Re: [XTalk] The Jesus movement before the NT
- -----Original Message-----
From: Ronald Price
Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2011 2:16 PM
Subject: Re: [XTalk] The Jesus movement before the NT
Jack Kilmon wrote:
> What evidence do you have that Ya'aqob Bar Yahosef was among theJack,
> Talmidda prior to the crucifixion? Although my opinion from collective
> circumstantial evidence is that Jesus' ministry was a family supported
> enterprise (at least half his disciples were relatives), all I have to
> my hat on for Ya'aqob is Thomas #12.
Well it's not based on GTh, for I take this to have originated in the second
JK] The extant Oxyrhynchus fragments are 2nd century but the basic anthology
of sayings that resulted in GoT is, IMO, 1st century (60s CE) and perhaps
earlier. That's another discussion for another time.
Firstly the introduction of James the brother of Jesus in Acts is very odd.
In Acts, even the apparently obscure Matthias is carefully introduced (Ac
1:21-26), yet James the brother of Jesus and leader of the Jesus movement in
Paul's time appears suddenly in Ac 12:17 with not a word of introduction in
Acts. Another oddity is the demise of "James the brother of John" in Ac 12:2
conveniently in time for the other James to appear in the narrative as
"James" without qualification.
JK] Luke, the author of Acts, thought Mark more authoritative than Matthew
and it is no secret Mark was anti-family. He mentions the names of Yeshua's
four brothers once and only mentions His sisters but not their names. The
top two most common second temple names were Shymeon and Ya'aqub so it is
not surprising we have THREE Ya'aqubs in this Galilean family. That two of
them are patrilinear is the best evidence we have that the Matthean
genealogy is at least partially accurate (at least to three or four
generations) so I will use the sources to start with Yeshua's grandfather
who would likely have been Ya'aqub Bar Matthan who had at least two sons,
Yahosef Bar Ya'aqub and Halfy Bar Ya'qub, BOTH of whom are mentioned in the
NT. Following Jewish naming praxis each of these brothers would have named
a son after their father resulting in Ya'aqub Bar Yahosef (who would acquire
the sobriquet "Tsaddika") and Ya'aqub Bar Halfy (known as "Zaora" or
"Lesser"), the brother of Mattaya (Matthew). The first Ya'aqub is a brother
and the second a cousin of Yeshua. The third, Ya'aqub Bar Zebediy ("Gadol")
is a son of Maryam's sister Shalomzion and also a cousin. Both of the
cousin Ya'aqubs were Talmids. "James the Greater" (Zebedee) was beheaded by
Agrippa in 42. "James the Rightous" (Jesus' brother) was murdered by the
High Priest Ananus in 62 (and likely John Zebedee as well). The fate of
"James the Lesser" is not known but he may also have been among the
"companions" of Jesus' brother killed by Ananus.
JK] The "Matthias" (Mattaya) of Acts was elected by the qehal of talmidda to
replace Yehudah Ish-Kerioth after the crucifixion and could not have been
Mattaya Bar Halfy (Matthew), the tax collector, cousin and disciple for
three years prior to the crucifixion.
Secondly there's the fact that in both Paul and Mark the three leading
apostles were named James, Peter and John. If the James mentioned by Mark
had been replaced by the James mentioned by Paul, this would be a strange
coincidence of names.
JK] Not at all. As I said, Ya'qub was a very common name. Ya'aqub and
Yohanan Bar Zebediy (both cousins) and Shymeon Bar Yonah (Kefa) were the 3
disciples that conforms similarly to the leadership of the Yahad of the DSS.
We know that Paul was critical of Peter (Gal 2:11-12),
and we can be reasonably sure that he would have been even more critical of
James the brother of Jesus. We also know that Mark portrayed Peter in a
rather unflattering manner, and that he was also indirectly critical of
James (Mk 3:21). Did Mark deliberately omit this James from his stories of
JK] The NT works are very Pauline in nature. Paul never knew Jesus and
appears to be jealous of those who knew him and were taught by him so Paul
invented his own Jesus. Of course there was tension between Jesus' brother
and Paul, a tension that continued between Paul's gentiles and the original
Thirdly, in the lists of apostles in both Luke and Acts, James and John
appear without being identified as the sons of Zebedee, and indeed in the
Greek, they are not identified as a pair, let alone as brothers. Was Luke
correcting the information he had got from Mark's list?
JK} Since all of the NT works, other than about 7 Pauline epistles, are
secondary sources and each with an agenda, I don't think Luke writing near
the end of the 1st century could be "correcting" anything. The original
Markan source and the internal "proto-John" may be the closest sources to
Suppose that Mark knew that James the brother of Jesus was the leading
apostle from the beginning, but disliked him and what he stood for so much
that he left him out of the Markan stories of Jesus.
JK] One possibility I have entertained is that Jesus' brother, a pious
Mosaic Jew, may have stepped in after Jesus' death to "rehabilitate" the
non-Mosaic Enochian Jesus posthumously. This may be why Jesus was thought to
be "beside himself" during his activity. On the other hand we have Jesus'
uncle and aunts supporting his work and perhaps his siblings did as well and
need not have been "students" of Jesus. We have no idea what was going on
in the early years but during his mission he is followed and assisted by his
mother, his aunt Mary, his aunt Salome, his uncle Halfy/Alphaeus/Clopas and
we do not know what relationship Joanna and Susanna were. The Gospels are
such poor sources we have to model an historiography that makes us most
comfortable with our conjectures.
Suppose further that
Mark substituted the 'sons of Zebedee' for the leading apostles James and
John. In this way he could criticize them indirectly (e.g. Mk 10:35-40).
JK] By the time Mark wrote that, around 70ish CE, BOTH Zebedee boys were
dead. I don't think that exchange between Jesus and his two cousins took
place but they may indeed have been on the Right hand and the Left hand
after the crucifixion, positions which had meaning in leadership status.
Paul places them there with Kefa at the head, much like the organization of
the Community Rule.
This would explain why the author of Luke-Acts appeared embarrassed in Acts
12 by having two leading apostles called James. If we further suppose that
the 'sons of Zebedee' were fictional, there would then be no coincidence of
names, for Mark would simply have put James and John the sons of Zebedee in
his stories as a direct replacement for James the brother of Jesus and the
John of Gal 2:9 respectively.
JK] This is kind of why I dislike using the name of a nutty English king
and I see no "coincidence" that there are three "Ya'aqubs" given the
commonality of that name in the 1st century. I am surprised there were no
more Yeshuas. The only place I see the name close to the story is for a
fictional insert, Barabbas and then early texts at that.
Painter, "Just James", pp.269-72, makes the case with no mention of the sons
JK] I have always been amazed at the confusion over a mere three Ya'aqubs"
in a 1st century family. With less than a dozen prenominae in Roman naming,
I am surprised there is not much more confusion over the multiple Gaiuses.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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- This topic ran for a while back in January.
I have just seen a review of a book on Philo
which gives particular attention to Philo's
use of some passages from the haftarot which, it is
argued, match part of a later cycle of such readings.
Naomi Cohen, Philo's Scriptures ... (Brill 2007) is
the book, and a very interesting and detailed review
of it by Tzvee Zahavy is in Review of Rabbinic
Judaism 15 (2012) 133-136.
David Mealand, University of Edinburgh
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