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It makes logical sense to say Mary married Joseph’s brother James and that he named his first child after himself.The second child born of this union would be named for/in honor of Joseph, Mary’s first husband.The eastern view holds Mary to be a virgin not only at the time of the birth of Jesus, but remained so throughout her entire life.
Painter tells us that the name James, derived from Jacob is used 60 times in the New Testament for up to eight different people.
The first three are generally not in dispute by scholars; (1) Jacob the patriarch for the Hebrew Bible, (2) Jacob the father of Joseph (husband of Mary, Matthew ), and (3) James the son of Zebedee, brother of John the fisherman.
Therefore, each of the James’ mentioned in 4, 5, 6, & 8 above are presented as being one individual represented in four ways in sort of a cryptic manner for readers to understand.
Finally, the number seven James, father of Judas, would represent the fifth James.
The remaining five are unclear, however (4) James the son of Alphaeus (one of the Twelve), (5) James the less, son of Mary and Clophas, (6) James the brother of Joses/Joseph, (7) James, the father of Judas (one of the Twelve Luke ), and finally (8) James the brother of Jesus.
Some scholars believe the eight James’ actually represent only five individuals.The western view is stricter in that it holds not only Mary, but Joseph also to be virgins throughout their entire lives.These “brothers” are merely cousins that seem to come onto the scene.Clophas/Alphaeus would have wed Mary and produced the four brothers of Jesus; James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon (Mark 6:3).Another twist to this theory holds that the four brothers are actually part of the Twelve.Along the way, Joseph dies and as such has left Mary childless.This theory becomes very interesting in that it suggests Joseph had a brother and by Jewish law was required to step into his brother’s place to multiply and fill the earth.The first three are without question different persons. Each seemingly separate reference to a different person is suggested to in fact be the same person.Number four and five agree with the Clophas/Alphaeus scenario presented earlier (possibly a wink to the reader, sons of Clophas/Alphaeus – “oh yeah him”), guy number six fits in because the brothers of Jesus were James and Joseph, and number eight is clearly a representation of the brother of Jesus.Although Painter puts forth the 60 recordings of the name James as referring to eight different individuals, it is easier to condense these into five persons using clear links, rather than eight people using cryptic language.Discuss how the Gospels treat the entire issue of the “brothers of Jesus” with regard to their attitude and relation to him and his movement.