> James the Apostle
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I am a bit confused about the identity of the two James in the New Testament. There is: James son of Zebedee, brother of John; James the brother of the Lord; and James son of Alpheus. Is it correct that:
The disciple James, the Lord’s brother is James the son of Alpheus who surprisingly enough, did not believe until the Lord had appeared to him (1 Corinthians 15:7)?
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, (the author of the fourth Gospel) are the cousins of Jesus?
All the twelve disciples except John were martyred for their faith?
Could you please direct me to reliable sources on the history of their martyrdom?
I noticed what seems to be a contradiction in what I'm being told regarding the person of James the brother of our Lord. In my notes that I was given from the Coptic Orthodox Theological College, it states this regarding all the James of the Bible. I quote them below:
James the Great (son of Zebedee)
James was the elder brother of John, and with his brother, was one of the first to be called, and the final member of the “inner circle”. There is not much recorded of James in the first ten years after Pentecost but the Spanish have a tradition that he introduced Christianity to Spain. In 42 AD James was tried before the Sanhedrin and was beheaded by Herod’s command. He was the first of the disciples to be martyred, and the only one whose death is recorded in the New Testament (Acts 12:2).
James the Less (son of Alphaeus)
There is much confusion about the identity of this disciple. His father and Matthew’s father are both named Alphaeus, but his mother is named as “Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses”, with no mention of Matthew, so it is unlikely that they are brothers. There is also some controversy as to whether his mother, also known as Mary the wife of Clopas (which is the Hellenization of Alphaeus) is the sister of the Virgin Mary (Jn 19:25), this view would make this James the same as “James the brother of the Lord” (the epistle writer), or Jesus’ maternal cousin, but this is unlikely. There is a strong tradition that he was the first bishop of Syria, which would place him in Antioch.
James, (brother of the Lord)
Since the death of James the Elder in 44 AD, James, the Brother of the Lord seems to have succeeded him as one of the three pillars of the Jerusalem Church. He was in fact the first Bishop of Jerusalem, president of the Council of Jerusalem, and the writer of the Epistle. James and his three brothers (Matthew 13:55) were not believers before the resurrection of the Lord (John 7:5, Mark 3:21), until a special appearance to him of the risen Lord (1 Corinthians 15:7), after which he was converted to Christianity, received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 1:14), but remained the most conservative (Jewish) of the Apostles. His mission was to lead the Jews gently to Christ, standing in the breach between Synagogue and Church. He preached in and around Jerusalem and died a martyr’s death when he was cast down from a pinnacle in the temple and stoned to death, as described by Josephus. He had such high standing even among the Pharisees, who saw his death as an injustice. It seems to me that they imply that there are 3 James mentioned in the Holy Scripture. They imply that James the Great and James the Less are of the 12 apostles and James the brother of our Lord is entirely a different person altogether. I looked on your websites under the Q&A to see if someone else inquired on this subject and they did. Your response confirmed what I always thought and understood from other Coptic Orthodox teachings, that James the Less and James the brother of our Lord are the same person. Not sure if I'm misunderstanding something. Could you please confirm for me what the official and true Coptic Orthodox teaching regarding this? Why would the seminary be teaching differently?
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