Thursday, September 25, 2014

A theory about the Death of James The Just, The brother of Jesus

According to a passage found in existing manuscripts of Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews, (xx.9) "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" met his death after the death of the procurator Porcius Festus, yet before Lucceius Albinus took office (Antiquities 20,9) — which has been dated to 62 A.D.. The High Priest Hanan ben Hanan (Anani Ananus in Latin) took advantage of this lack of imperial oversight to assemble a Sanhedrin (although the correct translation of the Greek synhedion kriton is "a council of judges"), who condemned James "on the charge of breaking the law," then had him executed by stoning. Josephus reports that Hanan's act was widely viewed as little more than judicial murder and offended a number of "those who were considered the most fair-minded people in the City, and strict in their observance of the Law," who went as far as meeting Albinus as he entered the province to petition him about the matter. In response, King Agrippa II replaced Ananus with Jesus son of Damneus.

But early Christian tradition (recounted in Hegesippus as related by Eusebius) says James was thrown off the Temple in 66-70 AD.  Simeon becoming the second Bishop of Jerusalem is consistently dated to that time. Later post Constantine Christian historians tried awkwardly to reconcile these accounts.

Also, some skeptics of the Historicity of Jesus insist that "who was called Christ" is a latter addition not in Jospehus's original.

However, a poster on IMDB who's user name is austenw (who doesn't view The Bible to be inerrant) has an interesting theory that it's the name of James that was added latter.
 it's a matter of Greek grammar; the sentence reads:

    "Ananus ...brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was named Christ - James his name - and some others;"

In this quotation, blue = nominative (subject); red = accusative (object), green = genitive (possessive), purple = dative (a difficult one to define, but can be a bit like possessive).

Crucially, the words "his name, James" in the nominative, does not fit into the architecture of the sentence; it could be removed without altering the grammar whatsoever, between the two accusatives "the brother" and "some others".

More importantly, however, the "traditional" theory - that the name James is original and the reference to Jesus is the interpolation - simply can't be correct, because were this to be so, then "James" would have had to have originally been in the accusative, or else he wouldn't have been knit into the architecture of the sentence at all, and the "[was] his name" would have been entirely redundant. This means that the supposed interpolator would have had to go to the trouble of changing a perfectly acceptable accusative case for "James" to the nominative case, and adding "his name", and for no reason whatsoever. Why bother to do this, when he could simply have added the clause "the brother (accusative).. etc", after the name?

However, if "James [was] his name" was originally a marginal note - written in the nominative, playing no grammatical part within the sentence - all makes sense. A later scribe included the marginal note, verbatim, in the only place he could - after the words "the brother of Jesus called Christ" - since nowhere else would have done.
 So basically that would mean it was possibly another Brother of Jesus (not named by Josephus) who was stoned in 62 A.D.

Two of Jesus half brothers are known to have served as Bishop of Jerusalem. first James from the beginning of the Church until whenever he died. Then Simon from around 69 (Traditions agree he became Bishop just before the Destruction of the Second Temple) till 107 A.D.

We don't know much about Joses or Jude however.  Jude we know had later descendants, two grandchildren who were alive during the reign of Domitian, and Judah Kyriakos who was the last Bishop of Jerusalem. Though the start of his period as bishop of Jerusalem is not known, Judah is said to have lived beyond the Bar Kokhba revolt (132-136), up to about the eleventh year of Antoninus Pius (148 A.D.) though Marcus was appointed bishop of Aelia Capitolina in 135 by the Metropolitan of Caesarea.

Matthew 27:56 refers to some of the Women at the Cross when Jesus was crucified.  "Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children."  Mark 15:40-161 refers to the same first two women, but the third is simply a woman named Salome, (the only time that name is used in the New Testament).  Luke doesn't name the women at all.  John's Gospel in chapter 19 alone informs us clearly that Mary the Mother of Jesus was there, while also telling us her sister was there.

Joses is a shortened form of Joseph.  The only other Joseph refereed to as Joses in The Gospels is the half-brother of Jesus (and an ancestor of Jesus in Luke's genealogy).  At face value John's Gospel is the only one that obviously tells us the Mother of Jesus was among those women.  John also tells us she had a Sister.  I believe the Sister of Mary mother of Jesus, Salome from Mark's account, and the Mother of Zebedee's children are all the same individual.

I think in Matthew and Mark, the Mary mother of James and Joses is the same as the Mother of Jesus, but why is she not refereed to as such?  Maybe because of the events of Matthew 12-13 and Mark 6 the narrative voice ceases to refer to Jesus biological relatives as such after he effectively temporarily disowns them.

Why name only two of her four other Sons?  Who knows, but in Mark later references to clearly the same Woman refer to only one.  James and Joses are the two oldest in the list of Jesus brothers.

As far as the more popular view of making the mother of James and Joses the same as Mary the Wife of Cleophas/Clopas.  Cleophas/Clopas I feel is likely the disciple (probably one of the 70 but not one of the 12) Cleopas from Luke 14, the Road to Emmaus.  He's probably the same generation as the 12.

That view conflicts with making this person the same as the Alpheaus who is the father of the James and Jude among the 12.  Cleopas being a parent of any among the 12 is unlikely.  The tradition making Clopas the brother of Joseph has it's origin among those early fathers seeking to deny the siblings of Jesus were of Mary.

Certain authors devising alternative history theories have sought to say that Joseph of Arimathea was and uncle of Jesus, and one that he was the same person as James the half-brother of Jesus.  Logically it would make more sense if you want to make him a half-brother of Jesus to go with Joses.

Joseph of Arimathea is introduced in essentially the same narrative that deals with the Women at the Cross.  I think it would make sense to use the full name when referring to him and the shortened form when referring to someone else as a relative of him.  The last verse of Mark 15 refers to Mary only as the mother of Joses while finishing the narrative of Joseph of Airmathea arranging the burial of Jesus.

There is the also fact that this responsibility Joseph of Arimathea takes, burying the body, is one that in Jewish Custom belonged to the nearest living relatives.

The only problem with that theory is that the traditional assumption is none of Jesus brothers became Believers till after the Resurrection.  We know none were when John 7 occurs, half a year before the Crucifixion.  That fact refutes any theory reliant on making any of the 12 Disciples the same as any of the people refereed to as his siblings (a strategy used by some both for and against them being children of Mary).

But a lot can change in 6-7 months.

He could have moved from Nazareth to Arimathea (I agree with the theory that NT Arimathea is one of the OT Ramah or Ramaths, or perhaps Ramoth which was in Issachar in 1 Chronicles 6:73 and thus near the traditional site of Nazareth), sometime after their father died.

If Joses was Joseph of Airmathea then he was in the Sanhedrin.  Antiquities 20.9 does not explicitly say this half brother of Jesus was a Sanhedrin member, but the over all theme of Josephus in depicting these murders leading up to 70 AD is about people that were prominent but against doing a violent revolution against Rome.

Catholics like to argue the references to these four brothers and unnamed sisters are using the words loosely, referring to cousins or close friends or something.  The Greek words for brother and sister are sometimes used in similar senses, I've seen interesting theories about Lazarus, Martha and Mary of Bethany, but context tells us the difference.

Mark 6 is about contrasting a strict literal definition to one that widens it.  As I said above Jesus effectively disowns His biological family who didn't yet believe in Him, and said His true family are those who believe in Him.

And if the New Testament writers felt this word for brother could apply to a cousin, as is popularly suggested.  Why not use it of John The Baptist, who is more undisputedly then anyone else in The Gospel narrative a cousin of Jesus?  Maybe they'd say he's not a first cousin, he'd be second at the closest.

There is strong evidence in my view, already laid out, that the mother of the Sons of Zebedde was Mary's sister named Salome.  Maybe they'll argue the difference is being Pater-Lineal cousins?  But the argument for making them that is very weak and mostly dependent on making some of them among the 12, which as I showed can't be done.

Another attempt to reconcile this with the perpetual virginity heresy is to say they are sons Joseph had by a different wife.  Because these same people are uncomfortable with acknowledging polygamy still went on in Judaism at this time, they insist a wife who died before he married Mary.  But if Jesus isn't the First-Born Son legally to both parents then He isn't the rightful Heir to David.  Yes a younger son superseding the actual First-Born is a common theme in Scripture, but if Jesus were an example of that the Gospel writers, especially Matthew, wold have stressed it.  Those supercedings happen to help show how God doesn't really care about the formalities of The Law.  But Jesus himself had to be a perfect fulfillment of The Law.

The wording in Mark 6 of "the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him."  Starts with Mary and doesn't even mention Joseph (who is generally theorized to have died by then).  That tells me these siblings are siblings via being also sons and daughters of that same Mary.

Some will use that James the Brother of Jesus is called an Apostle by Paul in Galatians to prove he's one of the 12.  I already showed why these individuals can't be counted among the 12.  Apostle applied to any eye witness of the Resurrection.  Which is why Paul used it of himself calling himself the last Apostle.  And in Roman 16 identifies as among the Apostles a couple not even mentioned anywhere else in Scripture.

Matthew 1:25 says of Joseph.  "And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son." This verse isn't just saying he didn't know her before, it also clearly tells us he did know her after.

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