The Raving Theist

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God Squad Review CXLV (Did Jesus have a Brother?)

March 27, 2006 | 8 Comments

Did Jesus have a brother named James? a Squad reader wants to know. Rather than squelch this irresponsible rumor, the Squad dishes out gossip so reckless it might as well have come from The Da Vinci Code:

James was one of the 12 Apostles and although all of the Apostles, except John, were martyred, James was the first to be killed for his faith by Herod Antipas in the year 44 (Acts: 12:2). His title was “brother of the Lord,” and this is a problem for Christian theologians who hold the view that Mary was always a virgin. They speculate that perhaps James was a cousin of Jesus, not a brother.

* * *

Others believe that James was the half-brother of Jesus as the son of Joseph from a previous marriage.

Okay, so some of the gossip comes from the Bible itself. But what’s interesting is how they deal with the non-Biblical evidence:

Recently, there was much speculation about James following the discovery of a stone burial box with the phrase “James the brother of Jesus” inscribed on it. Unfortunately, the box seems to have been an elaborate hoax.

“Unfortunately”? Why “unfortunately”? Was the Squad rooting for proof of Mary’s impurity or Joseph’s promiscuity?

That aside, I’m wondering what convinced the Squad that James-box was a hoax. Sure, the inscription appeared to have been recently carved into the 2,000 years of residue that would have grown over any inscription — but isn’t that just more evidence of a miracle? If they’re going to rely on ordinary scientific laws to discredit the box, they might as well take note of the fact that men don’t rise from the dead.


8 Responses to “God Squad Review CXLV (Did Jesus have a Brother?)”

  1. Kafkaesquí
    March 27th, 2006 @ 9:09 pm

    Well how do we know it’s not some sort of miracle, in which God Himself came down and inscribed the text to make sure James finally got the respect long due him.

    What, too busy with those bloody Mary statues? Hmm? Hmm?

  2. qedpro
    March 27th, 2006 @ 10:20 pm

    I believe James was plumber…….

  3. qedpro
    March 27th, 2006 @ 10:21 pm

    And when he bent over – you could see God

  4. jahrta
    March 28th, 2006 @ 11:24 am

    I seem to vaguely recall a passage from the bible in which Jesus is telling his followers that famous and head-scratching bit about “no one who does not have hatred for their family can be my follower” – still never heard an adequate explanation of THAT one. The only reason I bring it up is that I think there’s a line in a nearby passage when someone says to Jesus “your brother and mother are here” and he follows his own dickery, saying “I have no mother, I have no brother.” Jesus comes eerily close to sounding like a cult leader here. But beyond that, it always made me wonder just what the fuck they were talking about – Jesus had a brother? I never heard about this until very recently.

  5. conleythorn
    March 28th, 2006 @ 11:58 am

    J had two brothers, I think, and the reason James became head of the Nazirine sect after J’s death (instead of the top disciple Peter) was because James, like J, was in the line of David. There is a litany of names in one of the gospels (Matthew, I think) that undermines the virgin birth myth by tracing J’s ancestry from David through Joseph….
    I have always assumed that the meaning of J’s “denial” of his mother and brothers was as a lesson to his followers, to demonstrate the equality of persons (“The first shall be last,” “Blessed are the meek,” etc). And I have long had the impression that most Christians understand this lesson no better than they do many of his others. -Thorngod.

  6. Mia
    March 28th, 2006 @ 5:09 pm

    Actually, back in Jesus’ time, “brother” meant “close friend”.

  7. conleythorn
    March 30th, 2006 @ 9:26 am

    And in our time, “brother” still means “friend” in some contexts; but the only reason that the biblical references to J’s siblings are questioned is because of the church’s efforts to maintain the myth of Mary’s virginity. -Thorngod

  8. voice of reason
    April 11th, 2006 @ 5:55 pm

    i dont understand why everyone thinks that Jesus having a brother is such a big deal. Jesus did have a brother, two in fact. but that does nothing to break down the Christian religion. the miracle was of the virgin BIRTH not a virgin life. it is as simple as this, Jesus was immaculately concieved inside Marry, she gave birth to him and then had children with joseph.

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