Translation of the words "brother" and "cousin"


Well, Jerome does cite 4 authors, and unfortunately we do not have their full writings on this matter.

Yes , siblings is refuted, so is Protevangelium for saying Joeph had children from previous marriage, or that Jesus just appeared, some say out of her side, others from the “east gate”. Many say she was not virgin due to child birth of Christ.


he mentioned are the only ones there however where why they weren’t there is debatable. I don’t think a discussion on that would be profitable. Fun but not enlightening.

So since it is mentioned nowhere all we would get is my opinion against your opinion. I already mentioned where they might have been.
Our guide in Israel brought up why they chose Passover to put Jesus on trial. It is because if they had chosen another time there would have been crows that would have defended Jesus. But those who would have defended Him were not in the city. Again I state we don’t know where the brethren were. Their home place was Nazareth. They may not have been at the Crucifixion because they didn’t know about it. Even if they had heard of His arrest it would take four days to go to Jerusalem.


Who refuted Protoevangelium ? As for the others side, east gate or child birth, I don’t know who said those things but the last was declared heresy. I suspect the others were too.


post 163:

“He puts a heavy premium for not walking in spirit and truth, even the loss of privelege of caring for your mother. Though later repenting (His brethren), like David, the consequence of sin may still be there to bare. And who knows, the consequence of sin, loss of guardianship of one’s mother, may have led such brethren to finally repent of such sin, and believe in the Holy One, their brother.”


I still can’t find it, maybe another thread? It isn’t post 163 on this thread. I have essentially answered it.


Oh boy its 363…and have no excuse…was on computer
…back up excuse is…senior moment, beg your pardon


again, it is refuting parts of the James story: I think Clement of Alexandria affirms its influence but questions its accuracy of facts, that she was born in normal fashion, and not a virgin after birth/because of it. So to Iraneaus,

Of course jerome disputes james and says the brethren were not of Joseph first marriage but were cousins.

I have read that Augustine is first to quote Ezekiel 44:2, the closing of the east gate, meaning that Mary was virgin before, during and after the birth experience , that is not normal birth, as in book of james…forgot who said this but they believe Christ came out of Mary’s side (as in east gate) and not normal birth (south gate)…again Jmaes says Christ came out of a bright light, just appeared ready to nurse.

But the few articles i just read do attribute much forging of such Marion doctrine on said book of this proteveangelium of james


"Some Catholic scholars (Pesch, Meier, Refoulé) affirm that a historical-critical reading of the New Testament does give much support to the Helvidian hypothesis. Whereas, some Protestant scholars (Raukamp, Pelikan) conclude that the Epiphanian or the Jeromian hypotheses enjoy strong biblical support, "


LOL! I found it and yep we have already discussed it.

I have a page that is very relevant to this discussion. Unfortunately, I cannot upload it. It is two pages long and some we have already discussed. One particular point was according to Jewish law it would have been illegal if Jesus had younger brothers for Jesus to ask anyone who was not a family member to take care of His mother.
Another point Jerome in his criticism of Helvidius calls his ideas novel. So late in the 4th century it was a novel idea meaning that it was a new interpretation.

as a side note I started this post at five. three hours later I posted. Why? two year old boy.


What an article. It covers everything we have been discussing.It has been enlightening mcq but I don’t see anything we can add I don’t think there is anything more to be said since the article says it all. I do wish to post a couple of things from the article
We covered this at one point.

The tradition adopted that point of view–be it the Catholic one, the Orthodox one, or even the Reformation one (with Luther and Calvin)–until the nineteenth century, when Protestant biblical scholars started to question the consensus in the name of the historical-critical method of interpretation. Their views were widely adopted within the Protestant denominations, making of Mary’s perpetual virginity one of the great markers of dissent.

continued in next post


This expresses what I have tried to say in answer to why did they use the word brother when the Greek had a word for cousin.

Ancient Greek considers how the family members of a same generation may be related, and distinguishes between an adelphos , “brother,” and an anepsios , “cousin.” Since the New Testament was written in ancient Greek, the sponsors of the Helvidian interpretation argue that wherever the word “brother” is used it refers to a true sibling. They concede that if we can suppose an original Hebrew or Aramaic that preceded the Greek text, we may accept that the New Testament authors felt bound to translate the original Hebrew or Aramaic expression word-by-word into Greek. But when such an original text or fixed expression cannot be supposed, they continue, we need to acknowledge that the authors of the New Testament made the distinction between “brother” and “cousin,” since they were writing in Greek.

The psychological and anthropological reality of speaking and writing in a language of another culture is, however, more complex. I was able to witness it when I was living in Abidjan, the major city of the Ivory Coast, in West Africa. It is today a big city of about four million inhabitants that grew up in a zone originally scarcely populated. The sparse original population was not able to absorb the waves of immigrants coming from all over the former French colonies in West Africa. The only language all these people had in common was French, and French became thus the native language of Abidjan. In most native languages of West Africa, no distinction is made between a “brother” and a “cousin,” whereas such a distinction exists in French. Nevertheless, the inhabitants of Abidjan, whose mother tongue is French, who have been raised and educated in French, continue to use the French word for “brother” when they speak of a “cousin.” Using the French word for “cousin” would betray the way they envision social and family relationships. When the people of Abidjan want to specify that “brother” means a true blood sibling, they need to add “same father, same mother” ( même père , même mère ). Full siblings are a particular kind of brothers; they do not constitute the benchmark of brotherhood. The socio-cultural milieu of the authors of the New Testament is Judaism. So, we can accept the idea that, even if their text does not suppose a Hebrew or Aramaic substrate, in their use of Greek words they would naturally convey the way their own Judaic society and culture envision social and family relationships.


Here are a few points against the cousin theory not discussed yet, from another article (still trying to find article written by catholic (Meier) who favors Helvidian view

  • In the NT the brothers of Jesus always appear in the company of Mary, His mother, and never with their parents, a highly unlikely situation,

  • It is highly improbable that two sisters would have had the same name;

  • If the brothers of Jesus were actually cousins and three of them were among the Twelve, it could not be said, “His brothers were not believers in him” (John 7:5). Jacobs calls this “the crowning difficulty of this hypothesis” (519); efforts at arguing that only some of the brothers did not believe are most unconvincing. Furthermore, throughout the NT the brothers are named as a group quite distinct from the apostles;


yes , but i think article is not sure if indeed there ever was a Hebrew of Aramaic text first…as my later article points out, historians now are going along lines of probability and no longer possibility

from the article you posted: “They concede that if we can suppose an original Hebrew or Aramaic…”


. Not always John 7:3 Mary is not present.
. The statement that they were never with their parents is unproveable because brothers and sisters covered the relationship of Uncle and Aunt.

It is highly improbable that two sisters would have had the same name;

Not certain of your point.
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.
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, mentioned as brothers

If the brothers of Jesus were actually cousins and three of them were among the Twelve, it could not be said, “His brothers were not believers in him” (John 7:5). Jacobs calls this “the crowning difficulty of this hypothesis” (519); efforts at arguing that only some of the brothers did not believe are most unconvincing. Furthermore, throughout the NT the brothers are named as a group quite distinct from the apostles;

Don’t understand what is being said here.Certainly do not understand how this is against Jesus being an only child.


The paragraph that followed this statement explained. It is that explanation that I was referring to.


I would just add that nowhere in the NT do we get writing such as Mary took her children ……
or Jesus and his brothers went to their mother ………
We also don’t get any succession problems arising in early Christianity due to a group wanting to follow the bloodline family of Jesus.
Also when the nature of Jesus is explained we never get a comparison with his brothers and sisters which would have seemed natural and appropriate.
Also there is no tradition in the church of siblings of Jesus.
Also when Jesus is on the cross he asks John to look after his mother and take her into his home.
Also the use of ‘brothers’ in the NT often portrays a broader relationship than siblings.

After Jesus’ resurrection he asks the women at his tomb to go and tell his brothers and so they go and tell the 12 (minus 1) apostles.

I assume since the Aramaic culture at the time used a generic term for brother then it was natural when translating to the Greek to keep this cultural idiom.


One sentence explanation that the article took a paragraph. Great job


Again, it is a critique on who the brethren were, specifically the cousin theory, as opposed to Joseph’s children theory, and third option, real siblings.


More true if you are writing from an aramaic text, which I really doubt.

I would think the writers were also first hand witnesses, and actually knew the nature of these brethren, and would not “dumb down” the “setting the record straight”, from a more precise Greek to a inconclusive Aramaic.


Correct, nor does it say she took her nephew’s or step children, or “Joseph’s children” or the children of another Mary etc.

Again the focus at that time, and in scripture, is not Mary ( beyond conception and birth)as much as it is to Jesus, and how people relate to Him. So for example, one would say the brethren of Jesus, instead of the brethren (or children) of Mary.

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