John was very closely related to Our Lord. That would make St. James the greater, closely related to our Lord, as well. He is the elder brother of St. John.

But who are Sts. James and John? They are the children of Zebedee? Who is Zebedee? He is the husband of Salome? Who is Salome? She is the daughter of Mary, the wife of Clophas (i.e. Alphaeus), the mother of James, Joses, Simon and Jude.

Mark 15:40 There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome.

That makes St. John related to Jesus. Which is why Jesus could leave His Mother to his care. And that makes St. James the greater, another relative of Jesus. Another, brother.

I hope that helps.**


#13

I’m pretty sure Alphaeus was a common name, so Matthew is out. And Judas Thaddeus is the son of James.

James the brother of the Lord is a son of Joseph from a previous marriage.

And as for evidence that these two were different dudes from the same website I cited:

The ancient document, The Recollections (of homilies) of Clement, is believed by some scholars to be a collection of homilies written by the disciple of St. Peter who became the much loved Clement Bishop of Rome (martyred c. 96/100?AD), the 4th to hold the “keys of the Kingdom” after (and counting) St. Peter. Other modern scholars dispute the authentic nature of the document as being the work of St. Clement. Scholars do agree that this is an ancient document written within memory of the Apostolic Age. This document is of interest to us because in it James of Alphaeus is clearly distinguished as a different man from James the Just.
· “After him James the son of Alphaeus gave an address to the people, with the view of showing that we are not to believe on Jesus on the ground that the prophets foretold concerning Him, but rather that we are to believe the prophets, that they were really prophets, because the Christ bears testimony to them…” Recollections, Chapter LIX – Pharisees Refuted [page 93, Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.8].
· “Now when we had come to our James, while we detailed to him all that had been said and done, we supped, and remained with him, spending the whole night in supplication to Almighty God, that the discourse of the approaching disputation might show the unquestionable truth of our faith…Therefore, on the following day, James the bishop went up to the Temple with us, and with the whole Church.” In chapter LXIX James of Jerusalem challenges the Pharisees and the High Priest. Recollections, Chapter LXVI- Discussion Resumed, [page 95, Ante-Nicene Fathers vol. 8].

There is also the ancient document known as the Epistle of Clement to James in which Clement writes to James of Jerusalem concerning the details of St. Peter’s martyrdom. Both the Epistle of Clement and Hegesippus, the early Church historian, place Peter’s death before James while the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus appears to put James’ death earlier. No where in the letter to St. James does Clement refer to James as one of the 12 Apostles or by the designation that was common at this time, that James was one of “The Twelve.”

Bishop Eusebius (c. 260-340AD) in his Church History recorded ancient fragments of documents from the earliest years of the Church. He included fragments form St. Clement of Alexandria’s lost book the Hypotyposes which written sometime in the mid to late 100s or very early 200’s AD. In Book VII.1 St. Clement mentions James the Just: “To James the Just, and John and Peter, the Lord after His resurrection imparted knowledge. These imparted it to the rest of the Apostles, and to the rest of the Apostles to the Seventy, of whom Barnabas was one.” The title “James the Just” is never coupled with the title “James son of Alphaeus” in any ancient document.


#14

That’s simply. your unsubstantiated opinion.

And Judas Thaddeus is the son of James.

I’ve heard that elsewhere, but the evidence from Scripture is that he is James’ the Lessers, brother.

James the brother of the Lord is a son of Joseph from a previous marriage.

Not according to Pope Benedict the XVI:

*James, the Lesser

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Beside the figure of James the Greater, son of Zebedee, of whom we spoke last Wednesday, another James appears in the Gospels, known as “the Lesser”. … The Letter that bears the name of James is also attributed to him and is included in the New Testament canon. In it, he is not presented as a “brother of the Lord” but as a “servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Jas 1: 1).*…

One and the same. Here’s the link:
w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/audiences/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20060628.html

And as for evidence that these two were different dudes from the same website I cited:

The ancient document, The Recollections (of homilies) of Clement, is believed by some scholars to be a collection of homilies written by the disciple of St. Peter who became the much loved Clement Bishop of Rome (martyred c. 96/100?AD), the 4th to hold the “keys of the Kingdom” after (and counting) St. Peter. Other modern scholars dispute the authentic nature of the document as being the work of St. Clement. Scholars do agree that this is an ancient document written within memory of the Apostolic Age. This document is of interest to us because in it James of Alphaeus is clearly distinguished as a different man from James the Just.
· “After him James the son of Alphaeus gave an address to the people, with the view of showing that we are not to believe on Jesus on the ground that the prophets foretold concerning Him, but rather that we are to believe the prophets, that they were really prophets, because the Christ bears testimony to them…” Recollections, Chapter LIX – Pharisees Refuted [page 93, Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.8].
· “Now when we had come to our James, while we detailed to him all that had been said and done, we supped, and remained with him, spending the whole night in supplication to Almighty God, that the discourse of the approaching disputation might show the unquestionable truth of our faith…Therefore, on the following day, James the bishop went up to the Temple with us, and with the whole Church.” In chapter LXIX James of Jerusalem challenges the Pharisees and the High Priest. Recollections, Chapter LXVI- Discussion Resumed, [page 95, Ante-Nicene Fathers vol. 8].

Not conclusive. The Ancients made no effort to standardize names within a document. There are several examples where the same individual is mentioned by different titles in the same book.

There is also the ancient document known as the Epistle of Clement to James in which Clement writes to James of Jerusalem concerning the details of St. Peter’s martyrdom. Both the Epistle of Clement and Hegesippus, the early Church historian, place Peter’s death before James while the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus appears to put James’ death earlier. No where in the letter to St. James does Clement refer to James as one of the 12 Apostles or by the designation that was common at this time, that James was one of “The Twelve.”

Absence of evidence is not proof. Especially when it is placed against the inerrant Word of God
Galatians 1:19 But I did not see any other of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.

and the studied judgment of a great Pope, Benedict the XVI.

Bishop Eusebius (c. 260-340AD) in his Church History recorded ancient fragments of documents from the earliest years of the Church. He included fragments form St. Clement of Alexandria’s lost book the Hypotyposes which written sometime in the mid to late 100s or very early 200’s AD. In Book VII.1 St. Clement mentions James the Just: “To James the Just, and John and Peter, the Lord after His resurrection imparted knowledge. These imparted it to the rest of the Apostles, and to the rest of the Apostles to the Seventy, of whom Barnabas was one.” The title “James the Just” is never coupled with the title “James son of Alphaeus” in any ancient document.

Never is hard to prove. And the Catholic Encyclopedia says:

*The identity of the Apostle James (2), the son of Alpheus and James (3), the brother of the Lord and Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem (Acts 15, 21), although contested by many critics and, perhaps, not quite beyond doubt, **is at least most highly probable, and by far the greater number of Catholic interpreters is considered as certain *(see BRETHREN OF THE LORD, where the chief argument, taken from Galatians 1:19, in favour of the Apostleship of St. James the brother of the Lord, is to be found).
newadvent.org/cathen/08280a.htm

See also:
newadvent.org/cathen/02767a.htm

St. Jerome also agrees with me. Or should I say, I also agree with St. Jerome:
newadvent.org/fathers/2708.htm

So, my opinion is in good company.

I don’t guess you’ll change your opinion, you sound as though you’re vested in it. And since I have to many authoritative sources which tell me different, I won’t change mine.

Thanks for the discussion.


#15

Yep. What will always remain undisputable is that Jesus had no half-brothers. :smiley:


#16

Amen!


#17

Originally Posted by James248
*John 7:5

James the Less was crucified in Egypt. James the brother of Jesus was killed in Jerusalem.*

There are two problems with what is being asserted here.

#1. James the brother of John was killed in Jerusalem (Acts 12:2).

#2. John 7:5 states: “For neither did his brethren believe in him”. The use of “brethren” is extremely ambiguous.

Does it mean….
A) Blood brother or very close kinship? (Mat 1:2, 4:21; Mark 6:3).
B) Of the same people, ancestry, or countrymen? (Acts 2:29,37; Romans 9:3).

Originally Posted by James248
*However, the most powerful Biblical evidence eliminating the Apostle James son of Alphaeus as the “brother/kinsman” of Jesus is found in the statement in the Gospel of John that Jesus’ brothers/kinsmen did not believe in Him during His ministry: “Not even his brothers had faith in him.” John 7:5. [also Mark 3:21, 31-35,**John 7:5 could just as easily refer to his fellow Nazarenes (his countrymen) who did not believe in him causing him to say that “no prophet is acceptable in his own country” (Luke 4:16, 24). Mark 3:21 his “friends” seize him and verses 31-35 are silent on the belief of his mother and brethren. It goes beyond the written text of John 7:5 to assume that it actually refers to close relatives. It goes further beyond the text to assume that it applies to anyone named “James” who is a non-believer because no names are mentioned.

[quote]It is only after Jesus’ Resurrection and His post Resurrection appearance to His “brother/kinsman” James [1 Corinthians 15:3-8] that we find the “brothers/kinsmen” of Jesus praying with the Virgin Mary and the Apostles and disciples in the Upper Room.

There is no indication that the James who Jesus appeared to after his resurrection was either; a) a believer or non-believer, or b) the “brother of the Lord”, or c) James the brother of John the son of Zebedee, or d) James the son of Alpheus.

It is equally plausible that Jesus appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve apostles, then to 500, then to one of the apostle James alone, then again to all twelve apostles together or the 70 disciples. Once again it goes beyond the written text to assume that this James is not an apostle. Or that he was an unbeliever up to this point. Or that this is even James, the brother of the Lord. Or that this James has any connection at all to his “brothers/kinsman” in John 7:5.

Galatians 1:18-19 is actually a strong indication that James is indeed one of the twelve apostles.

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

Since Cephas is one of the twelve, than “none of the other apostles” is referring to “the other twelve apostles” not merely other disciples. “Except” is inclusive to what was previously excluded. Therefore Galatians 1:19 affirms that James the Lord’s brother is one of the twelve apostles.

Since Galatians 1:19 is the only place that “James the Lord’s brother” is specifically used, it seems most likely that it is actually James, the brother of John, who this is referring to. He is one of the three apostles that Jesus has a unique relationship with: Peter, James, and John (Matt 17:1; Mark 5:37; 9:2; 14:33; Gal 2:9).

Peter is the Rock (Cephas)
James and John are the sons of Zebedee, the sons of thunder, John “the beloved disciple”, and James “the brother of the Lord”.
[/quote]


#18

There were MANY apostles who were outside the Twelve. We find Paul in Galatians defending WHY HE is an apostle.

And I’m pretty sure James, Joses, Judas, and Simon were His brothers. No one else.


#19

The bottom line is, everyone has an opinion, but no one knows for certain.

Glad we could help clear that up for you.:smiley:


#20

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.