Did Jesus have blood brothers?
One of the most common criticisms aimed at the perpetual virginity of Mary is the argument based on Luke 8 and John 7 that Jesus had brothers.
However in Mt 13:55 (cf. Mk 6:3) we see that the brothers referenced in Lk 8 and Jn 7 are "James and Joseph and Simon and Judas".
But, scripture tells us that at least two of them are actually Jesus' cousins!
1. Jn 19:25 says that "Mary, the wife of Clopas" is the Blessed Mother's sister.
2. "Mary, the wife of Clopas" is the "other mary" who went to the sepulcher with Mary Magdalene
3. This "other mary" is also the mother of James and Joseph (Mt 27:56,61; 28:1; Mk 15:47).
4. So, this would make James and Joseph the cousins of Jesus, even tho Mt 13:55 and Mk 6:3 say that they are Jesus' "brothers."
Since Simon and Judas are listed together with James and Joseph without any distinction made between them, it is likely that Simon and Judas had the same type of relation. Of course, if this Simon and Judas are the apostles Simon and Judas, then we know for a fact they were not Jesus' brothers.
All of this makes it highly unlikely that the "brothers" mentioned in Lk 8:19-21 and Jn 7:2-10 were Jesus' actual siblings. Instead, they were probably close relatives of some kind.
The perpetual virginity of Mary was one of the Catholic doctrines that I struggled with for the longest time. However, given the above, it becomes pretty clear. I think we do Mary injustice when we try and interpret her thoughts and expectations through a 20th century lens. After all, she lived in a much more devout time than we.
posted on 02/02/2007 6:38:59 PM PST
I think we do Mary injustice when we try and interpret her thoughts and expectations through a 20th century lens. After all, she lived in a much more devout time than we.
God bless you!
posted on 02/02/2007 7:03:23 PM PST
("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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