Login Register

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 1   [ 6 posts ]   
Author Message
 Post subject: The brothers of Jesus. Why not say "relative" instead?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 9:56 am 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:56 pm
Posts: 37
Religion: Catholic
Hi,

Question on the times scripture references the "brothers of Jesus".

Some explain that since in aramaic (like arabic today) there is no word for cousin for example, they simply used brother.
Also, the same word used to describe Jesus' brothers was used in other instances for example between Abraham & Lot (uncle/nephew).

But my question is, if these weren't Jesus' actual brothers, why wouldn't the Gospel writers use the word "relative" or "cousin" instead? This exists in greek doesn't it? And when St Jerome translated it into latin, why didn't he change the term if it was understood that they were not his brothers?

Luke 1:36 tells of the Angel Gabriel speaking to Mary and referring to Elizabeth as a "cousin" or "relative" depending on the Bible.
What is the original greek word used in this verse and why wouldn't this be the word chosen instead of just "brothers"?

The way we could see it is if St Joseph was an older widower that had sons from his previous marriage.
These men would then become step brothers of Christ. But, the old St Joseph hypothesis itself isn't super convincing to me.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks all.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The brothers of Jesus. Why not say "relative" instead?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 5:21 pm 
Offline
Handmaids of the Lord
Handmaids of the Lord
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 11:47 am
Posts: 8467
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: Third Order Lay Carmelite
That St. Joseph was an old man is not convincing to me as well. Most artists depicted him as an older man because they thought it was so. And, so many came to believe it was Gospel.

After doing the "Consecration to St. Joseph - The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father" by Father Donald Calloway, MIC I believe that St. Joseph was a younger man. Father Calloway gives a lot of explanations about that.

It sounds right that the use of the word "cousin" should be used. It takes a lot of explaining to a Protestant who believes Jesus had brothers and sisters, therefore thinking Mary was not ever-virgin.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The brothers of Jesus. Why not say "relative" instead?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 5:42 pm 
Offline
King of Cool
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 1:30 pm
Posts: 76704
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
gmor8802 wrote:
Hi,

Question on the times scripture references the "brothers of Jesus".

Some explain that since in aramaic (like arabic today) there is no word for cousin for example, they simply used brother.
Also, the same word used to describe Jesus' brothers was used in other instances for example between Abraham & Lot (uncle/nephew).

But my question is, if these weren't Jesus' actual brothers, why wouldn't the Gospel writers use the word "relative" or "cousin" instead? This exists in greek doesn't it? And when St Jerome translated it into latin, why didn't he change the term if it was understood that they were not his brothers?

Luke 1:36 tells of the Angel Gabriel speaking to Mary and referring to Elizabeth as a "cousin" or "relative" depending on the Bible.
What is the original greek word used in this verse and why wouldn't this be the word chosen instead of just "brothers"?

The way we could see it is if St Joseph was an older widower that had sons from his previous marriage.
These men would then become step brothers of Christ. But, the old St Joseph hypothesis itself isn't super convincing to me.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks all.


Because they were Jews and that isn't how Jews talked.

But it is important to note that if you pay attention, you will notice that the actual names of the mother of the brothers of Jesus are named in the gospels. The gospels explicitly distinguish several different Mary's, there is Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Mary the wife of Clopas, and, this is the important part 'Mary the mother of James and Alpheus', who are James and Alpheus? They never explain, but the most likely explanation is that these are the 'brothers' of Jesus! The author of the epistle of Jude calls himself brother of James, and it is likely that 'Jude' is a diminutive of Alpheus.

This naming convention goes against Jewish custom, children were always referred to as children of the father, not the mother. So you 'Simon son of Jonah's, and 'the sons of Zebedee', 'Judas, the son of Simon the Iscariot' etc, that this Mary would be called 'the mother of James and Alpheus' is extremely unusual it's inclusion needs to be justified, the most likely justification is that they needed to make clear that they were not sons of the same Mary who is the mother of Jesus.


Last edited by Doom on Tue Oct 26, 2021 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The brothers of Jesus. Why not say "relative" instead?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 10:04 pm 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:56 pm
Posts: 37
Religion: Catholic
Doom wrote:
gmor8802 wrote:
Hi,

Question on the times scripture references the "brothers of Jesus".

Some explain that since in aramaic (like arabic today) there is no word for cousin for example, they simply used brother.
Also, the same word used to describe Jesus' brothers was used in other instances for example between Abraham & Lot (uncle/nephew).

But my question is, if these weren't Jesus' actual brothers, why wouldn't the Gospel writers use the word "relative" or "cousin" instead? This exists in greek doesn't it? And when St Jerome translated it into latin, why didn't he change the term if it was understood that they were not his brothers?

Luke 1:36 tells of the Angel Gabriel speaking to Mary and referring to Elizabeth as a "cousin" or "relative" depending on the Bible.
What is the original greek word used in this verse and why wouldn't this be the word chosen instead of just "brothers"?

The way we could see it is if St Joseph was an older widower that had sons from his previous marriage.
These men would then become step brothers of Christ. But, the old St Joseph hypothesis itself isn't super convincing to me.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks all.


Because they were Jews and that isn't how Jews talked.

But it is important to note that if you pay attention, you will notice that the actual names of the brothers of Jesus are named in the gospels. The gospels explicitly distinguish several different Mary's, there is Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Mary the wife of Clopas, and, this is the important part 'Mary the mother of James and Alpheus', who are James and Alpheus? They never explain, but the most likely explanation is that these are the 'brothers' of Jesus! The author of the epistle of Jude calls himself brother of James, and it is likely that 'Jude' is a diminutive of Alpheus.

This naming convention goes against Jewish custom, children were always referred to as children of the father, not the mother. So you 'Simon son of Jonah's, and 'the sons of Zebedee', 'Judas, the son of Simon the Iscariot' etc, that this Mary would be called 'the mother of James and Alpheus' is extremely unusuak, it's inclusion needs to be justified, the most likely justification is that they needed to make clear that they were not sons of the same Mary who is the mother of Jesus.


Right so my question isn't so much, who are those that are referred to as brothers of Jesus, my question is rather, why was Elizabeth referred to as a 'relative' of Mary but those men were referred to as 'brothers' of Jesus. If there was an issue with word choice in the language at the time, why wasn't Elizabeth called sister?

Why wouldn't the 'brothers' of Jesus be referred to in the same way that Elizabeth was referenced to Mary? As a "relative".

Not questioning the perpetual virginity of Mary, just wondering on the specific wording of these scripture passages.
Elizabeth was referred to as a relative of Mary so obviously, there was some way of communicating that people were related without calling them "brothers" or "sisters" otherwise, the scripture verse in Luke would have noted the Angel Gabriel saying "your sister Elizabeth" rather than "your relative" or "cousin".

Also, while Jesus, Mary, the apostles etc. spoke Aramaic, the Gospel writers wrote in Greek. Later it was translated to Latin.
Words for "relatives" or "cousins" exist in Greek and Latin so why not change "brother" to "relative"?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The brothers of Jesus. Why not say "relative" instead?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2021 10:12 am 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:55 am
Posts: 82947
Location: 1.5532386636 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
Quote:
Words for "relatives" or "cousins" exist in Greek and Latin so why not change "brother" to "relative"?
This is the question that comes up when we look at translations on the paraphrase<->literal continuum. Making that change involves deciding what the translator thinks the term means as opposed to simply conveying what it says and leaving the exegesis to the reader.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The brothers of Jesus. Why not say "relative" instead?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 6:31 pm 
Offline
Adept
Adept
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:25 am
Posts: 5160
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Religion: Christian & Missionary Alliance
It's a poorly prosecuted argument, IMO. The Greek word for brother certainly can refer to extended family members. We have instances of it in the LXX as any good lexicon will demonstrate. With that said, it's silly to think that an analysis of how a word can be used settles how it is actually be used in any given case. I see people of all theological persuasions pull this stunt, and it is maddening. It's always so convenient when it just so happens the theology I hold can be justified by some grammatical or semantic possibility.

So more realistically, Catholics don't (or shouldn't) hold that the adelphoi ("brothers") Matthew talks about are cousins because that's within the word's semantic range. Rather they should just argue it on the grounds of tradition and leave it at that. Doom's response is typical of what is wrong with the argument and shows why it is very poor. Because, in fact, adelphoi, while it can refer to extended family, is not the normal word to refer to extended family (including cousins). When adelphoi is so used, it's usually used rhetorically to emphasize the closeness of the relationship. As such, adelphoi is used metaphorically of cousins to emphasize the familial/fraternal connection. THAT is what Catholics ought to be arguing, that Matthew chose the word not because that's just how they talked (its not) but because the closeness of that connection (either literal or as a foil) is important in the narrative structure.

Against this, the non-Catholic response ought not to be to try to show that adelphoi can't be used that way. It should be to look at the use of the word in the narrative. What is trying to be emphasized, and what does that emphasis say about what adelphoi would most likely refer to? In other words, this should be an exegetical question first and above all -- not read as a chance to disprove Catholicism on some important issue. Matthew didn't write to be an anti-Catholic apologist, and he shouldn't be read as such.

My own assessment is not that the Catholic view is wrong, but that in my highly limited reading of the subject, I've not seen enough to demonstrate that Matthew was using the word in a non-literal way. Since I don't have the tradition to appeal to, the move for me is to take the term in its more natural reading unless demonstrated otherwise. And whatever we say, again, about how the word can be used, the natural reading most certainly is a literal brother.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 1   [ 6 posts ]   


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests


Jump to: