Jesus' Brothers? (TWO forum posts)
Jesus' brothers (TWO forum posts)

Raymond Brown's recent text on the New Testament clearly and objectively notes Jesus' brothers, particularly James. the text bears the Imprimatur. Does this signal a change in official thought on Mary's perpetual virginity?


No, the bible refers to various brothers & sisters of Jesus, so Raymond Brown's terminology is orthodox. The main point is that the church teaches that these weren't his direct brothers or sisters, but rather his cousins or possibly his step-brothers or sisters.

I don't think this interpretation is what Brown has in mind.

If you are refering to his "Introduction to the New Testement", he doesn't really explain what Catholics thought is vs Protestant thought. He just simply uses the terminology that is used in the bible without any explanation. Sometimes Brown can be confusing (he is often accused of modernism or denying Catholic teachings). But since several Pope's have selected him to Biblical commisions, I have to assume he teaching is orthodox.

Here is a link to another discussion posted on CEF a while back;
CEF - Jesus' Brothers

And KARENP posted this GREAT explanation awhile back....I printed this one and kept it......

Sorry, I typed it wrong, This is the correct one: **NOTE: the CEF forum no longer exists

Brothers and sisters of Jesus I know of no place or time where the "Step- brother/sister" idea has ever been taught in offical Catholic Doctrine. The Catholic Church has held from apostolic times the perpetual virginity of Mary to be believed by all who wish to remain members of the Church. The encyclical letter of Pope Pius X on the doctrine of modernists (Pascendi Dominici Gregis) clearly warns us of these scholars and their attempt to confuse and cloud Church teachings. A solemn declaration of the first Vatican council say's "The doctrine of the faith which God has revealed has not been proposed to human intelligence to be perfected by them as if it were a philosophical system, but as divine deposit entrusted to the (Church) to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted." The Helvidius and Jovinian heresies of the 5th century are simply restated today! Pope St. Siricius, in a letter to the Bishop of Thessalonica in 392said , "For if they accept the doctrine... that Mary had a number of children,..." The Lateran council of 649 declared her perpetual virginity again. In 1555, Pope Paul IV restated this and also the council of Trent. Vatican II also uses the title "Ever virgin" In Mk 3:331-35, Jesus clearly say's"...For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother." I don't think he's talking about blood relations. The Gospels enable us to trace some of those who were called his brothers not to the Blessed Virgin but to another Mary. St. Matthew mentions by name James and Joseph (Matt 13:55). St. John, Matthew and Mark also tell us that among those present at the crucifixion were: "Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary of Cleophas, the mother of James and Joseph; and Mary Magdalen." In Gal 1:19 and 1Cor 9:5, Paul speaks of the blessed virgins sister's son, James (the son of Mary of Cleophas), his cousin, or "brethren" as used by the Jews.

Dear R.P.SFO, I'm with you all the way Bro; but the idea that Jesus may have had step brothers (I do not believe He did) would not contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary, if they were children of Joseph from a previous marriage. Yea?

All of the above are highly constructed arguments. Matthew's gospel not only tells of Jesus' brothers, but notes that they think Jesus has lost his wits.
For reasons difficult to explain with certainty - some of which were bound up in the distaste for all sexuality - the early church fathers - I believe Jerome was the instigator - insisted upon Mary's continued virginity.
Scripture cleary speaks of brothers as brothers. Acts and Galatians certainly speak directly of James's influence ( as the brother of Jesus.)
We cannot ignore the early influence of the female virgin goddess influence on certain members of the early church and the continuing human need for the "feminine" in the godly. Even Jung rejoiced at the Pope's declaration of Mary's Assumption - for Jung - it formalized the creative feminine.
Frankly, I don't see the problem if someone wants to believe that Mary remained forever a virgin. For my part, I would think that she did indeed have other children. Neither point of view removes a person's essential Christian practice.
As to Brown's text - he doesn't say one way or another = "silentium est consentire".

I agree Polycarp but the Church has never included this in her doctrines ever. Observer, if your a Protestant then there is no problem if you wish to believe other than what the Church teaches as revealed Truth. St. Athanasius calls Mary "Ever-Virgin" just prior to the time of Jerome. Matthew's gospel speaks of Jesus' brethren not brothers. May the peace of Christ be with you, my brothers or sisters in Christ

to RICH; Yes, I am Catholic but I am also Protestant insofar as I do not hold the necessity for certain dogmas - among which are the majority of Marian teachings. I also do not hold to the notion of papal infallibility - but neither did many bishops who "absented" themselves from the vote when the doctrine was declared.
I do not find any of these teachings essential in and of themselves in the performance of a Christian life. Indeed, I find most of them out of character from the overall tone of Jesus' simplicity.
I do not object to those who find them as helpful in their own lives, but I do not see the need to impose them on those of us who are Catholic in a different mode.

Blessed Virgin Mary---"Ever Virgin?"

Can anyone confirm for me the belief of Mary being "ever virgin?" Let me explain. Point 1) Some have questioned that she should be considered the only person, other than Christ, who was born into this world without sin. Okay---I can accept that. If God knew us before we were formed and placed in the womb, then he knew, long before Mary, that she was chosen to be the Mother of God---and Christ---and thereby born into this world without sin. The rest of us, however, are born into this world as sinners. But others believe that Mary was not void of sin before being chosen by God. She was a sinner like the rest of us. Where is that in scripture? Point 2) Recently, I heard in a documentary of Mary's life that she conceived other children. That's the gospel truth. I watched a documentary on A & E -- "Mysteries of the Bible" about the life of Mary, with a room full of Catholics also listening, and we all heard the same thing; "Mary's other children." Where is that information in scripture? If she and Joseph conceived children, how can she be considered ever virgin? Curious to know if any of you have some light to shed on either of these points. Thanks!

Maybe St. Joe was a widower with a bunch of kids.

I can't cite the verse offhand, but there are references to Jesus' brothers, and to "James, brother of Jesus" in the gospels. The Catholic argument is that the word "brother" in Greek was also used for cousins, etc. I'm not sure this holds water,but I don't have the linguistic skills to say.
On the the other hand, the "ever-virgin" stuff is not scriptural (there are some very ambiguous quotes sometimes cited, but nothing very convincing) but it does show up very early in Christian writings.
Somewhere there's a thread where we discussed this before: maybe you can run a search. It's hard for me to understand why it makes any difference whether Mary and Joseph had later children or not. I know, I know, the Church sees the sexual act as inherently sinful, which is why they insist on Mary's virginity in the first place, but Moses fell into disgrace in his later years, as I recall-- that doesn't make us throw out the ten commandments. So if Mary slept with her husband *after* Christmas, would we think any less of Christ?
(as a angels-on-pin aside, why was Mary exempt from God's commandment to be fruitful and muliply, taken so seriously in discussions of birth control? How could she be free from sin and still defy the command of God?-- this is sophistry, I know. My real point is, I wouldn't believe any less in Christ had he been born of Mary Magdelene)

It's obvious that the A&E program wasn't put together by Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, and about 75-85% of Christianity!
The Catholic teaching is that Mary remained a virgin her entire life. This has been the consistant teaching since the beginning. It really wasn't even debated until around 400 A.D. when St. Jerome butted heads with Helvidius on this issue. THE PERPETUAL VIRGINITY OF BLESSED MARY against Helvidius
I leave you a couple of tracts that go over the Catholic understanding of these "brothers and sisters" of Jesus. These discuss the use of the term "brother", the problems in the Bible if Mary did have other children (makes many verses difficult to reconcile); and quotes by Early Church fathers.
Mary - Ever Virgin (Early Church Fathers)
Brethren of the Lord
Geneology of Brethren

Some of the scriptural evidence of no other children (copying from a tract):

  1. In Luke 2:41-51 - the story of Mary and Joseph taking Jesus to the temple at the age of twelve - it is fairly obvious that Jesus is the only child. Since everyone agrees He was the first child of Mary, if there were up to five or more siblings, as some maintain (arguing, for example, from Matthew 13:55), they were nowhere to be found at this time. This passage alone furnishes a strong argument for the implausibility of the "literal brothers" theory.
  2. Jesus Himself uses "brethren" in the larger sense. In Matthew 23:8 He calls the "crowds" and His "disciples" (23:1) "brethren." In other words, they are each other's "brothers" (that is, the brotherhood of Christians). In Matthew 12:49-50 He calls His disciples and all who do the will of His Father "my brothers."
  3. By comparing Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, and John 19:25, we find that James and Joseph - mentioned in Matthew 13:55 with Simon and Jude as Jesus' "brothers" - are also called sons of Mary, wife of Clopas. This other Mary (Matthew 27:61, 28:1) is called Our Lady's adelphe in John 19:25 (it isn't likely that there were two women named "Mary" in one family - thus even this usage apparently means "cousin" or more distant relative). Matthew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3 mention Simon, Jude and "sisters" along with James and Joseph, calling all adelphoi. Since we know for sure at least James and Joseph are not Jesus' blood brothers, the most likely interpretation of Matthew 13:55 is that all these "brothers" are cousins, according to the linguistic conventions discussed above. At the very least, the term "brother" is not determinative in and of itself.
  4. "First-born": the utilization of this term in order to assert that Mary had "second-borns" and "third-borns" proves nothing, since the primary meaning of the Greek prototokos is "preeminent". To illustrate: David is described by God as the first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth (Psalm 89:27). Likewise, God refers to Ephraim (Jeremiah 31:9) and the nation Israel (Exodus 4:22) as "my first-born". Jesus is called the first-born of all creation in Colossians 1:15, meaning, according to all reputable Greek lexicons, that He was preeminent over creation, that is, the Creator. The Jewish rabbinical writers even called God the Father Bekorah Shelolam, meaning "first-born". Similarly, God is called the "first" in Scripture (Isaiah 41:4, 44:6, 48:12; cf. Revelation 1:8, 21:6-7). Christians are called "the first-born" in Hebrews 12:23. Literally speaking, however, among the Jews, the "first-born" was ordinarily the child who was first to open the womb (Exodus 13:2), whether there were other children or not. This is probably the meaning of Matthew 1:25, in which case hypothetical younger children of Mary are not implied at all, contrary to the standard present-day Protestant assertions.
  5. Mary is committed to the care of the Apostle John by Jesus from the Cross (John 19:26-27). Many Protestant interpreters agree with the Catholic view that Jesus likely wouldn't have done this if He had brothers (who would all have been younger than He was). Many Church Fathers held this interpretation, including St. Athanasius, St. Epiphanius, St. Hilary, St. Jerome, and St. Ambrose, and used it in the defense of Mary's perpetual virginity.
  6. Catholics believe that Mary's reply to the angel Gabriel's announcement that she would bear the Messiah, at the Annunciation, How can this be, since I have no husband?, indicates a prior vow of perpetual virginity. St. Augustine, in his work Holy Virginity (4,4), wrote: "Surely, she would not say, 'How shall this be?' unless she had already vowed herself to Gd as a virgin . . . If she intended to have intercourse, she wouldn't have asked this question!"

The Blessed Virgin Mary: Hail, Full of Grace

Oh, I forgot to correct one statement you made .... "Some have questioned that she should be considered the only person, other than Christ, who was born into this world without sin". Don't forget about Adam and Eve. God can do this when he wants.

There is also a few threads on this in the CEF1.

Martin, I clearly remember being told by my 4th grade teacher, a nun in a parochial school, that Mary did have other children after Jesus. I had no idea that the Church taught otherwise until just now- 26 years later!! I think I might still be in doubt if it was not for paragraph 5 of your text. I haven't yet gone to the links you mention, but as I can see most of this "scriptual evidence" is just theory. Is there anything more concrete in the Bible about this?

Dear Christina, What a sad reflection it is to hear that doctrinal errors are taught to children in religion class, but it cannot be denied that they sometimes are. However, rest assured that the Church, since its earliest days, has held to Mary's perpetual virginity. Writings and art from the early second centuray (only decades after the Resurrection) indicate that the faithful accepted and honored her virginity.
As Martin noted earlier, God created Adam and Eve sinless. They opted for sin. For God to grace the womam who would become the very Throne of God for nine months is hardly a difficult "task" for the Creator. And for Mary to have had perfect communion with God through as the Ark of the New Covenant, through an act of perfect obedience to God (which was all he asked from Adam and Eve, btw) makes it seem awfully clear that, once a part of that perfection of communion, what would be the temptation to sin afterward. As (I think) was posted some time ago on this forum, it was, (according to anthropologists, etc. -- not just religious folk) the custom of the faithful Jews that dedicated temple virgins would take a vow of perpetual chastity, much like modern nuns do. When they became of marriagable age and renewed those vows, they were married either to older men or to younger men who themselves had taken a similar vow. If God graced Mary and Joseph enough to rear and protect the infant Son of God, do you think he'd leave out that grace of chastity? Seems unthinkable, doesn't it? God's peace!

Thank you----all!
Hopi, I agree, I don't think any less of Christ, or Mary, or anyone, I just want to seek knowledge and understanding. And, as always, I found it here. I will search for the past threads you indicated.
Thank you, Martin, I will read the information on the sites you reference before posing any more questions.
And Christina, I couldn't access the Duy mura thread you linked.
Back to work-----thank you----- ^i^

A lot of people don't realize that Mary was not the only biblical figure to remain a virgin while married. This was not without precendent
Elijah and Elisha were celibate al their lives <(Zohar Hadash> 2:1; 30, 105, 33). When for the sake of the Torah (i.e., intense study in it), a rabbi would abstain from relations with his wife, it was deemed permissible, for he was then cohabiting with the Shekinah (the "Divine Presence") in the Torah <(Zohar re Gn> 1:27; 13:3 and Psalm 85:14 in the .
It was told that Moses, who was married, remained continent the rest of his life after the command to abstain from sexual intercourse (Ex 19:15) given in preparation the seventy elders abstained thereafter from their wives after their call, and so did Eldad and Medad when the spirit of prophecy came upon them; indeed it was said that the prophets became celibate after the Word of the Lord communicated with them <(Midrash Exodus Rabbah> 19; 46.3; 99 sect. 11; 81-82, 203-204; 9, 39; 111, 46; 13; 3 72; Jewish tradition mentions that, although the people had to abstain from sexual relations with their wives for only three days prior to the revelation at Mount Sinai (Ex 19:15), Moses chose to remain continent the rest of his life with the full approval of God. The rabbis explained that this was so because Moses knew that he was appointed to personally commune with God, not only at Mount Sinai but in generalthroughout the forty years of sojourning in the wilderness. For this reason Moses kept himself "apart from woman," remaining in the sanctity of separation to be at the beck and call of God at all times; they cited God's command to Moses in Deuteronomy 5:28 <(Midrash Exodus Rabbah> 19:3 and 46.3). Again, we may be sure that Mary and Joseph remained celibate all his life because throughout his married years he was in daily attendance and communication with Jesus, the incarnate Word of God.
There numerous other examples from Jewish sources ... (ie. The Talmud, Mishnas, Midrash, etc.). 87a; 87b, Babylonian Talmud).

Hopi, perhaps a minor point. I would not agree that "the Church sees the sexual act as inherently sinful." That belief is associated with a number of heresies through the centuries, such as the Manicheans and the medieval "Cathari," but not with the Church. If it were true that the act itself were inherently sinful, then that would mean (1) Mary's vow of perpetual virginity, and the clergy's vow of celibacy, would not be meritorious, but would be something expected of all of us; and (2) God had created an impulse in us that was intrinsically bad. It is not our God-given drives or passions themselves that are evil; it is only the disorder in them, which results from original sin and leads us to perform an act with a sinful intent.

The context and intent make the act a sin. If I steal your car by driving it away, I have committed a sin, but not because driving is inherently sinful. It's because stealing is inherently sinful. However, if I take a solemn vow never to drive, and offer this portion of my freedom to God, then the inconvenience caused by not driving becomes a cause of merit; likewise, if I drive a car after taking the vow, I have committed a sin by breaking the vow. AMDG

BTW, isn't it interesting that this topic comes up on the Feast of the Annunciation? "Hail, full of grace ..."

Sorry about that My HTML messed it up. Its on the CEF1

Yeah, I exaggerated, I know, but Augustine et al got pretty close.

This is why a good translation is necessary.
(a) We have a clear translation of brothers used for uncle/nephew in Genesis where Abraham and Lot are spliting. Abraham says that we should not quarrel "because we are brothers" if you have a good translation. If you are discussing this with Protestants, I believe this is the King James translation.
(b) The Angel and Mary. The good translation is "I do not know man". This is in the sense of "I do not smoke". "I have no intention of having sexual intercourse" is the only good understanding of the text. Otherwise the birth announced by the angel could come naturally. The "I have no husband" translation leaves the question, what happened when she later married.
(c) What is not realized is that the Classical Protestants (Luther / Calvin) held to Mary ever virgin and this was Protestant teaching until the 1800s. If we remember that Mary is the type (blueprint) of the Church, when the blueprint gets messed up, the building is deficient. It is no accident that the Protestants approved birth control in the 1930s, women clergy, acceptance of homosexuality, etc. in this century. As an aside - something that is forgotten - when Pope Paul VI canonized Charles Lwanga, et al, he mentioned Anglican martyrs (the closest we came to canonizing people from another religion). These were young men who refused the homosexual advances of their chief and were martyred.
If the present pro homosexual Anglican clergy meet these martyrs in the next world, do they say "Boy, were you stupid to be put to death for that reason."

The concept of Mary's perpetual virginity is one of the few issues that made me consider leaving the Church. I am open to the possibility of it being so, but I don't believe that it fits the logic of salvation. The Immaculate Conception? Yes! The Virgin Birth? Yes! The Assumption? A little harder to swallow, but I assent. Perpetual virginity? Well, I'll say one thing: this forum contains the best arguments in support of this concept that I've ever seen--and yet I'm still not convinced. That's the sort of thing that the Church should ask the faithful to be open to believe but not demand belief (similar to Marian apparitions, though with a different social significance.) Pax,

If I were engaged to someone who turned up pregnant, and then an angel told me that the child was caused by the Most High, do you think I would touch her? Get real.

Exploding Myth of Christ's Brothers

I got this link off EWTN yesterday and thought it was the best information I had ever seen regarding Jesus not having brothers and confirming Mary's virginity. I'm copying the article below and the link if you want to visit the site.
One of the most pernicious invectives that is hurled against Catholics, is the silly notion that Mary was a virgin her entire life. It is an invective since it is usually used to debase the Mother of God as just another common Jewish girl, and also because it is designed to get a rise out of us, which is usually successful. The charge is akin to accusing someone that their mother sleeps around, and invokes as much, if not more, outrage.
This needn’t be, however. As Catholics, we believe not only that she was a virgin before the birth of Jesus (a belief we share with our Protestant and Muslim (!) brothers (ooo...there’s that word already), but that she was a virgin DURING the birth of Christ, and AFTER the birth of Christ, until her earthly life had ended. Protestants are keen to point to a number of Scriptural passages, however, that clearly point to to the “brothers” of Jesus, and yet as Catholics, we needn’t get outraged, but should rather delight in showing those who love the Word of God so thoroughly, how Scripture tells us who all these so-called brothers.were.
Let’s start with the brothers that are specifically mentioned, to wit:
MATTHEW 13:55-56, and MARK 6:3, both say, "Is not this the carpenter, the Son of Mary, the brother of JAMES, and JO'SES (JOSEPH), and of JUDE and SIMON? And are not His sisters here with us?" (Note! Only the 'carpenter' is called 'THE Son of Mary', not 'A Son of Mary')
Some people refer to these verses as 'proof', that Mary had other children. See also: Mt 12:46, Mk 3:31, Lk 8:19, Jn 7:5.
Now using the Bible, we are about to explode forever, the myth that Christ had other brothers.
The word: 'Brethren'...appears over 530 times in the Bible.
'Brother' - appears over 350 times. 'Brothers' - appears only once, in Num 36:11. 'Sister' - appears over 100 times. 'Sisters' - appears over 15 times.
BRETHREN: This is a plural word for 'brother' as shown in dictionaries.
BROTHER: The Hebrew word 'ACH', is ordinarily translated 'brother'. Since Hebrew, and Aramaic in which the Gospel of Matthew was written, had fewer words than our English, the Jews at that time, used it in a broader sense to expresses kinship. The Hebrew terms for different levels and degrees of relationship did not exist. 'Brother' meant the sons of the same father, and all the male members of the same clan or tribe. In Greek, in which the Gospel of Mark was written, 'brother' is Phratry, from the Greek Phrater, meaning a fellow member of a clan. Even today, the word is used in a larger meaning, so that friends, allies, fellow believers, and fellow citizens can be included in the same brotherhood. It was no different in the time of Christ. Four dictionaries I have checked list three or four classes of meanings of the word 'brother'. The first class concerns sons of the same parents. The other two or three classes say, kinsman, fellow man, a close friend, a pal, a member of a religious order, a fellow member of a Christian Church, etc. How many times have you seen T.V. Evangelists address their audiences as 'Our brothers and sisters'? Marian detracters accept the last three meanings to suit themselves, but when it comes to Mary, the mother of GOD, they always refer to the first meaning. Is this fair to her? How do you explain this?
See: Num 8:26, 1Sam 30:23, 2Sam 1:26, 1King 9:13, 2Chron 29:34.
For Example... If you will read Gen 29:15, "And Laban said to Jacob, because thou art my brother..." At first you would think Jacob and Laban are blood brothers. Now compare Gen 29:5, "..know ye Laban, the son of Nahor..." Compare Gen 25:21-26, and you will see Jacob was the son of Isaac and Rebekah. Laban was the son of Nahor. They were not blood brothers but fellow citizens. Christ tells the Multitude and His disciples in Mt 23:1-8, "AND ALL YE ARE BRETHREN." In Mt 12:50 and Mk 3:35, Jesus says, "For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in Heaven, the same is my 'BROTHER', and 'SISTER', and MOTHER." That verse says it all.
In 1Cor 15:6, Jesus appeared to five hundred 'brothers' at one time. Could all of these be blood brothers? Hardly. Then there is Peter speaking before one hundred and twenty brothers in Acts 1:15-16. Paul speaks of one 'called a brother', in 1Cor 5:11. The Bible has many more similar verses.
Now we have four 'brothers', JAMES, JO'SES, SIMON, and JUDE to account for as written in Mk 6:3.
Mk 15:40, "There were also women looking on afar off: among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of JAMES the less, and of JO'SES, and Salome." These people were at the crucifixion.
Jn 19:25, "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother (Mary) and His mothers sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene." Mt 10:2-3, "...'JAMES' the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus." Alphaeus is an alternate translation of Cleophas (Clophas) and so he is the same person.
Acts 1:13, "...JAMES, the son of Alphaeus, and SIMON Zelo'tes, and JUDE the brother of JAMES." From these four passages, we see we have another 'Mary', who was the wife of Cleophas (Alphaeus), and the mother of three of Jesus's 'brethren', JAMES (the less), and JO'SES, and JUDE. This clearly shows that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was not the mother of JAMES, JO'SES, and JUDE of Mk 6:3. To keep Mk 6:3 in harmony, since three are not children of Mary, the mother of Jesus, then SIMON is not either. SIMON is the Canaanite Mk 3:18, also called the 'Zealot' (Zelo'tes), Mt 10:4, Lk 6:15, Acts 1:13. Jude, who authored the Epistle of Jude, says he is the brother of James in Jude 1:1. Jude was also called 'Thaddeus' in Mt 10:3, and in Mk 3:18. This was to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. Lk 6:16 further distinguishes the two by saying, "And Judas (Jude) the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor."
Jn 19:26-27, "When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by, whom He loved..." The disciple was John, the author of the Gospel of John. "Then He said to the disciple, BEHOLD THY MOTHER." Was John a child of Mary and blood brother of Jesus?
Read the following verses to see...
Mk 1:19, "...He saw James, the son of Zebedee, and 'JOHN', his brother."
Mk 3:17, "And James the son of Zebedee, and 'JOHN' the brother of James."
In neither of these passages is it said that Jesus saw a blood brother or even recognized them as men that He knew.
Mt 27:56, "Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James Mt 20:20, (the less) and Jo'ses, and the mother of Zebedee's children." Mk 15:40, "...among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James (the less), and Salome (mother of Zebedee's children)."
Lk 24:10, "It was Mary Magdalene...and Mary ('the other Mary') the mother of James (the less)..." A comparison of Mt 27:56, and Mk 15:40, clearly shows that Zebedee had a wife whose name was Salome. She is called the 'mother of Zebedee's children' in Mt 27:56, and 'Salome' in Mk 15:40. They had two children, JOHN and JAMES, Mk 3:17. JOHN at the foot of the cross to whom Jesus gave His mother, was not a child of Mary, the mother of Jesus, but of Zebedee and Salome. If Jesus had blood brothers, why then did He not give His mother to them? Jewish law would have demanded it...
Zebedee------------------------------------------- + >------begat------James and John Salome--------------------------------------------
Cleophas (Alphaeus)------------------------------- + >------begat------James (the less), Jo'ses, and Jude Mary (the other "Mary", Mt 27:56,61, 28:1, Jn 19:25)
THE HOLY SPIRIT----------------------------------- + >------begat------JESUS THE CHRIST Blessed Virgin Mary-------------------------------
This 'Genealogy' shows who the real parents of the 'brothers' in Mark 6:3, and Matthew 13:55, are, and makes the word 'brother' a non-argument.
Additional notes...
Mt 1:25, "And knew her not till...". The old meaning of the word 'till' or 'until', meant an action did not occur up to a certain point. It does not imply the action did occur later. Gen 8:7, "He sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, 'until' the waters were dried up off the earth." 2Sam 6:23, "...the daughter of Saul had no child 'until' the day of her death." Did she have a child after she died?
Lk 1:34, "Then said Mary unto the Angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" This shows Mary had no relations with a man before and was virgin
. Lk 2:7, "And she brought forth her 'firstborn' Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes..." Firstborn, at the time of the writing of the Gospels, meant, 'the child that opened the womb'. See Ex 13:2 and Num 3:12. Firstborn does not imply that Mary had other children, as an ONLY son, IS a 'FIRSTBORN SON'. The author of this letter is one.
Bible References:
Gen 8:7, Gen 25:21-26, Gen 29:5,15, Ex 13:2, Num 3:12, Num 8:26, Deut 23:7, 1Sam 30:23, 2Sam 1:26,6:23, 1King 9:13, 2King 10:13-14, 2Chron 29:34, Mt 1:25, Mt 4:21, Mt 10:2-4, Mt 12:46, Mt *12:50, Mt 13:55-56, Mt 20:20, Mt 26:26, Mt 27:56,61, Mt 28:1, Mk 1:19, Mk 2:14, Mk 3:17-21,31,35, Mk 6:3, Mk 15:40,47, Lk 1:34, Lk 2:7 Lk 2:41-51, Lk 5:10, Lk 6:16, Lk 8:19, Lk 24:10, Jn 7:2-7, Jn 19:25-27, Acts 1:13-16, Rom 8:29, 1Cor 5:11, 1Cor 9:5, 1Cor 15:6, Gal 1:19, 1Pet 5:12, Jude 1:1
Why Does This Matter?
A reasonable question, though, is why any of this matters. Ultimately, it would seem that Mary’s virginity or not is unrelated to anything that would have to do with our salvation, and while that might be technically correct, per se, the danger comes from the disobedience that such a belief causes.
If we can deny the Church’s teaching on this, pretending even to use the Bible to do it, then this leads to doubts elsewhere. If we can be led to believe that the Church is wrong about this, what else might She be wrong about? Bit by bit, brick by brick, our faith is eroded, until one day we decide the Church is wrong about everything, and leave. From there, we have have spoken Satan’s mantra “I will not serve,” which is exactly what he wants for us to say and do.
The Church has made it infallibly clear the Mary was ever-virgin, and the Bible clearly indicates that she bore no other children. Unfortunately, we have only closed one argument that Satan uses to lead souls out of the Church. He will simply find other means to do so now. Our hope is that someone will read this article and ask instead, “Hmm...what else is the Church RIGHT about?” and come to know and love the very church that Christ established on earth, so that salvation can be theirs.

It could be that the Biblical use of the word "brother" did mean "blood relative," or it could very well mean a more general sense as in "brotherhood."
This is a premise used to both demolish and bolster the argument about Mary's state of virginity.
So the conclusion that doubting the churches teachings is a means whereby "... Satan uses to lead souls out of the Church" does not follow.
Speaking of the Bible, what do you make of the story of Jonas and the Whale? The lesson derived from this story is completely contrary to the claim that "Outside the Catholic Church, there is no salvation."

I tend to like the beginning of the article that implies that those who say that Mary did not remain a virgin all her life, are accusing her of "sleeping around" (not in the typical sense), since God was the Father of her child, then Joseph fathered other children
The fact remains that this was the Theotokos, the Mother of God.
Finally, as to "you've..." I've got to say that I find Jonah and the Whale to be an excellent prophecy on the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thank you Karen! I am going to print this and keep it.
Also note that the Catholic Italian mystic Maria Valtorta wrote in "The Poem of the Man-God" exactly what you are stating....that Joseph/James/Jude were the sons of Alphaeaus and Mary.......except she (Maria Valtorta) wrote it some 50 years ago.....
Truly, Mary is the Immaculate.

The claim that "Outside the Catholic Church, there is no salvation" is FALSE! It is NOT a teaching of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church affirms that Protestants are also Christians who can be saved through Jesus Christ. And faithful Jews who keep the old covenant will have a chance at salvation (God cannot break his covenant). And Muslims know God so they may enter the Kingdom in some way unknown to us. Even other religions may glimpse God. All must accept Jesus to be saved but God can have ways we do not know about, until after our deaths. God wants everyone to be saved, even you, because He loves you too.

Let me clarify when I said "that "Outside of the Catholic Church, there is no salvation" is false." It is true that outside of the Church, there is no salvation. Salvation comes through Jesus Christ. But it is NOT true that ONLY members of the Roman Catholic Church will neter the Kingdom of God, excluding others (ie; Protestants).

KarenP, I tend to agree with your stance on the issue, but I think the statement that you are exploding the myth forever is hyperbolic. I think the most your arguments say to us is that great care must be taken when dealing with semantics, linguistics, colloquialisms, common usage of language and translations of ancient texts (or modern ones, for that matter).

Dear Y. Kidding, Are you Kidding?

M. Laurentia...The title of the thread is the title of the article I copied from the link....the author's arguments not mine for I take no credit for this at all.....I certainly don't know scripture well enough to have formed this argument, much to my regret. I do think his arguments present proof as to who each individual is. Also, on my more simplistic level of thinking....I look at it this way....if Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit (obviously irrefutable) than that would make her the bride of the Holy Spirit. She would be faithful unto the consecration of that holy bond and not forsake it by having relations with Joseph....not theological, not proveable, but when you think of bearing a child as the fruit of the union of marriage as taught to us in what I believe she would believe in her heart.

The "explosion" of the initial post is little more than a crackle. There is no proof textually one way or another that Jesus had blood brothers. Clearly, Mark, the least elaborated of the Gospels and probably the oldest, gives little place to Mary ( the text does not even consider Christ's Nativity.) In Mark 3, it would seem that Jesus' family was concerned about his sanity when they heard of his doings. It was this concern - Jesus's "brothers and mother" waiting for him outside the house, that led (in Mark) to the reference "who is my brother?". Luke alone gives any great consideration to Mary's role, but even he makes no complete statements. Luke's Greek uses the word "parthenos" when refering to a "virgin". In this passage he is quoting the Septuagint Greek of Isaiah. This text, in turn, translates from the Hebrew "almah" which may mean either "virgin" or "young girl". Still, no absolute proof one way or another. In the Epistle to the Galatians, we read of the Peter/Paul dispute and it is clearly James (the possible "brother" of Jesus and elder of Jerusalem) who settles the question. While this position would seem to set James is some pre-eminent position it is still no proof one way or another. Mary is mentioned in Acts 1, v 3. Here again however, after a list of his followers there is mentioned that Mary and Jesus' brothers were present in the upper room. This is the only passage which gives strength to the idea that Jesus had brothers for if the apostles were considered " brothers" then why would the author of Acts include "brothers" in the same phrase as Mary as an independent thought. Beyond that there is little else. The Marian cult is not found until the patristic age in the writings of Iraneaus and Jerome. There is no mention of Mary or even iconographic imagery prior to that time. In conclusion, there is no proof. If Marian devotion assists in following the teachings of Jesus, by all means they should be treasured. If, however, they serve to divide and isolate, then they would appear to contradict the very spirit of Christ's message.

Joseph: Again, you seem to be implying that the threory regarding the paternity of James/Joseph/Jude originated with Maria Valtorta. WRONG. A bit of research will reveal that the theory in question predated her by many, many years.

In all my 43 years, I've answered a number of questions about the Faith, but Mary's perpetual virginity was never one of them. Look, the mother of our Savior rode to her cousin's place singing of pulling the Mighty from their thrones, of filling the needy with good things and sending the rich away empty. Wow! She sings of God Who will overthrow empires and feed the poor. Wow again! The Mother of Our Lord is singing of how He will challenge the established order. To me, at least, that says more about Mary than hours of endless arguments about whether or not Jesus had blood brothers. My own view? Well, I may be the only Catholic who believes that Jesus had no blood brothers, but who also doesn't accept that Mary remained a perpetual virgin. But I've already been told (in an earlier thread) to desist from saying that in this forum, so I'll desist. Pax,

Go back to the Mary Apologetics Page.