is that of Laban, who was an adelphos to Jacob, not as a brother, but The “sisters” have never been credibly identified. Did Jesus have brothers and sisters? Rev. The same meanings are true for the word sister in Greek. A similar reference occurs earlier in Mark 3:31 — “His mother and brothers arrived….”, The problem emerges in understanding the meaning of the word brother. To answer this question we need to look at differences in customs and languages. St. Jerome declared this as a “novel, wicked, and daring affront to the faith of the whole world.”  In his On the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Mary, St. Jerome used both Scripture and the fathers like Saints Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus and Justin Martyr to refute Helvidius. James the greater and John were the sons of Zebedee with a mother other than our Blessed Mother Mary (Matthew 20:20ff). Another instance 19:25), and married to Clopas. Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-38). the son of Alphaeus (Lk 6:15). The Roman Catholic Church claims that the brothers were cousins, not brothers, and that Mary's sister was their mother. One of the more controversial teachings of the Catholic church deals with the perpetual virginity of Mary. of a cousin, "the son of the brother of my father." On one hand, he was ethnically and religiously Jewish, not Catholic as we understand the term 20 centuries after his death. (In the New American translation, "kinsman" or Did Jesus Have Brothers? Interestingly, In all, the confusion arises in English because of the lack of distinct She was the wife of Cleophas (John 19:25). Q. of James (not either of the Apostles) (Lk 6:16). Was Jesus Catholic? In the original text of the Gospel, we find the Greek word adelphos meaning NO, HE DIDN’T. Since Jesus, the first born, had no "blood brother," But because Jesus had no younger … Saunders, This point is again corroborated at the crucifixion scene: Before He In the New American Bible's English translation of the Gospel of St. Mark we do indeed read about the crowd asking, "Isn't this the carpenter, the son of Mary, a brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? 380, Helvidius suggested that the "brethren" were the children In other words, they're not the children of Mary, so Catholic apologists will often point to a few key texts in the Bible to support the conclusion that the so-called brothers of Jesus are not actually children of Mary. Who were Jesus's siblings? The word also described other relationships like cousins, nephews, uncles, etc. 15:40, Jn. A frequent error which arises from a literal interpretation of the Bible would lead to affirm erroneously that during his life on earth, Jesus had biological siblings, that is, Mary bore other children. Father William Saunders is pastor of Our Lady of Hope parish in Potomac Falls, Virginia. Aren’t his sisters our neighbors here?” (Mark 6:3). It’s one of the first things that comes to mind when reading through the Bible (and especially the Gospels) and the answer is not as straight-forward as it seems. definitively declared that Mary was "ever virgin and immaculate.". First off, LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION and THE VIRGIN BIRTH! Later, the First Lateran Council (649) In the original text of the gospel, we find the Greek word adelphos, meaning brothers, used. Therefore, as Catholics, based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition, we do not believe that Mary and Joseph had other children and consequently that Jesus had blood brothers and sisters. 27:56, Mk. Justin Martyr to refute Helvidius. The Gospel of Mark would seem to say so. Since Jesus, the first born, had no “blood brother,” He entrusted Mary to the care of St. John, the Beloved Disciple. Jesus' brothers and sisters. as an uncle. Judas was the son Differing opinions exist about the “brothers.” Some Catholic commentators think that Joseph was a widower and the “brothers” were thus stepbrothers; others maintain that they were children of the “other Mary,” who was present at the crucifixion (Mt. Judas was the son of James (not either of the apostles) (Luke 6:16). Therefore, as Catholics, based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition, we do not believe that Mary and Joseph had other children and consequently that Jesus had blood brothers and sisters. conceived Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. plan, she responded, "How can this be, since I do not know man?". article is reprinted with permission from Arlington Catholic Herald. same is true for the word sister. James the lesser was the son of Alphaeus (Luke 6:15). How does the Last Supper relate to Passover. Introduction. Oftentimes, such articles as the one cited present a Protestant understanding of the life of our Lord. She pointed to several texts in the Gospels that mention Jesus’ siblings and said that they prove that Jesus had them. There are several other places in scripture that refer to Jesus’ brothers, as well. Never does it refer to the “sons of Mary” or “a son of Mary,” but only the son of Mary. ", According to Jewish law, the oldest son had the responsibility of caring William. He entrusted Mary to the care of St. John, the Beloved Disciple. However, does not just mean blood brothers born of the same For example in Genesis 13:8 and 14:14-16, the word adelphos was used to describe the relationship between Abraham and Lot; however, these two men did not share a blood brother relationship, but one of uncle and nephew. Nevertheless, other Gospel passages clarify these relationships. This question has been in dispute from very early times, and many elaborate essays have been written upon it. But the word can also mean "cousins" or "relatives" (like an uncle, or nephew). Arlington Catholic Herald. (In the New American translation, “kinsman” or “relative” will be used in these Old Testament cases; I do not know why this is not true in the English translation of the gospel.). By Father Kenneth Doyle • Catholic News Service • Posted August 23, 2012 . In these languages, elderly in paintings. Later, the First Lateran Council (649) definitively declared that Mary was “ever virgin and immaculate.”  Therefore, as Catholics, based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition, we do not believe that Mary and Joseph had other children and consequently that Jesus had blood brothers and sisters. The word also described The Catholic Church teaches and has always taught that Mary was an ever Download Share. This question arises because the gospels refer to the “brothers” and “sisters” of our Lord. know why this is not true in the English translation of the Gospel.) The Gospels are also very clear that Mary was a virgin at the time she share a brother relationship, but one of uncle and nephew. Mary of Cleophas is described in the Gospel of John as our Blessed Mother’s “sister” (John 20:25); obviously, she must have been a cousin, and James and Joses thereby cousins of our Lord. JESUS … The most natural conclusion of these passages is to interpret that Jesus had actual blood half-siblings. the Orthodox Churches solve this problem over brothers and sisters by Jesus may have acted like an only child at times in the gospels, but all of the four evangelists make some mention of his brothers and sisters. Galatians 1:19 mentions that James was Jesus’ brother. Did Jesus have siblings? parents. "Did Jesus have Brothers and Sisters?" Actually, this whole confusion is not new. Another instance is that of Laban, who was an adelphos to Jacob, not as a brother, but as an uncle. On the one hand, in the Catholic tradition, these have always been regarded as the cousins of Jesus. Did Jesus have biological brothers as some non-Catholics claim? other children. However, Roman Catholics and some Orthodox churches believe those "brothers" and "sisters" mentioned in Scripture were not half-brothers at all, but step-brothers or cousins. When he was dying Jesus entrusted his mother to St John (cf. What Eucharistic miracle inspired the Feast of Corpus Christi? Jewish law demands that younger siblings are the ones to care for their parents after the older ones are gone. The Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Matthew mention James, Joseph/Joses, Judas/Jude and Simon as brothers of Jesus, the son of Mary.The same verses also mention unnamed sisters of Jesus. that Jesus had blood brothers and sisters. They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression (Catechism 500). and Joses were the sons of Mary of Clophas (Mk 15:40). For example, in I Chronicles 23:21-22, the sons of Kish married their “sisters,” a literal translation of the text, but in reality they married their cousins. adelphos to signify all of these relations. In Mark, a crowd asks of Jesus, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are his sisters here with us?” (6:3). Trent Horn • 11/19/2018. However, adelphos does not just mean blood brothers born of the same parents. "a son of Mary," but only the son of Mary. brother, used. The Greek word used in all three cases is adelphoi, which can be translated as "brothers." What was the nature of Pope St. John Paul II’s devotion to Our Lady? no special word existed for cousin, nephew, half-brother, or step-brother; This belief is not scriptural nor is it historically correct. On th e Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Mary, St. Jerome used both Did Jesus have brothers and sisters (siblings)? For example, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “St. This doctrine maintains that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus and that biblical references suggesting Jesus had siblings are really references to cousins (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 510). Question of the Day: "Did Mary go on to have other children after Jesus, or was she a virgin forever. then to St. John, who is definitely not a blood brother, "There is By this time, St. Joseph James and Joses were the sons of Mary of Cleophas (Mark 15:40). So who were these brothers and sisters if they weren't actual siblings of Jesus? Did Jesus have brothers and sisters? THE BROTHERS OF JESUS. Rather, adelphos was used to describe brothers not born of the same parents, like a half-brother or step-brother. These “brothers” are never once called the children of Mary, although Jesus himself is (John 2:1; Acts 1:14). Actually the confusion originates in Hebrew and Aramaic, the languages of most of the original Old Testament texts and of Christ. Jesus always appears as an only son to the people of Nazareth, he is “the son of Mary” (Mt 13:55). Interestingly, the Orthodox Churches solve this problem over brothers and sisters by speculating that St. Joseph was a widower who had other children before he married Mary. These brothers and sisters would really then be half-brothers speculating that St. Joseph was a widower who had other children before Jerome would identify this Alpheus with Cleophas who, according to Hegesippus, was … oldest if anything happened to the first-born son. So in each instance, we must examine the context in which the title is (Mk 6:3). Catholics and Orthodox additionally insist that Mary had no subsequent children, so He had no half-brothers on that side. do not believe that Mary and Joseph had other children and consequently At a Bible study group in our apartment complex, it was shared with those attending that Jesus had five siblings. of Zebedee with a mother other than our Blessed Mother Mary (Mt 20:20). Since the early days of the Catholic Church, the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary has been asserted and defended. But if you cross reference Matthew 13:55-56 with John 19:25, it says that at the cross were present the mother (the Blessed Virgin Mary) of Jesus, and her sister Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary of Magdala! "relative" will be used in these Old Testament cases; I do not Doesn’t the Catholic Church teach that Jesus was an only child and that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life? In all, the confusion arises in English because of the lack of distinct terms for relatives in the Hebrew and Aramaic, and the usage of the Greek adelphos to signify all of these relations. Some protestants and other non-christians claim that Mary had other children and that she did not remain an ever virgin as the Catholic Church teaches. Or is this just another attack on the Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary? Did Jesus have brothers? Actually, the confusion originates in Hebrew and Aramaic, the languages So in each instance, we must examine the context in which the title is used. Jesus is Mary's only son… (Catechism 501). used. same parents, like a half-brother or stepbrother. Nevertheless, other gospel passages clarify these relationships. details of His childhood, no mention is made of Mary and Joseph ever having This for the widowed mother, and that responsibility would pass to the next James the Greater and John were the sons Did Jesus have brothers and sisters? he married Mary. The gospels are also very clear that Mary was a virgin at the time she conceived Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. In addition to her blog Seasons of Grace, her articles have appeared in the National Catholic … Mt 1:18-25, wicked, and daring affront to the faith of the whole world." Did Jesus have brothers and sisters (siblings)? In his About Remember when the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary God's This point is again corroborated at the crucifixion scene:  Before He dies, our Lord says to Mary, “Woman, there is your son,” and then to St. John, who is definitely not a blood brother, “There is your mother.”  According to Jewish law, the oldest son had the responsibility of caring for the widowed mother, and that responsibility would pass to the next oldest if anything happened to the first born son. and half-sisters. http://www.catholic.com/ Catholic Answers apologist Trent Horn answers a caller who asks if Jesus had brothers. Mary's sister was also called Mary. Old Testament was translated into Greek and the New Testament written Q: I got into a heated discussion recently with a friend of mine, who is not Catholic, about whether Jesus had brothers and sisters. Its impartial discussion has been hindered by dogmatic considerations connected with the perpetual virginity of the Lord's mother, with denominational issues, and with the canonicity of non-Apostolic epistles. your mother. He is dean of the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College. Did Jesus Christ have younger brothers and sisters? The Catholic Church points out that the Gospels were written in Greek, not English. Mark tells about Jesus' mother and brothers looking for Jesus.A verse in the Epistle to the Galatians mentions seeing James, "the Lord's brother", and none other of the … They are NOT the same! In these languages, no special word existed for cousin, nephew or aunt, half-brother or half-sister, or step-brother or step-sister; so they used the word brother or a circumlocution, such as in the case of a cousin, “the son of the brother of my father.”  When the Old Testament was translated into Greek and the New Testament written in Greek, the word adelphos was used to capture all of these meanings for male relatives. In reading the Bible, a person would conclude that he had four brothers and at least two sisters. The problem emerges in understanding the meaning of the word adelphos, brother. The above article is a "Straight Answers" column he wrote for the Arlington Catholic Herald. Some Roman Catholics claim that these “brothers” were actually Jesus’ cousins. Perhaps this notion is why St. Joseph sometimes appears elderly in paintings. Catholic Answers apologist Trent Horn answers a caller who asks if Jesus had brothers… These brothers and sisters would really then be half-brothers and half-sisters. When the James has died. After the birth of our Lord, although the Gospels do not give us many As Catholics, we do not believe that our Lord, Jesus Christ, had blood brothers and sisters. Every Christian agrees that Jesus had no full brothers, since He was not a son of Joseph. dies, our Lord says to Mary, "Woman, there is your son," and The New Testament teaches Jesus had brothers and sisters. Ezekiel 44:2 "And he said to me, "This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut.". In the New American Bible’s English translation of the Gospel of St. Mark, we do indeed read about the crowd asking, “Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, a brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Actually, this whole confusion is not new. Is this true? Q: I got into a heated discussion recently with a friend of mine, who is not Catholic, about whether Jesus had brothers and sisters. Remember when the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary God’s plan, she responded, “How can this be since I do not know man?”  After the birth of our Lord, although the gospels do not give us many details of His childhood, no mention is made of Mary and Joseph ever having other children. in Greek, the word adelphos was used to capture all of these meanings. Lk 1:26-38). Rather, adelphos was used to describe brothers not born of the Father Saunders is the author of Straight Answers, a book based on 100 of his columns, and Straight Answers II. She pointed to several texts in the Gospels that mention Jesus’ siblings and said that they prove that Jesus had them. For example, in Gn 13:8 and 14:1416, the word adelphos was used to describe so they used the word brother or a circumlocution, such as in the case Never does it refer to the "sons of Mary" or This is a common question and one often used by non-Catholics to challenge our belief that Mary remained a virgin throughout her whole life. It’s a great question and one that many Christians throughout history have wondered about. James the Lesser was On the other hand, however, his universal message and vision are reflected in both the very definition of the word catholic and in the church’s evangelizing, merciful mission. Perhaps this notion is why St. Joseph sometimes appears Specifically, in Matthew 13:55-56, four men are named as the brothers (adelphos) of Jesus – James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude. Matthew 12:46 states, "While he [Jesus] was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him." the relationship between Abraham and Lot; however, these two men did not What are the origins of the May Crowning? However, this interpretation is a mistake. About 380, Helvidius suggested that the “brethren” were the children born of Mary and Joseph after Jesus. It is often argued by non Catholics that Jesus had siblings. Therefore, as Catholics, based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition, we The relevant verse is Luke 1:34: “How shall this be, seeing I do not know man.” These words of Mary to the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation show that Mary did not intend to have conjugal relations with a man; otherwise, Mary surely would have known that conjugal relations with Joseph, her husband, could cause a pregnancy. However, in each instance, the specific Greek word for “brother” is used. 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