CNN reported that Catholics and Protestants are divided when it comes to answering the question about Jesus having a brother named James. This question has come to the forefront in recent news because of CNN‘s investigative series Finding Jesus: Faith Fact Forgery. The six-episode series began on CNN on March 1, and will conclude on Easter Sunday. The episodes are based on exploring science and archaeology in order to dispel myths that Bible scholars have believed for centuries about Jesus’ family. One of the myths to clear up is the subject that Jesus and James were blood brothers.
The Christian Post reported that a Finding Jesus expert claims Mary gave birth to only one child and Jesus never had a brother named James. Catholic scholars also believe James was not a brother of Jesus. However, they believe James and Jesus were cousins. This idea is based on Jerome’s translation of the Old Testament and the New Testament into Latin. From his translation, Jerome concluded that James was the son of Jesus’ aunt, Mary of Clopas. Many Protestants take an opposing view and believe that Jesus and James were blood brothers born from Mary.
For Catholics, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus are all who were included in that particular family unit, and Mary did not give birth to other children. Protestants believe otherwise. Ben Witherington III, professor of New Testament interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary, believe Mary did have other children. He emphatically believes Mary gave birth to both Jesus and James.
Protestant Bible scholars are shaking their heads about Jesus not having a brother named James. That’s because there are references in the Bible that Jesus not only had a bother named James, but he had other brothers as well. According to Matthew 13:55, these brothers are named in the order of their birth: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. The Bible also states that Jesus had sisters, but they are not named, according to Matthew 13:56. Matthew 12:46, Mark 3:31 and Luke 8:19 state, “Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him.”
Things concerning the Bible are always popping up in the news to either confirm or to dispel what people have been taught over hundreds of years. The recent news that Jesus didn’t have a brother named James is provoking discussions among Bible scholars and Bible students in theology classes and in weekly Bible studies in local churches. Many people have agreed that whether James was Jesus’ blood brother or not, it does not diminish what Jesus did when he went to the cross. It is good to know if James and the others were Jesus’ brothers and sisters, but it is more important to know that Jesus was the Son of God who came to save the world.
Watch Finding Jesus: Faith Fact Forgery on CNN on Sunday nights at 9 p.m.