Thursday, November 30, 2017

Copy of 'Jesus' secret revelations to his brother' discovered by biblical scholars -- ScienceDaily

Copy of 'Jesus' secret revelations to his brother' discovered by biblical scholars

"The first-known original Greek copy of a heretical Christian writing describing Jesus' secret teachings to his brother James has been discovered by biblical scholars."

"To say that we were excited once we realized what we'd found is an understatement. We never suspected that Greek fragments of the First Apocalypse of James survived from antiquity. But there they were, right in front of us."

This is the document being discussed. The term "brother," as used in this headline, is misleading, and requires clarification. In the document Jesus says to James, "For not without reason have I called you my brother, although you are not my brother materially."


  1. Actually, it's not misleading. James was thebson of Mary and Joseph. So he and Jesus were raised as brothers, and actual half brothers if you accept the Biblical statement of Jesus' parentage.

    1. The point is this: that Jesus confirmed IN THAT VERY CITED DOCUMENT, that he was only using "brother" as a figure of speech. So to write "Jesus' secret revelations to his brother" when writing about that specific document is misleading. In fact, since Jesus says he is using it as a figure of speech, this particular James might not even be the same guy whom the Gospels call one of the brothers of Jesus. It may be another man with the same first name, which is not at all unlikely, since it seems that first century Jerusalem didn't really have that many different names.

      Also, there is no evidence that the biblical James is supposed to be the son of Mary at all. That is purely speculation, one of several views which have been debated by scholars for years. The Greek term adelphos, applied in these accounts to people described as adelphoi of Jesus, could mean that they were full brothers, half brothers, stepbrothers, cousins, or maybe even people of a common religious community, similar to the way the Amish still use the term. (This broad use of "brother" is also true in some modern languages.)

      The Catholic Encyclopedia, citing the texts contained in the apocryphal writings, writes that:

      "When forty years of age, Joseph married a woman called Melcha or Escha by some, Salome by others; they lived forty-nine years together and had six children, two daughters and four sons, the youngest of whom was James (the Less, "the Lord's brother"). A year after his wife's death, as the priests announced through Judea that they wished to find in the tribe of Juda a respectable man to espouse Mary, then twelve to fourteen years of age. Joseph, who was at the time ninety years old, went up to Jerusalem among the candidates; a miracle manifested the choice God had made of Joseph, and two years later the Annunciation took place."

      So by that account, the biblical James would be no blood relation to Jesus at all, since he was the biological son of Escha and Joseph, while Jesus was the son of Mary and The Holy Spirit. (Although they might have been raised as brothers when they were children.)

      But that's just one story. As you probably know, there are many, many different interpretations of these ancient documents, and scholars debate them ad infinitum. In one of the Gospels, I think the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is referred to as Mary's "firstborn" son, which strongly implies there were more, and therefore raises the possibility that Jesus and some man named James were brothers.

      But Jesus specifically rules that out in this document, when he says "you are not my brother materially," so we don't even know if this is the same James referred to as the brother of Jesus in the Gospels. Maybe it is. Maybe not. (Hinges at least partially on their actual kinship, if any.)