James, the Lord’s brother and Mythicism

Jesus is the worlds most influential man to ever live. Indeed, His message and teachings have become greatly widespread and have won over billions of followers, and in fact the religion Jesus brought forth now  composes the largest religious worldview on Earth. This man is simply beloved of His believers, and even those who do not believe in Him find great respect for Him and what He has done for the world. Historians are amazingly interested by Him, many through their analysis and study of His life have come to the belief that He is God and the prophesied Messiah of the Old Testament. Thousands of scholarly works have been published on Jesus, and the historicity of early Christianity and the New Testament quantify as the largest and most important field in historic academia. But mythicists will have none of it.

Mythicists are people who don’t believe Jesus ever existed. Apart from mythicism being universally rejected by historians on historical grounds because of the heavy historical attestation of Jesus that these people seem to be ignorant of, one of the larger problems for these trolls is the fact that we have people who literally knew the family of Jesus, which would be impossible if He didn’t exist. Indeed, the mere existence of the family of Jesus is a conundrum for mythicism. Even Paul knew the family members of Jesus, as he notes to us in Galatians.

[Galatians 1:19] But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.

Paul, as an early Church leader (who was later killed for the faith) knew quite a lot of acquaintances of Jesus, and he tells us a verse earlier that he had first met Cephas (Peter) before seeing James. In fact, it’s so hilariously easy to show the fault in mythicism that one of the worlds prominent historians named Bart Ehrman (who is not a Christian) said this when he was being interviewed by a radio show host (who just so happened to be a mythicist himself):

Paul says things about Jesus that are off-the-cuff comments where he’s not making a point… And see, that’s very important to historians — in other words historians want to find disinterested comments and Paul has disinterested comments, where he says things for example about James, ‘the brother of the Lord’, which is just an off-the-cuff comment because everyone he’s writings to knows who he’s talking about so he just makes the off-the-cuff comment, so that’s very important information… And he makes an off-the-cuff comment about the twelve disciples… So the whole point is that you’ve got a disinterested comment from somebody who actually knew these people!

Earlier in the discussion, Ehrman was having fun pointing out that no serious historian takes mythicism seriously. I’d highly recommend seeing the funny full 7-minute clip here where Ehrman slaps around this host. So, what’s the point of all this about mythicism being false because people like Paul knew the very family of Jesus like His brother James?

Well, in order to get around reality, some mythicists like to completely re-interpret entire passages in order to explain away facts and information that entirely invalidates their position, such as the aforementioned passage in Paul’s epistle Galatians. So, they will say here that when Paul calls James the “brother of the Lord”, he means brother in a spiritual sense, not a brotherly sense. That is to say, all the followers of Jesus were brothers in a spiritual sense. On its face, this response may sound actually coherent, but someone who starts to dig just a little bit realizes why this claim is atrociously false in perhaps every potential manner. So, for this post, we’re going to go over several reasons why we know James was the actual brother of Jesus. When we say brother, that is to say that Mary had not only Jesus, but several other kids — and James was one of them. Mary would have had these children with Joseph, whom the Bible tells us was the husband of Mary. Indeed, the Bible tells us Mary had many children (Jesus was the first).

Let us beat this horse to death and allow ourselves to examine a few evidences why we must understand that Jesus had legitimate brothers, and thus entirely invalidating mythicism from any historical potential, and we wont even go into the historical records on the historicity of Jesus (this will be done in future posts). One thing to point out is that the context of the Galatians quote above allows us to understand that a spiritual brother interpretation of this passage is not valid at all. We shall now take a look at the context.

[Galatians 1:18-19] Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas, and I stayed with him 15 days. But I didn’t see any of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.

Here, we see Paul contrast James, who is a brother of Jesus, with Cephas who is a simple apostle of Jesus. Paul is clarifying to us the distinctive position and title that James held by contrasting him with a simple apostle, and thus Paul’s statement that James was the “brother of the Lord” cannot bear an interpretation that this was meant in some spiritual brotherly sense, because Cephas in this passage was also a spiritual brother, yet was contrasted with James who was an actual brother. This contrast Paul makes shows that a spiritual interpretation of the verse is entirely invalid. Anyways, there is another saying in Paul’s letters that throws a boulder at anyone remaining to say that James was not an actual brother of Jesus.

[1 Corinthians 9:5] Don’t we have the right to be accompanied by a Christian wife like the other apostles, the Lord’s brothers, and Cephas?

It is almost unbearable to read this and see just how Paul makes it so abysmally evident for all of us to see that the term brother is not to be used in a sense where it is spiritually applied to every apostle, as Paul makes an entire outright distinction between the apostles of Jesus and the brothers of Jesus. So it seems that Paul understood James as an actual brother of Jesus, that is to say he was the son of Joseph and Mary. The horse is dead. But there is one thing I love doing — and that is beating the dead horse (not literally! I promise.. I mean spiritually!)

[Mark 6:3] Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t His sisters here with us?” So they were offended by Him.

The Gospel of Mark (also see Matthew 13:55-56) gives us an understanding of the family of Jesus, which included four sons apart from Jesus and several sisters. That means that Jesus did in fact have actual brothers and sisters that existed within a physical sense. This saying in Mark’s Gospel is shared to us in Matthew’s Gospel. So the Bible makes it very clear that James was the brother of the Lord in a literal manner. There is more evidence as well, though. There are two historical records that we are going to look at now. One very early 1st century historian of Palestine was a man named Josephus, and Josephus tells us something very interesting — a confirmation that is very important that simply cannot be ignored. Josephus’ wrote a work called the Antiquities of the Jews, and he writes the following in Jewish Antiquities 20.9.1.

…Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king, desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrim without his consent… [Emphasis added.]

Just to note, I had to dis-include about half of the quotation of Jewish Antiquities 20.9.1 (that’s Book 20, Chapter 9, Line 1) because it was too long of a passage, however if anyone wants to read the full thing then you can either click on the link provided above or click here. Anyways, what is made apparent is that the early historian Josephus tells us that Jesus had a brother whom was named James. What Josephus tells us makes it incontestable that the spiritual interpretation of James in Galatians 1:19 is a crashing attempt at history. This is the first historical record we wanted to see, and now let us discuss the second one. It’s a box.

This isn’t just any box though, it dates to 70 AD at the very latest (likely much earlier). Take a closer look at this box, it has an inscription on it written in the Aramaic language. Do you want to know what the Aramaic inscription says?

James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus

This truly shoots down any doubt at all. This inscription was authenticated by two world-class paleographers named André Lemaire from the Paris-Sorbonne University and Ada Yardeni of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Norman Geisler summed up the data on this inscription very nicely for us all. Only 1.71 people at the time would have been named James with a father named Joseph and a brother named Jesus, as well as the fact that inscriptions like these almost never mention the persons brother unless that figure were very important — making it almost doubtless that this is referring to the Biblical James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus. This inscription tells us that James was an actual brother of Jesus, and we know this because we are also told in the inscription that his father is Joseph, so this is talking about family. This shows James was the brother of Jesus, not a regular follower and Paul knew him. As I said earlier in the blog, the mere existence of Jesus’ family is a conundrum for mythicism. Let us sum up why we know James was the brother of Jesus.

1. Paul tells us James and Jesus were brothers, and contrasts James the brother of Jesus with a follower of Jesus who isn’t an actual brother

2. Paul makes a very clear distinction between what we know as an apostle of Jesus and a brother of Jesus

3. Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56 say James was a biological brother of JesusnoJesus, and not a mere follower

4. The early historian Josephus verifies James was an actual brother

5. An early Aramaic inscription verifies James was an actual brother

So, the epistles of Paul, two Gospels, the early historian Josephus and even an extraordinarily early Aramaic inscription have all confirmed to us that James was the true, legitimate brother of Jesus. In fact, all these sources are so plenteous that James being the brother of Jesus can be literally considered one of the most historically valid facts of ancient times. Paul knew and met with this person, meaning there is no possible way that Jesus was not a true historical figure if His very family existed and was known — and so as we have just saw with our own very eyes, mythicism was shot down in its entirety. A great thanks to the historian Ehrman for first bringing me to the knowledge of what Paul has to say about this. I also got to go over two very early historical records talking about the life of Jesus, being the first century Jewish historian Josephus and a remarkably early and authentic inscription on an old box, so we truly can have no doubts or issues regarding the historicity of Jesus. I will go into greater lengths regarding the documentation of the historicity of Jesus in future posts — but this should be good for now! Blessings to all readers.


 

personal notes: refutations: Larry Hurtado 1, Hurtado 2, Hurtado 3, Hurtado 4, Hurtado 5, Hurtado 6Ehrman 1, Ehrman 2, Ehrman 3, Petterson (academic review), O’Neill 1, O’Neill 2, Ehrman-Price debateRÖnnblom 1, McGrath 1, Tucker 1

Advertisements

30 thoughts on “James, the Lord’s brother and Mythicism

  1. My fellow intelligent Christian blogger, you have impressed me beyond belief with your writing. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it more than anyone else I have seen on here! I’ve had my own dealings with Ark on countless posts of mine. We both stand firm in the face of their aggressive actions to eviscerate and discredit the Great I Am. God bless you in Jesus Name!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for God’s blessings! I really need it right now. I’m also happy that my work has impressed you. The original reason I started this blog was because I had accumulated countless sources, and so I tried to use WordPress to store all my information. It ended up becoming a thing and now I actually have an audience as well! Anyways, hopefully God may guide you, and I pray He will guide me as well.

      If you don’t mind me, I’m going to go and edit one of my former posts now that really needs some editing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m mostly wondering about your interaction with them. I’m sorry for not having someone’s specific name, but I thought an evangelical scholar was uncertain it would actually be the ossuary of James the brother of Christ. I thought I remembered a BAR article that had someone disagreeing.
        Anyhow, whether or not it is James’ does not shake my faith. Our Lord walked this earth, died for the sins of the world, rose from the grave bringing forth the promise of new life and justification for those who believe, and He is coming again.

        Like

      • You are assuredly correct. You are right, there were a number of BAR articles on the James ossuary but it seems to me that they agree overall that the ossuary is authentic. I even cited two world-class paleographers in the paper that confirmed the box is authentic, and so the evidence is very very well on the side of authenticity for the box.

        As for it referencing James the brother of Jesus in specific — I also gave a few reasons why we know this was referencing the actual Biblical James as well. I’m glad to have your input, thanks for the comments.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Alas, you are back Arkenaten.

    “Out of curiosity, why do you think Paul never mentioned anything about an empty tomb?
    And why does the oldest gospel end without any any supposed resurrection appearances?”

    Paul implicitly mentions an empty tomb as recognized by many historians in the following;

    1 Corinthians 15:4: that He was buried,
    that He was raised on the third day
    according to the Scriptures,

    When Paul says “that He was buried, that He was raised” — it directly implies that Jesus left behind an empty tomb after being raised from the burial.

    It also seems to me that the long ending of Mark’s Gospel is authentic, in accordance with the evidence.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ahah… the fundy returns!

      Smile.
      Well, so glad to read you do not disappoint.

      Buried and raise up?
      Hell, he could have been chicked into a hole in the ground, just like all the dead saints.
      This is what the Romans did with such criminals isn’t it?
      Or leave them to rot as an example to others.

      If the oldest known gospel has no long ending and all professional scholars and historians recognize it was tagged on later – that’s another word for an interpolation by the what -what makes you so clued up all of a sudden able to outshine so many clever people with your own personal insight?

      And just for fun, who do you think recorded ole’ JCs dying words on the cross then, even though these also are considered an addition ( made up)

      Like

      • “Hell, he could have been chicked into a hole in the ground, just like all the dead saints.
        This is what the Romans did with such criminals isn’t it?”

        The early creed in 1 Corinthians 15 says he was both “buried” and “raised” — being thrown into a ditch is not a burial, and thus this is not a possibility according to the evidence. The evidence says he was both buried and raised, implying an empty tomb.

        “If the oldest known gospel has no long ending and all professional scholars and historians recognize it was tagged on later – that’s another word for an interpolation by the what -what makes you so clued up all of a sudden able to outshine so many clever people with your own personal insight?”

        All my sources and arguments for the authenticity for the long ending comes directly from the Scholars themselves.

        “And just for fun, who do you think recorded ole’ JCs dying words on the cross then”

        Jesus told them to the disciples after He rose from the dead.

        Like

      • All my sources and arguments for the authenticity for the long ending comes directly from the Scholars themselves.

        Really?
        Even the average bible will tell you that the long ending was tagged on so what scholars do you read?

        Like

      • “Really?
        Even the average bible will tell you that the long ending was tagged on so what scholars do you read? ”

        This is false, translations simply put a footnote that says some manuscripts don’t contain the long ending.

        “Of course you can be buried after being chucked in a ditch. The soldiers simply threw dirt over the bodies.”

        Pure insanity, Romans didn’t bury anyone they chucked into a ditch. Unless you have evidence, of course. You’re clearly just fictionalizing events to try to make your obviously errorful suppositions fit with the facts.

        “Where is this recorded, please? ”

        It’s not recorded. You asked how it would be possible for the apostles to know Jesus’ dying words, and I told you one way this is possible.

        Like

      • Oh dear….

        What next? Will you cite 500 witnesses too?

        Why not admit it is all simply faith and we can part friends….

        After all, are you not saved by grace and offered entry into Heaven simply by acknowledging you are a sinner, confessing and believing Jesus is ‘God’?
        In all seriousness, why on earth do you care about evidence anyway?

        Like

      • “In all seriousness, why on earth do you care about evidence anyways”

        It’s because you atheist trolls question the evidence of Christianity, and question the factuality of Christianity, that my blog exists. As we’ve seen, all your objections have been answered and you are left speechless by the magnificence of the Bible.. Time to believe in Jesus, bud. Put all your faith into him :).

        Liked by 2 people

      • You miss the point …bud.

        It is not just atheists that do not beleive in your man-god but a fair proportion of the 7 billion inhabitants of Planet Earth.

        And as archaeological and historical evidence is slowly, but surely, dismantling your religion left right and center then you better pray that faith is where it’s at and focus on it.
        Your ”evidence ” isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

        What next, you going to tell me Moses was real and so was the Exodus?

        Time to accept the truth …. bud.
        Your religion is all made up.

        Like

      • It has become quickly obvious you’ve run out of arguments and you’ve been corrected. You challenge the exodus, yet we both know you read my post on the exodus and have been unable to answer the evidence. There is only one thing in your comment to address:

        “And as archaeological and historical evidence is slowly, but surely, dismantling your religion left right and center then you better pray that faith is where it’s at and focus on it.”

        I’d really like to know which part of archaeology is dismantling Christianity, Ark. From the insane amount of research I’ve undergone, ALL archaeology seems to be confirming my religion. Stay tuned for my next few posts on this blog where I will draw from this vast pool of Christian archaeological evidences.

        Liked by 3 people

      • If you need to ask which archaeology then you are so far behind the curve it is one day going to sneak up behind you and slap you silly around the side of your head.

        There is no evidence for the Exodus.
        If you are intent on citing Kitchen, Hoffmeir or Bryant Wood then you are simply an idiot.

        Or maybe you are intent on citing Ron Wyatt!
        Go on, make an arse of yourself … please do.

        Like

      • “If you need to ask which archaeology then you are so far behind the curve it is one day going to sneak up behind you and slap you silly around the side of your head.
        There is no evidence for the Exodus.
        If you are intent on citing Kitchen, Hoffmeir or Bryant Wood then you are simply an idiot.
        Or maybe you are intent on citing Ron Wyatt!”

        Hoffmeir and Kitchen are wrong about the exodus for sure, but it appears you’ve been unable to show any archaeology contradicting the Bible. The conversation of ours under the post James, the Lord’s brother and Mythicism has ended. And by the way, there is evidence for the exodus.

        Liked by 1 person

      • There is no evidence for any Exodus as per the bible.
        There may have been a small, relatively peaceful exodus but one will never likely know as there s no evidence for this either. But I certainly won’t deny a few people may have left Egypt as some time and made their way to Palastine.
        There is, however, evidence for the internal settlement of the tribe that became the Israelites, a breakaway group from the Canaanites.

        Furthermore, archaeological evidence shows that the Egyptians controlled the areas during the time frame in question.
        Read the Armana letters.

        And f you have evidence for the Exodus as oer the bible, then please send a link, or better, simply tell me about it in your own words and I can search where necessary.

        Like

      • “Furthermore, archaeological evidence shows that the Egyptians controlled the areas during the time frame in question.”

        At the time, Canaan was a colony of Egypt — but that of course has nothing to do with the exodus, as the Israelite’s left Egypt and, if they conquered one of Egypt’s colonies, so be it.

        “And f you have evidence for the Exodus as oer the bible, then please send a link, or better, simply tell me about it in your own words and I can search where necessary.”

        You’ve already read my post on the exodus, haven’t you? If you’ve actually forgotten, go ahead and re-read it, and then wait till my next blog post to discuss it.

        Like

      • I just read your link, and it is rather ridiculous. How anyone could possibly read 1 Chronicles 7:20-24 as “skipping” the exodus is really beyond me. I gave the names of many archaeologists in my exodus link. I did in fact mention Bryant Wood, but I also mentioned guys like Douglas Petrovich, Rodger C. Young, John Garstang, Peter van der Veen, Christopher Theiss, Manfred Görg, and Eugene Merrill.

        They also didn’t “conquer Egypt’s colonies without leaving a single trace”, we know that Jericho, Ai and Hazor were all completely destroyed and burned down at about 1400 BC (about the start of Joshua’s conquest), so that is hardly “not leaving a single trace”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bryant Wood is a fundamentalist. he has absolutely no credibility in this area of archaeology. None whatsoever.
        His attempts at re-dating the Exodus and the collapse of Jericho have been flatly refuted by every known archaeologist who has checked his methods.
        Kenyon’s dating stands and in the years since her first conclusions has been confirmed by numerous modern’ day carbon dating.
        See; Israel Finkelstein.

        The others you listed all look like evangelists.
        Offer a proper archaeologist with no a priori bias and I’ll have a look.
        Otherwise you are merely piddling in the wind.

        Like

      • “Bryant Wood is a fundamentalist. he has absolutely no credibility in this area of archaeology. None whatsoever.”

        Bryant G. Wood is a very prominent archaeologist who has lead the excavations of the Biblical city Ai and has the legitimacy of his work respected by many secularists.

        “The others you listed all look like evangelists.”

        Out of all the other guys I mentioned (about 6), I only know that three are Christians. All of them are credible, have good credentials in this area, and I have cited their published work, recognized by peer-review. Peer-review is peer-review, attempting to dismiss peer-review because the author is a Christian is called bigotry and ad-hominem fallacy. I’ve cited Wood’s work on the dating of Jericho and I find the evidence overwhelming. There has only been one scholar as far as I’m concerned who has extensively challenged the findings of Wood on Jericho, and he was quickly dismantled.

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL! Ron Wyatt’s short article is hardly a response to Wood, as well as it having no evidence against him, I was of course referencing Bienkowski’s response which Wood has shredded.

        It’s also funny to see that all your objections to the exodus are exceedingly bad and are all solved by showing the Bible says the exodus population was small, not large. Considering you cited James Bishop’s blog to get a response to Wood, why don’t you read more of Bishop’s stuff on the exodus in specific:

        https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/was-it-really-2-million-israelites-that-left-egypt-during-the-exodus/

        All objections fall when we see what the Bible really says, and the evidence stacks up. You continued postulating that there is “no evidence of sudden destruction of Canaanite cities”, although that is explicitly false.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s