THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
|How can we prove that the verses below do not
prove that Mary had other Children ?
“Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called
And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?”
“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary
and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon”
Jesus is said to have had brothers. The Greek word for
“brothers" is “adelphos” and it is a compound word. A
= “same” and delph = “womb.” So, some
Protestants argue that these “brothers” of Jesus must be from
the same womb as Himself and thus children of Mary, His mother. However,
this is an etymological fallacy.
The derivation of a word,
its etymology, will give you the history of a word, but it does not necessarily
give you the correct definition of that word. For example, Plato
(429 -347 BC) in his LAWS XI 924 E for his model state: “That brother [adelphos]
who is born of the same father or of the same mother …”
Therefore, the word “adelphos” cannot necessarily mean from the same womb.
Plato also uses the same word to mean “kindred, or relatives.”
In order to get past the prejudice of to how to interpret
the word “adelphos”
which is used in reference to Jesus, it is beneficial to consider
other Bible passages that also use that word, but in a different context.
Salome = “peaceful”
1) the wife of Zebedee and the mother of the apostle James the
elder and John.
The phrase “his mother's sister,” in Jn 19.25 [below],
is a reference to the mother of the sons of Zebedee , a.k.a.
Salome. This is
also evident when we compare
Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, and John 19:25 [see quotes
below.] These passages show a consistency whereby each of these three
Gospels lists all three of the women at the cross besides the
Mary. It would have been self evident that a loving Jewish and presumably
widowed mother of an only child would have been at the cross so it was almost
redundant to state that the Blessed Virgin Mary was there.
three women are Mary Magdalene, the “other
Mary” who was the wife of Clopas and the mother of James and Joseph (or
Joses), and Salome who was Zebedee's wife and who
is described as Mary's sister.
However, we know that Mary and
Salome were cousins (see family tree below)
so this is an example of “adelphos” (actually, the feminine
version of the word in this case), being used with a wider definition
than just children from the same womb.
“ …among whom were
Mary Magdalene, and
the mother of James and Joseph, and the
of the sons of Zebedee.”
“There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were
Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the
younger and of Joses, and Salome ...”
“So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of
were his mother, and his mother’s sister,
the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”
Early church writers record that Salome, Zebedee’s wife, was
cousin of the Blessed
Virgin Mary. See quotation below chart.
The fact that they are
called “sisters” in the Bible verse above shows that the word “sister” had a
less restricted meaning and included close relatives. (The Greek word
used in the Bible is the feminine version of “adelphos.”)
“There were three sisters of Bethlehem, daughters of
Matthan the priest, and Mary his wife, under the reign
of Cleopatra and Sosipatrus, before the reign of Herod,
the son of Antipater: the eldest was Mary, the second
was Sobe, the youngest’s name was Anne. The eldest being
married in Bethlehem, had for daughter Salome the
midwife; Sobe the second likewise married in Bethlehem,
and was the mother of Elizabeth; last of all the third
married in Galilee, and brought forth Mary the mother of
Callistus [Historia ecclesiastica, 2.3. PG 145.760, A
translation from Charles Wheatly, A Rational
Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer, 1794, p.
63.] Also see Hippolytus of
Thebes, [Migne's Patrologia Graeca PG 117,] Andrew of
Crete, Epiphanius Monachus,
Here is another example. We
know that King Herod and Philip are called brothers (Greek:
Mark 6.17. Yet, we know that they are not from the same womb [as
the derivation of that word might suggest.] Their father King
Herod the Great had four wives and they were born of different mothers.
(See DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE by John L. McKenzie,S.J., page
355 for a more detailed chart of Herod's family.)
James, The Brother of the Lord
“But I did not see any other of the apostles, only James the
brother of the Lord.”
There are two Apostles named James.
However, it is clear that neither one of the Apostles named
James is the son of Joseph and Mary. They are stated to be the
“son of Zebedee” and the “son of Alphaeus” in the lists of the
Apostles. See Mark 3:14-19, and Matthew 10:2-4.
“He appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) … Simon, …
James, son of Zebedee, and … James the son of Alphaeus …”
When we compare these texts with John
19:25 we can deduce that Clopas and Alphaeus must be the same
person. This can be easily explained, as Karl Keating points
out, because the Aramaic name Alphaeus can be rendered in the
Greek as either Alphaeus or as Clopas. Or Alphaeus could have
taken a Greek name similar to his Jewish name the same way as
Saul took the Greek name Paul.
In the second century church historian
Hegesippus explained that Clopas was the brother of Joseph,
Mary’s husband. Therefore, by marriage, Clopas’s sons and Jesus
were close relatives, and hence they were called brothers in
close knit familial society of the Hebrews.
Therefore, the reference to the brothers and sisters (ADELPHOS) of Jesus
does not mean that Mary had other children.
Luke Chapter One implies that Mary had taken a vow of
Read more at
Perpetual Virginity Was Implied
Also see the following objections answered:
Mat. 1:25 Until,
Links To Other Sites On This Subject
Answers by Karl Keating
by Kevin Knight
SISTERS OF JESUS EWTN
MARY MORAL ISSUES
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