A more detailed look at: Is James the brother of Jesus?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
Prior to the time of Jerome, the standard theory was that they were Jesus' "brothers" who were sons of Joseph though not of Mary. According to this view, Joseph was a widower at the time he married Mary. He had children from his first marriage (who would be older than Jesus, explaining their attitude toward him). This is mentioned in a number of early Christian writings. One work, known as the Protoevangelium of James (A.D. 125) records that Joseph was selected from a group of widowers to serve as the husband/protector of Mary, who was a virgin consecrated to God. When he was chosen, Joseph objected: "I have children, and I am an old man, and she is a young girl" (4: 8-9). The most commonly accepted view is that they were Jesus' cousins. Of the four "brethren" who are named in the Gospels, consider, for the sake of argument, only James. Similar reasoning can be used for the other three. We know that James' mother was named Mary. Look at the descriptions of the women standing beneath the Cross: "among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee" (Matt. 27:56); "There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome" (Mark 15:40). Then look at what John says: "But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene" (John 19:25). If we compare these parallel accounts of the scene of the Crucifixion, we see that the mother of James and Joseph must be the wife of Cleophas. So far so good. An argument against this, though, is that James is elsewhere (Matt. 10:3) described as the son of Alphaeus, which would mean this Mary, whoever she was, was the wife of both Cleophas and Alphaeus. But Alphaeus and Cleophas (Clopas in Greek) are the same person, since the Aramaic name for Alphaeus could be rendered in Greek either as Alphaeus or as Clopas. Another possibility is that Alphaeus took a Greek name similar to his Jewish name, the way that Saul took the name Paul. So it's probable that James is the son of Mary and Cleophas. The second-century historian Hegesippus explains that Cleophas was the brother of Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus. James would thus be Joseph's nephew and a cousin of Jesus, who was Joseph's putative son. This identification of the "brethren of the Lord" as Jesus' first cousins is open to legitimate question--they might even be relatives more distantly removed--but our inability to determine for certain their exact status strictly on the basis of the biblical evidence (or lack of it, in this case) says nothing at all about the main point, which is that the Bible demonstrates that they were not the Blessed Virgin Mary's children.
-- Abraham T (email@example.com), April 21, 2003
-- Sara (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 21, 2003.
abraham, i dont know that ive read your postings before but i like your stuff, a little long, but its good
-- paul (dontSendMeMail@notAnAddress.com), April 21, 2003.
I like your argument, Abraham. It doesn't mean I cannot poke holes in it. It is true alphaeus is Clopas. Hegesippus and others many times try to find an explanation for anything. Your argument accounts only for 2 of Jesus brothers and 1 of her sisters as mentioned in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55. You need Judas and Simon plus the other sister. Whose children are these?
-- Elpidio Gonzalez (email@example.com), April 21, 2003.
I guess I'd be content to just call em all part of his extended family and let it go at that.
-- Leon (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 21, 2003.
Actually I am not a very knowledge filled person. I am a man of a lot of faults. I cannot answer your question in detail because of the limitations of my knowledge in theology and these matters. There should be someone more qualified and with more knowledge who should be able to clarify your doubts. Faith plays a major role in knowing the truth, in fact the most prominent role. Then we have to consider the scriptures along with the traditions and how the information were passed on to us because of the primitive nature of that period. If not, we wouldn't know a lot that we know now. Also, the early chrisitans are those who were in contact with those who were in contact with Jesus, and the information that they have passed on to us that the church has accepted could never be wrong because we know that God is the head of the universal church that he built and he looks over the teachings and matters regarding faith etc. Miracles that are approved by the catholic church by means of painful research by even non catholics play another role, but many people find supernatural matters ridiculous so it is hard to convince them anyway. Only by a combination of scriptures, other reliable information, the catholic teachings, lives of saints, the message from miracles that we know is true, and above all else, our faith, we could clarify our doubts and be at peace. Faith alone is enough but to those who need more, that is the only way. Disregarding any of that means we are going the wrong way. You have a lot of knowledge in these matters and I think you are very interested in these matters. I hope someone better than me will help you. I have no doubts.
-- Abraham T (Lijothengil@yahoo.com), April 22, 2003.
Paul - I just found this forum 3 days ago. I also arrived in the country recently and my english is very limited even though it is my second language. I used to be in a catholic mailing list back in India, and have read and made research on several christian topics, and a lot of priests and good people with great knowledge have helped me. It is the information that I got from all that and from them that I have, and I have to pass it on. In the mailing list we worked to clarify the doubts of protestants and to stop catholics from feeling doubts about their faith. I am actually the worst person to do that because like I said I am a man with a lot of faults so usually I like to stay silent and watch the posts, but I love to add some information and to be of some help to someone.
-- Abraham T (email@example.com), April 22, 2003.
Abraham, Thank you for your posts. You sure helped me on one of my recent questions. God Bless
-- john placette (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 22, 2003.
"Little paul," Abraham's opening message was written by Karl Keating or one of his colleagues in apologetics at Catholic Answers, Inc. (San Diego). Abraham (or a "secondary source" of his) copied it from this page. [Scroll down about 2/3 of the page to find "Prior to the time of Jerome ...".] Abraham has good information and will help many, but he needs to identify his sources, so that those who have done hard work get proper credit.
Elpidio, you told Abraham: "Your argument accounts only for 2 of Jesus brothers and 1 of her sisters as mentioned in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55. You need Judas and Simon plus the other sister. Whose children are these?"
It is not necessary for Abraham to explain these additional things to you explicitly -- for two reasons, the first one appealing to faith, the second to reason:
(1) The infallible Church that Jesus founded tells us that Mary was not the mother of Judas, Simon, or any daughters. She is the "Ever-Virgin" Mary.
(2) The words in the passages you mentioned should help you to realize the facts. Let's take Mark 6:3: "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?".
Now, the Catholic Answers tract (copied by Abraham) has demonstrated that James and Joses were not sons of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Therefore, it stands to reason that the word "brother" in Mark 6:3 does not mean mean "son of the same mother." Consequently, Judas and Simon are also not sons of the same mother (Mary), but kinsmen of Jesus. By extention, then, it is logical to conclude that the word "sisters" in the same verse refers to kinswomen, not to daughters of Mary. (It helps to keep in mind, too, that no sacred writer and no early Church Father refers by name to any man [or woman] as a "son [or daughter] of Mary of Nazareth" -- except for Jesus himself. Besides these, there are additional persuasive arguments for the perpetual virginity of Mary.)
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (email@example.com), April 22, 2003.
Thank you J.F. I have read these and written personal notes for me all a very long time ago. I don't remember any of the sources now. Yes, the proper credit should be given to those who deserve. I just wanted to share what I got. Sorry if I seemed like taking credit away from where it is due.
-- Abraham T (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 2003.
Thank you very much, Abraham, for that acknowledgment. I won't trouble you any more in the future. You are making many excellent contributions to the forum!
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (email@example.com), April 23, 2003.
May I suggest that The Church's Blessed Virgin, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is at the foot of the cross. Now unless she was considered too unimportant for two of the gospel writers to mention, then in Matthew 27:56 Of Mary Magdalen, Mary the mother of James and Joses and the mother of Zebedee's sons, she must be the mother of James and Joses; in Mark 15:40 of Mary Magdalen, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses and Salome, she must be the mother of James the younger and of Joses. Luke - always sensitive to the Blessed Virgin avoids mentioning the women by name. John 19:25 mentions his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalen. It is Mary the wife of Clopas (Alphaeus - father of Matthew and James) who is the extra woman here, not Our Lord's mother. Perhaps she was described as the mother of James and Joses, because they accompanied her; and it might be to one of his brothers - a beloved disciple (usually thought to be John, but without irrefutable grounds) to whom Jesus entrusted his mother. The case for a lack of blood brothers is far from proven.
-- Michael Stead (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 19, 2004.
Mary the mother of Jesus was indeed at the foot of the cross, close enough for Jesus to speak to her. We know this from John 19:26. This means that none of the women mentioned in Matt 27:56 could have been the mother of Jesus, for verse 55 specifically says that all these women were NOT at the foot of the cross, but were watching with a group of other women "from a distance".
The disciple accompanying Mary at the foot of the cross was clearly John. The only scriptural references to "the disciple Jesus loved" are in the gospel of John, and after using that phrase in John 21:20, John identifies himself as that disciple in 21:24. Therefore it is clear that Jesus entrusted the care of his mother into the hands of someone who was not a blood relative - an act which would have been considered scandalous in Jewish culture if Jesus had younger half-brothers who could have assumed responsibility for their mother.
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), April 19, 2004.
Nice to hear from you! Missed your input.
-- Dan Garon (email@example.com), April 19, 2004.
john posted that more than half a year ago. for all we are concerned, he has left us for good now.
-- paul h (dontSendMeMail@notAnAddress.com), April 20, 2004.
Paul, you make some interesting points, however Mary Magdalen is clearly identified in both groups of women. I think the gospels describe the women in different places at different times, in John, before Jesus dies, they are at the foot of the cross. In Matthew and Mark, after Jesus has died and there has been an earthquake, they are watching from a distance, and it is the centurion who is by the cross.
John 21:24 records that the authors (we) of 'John' got their information from the beloved disciple, who wrote down his memories. I do not think any serious scholars regard the identify of the beloved disciple as established beyond question.
I think we should be careful of taking anything as an established fact, simply because we have become accustomed to reading things in a particular way.
-- Michael Stead (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 20, 2004.