Commentary on the Epistles of St. Paul
THE BRETHREN OF THE LORD
In the early ages of the Church two conflicting opinions were held regarding the relationship of those who in the Gospels and Apostolic Epistles are termed 'the brethren of the Lord.' On the one hand it was maintained that no blood relationship existed; that these brethren were in fact sons of Joseph by a former wife, before he espoused the Virgin; and that they are therefore called the Lord's brethren only in the same way in which Joseph is called His father, having really no claim to this title but being so designated by an exceptional use of the term adapted to the exceptional fact of the miraculous incarnation. On the other hand certain persons argued that the obvious meaning of the term was the correct meaning, and that these brethren were the Lord's brethren as truly as Mary was the Lord's mother, being her sons by her husband Joseph. The former of these views was held by the vast majority of orthodox believers and by not a few heretics; the latter was the opinion of a father of the Church here and there to whom it occurred as the natural inference from the language of Scripture, as Tertullian for instance, and of certain sects and individuals who set themselves against the incipient worship of the Virgin or the one-sided asceticism of the day, and to whom therefore it was a very serviceable weapon of controversy.
Such was the state of opinion, when towards the close of the fourth century Jerome struck out a novel hypothesis. One Helvidius, who lived in Rome, had attacked the prevailing view of the superiority of virgin over married life, and in doing so had laid great stress on the example of the Lord's mother who had borne children to her husband. In or about the year 383 Jerome, then a young man, at the instigation of 'the brethren' wrote a treatise in reply to Helvidius, in which he put forward his own view. He maintained that the Lord's brethren were His cousins after the flesh, being sons of Mary the wife of Alphaeus and sister of the Virgin. Thus, as he boasted, he asserted the virginity not of Mary only but of Joseph also.
These three accounts are all of sufficient importance either from their real merits or from their wide popularity to deserve consideration, and I shall therefore investigate their several claims. As it will be convenient to have some short mode of designation, I shall call them respectively the Epiphanian, the Helvidian, and the Hieronymian theories, from the names of their most zealous advocates in the controversies of the fourth century when the question was most warmly debated.
But besides the solutions already mentioned not a few others have been put forward. These however have been for the most part built upon arbitrary assumptions or improbable combinations of known facts, and from their artificial character have failed to secure any wide acceptance. It is assumed for instance, that two persons of the same name, James the son of Alphaeus and James the Lord's brother, were leading members of the Church of Jerusalem, though history points to one only*; or that James the Lord's brother mentioned in St. Paul's Epistles is not the same James whose name occurs among the Lord's brethren in the Gospels, the relationship intended by the term 'brother' being different in the two cases; or that 'brethren' stands for 'foster-brethren,' Joseph having undertaken the charge of his brother Clopas' children after their father's death; or that the Lord's brethren had a double parentage, a legal as well as an actual father, Joseph having raised seed to his deceased brother Clopas by his widow according to the levirate law; or lastly, that the cousins of Jesus were rewarded with the title of His brethren, because they were His steadfast disciples, while His own brothers opposed Him.
* e.g. Wieseler Ueber die Bruder, etc., According to this writer the James of Galatians 2:9 and of the Acts is the son of Alphaeus, not the Lord's brother, and therefore different from the James of 1:19. See his notes on Galatians 1:19, 2:9. An ancient writer, the pseudo-Dorotheus, had represented two of the names as bishops of Jerusalem, making the son of Alphaeus the successor of the Lord's brother.
All such assumptions it will be necessary to set aside. In themselves indeed they can neither be proved nor disproved. But it is safer to aim at the most probable deduction from known facts than to build up a theory on an imaginary foundation. And, where the question is so intricate in itself, there is little temptation to introduce fresh difficulties by giving way to the license of conjecture.
To confine ourselves then to the three accounts which have the greatest claim to a hearing. It will be seen that the hypothesis which I have called the Epiphanian holds a middle place between the remaining two. With the Helvidian it assigns an intelligible sense to the term 'brethren': with the Hieronymian it preserves the perpetual virginity of the Lord's mother. Whether or not, while uniting in itself the features which have recommended each of these to acceptance, it unites also their difficulties, will be considered in the sequel.
From a critical point of view however, apart from their bearing on Christian doctrine and feeling, the Helvidian and Epiphanian theories hang very closely together, while the Hieronymian stands apart. As well on account of this isolation, as also from the fact which I have hitherto assumed but which I shall endeavour to prove hereafter, that it was the latest born of the three, it will be convenient to consider the last-mentioned theory first.
St. Jerome then states his view in the treatise against Helvidius somewhat as follows:
The list of the Twelve Apostles contains two of the name of James, the son of Zebedee and the son of Alphaeus. But elsewhere we read of a James the Lord's brother. What account are we to give of this last James? either he was an Apostle or he was not. If an Apostle, he must be identified with the son of Alphaeus, for the son of Zebedee was no longer living: if not an Apostle, then there were three persons bearing this name. But in this case how can a certain James be called 'the less,' a term which implies only one besides? And how moreover can we account for St. Paul's language 'Other of the Apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother' (Gal 1:19)? Clearly therefore James the son of Alphaeus and James the Lord's brother are the same person.
And the Gospel narrative explains this identity. Among the Lord's brethren occur the names of James and Joseph. Now it is stated elsewhere that Mary the mother of James the less and of Joseph (or Joses) was present at the crucifixion (Matt 27:56; Mark 15:40). This Mary therefore must have been the wife of Alphaeus, for Alphaeus was the father of James. But again in St. John's narrative (19:25) the Virgin's sister 'Mary of Cleophas (Clopas)' is represented as standing by the cross. This carries us a step in advance. The last-mentioned Mary is to be identified with the wife of Alphaeus and mother of James. Thus James the Lord's brother was in reality the Lord's cousin.
But, if His cousin, how is he called His brother? The following is the explanation. The term 'brethren' is used in four different senses in Holy Scripture: it denotes either (1) actual brotherhood or (2) common nationality, or (3) kinsmanship, or (4) friendship and sympathy. These different senses St. Jerome expresses by the four words 'natura, gente, cognatione, affectu.' In the case of the Lord's brethren the third of these senses is to be adopted: brotherhood here denotes mere relationship, just as Abraham calls his nephew Lot brother (Gen 13:8), and as Laban uses the same term of Jacob his sister's son (Gen 29:15).
So far St. Jerome, who started the theory. But, as worked out by other writers and as generally stated, it involves two particulars besides.
(i) The identity of Alphaeus and Clopas. These two words, it is said, are different renderings of the same Aramaic name yplx or [Aramaic] (Chalphai), the form Clopas being peculiar to St. John, the more completely grecized Alphaeus taking its place in the other Evangelists. The Aramaic guttural Cheth, when the name was reproduced in Greek, might either be omitted as in Alphaeus, or replaced by a k (or c) as in Clopas. Just in the same way Aloysius and Ludovicus are recognized Latin representatives of the Frankish name Clovis (Clodovicus, Hludovicus, Hlouis).
This identification however, though it materially strengthens his theory, was unknown to Jerome himself. In the course of his argument he confesses plainly that he does not know why Mary is called Clopae, (or Cleophae, as he writes it): it may be, he suggests, after her father or from her family surname ('gentilitate familiae') or for some other reason. In his treatise on Hebrew names too he gives an account of the word Alphaeus which is scarcely consistent with this identity. Neither have I found any traces of it in any of his other works, though he refers several times to the subject. In Augustine again, who adopts Jerome's hypothesis and his manner of stating it, it does not anywhere appear, so far as I know. It occurs first, I believe, in Chrysostom who incidentally speaks of James the Lord's brother as 'son of Clopas,' and after him in Theodoret who is more explicit (both on Gal 1:19). To a Syrian Greek, who, even if he were unable to read the Peshito version, must at all events have known that Chalphai was the Aramaean rendering or rather the Aramaean original of 'AljaioV, it might not unnaturally occur to graft this identification on the original theory of Jerome.
(ii) The identity of Judas the Apostle and Judas the Lord's brother. In St. Luke's catalogues of the Twelve (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13) the name 'Judas of James' ('IoudaV 'Iakwbou) occurs. Now we find a Judas also among the four brethren of the Lord (Matt 13:55; Mark 6:3); and the writer of the epistle, who was doubtless the Judas last mentioned, styles himself 'the brother of James' (Jude 1). This coincidence suggests that the ellipsis in 'Judas of James' should be supplied by brother as in the English version, not by son which would be the more obvious word. Thus Judas the Lord's brother, like James, is made one of the Twelve. I do not know when the Hieronymian theory received this fresh accession, but, though the gain is considerable in apparent strength at least, it does not appear, so far as I have noticed, to have occurred to Jerome himself.
And some have gone a step farther. We find not only a James and a Judas among the Lord's brethren, but also a Symeon or Simon. Now it is remarkable that these three names occur together in St. Luke's list of the Twelve: James (the son) of Alphaeus, Simon called Zelotes, and Judas (the brother) of James. In the lists of the other Evangelists too these three persons are kept together, though the order is different and Judas appears under another name, Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus. Can this have been a mere accident? Would the name of a stranger have been inserted by St. Luke between two brothers? Is it not therefore highly probably that this Simon also was one of the Lord's brethren? And thus three out of the four are included among the Twelve.
Without these additions the theory is incomplete; and indeed they have been so generally regarded as part of it, that advocates and opponents alike have forgotten or overlooked the fact that Jerome himself nowhere advances them. I shall then consider the theory as involving these two points; for indeed it would never have won its way to such general acceptance, unless presented in this complete form, where its chief recommendation is that it combines a great variety of facts and brings out many striking coincidences.
But before criticizing the theory itself, let me prepare the way by divesting it of all fictitious advantages and placing it in its true light. The two points to which attention may be directed, as having been generally overlooked, are these:
(1) Jerome claims no traditional support for his theory. This is a remarkable feature in his treatise against Helvidius. He argues the question solely on critical and theological grounds. His opponent had claimed the sanction of two older writers, Tertullian and Victorinus of Pettaw. Jerome in reply is obliged to concede him Tertullian, whose authority he invalidates as 'not a member of the church,' but denies him Victorinus. Can it be doubted that if he could have produced any names on his own side he would only too gladly have done so? When for instance he is maintaining the virginity of the Lord's mother, a feature possessed by his theory in common with the Epiphanian, he is at no loss for authorities: Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Justin, and many other 'eloquent apostolic men' occur to him at once. But in support of his own account of the relationship he cannot, or at least does not, name a single writer; he simply offers it as a critical deduction from the statements of Scripture. Again in his later writings, when he refers to the subject, his tone is the same: 'Some suppose them to have been sons of Joseph: it is my opinion, I have maintained in my book against Helvidius, that they were the children of Mary the Virgin's sister.' And the whole tenor of patristic evidence, as I shall hope to show, is in accordance with this tone. No decisive instance can be produced of a writer holding Jerome's view, before it was propounded by Jerome himself.
(2) Jerome does not hold his theory staunchly and consistently. The references to the subject in his works taken in chronological order will speak for themselves. The theory is first propounded, as we saw, in the treatise against Helvidius written about 383, when he was a young man. Even here his main point is the perpetual virginity of the Lord's mother, to which his own special solution is quite subordinate: he speaks of himself as not caring to fight hard ('contentiosum funem non traho') for the identity of Mary of Cleophas with Mary the mother of James and Joses, though this is the pivot of his theory. And, as time advances, he seems to hold to his hypothesis more and more loosely. In his commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (1:19) written about 387 he speaks very vaguely: he remembers, he says, having when at Rome written a treatise on the subject, with which such as it is he ought to be satisfied ('qualiacunque sunt illa quae scripsimus his contenti esse debemus'); after which he goes on inconsistently enough, ‘Suffice it now to say that James was called the Lord’s brother on account of his high character, his incomparable faith, and extraordinary wisdom: the other Apostles also are called brothers (John 20:17; comp. Psa 22:22), but he preeminently so, to whom the Lord at His departure had committed the sons of His mother (i.e. the members of the Church of Jerusalem)’; with more to the same effect: and he concludes by showing that the term Apostle, so far from being confined to the Twelve, has a very wide use, adding that it was ‘a monstrous error to identify this James with the Apostle the brother of John.’ In his Catalogue of Illustrious Men (AD 392) and in his Commentary on St. Matthew (AD 398) he adheres to his earlier opinion, referring in the passages already quoted to his treatise against Helvidius, and taunting those who considered the Lord’s brethren to be the sons of Joseph by a former wife with ‘following the ravings of the apocryphal writings and inventing a wretched creature (mulierculam) Melcha or Escha by name.’ Yet after all in a still later work, the Epistle to Hedibia (about 406 or 407), enumerating the Maries of the Gospels he mentions Mary of Cleophas the maternal aunt of the Lord and Mary the mother of James and Joses as distinct persons, adding ‘although others contend that the mother of James and Joses was His aunt.’ Yet this identification, of which he here speaks with such indifference, was the keystone of his own theory. Can it be that by his long resident in Bethlehem, having the Palestinian tradition brought more prominently before him, he first relaxed his hold of and finally relinquished his own hypothesis?
If these positions are correct, the Hieronymian view has no claim to any traditional sanction—in other words, there is no reason to believe that time has obliterated any secondary evidence in its favour—and it must therefore be investigated on its own merits.
And compact and plausible as it may seem at first sight, the theory exposes, when examined, many vulnerable parts.
(1) The instances alleged notwithstanding, the sense thus assigned to ‘brethren’ seems to be unsupported by biblical usage. In an affectionate and earnest appeal intended to move the sympathies of the hearer, a speaker might not unnaturally address a relation or a friend or even a fellow-countryman as his ‘brother.’ And even when speaking of such to a third person he might through warmth of feeling and under certain aspects so designate him. But it is scarcely conceivable that the cousins of any one should be commonly and indeed exclusively styled his ‘brothers’ by indifferent persons; still less, that one cousin in particular should be singled out and described in this loose way, ‘James the Lord’s brother.’
(2) But again: the Hieronymian theory when completed supposes two, if not three, of the Lord’s brethren to be in the number of the Twelve. This is hardly reconcilable with the place they hold in the Evangelical narratives, where they appear sometimes as distinct from, sometimes as antagonistic to the Twelve. Only a short time before the crucifixion they are disbelievers in the Lord’s divine mission (John 7:5). Is it likely that St. John would have made this unqualified statement, if it were true of one only or at most of two out of the four? Jerome sees the difficulty and meets it by saying that James was ‘not one of those that disbelieved.’ But what if Jude and Simon also belong to the Twelve? After the Lord’s Ascension, it is true, His brethren appear in company with the Apostles, and apparently by this time their unbelief has been converted into faith. Yet even on this later occasion, though with the Twelve, they are distinguished from the Twelve; for the latter are described as assembling in prayer ‘with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and [with] his brethren’ (Acts 1:14).
And scarcely more consistent is this theory with what we know of James and Jude in particular. James, as the resident bishop or presiding elder of the mother Church, held a position hardly compatible with the world-wide duties which devolved on the Twelve. It was the essential feature of his office that he should be stationary; of theirs, that they should move about from place to place. If on the other hand he appears sometimes to be called an Apostle (though not one of the passages alleged is free from ambiguity), this term is by no means confined to the Twelve and might therefore be applied to him in its wider sense, as it is to Barnabas. Again, Jude on his part seems to disclaim the title of an Apostle (v 17); and if so, he cannot have been one of the Twelve.
(3) But again: the Lord’s brethren are mentioned in the Gospels in connexion with Joseph His reputed father and Mary His mother, never once with Mary of Clopas (the assumed wife of Alphaeus). It would surely have been otherwise, if the latter Mary were really their mother.
(4) Jerome lays great stress on the epithet minor applied to James, as if it implied two only, and even those who impugn his theory seem generally to acquiesce in his rendering. But the Greek gives not ‘James the Less’ but ‘James the little.’ Is it not most natural then to explain this epithet of his height? ‘There were many of the name of James,’ says Hegesippus, and the short stature of one of these might well serve as a distinguishing mark. This interpretation at all events must be regarded as more probable than explaining it either of his comparative youth or of inferior rank and influence. It will be remembered that there is no Scriptural or early sanction for speaking of the son of Zebedee as ‘James the Great.’
(5) The manner in which Jude is mentioned in the lists of the Twelve is on this hypothesis full of perplexities. In the first place it is necessary to translate 'Iakwbou not 'the son' but 'the brother of James,' though the former is the obvious rendering and is supported by two of the earliest versions, the Peshito Syriac and the Thebaic, while two others, the Old Latin and Memphitic, leave the ellipsis unsupplied and thus preserve the ambiguity of the original. But again, if Judas were the brother of James, would not the Evangelist's words have run more naturally, 'James the son of Alphaeus and Jude his brother,' or 'James and Jude the sons of Alphaeus,' as in the case of the other pairs of brothers? Then again, if Simon Zelotes is not a brother of James, why is he inserted by St. Luke between the two? If he also is a brother, why is the designation of brotherhood attached to the name of Judas only?
Moreover in the different lists of the three Evangelists the Apostle in question is designated in three different ways. In St. Matthew (10:3) he is called Lebbaeus (at least according to a well-supported reading); in St. Mark (3:18) Thaddaeus; and in St. Luke ‘Jude of James.’ St. John again having occasion to mention him (14:22) distinguishes him by a negative, ‘Judas not Iscariot.’* Is it possible, if he were the Lord’s brother Judas, he would in all these places have escaped being so designated, when this designation would have fixed the person meant at once?
The perplexity is increased by the Curetonian Syriac, which for ‘Ioudas ouc o IskariwthV reads ‘Judas Thomas,’ i.e. ‘Judas the Twin.’ It seems therefore that the translator took the person intended by St. John to be not the Judas Jacobi in the list of the Twelve, but the Thomas Didymus, for Thomas was commonly called Judas in the Syrian Church…As Thomas (DidumoV), ‘the Twin,’ is properly a surname, and this Apostle must have had some other name, there seems no reason for doubting this very early tradition that he also was a Jude. At the same time it is highly improbable that St. John should have called the same Apostle elsewhere Thomas (John 11:16, 14:5, 20:24 etc.) and here Judas, and we may therefore conclude that he is speaking of two different persons…
(6) Lastly; in order to maintain the Hieronymian theory it is necessary to retain the common punctuation of John 19:25, thus making ‘Mary of Clopas’ the Virgin’s sister. But it is at least improbable that two sisters should have borne the same name. The case of the Herodian family is scarcely parallel, for Herod was a family name, and it is unlikely that a humble Jewish household should have copied a practice which must lead to so much confusion. Here it is not unlikely that a tradition underlies the Peshito rendering which inserts a conjunction: ‘His mother and his mother’s sister, and Mary of Cleophas and Mary Magdalene.’* The Greek at all events admits, even if it does not favour, this interpretation, for the arrangement of names in couples has a parallel in the lists of the Apostles (e.g. Matt 10:2-4).
* See Wieseler Die Sohne Zebedai etc. p. 672. This writer identifies the sister of the Lord’s mother (John 19:25) with Salome (Mark 15:40, 16:1), who again is generally identified with the mother of Zebedee’s children (Matt 27:56); and thus James and John, the sons of Zebedee, are made cousins of our Lord. Compare the pseudo-Papias, p. 273, note; and see the various reading ‘IwannhV and ‘Iwshj in the list of the Lord’s brethren in Matt 13:55. But as we are told that there were many other women present also (Mark 15:41, comp. Luke 24:10),--one of whom, Joanna, is mentioned by name—both these identifications must be considered precarious. It would be strange that no hint should be given in the Gospels of the relationship of the sons of Zebedee to our Lord, if it existed.
The Jerusalem Syriac lectionary gives the passage John 19:25 not less than three times. In two of these places (pp. 387, 541, the exception being p. 445) a stop is put after ‘His mother’s sister,’ thus separating the words from ‘Mary of Cleophas’ and suggesting by punctuation the same interpretation which the Peshito fixes by inserting a conjunction.
I have shown then, if I mistake not, that St. Jerome pleaded no traditional authority for his theory, and that therefore the evidence in its favour is to be sought in Scripture alone. I have examined the Scriptural evidence, and the conclusion seems to be, that though this hypothesis, supplemented as it has been by subsequent writers, presents several striking coincidences which attract attention, yet it involves on the other hand a combination of difficulties—many of these arising out of the very elements in the hypothesis which produce the coincidences—which more than counterbalances these secondary arguments in its favour, and in fact must lead to its rejection, if any hypothesis less burdened with difficulties can be found.
Thus, as compared with the Hieronymian view, both the Epiphanian and the Helvidian have higher claims to acceptance. They both assign to the word brethren its natural meaning; they both recognize the main facts related of the Lord’s brethren in the Gospels—their unbelief, their distinctness from the Twelve, their connexion with Joseph and Mary—and they both avoid the other difficulties which the Hieronymian theory creates.
And moreover they both exhibit a coincidence which deserves notice. A very short time before the Lord’s death His brethren refuse to accept His mission: they are still unbelievers. Immediately after His ascension we find them gathered together with the Apostles, evidently recognizing Him as their Master. Whence comes this change? Surely the crucifixion of one who professed to be the Messiah was not likely to bring it about. He had claimed to be King of Israel and He had been condemned as a malefactor: He had promised His followers a triumph and He had left them persecution. Would not all this confirm rather than dissipate their former unbelief? An incidental statement of St. Paul explains all; ‘Then He was seen of James.’ At the time when St. Paul wrote, there was but one person eminent enough in the church to be called James simply without any distinguishing epithet—the Lord’s brother, the bishop of Jerusalem. It might therefore reasonably be concluded that this James is here meant. And this view is confirmed by an extant fragment of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, the most important of all the apocryphal gospels, which seems to have preserved more than one true tradition, and which expressly relates the appearance of our Lord to His brother James after His resurrection.
This interposition, we may suppose, was the turning-point in the religious life of the Lord’s brethren; the veil was removed at once and for ever from their hearts. In this way the antagonistic notices in the Gospels—first the disbelief of the Lord’s brethren, and then their assembling together with the Apostles—are linked together; and harmony is produced out of discord.
Two objections however are brought against both these theories, which the Hieronymian escapes.
(1) They both, it is objected, assume the existence of two pairs of cousins bearing the same names, James and Joseph the sons of Alphaeus, and James and Joseph the Lord’s brothers. If moreover we accept the statement of Hegesippus that James was succeeded in the bishopric of Jerusalem by Symeon son of Clopas, and also admit the identification of Clopas with Alphaeus, we get a third name Symeon or Simeon common to the two families. Let us see what this objection really amounts to.
It will be seen that the cousinhood of these persons is represented as a cousinhood on the mothers’ side, and that it depends on three assumptions: (1) The identification of James the son of Alphaeus in the list of the Twelve with James the Little the son of Mary: (2) The identification of ‘Mary of Clopas’ in St. John with Mary the mother of James and Joses in the other Evangelists: (3) The correctness of the received punctuation of John 19:25, which makes ‘Mary of Clopas’ the Virgin’s sister. If any one of these be rejected, this cousinhood falls to the ground. Yet of these three assumptions the second alone can safely be pronounced more likely than not (though we are expressly told that ‘many other women’ were present), for it avoids the unnecessary multiplication of Maries. The first must be considered highly doubtful, seeing that James was a very common name; while the third is most improbable, for it gives two sisters both called Mary—a difficulty far surpassing that of supposing two or even three cousins bearing the same name. On the other hand, if, admitting the second identification and supplying the ellipsis in ‘Mary of Clopas’ by ‘wife,’* we combine with it the statement of Hegesippus** that Clopas the father of Symeon was brother of Joseph, we get three cousins, James, Joses, and Symeon, on their fathers’ side. Yet this result again must be considered on the whole improbable. I see no reason indeed for doubting the testimony of Hegesippus, who was perhaps born during the lifetime of this Symeon, and is likely to have been well informed. But the chances are against the other hypotheses, on which it depends, being both of them correct. The identification of Clopas and Alphaeus will still remain an open question.***
* As h tou Klwpa may mean either the daughter or the wife of the mother of Clopas, this expression has been combined with the statement of Hegesippus in various ways. See for instance the apocryphal gospels, Pseudo-Matt. Evang. 52 (ed. Tisch. p. 104), Evang. Inf. Arab. 29 (ib. p. 186), and the marginal note on the Philoxenian version, John 19:25, besides other references which will be given in the account of the patristic authorities.
** The statement of Hegesippus suggests a solution which would remove the difficulty. We might suppose the two Maries to have been called sisters, as having been married to two brothers; but is there any authority for ascribing to the Jews an extension of the term ‘sister’ which modern usage scarcely sanctions?
*** Of the three names Alphaeus (the father of Levi or Matthew, Mark 2:14, and the father of James, Matt 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13), Clopas (the husband or father or son of Mary, John 19:25), and Cleopas (the disciple journeying to Emmaus, Luke 24:18), it is considered that the two former are probably identical, and the two latter certainly distinct. Both positions may be disputed with some reason. In forming a judgment, the following points deserve to be considered; (1) In the Greek text there is no variation of reading worth mentioning; Clopas is certainly the reading in St. John, and Cleopas in St. Luke. (2) The versions however bring them together. Cleopae (or Cleophae) is read in the Peshito, Old Latin, Memphitic, Vulgate, and Armenian text of St. John. (3) Of these the evidence of the Peshito is particularly important in a matter relating to Aramaic names. While for ‘AljaioV in all five places it restores what was doubtless the original Aramaic form Chalphai; on the other hand, it gives the same word Kleopha (i.e. kleopaV) in Luke 24:18 and in John 19:25, if the printed texts may be trusted. The Jerusalem Syriac too renders Klwpas by Kleophas, and ‘AljaioV by Chalphai. (4) The form KlwpaV, which St. John’s text gives, is confirmed by Hegesippus (Euseb. H.E. iii. 11), and there is every reason to believe that this was a common mode of writing some proper name or other with those acquainted with Aramaic; but it is difficult to see why, if the word intended to be represented were Chalphai, they should not have reproduced it more exactly in Greek. The name Calfi in fact does occur in 1 Macc 11:70. (5) It is true that KleopaV is strictly a Greek name contracted from KlespatroV, like ‘AntipaV from ‘AntipatroV , etc. But it was a common practice with the Jews to adopt the genuine Greek name which bore the closest resemblance in sound to their own Aramaic name, either side by side with it or in place of it, as Simon for Symeon, Jason for Jesus; and thus a man, whose real Aramaic name was Clopas, might grecize the word and call himself Cleopas. On these grounds it appears to me that, viewing the question as one of names merely, it is quite as reasonable to identify Clopas with Cleopas as with Alphaeus. But the identification of names does not carry with it the identification of persons. St. Paul’s Epaphras fro instance is probably a different person from his Epaphroditus.
A Jewish name ‘Alfius’ occurs in an inscription ALFIVS . IVDA . ARCON . ARCOSINAGOGVS (Insc. Gudii, p. cclxiii.5), and possibly this is the Latin substitute for Chalphai or Chalphi, as ‘AlfaioV is the Greek; Alfius being a not uncommon Latin name. One would be tempted to set down his namesake also, the ‘fenerator Alfius’ or ‘Alphius’ of Horace (Epod. ii. 67, see Columella I.7.2), for a fellow-countryman, if his talk were not so pagan.
But, whether they were cousins or not, does the fact of two families having two or three names in common constitute any real difficulty? Is not this a frequent occurrence among ourselves? It must be remembered too that the Jewish names in ordinary use at this time were very few, and that these three, James, Joses, and Symeon, were among the most common, being consecrated in the affections of the Jews from patriarchal times. In the list of the Twelve the name of James appears twice, Symeon twice. In the New Testament no less than twelve persons bear the name of Symeon or Simon, and nearly as many that of Joseph or Joses.* In the index to Josephus may be counted nineteen Josephs, and twenty-five Simons.**
* I am arguing on the supposition that Joses and Joseph are the same name, but this is at least doubtful. In St. Matthew, according to the best authorities, the Lord’s brother (13:55) is ‘Iwshf, the son of Mary (27:56) ‘IwshV. In St. Mark on the other hand the latter word is found (the genitive being differently written ‘IwshtoV or ‘Iwsh, though probably Tregelles is right in preferring the former in all three passages), whether referring to the Lord's brother (6:3) or to the son of Mary (15:40,47). Thus if existing authorities in the text of St. Mark are to be trusted, there is no distinction between the names. Yet I am disposed to think with Wieseler (die Sohne Zebedai etc. p. 678) that St. Matthew's text suggests the real difference, and that the original reading in Mark 6:3 was ‘Iwshf; but if so, the corruption was very ancient and very general, for ‘Iwshf is found in ) alone of the uncial manuscripts. A similar confusion of these names appears in the case of Barsabbas, Acts 1:23, and Barnabas, 4:36; in the former case we find a various reading ‘Joses’ for ‘Joseph,’ in the latter we should almost certainly read ‘Joseph’ for ‘Joses’ of the received text. I am disposed to think the identification of the names Joses and Joseph improbable for two reasons: (1) It seems unlikely that the same name should be represented in Greek by two such divergent forms as ‘IwshV, making a genitive ‘IwshtoV, and ‘Iwshf or ‘IwshpoV, which perhaps (replaced by a genuine Greek name) became ‘HghsippoV. (2) The Peshito in the case of the commoner Hebrew or Aramaic names restores the original form in place of the somewhat disfigured Greek equivalent, e.g. Juchanon for ‘IwannhV, Zabdai, for ZebedaioV. Following this rule, it ought, if the names were identical, to have restored Joseph for the Greek ‘IwshV, in place of which it has Josi, Jausi, or Jusi. In Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, the Memphitic Version separates Maria [h tou] ‘Iakwbou [tou mikrou] and ‘Iwsh[toV] mhthr, making them two different persons. [On the other hand, similar instances of abbreviation, e.g. Ashe for Asher, Jochana for Jochanan, Shabba for Shabbath, are produced; see Delitzsch in Laurent Neutest. Stud. p. 168.]
** The popularity of this name is probably due to Simon Maccabaeus.
And moreover is not the difficulty, if difficulty there be, diminished rather than increased on the supposition of the cousinhood of these two families? The name of a common ancestor or a common relative naturally repeats itself in households connected with each other. And from this point of view it is worthy of notice that the names in question actually occur in the genealogies of our Lord. Josephs’ father is Jacob or James in St. Matthew (1:15,16); and in St. Luke’s table, exclusively of our Lord’s reputed father, the name Joseph or Joses occurs twice at least in a list of thirty-four direct ancestors.
(2) When a certain Mary is described as ‘the mother of James,’ is it not highly probable that the person intended should be the most celebrated of the name—James the Just, the bishop of Jerusalem, the Lord’s brother? This objection to both the Epiphanian and Helvidian theories is at first sight not without force, but it will not bear examination. Why, we may ask, if the best known of all the Jameses were intended here, should it be necessary in some passages to add the name of a brother Joses also, who was a person of no special mark in the Church (Matt 27:56; Mark 15:40)? Why again in others should this Mary be designated ‘the mother of Joses’ alone (Mark 15:47), the name of his more famous brother being suppressed? In only two passages is she called simply ‘the mother of James’; in Mark 16:1, where it is explained by the fuller description which has gone before ‘the mother of James and Joses’ (15:40); and in Luke 24:10, where no such explanation can be given. It would seem then that this Mary and this James, though not the most famous of their respective names and therefore not at once distinguishable when mentioned alone, were yet sufficiently well known to be discriminated from others, when their names appeared in conjunction.
The objections then which may be brought against both these theories in common are not very serious; and up to this point in the investigation they present equal claims to acceptance. The next step will be to compare them together, in order to decide which of the two must yield to the other.
1. The Epiphanian view assumes that the Lord’s brethren had really no relationship with Him; and so far the Helvidian has the advantage. But this advantage is rather seeming than real. It is very natural that those who called Joseph His father should call Joseph’s sons His brethren. And it must be remembered that this designation is given to Joseph not only by strangers from whom at all events the mystery of the Incarnation was veiled, but by the Lord’s mother herself who knew all (Luke 2:48). Even the Evangelist himself, about whose belief in the miraculous conception of Christ there can be no doubt, allows himself to speak of Joseph and Mary as ‘His father and mother’ and ‘His parents.’* Nor again is it any argument in favour of the Helvidian account as compared with the Epiphanian, that the Lord’s brethren are found in company of Mary rather than of Joseph. Joseph appears in the evangelical history for the last time when Jesus is twelve years old (Luke 2:43); during the Lord’s ministry he is never once seen, though Mary comes forward again and again. There can be little doubt therefore that he had died meanwhile.
* Luke 2:33 o pathr autou kai h mhthr, 2:42, 43 oi goneiV autou, the correct reading. Later transcribers have taken offence and substituted ‘Joseph and Mary,’ ‘Joseph and His mother,’ in all three places.
2. Certain expressions in the evangelical narratives are said to imply that Mary bore other children besides the Lord, and it is even asserted that no unprejudiced person could interpret them otherwise. The justice of this charge may be fairly questioned. The context in each case seems to suggest another explanation of these expressions, which does not decide anything one way or the other. St. Matthew writes that Joseph ‘knew not’ his wife ‘till (ewV ou) she brought forth a son’ (1:25); while St. Luke speaks of her bringing forth ‘her firstborn son’ (2:7). St. Matthew’s expression however, ‘till she brought forth,’ as appears from the context, is intended simply to show that Jesus was not begotten in the course of nature; and thus, while it denies any previous intercourse with her husband, it neither asserts nor implies any subsequent intercourse. Again, the prominent idea conveyed by the term ‘firstborn’ to a Jew would be not the birth of other children, but the special consecration of this one. The typical reference in fact is foremost in the mind of St. Luke, as he himself explains it, ‘Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’ (2:23). Thus ‘firstborn’ does not necessarily suggest ‘later-born,’ any more than ‘son’ suggests ‘daughter.’ The two words together describe the condition under which in obedience to the law a child was consecrated to God. The ‘firstborn son’ is in fact the Evangelist’s equivalent for the ‘male that openeth the womb.’
It may indeed be fairly urged that, if the Evangelists had considered the perpetual virginity of the Lord’s mother a matter of such paramount importance as it was held to be in the fourth and following centuries, they would have avoided expressions which are at least ambiguous and might be taken to imply the contrary; but these expressions are not in themselves fatal to such a belief.
Whether in itself the sentiment on which this belief was founded be true or false, is a fit subject of enquiry; nor can the present question be considered altogether without reference to it. If it be true, then the Epiphanian theory has an advantage over the Helevidian, as respecting or at least not disregarding it; if false, then it may be thought to have suggested that theory, as it certainly did the Hieronymian, and to this extent the theory itself must lie under suspicion. Into this enquiry however it will not be necessary to enter. Only let me say that it is not altogether correct to represent this belief as suggested solely by the false asceticism of the early Church which exalted virginity at the expense of married life. It appears in fact to be due quite as much to another sentiment which the fathers fantastically expressed by a comparison between the conception and the burial of our Lord. As after death His body was placed in a sepulcher ‘wherein never man before was laid,’ so it seemed fitting that the womb consecrated by His presence should not thenceforth have borne any offspring of man. It may be added also, that the Epiphanian view prevailed especially in Palestine where there was less disposition than elsewhere to depreciate married life, and prevailed too at a time when extreme ascetic views had not yet mastered the Church at large.
3. But one objection has been hurled at the Helvidian theory with great force, and as it seems to me with fatal effect, which is powerless against the Epiphanian.* Our Lord in His dying moments commended His mother to the keeping of St. John; ‘Woman, behold thy son.’ The injunction was forthwith obeyed, and ‘from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home’ (John 19:26,27). Yet according to the Helvidian view she had no less than four sons besides daughters living at the time. Is it conceivable that our Lord would thus have snapped asunder the most sacred ties of natural affection? The difficulty is not met by the fact that her own sons were still unbelievers. This fact would scarcely have been allowed to override the paramount duties of filial piety. But even when so explained, what does this hypothesis require us to believe? Though within a few days a special appearance is vouchsafed to one of these brethren, who is destined to rule the mother Church of Jerusalem, and all alike are converted to the faith of Christ; yet she, their mother, living in the same city and joining with them in a common worship (Acts 1:14), is consigned to the care of a stranger of whose house she becomes henceforth the inmate.
* This argument is brought forward not only by Jerome, but also by Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose, and Epiphanius, who all held the view which I have designated by the name of the last of the three.
Thus it would appear that, taking the scriptural notices alone, the Hieronymian account must be abandoned; while of the remaining two the balance of the argument is against the Helvidian and in favour of the Epiphanian. To what extent the last-mentioned theory can plead the prestige of tradition, will be seen from the following catena of references to the fathers and other early Christian writings. *
* The testimony of Papias is frequently quoted at the head of the patristic authorities, as favouring the view of Jerome. The passage in question is an extract, to which the name of this very ancient writer is prefixed, in a Bodleian MS, no. 2397, of the date 1302 or 1303. It is given in Grabe’s Spicil. II p. 34, Routh’s Rel. Sacr. I, p. 16, and runs as follows: ‘Maria mater Domini: Maria Cleophae, sive Alphei uxor, quae fuit mater Jacobi episcopi et apostolic et Symonis et Thadei et cujusdam Joseph: Maria Salome uxor Zebedei mater Joannis evangelistae et Jacobi: Maria Magdalene: istae quatuor in Evangelio reperiuntur. Jacobus et Judas et Joseph filii errant materterae Domini; Jacobus quoque et Joannes alterius materterae Domini fuerunt filii. Maria Jacobi minoris et Joseph mater, uxor Alphei, soror fuit Mariae matris Domini, quam Cleophae Joannes nominat vel a patre vel a gentilitatis familia vel alia causa. Maria Salome a viro vel a vico dicitur: hanc eandem Cleophae quidam dicunt quod duos viros habuerit. Maria dicitur illuminatrix sive stella maris, genuit enim lumen mundi; sermone autem Syro Domina nuncupatur, quia genuit Dominum.’ Grabe’s description ‘ad marginem expresse adscriptum lego Papia’ is incorrect; the name is not in the margin but over the passage as a title to it. The authenticity of this fragment is accepted by Mill, p. 238, and by Dean Alford on Matthew 13:55. Two writers also in Smith’s Biblical Dictionary (s.vv. ‘Brother’ and ‘James’), respectively impugning and maintaining the Hieronymian view, refer to it without suspicion. It is strange that able and intelligent critics should not have seen through a fabrication which is so manifestly spurious. Not to mention the difficulties in which we are involved by some of the statements, the following reasons seem conclusive: (1) The last sentence ‘Maria dicitur etc.’ is evidently very late, and is, as Dr. Mill says, ‘justly rejected by Grabe.’ Grabe says, ‘addidit is qui descripsit ex suo’; but the passage is continuous in the MS, and there is neither more nor less authority for assigning this to Papias than the remainder of the extract. (2) The statement about ‘Maria uxor Alphei’ is taken from Jerome (adv. Helvid.) almost word for word, as Dr. Mill has seen; and it is purely arbitrary to reject this as spurious and accept the rest as genuine. (3) The writings of Papias were in Jerome’s hands, and eager as he was to claim the support of authority, he could not have failed to refer to testimony which was so important and which so entirely confirms his view in the most minute points. Nor is it conceivable that a passage like this, coming from so early a writer, should not have impressed itself very strongly on the ecclesiastical tradition of the early centuries, whereas in fact we discover no traces of it.
For these reasons the extract seemed to be manifestly spurious; but I might have saved myself the trouble of examining the Bodleian MS and writing these remarks, if I had known at the time, that the passage was written by a mediaeval namesake of the Bishop of Hierapolis, Papias the author of the ‘Elementarium,’ who lived in the 11th century. This seems to have been a standard work in its day, and was printed four times in the 15th century under the name of the Lexicon or Vocabulist. I have not had access to a printed copy, but there is a MS of the work (marked Kk. 4.1) in the Cambridge University Library, the knowledge of which I owe to Mr. Bradshaw, the librarian. The variations from the Bodleian extract are unimportant. It is strange that though Grabe actually mentions the later Papias the author of the Dictionary, and Routh copies his note, neither the one nor the other got on the right track. I made the discovery while the first edition of this work was passing through the press .
1. The GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE HEBREWS, one of the earliest and most respectable of the apocryphal narratives, related that the Lord after His resurrection ‘went to James and appeared to him; for James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour in which the Lord had drunk the cup [biberat calicem Dominus], till he saw Him risen from the dead.’ Jesus therefore ‘took bread and blessed it and brake it and gave it to James the Just and said to him, My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of Man has risen from the dead’ (Hieron. de Vir. Illustr. 2). I have adopted the reading ‘Dominus,’ as the Greek translation has KurioV, and it also suits the context better; for the point of time which we should naturally expect is not the institution of the eucharist but the Lord’s death.* Our Lord had more than once spoken of His sufferings under the image of draining the cup (Matt 20:22,23, 26:39,42; Mark 10:38,39, 14:36; Luke 22:42); and He is represented as using this metaphor here. If however we retain ‘Domini,’ it must be allowed that the writer represented James the Lord’s brother as present at the last supper, but it does not follow that he regarded him as one of the Twelve. He may have assigned to him a sort of exceptional position such as he holds in the Clementines, apart from and in some respects superior to the Twelve, and thus his presence at this critical time would be accounted for. At all events this passage confirms the tradition that the James mentioned by St. Paul (1 Cor 15:7) was the Lord’s brother; while at the same time it is characteristic of a Judaic writer whose aim it would be to glorify the head of his Church at all hazards, that an appearance, which seems in reality to have been vouchsafed to this James to win him over from his unbelief, should be represented as a reward for his devotion.
* There might possibly have been an ambiguity in the Hebrew original owing to the absence of case-endings, as Blom suggests (p. 83): but it is more probable that a transcriber of Jerome carelessly wrote down the familiar phrase ‘the cup of the Lord.’
2. The GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PETER was highly esteemed by the Docetae of the second century. Towards the close of that century, Serapion, bishop of Antioch, found it in circulation at Rhossus a Cilician town, and at first tolerated it: but finding on examination that, though it had much in common with the Gospels recognized by the Catholic Church, there were sentiments in it favourable to the heretical views that were secretly gaining ground there, he forbad its use. In the fragment of Serapion preserved by Eusebius (H.E. vi. 12), from which our information is derived, he speaks of this apocryphal work as if it had been long in circulation, so that its date must be about the middle of the second century at the latest, and probably somewhat earlier. To this gospel Origen refers, as stating that the Lord’s brethren were Joseph’s sons by a former wife and thus maintaining the virginity of the Lord’s mother.
3. PROTEVANGELIUM JACOBI, a purely fictitious but very early narrative, dating probably not later than the middle of the second century, represents Joseph as an old man when the Virgin was espoused to him, having sons of his own (§9, ed. Tisch. p. 18) but no daughters (§17, p. 31), and James the writer of the account apparently as grown up at the time of Herod’s death (§25, p. 48). Following in this track, subsequent apocryphal narratives give a similar account with various modifications, in some cases naming Joseph’s daughters or his wife. Such are the Pseudo-Matthaei Evang. (§32, ed. Tisch. p. 104), Evang. de Nativ. Mar. (§8, ib. p. 111), Historia Joseph (§2, ib. p. 1160), Evang. Thomae (§16, p. 147), Evang. Infant. Arab. (§35, p. 191), besides the apocryphal Gospels mentioned by Jerome (Comm. in Matth. T. VII, p. 86) which were different from any now extant. Doubtless these accounts, so far as they step beyond the incidents narrated in the Canonical Gospels, are pure fabrications, but the fabrications would scarcely have taken this form, if the Hieronymian view of the Lord’s brethren had been received or even known when they were written. It is to these sources that Jerome refers when he taunts the holders of the Epiphanian view with following ‘deliramenta apocryphorum.’
4. The EARLIEST VERSIONS, with the exception of the Old Latin and Memphitic which translate the Greek literally and preserve the same ambiguities, give renderings of certain passages bearing on the subject, which are opposed to the Hieronymian view. The CURETONIAN SYRIAC translates Maria ‘Iakwbou (Luke 24:10) ‘Mary the daughter of James.’ The PESHITO in John 19:25 has, ‘His mother and His mother’s sister and Mary of Cleopha and Mary Magdalene’; and in Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13, it renders ‘Judas son of James.’ One of the old Egyptian versions again, the THEBAIC, in John 19:25 gives ‘Mary daughter of Clopas,’ and in Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13 ‘Judas son of James.’
5. The CLEMENTINE HOMILIES, written, it would appear, not late in the second century to support a peculiar phase of Ebionism, speak of James as being ‘called the brother of the Lord’ (o lecqeiV adelfoV tou Kuriou, 11:35), an expression which has been variously interpreted as favouring all three hypotheses (see Blom, p. 88: Schliemann Clement. pp. 8, 213), and is indecisive in itself.* It is more important to observe that in the Epistle of Clement prefixed to this work and belonging to the same cycle of writings James is styled not Apostle, but Bishop of Bishops, and seems to be distinguished from and in some respects exalted above the Twelve.
* The word lecqeiV is most naturally taken, I think, to refer to the reputed brotherhood of James, as a consequence of the reputed fatherhood of Joseph, and thus to favour the Epiphanian view. See the expressions of Hegesippus, and of Eusebius, pp. 277, 278.
6. In the portion of the Clementine Recognitions, which seems to have been founded on the ASCENTS OF JAMES, another very early Ebionite writing, the distinction thus implied in the Homilies is explicitly stated. The Twelve Apostles after disputing severally with Caiaphas give an account of their conference to James the chief of Bishops; while James the son of Alphaeus is distinctly mentioned among the Twelve as one of the disputants (i.59).
7. HEGESIPPUS (about 160), a Hebrew Christian of Palestine, writes as follows: ‘After the martyrdom of James the Just on the same charge as the Lord, his paternal uncle’s child Symeon the son of Clopas is next made bishop, who was put forward by all as the second in succession, being cousin of the Lord’ (meta to marturhsai Iakwbon ton dikaion wV kai o KurioV epi tw autw logw, palin o ek tou qeiou autou Sumewn o tou Klwpa kaqistatai episkopoV, on proeqento panteV onta aneyion tou Kuriou deuteron, Euseb. H. E. iv. 22). If the passage be correctly rendered thus (and this rendering alone seems intelligible*), Hegesippus distinguishes between the relationships of James the Lord’s brother and Symeon His cousin. So again, referring apparently to this passage, he in another fragment (Euseb. H. E. iii. 32) speaks of ‘the child of the Lord’s paternal uncle, the aforesaid Symeon son of Clopas’ (o ek qeiou tou Kuriou o proeirhmenoV Sumewn uioV Klwpa), to which Eusebius adds, ‘for Hegesippus relates that Clopas was the brother of Joseph.’ Thus in Hegesippus Symeon is never once called the Lord’s brother, while James is always so designated. And this argument powerful in itself is materially strengthened by the fact that, where Hegesippus has occasion to mention Jude, he too like James is styled ‘the Lord’s brother’; ‘There still survived members of the Lord’s family (oi apo genouV tou Kuriou) grandsons of Judas who was called His brother according to the flesh’ (tou kata sarka legomenou autou adelfou); Euseb. H. E. iii. 20. In this passage the word ‘called’ seems to me to point to the Epiphanian rather than the Helvidian view, the brotherhood of these brethren, like the fatherhood of Joseph, being reputed but not real. In yet another passage (Euseb. H. E. ii. 23) Hegesippus relates that ‘the Church was committed in conjunction with the Apostles to the charge of (diadecetai thn ekklhsian meta twn apostolwn) the Lord’s brother James, who has been entitled Just by all from the Lord’s time to our own day; for many bore the name of James.’ From this last passage however no inference can be safely drawn; for, supposing the term ‘Apostles’ to be here restricted to the Twelve, the expression meta twn apostolwn may distinguish St. James not from but among the Apostles; as in Acts 5:29, ‘Peter and the Apostles answered.’
* A different meaning however has been assigned to the words: palin and oeuteron being taken to signify ‘another child of his uncle, another cousin,’ and thus the passage has been represented as favouring the Hieronymian view. So for instance Mill p. 253, Schaf p. 64. On the other hand see Credner Einl. p. 575, Neander Pflanz. p. 559. To this rendering the presence of the definite article alone seems fatal (o ek tou qeiou not eteroV twn ek tou qeiou); but indeed the whole passage appears to be framed so as to distinguish the relationships of the two persons; whereas, had the author’s object been to represent Symeon as a brother of James, no more circuitous mode could well have been devised for the purpose of stating so very simple a fact. Let me add that Eusebius (l.c.) and Epiphanius (Haeres. pp. 636, 1039, 1046, ed. Petav.) must have interpreted the words as I have done.
Thus the testimony of Hegesippus seems distinctly opposed to the Hieronymian view, while of the other two it favours the Epiphanian rather than the Helvidian. If any doubt still remains, the fact that both Eusebius and Epiphanius, who derived their information mainly from Hegesippus, gave this account of the Lord’s brethren materially strengthens the position. The testimony of an early Palestinian writer who made it his business to collect such traditions is of the utmost importance.
8. TERTULLIAN’S authority was appealed to by Helvidius, and Jerome is content to reply that he was not a member of the Church (‘de Tertulliano nihil amplius dico quam ecclesiae hominem non fuisse,’ adv. Helvid. § 17). It is generally assumed in consequence that Tertullian held the Lord’s brethren to be sons of Joseph and Mary. This assumption, though probable, is not absolutely certain. The point at issue in this passage is not the particular opinion of Helvidius respecting the Lord’s brethren, but the virginity of the Lord’s mother. Accordingly in reply Jerome alleges on his own side the authority of others,* whose testimony certainly did not go beyond this one point and had no reference to the relationship of the Lord’s brethren. Thus too the more distinct passages in the extant writings of Tertullian relate to the virginity only (de Carn. Christ. c. 23 and passim, de Monog. c. 8). Elsewhere however, though he does not directly state it, his argument seems to imply that the Lord’s brethren were His brothers in the same sense in which Mary was His mother (adv. Marc. iv. 19, de Carn. Christ. 7). It is therefore highly probable that he held the Helvidian view. Such an admission from one who was so strenuous an advocate of asceticism is worthy of notice.
* ‘Numquid non possum tibi totam veterum scriptorum seriem commovere: Ignatium, Polycarpum, Irenaeum, Justinum Martyrem, multosque alios apostolicos et eloquentes viros?’ (adv. Helvid. 17). I have already mentioned [earlier in the book] an instance of the unfair way in which Jerome piles together his authorities. In the present case we are in a position to test him. Jerome did not possess any writings of Ignatius which are not extant now; and in no place does this apostolic father maintain the perpetual virginity of St. Mary. In one remarkable passage indeed (Ephes. 19), which is several times quoted by subsequent writers, he speaks of the virginity of Mary as a mystery, but this refers distinctly to the time before the birth of our Lord. To this passage which he elsewhere quotes (Comment. in Matt. T. VII. p. 12), Jerome is doubtless referring here.
In Cowper’s Syriac Miscell. p. 61, I find an extract, ‘Justin one of the authors who were in the days of Augustus and Tiberius and Gaius wrote in the third discourse: That Mary the Galilean, who was the mother of Christ who was crucified in Jerusalem, had not been with a husband. And Joseph did not repudiate her, but Joseph continued in holiness without a wife, he and his five sons by a former wife: and Mary continued without a husband.’ The editor assigns this passage to Justin Martyr; but not to mention the anachronism, the whole tenor of the passage and the immediate neighbourhood of similar extracts shows that it was intended for the testimony (unquestionably spurious) of some contemporary heathen writer to the facts of the Gospel.
9. CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA (about AD 200) in a passage of the Hypotyposeis preserved in a Latin translation by Cassiodorus (the authorship has been questioned but without sufficient reason*) puts forward the Epiphanian solution; ‘Jude, who wrote the Catholic Epistle, being one of the sons of Joseph and [the Lord’s] brother, a man of deep piety, though he was aware of his relationship to the Lord, nevertheless did not say he was His brother; but what said he? Jude the servant of Jesus Christ, because He was his Lord, but brother of James; for this is true; he was his brother, being Joseph’s [son]’** (ed. Potter, p. 1007). This statement is explicit.
* We read in Cassiodorus (de Inst. Div. Lit. 8), ‘In epistolas autem canonicas Clemens Alexandrinus presbyter, qui et Stromateus vocatur, id est, in epistola (-am?) S. Petri prima (-am?) S. Johannis prima (-am?) et secunda (-am?) et acobi quaedam Attico sermone declaravit. Ubi multa quidem subtiliter sed aliqua incaute loquutus est, quae nos ita transferri fecimus in Latinum, ut exclusis quibusdam offendiculis purificata doctrina ejus securior posit hauriri.’ If ‘Jude’ be substituted for ‘James,’ this description exactly applies to the Latin notes extant under the title Adumbrationes. This was a very easy slip of the pen, and I can scarcely doubt that these notes are the same to which Cassiodorus refers as taken from the Hypotyposeis of Clement. Dr. Westcott (Canon, p. 401) has pointed out in confirmation of this, that while Clement elsewhere directly quotes the Epistle of St. Jude, he never refers to the Epistle of St. James. Bunsen has included these notes in his collection of fragments of the Hypotyposeis, Anal. Anten. I. p. 325. It should be added that the statement about the relationship of Jude must be Clement’s own and cannot have been inserted by Cassiodorus, since Cassiodorus in common with the Latin Church would naturally hold the Hieronymian hypothesis.
** ‘Frater erat ejus [filius] Joseph.’ The insertion of ‘filius’ (with Bunsen) is necessary for the sense, whether Cassiodorus had it or not. Perhaps the Greek words were adelfoV autou twn Iwshf, which would account for the omission.
On the other hand, owing to an extract preserved in Eusebius, his authority is generally claimed for the Hieronymian view; ‘Clement,’ says Eusebius, ‘in the sixth book of the Hypotyposeis gives the following account: Peter and James and John, he tells us, after the resurrection of the Saviour were not ambitious of honour, though the preference shown them by the Lord might have entitled them to it, but chose James the Just Bishop of Jerusalem. The same writer too in the seventh book of the same treatise gives this account also of him (James the Lord’s brother); The Lord after the resurrection delivered the gnosis to James the Just* and John and Peter. These delivered it to the rest of the Apostles; and the rest of the Apostles to the seventy, of whom Barnabas was one. Now there are two Jameses, one the Just who was thrown down from the pinnacle (of the temple) and beaten to death with a club by a fuller, and another who was beheaded’ (H. E. ii. 1). This passage however proves nothing. Clement says that there were two of the name of James, but he neither states nor implies that there were two only. His sole object was to distinguish the son of Zebedee from the Lord’s brother; and the son of Alphaeus, of whom he knew nothing and could tell nothing, did not occur to his mind when he penned this sentence. There is in this passage nothing which contradicts the Latin extract; though indeed in a writer so uncritical in his historical notices** such a contradiction would not be surprising.***
* Credner, Einl. p. 585, condemns the words tw dikaiy as spurious. Though it might be inferred from the previous extract given by Eusebius that the son of Zebedee is meant here, I believe nevertheless that they are genuine. For (1) They seem to be required as the motive for the explanation which is given afterwards of the different persons bearing the name James. (2) It is natural that a special prominence should be given to the same three Apostles of the Circumcision who are mentioned in Galatians 2:9 as the pillars of Jewish Christendom. (3) Eusebius introduces the quotation as relating to James the Just (peri autou), which would not be a very good description if the other James were the prominent person in the passage. (4) I find from Hippolytus that the Ophite account singled out James the Lord’s brother as a possessor of the esoteric gnosis, tauta estin apo pollwn panu logwn ta kefalaia a fhsin paradedwkenai Mariamnhton Iakwbon tou Kuriouton adelfon, Haeres. x. 6, p. 95. Clement seems to have derived his information from some work of a Jewish Gnostic complexion, perhaps from the Gospel of the Egyptians with which he was well acquainted (Strom. iii. pp. 529 sq, 553, ed. Potter); and as Hippolytus tells us that the Ophites made use of this Gospel (taV de ezallagaV tautaV taV poikilaV en ty epigrafomenw kat AiguptiouV euaggeliw keimenaV ecousin, ib. v. 7, p. 98), it is probable that the account of Clement coincided with that of the Ophites. The words tw dikaiw are represented in the Syriac translation of Eusebius of which the existing MS (Brit. Mus. add. 14,639) belongs to the 6th century.
I hold tw dikaiw therefore to be the genuine words of Clement, but I do not feel so sure that the closing explanation duo de gegonasin Iakwboi k.t.l. is not an addition of Eusebius. This I suppose to be Bunsen’s opinion, for he ends his fragment with the preceding words I. p. 321.
** For instance he distinguished Cephas of Galatians 2:9 from Peter and represented St. Paul as a married man (Euseb. H. E. iii. 30).
*** On the supposition that Clement held the Hieronymian theory, as he is represented even by those who themselves reject it, the silence of Origen, who seems never to have heard of this theory, is quite inexplicable. Epiphanius moreover, who appears equally ignorant of it, refers to Clement while writing on this very subject (Haeres. p. 119, Petav.). Indeed Clement would then stand quite alone before the age of Jerome.
10. ORIGEN († AD 253) declares himself very distinctly in favour of the Epiphanian view, stating that the brethren were sons of Joseph by a deceased wife. Elsewhere indeed he says that St. Paul ‘calls this James the Lord’s brother, not so much on account of his kinsmanship or their companionship together, as on account of his character and language,’ but this is not inconsistent with the explicit statement already referred to. In one passage he writes at some length on the subject; ‘Some persons, on the ground of a tradition in the Gospel according to Peter, as it is entitled, or the Book of James (i.e. the Protevangelium), say that the brothers of Jesus were Joseph’s sons by a former wife to whom he was married before Mary. Those who hold this view wish to preserve the honour of Mary in virginity throughout…And I think it reasonable that as Jesus was the first-fruit of purity and chastity among men, so Mary was among women: for it is not seemly to ascribe the first-fruit of virginity to any other woman but her’ (in Matt. xiii. 55, III. p. 462).* This passage shows not only that Origen himself favoured the Epiphanian view which elsewhere he has directly maintained, but that he was wholly unaware of the Hieronymian, the only alternative which presented itself being the denial of the perpetual virginity.**
* Op. III. p. 462 sq. Mill, pp. 261, 273, has strangely misunderstood the purport of this passage. He speaks of Origen here as ‘teaching the opinion of his (James the Just) being the son of Joseph, both as the sentiment of a minority among right-minded Christians and as founded on apocryphal traditions’; and so considers the notes on John 2:12, already referred to, as ‘standing strangely contrasted’ to Origen’s statement here. If Dr. Mill’s attention however had been directed to the last sentence, kai oimai logon ecein k.t.l., which, though most important, he has himself omitted in quoting the passage, he could scarcely have failed to see Origen’s real meaning.
** The authority of Hippollytus of Portus, a contemporary of Origen, has sometimes been alleged in favour of Jerome’s hypothesis. In the treatise De XII Apostolis ascribed to this author (ed. Fabric. I. app. p. 30) it is said of James the son of Alphaeus, khrusswn en Ierousalhm upo Ioudaiwn kataleusqeiV anaireitai kai qaptetai ekei para tw naw. He is thus confused or identified with James the Lord’s brother. But this blundering treatise was certainly not written by the bishop of Portus: see Le Moyne in Fabricius I. p. 84, and Bunsen’s Hippol. I. p. 456 (ed. 2). On the other hand in the work De LXX Apostolis (Fabricius I. app. p. 41), also ascribed to this writer, we find among the 70 the name of ‘IakwboV o adelfoqeoV episkopoV Ierosolumwn, who is thus distinguished from the Twelve. This treatise also is manifestly spurious. Again Nicephorus Callistus, H. E. ii. 3, cites as from Hippolytus of Portus an elaborate account of our Lord’s brethren following the Epiphanian view (Hippol. Op. I. app. 43, ed. Fabric.); but this account seems to be drawn either from Hippolytus the Theban, unless as Bunsen (l.c.) supposes this Theban Hippolytus be a mythical personage, or from some forged writings which bore the name of the older Hippolytus.
11. The APOSTOLICAL CONSTITUTIONS, the main part of which may perhaps be regarded as a work of the third century, though they received considerable additions in later ages, distinguish James the Lord’s brother from James the son of Alphaeus, making him, like St. Paul, a supernumerary apostle, and thus counting fourteen in all (vi. 12-14; compare ii. 55, vii. 46, viii. 4).
12. VICTORINUS PETAVIONENSIS (about 300) was claimed by Helvidius as a witness in his own favour. Jerome denied this and put in a counterclaim. It may perhaps be inferred from this circumstance that Victorinus did little more than repeat the statements of the evangelists respecting the Lord’s brethren (adv. Helvid. 17).
13. EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA († about 340) distinguished James the Lord’s brother from the Twelve, representing him as a supernumerary apostle like St. Paul (Comm. in Isai. in Montfaucon’s Coll. Nov. Patr. II. p. 422; Hist. Eccl. i. 12; comp. vii. 19). Accordingly in another passage he explains that this James was called the Lord’s brother, because Joseph was his reputed father (Hist. Eccl. ii. 1).*
* ‘Iakwbon ton tou Kuriou legomenon adelfon, oti dh kai outoV tou Iwshf wnomasto paiV, tou de Cristou pathr o Iwshf, w mnhsteuqeisa h parqenoV k.t.l. On the whole this passage seems to be best explained by referring outoV to KurioV. But this is not necessary; for onomazesqai (or kaleisqai) paiV tinoV is a good Greek phrase to denote real as well as reputed sonship: as Aesch. Fragm. 285 aid ept AtlantoV paideV wnomasmenai, Soph. Trach. 1105 o thV aristhV mhtroV wnomasmenoV, Eur. Elect. 935: comp. Ephes. 3:15 ton patera ez ou pasa patria onomazetai. The word wnomasto cannot at all events, as Mill (p. 272) seems disposed to think, imply any doubt on the part of Eusebius about the parentage of James, for the whole drift of the passage is plainly against this. The other reading, oti dh kai outoV tou Iwshf tou nomizomenou oionei patroV tou Cristou, found in some MSS and in the Syriac version, and preferred by Blom. p. 98, and Credner Einl. p. 585, I cannot but regard as an obvious alteration of some early transcriber for the sake of clearness.
Compare the expressions in 1:12 eiV de kai outoV twn feromenwn adelfwn hn, and 3:7 tou Kuriou crhmatzwn adelfoV. He was a reputed brother of the Lord, because Joseph was His reputed father. See also Eusebius On the Star, ‘Joseph and Mary and Our Lord with them and the five sons of Hannah (Anna) the first wife of Joseph’ (p. 17, Wright’s Transl.). The account from which this passage is taken professes to be founded on a document dating AD 119.
14. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM († 386) comments on the successive appearances of our Lord related by St. Paul, first to Peter, then to the Twelve, then to the five hundred, then to James His own brother, then to Paul His enemy; and his language implies that each appearance was a step in advance of the testimony afforded by the former (Catech. xiv. 21, p. 216, ed. Touttee). It may be gathered thence that he distinguished this James from the Twelve. As this however is only an inference from his language, and not a direct statement of his own, too much stress must not be laid on it. In another passage also (Catech. iv. 28, p. 65, kai toiV apostoloiV kai Iakwbw tw tauthV thV ekklhsiaV episkopw) Cyril seems to make the same distinction, but here again the inference is doubtful.
15. HILARY OF POITIERS († 368) denounces those who ‘claim authority for their opinion (against the virginity of the Lord’s mother) from the fact of its being recorded that our Lord had several brothers’; and adds, ‘yet if these had been sons of Mary and not rather sons of Joseph, the offspring of a former marriage, she would never at the time of the passion have been transferred to the Apostle John to be his mother’ (Comm. in Matt. i. 1, p. 671, ed. Bened.). Thus he not only adopts the Epiphanian solution, but shows himself entirely ignorant of the Hieronymian.
16. VICTORINUS THE PHILOSOPHER (about 360) takes ei mh in Galatians 1:19 as expressing not exception but opposition, and distinctly states that James was not an Apostle: ‘Cum autem fratrem dixit, apostolum negavit.’
17. The AMBROSIAN HILARY (about 75) comments on Galatians 1:19 as follows; ‘The Lord is called the brother of James and the rest in the same way in which He is also designated the son of Joseph. For some in a fit of madness impiously assert and contend that these were true brothers of the Lord, being sons of Mary, allowing at the same time that Joseph, though not His true father, was so called nevertheless. For if these were His true brothers, then Joseph will be His true father; for he who called Joseph His Father also called James and the rest His brothers.’ Thus his testimony entirely coincides with that of his greater namesake. He sees only the alternative of denying the perpetual virginity as Helvidius did, or accepting the solution of the Protevangelium; and he unhesitatingly adopts the latter.
18. BASIL THE GREAT († 379), while allowing that the perpetual virginity is not a necessary article of belief, yet adheres to it himself ‘since the lovers of Christ cannot endure to hear that the mother of God ever ceased to be a virgin’ (Hom. in Sanct. Christ. Gen. II. p. 600, ed. Garn.).* As immediately afterwards he refers, in support of his view, to some apocryphal work which related that Zacharias was slain by the Jews for testifying to the virginity of the mother of Jesus (a story which closely resembles the narrative of his death in the Protevang. §§ 23, 24), it may perhaps be inferred that he accepted that account of the Lord’s brethren which ran through these apocryphal gospels.
* This very moderate expression of opinion is marked by the editors with a caute legendum in the margin; and in Garnier’s edition the treatise is consigned to an appendix as of doubtful authenticity. The main argument urged against it is the passage here referred to. (See Garnier, II. praef. p. xv.)
19. His brother GREGORY NYSSEN († after 394) certainly adopted the Epiphanian account. At the same time he takes up the very untenable position that the ‘Mary who is designated in the other Evangelists (besides St. John) the mother of James and Joses is the mother of God and none else,’* being so called because she undertook the education of these her stepsons; and he supposes also that this James is called ‘the little’ by St. Mark to distinguish him from James the son of Alphaeus who was ‘great,’ because he was in the number of the Twelve Apostles, which the Lord’s brother was not (in Christ. Resurr. ii. Opp. III. pp. 412,413, ed. Paris, 1638).
* Similarly Chrysostom, see below. This identification of the Lord’s mother with the mother of James and Joses is adopted and similarly explained also in one of the apocryphal gospels: Hist. Joseph. 4. (Tisch. p. 117). Possibly Gregory derived it from some such source. It was also part of the Helvidian hypothesis, where it was less out of place, and gave Jerome an easy triumph over his adversary (adv. Helvid. 12 etc.). It is adopted moreover by Cave (Life of St. James the Less, § 2), who holds that the Lord’s brethren were sons of Joseph, and yet makes James the Lord’s brother one of the Twelve, identifying Joseph with Alphaeus. Fritzsche also identifies these two Maries (Matth. p. 822, Marc. p. 697).
20. The ANTIDICOMARIANITES, an obscure Arabian sect in the latter half of the fourth century, maintained that the Lord’s mother bore children to her husband Joseph. These opinions seem to have produced a reaction, or to have been themselves reactionary, for we read about the same time of a sect called Collyridians, likewise in Arabia, who going to the opposite extreme paid divine honours to the Virgin (Epiphan. Haeres. lxxviii, lxxix*).
* The names are plainly terms of ridicule invented by their enemies. Augustine supposes the ‘Antidicomarianitae’ of Epiphanius (he writes the word ‘Antidicomaritae’) to be the same as the Helvidians of Jerome (adv. Haer. 84, VIII, p. 24). They held the same tenets, it is true, but there seems to have been otherwise no connexion between the two. Considerations of time and place alike resist this identification.
Epiphanius had heard that these opinions, which he held to be derogatory to the Lord’s mother, had been promulgated also by the elder Apollinaris or some of his disciples; but he doubted about this (p. 1034). The report was probably circulated by their opponents in order to bring discredit upon them.
21. EPIPHANIUS a native of Palestine became bishop of Constantia in Cyprus in the year 367. Not very long before Jerome wrote in defence of the perpetual virginity of the Lord’s mother against the Helvidians at Rome, Epiphanius came forward as the champion of the same cause against the Antidicomarianites. He denounced them in an elaborate pastoral letter, in which he explains his views at length, and which he has thought fit to incorporate in his subsequently written treatise against Heresies (pp. 1034-1057, ed. Petav.). He moreover discusses the subject incidentally in other parts of his great work (pp. 115, 119, 432, 636), and it is clear that he had devoted much time and attention to it. His account coincides with that of the apocryphal gospels. Joseph, he states, was eighty years old or more when the Virgin was espoused to him; by his former wife he had six children, four sons and two daughters, the names of the daughters were Mary and Salome, for which names by the way he alleges the authority of Scripture (p. 1041); his sons, St. James especially, were called the Lord’s brethren because they were brought up with Jesus; the mother of the Lord remained for ever a virgin; as the lioness is said to exhaust her fertility in the production of a single offspring (see Herod. iii. 108), so she who bore the Lion of Judah could not in the nature of things become a mother a second time (pp. 1044, 1045). These particulars with many other besides he gives, quoting as his authority ‘the tradition of the Jews’ (p. 1039). It is to be observed moreover that, though he thus treats of the subject several times and at great length, he never once alludes to the Hieronymian account; and yet I can scarcely doubt that one who so highly extolled celibacy would have hailed with delight a solution which, as Jerome boasted, saved the virginity not of Mary only but of Joseph also, for whose honour Epiphanius shows himself very jealous (pp. 1040, 1046, 1047).
22. Somewhere about the year 380 HELVIDIUS, who resided in Rome, published a treatise in which he maintained that the Lord’s brethren were sons of Joseph and Mary. He seems to have succeeded in convincing a considerable number of persons, for contemporary writers speak of the Helvidians as a party. These views were moreover advocated by BONOSUS, bishop of Sardica in Illyria, about the same time, and apparently also by JOVINIANUS a monk probably of Milan. The former was condemned by a synod assembled at Capua (AD 392), and the latter by synods held at Rome and at Milan (about AD 390; see Hefele Conciliengesch. II. pp. 47, 48).*
* The work ascribed to Dorotheus Tyrius is obviously spurious (see Cave His. Lit. I. p. 163); and I have therefore not included his testimony in this list. The writer distinguishes James the Lord’s brother and James the son of Alphaeus, and makes them successive bishops of Jerusalem. See Combefis in Fabricius’ Hippol. I, app. p. 36.
In earlier times this account of the Lord’s brethren, so far as it was the badge of a party, seems to have been held in conjunction with Ebionite views respecting the conception and person of Christ.* For, though not necessarily affecting the belief in the miraculous Incarnation, it was yet a natural accompaniment of the denial thereof. The motive of these latter impugners of the perpetual virginity was very different. They endeavoured to stem the current which had set strongly in the direction of celibacy; and, if their theory was faulty, they still deserve the sympathy due to men who in defiance of public opinion refused to bow their necks to an extravagant and tyrannous superstition.
* [I fear the statement in the text may leave a false impression. Previous writers had spoken of the Ebionites as holding the Helvidian view, and I was betrayed into using similar language. But there is, so far as I am aware, no evidence in favour of this assumption. It would be still more difficult to substantiate the assertions in the following note of Gibbon, Decline and Fall c. xvi, ‘This appellation (‘brethren’) was at first understood in the most obvious sense, and it was supposed that the brothers of Jesus were the lawful issue of Joseph and Mary. A devout respect for the virginity of the mother of God suggested to the Gnostics, and afterwards to the Orthodox Greeks, the expedient of bestowing a second wife on Joseph, etc.’] 2nd ed.
We have thus arrived at the point of time when Jerome’s answer to Helvidius created a new epoch in the history of this controversy. And the following inferences are, if I mistake not, fairly deducible from the evidence produced. First: there is not the slightest indication that the Hieronymian solution ever occurred to any individual or sect or church, until it was put forward by Jerome himself. If it had been otherwise, writers like Origen, the two Hilaries, and Epiphanius, who discuss the question, could not have failed to notice it. Secondly: the Epiphanian account has the highest claims to the sanction of tradition, whether the value of this sanction be great or small. Thirdly: this solution seems especially to represent the Palestinian view.
In the year 382 (or 383) Jerome published his treatise; and the effect of it is visible at once.
AMBROSE in the year 392 wrote a work De Institutione Virginis, in which he especially refutes the impugners of the perpetual virginity of the Lord’s mother. In a passage which is perhaps intentionally obscure he speaks to this effect: ‘The term brothers has a wide application; it is used of members of the same family, the same race, the same country. Witness the Lord’s own words I will declare thy name to my brethren (Psa 22:22). St. Paul too says: I could wish to be accursed for my brethren (Rom 9:3). Doubtless they might be called brothers as sons of Joseph, not of Mary. And if any one will go into the question carefully, he will find this to be the true account. For myself I do not intend to enter upon this question: it is of no importance to decide what particular relationship is implied; it is sufficient for my purpose that the term “brethren" is used in an extended sense (i.e. of others besides sons of the same mother).’ From this I infer that St. Ambrose had heard of, though possibly not read, Jerome’s tract, in which he discourses on the wide meaning of the term: that, if he had read it, he did not feel inclined to abandon the view with which he was familiar in favour of the novel hypothesis put forward by Jerome: and lastly, that seeing the importance of cooperation against a common enemy he was anxious not to raise dissensions among the champions of the perpetual virginity by the discussion of details.
PELAGIUS, who commented on St. Paul a few years after Jerome, adopts his theory and even his language, unless his text has been tampered with here (Gal i. 19).
At the same time Jerome’s hypothesis found a much more weighty advocate in ST. AUGUSTINE. In his commentary on the Galatians indeed (i. 19), written about 394 while he was still a presbyter, he offers the alternative of the Hieronymian and Epiphanian accounts. But in his later works he consistently maintains the view put forward by Jerome in the treatise against Helvidius (In Joh. Evang. x, III. 2. p. 368, ib. xxviii, III. 2. p. 508; Enarr. in Ps. cxxvii, IV. 2. p. 1443; Contr. Faust. xxii. 35, VIII p. 383; comp. Quaest XVII in Matth., III. 2. p. 285).
Thus supported, it won its way to general acceptance in the Latin Church; and the WESTERN SERVICES recognize only one James besides the son of Zebedee, thus identifying the Lord’s brother with the son of Alphaeus.
In the East also it met with a certain amount of success, but this was only temporary. CHRYSOSTOM wrote both before and after Jerome’s treatise had become generally known, and his expositions of the New Testament mark a period of transition. In his Homilies on the earlier books he takes the Epiphanian view: St. James, he says, was at one time an unbeliever with the rest of the Lord’s brethren (on Matt. i. 25, VII. p. 77; John vii. 5, VIII. p. 284; see also on I Cor. ix. 4, x. p. 181 E); the resurrection was the turning-point in their career; they were called the Lord’s brethren, as Joseph himself was reputed the husband of Mary (on Matt. i. 25, l.c.).* Hitherto he betrays no knowledge of the Hieronymian account.
* A comment attributed to Chrysostom in Cramer’s Catena on I Cor. ix. 4-7, but not found in the Homilies, is still more explicit; ‘AdelfouV tou Kuriou legei touV nomisqentaV einai autou adelfouV epeioh gar outoV o crhmatizwn kai autoV kata thn koinhn dozan eipen autouV touV de uiouV Iwshf legei, oi adelfoi tou Kuriou ecrhmatisan dia thn proV thn qeotokon mnhsteian tou Iwshf legei de Iakwbon episkopon Ierosalumwn kai Iwshf omwnumon tw pateri kai Simwna kai Iouda. I give the passage without attempting to correct the text. This note reappears almost word for word in the Oecumenian catena and in Theophylact. If Chrysostom be not the author, then we gain the testimony of some other ancient writer on the same side. Compare also the pseudo-Chrysostom, Op. II. p. 797.
The passages referred to in the text show clearly what was Chrysostom’s earlier view. To these may be added the comments on I Cor. xv. 7 (x. 355 D), where he evidently regards James as not one of the Twelve; on Matt. x. 2 (VII. pp. 368,9), where he makes James the son of Alphaeus a tax-gatherer like Matthew, clearly taking them to be brothers; and on Matth. xxvii. 55 (VII. p. 827 A), where, like Gregory Nyssen, he identifies Maria ‘Iakwbou with the Lord’s mother. The accounts of Chrysostom’s opinion on this subject given by Blom p. 111 sq, and Mill p. 284 note, are unsatisfactory.
The Homilies on the Acts also take the same view (IX. pp. 23 B. 26 A), but though these are generally ascribed to Chrysostom, their genuineness is very questionable. In another spurious work, Opus imp. in Matth., VI. p. clxxiv E, the Hieronymian view appears; ‘Jacobum Alphaei lapidantes: propter quae omnia Jerusalem destructa est a Romanis.’
But in his exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians (i. 19) he not only speaks of James the Lord’s brother as if he were an apostle (which proves nothing), but also calls him the son of Clopas.* Thus he would appear meanwhile to have accepted the hypothesis of Jerome and to have completed it by the identification of Clopas with Alphaeus. And THEODORET, who for the most part closely follows Chrysostom, distinctly repudiates the older view: ‘He was not, as some have supposed, a son of Joseph, the offspring of a former marriage, but was son of Clopas and cousin of the Lord; for his mother was the sister of the Lord’s mother.’
* ton tou Klwpa, oper kai o euaggelisthV elegen. He is referring, I suppose, to the lists of the Apostles which mention James the son of Alphaeus. This portion of his exposition however is somewhat confused, and it is difficult to resist the suspicion that it has been interpolated.
But with these exceptions the Epiphanian view maintained its ground in the East. It is found again in CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA for instance (Glaphyr. in Gen. lib. vii. p. 221), and seems to have been held by later Greek writers almost, if not quite, universally. In THEOPHYLACT indeed (on Matt. xiii. 55, Gal. i. 19) we find an attempt to unite the two accounts. James, argues the writer, was the Lord’s reputed brother as the son of Joseph and the Lord’s cousin as the son of Clopas; the one was his natural, and the other his legal father; Clopas having died childless, Joseph had raised up seed to his brother by his widow according to the law of the levirate. This novel suggestion however found but little favour, and the Eastern Churches continued to distinguish between James the Lord’s brother and James the son of Alphaeus. The GREEK, SYRIAN, and COPTIC CALENDARS assign a separate day to each.
The table following gives a conspectus of the patristic and early authorities.
A. Sons of Joseph and Mary: Tertullian; Helvidius; Bonosus; Jovinianus (?); Antidicomarianites.
B. Sons of Joseph by a former wife: Gospel of Peter; Protevangelium etc.; Clement of Alex; Origen; Eusebius; Hilary of Poitiers; Ambrosiaster; Gregory of Nyssa; Epiphanius; Ambrose; [Chrysostom]; Cyril of Alex.; Eastern Services (Greek, Syrian, and Coptic); Later Greek Writers.
C. Sons of the Virgin’s Sister: Jerome; Pelagius; Augustine; [Chrysostom]; Theodoret; Western Services; Later Latin Writers.
A. or B. ‘Brethren’ in a strict sense. James the Just not one of the Twelve: Early Versions; Clementine Homilies (?); Ascents of James; Hegesippus; Apost. Constitu.; Cyril of Jerusalem (?); Victorinus the Philosopher.
B. or C. Perpetual virginity of Mary: Basil; Catholic Writers Generally.
Uncertain: Hebrew Gospel; Victorinus Petavionensis.