19 votes, average: 4.79 out of 519 votes, average: 4.79 out of 519 votes, average: 4.79 out of 519 votes, average: 4.79 out of 519 votes, average: 4.79 out of 5 (19 votes, average: 4.79 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.
Loading...

Was James the Actual Brother of Jesus?

I’ve started talking about the epistle of James, first in relation to Paul (yesterday) and then in relation to … James, the man himself, Jesus’ brother (today).   My ultimate goal is to explain why I’m sure James himself did not write the letter (later).  But in the meantime I’ve received a question that I should probably address first: did Jesus really have a brother named James?   Uh… don’t a lot of Christians think that Jesus never had any siblings (since his mother remained a virgin)?  How do you explain him having a brother?

I’ve talked about this on the blog before, but in the current context, it’s worth talking about again.  Here’s the question and my response:

 

************************************************************

 

QUESTION:

In what way was the James you are talking about here, the “brother” of Jesus? Was he another one of Mary’s sons from Joseph? Was he another one of Joseph’s sons from a previous relationship?

 

RESPONSE:

One of the non-canonical books from early Christianity that I regularly teach is called the Proto-Gospel of James (which scholars call the Protevangelium Jacobi — a Latin phrase that means “Proto-Gospel of James,” but sounds much cooler….).  It is called the “proto” Gospel because it records events that (allegedly) took place before the accounts of the NT Gospels.   Its overarching focus is on Mary, the mother of Jesus; it is interested in explaining who she was.   Why was *she* the one who was chosen to bear the Son of God?  What made her so special?  How did she come into the world?  What made her more holy than any other woman?  Etc.  These questions drive the narrative, and make it our earliest surviving instance of the adoration of Mary.

On the legends found here was built an entire superstructure of Marian tradition.  Most of the book deals with the question of how Mary was conceived (miraculously, but not virginally), what her early years were like (highly sanctified; her youth up to twelve (lived in the temple, fed every day by an angel), her betrothal to Joseph, an elderly widower with sons from a previous marriage, the discovery of her pregnancy and the “proof” that she (and Joseph) were both pure from any “sin” (such as, well, sex).

The book was originally composed in the second Christian century and it became very popular in Eastern, Greek-speaking Christianity throughout the Ages, down to modern times.  A version of it was produced – with serious additions and changes – in Latin, that was even more influential in Western Christianity (a book now known as the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew).  In some times and places, these books were the main source of “information” that people had for knowing about Jesus’ birth and family – more so than the NT Gospels.  (If you’re interest in reading them, I’ve translated both versions – the Greek proto-Gospel and the Latin Pseudo-Matthew, in my book, The Other Gospels, co-produced with my colleague Zlatko Pleše).

How influential?  The idea that Joseph was an old man and Mary was a young girl?  Comes from the Proto-Gospel (not the NT!).   The view that Jesus was born in a cave?   Proto-Gospel.    The notion that at the nativity there was an ox and a donkey?  Pseudo-Matthew.   And there were lots of other stories familiar to Christians in the Middle Ages not so familiar to people today, all from these books – for example, a spectacular account (in Pseudo-Matthew) of Jesus as an infant, en route to Egypt, helping out his very-hungry mother Mary who was eyeing with longing some fruit at the top of a palm tree, by ordering the tree to bend down and yield its produce to her.  It does, and Jesus blesses the tree and guarantees that one of its branches will be taken to Paradise.

The Proto-Gospel was also responsible for the popularity of one particular view of Jesus’ brothers.

To see the rest of this post, you will need to be a blog member.  Joining gives you access to five posts a week, and over seven years of archives.  And the membership fee, small as it is, goes to help those in need.  So why not?

You need to be logged in to see this part of the content. Please Login to access.


Did James Write James?
Is the Book of James Attacking the Teachings of Paul?

85

Comments

  1. Avatar
    AstaKask  July 15, 2019

    And the reason tabby cats have an “M” on the forehead is that a cat kept Jesus warm during the first, cold night and Mary touched the cat’s forehead in thanks. That’s also where they get the righting reflex. (There’s a similar tradition in Islam, where it’s the Prophet who thanks a cat for saving him from a poisonous snake).

    1
  2. Pattycake1974
    Pattycake1974  July 15, 2019

    Why do the Gospels give us the names of the brothers of Jesus but not his sisters? I’ve also never understood why Acts 1:14 says “All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.” Mary needs to be in this scene, along with certain women, but none of the sisters.

    2
    • Bart
      Bart  July 16, 2019

      Pretty simple: it was the men who mattered.

      5
      • Avatar
        godspell  July 16, 2019

        Not true of Jesus, though. Very rare among men of that period, in his belief that everyone mattered. And that goes some to explain why women were so prominent in the early cult–and why it may well be that it was women who did the most to create the belief that he had risen from the dead.

        2
  3. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  July 15, 2019

    Another very helpful and easy to read summary. After reading stuff written by others I always am quick to appreciate how clearly you think and write. Thanks

    • Bart
      Bart  July 16, 2019

      Thanks. It’s a strange reality that scholars simply are never trained to talk to normal human beings. (Just other abnormal scholars)

      14
      • Avatar
        Judaswasjames  July 17, 2019

        They’re just too busy being full of themselves to bother. I know from long experience. When are you going to give me money back?

  4. Avatar
    dws  July 15, 2019

    Bart, this is an unrelated question intended for your mailbag. I was reading Luke 10:29-37. I just realized Jesus seems to be defining “neighbor” as someone who is like the Good Samaritan. Is that who Jesus thinks we should love as ourselves? We don’t have to love the priest who passed by on the other side?

    1
    • Bart
      Bart  July 16, 2019

      There are hidden complexities in the parable, but I think the idea is that Jesus’ followers are to behave toward others like the Samaritan behaved toward the man in dire need.

      4
  5. Avatar
    Pattylt  July 15, 2019

    I’m a guest in good standing on a Catholic forum and remain in good standing because I’m there to learn about Catholicism, not express my views…I know what my views are!

    Every several months, someone posts a question regarding the perpetual virginity of Mary and the problem with brothers. They are very adamant that the brothers were cousins and they trot out many quotes from the early church fathers to confirm it! This seems so central to their faith…almost like Jesus wouldn’t have raised from the dead if Mary had other children 😂😂😂

    Advice to anyone discussing this with a pious Catholic…you won’t change their mind. The brothers were cousins.

    1
    • Bart
      Bart  July 16, 2019

      Yeah, the problem is that there actually is a word for “cousin” in Greek, as I suppose I said in th epost: ANEPSIOS. And it’s not a word that the NT author use to describe James…

      5
      • Avatar
        Pattylt  July 16, 2019

        Is there a Hebrew or Aramaic word for cousin? One Catholic insists that the Gospels were originally in one of those languages (yes, issues) and that when written in Greek they misunderstood that it was supposed to be cousins but because Hebrew/Aramaic doesn’t have that word…well, you get the picture!

        1
        • Bart
          Bart  July 17, 2019

          Hmm… I can’t remember. But there’s no way that the Gospels were written in a Semitic language. They are Greek through and through.

          1
    • Avatar
      godspell  July 16, 2019

      I was raised Catholic, and certainly taught to believe in Mary’s virginity, but the sibling arguments never came up once. I knew about them only from reading, later in life.

      I read Catholic-produced stories written for children, about Mary and Joseph, and he was described as a strong young man (I think by that time, people were having some qualms about showing a teenager marry a geezer, whether they had sex or not).

      The question of marital relations was elided, as you’d expect in anything produced for children. However, you never saw Jesus’ siblings referred to in such literature. Which frankly, would have enhanced the value of them for me. “Jesus had to put up with pesky insufferable younger siblings, just like I do.” Would have made him more relatable. 😉

      3
  6. Avatar
    JayinHK  July 15, 2019

    Somewhat tangentially related: if both the Proto-Gospel and the questionable references to James in Josephus are forgeries, and James was never one of the disciples (and he thought Jesus was nuts, Mk 3:21), do scholars have any credible theories on how he came to be head (Gal 2:9) of the Church with Simon and John? Or is this considered to be a different James?

    • Bart
      Bart  July 16, 2019

      I’m not quite sure what you’re asking. Most scholars do think Josephus refers to james and taht he was Jesus’ brother and that he at one point thought Jesus was out of his mind. Are you asking about the mythicists who deny such things? They would say that the stories about the brother of Jesus were legends put into the NT, but htere really was a guy named James who was prominent in the church, who was later mistakenly *said* to be Jesus’ brother.

      1
      • Avatar
        JayinHK  July 16, 2019

        I was under the impression scholars believe the reference in Josephus to be forged insertions. Am I wrong, then?

        And the James that Paul mentions is considered to be the same that Mark mentions as a brother, or do they think that James was one of the two listed disciples?

        1
        • Bart
          Bart  July 17, 2019

          Some do, but not most. Paul identifies him not as one of the disciples but as Jesus’ own brother.

          3
      • Avatar
        dgblake  July 19, 2019

        I assume that, him being a mythicist, you’re not too fond of Richard Carrier’s scholarship but he makes a really good argument that the James Reference in Josephus is an accidental interpolation. What do you think?

        • Bart
          Bart  July 21, 2019

          I think he’s completely wrong. I’ve discussed it on the blog on several occasions, I believe.

          1
          • Avatar
            dgblake  July 21, 2019

            Is there a way for me to search your previous posts for discussions of the James Reference. I’m new to the blog.

          • Bart
            Bart  July 22, 2019

            There’s a nice search function available: go to the upper right hand of the screen on the homepage and click the icon that looks like a magnifying glass. Then enter any key word(s) and it will show you the relevance posts. If you still can’t find it, let me know.

            2
      • Avatar
        Tempo1936  July 19, 2019

        The book of Acts does seem to indicate that James was a leader or Pillar of the church (12:27, 15:13, 21:18).
        However there Is no indication that this James was related to Jesus or his brother.

        • Bart
          Bart  July 21, 2019

          That’s right. The author is clearly assuming the readers know which James he is talking about. (Just as he doesn’t identify other known figures in his account, on the same assumption)

          1
  7. Avatar
    AlbertHodges  July 15, 2019

    Sorry, sir, you are making an argument that leaves out a lot of info.

    Some of those “brothers” are actually listed in the NT as the children of Mary of Alphaues.

    Every text of the apocrypha, not just the Proto-Gospel that discusses the subject…few, indeed, refer to the sons of Joseph. Early Church fathers up until the 3rd century were united in their belief that Mary had no other children. Church fathers also list the Gospel of Peter as a source for the perpetual virginity of Mary, although there are no extant copies.

    Even the writer of the NT letter of Jude called him the brother of James and NOT the brother of Jesus…which he surely would have had the writer believed that either James or Jude were the children of Joseph and Mary.

    And if Mary had so many children, why did Jesus entrust her care to the Beloved Disciple? He would have had MANY brothers to give her to, and they would have been highly insulted by him giving her to someone else instead of her own children.

    Early Christian belief did NOT develop in a vacuum, these people were not idiots. While they may have accepted some legends as fact they did NOT fall for any ruse that contradicted their own knowledge. If anyone had known of children of Mary and Joseph, they would have had children and grandchildren alive during the time after the fall of Jerusalem.

    Please cite ANY source that either 1) refers to other children of Mary; and/or 2) explicitly must be translated in the restrictive sense that you are claiming the term “brethren” means, from the first 2 centuries.

    Too many times scholars start off with the idea that somethings just cannot happen….virginal birth or physical resurrections. Regardless of whether or not these were historical events, the Christians of that time were NOT idiots and may fall for a lie in a vacuum but would not buy that bill of goods if they were aware of evidence to the contrary….and there were no evidence to the contrary regarding the fecundity of Joseph through Mary.

    • Bart
      Bart  July 16, 2019

      I’m not sure where you’re getting your information from? Where, e.g., are you getting the idea of children from Mary and someone named Alphaeus? (I.e., what’s your ancient source of information?) And when you say we don’t have copies of the Gospel of Peter, what do you mean? (We obviously do have.) Or when you say that the Gospel of Peter is claimed to support the perpetual virginity of Mary, claimed by whom? (The church fathers who mention it never say anything about it’s views of Mary’s virginity). And when you say that “all” the church fathers of the first three centuries affirm her perpetual virginity, which church fathers are you referrring to? Give us names and references — then we’ll have lots to talk about!

      15
      • Avatar
        vienna1791  July 16, 2019

        @BartEhrman – Is it possible that the example used by Albert of Jesus entrusting Mary’s care to John was added later by scribes who believed that Mary had no other sons? Perhaps during the copying of the text, the way the Jews did for parts of the OT while in captivity?

        • Bart
          Bart  July 17, 2019

          It’s unlikely. The verse is in every manuscript and it coincides with the teaching of the Gospel otherwise. I will point out, though, that Jesus does not entrust Mary to John, but to the “disciple Jesus loved.” The disciple John is never mentioned in the Gospel.

          4
      • Avatar
        forthfading  July 16, 2019

        Dr. Ehrman,

        Catholic scholar Brant Pitre make these points. He makes the best case one probably can for the siblings not being blood related. I am not sure if you are familiar with him or not. Would you be willing to do another post addressing his points? Basically Brant Pitre’s argument was just presented. Thanks, Jay

        • Bart
          Bart  July 17, 2019

          I’d be happy to address the points if someone wants to present them to us in a comment. (Especially the ones that relate to the qeustions/comments I made).

          • Avatar
            forthfading  July 17, 2019

            Dr. Ehrman,

            Here is Dr. Pitre’s argument for Jesus’s brothers being “cousins”. (Take from a post he did).

            I will lay out his argument in two comments.

            “Back to the Gospel of Mark, the question really becomes, is there anything in the context that would suggest to us that the word brother means something other than sibling? In other words, is there anything to suggest that these brothers of Jesus (James, Joseph, Simon and Judas) are not the children of Mary? Now for most Catholics what we would say is, well the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity is what gives me reason to think that those men are not the siblings of Jesus. But for non-Catholic Christians who don’t accept that doctrine, who don’t accept that tradition, that argument is not going to carry any weight for them. So it’s also important to be able to point out that there is not just a doctrinal reason for thinking adelphos doesn’t mean brother here but that there’s a literary reason, that there’s an exegetical reason in Mark’s gospel itself. What is that reason?

            Two of these brothers, James and Joseph the first two mentioned, are elsewhere identified in the Gospel of Mark as the sons of another woman named Mary. Fast-forward to Mark’s account of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, James and Joseph this pair of brothers, appear later in the gospel. And this is what it says. “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 Salo’me, who, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered to him; and also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.”

            “Mark singles out three women there at the foot of the cross: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and then Salo’me. And then, later on in the account, Mark’s going to refer to this woman again. He’ll call her Mary the mother of Joseph in Mark 15:47 and then he’ll call her Mary the mother of James in Mark 16:1, so just alternate between the two brothers. So what’s going on here? Scholars agree that when Mark refers to James and Joseph, these two brothers in Mark 15 & 16, this is clearly the same two James and Joseph that Mark referred to in chapter 6 who are there called the brothers of Jesus.

            Continued

            1
          • Avatar
            forthfading  July 17, 2019

            Last part of Dr. Pitre’s argument,

            “Who is this woman Mary, their mother, who’s at the cross? Mark identifies her as one of the women who travels with them from Galilee, but what scholars have pointed out is that she cannot be the same woman as the mother of Jesus because elsewhere in Mark’s gospel whenever he wants to refer to Mary, the mother of Jesus, he would just call her the mother of Jesus. The other gospel evangelists do the same thing, that’s the obvious way to refer to his mother. And so they pointed out that it doesn’t make any sense to refer to the mother of James and Joseph as the mother of James and Joseph and not the mother of Jesus unless she is a different woman. So who is she? Well she’s the mother of these two men who are called the brothers of Jesus in Mark 6. And so when you put those two things together, Mark 6—them being called his brothers, and then Mark 15 & 16 which they’re called the children of this other woman named Mary, it becomes really clear then that the word brother has to mean something other than sibling.”

            “If you go to John’s gospel, chapter 19, verse 25, he actually makes clear that this Mary that’s at the foot of the cross is the sister of the virgin Mary. He identifies her as Mary, the wife of Clopas. And what’s fascinating about that identification is, if John’s referring to the same woman as Mark, we know from early church history, like Eusebius, that Clopas was regarded as the uncle of Jesus and the father of James and Simon, who are some of the first bishops of Jerusalem, and who obviously have some of the same names as these so called brothers of Jesus. So when you put all of the evidence together, Mark, having the Mary being identified as the mother of James and Joseph, Matthew identifying that woman as the other Mary, and then John’s gospel calling her the wife of Clopas, who we know from church history as the uncle of Jesus, it puts together a picture that helps make clear why the gospels use the word brothers to refer to these men, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. It’s because they are the children of Mary and Clopas, they are the children of Jesus’ uncle Clopas and therefore they were his cousins”.

            Thanks Dr. Ehrman!

            1
          • Bart
            Bart  July 19, 2019

            Yeah, it’s a highly convoluted argument, that requires the reader not only to dig deeper than s/he is usually able to do, but also to accept the view that the accounts of the various Gospels are unified in their understandings and that a reconciliation of their views yieold the historical truth.

            4
  8. Avatar
    flshrP  July 15, 2019

    Doesn’t the fact that Paul says explicitly that he met with James, the brother of Jesus and head of the Jerusalem Christian church for 30 years after Jesus’ death, remove any doubt that Jesus had brothers? And that it’s clear that Paul was talking about biological brothers, not brothers in spirit?

    Jerome must have really had to do some fancy footwork to get around this bump in the road that upsets his crazy, monkish ideas about the perpetual virginity of Mary and that portrays Joseph as a possibly impotent male virgin. Jesus’ family is really strange.

    4
    • Bart
      Bart  July 16, 2019

      Yes, it removes all doubts for me! And yes, he’s talking about jesus’ actual brother.

      6
  9. Avatar
    dankoh  July 15, 2019

    What about the near-contemporary passage in Josephus about “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James” (Ant. 20.200)? Aside from a question about whether “who was called Christ” is original or added by later scribes (and Jesus was a fairly common name), this seems to me an explicit reference to a blood brother, and also that Jesus was well-known enough (at least by 90 CE, when Josephus was writing) that he could be used to identify a relative. I also have to ask if the monastic copiers at that time were comfortable enough with the idea of Jesus having real brothers to leave the passage in there.

    2
  10. Avatar
    fishician  July 15, 2019

    I find that theologians have 2 basic functions: to explain things the Bible doesn’t say, and to explain away the things it does say! This is a case of the latter. Reading the text without preconception (if possible) one would think Joseph and Mary had normal marital relations after Jesus’ birth and Jesus had brothers and sisters. But then you come up with this doctrine that sex is sinful, even in marriage, and you have to re-interpret the text to fit this doctrine. Never mind that in the Genesis creation story it specifically says God wants people to be fruitful and multiply. How do you do that without sex? Seems like the “sinful” thing would be to avoid sex and therefore not carry out God’s instruction with your spouse.

    6
  11. Avatar
    Nichrob  July 15, 2019

    In addition to Mark, we have an independent mention of Jesus’s brother James from Josephus, and another reference from Paul. At best one could argue “step-brother” but not “a brother did not exist”. Tabor believes the “James Brother of Jesus” ossuary is actually Jesus’s brother. Do you?

    • Bart
      Bart  July 16, 2019

      No, afraid not. But yes, Josephus is very strong evidence in my view (and Tabor’s).

      3
  12. Avatar
    Apocryphile  July 15, 2019

    One thing that strikes me is that if Jesus really did have four blood brothers (and I suppose at least two sisters as well, since the plural is used), Mary (and Joseph?) must have been extremely fortunate to have this many children survive past childhood, for that time and place… not to mention that Mary must have been very healthy herself!

  13. Avatar
    tskorick  July 15, 2019

    The denomination I was raised in used to (perhaps unknowingly) engage in this sort of doctrinally-focused mistranslation/misinterpretation of the NT, it’s what spurred me to start learning Koine Greek way back when. I didn’t know what a time-honored tradition it was until I read Orthodox Corruption. Based on your experiences with the translation of the NRSV, how pervasive if this sort of thing across denominations today?

    1
  14. fefferdan
    fefferdan  July 15, 2019

    Bart, are you aware of any traditions regarding how Jesus’ brothers [and Mother Mary] went from a position of opposing Jesus, thinking him to be demon-possessed [Mk 3.21], to a position of being highly respected in the early church, with James as its apparent leader? I’m aware of course of Mary’s attendance at the Cross and Tomb, but not of any reports regarding James or other family members supporting Jesus while he was alive.

    • Bart
      Bart  July 16, 2019

      Well the standard position is that Mary knew all along who Jesus was, but the brothers took some convincing (achieved by Jesus’ appearance to them after his death)

  15. Avatar
    Gerberman07  July 15, 2019

    Would definitely like to hear more on the subject… do you have any further writings on this subject?

    • Bart
      Bart  July 16, 2019

      I have a more extended treatment in my book Did Jesus Exist?

      2
  16. Avatar
    Anticonflationist  July 15, 2019

    Enlightening post! Always gain insight from the blog.
    Regarding “james”, isnt it so that in greek nt manuscripts his name is actually jacob? Yakobos?
    It has no import on the content of the letter but it
    Seems to be a point of contention among messianic
    Jews and like minded types. Anti-semitic discrimination against a jewish apostle/disciple
    Perpetrated by anti- jewish christian church fathers?
    Was it in wycliffes translation of nt that this name
    Change to “iames” initially ocurred? Or is it much earlier in origin? Please elaborate?

    • Bart
      Bart  July 16, 2019

      Yes, all the names in the English Bible are translations of Greek names, which in many instances are translations of Hebrew names. Just like Jesus is the translation of the Greek Ιησους (= somethning like I-ei-sous) which is the translation of the Hebrew (sorry: no hebrew key board here) word that comes into English as Joshua.

      2
      • Avatar
        James Chalmers  July 16, 2019

        Aramaic is a lot closer to Hebrew than to Greek. So then is Joshua a better rendering of our Lord’s name than is Jesus?

        • Bart
          Bart  July 17, 2019

          When it comes to names there’s probably not such a thing as “better.” It’s a bit like saying if you want to be accurate and you want to talk about what the New Testament says about the “Word of God” you won’t say “Word of God” but “Logos of Theos” It would be more accurate in a sense, but it really only provides a kind of false security that you’re closer to the original. Words are signifiers, and if the translated word signifies the same thing as the original-language word, then the translation is accurate, however the translated word is spelled. See what I mean?

    • Avatar
      Leovigild  July 16, 2019

      “James” comes from “Jacobus” via the late Latin “Jacomus,” which eventually becomes “Jaime” in Spanish and Portuguese. Similarly, Old French “James” which gives us the English version.

      1
  17. Avatar
    Neurotheologian  July 15, 2019

    Dear Bart. You are a great teacher as well as a great scholar. Like all good teachers, you revel in surprise and in over-turning misunderstanding and false teaching – in the historical sense of the word of course :-). Just an observation …… don’t worry, no punchline LOL 🙂 …. this time anyway!

  18. Avatar
    wannes  July 15, 2019

    Hello Bart,
    I’ve been always a bit puzzled by how some of the names in the new testament are translated from Greek to English. How did Iakobos became James instead of the more obvious Jacob(os), and why is Ioudas translated as either Judas or Jude. In Dutch (and in also German I think) the names stayed much closer to the Greek and Latin spelling. Is there any reason why they changed the names more in English?

    • Bart
      Bart  July 16, 2019

      YEs, someone else just asked this. It has to do with the formation of English names (not with anything involving antiquity). But I’m not an expert in development of English. Anyway, this is what I told the other person:

      Yes, all the names in the English Bible are translations of Greek names, which in many instances are translations of Hebrew names. Just like Jesus is the translation of the Greek Ιησους (= somethning like I-ei-sous) which is the translation of the Hebrew (sorry: no hebrew key board here) word that comes into English as Joshua.

      As to why English does this? I don’t know. But all languages do. (Think of immigrants from other countries who come to America and have to modify their names into some kind of English equivalent)

      1
      • Avatar
        Duke12  July 16, 2019

        According to Behindthenames.com James was derived from the Latin name Iacomus, which was in turn derived from the Greek Iakobos.

      • Avatar
        nichael  July 16, 2019

        > “…all languages do [it]”
        E.g. The Italian equivalent of James/Jacob ==> Giacomo; French ==> Jacques; Spanish ==> Iago (hence Santiago).

        The German equivalent is “Jakob”, but that seems to be the nearest to an exception here.

        (It gets even more complicated when languages “back-translate” the terms, as in Britain/Scotland where the reigns of the various King James are known as the “Jacobean” periods, and their partisans in conflicts were called the “Jacobites”)

    • Robert
      Robert  July 16, 2019

      The development of the name ‘James’ in English and some of its medieval precursors alongside the retained English name ‘Jacob’ really goes back to an ancient LXX practice of using a transliteration for Jacob the patriarch and other characters from the Jewish scriptures but contemporary Greek writers using a declined Greek form for ‘James’ and other more current characters with Hebrew names. The transliterated Ιακωβ remained constant, while the declined  Ἰάκωβος continued to evolve, and English evolved differently from other languages.

      One can see more details here:

      https://ehrmanblog.org/forum/the-rest-of-the-new-testament/jacob-or-james/

      • Bart
        Bart  July 17, 2019

        Interesting! And this is why we like having scholars on the blog!!

        1
  19. Avatar
    Matt2239  July 15, 2019

    And was this James the James who could speak, read, and write Greek? If so, what’s the likelihood that both James and Jesus were literate in Greek?

    • Bart
      Bart  July 16, 2019

      About nil, as far as I’m concerned.

      2
      • Avatar
        Matt2239  July 17, 2019

        Isn’t “nil” also the likelihood that we would know about the life and teachings of any non-monarch who lived 2,000 years ago? Jesus and his disciples are the most unlikely historical figures ever.

        • Bart
          Bart  July 18, 2019

          I don’t know. I think Pinocchio is more unlikely. And I can thing of others….

  20. Avatar
    Bernice Templeman  July 15, 2019

    I grew up in the Catholic church and school. In grade school, I asked a nun about the conflict between Genesis and Science/Evolution. I believe in evolution. The nun told me just to believe that evolution was God’s plan. I think of Genesis 1 as a way to remember all of the good God created. It also reminds us we were created equal and good (and not to rule other people).
    I actually thought Jesus had brothers and sisters that were children of Mary and Joseph. Currently, I think we are all born in the light (children of God), we turn away with sin, and we can return to God with our beliefs and actions. You don’t need a Virgin Birth to have eternal life. You also don’t need someone to die for you. You are not punished for other peoples sins and you also can not go to heaven because someone else did.
    You can go to heaven without being in Judaism and following all of the Jewish recommendations such as eating a Kosher diet. If I can stay in the light and be prosperous following these works, I would do them.
    There are people who pray and do the works but don’t go to heaven because of sin. Works don’t guarantee heaven.
    When I was younger I had daily religion classes plus church on the weekends. I still study religion daily although I am focusing on Judaism and learning the Jewish Bible. In addition, I have decided to spend some time with Catholics and the Coptic Orthodox church. Currently, I can not give money to the Catholic church but I can share what I learn with them. I am not a practicing Catholic, but I am learning to appreciate the gifts I received from Catholicism. I have a strong Spiritual connection to the Coptic church and it makes me happy. I want to understand the Coptic language.
    Previously I lived in North Carolina and went to several different Bible churches and study groups. Some thought I was a cult member because I was raised Catholic. When we hear of cults, we think of people drinking kool-aid and committing suicide. So instead of attending Protestant groups, I will contribute to some online protestant church forums.
    Ancient Mesopotamia stories kill the female goddess. In contrast, Ancient Egyptians had both male and female gods and goddesses. gods and goddesses as people who overcome sin and go to heaven (have eternal life).

You must be logged in to post a comment.