An Amazing Life: Jesus
and the Nozerim
Appendix IX – The Family of
family tree (charts) below are being re-formatted. Sorry for the wait).
It is impossible to understand the
life of Jesus without understanding his family. In the first century, people
were bound to their families in ways we find unthinkable: laws of primogeniture
ruled, caste and title were largely bound to lineage, children inherited their
father’s debts, and punishments were often inflicted across generations.
Paternal identity was so strong that people were specifically known as “the
son of” their father and introductions were incomplete unless one knew who a
person’s relatives were.
The Biblical story strongly
indicates that Jesus’ family ignored him or didn’t accept his “ministry”
and yet his successor was his brother James (not Peter or Paul). James not only
led the Council of Jerusalem as explained in the book of Acts, but is known in
non-biblical sources as “James the Just”- a very important Temple priest in
Jerusalem. After the death of Jesus, Catholic history clearly tells us that the
family of Jesus (also known as the “Ebionites”) was the foundation of the
Jewish movement that would be usurped by Paul to become Christianity.
Over the last century we’ve been
able to gather together sources and data that tell an entirely different story
about the family of Jesus: a story strongly supported by fact and logic built
from the most basic presumption in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke – that
Jesus descended from royalty. Elaborating upon and extrapolating from this data,
we quickly realize that his family ties involved many of the most powerful and
influential people in Judea. One goal here is to explain the probable way in
which Jesus could have been thought of as a “son of David” and another is to
explain key biblical characters intentionally not identified as Jesus’ family
This effort requires two warnings: (1) it is virtually
impossible to pursue historical facts about Jesus without specifically and
frequently conflicting with the Biblical accounts. For those who choose to
accept those accounts as inerrant and historical, this work is not for you; and
(2) because the Biblical account relies upon “immaculate conception” and has
led to the veneration of Mary by many, some may find the alternatives presented
here “offensive”. I would rather be ignored than to offend.
If one is willing to consider the New Testament as a work of
humans who not only had a particular message they wanted to convey, but a
certain need to write a “history” favoring their message, then a different
The Christian Bible, as we know it, proves the adage that “the victors write history”. What we call the Catholic Church (“church”, hereafter) was but one of several factions that drew their inspiration and dedication from the life of Jesus, the Nazorean. Initially, the group that dominated in this regard was called the “Ebionites” (“poor ones”) and they were led by the family of Jesus. This historical fact was so prominent and well established that it is reflected in the New Testament. On the other hand, they are ignored or disparaged by the church. We should wonder why.
In the battle over which faction would write the history of Jesus and control how his life was to be perceived, the followers of Paul (“Catholics”) won. Their primary opponents were those who knew Jesus best and those who refused to forego the religion Jesus accepted and advocated. For the most part, those closest to Jesus accepted his immediate family as being the rightful heirs of his legacy – and they understood that Jesus was a man, a Jew, and a model. They focused on his teachings and his ministry instead of mythology and theology.
In order for the Pauline group to usurp the life of Jesus for their purposes, they were forced to surmount the family of Jesus and those followers of Jesus who stayed loyal to his legacy. They were assisted greatly in this effort by the Romans and the Jewish revolt (flowed by the revolt against the Jews). By the time the Catholics got around to writing their “history” (the gospels and the book of Acts), they were able to direct attention away from the family of Jesus.
The focal point here will be three issues made clear in the New Testament (“NT”):
And yet, we have a few statements in the NT that contradict these notions without explanations:
For the purposes of this section, we will look beyond the other problems associated with “the Twelve” and begin with an easily supported position: that the brothers of Jesus were the core of his disciples and that most of them were related to him. Thus, when we discuss the family of Jesus, we cannot avoid detailed discussion of the Apostles. But first, we will “set the stage” for these characters…
As a prelude to reading this appendix, I would ask that you at least glance through three others first:
From these Appendices several key facts emerge:
1. The family of Jesus was uniquely positioned because of the remarkable confluence of bloodlines: Jesus and his siblings had just the right balance of royal, priestly, and aristocratic blood to keep them out of the “firing line” of Herod’s pogrom while giving them power, influence, and independence. Whereas others had equally potent mixes, most of them were killed, exiled, or subjugated.
2. Jesus lived with unusual constraints and issues: his unusual birth circumstance coupled with his prominent status put him in the crosshairs. The only reason he wasn’t killed earlier in his life was his choice to remain remote and politically insignificant. The decision to begin a public ministry and openly challenge the authorities was both bold and seemingly foolish. The fundamental question I hope to address in this book is why Jesus made that decision.
3. Jesus was inexorably linked with powerful and influential people of his time, with groups that shared divergent goals and interests, and with existing competing powers. In many ways, he was “caught in the middle” by his bloodline and family ties: he was related to several competing royals: Hasmoneans (aka Macabbees), and the Exilarchs, to several competing High Priests (the true High Priestly family (or “Zaddokites”), the reigning High Priestly families (Boethus, Ananus, and other previous High Priests – especially Yehoshua/Joshua III), to several militant groups (the Zealots, Qumranians, and Sicarii), to three major religious factions (Pharisees, Essenes, and Sadducees) , to the major opposition religious factions or “houses” (Hillelites and Shamaites), and to the two most powerful aristocratic families of Judea (Oniads and Tobiads).
4. The story told in the New Testament is primarily about the family of Jesus, but the goal of its authors was to transfer authority and prestige from the family of Jesus to the founders of the new church being built in his name. Thus, the story struggles to obfuscate the family’s role and undermine their significance. Whether intentional or not, the key mechanism used by the authors and editors of the gospels was name confusion. Luckily, we have some solid starting points…
Jesus’ mother is unquestionably “Mary” who at some point was married to “Joseph”. Mary bore at least five sons: “Jesus”, “James”, “Joses”, “Simon”, and “Judas”. She also had more than one daughter, but their names and number are not specifically given in the NT.
Of the Apostles, we are told there were twelve, but at least 15 are named. To make sense of this, most writers assume that some of the names are nicknames or different names for the same person, such as this…
The “core group”:
The uninvolved others:
Those of “the Twelve” not even mentioned in John:
And these are named only in Acts:
We might begin by noting that the idea of having twelve leading disciples is rooted in Judaism and, while possibly a later insertion, is best supported by the need to fill the vacancy created by the death of Judas. (Acts 1:15-26). On the other hand, it is remarkable that most of them have no part in the NT story of Jesus and that John doesn’t even mention three of them. But, again, our primary interest here is to relate them to Jesus – an interesting excursion…
We begin with the analysis offered in the Catholic Encyclopedia…
“James is without doubt the Bishop of Jerusalem (Acts 12:17, 15:13, 21:18; Galatians 1:19; 2:9-12) and the author of the first Catholic Epistle. His identity with James the Less (Mark 15:40) and the Apostle James, the son of Alpheus (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18)… may also be considered as certain. There is no reasonable doubt that in Galatians 1:19: "But other of the apostles [besides Cephas] I saw none, saving James the brother of the Lord", St. Paul represents James as a member of the Apostolic college […and] the clause "saving James" be understood to mean, that in addition to Cephas, St. Paul saw another Apostle, "James the brother of the Lord" (cf. Acts 9:27). Besides, the prominence and authority of James among the Apostles (Acts 15:13; Galatians 2:9; in the latter text he is even named before Cephas) could have belonged only to one of their number. Now there were only two Apostles named James: James the son of Zebedee, and James the son of Alpheus (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13). The former is out of the question, since he was dead at the time of the events to which Acts 15:6 ssq., and Galatians 2:9-12 refer (cf. Acts 12:2). James "the brother of the Lord" is therefore one with James the son of Alpheus, and consequently with James the Less, the identity of these two being generally conceded. Again, on comparing John 19:25 with Matthew 27:56, and Mark 15:40 (cf. Mark 15:47; 16:1), we find that Mary of Cleophas, or more correctly Clopas (Klopas), the sister of Mary the Mother of Christ, is the same as Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joseph, or Joses. As married women are not distinguished by the addition of their father's name, Mary of Clopas must be the wife of Clopas, and not his daughter, as has been maintained. Moreover, the names of her sons and the order in which they are given, no doubt the order of seniority, warrant us in identifying these sons with James and Joseph, or Joses, the "brethren" of the Lord… Once this identity is conceded, the conclusion cannot well be avoided that Clopas and Alpheus are one person [Clopas and Alpheus are merely different transcriptions of the same Aramaic word Halphai]. James and Joseph the "brethren" of the Lord are thus the sons of Alpheus.”
We might add to this discussion a corresponding analysis of Mark’s gospel… Mark calls Levi “the son of Alphaeus” which probably would identify him as the brother of the Apostle called James, son of Alphaeus. Since mark distinguishes Matthew and Levi (not naming Levi as one of the Twelve), we may accept this as indication that Levi was one of Jesus’ brothers. Interestingly, one of the oldest copies of this gospel (the “Codex Beza”) reads "James" here instead of "Levi".
Thus, in various references, the brothers of Jesus are given the following names (not including all their forms):
James, Joseph, Joses, Judas, Thomas, Levi, Simon, Jude, and Barsabbas.
The overlap with the lists of the Apostles is beyond coincidence. The question is not whether the brothers of Jesus were also apostles, but which person is meant when the NT uses the duplicated names – James, Judas, and Simon.
The "James" passages in the NT include:
Mark 3:21, 6:3; John
7:3-5; Acts 1:14; Galatians 1:19; James 1:1.
1 Corinthians 15:5-7;
Galatians 1:19; 2:9, 12; James 1:1; Jude 1:1
We also have substantial non-canonical evidence for James…
“Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus whose name was James, and some of his companions; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned.” Josephus, Antiquities Book 20: chapter 9.
“The Disciples said to Jesus, ‘We are aware that you will depart from us. Who will be our leader?’ Jesus said to them, ‘No matter where you come it is to James the Just that you shall go, for whose sake heaven and earth have come to exist.’" Gospel of Thomas 12
James the Just", it seems, was a holy man who "didn't drink wine and strong drink, didn't eat meat, and never used a razor on his head." Eusebius (quoting Hegesippus) on James "the brother of the Lord, and his death. Ecclesiastical History 2. 23. 4-7
“The Lord went to James, at with him, blessed him, after the resurrection.” Gospel of the Hebrews (quoted by Jerome, “On Famous Men”, 2).
And other works that mention James…
Apocryphon of James
First Apocalpyse of James
Second Apocalypse of James
Protevangelium of James
Gospel of Peter
of Peter to Philip
Act of Peter (ca 200 CE or later).
Gospel of the Egyptians – Where Jesus assures his brother that "the Son of Man has been raised from among those who sleep" (cited by Jerome, Liber de Viris Illustribus 2).
Epiphanius on Nazoreans, James, and Successors Panarion 29.3.4-29.9.4; 78.14. 1-6.
Ascents of James (recovered from the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions 1. 33-71: Latin & Syriac versions).
“After the martyrdom of James… (Eusebius of Caesarea, Church History, Book III, ch. 11).
Hegesippus’ account of James’ prominence is confirmed by Clement, who portrays James as the first elected bishop in Jerusalem (also cited by Eusebius, History 2.1.1-6), and by the pseudo-Clementine Recognitions, which makes James into an almost papal figure, providing the correct paradigm of preaching to Gentiles.
The Clementine Recognitions [I.43-71] even relate that, prior to his conversion to Christianity, Saul physically assaulted James in the Jerusalem Temple.
As if this isn’t confusing enough, we will have the same problem dealing with the many uses of “Mary” in the NT – and in one regard the two names are linked…
Close examination of the Marys at the tomb and crucifixion of Jesus may help us sort out some of the “James” confusion. At the crucifixion scene, Matthew lists Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee among the women "looking on from afar" (Mat. 27:56). Mark lists Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome as being among the women (Mark 15:40). Luke just mentions "the women" and does not name them (Luke 23:49). John specifically places Jesus' mother, her sister, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene at the cross within speaking distance (John 19:25). Mary, as the mother of James and Joses, correlates precisely with both lists of siblings offered in the NT. And, as we will see below, it also correlates with the reference to Mary, the mother of James, at Jesus’ tomb.
At the tomb of Jesus we are confounded with several “Marys”. The easiest Mary to factor out is Mary Magdalene, who is named in all four Gospels as being present. Matthew adds "the other Mary” (Mat. 28:1). Mark lists "Mary the mother of James and Salome" (Mark 16:1). Luke adds "Joanna, Mary the mother of James and the other women" (Luke 24:10). Is it not apparent that Jesus’ mother – Mary – would be present? We know that she had a son named James and at least two daughters (one of which we should assign the name Salome based upon this reference).
Others have tried to sort out the various James and Mary references, but the most apparent truth is that the NT authors didn’t want it to be clear who we’re dealing with. By obfuscation, we can’t easily tell which James was involved in any particular event so that most would think that James Bar Zebedee was the prominent figure instead of Jesus’ brother James bar Joseph. The family relationships (obviously tied to a common mother – Mary) are also confused in a manner that appears intentional. Nevertheless, we can sort it out.
First of all, James and John – the sons of Zebedee – were cousins of Jesus. Their mother was Salome, Jesus’ aunt (mother’s side). Except for Jesus, we have no reason to doubt (and good reason to accept) that Mary had at least five children: James, Joseph/Joses, Judas/Thomas/Jude, Levi/ Simon, Salome and Lydia. However, when Joseph died, she was taken in a levirate marriage by Clopas/Cleopas/ Alphaeus, the brother of Joseph. (The use of the name Barsabbas, meaning literally “son of the father”, may be used to identify the sons fathered by the patriarch – Joseph - as opposed to his brother).
With this view of the family of Jesus and the Apostles of Jesus, we have the following:
Jesus’ (Yeshu's) brothers who were “Apostles”:
His sisters were (names uncertain):
His close cousins were:
His other cousins included:
With these relationships in mind, we can address the numerous gospel references to “Judas” (another common name of the era). In the original Greek New Testament, the name “Ιούδας” is translated as both "Jude" and "Judas" although it is properly the Hebrew name “Yehuda” (Judah). Given the role of “Judas Iscariot” in the gospel stories, it is obvious why the other people named “Judas” needed to be distinguished and therefore why they are given pseudonyms. Other than “the traitor”, we are interested in two related names: “Jude” and “Judas of James”.
"Jude of James" appears in the lists of apostles
at Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13. It is an unusual reference because the standard
appellation “son of” has been left specifically void of “son”. Thus,
many have assumed the author intended “brother of” (as in the KJV). That is
the interpretation here as well. John 14:22 mentions a disciple or Apostle
called "Judas not Iscariot" who has been generally accepted as the
same as the Apostle Jude (In some Latin manuscripts he is called Judas the
Zealot). In comparing the list of
the Apostles, (Mat 10:3 and Mark 3:18), we find that Jude where is omitted,
“Thaddeus” or "Lebbaeus who was surnamed Thaddaeus") listed in his
place. In an effort to harmonize the lists by positing a "Jude
Thaddeus" – an adjustment supported by the fact that "Thaddeus"
a nickname for a close
friend or a younger brother. Thus, we will work on the presumption that
Judah bar Jospeh was the younger brother of Jesus also known as the Apostle Jude
As above, I equate this person to Thomas and I suggest that the nickname “Lebbaeus” (related to the Aramaic Thaddeus meaning one of courageous heart) was yet another reference to this important brother of Jesus. It is odd that few equate this person with the “Ioudas Barsabbas” (Judas, son of the father)  mentioned in Acts (15:22-41) since that Judas was chosen from among the Apostles, was called a "chief  among the brethren", and a “prophet". (Eusebius reports that two grandsons of Jude named Zoker and James were taken to Rome to stand trial before Domitian as leaders of the Christian movement).
So, the two most important followers of Jesus were not Peter and Paul – they were Jesus’ brothers James and Jude (whose prominence were great enough to have their writings included in the NT even though they were contrary to Paul’s ideas). Their prominence is revealed by their various appearances in the gospels and in Acts, but their identities have been hidden by confusing their names. The recent attention given the “Gospel of Thomas” partly explains this – Paul’s ideas were quite different than those of Jesus. But there is one more brother worthy of mention – Simon.
I have already noted that Simon bar Jospeh (Hebrew Šimʿon), was the successor to James as the leader of the Jerusalem Council – what we would think of as the first church of Jesus. This was the Apostle called “Simon Zelotes” (Simon the Zealot), and Simon Kananaios (Simon Cananeus) at Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13. In the Catholic Church, this Apostle is considered the quiet one who was chosen last and always felt secondary to Peter (the primary Simon). But there is an oddity here that lacks explanation: why would Jesus rename Simon bar Yonah (a respectable Jewish name) to Kephas – a Syriac work that was translated (instead of transliterated) into an unusual Greek name that we read as “Peter”? Although there is less evidence for this presumption, given the pattern we have observed in the NT, should we not assume that Simon was to doer of the good “Simon” deeds and “Peter” the doubtful and troublesome Apostle?
Having suggested (and supported) the idea that James, Joses, Simon, and Judah were not only brothers of Jesus, but Apostles and leaders of the early “church” in Jerusalem, we might begin to re-shape our thinking regarding the family of Jesus.
So, before we deal more deeply with his immediate family, it is useful and important to take another look at his extended family. First, on his mother’s side…
It may be helpful to look at the charted family trees…
(via unknown wives)
/ | \
/ | \
(m. Rachel of Arimathea) (m. Alexandra II) (m. Salome of Idumea)
_____________|_________ _______|________ ___|______
| | | | | | | | |
Anna Joseph Zebedee Honi Aristobulus III Alexander Helios Gjor Jesse Elpis
(m. Salome) (m. Zibiah) (m. Anna) | (m. Herod)
____|_____ ___|________ | Simon V
| | | | | | Mary
But this doesn’t
really paint a complete picture…
If we factor in Mary’s
(“Elam” = Mute)
__________ |_________ ____________
Jane Elizabeth (H)anna
Joseph (Arimathea) Jorim
“Heli” ben Matthat
Matthan ben Eliazar
(m. Hazibah) (m. Tirzah)
| | | | | |
(m. Salome) | | |
| Judas Matthan Rachel (of Arimathea)
Joseph | | (m. Matthat ben Levi)
_______|_______ Simon Eleazar _______|________
| | | | |
(m. Hanna) (m. Mary) Anna Joseph Zebedee
| | | _____|_______________________________(m. Clopas)______
Melkha Eliezar Eskha | | | | | | | |
Jesus James Joses Salome Simon Lydia Judah Miriyam (Hasia)
maternal bloodline, above…
Tolmai bar Melchi
| | | | |
Ruth Zecharias Simeon Phedra Janna
(m. Honi) (m. Elizabeth) (m. ??) (m. Alphaeus) (m. Jonas)
______ |______ | _____|______ | |
| | | | | | | | JoAnna
Elias Levi Jannai | Martha Mary Lazarus |
(m. ??) (m. ??) John ______|________
| | | | |
? ? Tolmai Tobias Tubal
detail from Joseph’s
paternal bloodline, as
Matthan ben Eliazar
?? Rachel (of Arimathea) Terezah
(m. Matthat ben Levi)
| | | |
Anna Joseph Zebedee Honi
(m. Salome) (m. Zibiah)
| | | | | |
James John Jediah Achim Mattat Judas
And with his second wife…
Matthan ben Eliazar
(m. Hazibah )
| | |
Joseph Ptolas Clopas
(as above) (m. Escha) (m. Ophel) ------------- (m. Mary)
___|___ ____|____ |
| | | | (as above)
Joining Mary’s maternal bloodline – as above…
(the line of legitimate High Priests)
| | |
Alamyos Tamar Japheth
(m. Mariamme dau Phabet)
Mary Salome (m. Anna of Arimathea)
(m. Jane dau Yehoshua)
Ptolas, one of the brothers of Joseph, Salome married Zebedee, Mary
Salome, married Clopas, Jospeh’s other brother).
As much as Judaism is patrilineal, it is also practical. Bloodlines were “acquired” – being traded, bought, and sold – often through marriage. Among the worst things that could happen to a Jewish man was to be childless or to have no (living) sons at death. There is much discussion regarding the inheritance of title and little doubt that titles were largely treated as property. However, we should understand that the idea of entitlement was quite flexible (then, as now) and people claimed titles for which they had marginal credentials. In the two centuries before the time of Jesus, there had been a great transition in tradition and titles were bestowed, bought, and belonged to those who offered the best bribes.
The family of Jesus was not among the most powerful in Judea, but it had close ties to those most powerful families – the Herodians, the Oniads, the Hasmonenas, the Tobiads, and the Ptolemies. Many of these relationships occurred through marriage…
Mattat/ Mattathias had three famous wives: Hasmonean Princess Alexandra (II) (aka Elizabeth of Jerusalem), Rachel of Arimathea, and Salome of Jerusalem (aka “The Proselyte”). From these wives, we have the following offspring:
Princess Alexandra II > Aristobulus III (the High Priest for three months) and Alexander III Helios
Rachel of Arimathea > Joseph of Arimathea (the biblical character)
Salome of Jerusalem > Prince Gjor (father of Simon V Bar Gjora)
Yehoshua III, the High Priest from 35-23 BCE fathered three daughters: JoAnna, Elizabeth, and Hannah…
JoAnna married Joachim, the grandson of Alamyos, the Governor of Judea from 50-47 BCE,
Elizabeth married Zechariah, a Priest of the Abijah Order, and
Hannah (aka Anne) married Alexander III Helios, the Hasmonean Prince (as his second wife).
Alamyos, the Governor of Judea from 50-47 BCE (an Onaidite) also had three daughters:
Escha married Ptolas, one of the twins who were the brothers of Joseph (Abiudite Line),
Salome married Zebedee (brother of Joseph of Arimathea), whose sons were; James and John
Mary Salome, the first wife of Clopas (aka Cloepas), the other twin.
It might be worth repeating what
seems to have happened with Anna (Mary’s mother). Legend records “Joachim”
as Mary’s father and it was useful to the Catholic Church to allow this legend
to stand. Alexander Helios was executed by Herod around 29 BCE and it would have
been clear to any observer that Anne was at risk (most likely of an assigned
marriage to a Herodian) – especially if she was pregnant. Lacking a male
relative (sibling) in her own bloodline, she was taken in by her sister Joanne
and her husband, Joachim. Given the timing, it seems likely that Mary never knew
her biological father and grew up as Joachim’s daughter.
The details offered here fit the facts and legends pretty well, but more importantly, they fit the circumstances better than the gospel accounts. There’s enough content and debate surrounding the family of Jesus that one could fill volumes. Hopefully, this approach will pique interest and people will begin to pursue this important part of history with more zeal – especially when we consider how “zealous” the family of Jesus was (see Appendix I, Appendix IV, and Appendix XVI ).
The New Testament does not
use the word “Ebionite” (or its like), but Acts 1:14 says that Mary and
all four brothers belonged to the Nazarenes, the term for the larger
community of “believers”. Other
Catholic literature does reference the Ebionites and makes their parallel to
the Nazoreans clear. “Desposyni”, in Greek meaning "belonging to
the Lord", was a term reserved uniquely for Jesus' blood relatives. The
ancient Nazorean church was governed by a desposynos who carried one of the
family names: Zachary, Joseph, John, James, Joses, Simeon, Matthias, and so
on (but never Jesus).
One would think that
Jesus’ “apostles” should be twelve of the best known people in
history. As witnesses to Jesus’ “miraculous” deeds, students of his
divine teachings, and carriers of the” good news” Jesus wanted to share
with mankind, we should expect them to be famous and well documented figures
in history. Instead, the NT tells us almost nothing about them and the
church relies upon legend and myth to reveal useless “details”.
In Mark (3:21;31), they
wondered if Jesus was "out of his mind", and they attempted to
"take charge of him" (and bring him home). In Matthew (12:46-50),
he refused to talk to his mother and brothers when they tried to see him.
John (7:5) is clear that "even his own brothers did not believe in
him." But, see below.
 The exilarchs were the Jewish royal family that stayed behind when other Jews left the Babylonian exile to return to Jerusalem and Judea. For a fuller examination of their royal claims and circumstance, see Appendix VIII.
 The title “Zaddokites” was used by several Jewish groups and not always as the successors of the High Priest Zaddok.
 There are about ten instances in the New Testament where "brothers" and "sisters" of the Lord are mentioned (Matt. 12:46; Matt. 13:55; Mark 3:31–34; Mark 6:3; Luke 8:19–20; John 2:12, 7:3, 5, 10; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:5). See Matthew 13:55and Mark 6:3 where names are offered.
 “Joseph” in Luke
 Based upon the similarity between Mt 9:9-10, Mk 2:14-15 and Lu 5:27.
 "Clopas" and "Alphaeus" seem to be variations of the Aramaic name "Chalphai” which may be adapted from the Hebrew Halpai.
 Bechtel, Florentine. "The Brethren of the Lord." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907.
 See Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible.
 Levi (the son of Alphaeus), the same with Matthew (Mat. 9:9) (and son to the same Alphaeus as James was) (Mat. 10:3), was the brother of James, and also of Simon and Jude; so that there were four brothers of them apostles: and if Joses, called Barsabas, was the same Joses that was brother to these, as seems probable, a fifth was put up for an apostle, though the lot fell on Matthias. Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible.
 Symeon [Simon] bar Clopas was selected by the Apostles to succeed James as the Bishop of Jerusalem after James was martyred. (Hegesippus). This position was held by a blood relative of Jesus for three generations.
 We also have to factor in "James the Just", "James the Righteous", "James of Jerusalem", "James Protepiscopus" (first bishop of Jerusalem) and "James the Less", all of whom turn up in diverse Christian testimonies.
 Robert Eisenman – a leading authority on James – believes that the major figure of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the "Teacher of Righteousness" can be identified as James.
 Note that nearly half the women in 1st century Judea were named Mary, Salome, or their equivalent.
 It is worthy to note that every specific reference to the “sons of thunder” (James and John, the sons of Zebedee) is unfavorable (See Matthew 20:2-28, Mark 10:35-45, Luke 9:51-56; 22:24-30)., but the non-specific references regarding “James” show him as a close and trusted friend of Jesus (Matt. 17:1-8; Luke 8:40-56;Mark 13:3-4; 14:32-42) .
 The Protoevangelium of James (3rd century) offers the names Melkha and Eskha. Epiphanius (4th century) gives them the names Mary and Salome and claims they are half sisters. Another 4th century work, History of Joseph, gives them the names Lydia and Assia. The Coptic History of Joseph (5th century) names them Assia and Lydia – as Joseph's daughters (but with his first wife). Many authors refer to one sister as “Mary Salome”.
 The New Testament authors often struggled with “foreign names” and we have no better example than Alphaeus/Cleophas/Clopas/Halpai. Cleopatros was a common Hellenistic name (meaning "son of a renowned father"). This name was sometimes condensed into Cleopas. Halpai was a common Aramaic name that had the Hebrew equivalent of Clopas. Alphaeus (or Alphasus) is the Greek transliteration of Cleopas/Clopas. Thus, depending upon who you asked, the same person might readily have had all these names.
 Meaning "praised" - a son of Jacob in the OT and a grandson of Jacob here.
According to Nicephorus Callistus, who Eusebius quotes in his history of the
Church, Jude was the bridegroom at the marriage feast at Cana. That makes
sense to me and it is consistent with other legends. See “The
Apostles" by Otto Hophan, The Newman Press, Westminister, Maryland 1962
for this detail and many others.
 Given the patronymic Barsabbas, others have concluded that Judas was probably the brother of Joseph Barsabbas – the Apostle I have identified as Justus, brother of Jesus.
A “must read” for those who give Jesus any credence. See http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/thomas.html and “The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus” by Robert W. Funk, Harper Press (1996).
 According to Hegesippus, Simon was a son of Clopas - to be identified with Alpheus, the brother of Joseph and the father of James the Less. He also confirms that this Simon was the second bishop of Jerusalem.
 Both words are derived from the Hebrew word “qana”, meaning the Zealous and have been mistakenly confused as referring to the Canaan region of Galilee. Talmudic references to kanna'im indicate "avenging priests in the Temple" instead of a sect. See “James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls” by Robert Eisenman, Viking Penguin (1997) ps.33-4.
 Peter’s character has been well patched in the NT, but several instances reveal more of his true nature: he denounces Jesus after swearing he never would, he draws his sword and cuts off the ear of a guard at Gethsemane, he chided Jesus when he was first told of the “passion and death” prophecy.
 Yehoshua represented the Rhesaite line of Davidic succession. Since he had no sons, the line could only continue through marriage.
 At least 19 of the remaining 25 (or 26) High Priests were descendants from this family.
 Jacob represented the Abiudite line of Davidic succession. The Abiudite prominence and prestige was due as much to their Persian royal blood as their Jewish royal blood.
 These family trees have been simplified but appear complex because several ancestors had multiple wives (some polygamous, others in succession).
 Probably Alexander Jannaeus, the Jewish king and High Priest from 103-76 BCE. While he provided the blood lineage, the true connection was through his wife, Alexandra of Jerusalem (Salome Alexandra) who became the popular regnant Queen when the hated Jannaeus died. Rabbinical legends state that she was the daughter of Setah Bar Yossei (Yossei Bar Yochanan) and that the Pharisee sage Simeon b. Shetah was her brother. She died in 67 BCE.
 Melchi was nicknamed “Elam” (“the mute”) and his disability prevented him from becoming the High Priest.
Mattathias ben Levi (aka Mattan) was
a prominent priest in the Davidic line who married three notable women:
Esther (Elizabeth) Alexandra II of Jerusalem, Rachel of Arimathea (daughter
Anna), and Salome of Idumean (a Herodian princess who was also called “The
Proselyte”). Mattathias and Alexandra II had a son named Heli ben Mattat
who would be known as Alexander III Helios; the father of Mary. But Mary’s
family also had roots along other prominent lines.
 This Princess Alexandra was known as Esther (Elizabeth) of Jerusalem.
 Aka “Heli” ben Matthat
 Melchi was nicknamed “the mute” and his disability prevented him from becoming the High Priest.
 I realize that this seems meaningless if Jesus was either born of immaculate conception or under “suspicious circumstances”. Regardless, Joseph was Jesus’ “legal” father, step-father or adopted father.
 Jacob the Patriarch – an emissary to and for King Herod from around 32-23 BCE.
 Hezekiah the Zealot – father of Judas (captured and executed during the revolt in 4 BCE).
 Menahem, grandfather of Eleazar, a Jewish general in the revolt of 66 BCE.
 The name of Judah’s son is not known. We know Judah’s grandsons from Hegesippus and Epiphanius Monachus.
 Mattathias and Alexandra II also had a daughter named Alexandra III who married Ptolemy Bar Mennius, the Exilarch who was deposed 13 BCE and fled to Parthia.
 Simon V Bar Gjora became the last king of the Jews in Judah during the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 66 CE.
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