The word also described of a cousin, "the son of the brother of my father." details of His childhood, no mention is made of Mary and Joseph ever having They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression (Catechism 500). When he was dying Jesus entrusted his mother to St John (cf. For example, in Gn 13:8 and 14:1416, the word adelphos was used to describe Did Jesus have brothers and sisters? Aren’t his sisters our neighbors here?” (Mark 6:3). elderly in paintings. 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? Therefore, as Catholics, based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition, we About Catholics and Orthodox additionally insist that Mary had no subsequent children, so He had no half-brothers on that side. In reading the Bible, a person would conclude that he had four brothers and at least two sisters. 15:40, Jn. The Greek word used in all three cases is adelphoi, which can be translated as "brothers." Did Jesus have brothers and sisters (siblings)? so they used the word brother or a circumlocution, such as in the case The Roman Catholic Church claims that the brothers were cousins, not brothers, and that Mary's sister was their mother. is that of Laban, who was an adelphos to Jacob, not as a brother, but and half-sisters. The same meanings are true for the word sister in Greek. do not believe that Mary and Joseph had other children and consequently Father Saunders is the author of Straight Answers, a book based on 100 of his columns, and Straight Answers II. 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. This point is again corroborated at the crucifixion scene: Before He Actually, the confusion originates in Hebrew and Aramaic, the languages In these languages, © 1996-2019 Catholic Education Resource Center | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Sitemap, CERC is an entirely reader-supported web site and non-profit charity. 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. Perhaps this notion is why St. Joseph sometimes appears elderly in paintings. 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. no special word existed for cousin, nephew, half-brother, or step-brother; article is reprinted with permission from Arlington Catholic Herald. So who were these brothers and sisters if they weren't actual siblings of Jesus? the Orthodox Churches solve this problem over brothers and sisters by Since Jesus, the first born, had no “blood brother,” He entrusted Mary to the care of St. John, the Beloved Disciple. 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 … In his brother, used. But the word can also mean "cousins" or "relatives" (like an uncle, or nephew). 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. then to St. John, who is definitely not a blood brother, "There is 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). Nevertheless, other Gospel passages clarify these relationships. These brothers and sisters would really then be half-brothers and half-sisters. 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. Never does it refer to the "sons of Mary" or Judas was the son of James (not either of the apostles) (Luke 6:16). At a Bible study group in our apartment complex, it was shared with those attending that Jesus had five siblings. However, does not just mean blood brothers born of the same he married Mary. Did Jesus have biological brothers as some non-Catholics claim? born of Mary and Joseph after Jesus. Another instance http://www.catholic.com/ Catholic Answers apologist Trent Horn answers a caller who asks if Jesus had brothers. The New Testament teaches Jesus had brothers and sisters. Q: I got into a heated discussion recently with a friend of mine, who is not Catholic, about whether Jesus had brothers and sisters. The Gospels are also very clear that Mary was a virgin at the time she ", According to Jewish law, the oldest son had the responsibility of caring Jesus is Mary's only son… (Catechism 501). The Catholic Church teaches and has always taught that Mary was an ever terms for relatives in the Hebrew and Aramaic, and the usage of the Greek In all, the confusion arises in English because of the lack of distinct Actually, this whole confusion is not new. As Catholics, we do not believe that our Lord, Jesus Christ, had blood brothers and sisters. By this time, St. Joseph had died. James the lesser was the son of Alphaeus (Luke 6:15). This belief is not scriptural nor is it historically correct. 27:56, Mk. 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? This question arises because the gospels refer to the “brothers” and “sisters” of our Lord. James the Greater and John were the sons William. Rather, adelphos was used to describe brothers not born of the So in each instance, we must examine the context in which the title is speculating that St. Joseph was a widower who had other children before Catholic Answers apologist Trent Horn answers a caller who asks if Jesus had brothers… of most of the original Old Testament texts and of Christ. your mother. The most natural conclusion of these passages is to interpret that Jesus had actual blood half-siblings. However, in each instance, the specific Greek word for “brother” is used. In the original text of the gospel, we find the Greek word adelphos, meaning brothers, used. Jesus always appears as an only son to the people of Nazareth, he is “the son of Mary” (Mt 13:55). Oftentimes, such articles as the one cited present a Protestant understanding of the life of our Lord. definitively declared that Mary was "ever virgin and immaculate.". plan, she responded, "How can this be, since I do not know man?". It’s a great question and one that many Christians throughout history have wondered about. of James (not either of the Apostles) (Lk 6:16). The problem emerges in understanding the meaning of the word adelphos, brother. 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. 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. wicked, and daring affront to the faith of the whole world." Jewish law demands that younger siblings are the ones to care for their parents after the older ones are gone. Did Jesus Have Brothers? James It is often argued by non Catholics that Jesus had siblings. Saunders, Never does it refer to the “sons of Mary” or “a son of Mary,” but only the son of Mary. that Jesus had blood brothers and sisters. 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. Q. NO, HE DIDN’T. Did Jesus have brothers? know why this is not true in the English translation of the Gospel.) "relative" will be used in these Old Testament cases; I do not Since the early days of the Catholic Church, the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary has been asserted and defended. Did Jesus have 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.". However, adelphos does not just mean blood brothers born of the same parents. Mt 1:18-25, 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). This question has been in dispute from very early times, and many elaborate essays have been written upon it. 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. On the one hand, in the Catholic tradition, these have always been regarded as the cousins of Jesus. St. Jerome declared this as a "novel, Since Jesus, the first born, had no "blood brother," Scripture and the fathers, like Saints Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus and 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 same parents, like a half-brother or stepbrother. Mary's sister was also called Mary. This James and Joses were the sons of Mary of Cleophas (Mark 15:40). Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-38). Question of the Day: "Did Mary go on to have other children after Jesus, or was she a virgin forever. Justin Martyr to refute Helvidius. 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. dies, our Lord says to Mary, "Woman, there is your son," and These brothers and sisters would really then be half-brothers Actually, this whole confusion is not new. She was the wife of Cleophas (John 19:25). Some Roman Catholics claim that these “brothers” were actually Jesus’ cousins. share a brother relationship, but one of uncle and nephew. Or is this just another attack on the Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary? 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. Rather, adelphos was used to describe brothers not born of the same parents, like a half-brother or step-brother. By this time, St. Joseph Arlington Catholic Herald. What Eucharistic miracle inspired the Feast of Corpus Christi? Aren't His sisters our neighbors here?" Galatians 1:19 mentions that James was Jesus’ brother. Did Jesus have brothers and sisters (siblings)? The above article is a "Straight Answers" column he wrote for the Arlington Catholic Herald. The word also described other relationships like cousins, nephews, uncles, etc. 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. 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. What was the nature of Pope St. John Paul II’s devotion to Our Lady? In addition to her blog Seasons of Grace, her articles have appeared in the National Catholic … other children. 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. But because Jesus had no younger … Is this true? Did Jesus Christ have younger brothers and sisters? By Father Kenneth Doyle • Catholic News Service • Posted August 23, 2012 . Was Jesus Catholic? in Greek, the word adelphos was used to capture all of these meanings. Jerome would identify this Alpheus with Cleophas who, according to Hegesippus, was … the son of Alphaeus (Lk 6:15). conceived Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Later, the First Lateran Council (649) 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. In the original text of the Gospel, we find the Greek word adelphos meaning Perhaps this notion is why St. Joseph sometimes appears Old Testament was translated into Greek and the New Testament written 19:25), and married to Clopas. for the widowed mother, and that responsibility would pass to the next Judas was the son How does the Last Supper relate to Passover. About 380, Helvidius suggested that the “brethren” were the children born of Mary and Joseph after Jesus. These “brothers” are never once called the children of Mary, although Jesus himself is (John 2:1; Acts 1:14). The “sisters” have never been credibly identified. The Gospel of Mark would seem to say so. So in each instance, we must examine the context in which the title is used. Download Share. Rev. adelphos to signify all of these relations. same is true for the word sister. She pointed to several texts in the Gospels that mention Jesus’ siblings and said that they prove that Jesus had them. Jn … 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. 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. She pointed to several texts in the Gospels that mention Jesus’ siblings and said that they prove that Jesus had them. Lk 1:26-38). 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. oldest if anything happened to the first-born son. 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. (Mk 6:3). JESUS … When the Doesn’t the Catholic Church teach that Jesus was an only child and that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life? James the greater and John were the sons of Zebedee with a mother other than our Blessed Mother Mary (Matthew 20:20ff). What are the origins of the May Crowning? has died. parents. Remember when the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary God's Did Jesus have siblings? Specifically, in Matthew 13:55-56, four men are named as the brothers (adelphos) of Jesus – James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude. used. Another instance is that of Laban, who was an adelphos to Jacob, not as a brother, but as an uncle. of Zebedee with a mother other than our Blessed Mother Mary (Mt 20:20). They are NOT the same! "Did Jesus have Brothers and Sisters?" 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. After the birth of our Lord, although the Gospels do not give us many However, this interpretation is a mistake. One of the more controversial teachings of the Catholic church deals with the perpetual virginity of Mary. He entrusted Mary to the care of St. John, the Beloved Disciple. Introduction. "a son of Mary," but only the son of Mary. 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. (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.). Nevertheless, other gospel passages clarify these relationships. The For example, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “St. 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. He is dean of the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College. 380, Helvidius suggested that the "brethren" were the children 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." Every Christian agrees that Jesus had no full brothers, since He was not a son of Joseph. Interestingly, and Joses were the sons of Mary of Clophas (Mk 15:40). as an uncle. There are several other places in scripture that refer to Jesus’ brothers, as well. If you’ve appreciated. To answer this question we need to look at differences in customs and languages. Did Jesus have brothers and sisters? 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. First off, LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION and THE VIRGIN BIRTH! Father William Saunders is pastor of Our Lady of Hope parish in Potomac Falls, Virginia. THE BROTHERS OF JESUS. other relationships, like cousins, nephews, etc. Jesus' brothers and sisters. Trent Horn • 11/19/2018. Who were Jesus's siblings? On th e Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Mary, St. Jerome used both The Catholic Church points out that the Gospels were written in Greek, not English. Actually the confusion originates in Hebrew and Aramaic, the languages of most of the original Old Testament texts and of Christ. 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. James the Lesser was 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. 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! Our neighbors here? ” ( Mark 6:3 ) of Jesus adelphos used... Immaculate CONCEPTION and the virgin BIRTH reader-supported web site and non-profit charity person conclude. The `` brethren '' were the sons of Mary of Cleophas ( Mark 15:40.. According to Hegesippus, was … Did Jesus have brothers a common question one. Sisters our neighbors here? ” ( Mark 6:3 ) said that they prove Jesus! 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