Epiphanius gives evidence that James could't be the carnal brother of Jesus

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 7667
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Epiphanius gives evidence that James could't be the carnal brother of Jesus

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:22 am


But James, the brother of the Lord and son of Joseph, died in Jerusalem, having lived 24 years, more or less, after the Savior's Ascension. He was 96 years old when he was struck on the head by a fuller with his club, flung from the pinnacle of the Temple and cast down...

Haeres, 78, 14

So according to Epiphanius, this James was born in 34 B.C.E.

This date for the his birth makes quasi impossible a carnal parentage with Jesus.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

User avatar
John T
Posts: 1112
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 8:57 am

Re: Epiphanius gives evidence that James could't be the carnal brother of Jesus

Post by John T » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:11 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:22 am

But James, the brother of the Lord and son of Joseph, died in Jerusalem, having lived 24 years, more or less, after the Savior's Ascension. He was 96 years old when he was struck on the head by a fuller with his club, flung from the pinnacle of the Temple and cast down...

Haeres, 78, 14

So according to Epiphanius, this James was born in 34 B.C.E.

This date for the his birth makes quasi impossible a carnal parentage with Jesus.
I can't find it.
Can you provide a link?

Sincerely,
John T
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."...Jonathan Swift

User avatar
GakuseiDon
Posts: 892
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:10 pm

Re: Epiphanius gives evidence that James could't be the carnal brother of Jesus

Post by GakuseiDon » Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:14 am

John T wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:11 am
Giuseppe wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:22 am

But James, the brother of the Lord and son of Joseph, died in Jerusalem, having lived 24 years, more or less, after the Savior's Ascension. He was 96 years old when he was struck on the head by a fuller with his club, flung from the pinnacle of the Temple and cast down...

Haeres, 78, 14

So according to Epiphanius, this James was born in 34 B.C.E.

This date for the his birth makes quasi impossible a carnal parentage with Jesus.
I can't find it.
Can you provide a link?

Sincerely,
John T
Parts of the Panarion of Epiphanius can be read here. I can't find any complete English translation of that part of the work. The author (writing in the Fourth Century CE) states that Joseph married Mary when Joseph was 80 years old, and so never had sexual relations with her. James was his son via an earlier wife, so James was only the step-brother of Jesus, and not a biological brother. This is in response to the heresy by people that Epiphanius calls "Antidicomarians" (Heresy 78 in the work) whom claimed that Mary had sexual relations with Joseph after Jesus was born.
It is really important, in life, to concentrate our minds on our enthusiasms, not on our dislikes. -- Roger Pearse

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 7579
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Epiphanius gives evidence that James could't be the carnal brother of Jesus

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:06 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:22 am

But James, the brother of the Lord and son of Joseph, died in Jerusalem, having lived 24 years, more or less, after the Savior's Ascension. He was 96 years old when he was struck on the head by a fuller with his club, flung from the pinnacle of the Temple and cast down...

Haeres, 78, 14

So according to Epiphanius, this James was born in 34 B.C.E.

This date for the his birth makes quasi impossible a carnal parentage with Jesus.
One can see how the legend of James developed over time. In Hegesippus (according to Eusebius, History of the Church 2.23.17) it was one of the Rechabites who cried out, "Stop! What are you doing? The just one is praying for you!" But here in Epiphanius it is none other than Symeon himself:

Epiphanius, Panarion 78.14.5-6: 5 This James, the Lord’s brother and Joseph’s son, died in Jerusalem, after living for about twenty-four years after the assumption of the Savior. For at the age of ninety-six he was struck on the head with a fuller’s rod, was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple 6 and fell without injury, but knelt in prayer for those who had thrown him down and said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” 49 Meanwhile Simeon, his cousin but the son of Cleopas, stood at a distance and said, “Stop! Why are you stoning the Just? And look, he’s praying for you the best he can!” And this was the martyrdom of James.

Both the specification of chronology (whether possible, probable, or impossible) and the giving of originally nameless roles to already named characters (along with the naming of originally anonymous characters) are par for the course for early Christianity; the earlier stories tend to be more vague and general, the later stories more detailed and specific.

I have a thread dedicated to possible alternate times and places for the crucifixion, and maybe James' old age in this snippet from Epiphanius was originally intended to line up with one of those. Or maybe it is just a stupid mistake. It can be hard to tell what the fathers are getting from tradition and what they are making up on the fly sometimes, especially when they do not attribute the information to anybody.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 7667
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Epiphanius gives evidence that James could't be the carnal brother of Jesus

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:11 am

My point is that if Epiphanius was more historian and less apologist in this point, then the old age of James, if meant as a historical information, is probably evidence against him being carnal brother of Jesus, so requiring other explanations for Gal 1:19.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 7579
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Epiphanius gives evidence that James could't be the carnal brother of Jesus

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:20 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:11 am
My point is that if Epiphanius was more historian and less apologist in this point, then the old age of James, if meant as a historical information, is probably evidence against him being carnal brother of Jesus, so requiring other explanations for Gal 1:19.
Yes, I realize that. And I, too, have played with numerous scenarios in which James is not the physical brother of Jesus. But how are you going to go about validating this late piece of chronological information from Epiphanius? Merely quoting the man means literally zero. I could give you lists of mere quotes from the Christian fathers which are full of misinformation.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 7667
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Epiphanius gives evidence that James could't be the carnal brother of Jesus

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:49 am

Someone says that Epiphanius, being later, wrote from a position of relative security. So he would be more reliable in comparison to, for example, Justin.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

andrewcriddle
Posts: 1826
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Epiphanius gives evidence that James could't be the carnal brother of Jesus

Post by andrewcriddle » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:58 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:49 am
Someone says that Epiphanius, being later, wrote from a position of relative security. So he would be more reliable in comparison to, for example, Justin.
The claims of Epiphanius here, only have value if he had access to earlier written sources about James,
Maybe he did, but we need some evidence.

Andrew Criddle

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 7579
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Epiphanius gives evidence that James could't be the carnal brother of Jesus

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:02 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:49 am
Someone says that Epiphanius, being later, wrote from a position of relative security. So he would be more reliable in comparison to, for example, Justin.
This is true only if the intent is historical. It is false in the case of pious legends, which often (not always) grow in detail and in fantasy over time.

Also, in concordance with what Andrew just posted, in the case of historians (and I will agree that the later historian is often capable of rendering more nuanced and sober judgments than the historian who is writing while still in the thick of things), the historians in question have to be looking at the same primary sources. If not, and the earlier historian has access to more sources than the later, all bets are off for any details contained only in those sources.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 7667
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Epiphanius gives evidence that James could't be the carnal brother of Jesus

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:12 am

My suspicion (but obviously I can't prove it) is that there is a theological reason to make longer the age of James and in the same time make him born as early as 34 BCE. Apparently it is a contradiction: which utility for a so long age when he could witness the Christian truth only from a more short period of the his life (being basically 'wasted' the his first period)?

It is not more a contradiction if only an Apostle had to be the oldest in absolute terms: "the disciple who he loved", identified by Epiphanius probably with John. This John, being the author of Revelation, had to be the Apostle more projected in the future (in theory, until to see the Parousia), and so the apostle with the longer age in comparison to others (who therefore had to die before, differently from him).
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Post Reply