Re: [Synoptic-L] Jesus's Family (Jacob)
----- Original Message -----
From: "E Bruce Brooks" <brooks@...>
To: "Crosstalk2" <email@example.com>; "Jeffrey B. Gibson"
<jgibson000@...>; "Synoptic" <firstname.lastname@example.org>; "Jack
Cc: "GPG" <email@example.com>; "WSW" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 5:21 PM
Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Jesus's Family (Jacob)
> To: Synoptic
> Cc: GPG, WSW
> In Response To: Jack Kilmon
> On: Jesus's Family (Jacob)
> From: Bruce
> Thanks to Jack for an interesting countersuggestion. My own impression is
> still that there was a certain congruity of belief within Jesus's family,
> but that the factional split attested in Mk (from what I will call the
> Galilean side) and in Mt (the Jerusalem side, where the churches of
> especially that of Capernaum, are cursed with damnation) was real and not
> figment of either Mark's or Matthew's imagination. What does seem to have
> happened eventually is that the two sides, insofar as they survived at
> did tend to converge over time. I will here annotate Jack's comment in the
> above sense.
> Bruce [previous]: The family views came to dominate at least one strand of
> the later Jesus movement, and it was in Jerusalem that this strand of the
> movement seems to have been located.
> Jack: I would go a bit further. I see the evidence pointing to Jesus'
> ministry/mission as a "family enterprise." Throughout his travels we see
> his aunt Shalomzion/Salome and his aunt Maryam/Mary (Clopas/Alphaeus'
> wife...the "other Mary) along supporting the group "out of their means."
> don't know the relationship of Susanna and Joanna but suspect they were
> relatives. At least 5 of the disciples were relatives or close associates
> of relatives and not merely strangers who dropped what they were doing.
I might add that Joanna, wife of Chuza (Herod's steward) is one of the women
charged with preparing the body...along with Jesus' aunt Mary... only to
discover an empty tomb. This was a job for the female relatives of the
deceased (which causes wonder about Mary Magdalene's true relationship).
> Bruce [present]: I hold with the main narrative of Mark, and with what
> Klausner reports of the Rabbinic tradition about the Jesus movement,
> that the original circle of followers contained only five persons, all of
> whom were chosen during Jesus's lifetime. None of them were relatives of
> Jesus. (Simon and Andrew, fishermen, father unknown;
Father was one Yona (Jonah...not John) of Bethsaida, mentioned three times
in the Gospels. He was married (tradition names Deborah) with children and
his wife was also martyred. 1 Cor 9:5; Clement Misc vii, Stromata iii.vi.
There are accounts of his mother named Joanna but I cannot confirm this name
and suspect it may come from "son of Johannes" where the name "Yona" is
confused with "John" in many accounts.
> Jacob and John,
> fishermen, sons of Zebedee; and Levi, tax collector, father unknown).
Father is one Zebedy, husband of Mary's sister Salome and partner to Yona in
a Gennesaret fishing fleet. This makes "James, the Elder" and "John" first
cousins to Jesus.
With Luke as a more reliable historian than the other hagiographers, Yaqub
bar Zebedy, known as gadyl (greater/older) killed under Agrippa in 42 CE is
not likely fictional. His brother Yohanan (John) was probably killed in a
later persecution. My reasoning is the gospels make certain prophecies
placed in Jesus' mouth since those gospels were written after the event so
prophesied. This includes the destruction of the temple at Mark 13:2 and the
death of BOTH Zebedee boys at Mk 10:39. I do not think this prediction
would have been preserved in the text if it was contrary to the facts.
Philip of Side (430 CE) reports a book of Papias
that John suffered martyrdom with his brother (I don't believe at the same
time). A homily of Aphraates (no. 21) states that apart from Stephen,
Peter, and Paul, there were only two martyred apostles, John and James. It
is only the fiction of John Zebedy as the author of 4G that keeps him alive
and 100 years old in Ephesus. So I think this Yaqub (gdyl) is likely
historical. I believe Yohanon bar Zebedy was one of the "companions"
Josephus reports killed along with Jesus' brother. Yaqub bar Zebedy ("Big
Jake") had a son (Thaddeus) who also became a disciple.
That's THREE cousins as disciples.
> still figures (under that name) in some of the early apocrypha, but at an
> early date after the Crucifixion he seems to have been replaced by Matthew
> (the Matthias story in Acts 1:15-is, I think, a Jerusalem transfer of this
> originally Galilean event; this was also one of the otherwise satirical
> disciple names reported by Klausner. I would locate the tradition reported
> by Klausner to the period immediately after Jesus's death, or precisely
> period when the Jerusalem authorities, with Saul as their chief
> were trying their best to exterminate the early Jesus movement).
My take...Levi and Matthew are the same person but Matthew and Matthias are
not. Matthew (the tax collector) and "James, the Younger" are brothers and
both are the sons of Jesus' uncle Clopas..
A few references:
Matthew 10:3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican;
James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus
Mark 2:14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the [son] of Alphaeus sitting at
the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and
This confirms that Matthew (the publican) and Levi are the same and, like
James, a sonof Alphaeus.
John 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his
mother's sister (referring to unnamed Salome), Mary the [wife] of Cleophas
(Clopas) , and Mary Magdalene.
So we learn that Matthew and James were the sons of Clopas/Alphaeus and his
wife Mary. We also know that Shymeon, the son of Clopas succeeded
James/Yaqub as the Nasi of the Jerusalem Assemblage which in itself speaks
of the blood
relationship of the three sons of Clopas and Mary to James (The Just) and
It is Hegesippus, quoted by Eusebius who writes about "members of the Lord's
family..." and "..the son of the Lord's uncle, the aforesaid Shymeon, son of
Clopas.." Hegesippus mentions a brother of Joseph whose name was Clopas
(Euseb. Hist. III.11; 32:1-4, 6; IV.11.4).
That's FIVE cousins as disciples. One uncle and at least two aunts in the
entourage helping to support the group. It is not, therefore, a red
herring, IMO, to suggest that Joanna and Susanna were also related.
> What I get in the Gospels and Acts is the gradual merger of two originally
> competing local traditions. Compare the stories of the Descent of the
> to Peter in (1) The Gospel of Peter, or Jn 21 as tapping that same
> tradition, and (2) Acts, which is a Jerusalemizing account of the same
> Jack: Jesus' uncle Clopas also seems to be helpful to the group.
> Bruce: Fine. I don't insist that nobody in the larger kin group sided with
> Jesus early on. But I don't think that this invalidates the implication of
> the evidence above cited, as to his more immediate family.
> Jack: This being the case, we cannot be sure that brother Yaqub was not
> involved all along as well as some of the other brothers.
> Bruce: "cannot be sure" is one of those historiographical red herrings.
> few historical conclusions are utterly proof against future contradictory
> data; same as astrophysics. But pending the appearance of such data in
> case, I would resist this proposal to let one relative constitute a door
> admitting all other relatives to early believer status. The tensions
> Jacob [family] and Peter [disciple] in Acts, and, more or less compatibly,
> in Paul, still mean something to me. Along with the fact that there is no
> equally early textual evidence to the contrary. If these disharmonies did
> not exist, why invent them?
I don't think it is a red herring at all but an examination of the context
in which the family plays a role and the conflict between the Markan
antipathy to the family and Jesus' brothers encouraging him to take his
mission to Jerusalem.
I think there is sufficient evidence in the gospels and patristic accounts
that the family was closely involved in Jesus' ministry.
> Jack: Mark has an obvious antipathy toward Jesus' family (3:21; 3:31-35)
> Bruce: Yes, Mark either has or reports that antipathy, but if it is
> invention, what does it profit him? Cui bono? And if nobody bono, then the
> default conclusion is that Mark is reporting something. To state that Mark
> has (or reports) this antipathy is not to eliminate Mark as evidence. It
> merely to report that it stands as evidence.
> Jack: . . . and excludes them from the mission as does the interpolation
> John 7:5.
> Bruce: Is Jn 7:5 ("For even his brothers did not believe in him") clearly
> interpolation? It is at any rate clearly an editorial explanation. Are
> other such editorial explanations in John? If not, that fact would tend to
> impugn Jn 7:5. But in fact there are tons of editorial explanations in Jn,
> including explanations of words like Rabbi. I would need further argument
> that would allow us to dismiss Jn 7:5 as evidence. Jn is admittedly late,
> and theologically far advanced over Mt/Lk, and thus treacherous at many
> points. It needs caution. But for example, its information (also a
> parenthetical explanation, by the way) on the post-Crucifixion Christian
> adoption of the Johannine rite of baptism (4:2) is certainly correct.
> Jn is interesting in that, though it continues to report the antipathy of
> Jesus's brothers, it has brought Mary over to the Jesus side, and very
> prominently, at the Cana miracle (Jn 2:1f), which is Jn's answer to the
> Rejection at Nazareth (Lk 4:16), both being put at the head of the
> respective narratives of Jesus's career. Not to mention the touching
> Crucifixion scene. Of course the exaltation of Mary had already made great
> headway in Mt/Lk; this is another of the developmental Trajectories to
> I sometimes refer, and on which I rely as the best evidence for large
> Synoptic relationships. These Evangelists, it seems to me, both knew
> what they were up to, historiographically. One of the things the later
> were increasingly up to was disputing the "disciple vs family" war in the
> posthumous Jesus movement. That position of antipathy gets itself slightly
> eroded in Mt/Lk, and further eroded in Jn. In this movement toward
> convergence, it seems that Mary leads the way. Given the Women Trajectory
> (the successive gospels make more of the role of women in the Jesus
> movement; this is almost a Lukan signature trait), that makes perfect
> to me. Tradition evolution is largely propaganda formation, and the Woman
> button seems to have been hot in the early days of Christianity, perhaps
> especially Gentile Christianity.
> As to disciple vs family conflicts, in the posthumous stages of some
> prospering movement, they are a quite general phenomenon. We have a
> thing in early Confucianism. It is obvious from the Analects text,
> understood (and for its proper understanding, I can only refer to The
> Original Analects, Columbia 1998 and held by many theology libraries; ask
> have it recalled from the zealous seminarian who is eagerly thumbing it at
> this very moment), that the Confucius movement was for several generations
> in the hands of his disciples, not his relatives. The standard scenes of
> Confucius's funeral (0479), in all their variants, show disciples, not
> or grandsons, in charge of ceremonies, which would be ritually unthinkable
> unless Confucius had been to some extent estranged from his more immediate
> relatives (his father, it is said, had even abandoned the family name
> The family takeover of Confucianism occurred after the second disciple
> generation (c0400), and immediately led to profound doctrinal shifts of
> emphasis. Personally, it centered on traditions constructed around one
> Dz-sz, who was and still is claimed to be the grandson of Confucius
> (actually, the great-grandson; there are insuperable chronological
> in trying to bridge the disciple period in this way). Analects 11, which
> a revisionist list of the original disciples, praising those previously
> criticized and vice versa, reads in this respect very much like the curses
> of Galilee in Mt (retained in Lk).
> These are twice told tales.
> Jack: The only reason I can think of for this anti-family bias was to
> prevent proselytes from joining the Jacobian group in Jerusalem from which
> the desposynoi arose.
> Bruce: I am content, for today, Monday, and there is a hailstorm outside
> window, to have gained the point that the Jerusalem group were in fact
> Jacobean, and that, by implication, Mk was at least in part written when
> tensions between that group and the Galilee residuum were still high, and
> important to both sides.
I think the Petrines and "Jacobeans" were merged in Jerusalem and the
tension was between Jerusalem and the Paulines and Johannines. Now before
you gasp and spill your coffee on your shirt regarding the chronological gap
between the Petrines/Jacobians (pre 66 CE) and the Johannines (90's CE), I
hold that an Aramaic "proto-John" (used as a skeleton around which the late
1st century Greek text was fleshed) was significantly anti-Petrine and
pre-dated Mark. I have background but it could get lengthy and tangential
to this discussion.
> Jack: It is for this reason I consider the GoT Logion 12 authentically
> Bruce: Here is Thos 12, tr Valantasis:
> "The disciples said to Jesus, We know that you are going to leave us. Who
> will be our leader? Jesus said to them, No matter where you are, you are
> go to James the Just, for whose sake Heaven and Earth came into being."
> Hmm. Even gJn has only evolved as far as the Pre-Existent Jesus; now we
> the Pre-Existent Jacob. Surely it is a further evolution. It also
> indeed obliterates, the whole weight of Gospel testimony that Peter was
> leading figure among the followers of Jesus, both during Jesus's lifetime
> and in the period directly following. That he was eventually eclipsed by
> Brother Jacob is represented, albeit emblematically rather than
> historically, in Acts (= Luke).
The criterion of embarrassment along with the historical record of Yaqub
haTsaddik actually becoming leader suggests historicity.
> gThos has been shown, to my mind convincingly, to be secondary to the
> Gospels, which it anthologizes and then develops in a typically Egyptian
Although the GoT has indeed been "tweaked" by Egyptian Gnostics, my position
is that Logia genuinely from the vox Iesu predate and are more primitive
than the synoptic parallels and those without synoptic parallels, like
Logion 12, are indeed Yeshuine.
I will end my responses here, Bruce, if you don't mind, to avoid getting
into a very lengthy discussion on the GoT, the core of which I believe was
penned by Mark himself as his "Jesus said..." notebook that was used in the
composition of his Gospel.
I hope the hail didn't do much damage.
San Antonio, TX