James of Jerusalem is referred to in the New Testament as the brother of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
He was for many years the leader of the Christian congregation in Jerusalem, and is generally supposed to be the author of the Epistle of James, although the Epistle itself does not state this explicitly.
James is mentioned briefly in connection with Jesus' visit to Nazareth (M 13:55; P 6:3).
We are told that Jesus' brothers did not believe in Him (J 7:2-5), and from this, and from references in early Christian writers, it is inferred that James was not a disciple of the Lord until after the Resurrection.
Paul, listing appearances of the Risen Lord (1 Cor 15:3-8), includes an appearance to James.
Peter, about to leave Jerusalem after escaping from Herod, leaves a message for James and the Apostles (A 12:17).
When a council meets at Jerusalem to consider what rules Gentile Christians should be required to keep, James formulates the final consensus (A 15:13-21).
Paul speaks of going to Jerusalem three years after his conversion and conferring there with Peter and James (G 1:18-19), and speaks again of a later visit (perhaps the one described in A 15) on which Peter, James, and John, "the pillars," placed their stamp of approval on the mission to the Gentiles (G 2:9).
A few verses later (G 2:11-14), he says that messengers from James coming to Antioch discouraged Jewish Christians there from eating with Gentile Christians. (If this is refers to the same event as A 15:1-2, then Paul takes a step back chronologically in his narration at G 2:11, which is not improbable, since he is dictating and mentioning arguments and events that count as evidence for his side as they occur to him.)
On his last recorded visit to Jerusalem, Paul visits James (others are present, but no other names are given) and speaks of his ministry to the Gentiles (A 21:18).
Outside the New Testament, James is mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus, who calls him "the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ," and reports that he was much respected even by the Pharisees for his piety and strict observance of the Law, but that his enemies took advantage of an interval between Roman governors in 62 AD to have him put to death. His death is also reported by the second-century Christian writer Hegesippus.
Numerous references in early Christian documents show the esteem in which he was held in the early Church.
There appear to be at least three persons named James mentioned in the New Testament, and possibly as many as eight. For an attempt to sort them out, see the Bio of Philip and James at 1 May. You can obtain it by sending the message
Get Bio May to the address LISTSERV@ASU.EDUOn Monday 21 October 2002, Herschel Shanks, editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, published in Washington, D.C., announced the discovery in Jerusalem last June by a researcher named Andre Lemaire of an ossuary bearing the inscription in Aramaic, "James (Jacob), son of Joseph, brother of Jesus (Joshua)." Further details appear in an article by Lemaire in the current November-December 2002 issue of the Review. In ancient times, in particular between 20 BC and AD 70, the Jews were accustomed to leave a corpse in a tomb for a few months until only the skeleton was left, and then place the bones in a stone box called an ossuary as a permanent receptacle. This box is about 20 inches long and 11 inches wide. Experts, examining the box, and considering the language used on the box, the style of carving the box and forming the letters, the growth of algae and mosses on the surface of the box, and so on, date the box as about AD 63, and definitely before AD 70. Now, the three names used here were all common ones at the time, and the combination not especially rare. It is estimated that there may have been 20 Jameses in Jerusalem at the time with fathers named Joseph and brothers named Jesus. However, of hundreds of boxes found, only two others name a brother. The inference is that this was done only when the brother was a person of distinction, and this narrows the field. It therefore seems probable that the box once contained the bones of James of Jerusalem.
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It is not clear exactly what is meant by calling James the "brother of Jesus." Hebrew and its near relative Aramaic have no word for "cousin," and use "brother" not only for brothers, half-brothers, and step-brothers, but also for first cousins. Three theories about the relation of James to Jesus have been popular:
For further details, see the issue of the Review cited above. See
also, while it lasts, the following web page:
O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst set thy brother James on the Throne of thy church in Jerusalem: Grant, we beseech thee, that as he continually made supplication for the sins of thy people, and labored to reconcile in one body both Jew and Gentile; so thy Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity, and may ever be an effectual witness for the salvation of all mankind. Grant this, O Son of Man, who art on the right hand of the Father, in the unity of the Spirit, now and ever.
Grant, we beseech thee, O God, that after the example of thy Servant James the Just, brother of our Lord, thy Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.
Lord Jesus Christ, who set your brother James on the throne of Your church in Jerusalem: Grant that as he continually interceded for the sins of your people, and worked to reconcile in one body both Jew and Gentile; so your Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity, and may ever be an effectual witness for the salvation of all mankind. Grant this, O Son of Man, who are on the right hand of the Father, in the unity of the Spirit, now and ever.
Grant, O God, that following the example of your servant James The Just, brother of our Lord, your Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Matthew 13:54-58 (AllSts)