It’s common for non-Catholics to insist that what Catholics believe contradicts Scripture. In the 3rd century, biological relatives with a connection to the nuclear family of Jesus, without explicit reference to brothers or sisters, were called the desposyni, from the Greek δεσπόσυνοι, plural of δεσπόσυνος, meaning "of or belonging to the master or lord". Because Jesus was thus dedicated to God at the age of 30 days we know for certain that he had neither older sisters or brothers: “When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord”! One of the more controversial teachings of the Catholic church deals with the perpetual virginity of Mary. According to the Apostle John, “not even his brothers believed in him” (John 7:5). After St. Matthew’s account of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, he writes: “There were also many women there, looking on from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him; among who were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” (Matt. Nothing is written that the Lord Jesus Christ had sisters. The earliest explanation of the “brothers” of the Lord is found in a document known as the Protoevangelium of James, which was written around A.D. 150. Jesus is Mary's only son… (Catechism 501). In Luke, when Jesus is told by a crowd gathered to hear him speak, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you,” Jesus famously rejects them: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it” (8:19-21). Epiphanius, bishop of Salamis and a contemporary of Jerome and Helvidius, threw another possibility into the hat. And John writes that after Jesus performed his first miracles in Cana, “he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days” (2:12). This article is reprinted with permission from Arlington Catholic Herald. He argued that the siblings weren’t cousins, but Joseph’s children from a previous marriage, making them the step-siblings of Jesus. James and Joseph (also called Joses), who are called Jesus’ “brothers” (Mark 6:3) are indeed the children of Mary—Just not Mary, the mother of Jesus. Catholic Answers had a pretty good video discussing this … 15:40, Jn. These brothers and sisters are not mentioned at all until after the Lord began His ministry and are first mentioned as going with His mother and Himself to Capernaum ().It is in dispute whether any were believers in His Messianic claims, at least until the very end of His ministry (John 7:3-10).Most say that they were made believers through His resurrection, as they appear in company with … Because of the Bible’s broad semantic range of “brother,” we can rest assured that although St. Paul writes, “[Jesus] appeared to more than five hundred…brothers at the same time” (1 Cor. Did Jesus Have Brothers? (Matthew 13:54- 56; Mark 6:3) Those siblings were natural children of Jesus’ mother, Mary, and her husband, Joseph. But this would have been extremely disrespectful for devout Jews if these were Jesus' biological brothers. 27:56; see also Mark 15:40). John 7:3-4; Mark 3:21 - we see that younger "brothers" were advising Jesus. Mary's sister was … All Rights Reserved |, During pandemic, the Advent prophecies of Isaiah give comfort. “You say that Mary did not continue a virgin: I claim still more that Joseph himself, on account of Mary was a virgin, so that from a virgin wedlock a virgin son was born [Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary 21 (A.D. 383)]. James and Jude did not believe Him to be the Son of God until after His resurrection. 78, No. Because modern Roman Catholic teachings accept the belief of the perpetual virginity of Mary, Catholic teachings typically deny that Mary ever had sexual relations and therefore did not have other children. Obviously we believe he had none of them. William. Allow me to limit myself to three quotes from the early Church: “Therefore let those who deny that the Son is from the Father by nature and proper to his essence deny also that he took true human flesh of Mary Ever-Virgin [Four Discourses Against the Arians 2:70 (c. A.D. 360)]. Did Jesus have brothers and sisters? Jesus may have acted like an only child at times in the gospels, but all of the four evangelists make some mention of his brothers and sisters. So that puts us up to 30 or 40 or so. Did Jesus have siblings? Did Jesus have biological brothers as some non-Catholics claim? Do you think Mary had 80 or 90 children? Take Genesis 13:8 for example. Specifically, in Matthew 13:55-56, four men are named as the brothers (adelphos) of Jesus – James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude. It’s one of the first things that comes to mind when reading through the Bible (and especially the Gospels) and the answer is not as straight-forward as it seems. Here the word brother is being used to describe the relationship between Abraham and Lot, who were not biological brothers but uncle and nephew: “So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers” (Gen 13:8, NIV; see also 14:12). A second Roman Catholic argument is that Jesus’ brothers and sisters were the children of Joseph from a previous marriage. Now I know in the Gospels there are referrals to Jesus having brothers and sisters, but reading the defence put on the website on this matter is not still clear to me. Joseph isn’t mentioned outside of the birth of Jesus, causing some to believe that he was much older than Mary and died before Jesus’ public ministry. All we can say for sure is that Jesus’ family tree looks just as complicated as those of many modern families. St. Jerome disagreed, indicating that by the fourth century at least some of the church community believed that Mary had stayed a virgin for the rest of her life. The “sisters” have never been credibly identified. John 7:3-4; Mark 3:21 - we see that younger "brothers" were advising Jesus. If Jesus did have brothers, why would he have entrusted Mary to the beloved disciple, John, at the foot of the cross (John 19:26-27)? THE BROTHERS OF JESUS. This article appeared in the December 2013 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. So that leaves the number of Jesus' brothers at about 80 or 90! “The origin is different but the nature alike: not by intercourse with man but by the power of God was it brought about: for a Virgin conceived, a Virgin bore, and a Virgin she remained [Sermons 22:2 (A.D. 450)]. The Bible reveals that Jesus did have (half) brothers and (half) sisters (they all had the same mother, but not the same father). Download Share. Jesus may have acted like an only child at times in the gospels, but all of the four evangelists make some mention of his brothers and sisters. Just a reminder for some people wondering, this is about BLOOD siblings. http://www.catholic.com/ Catholic Answers apologist Trent Horn answers a caller who asks if Jesus had brothers. But this would have been extremely disrespectful for devout Jews if these were Jesus' biological brothers. They could have been adopted by Joseph and Mary. James and Joseph (also called Joses), who are called Jesus’ “brothers” (Mark 6:3) are indeed the children of Mary—Just not Mary, the mother of Jesus. adelphos) has a broader meaning than uterine brothers. Image: Flickr photo cc by Nicole O’Neil Photography. 27:56, Mk. The Author. Is the Catholic Church correct in saying Jesus had "cousins" rather than "brothers and sisters"? "Did Jesus have Brothers and Sisters?" They could have been cousins. (Matthew 1: 25) The Bible calls Jesus “the firstborn” of Mary, which implies that she had other children. They are NOT the same! It is conjecture, but some apocryphal works, such as the Protoevangelium of James, the Gospel of Peter, and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, all seem to indicate a tradition of belief that Jesus’ brothers and sisters were the children of Joseph. John 19:26-27 - it would have been unthinkable for Jesus to commit the care of his mother to a friend if he had brothers. NO, HE DIDN’T. Therefore, as Catholics, based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition, we do not believe that Mary and Joseph had other children and consequently that Jesus had blood brothers and sisters. In English, the word brother or sister, when used in relation to one’s family, refers to one’s actual siblings. The Bible teaches that Jesus had "brothers and sisters", and names some of the brothers. The evidence may seem clear, but scripture scholars and theologians have been debating these and other passages for nearly two millennia, arguing whether those brothers and sisters were in fact biological siblings, step-siblings, “half” siblings, or not even siblings at all, but cousins. There is however debate among theologians about Jesus having half-brothers through Joseph's previous wife. It’s a great question and one that many Christians throughout history have wondered about. Prior to the revelation of The Urantia Book, little was known or understood about the purely human life of Jesus of Nazareth before his public life. He however had brothers. The New Testament writers didn’t leave a clear picture of what first-century Christians thought about Mary’s virginity after the birth of Jesus, if they left any details at all. Specifically, in Matthew 13:55-56, four men are named as the brothers (adelphos) of Jesus – James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude. 19:25), and married to Clopas. 12, page 46). Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013) Editor's note: This is an excerpt of the answer provided. Those who had lived with Jesus for 30 years really did not know him. Ask us at editors@uscatholic.org! Its impartial discussion has been hindered by dogmatic considerations connected with the perpetual virginity of the Lord's mother, with denominational issues, and with the canonicity of non-Apostolic epistles. Not one of Jesus’ brothers is mentioned as a disciple during his pre-crucifixion ministry. 15:40, Jn. These three general arguments continue to be defended and disputed by scholars today, whose positions depend mostly on their particular traditions and how they interpret early church theology. Why do Catholics teach that Mary was a virgin throughout her life when the Bible clearly says that Jesus had brothers? 3) Why does the catholic church say that Jesus didn't have brothers, when the bible said he did? That’s incredible. John 19:26-27 - it would have been unthinkable for Jesus to commit the care of his mother to a friend if he had brothers. These are real brothers of Jesus from Joseph and Mary. Some have theorized that the Greek words adelphos (“brothers”) and adelphai (“sisters”) in Matthew 13 refer to spiritual brothers and sisters. First off, LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION and THE VIRGIN BIRTH! In Mark, a crowd asks of Jesus, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are his sisters here with us?” (6:3). 15:6), we need not infer from this verse that Mary gave birth to more than 500 children! Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013) Editor's note: This is an excerpt of the answer provided. Arlington Catholic Herald. You assume that "brothers" must mean "siblings" - even though the word "brothers" is used far more often in the New Testament to refer to people who are *not* siblings. He claimed that the Greek word adelphios could refer to cousins, not just biological siblings. (Compendium 112-124) ... DID JESUS HAVE BIOLOGICAL BROTHERS AND SISTERS? But what does scripture say about his complicated family tree? After St. Matthew’s account of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, he writes: “There were also many women there, looking on from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him; among who were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” (Matt. Differing opinions exist about the “brothers.” Some Catholic commentators think that Joseph was a widower and the “brothers” were thus stepbrothers; others maintain that they were children of the “other Mary,” who was present at the crucifixion (Mt. To answer this question we need to look at differences in customs and languages. Copyright © 2020 US Catholic. Meghan Murphy-Gill is a writer living in Chicago. The “sisters” have never been credibly identified. 19:25), and married to Clopas. If Jesus did have brothers, why would he have entrusted Mary to the beloved disciple, John, at the foot of the cross (John 19:26-27)? 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