Premise – The two apostles named James and Jude are also the brother’s of Christ.
I. Some beginning data:
First, compare the “lists” of apostles found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and (Luke’s second letter) Acts:
|Matthew 10:2-4||Mark 3:16-19||Luke 6:14-16||Acts 1:13|
|Simon Peter||Simon Peter||Simon Peter||Peter|
|Andrew (Peter's brother)||Andrew||Andrew||Andrew|
|James barZebedee||James barZebedee||James||James|
|John barZebedee||John barZebedee||John||John|
|Matthew (the publican)||Matthew||Matthew||Matthew|
|James barAlphaeus||James barAlphaeus||James barAlphaeus||James barAlphaeus|
|Lebbaeus Thaddaeus||Thaddaeus||Judas (brother of James)||Judas (brother of James)|
|Simon the Canaanite||Simon the Canaanite||Simon Zelotes||Simon Zelotes|
|Judas Iscariot||Judas Iscariot||Judas Iscariot|
*bar means “son of”
Note, first, all the “conflicting” names. It was common in that day for folks to have a Hebrew name AND a Latin (Roman) name AND possibly a Greek name. Example of this is Yeshua (Joshua) – Hebrew; and Jesus (Roman). Jesus was also called Emmanuel.
Also note that Jude and Juda/Judas are variations from the same word in the Greek (Iouda).
Jesus brothers are named in Matthew 13:55:
Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
II. Paul’s references:
1 Cor. 9:5 - Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
This is a somewhat weaker reference, but strong enough to use. Paul lists people with the authority to marry just as he has authority to marry: apostles, Jesus’ brothers, and Cephas (Peter – Cephas/Kephas “stone” – see what I mean about names?)Sandwiched in between two direct references to apostles is a reference to at least two of Jesus’ brothers (of course I’d argue no more than two, James and Jude).
Gal. 1:19 - But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.
This is definitely a strong (I believe undeniable) reference to James as an apostle. It cannot be James, the brother of John and the only other apostle names James is James the brother of Jude/Judas (not Iscariot) called James son of Alphaeus.
III. Issues to Resolve and Suggested Resolutions
A. James is the son of Alphaeus, not Joseph.
1. My first response is to go back to Gal. 1:19 as undeniable, which means that, somehow, Alphaeus has to be Joseph.
2. Again, folks had multiple names back then (Simon Peter, Thomas Didymus, Simon Zelotes/the Canaanite, Labbaeus Thaddeus/Judas/Juda/Jude, etc.) Generally the name used was the one that best fit a certain context.
3. Alphaeus might have been a step-father and the younger two sons (James and Judas) step-brothers to Jesus, Simon, and Joses (essentially Joseph, Jr., certainly an apt name if his father died in between conception and naming).
B. John 7:5 says: For neither did his [Jesus’] brethren believe in him.
1. 1. Jesus had four brothers. By the time John wrote his gospel account, it was well after the fall of Jerusalem. Jesus’ brothers would have been well known as apostles or not. So long as two were believers (apostles) and two were not, the plural subject of the verse is satisfied. 2. Considering Alphaeus as a step-father instead of another name for Joseph, then if his true brothers (Simon and Joseph, Jr.) did not believe, but his step brothers did and were apostles, then John 7:5 works as well and is even stronger.</p>
This post is a beginning and at the moment I am tentatively convinced, but not to the point of being close-minded to contradictory arguments. My strongest anchors are 1 Cor. 9:5 and Gal. 1:19. They leave me with the strong opinion that James and Jude are Jesus’ brothers and apostles while having a lot of loose ends, but nothing that kills the idea that I have seen.
I welcome your comments to help me hash this out.