Re: Ossuary with the name of Jesus on it

Date: Fri Oct 25 2002 - 18:36:41 EDT

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    Preston Garrison wrote:
    > >This article reports on an ossuary inscription from 63 AD which mentions
    > >Jesus. Not conclusive, but interesting. The URL is long, so copy and
    > >paste into your browser
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >--
    > >--Bill Yates
    > >
    > >--
    > >--Moderator, Christian Writer's Workshop
    > >--Editor,'s Believer's Weekly
    > >--Theron Services: Web Design, Editing, Writing
    > All,
    > The ossuary in question is supposed to be that of "James the son of
    > Joseph, the brother of Jesus." In the newspaper account of this, it
    > was indicated that the Catholic church maintains that "James, the
    > brother of Jesus" means "cousin." Do any of the language experts here
    > know if there is any linguistic basis for this claim, or is it just a
    > doctrinal necessity?

             In general usage the Greek _adelphos_ in the NT means
    "brother" in our sense.
    But in the Septuagint it is used to translate the Hebrew _'ah_ which
    can mean not only
    brother but half-brother, cousin, & brother-in-law. So it isn't
    unreasonable that it
    could have one of these meanings in the NT. It has been suggested,
    e.g., that the
    _adelphoi_ of Jesus were sons of Joseph by a previous marriage.
            A couple of other points in favor of such an interpretation:
            1) It's hard to see why in the 4th Gospel Jesus on the cross
    gives his mother
    into the care of the Beloved Disciple if she had other sons. (This
    assumes that that
    event was historical & not simply a theological statement that the
    church is given into
    the care of believers.)
            2) Belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary developed in
    the 2d century.
    Would this have been likely to happen if it were known that prominent
    leaders in the
    church of the 1st century had been her sons?


    George L. Murphy

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