Who was James the Bishop of Jerusalem


Was he James the lesser, the Apostle? I assumed he was one of the Apostles, but recently I heard he wasn’t. Does anyone have any good information on him?


James the Less and James the Great were both Apostles. The Less was stoned to death and the greater beheaded. Both evangelized in Palestine. The greater is the one thought to have gone to Spain, so I guess the Less must have been head of the Church at Jerusalem.


Are you sure there was not another James? When the twelve were listed, they never called James the Lesser, “James the Brother of the Lord”. And yet the Bishop of Jerusalem was often referred to as “James, the Brother of the Lord”.


James the Greater

Also known as
one of the Sons of Thunder; Jacobus Major; Iago; Santiago

**Memorial **
25 July; formerly 5 August

**Profile **
Son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of Saint John the Apostle, and may have been Jesus’ cousin. He is called “the Greater” simply because he became an Apostle before Saint James the Lesser. Apparent disciple of Saint John the Baptist. Fisherman. He left everything when Christ called him to be a fisher of men. Was present during most of the recorded miracles of Christ. Preached in Samaria, Judea, and Spain. First Apostle to be martyred.

James the Lesser

Also known as
Jacobus Minor; James the Younger; James the Just

**Memorial **
3 May

**Profile **
Apostle. Cousin of Jesus. Brother of Saint Jude Thaddeus. One of the first to have visions of the risen Christ. First Bishop of Jerusalem, writer of the Epistle that bears his name.

Having been beaten to death, a club almost immediately became his symbol. This led to his patronage of fullers and pharmacists, both of whom use clubs in their professions.

Like all men of renown, large stories grew up around James. He is reported to have spent so much time in prayer that his knees thickened, and looked like a camel’s. Soon after the Crucifixion, James said he would fast until Christ returned; the resurrected Jesus appeared to him, and fixed a meal Himself.

**Died **
martyred c.62 at Jerusalem by being thrown from a pinnacle of the Temple, then stoned and beaten with clubs, including fuller’s mallets, while praying for his attackers

Patron Saints Online


[LEFT] There were 6 James mentioned:

The Apostle James Zebedee
(brother of the Apostle St. John)

     The Apostle James son of   Alphaeus

     James the “brother” of Jesus;   Jesus’ “brothers” in general

James whose mother is Mary

James, the “brother” of Jesus and Bishop of Jerusalem

James, the father of the Apostle Jude


[LEFT]I see mainly two here. Using terms provided by Fidelis, this is what I see:[/LEFT]

[LEFT]James the Greater[/LEFT]


James the Lesser[/LEFT]


James the Lesser[/LEFT]


James the Lesser
[LEFT](that would be Mary of Alphaeus, Alphaeus being her husband, and Alphaeus being the brother of St. Joseph)[/LEFT]


James the Lesser[/LEFT]


? Not sure where this came, from because Alphaeus is the father of the Apostle St. Jude.


http://www.hudsonrivergallery.com/RobertaWilliams/images/Roberta-Williams-7-240x313-Saint-Jude-16x20.jpg [/LEFT]



St. James the Great



Here’s some more information:
James is identified in the very early document the Proto-Evangelium of James as the son of Joseph the Carpenter, born of Joseph’s first wife. The Proto-Evangelium of James may be the document St. Jerome was referring to when he noted that some think James was the son of Joseph by an earlier wife who died before Joseph was espoused to the Virgin Mary. We also have documents written by the men who were contemporaries of James or who lived with a generation or two of the great saint that mention James the Just. Bishop Ignatius of Antioch who listened to the words of salvation at the feet of the Apostles wrote to the Trallian Christians prior to his death c. 107AD, “And what is the presbytery but a sacred assembly, the counselors and assessors of the Bishop? And what are the deacons but imitators of the angelic powers, fulfilling a pure and blameless ministry unto him as the holy Stephen did to the blessed James, Timothy and Linus to Paul, Anencletus and Clement to Peter? *Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians, *chapter 7 Ante-Nicene Fathers vol. 7, page 69].We can assume the James St. Ignatius mentions is James of Jerusalem since Stephen was a deacon in that faith community. Notice Ignatius gives James the title “blessed” and not Apostle.


The most complete description of James the Bishop of Jerusalem is found in the writings of Hegesippus, a man who lived within the shadow of the Apostolic Age of the Church. Hegesippus writing between c.155-180AD (although some scholars date his writings earlier in the 2nd century), was one of the Church’s earliest chroniclers.

His sketches of the fathers of the early Church from surviving fragments from his five books of commentaries titled The Acts of the Church are descriptive and intriguing, like his description of James, brother of the Lord and the first Bishop of Jerusalem in which he not only identifies James the brother of Jesus as the first Bishop of Jerusalem but also provides the information that James, like John the Baptist was “holy from his mother’s womb” and like John abstained from both eating meat and drinking wine: *

“James, the Lord’s brother, succeeds to the government of the Church in conjunction with the Apostles. He has been universally called ‘the Just,’ from the days of the Lord down to the present time. For many bore the name of James; but this one was holy from his mother’s womb. He drank no wine or other intoxicating liquor, nor did he eat flesh’ no razor came upon; his head; he did not anoint himself with oil, nor make use of the bath. He alone was permitted to enter the Holy Place: for he did not wear any woolen garment, but fine linen only. He alone, I say, was wont to go into the Temple: and he used to be found kneeling on his knees, begging forgiveness for the people—so that the skin of his knees became horny like that of a camel’s, by reason of his constantly bending the knee in adoration to God, and begging forgiveness for the people.

Therefore, in consequence of his pre-eminent justice, he was called the Just, and Oblias, which signifies in Greek ‘Defense of the People,’ and ‘Justice,’ in accordance with what the prophets declare concerning him” *[fragments from Hegesippus’ Five Books of Commentaries on the Acts of the Church, Ante-Nicene Fathers, volume 8, page 762. *Also see: Eusebius, Church History, 2.23.5 quoted in The Early Church Fathers volume I page 79].


I have a hard time believing Joseph had a first wife. I know this is a popular theory. But it would be hard for his first wife’s children not to be resentful of the huge, holy, and reverent love Joseph must have had for Mary, and also of their father’s most Perfect Child, whom he would not only love, but worship. Thats treating Him differently than his own children. Mary would have to be involved in their lives, and their children’s lives. That would be hard when your child is your Lord and all you want to do is adore Him. Joseph’s children would have missed their father while he was in Egypt. They’d have to make up for lost time when he got back. That would put a cramp on the quiet life of the Holy Family that Jesus would have enjoyed before giving his all to his three years of ministry. So I have a hard time with that theory because it doesn’t make sense. And, aren’t there some really weird, “off” things about the Proto-Evangelium of James? I am not sure. I think I am remembering that, though.



Eliza, the children could have been grown and on their own? I’m not sure of any “radical” things in the Proto-Evangelium of James.


I could be all wrong about errors in Proto-Evangelium of James; its just what I am remembering from somewhere. I will look into it sometime.

But if the children were all grown up and on their own, they would still be his children and Joseph would still be their father, and the children’s children would be his grandchildren and they certainly would want him a part of their lives. Conflicts could arise. Because Joseph would be reluctant to leave Jesus and Mary for things. What could be more important than every moment with Jesus and Mary - being with them or doing things for them? But he’d also be expected for important moments for his children and grandchildren. See?



I don’t think Joseph would let anything get in the way of his responsibility to the Lord.


I thought Joseph the guardian father of jesus had a brother named Cleophas and that the Mary of Cleophas was in fact Mary the mother of Jesus’ sister in law.

When it speaks of Jesus brothers and sisters in the gospels it is in fact speaking of His cousins who descended from Joseph’s brother Cleophus.


List of “James”

The Apostle James son of Alphaeus

James the “brother” of Jesus; Jesus’ “brothers” in general

James whose mother is Mary

James, the “brother” of Jesus and Bishop of Jerusalem

James, the father of the Apostle Jude

James White



The Church does not accept the Protoevangelium of James as an inspired writing.


And that means…

I don’t think anyone here claims its Scripture. But just because it’s not Scripture, does not mean it’s false. The Didache’s not inspired. St. Clement’s letter to Corinth. etc, etc.

There’s is a point I’m working my way to on this thread. I’m just trying to establish who James, the Just is. I’m thinking he was not one of the Apostles and I want to see what is the evidence that proves he is or he is not.


Ow! Ow! Ow! My tongue! I think I bit it in two! :stuck_out_tongue:


My understanding is that “James the Just” is “James the Lesser”. The Catholic Encyclopedia says so also.

Looking for a referencre for this, I see that Wikipedia has Matthew listed as brother of James the Less, saying that Alphaeus is the father of both. From the gospel as a whole you can see this is not possible. Matthew is never listed as Jesus’ cousin (brother) while James and Judas are.

If I knew how to edit Wikipedia I would!

Personally, I like “James the Just” better than “James the Less”.


I think they are the same. Here is Catholic Encyclopedia:

The identification of James (3), the brother of the Lord and James (4), the son of Mary, and probably of Cleophas or Clopas offers some difficulty. This identification requires the identity of Mary, the mother of James (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40), with Mary the wife of Cleophas (John 19:25), and, consequently, the identity of Alpheus (2) and Clopas (4). As Clopas and Alpheus are probably not two different transcriptions of the same Aramaic name Halpai (see CLEOPHAS), it must be admitted that two different names have been borne by one man. Indeed, there are several examples of the use of two names (a Hebrew and a Greek or Latin name) to designate the same person (Simon-Petrus; Saulus-Paulus), so that the identity of Alpheus and Cleophas is by no means improbable.

On the whole, although there is no full evidence for the identity of James (2), the son of Alpheus, and James (3), the brother of the Lord, and James (4), the son of Mary of Clopas, the view that one and the same person is described in the New Testament in these three different ways, is by far the most probable. There is, at any rate, very good ground (Galatians 1:19, 2:9, 2:12) for believing that the Apostle James, the son of Alpheus is the same person as James, the brother of the Lord, the well-known Bishop of Jerusalem of the Acts. As to the nature of the relationship which the name “brother of the Lord” is intended to express, see BRETHREN OF THE LORD.

Text from: newadvent.org/cathen/08280a.htm


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