James the Just

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James (Hebrew: יעקב Ya'akov; Greek Ἰάκωβος Iákōbos), first Bishop of Jerusalem, who died in 62 or 69, was an important figure in Early Christianity. He is distinguished from the Apostle James, son of Zebedee by various epithets; he is called James the brother of the Lord by Paul (Galatians 1:19), James the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just by Hegesippus and others, "James the Righteous", "James of Jerusalem", "James Adelphotheos" (Ἰάκωβος ὁ ἀδελφόθεος), and so on.

James became the leader of the Christian movement in Jerusalem in the decades after Jesus' death, but like the rest of the early Christians, information about his life is scarce and ambiguous. Apart from a handful of references in the Gospels, the main sources for his life are the Acts of the Apostles, the Pauline epistles, the historian Josephus, and St. Jerome who also quotes the early Christian chronicler Hegesippus. The Epistle of James in the New Testament is traditionally attributed to him, and he is a principal author of the Apostolic Decree of Acts 15. In the extant lists of Hippolytus of Rome, Dorotheus of Tyre, the Chronicon Paschale, and Dimitry of Rostov, he is the first of the Seventy Apostles, though some sources, such as the Catholic Encyclopedia,] draw the conclusion that "these lists are unfortunately worthless".

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Hegesippus in his fifth book of his Commentaries, writing of James, says "After the apostles, James the brother of the Lord surnamed the Just was made head of the Church at Jerusalem."[4]

As a consequence of the doctrine of perpetual virginity, which does not allow that Mary had children after Jesus, Jerome considered that the term "brother" of the Lord should be read "cousin", and concluded that James "the brother of the Lord," (Gal.1:19) is therefore James, son of Alphaeus, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, as well as James, the son of Mary Cleophas.[5] He is not, however, identified with James the Great. Some Protestant groups claim the Matthew 1:25 statement that Joseph "knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son" to mean that Joseph and Mary did have normal marital relations after Jesus' birth, and that James, Joses, Jude, and Simon were the biological sons of Mary and Joseph; and, thus, Jesus' half-brothers.[1]

See also