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James and the brothers – Davidic representatives in the temple liturgy
A.A.M. van der Hoeven, www.JesusKing.info, February 16, 2009.
1. Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 2
2. Deputations of the people – ‘districts’ and ‘families’............................................................3
3. James ‘the Just’ and ‘Mourner’..............................................................................................4
4. James and the brothers in the New Testament ....................................................................... 8
Hundred and twenty persons – “his brothers” ..................................................................... 8
Almost always in the temple...................................................................................................9
Christian Jews ...................................................................................................................... 10
Simon Peter flees - James and the brethren not in the Cenacle........................................... 12
The brothers not belonging to the churches of Judea or to “the disciples” ........................ 12
The Eleven, Cephas, and James the Just.............................................................................. 13
James, Cephas and John – men from James – the dwelling of David .................................13
Paul went in unto James – we have four men who are under a vow; take these men.......... 14
James, to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion, greeting........................................................ 15
Paul: “other apostles, the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas”............................................ 15
The Kerygma: He appeared to James, then to all the apostles............................................ 16
5. Conclusion............................................................................................................................ 16
Fig. 1 A sketch of the sanctuary of the temple..................................................................................................... 17
Bibliography ......................................................................................................................................................... 18
door A.A.M. van der
DN: cn=A.A.M. van der
James and the brothers – Davidic representatives in the temple liturgy
“James, the Lord’s brother” (Gal 1,19), is mentioned fifteen times in the New Testament. He
was one of the four brothers of Jesus: “James and Joses/Joseph and Simon and Judas” (Matt
13,55/Mark 6,3). The discussion of the question what kind of brother James was to Jesus, e.g.
a full or half brother or a cousin, is beyond the scope of this article, but we may infer that
James was a descendant of king David just as Jesus’ father Joseph (Mt 1,6-16 Lu 3,23-31).
James’ mother was present at Jesus’ cross and empty grave (Matt 27,56 Mark 15,40 16,1
There were also many women there, looking on from afar, who had followed Jesus from
Galilee, ministering to him; among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of
James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. (Matt 27,55-56) (RSV)1
This James, the Lord’s brother, is not the same as either the apostle James, son of Zebedee, or
the apostle James, the son of Alphaeus (Matt 10,1-4, cf. Mark 3,21.31 and John 7,5). Jesus
appeared to James, the Lord’s brother, and to all the apostles (1 Cor 15,7). James was seen by
Paul at Paul’s first post-conversion visit to Jerusalem (Gal 1,19). Simon Peter sent James
notice that he had escaped from Herod’s prison and would leave Jerusalem (Acts 12,17). At
Paul’s second post-conversion visit to Jerusalem James gave Paul the right hand of fellowship
and asked him to keep remembering the poor (Gal 2,9). Later, “men from James” came from
Jerusalem to Antioch, where they disputed about the circumcision for Gentiles2 (Gal 2,12),
but they did this without James’ commission (Acts 15,24). He spoke with authority against
circumcision for Gentiles in the Apostolic Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15,13). While he was in
the temple, he was visited by Paul again, who then had accomplished his Third Missionary
Journey (Acts 21,18) and had come to bring alms and offerings for his nation. He wrote the
epistle of James (Jas 1,1), and is mentioned in the epistle of Jude (Jude 1,1). Jerome described
how James was a disciple of Jesus before Jesus’ death and resurrection (De Viris Illustribus
2). Eusebius wrote about James becoming the bishop of Jerusalem (H.E. 2,1,1-4). James’
death is described by Flavius Josephus (Ant. 20,197-203) and by Eusebius (H.E. 2,23,1-25);
in this account Eusebius listed many characteristics and activities of James in the temple, and
said that he was called James, the Just, and also ‘the son of David’ (if this is a reference to
James and not to Jesus). According to Eusebius James was killed by being thrown down from
the pinnacle of the temple and then being stoned and beaten to death with a club by a fuller.
The modern scholar Chilton, commenting on the sources that speak of James, states that
“A tight association with the temple on James’s part is attested throughout and from an early
period” and that “James is found virtually only there (in the temple) after the resurrection”;
Chilton continued by stating that “the specificity of that location raises the issue of James’
relation (….) to those responsible for the operation of the temple”.3 It is this issue which this
article seeks to answer.
1 All bible citations are taken from the RSV version, unless otherwise indicated.
2 A ‘Gentile’ was anyone who was not a Jew.
3 B. CHILTON, “James, Jesus’ Brother”, in The Face of New Testament Studies, ed. S. MCKNIGHT AND G.R.
OSBORNE, Grand Rapids, 2004, p. 257, 262
The controversial thesis of Eisenman, that James is to be identified with the “righteous
teacher” of the Essene sect of Qumran,4 is not discussed here. According to Chilton perhaps
the most mature and effective response to this thesis is that of Painter.5 James the Lord’s
brother may originally have been an Essene though, and more specifically a member of the
Nazarene branch of the Essenes, as he probably was from Nazareth, just as his and Jesus’
“sisters”, who lived in Nazareth.6 The connection between Nazareth and the pre-Chistian
Jewish Nazarene sect (not the Christian) has been described in my article “The Eleven”.7
2. Deputations of the people – ‘districts’ and ‘families’
In the first century CE Israelites would come to the temple for various reasons, and one of
these reasons was to participate in temple worship alongside the priests. Daily worship in the
temple started with the communal whole-offering of a lamb in the morning and ended with an
identical communal whole-offering of a second lamb in the afternoon. Individual free-will and
obligatory offerings were sacrificed between these two daily communal whole-offerings. And
just as an individual had to stand alongside the priests when his individual offering was
brought, also the representatives of the whole community of Israel had to stand alongside the
priests when the communal offerings were sacrificed. These representatives of the people
were called ‘stationary men’ or (as a group) a ‘deputation’.
The participation of the Israelites in the ritual of the sacrifices was by deputations (dm(m). The
Mishnah states: ‘What are the deputations? In that it is written: ‘Command the children of
Israel and say unto them: my obligation, my food’ how can a man’s offering be offered while
he doesn’t stand by it? Therefore the First Prophets ordained twenty-four courses, and for
every course there was a deputation in Jerusalem made up of priests, Levites and Israelites’ (M.
Taanith 4:2). … The division into deputations was based upon the geographical constitution of
the twenty-four districts; the terms deputation and district were interchangeable in talmudic
literature. The men of the deputations stood beside the priests during their ministration and,
after the completion of the sacrifices, gathered for the daily reading of the Torah and for the
prescribed prayers. Throughout most of their week they fasted. We are unable to determine
how each deputation was composed.8
Each of the twenty-four 'courses' into which not only the priests and Levites, but also all Israel,
by means of representatives, were divided, served for one week, from Sabbath to Sabbath,
distributing the daily service among their respective 'families' or 'houses'”.9 “'representatives of
the people' (or 'stationary men') …(who)… had been prevented from 'going up' to Jerusalem in
their turn, had to meet in the synagogues of their district to pray and to fast each day of their
week of service, except on the sixth, the seventh, and the first.10
There were synagogues and schools in Jerusalem and in the Temple court-yards. During
weekdays and feasts the ritual of the daily whole-offering was linked with the divine service of
4 R.H. EISENMAN, James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the
Dead Sea Scrolls (New York: Viking, 1996)
5 B. CHILTON, “James, Jesus’ Brother” p. 251; J. PAINTER, Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and
Tradition, Columbia, University of South Carolina Press, 1997
6 “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not
his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.” (Mark 6,3)
7 The Eleven (Luke 24,9.33 Acts 2,14) – Jesus appeared risen to the Officers of the Temple Prison, 20-12-
8 S. SAFRAI a.o. eds., The Jewish People, p. 873
9 A. EDERSHEIM, The Temple,, ch. 7, p. 11
10 Ibid. ch. 4, p. 56
the synagogue, with the gathering of the priests for prayer and the recitation of the shema or
with the reading of the Torah by the high priest and the deputations.11
Their (the deputations’) duty was twofold: to represent all Israel in the service of the sanctuary,
and to act as a sort of guide to those who had business in the Temple. Thus, at a certain part of
the service, the head of the course brought up those who had come to make atonement on being
cleansed from any impurity, and ranged them along the ‘Gate of Nicanor’, in readiness for the
ministry of the officiating priests. The ‘men of station’ were dispensed from attendance in the
Temple on all occasions when the ‘Hallel’ was chanted, possibly because the responses of the
people when the hymn was sung showed that they needed no formal representatives.12
For a lawfully composed gathering in a synagogue at least ten men of Israel had to be
present,13 so the number of Israelites constituting the daily deputation in the temple will
certainly not have been less than ten.
The Court of the Israelites, which is the court where the deputation stood to be present at
the communal whole-offerings, was adjacent to the Court of the Priests, where the offerings
were slaughtered and put on the fire on the altar by the priests. Only Jewish men were allowed
to enter the Court of the Israelites. The Jewish women were allowed to enter the third of the
three inner courts of the temple: the Court of the Women. Gentiles could only visit the outer
court: the Court of the Gentiles (see fig.1).
3. James ‘the Just’ and ‘Mourner’
Eusebius in his description of James14 quotes Flavius Josephus and also quotes Hegesippus’
account on James’ death in 62 CE. In this account James gives an authoritative speech (on
Jesus) to the multitude in the temple at the request of the Jews and scribes and Pharisees,
which indicates that he may have had an office or prominent position in the temple.
In Hegessipus’ account James’ characteristics are abundantly represented.15 Most of them,
cited and listed in table 1, have an analogy in the description and activities of the deputations
of the Israelites in the temple (see table 1).
James, the Just
(citations from Eusebius H.E. 2,23,1-25) Head of deputations
(according to Edersheim, Safrai and
A Because of his exceeding great justice he was called the Just
the most just of men; called the Just by all; thou art just; his justice
The stationary men had to be ‘just’ men.16
B called the Just and ‘oblias’ (= Mourner)
piety which he exhibited in his life
was frequently found upon his knees begging forgiveness for the
upon his knees .. constantly bending them in his worship of God,
and asking forgiveness for the people
The stationary man probably had to mourn
the sins of the people17 and said the
prescribed prayers in the temple; those
who had been unable to go up to Jerusalem
said the prayers in their synagogue.
11 S. SAFRAI a.o. eds., The Jewish People, p. 904-05
12 A. EDERSHEIM, The Temple, ch. 10, p. 154
13 D. ROPS, Het dagelijks leven p. 450.
14 Eus., H.E. 2,23,14-17; Epiph., Haer 78,14
15 Eus., H.E. 1,12,4 2,1,2-4 2,23,1-25 see www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.vi.xii.html and
www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.vii.ii.html and www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.vii.xxiv.html
16 H.G. KOEKKOEK, De Geheimen Van De Offers, Alphen a/d Rijn, Stichting Het Licht des Levens, 1986, p.
17 Ibid p. 82
C esteemed by all; called the Just by all from the time of our Saviour to
the present day; begging forgiveness for the people; asking
forgiveness for the people; danger that the whole people would be
looking for Jesus (because of James); restrain the people; we all have
confidence in thee; for the whole people, and all of us also, have
confidence in thee; persuade all; we bear thee witness, as do all the
people, that thou art just; persuade the multitude … that thy words
may be readily heard by all the people. For all the tribes, with the
Gentiles also, are come; so admirable a man and so celebrated among
all for his justice
representative of the whole people (= all
the tribes) of Israel
D he alone was permitted to enter into the holy place
he was in the habit of entering alone into the temple, and was
frequently found upon his knees
many …gloried in the testimony of James, and said, `Hosanna to the
Son of David,';the brother of the Lord (Davidic) … a brother of Jesus
(just as the king (the prince of the house of
David) was the only one allowed to sit
down in the Court of the Priests)18
E for he wore not woollen but linen garments
(just as king David wore a linen garment
before the Lord in the temple)19;
all garments of temple personnel had to be
linen (Ex 28,42)
F in the habit of entering alone into the temple
was frequently found upon his knees
The head of the ministering course of
priests was present in the temple during
the whole week of its service, day and
night;20 this may have been the same for
the head of the ministering representatives.
G he alone was permitted to enter into the holy place
in the habit of entering alone into the temple,
and was frequently found upon his knees
(It seems he entered the Holy Place alone,
e.g. by the small wicket gate through
which the man entered that had to open the
great doors of the Holy Place from within.)
H Leading him into their midst …
he spoke out before the whole multitude and confessed
as many as believed did so on account of James
danger that the whole people would be looking for Jesus
(restrain the people; persuade all that have come to the feast; persuade
the multitude; declare to us, what is the gate of Jesus
many were fully convinced and gloried in the testimony of James)
In the synagogues and schools in the
temple, the daily whole offering was
linked with the reading of the Torah; the
high priest and deputations read the Torah
to the multitude in these temple
synagogues and schools.21
I the excellence of ascetic virtue
a) he was holy from his mother’s womb; and he drank no wine nor
strong drink, nor did he eat flesh. b) No razor came upon his head; he
did not anoint himself with oil, and he did not use the bath.
a) the deputations fasted throughout most
of their week of service22
b) these are all practices of mourners; the
stationary men probably had to mourn the
sins of the people23
J many even of the rulers believed (before Jesus’ death) e.g. the rulers of the 24 deputations?
Table 1 Similarities between James’ and a representative’s activities.
18 “none other than a prince of the house of David might sit down within the sacred enclosure of the Priests'
Court” (EDERSHEIM, The Temple, ch. 2, p. 30). cf. Ez 44,3: “It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat
bread before the LORD” and Psalm 2,6-7: “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my
Son; this day have I begotten thee” and Ps 110,1-3: “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand,
until I make thine enemies thy footstool”. Psalm 110,1-3 is “addressed to the king on the day of his inauguration
‘at the right hand’ of God beside the Arch of the Covenant in the temple of Jerusalem. The remembrance of the
divine ‘begetting’ was part of the official crowning protocol. Thus the king became God’s deputy in defending
justice” (translation of ‘Word of the Pope’ in Katholiek Nieuwsblad 27-8-’04, ‘s-Hertogenbosch 2004. p. 7).
19 2 Sam 6,14 1 Chron 15,27; the garment of priests and levites was made of linen (Ex 29,27 2 Chron 5,12);
“and the sons of David were priests (‘cohen’)” 2 Sam 8,18 (RSV)
20 EDERSHEIM, The Temple ch. 7, p. 112 and ch. 2, p. 28
21 S. SAFRAI a.o. eds., The Jewish People, p. 904-05
22 S. SAFRAI a.o. eds., The Jewish People, p. 873
23 Ibid p. 82
Ad A and B: The communal daily morning and evening offerings were offered for the
(unknown) sins of the whole people, and, according to Koekkoek, every time a number of just
men had to be present at these offerings, to represent the people. He also indicates that
“Simeon” who held the baby Jesus in his arms in the temple, and who is called “just” (Luke
2,25), may have been present in the temple as a representative.24 And, also according to
Koekkoek, when an individual sinner brought his offering to the temple, he had to confess his
sins to the priest with grief.25 So, it may be inferred that likewise the representatives of the
people mourned the sins of the people. Thus, the titles given to James by all, namely the ‘Just’
and ‘Oblias’’ (= ‘Mourner’)’ – the same name is given to James by Eusebius, Epiphanius,
Dionysius the Areopagite, and others –, and his activity mentioned twice by Eusebius –
“begging forgiveness for the people” –, exactly correspond to the activities of representatives
of the people.26 James’ title ‘oblias’ can be translated with ‘Mourner’, since
the title ‘oblias’ is easily related to the Aramaic term ’abēl, which means “to mourn” and the
use of the term is attested in the recent finds in the vicinity of the Dead Sea.27
That James’ other practices also largely correspond to the practices of a mourner is discussed
below (ad I). Hegesippus in his comment said ‘oblias’ meant ‘periochē tou laou’ (perioxh
tou laou)28, which when literally translated is ‘encompassing of the people’ or ‘portion of
the people’. This could be interpreted as ‘representative of the whole people’ or ‘deputed
portion of the people’.
Ad C: James was clearly associated with the whole people of Israel, and not only with the
people that belonged to the lineage of David. This supports the assumption that James was (or
was considered as) the head or supervisor of all the twenty-four deputations of the whole
people of Israel, instead of being the head of only the representatives of the Davidic family of
the district of Jerusalem, the “city of David”29 (see below chapter 4. James and the brothers in
the New Testament). This assumption is also supported by his constant presence in the
temple, where a single deputation only mininstered for a week (see ad F and chapter 4, Almost
always in the temple). In a way he resembled a king (during the Roman occupation the Jews
had no king), and maybe for this reason he was called ‘Son of David’ (the regal title) by the
multitude in the temple – if with this title they addressed James and not Jesus –, and was he
alone allowed to enter the Holy Place, as only the priests and the king could (Eze 44,3 Ps
110,1-3), and could he wear the priestly linen, as the king could (2Sam 6,14 8,18 1Chr 15,27)
(see table 1, D and E).
Ad D: Maybe it was James who was called “Son of David” in Hegesippus’ account.
Ad F: The temple precincts on the temple mount were closed by night and the gates were
guarded by temple guards. But the ‘temple’, of which Eusebius says that James entered it
alone frequently, may also be the sanctuary of the temple: the three inner courts, enclosed by
a wall. The gates of these inner courts, too, were closed at night and guarded. James, now,
may have slept somewhere in the temple precincts, outside the inner courts, as the ministering
priests did,30 and may have entered ‘the temple’, interpreted as the inner courts, frequently
24 H.G. KOEKKOEK, De Geheimen Van De Offers, p.128
25 Ibid p. 82
26 Eus., H.E. 2,23,6-7 and its note 262 of the ‘Great Books and Classics’-site on www.grtbooks.com
27 B. CHILTON, “James, Jesus’ Brother”, p. 257
28 Eus., H.E. 2,23,7 and its note 495 on http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.vii.xxiv.html
29 2Chron 5,2
30 S. SAFRAI a.o. eds., The Jewish People, p. 870. They may have slept in rooms built on the ‘chel’, the broad
terrace or platform surrounding the three inner courts (cf. A. EDERSHEIM,The Temple, ch. 7, p. 112 and ch. 2, p.
28) (see fig. 1).
alone at night, as someone well known to and trusted by the guards and their superiors. His
entering “frequently” indicates that he was there more often than the duty of his Davidic
deputation required, which was only about twice a year, as there were 24 deputations and 52
weeks. That he may have been present in the temple nearly always, day and night, is
suggested in Acts 21,17-18 and will be discussed below in chapter 4.
Ad G: When the morning sacrifice was bound to begin the temple gates were opened,
which was ordered by the elders of the priests who carried the keys. Then the priests with
three blasts on their silver trumpets summoned the Levites and the representatives of the
people to their duties. Immediately upon this the great gates which led into the Holy Place
itself were opened to admit the two priests who were to cleanse the candlestick and the altar
of incense;31 “Two-leaved doors, * (…) formed the entrance into the Holy Place. (* There was
also a small wicket gate by which he entered who opened the large doors from within)”.32
Was this person who entered through the wicket gate James the Just, who had entered the
Court of the Israelites – either alone, as was his habit, or with the other representatives –, and
who alone was permitted to enter into the Holy Place? It was not opened by one of the priests
who had to cleanse the candlestick and the altar of incense, for the big doors were opened to
admit them. The fact that James the Just was frequently “found” on his knees, means that the
place where he sat could not be seen from outside: this was the case in the Holy Place. So, it
is possible that James was found in the Holy Place by the two priests for the cleansing of the
candlestick and incense altar and, later, by the priest who was to burn the incense. These three
priests also kneeled down in the Holy Place before leaving it.33
Ad H: Even before James was asked to speak from the pinnacle of the temple, many
already believed in Jesus as the Christ on account of an earlier speech of James, who had
already spoken to a multitude in the midst of the Jews. The place where he had done this may
have been the synagogue of the temple, where every Jew could speak to the audience if he
wished, and where the high priest and the representatives of the people gathered for the daily
reading of the Torah to the people.
Ad I: In Eusebius’ citation of Hegesippus, James is pictured as a Nazarite,34 as he drank no
wine or strong drink and no razor came upon his head. In James’ case we have no reference to
the third vow of a Nazarite: to have no contact with a corpse, even if it was a close relative.
But if James was in the temple always, day and night, this would preclude the possibility of
having contact with a corpse. Also his being holy from his mother’s womb is something that
could be interpreted as pertaining to a Nazarite vow for life made by the Nazarite’s parents.35
So, if Hegessipus was right, James may have been a Nazarite. But a Nazarite did not make his
vow to ask forgiveness for the people, but to ask for, or thank for, a special (personal) grace.36
So, perhaps James wasn’t a Nazarite after all.
What we also hear from Hegesippus is that James not only abstained from wine and strong
drink, but also didn’t eat flesh. And as he also excelled in ascetic virtue, this may mean that he
fasted on the days that a representative (and a priest)37 had to fast, and ate a sober meal on the
days when a representative (and a priest) was allowed to eat. And as the priests on duty were
31 A. EDERSHEIM, The Temple ch. 8, p. 123
32 Ibid ch. 2, p. 33
33 H.G. KOEKKOEK, De Geheimen Van De Offers,p. 175-77; James probably could not have been “found”
upon his knees in the Court of the Israelites, if he had entered it alone, before the ministering priests and Levites
did, for then he would already have been visible to the priests and Levites who guarded the inner courts.
34 B. CHILTON, “James, Jesus’ Brother”, p. 256-257.
35 cf. Samuel 1,11
36 D. ROPS, Het dagelijks leven p. 474
37 A. EDERSHEIM, The Temple ch. 4, p. 62 (see paragraph 3.1. of my article Paul’s Cephas is Caiphas –
Author of 1Peter and Hebrews, www.JesusKing.info)
not allowed to drink wine or strong drink, either by day or by night during their week of
ministry,38 this probably was the rule for representatives on duty as well. James’ other
practices – not anointing himself, not using the bath, and not shaving (no razor came upon his
head), and wearing linen garments, largely correspond to the practice of a mourner: not to
anoint the body, not to take a bath, not to shave, not to wear sandals, not to cohabit, and to
wear the ‘saq’ (the ‘saq’ was a rough, linen or goat’s hair, garment, signifying penitence).39
So, all of James’ practices comply with those of a penitent, mourning the sins of the whole
people that he represented in the temple.
All the characteristics listed in table 1 indicate that James probably was the most
prominent and authoritative representative of the people in the temple liturgy. This picture
complies with the descriptions concerning James in the New Testament, from which we can
infer that he had many (Davidic) brothers and was almost always in the temple, day and night.
4. James and the brothers in the New Testament
James, “the brother of the Lord” (Gal 1,19), is often mentioned in the New Testament in the
context of, or in connection with, some “brothers”: in the first place he was connected with
Jesus’ “brothers” in the Cenacle40 (“his brothers” Acts 1,14-15), since James himself was a
“brother of the Lord”; subsequently, he is mentioned in the context of “the brothers” (Acts
9,22-30) who brought Paul safely to Caesarea after his visit to Cephas and James (Gal 1,18-
19); then Simon Peter, before he fled from Jerusalem, said that “James and the brethren”
(Acts 12,17) had to be told of his escape and departure; and finally he is related to “the
brothers of the Lord” (1 Cor 9,5) who were accompanied by a wife.
Hundred and twenty persons – “his brothers”
All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and
Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers (adelfoij = ‘adelphois’). In those days
Peter stood up among the brethren (adelfwn = ‘adelphōn’) (the company of persons was
in all about a hundred and twenty), and said, (Acts 1,14-15 NA27)
The term “his brothers”, referring to Jesus, probably didn’t designate Jesus’ disciples here, for
“his brothers” are mentioned after “the mother of Jesus”, which indicates that they may have
been Jesus’ near relatives, like his mother, or else his more remote relatives in the sense of
fellow Davidic men, or else both kind of relatives. Jesus’ disciples in Acts are also called
“brothers” by each other, e.g. in Acts 11,1-3, but they were brothers in the faith, and brothers
to each other, but not brothers of Jesus.41 So, the “brothers” of Jesus in the Cenacle may have
been the Davidic ‘family’ or ‘house’ of the representatives of the district Jerusalem. These
Davidic “brothers” were in some way related to each other and to James the Just, who was
also a Davidic because he was a brother of Jesus, who was of Davidic descent.42
38 A. EDERSHEIM, The Temple ch. 4, p. 62
39 B. CHILTON, “James, Jesus’ Brother”, p 257; D. ROPS, Het dagelijks leven p. 262, 404 (D. Rops attests that
the ‘saq’ was made of linen, but others, such as Faussett’s and Eastons’s bible dictionaries, say that it was made
of goat’s hair); cf. Matt 11,21 Luke 10,13
40 Cenacle = room of the Last Supper of Jesus in the Upper City of Jerusalem
41 In John 20,17-18, when Jesus tells Mary Magdalena to go to his “brothers”, she goes to his disciples, which
included the Galilean apostles. But here in Acts the apostles are not included, for they were already mentioned
before the women and Jesus’ mother, so it is less likely that Jesus “brothers” designated his disciples here.
42 Matt 1,1-16 / Luke 3,23-31; Matt 13,55 Mark 6,3; What kind of “brother” James was to Jesus is not the
That the “brothers” who were present in the Cenacle after the ascension of Jesus most
probably were the Davidic representatives of Jerusalem indeed and not Jesus’ full or half
brothers or cousins, is shown by the fact that here the twelve Galilean apostles, the women,
the mother of Jesus, and “his brothers”, were a group of hundred and twenty persons.43 And
Jesus’ brothers were present as a majority, for when Peter stood up the original text says it
was “in the midst of the brethren”.44 So, the brothers were outnumbering the Galilean apostles
and the women. For instance, if the Galileans with the women were about forty persons, about
eighty “brothers” must have been present. This number, or even a number of seventy
“brothers” of Jesus, seems too high for only his near relatives. But it seems a reasonable
number for the representatives of the ‘family’ of David of the district Jerusalem, as on a
normal day in the temple about fifty priests were officiating before the stationary men.45
Almost always in the temple
James had free access to the temple (see table 1 F) and so he may have stayed in the temple
precincts almost every day and night. In that case he probably was daily present with the
deputation and family on service on that day. Luke writes about his own and Paul’s arrival in
Jerusalem in about 58 CE after Paul’s Third Missionary Journey:
When we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. On the following day Paul
went in with us to James; and all the elders were present. (Acts 21,17-18)
The “brethren” (= brothers) here might be mainly the representatives of the family of David,
of whom some, already after Paul’s first visit to Cephas and James, had probably brought him
safely to Caesarea: “when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea” (See
below in chapter 4. The brothers not belonging to the churches of Judea or to “the
disciples”).46 Then the text says that Paul “went in” to James. The manuscripts of this verse
use the Greek verb ‘eiseimi’ (‘eiseimi’)47 for “went in”, which indeed means: ‘to go in, enter’,
but is used only four times in the New Testament: three times in Acts and once in the epistle
to the Hebrews.48 In these four cases it is used solely for the entering of the temple. After the
verses cited above the verb appears again six verses further: “Paul … the next day purifying
himself with them entered (‘eishei’ – of ‘eiseimi’–) into the temple” (AV).49 The third case is
about the lame man who, when he saw “Peter and John about to go into the temple” asked for
alms, and the fourth time it is about the priests who “went always into the first tabernacle,
accomplishing the service of God” (AV).50 As the lame man sat at the Beautiful Gate which
opened on the inner Court of the Women51, and as the priests entered the “first tabernacle”,
which in Herod’s temple were the inner courts, the conclusion is that Paul will also have
visited James in one of the inner courts of the temple. This will most probably have been the
Court of the Israelites (also called the Court of the Men), where the deputation of the Israelites
43 Acts 1,13-15
44 Some manuscripts, among which the codex Bezae (D), have “in the midst of the disciples”, and one even
“in the midst of the apostles”, but the text in NA27 is “in the midst of the brothers (‘tōn adelphōn’)” (NA27)
45 A. EDERSHEIM, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Peabody, Mass., Hendrickson, 1993, Book II,
chapter 3, and note 626
46 Gal 1,18 Acts 9,20-31; See below in chapter 4. The brothers not belonging to the churches of Judea.
48 Acts 3,3 21,18 21,26 Heb 9,6 (Strongs 1524); The other verb for ‘to enter’ (‘eiserxomai’ Strongs 1525) is
used 198 times in the N.T.
49 Acts 21,26 NA27
50 Acts 3,3 Heb 9,6 NA27
51 Acts 3,2; see fig. 1.
– the stationary men – had to be present to witness the communal sacrifices. James’ presence
in the inner courts of the temple indicates that he indeed may have been in the temple every
day as the head of all the deputations, just as the head of the ministering course of priests was
there every day and night.52
Another indication is that Luke writes that Paul and he arrived in Jerusalem as a “we”, but he
then immediately writes that Paul went in into James “with us”, i.e. with Luke and the
brothers. This means that the brothers already were going to James, and that Paul only
accompanied the brothers, which would be a natural thing to do for James’ Davidic brothers
of his deputation. It also means that Luke belonged more to the brothers than to Paul, which
would also be natural if Luke had been a temple physician53 and the brothers were the
temple’s stationary men. And Luke’s next verse reveales that the brothers weren’t elders, for
all the elders were already present when the brothers arrived.
A next indication is inferred from the facts that the deputations ministered for just one week,
and that “the brethren” (of James) weren’t in the temple when Paul arrived in Jerusalem –
they probably were at home. So, when James was in the temple, he was not there as
representative of his own Davidic family – for then the rest of the Davidic brothers would
have been there as well –, but probably because he was at least the head of the Jerusalem
deputation and possibly also the head of all the deputations of the land.
A fourth indication is that James apparently stayed there also at night, for Paul, in order to see
James, could not visit him at night – so James was not at home –, but had to go from the
homes of the brothers to the temple the following day: the temple-complex was closed from
the evening to the morning, and also the head of the ministering course of the priest slept
inside the temple-complex.54 The possibility for someone who was not a priest or Levite, to
spend the night in the temple is shown in the example of the prophetess Anna, who “did not
depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.”55
That James may have left the temple on certain occasions is indicated by Jerome’s remark
that James had drunk the Lord’s cup before Jesus’ death;56 this must have taken place in the
Cenacle at the feast of Passover, for this was the only time Jesus had offered “the Lord’s cup”
before his death. James’ absence from the temple on this occasion is explained by the fact that
the deputations were off duty on the occasions when the ‘Hallel’ was sung in the temple,
which was the case at the feast of Passover.57
As already stated, James the Just and his fellow Davidic representatives of the people of
Jerusalem may have been called “his brothers” referring to Jesus, and “James and the
brothers”, and “the brothers of the Lord”.58 These fellow representatives, who were of the
family of David and thus more or less akin to James, may have been disciples of Jesus before
his death, just as their leader James. For Jerome wrote that James drank the Lord’s cup before
52 EDERSHEIM, The Temple, ch. 7, p. 112 and ch. 2, p. 28.
53 See my article The Eleven (Luke 24,9.33 Acts 2,14) – Jesus appeared risen to the Officers of the Temple
Prison, 20-12-2008, www.JesusKing.info, p. 4.
54 EDERSHEIM, The Temple, ch. 7, p. 112 and ch. 2, p. 28. The heads of the ministering course and families
slept on the Chel, in the Beth-ha-Moked, just outside the inner courts (see fig. 1).
55 Luke 2,36-37; some commentaries hold that this meant that she only attended all the morning and evening
communal sacriftices (e.g. Barnes, Gill, and Peoples N.T. notes), but other commentaries (e.g. the commentary
of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown) hold that she had been assigned a chamber in the temple, and thus could stay in
the temple also at night.
56 Jerome, De viris illustribus 2
57 EDERSHEIM, The Temple, ch. 11, p. 175-176
58 Acts 1,14-15; Acts 12,17; 1Cor 9,5 (all NIV)
Jesus’ death.59 But if they weren’t disciples of Jesus yet before his resurrection, then at least
after Jesus’ appearance to James, mentioned in 1Cor 15,3-7, James will have been able to
convince his fellow Davidic representatives that Jesus really was the Christ60. This would
explain why these “brothers” of Jesus suddenly showed up in the Cenacle (Acts 1,14) after
Jesus’ ascension. These Davidic brothers were already a distinct group at this moment and
stayed a distinct group of Christian Jews – “the brethren of the Lord” are still mentioned in
the polarisation concerning Cephas, Apollos and Paul in 1Cor 9,5 in about 52-54 CE –, yet
without being apostles. When James became the bishop of Jerusalem in 44 CE,61 many
disciples had already been added to the Jerusalem church, as various texts in the Acts assert,62
and some of these, called “certain men from James”, were in favour of the keeping of the
Jewish law – which included besides the circumcision also the maintaining of the temple
liturgy –, not only by Christian Jews but also by Christians from the Gentiles.63 When these
men started to judaize64 the new Christians from the Gentiles, although James had given these
men “no such commandment” (AV),65 a conflict arose in Antioch, which was settled by
Simon Peter and James the Just and the whole Apostolic Council in Jerusalem in 48/49 CE
with a decree: the Gentiles converted to Christ (= “turned to God” (AV)) were to keep only
four of the seven so-called commandments of Noah: “abstain from what has been sacrificed to
idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity”.66
59 Jerome wrote:
“Also the Gospel according to the Hebrews, lately translated by me into Greek and Latin speech, which
Origen often uses, tells, after the resurrection of the Saviour: 'Now the Lord, when he had given the
linen cloth unto the servant of the priest, went unto James and appeared to him (for James had sworn
that he would not eat bread from that hour wherein he had drunk the Lord's cup until he should see him
risen again from among them that sleep)', and again after a little, 'Bring ye, saith the Lord, a table and
bread', and immediately it is added, 'He took bread and blessed and brake and gave it unto James the
Just and said unto him: My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of Man is risen from among them that
sleep'.” (De viris illustribus 2).
Jesus’ (other) brothers from Galilee (“James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas” Matt 13,55 27,56 Mark 6,3
15,40.47), were sceptical regarding Jesus’ mission or even unbelieving (John 7,3-5). Nevertheless, after Jesus
had gone “up unto the feast” and “taught” in the temple, as his brothers had advised Him to do (John 7,10.14), at
least James will have become a disciple of Jesus if it is true that James “had drunk the Lord’s cup”. The mother
of Jesus’ brothers had become a disciple, for she was present at the foot of the cross (Matt 27,56 Mark 6,3 15,40
16,1 Luke 24,10). And as she is called “Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses” (Mark 15,40 cf. 15,47
Matt 27,56), this suggests that also her sons James and Joses had already become disciples before Jesus’ death.
When Jesus Himself told Mary Magdalena to report his resurrection to “my brethren”, Mary went to “the
disciples” (John 20,17-18). This means that Jesus and Mary Magdalena regarded the following men as Jesus’
brothers and disciples: the apostles of Galilee and also the disciples among the ‘brethren of the Lord’ (the
Davidic representatives) and maybe Joses; after the message of the resurrection and appearances all the Davidic
stationary men may have become disciples in imitation of their head James. If Mary Magdalene was one of the
unnamed disciples in the boat on the lake of Galilee (John 21,2), she can have reported Jesus’ resurrection also to
any brothers still in Galilee (Simon and Judas).
60 The “Christ” (Greek for ‘anointed one’) was the biblical title for the everlasting universal righteous king
promised to the Jews in Scripture (e.g. Ps 2,2 20,6 45,7 Lu 1,32-33 2,11).
61 Eus., H.E. 2,1,1-4
62 Acts 2,41(three thousand souls) 4,4 (men … about five thousand) 5,14 (multitudes of both men and
women) 6,1 (disciples … multiplied) 6,7 (disciples multiplied … a great company of the priests) 9,31 (churches
… throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria…were multiplied).
63 “certain men from James” Gal 2,12; circumcision and the law: Acts 15,24
64 to try to impell Gentiles who had become Christians to start observing the Jewish religious law (the so-
called Law of Moses).
65 Acts 15,24
66 “Antioch …no small dissension and disputation” Acts 14,26-15,2 Gal 2,11-14; Acts 15,19-29;
commandments of Noah: Gen 9,8-9.16, Talmud Sanh.56a, Mishnah Torah, Law of Kings 8:10
When Paul came to Jerusalem in about 58 CE, James and the elders could tell him about
the Christian Jews: “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those
who have believed; they are all zealous for the law”, and they asked Paul to purify himself
and pay for offerings in the temple publicly, in order to show that he had remained Jewish and
therefore didn’t teach the Jews living among the Gentiles to forsake their own Jewish law.67
In 62 CE James the Just was asked by the Jews and scribes and Pharisees to declare unto the
people in the temple what was ‘the gate of Jesus’. By saying that Jesus “is about to come upon
the clouds of heaven” James possibly declared ‘the gate of Jesus’ to be the Eastern Gate of the
temple (the Golden Gate), by which God himself would enter the temple one day68: Jesus
would come down from heaven and not have forgotten the First Covenant with the Jews and
its temple. But the separation of the Christian community from the Jewish seems to have
started after the murder of James in 62 CE in the temple. After the destruction of the temple in
70 CE by the Romans, this common place of worship and meeting place of ordinary Jews and
Christian Jews was gone and the separation of Christians and Jews deepened. It seems to have
become definitive with the official condemnation of the Christian faith and the expulsion of
the Christians from the synagogue by the Jewish council at Jamnia in 80 CE at the latest.69
Below follows a chronological description of some events in Jerusalem related to James
and the brothers, mainly from the Acts but also from some of the epistles.
Simon Peter flees - James and the brethren not in the Cenacle
After Simon Peter’s escape from Herod’s prison in Jerusalem, when his guards didn’t know
anything yet, Simon, when this had become clear to him, went to the house of John Mark,
where many were in prayer, and which probably was the house of the Cenacle in the Upper
City of Jerusalem.70 Peter wants his escape to be reported also to “James and to the
brethren”,71 who apparently were not in the house, probably because they were, as usual, in
the temple and/or in their homes elsewhere in the city. Then Peter leaves for another place.
The brothers not belonging to the churches of Judea or to “the disciples”
Paul, during his first post-conversion visit to Jerusalem, when he saw Cephas and James,
remained “not known by sight to the churches of Christ in Judea”,72 but still was safely
brought from Jerusalem to Caesarea by “the brothers”, when his life was threatened by the
Hellenists.73 So, these “brothers” could not have been Judean or Galilean disciples of the
churches of Judea, for Paul remained unknown to them, nor the Galilean apostles themselves,
for Paul swears he didn’t see them (Gal 1,18-20), so they probably were Davidic
representatives of the Jerusalem deputation, related to James, the Lord’s brother, the only
Galilean apostle whom Paul saw and who had seen that Paul wasn’t dangerous to Christians
67 Acts 21,18.21.26 22,17
68 Eus., H.E. 2,23,12-13; Eze 43,4 44,1-3
69 C.P. THIEDE, Jesus, Life or Legend?, (Oxford 1997) p. 78
70 Acts 12,11-12; Simon Peter understood that at this moment he was still able to go to his own place of
abode, because he wasn’t searched for by Herod’s soldiers yet. If he wanted to show himself to the people in this
house as a free man, he would have to do it now, for as soon as his escape would be discovered, he would be
searched for here immediately. That the damsel that kept the door recognizes his voice, also indicates that he was
a well known person there (the discussion of the place of the Cenacle and who were its owners is in my article
John Mark – Author of the Gospel of John with Jesus’ mother, www.JesusKing.info, 04-11-2008).
71 Acts 12,17
72 Gal 1,22
73 Acts 9,26-30
anymore. It is not probable that “the brothers” were ordinary Jerusalem Christians, for at that
moment “the disciples … were all afraid of him” and Paul failed “to join” them.74
The Eleven, Cephas, and James the Just
The thesis that James was the head of the representatives of the people in the temple is not
necessary to support the thesis that Paul, except James, only saw the high priest
Cephas/Caiphas and the apostles of the temple prison on his first post-conversion visit to
Jerusalem (Gal 1,18-19).75 James’ tight association with the temple already supports this
thesis. But James’ being a representative of the people implies that James was also in the
company of the high priest daily, since the high priest and the deputation read from the Torah
in the temple on a daily basis.76 So, taking this fact into account, it is even more logical that
Paul during his visit to Jerusalem did see the Eleven, Caiphas, and James the Just, but none of
the rest of the Galilean apostles.
James, Cephas and John – men from James – the dwelling of David
After the flight of Simon Peter out of Jerusalem, and when James, the Lord’s brother, had
become the head of the Jerusalem church, both in 44 CE,77 Paul visits Jerusalem for the
second time after his conversion, and then “James, Cephas and John” give him and Barnabas
the “right hand of fellowship; that we (Paul and Barnabas) should go to the Gentiles, and they
(James, Cephas and John) to the circumcised”.78
Nevertheless, not long after this agreement “certain (men) from James … them which were of
the circumcision” (Gal 2,12 AV) – “certain men which came down from Judaea” (Acts 15,1
AV) – would become Paul’s judaizing rivals in Antioch, teaching the Christians from the
Gentiles to “be circumcised” although James had given these men “no such commandments”
(Acts 15,24 AV).79 These men will have belonged to the “circumcision party” (Acts 11,1-3)
probably consisting of “certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed” in Jerusalem (Acts
15,5 AV) and possibly also of certain Davidic representatives of Jerusalem. After all, the
Davidic men of the Jerusalem deputation, just as the other representatives of the people, had
an interest in the flourishing of the temple service, as they were respected as partakers of it
and were possibly exempted from all taxation (and perhaps from military service) because of
this office, just as the priests and Levites and nethinim;80 and the circumcision for the Gentiles
meant the imperative to obey the whole Jewish law, including supporting the temple service.
The matter is brought before “the apostles and elders” (= the Apostolic Council) in
Jerusalem by Paul and Barnabas (this is Paul’s third journey to Jerusalem)81 and there it is
settled by “Simeon” (= “Peter”) and “James” and “the apostles and elders, with the whole
74 Acts 9,26
75 See my articles The Eleven (Luke 24,9.33 Acts 2,14) – Jesus appeared risen to the Officers of the Temple
Prison, www.JesusKing.info, 20-12-2008, and Paul’s Cephas is Caiphas – Author of 1Peter and Hebrews,
76 S. SAFRAI, a.o. eds., The Jewish People, p. 873 and 904-05
77 Eus., H.E., 2,1,2; This was the year in which king Herod Agrippa I died (Strongs 2264), as described in
Acts 12,20-23, immediately after Peter’s escape and flight in Acts 12,1-19.
78 Gal 2,9; The simultaneousness of the events in Gal 2,1-10 and Acts 11,29-30 12,25 and of those in Gal
2,11-14 and Acts 15,1-2 has been explained in chapter 4 of my article Paul’s Cephas is Caiphas – Author of
1Peter and Hebrews, www.JesusKing.info, 04-01-2009.
79 This chronology has been discussed in paragraph 4. of my article Paul’s Cephas is Caiphas – Author of
1Peter and Hebrews, www.JesusKing.info, 04-01-2009.
80 Acts 15,5 (Ezra 7,24 and EDERSHEIM, The Temple ch. 4, p. 60-61).
81 This chronology has been discussed in my article Paul’s Cephas is Caiphas – Author of 1Peter and
Hebrews, www.JesusKing.info, 4-1-2009, chapter 4. The chronology
church”:82 the Christians from the Gentiles needn’t observe the Jewish law. This took place in
the year 48-49 CE.83 James, on this occasion, speaks of Amos’ prophecy that God, also for the
sake of the Gentiles, would “rebuild the dwelling of David”,84 in which James will have had a
main interest as the head of the Davidic representatives of the people, and which would be an
eloquent argument for his fellow (perhaps judaizing) Davidic representatives.
Paul went in unto James – we have four men who are under a vow; take these men
A long time after the Apostolic Council, when Paul, returning from his Third Missionary
Journey, arrived in Jerusalem for the fourth time after his conversion, he “went in unto
James”, which means, as already explained, that Paul went into the temple’s inner courts,
probably to the Court of the Israelites, where James still was a representative of the people of
Israel in the temple liturgy.85 Here James and the elders showed Paul that there were “many
thousands of Jews … which believe” (AV) and that they were “all zealous of the law”. Here
they also told him:
… We have four men who are under a vow; take these men and purify yourself along with them
and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads (…). Then Paul took the men, and the
next day he purified himself with them and went into the temple, to give notice when the days of
purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for every one of them. (Acts 21,23-
Persons under a (Nazarite) vow had business to attend to in the temple, for they had to offer
certain sacrifices (a burnt-offering, a sin-offering and a peace-offering), by handing over the
animals to the ministering priests at the Court of the Israelites – if they were men –, or at the
Gate of Nicanor – if they were women. After this they also had to have their heads shaved at
“the door of the tabernacle”,86 in Herod’s temple probably also the Gate of Nicanor. Because
of the advice to “take these men”, and Paul’s immediate response – “Then Paul took the men”
– it seems that the four Nazarites were already present in the temple, where James and the
elders spoke about them to Paul. When arranging that Paul would pay for these poor
Nazarites’ sacrifices – this was deemed a mark of Jewish generosity –87 and would give notice
to the priests when the sacrifices would be offered, James seems to have been present at the
Nicanor Gate and have acted as the head of the representatives who had the duty to be a guide
for any Jew who had business to attend to in the temple88, whether Christian or not.
According to Chilton “James’s focus was purity in the temple”89 and this would correspond to
his duty as head of the deputation to line up the cured lepers and others who had come to the
temple “to make atonement on being cleansed from any impurity” at the Gate of Nicanor in
readiness for the ministering priests.90
82 Acts 15,6-29
83 De Bijbel, Willibrordvertaling Boxtel 1991, p. 1824. Paul had to appear before Gallio in Corinth (Acts
18,12-17) and this Gallio was the proconsul of Achaje from May 51 to May 52 CE, so this must be the year
when Paul was there. From here “a year and six months” are counted backwards to arrive at the time in which
Paul arrived in Corinth (Acts 18,1-11), on his Second Missionary Journey, which he had started after having
delivered the apostolic decrees, concerning the observation of the Jewish law, in Antioch (Acts 15,30-36).
84 Acts 15,16; Amos 9,11
85 Acts 21,18; In Acts 21,26 only the Codex Bezae (D) has changed the verb ‘eiseimi’, only used for entering
into the temple, into ‘eiselqen’ (of ‘eiserxomai’) which is the neutral verb for entering (NA27).
86 Barnes New Testament Notes at Acts 18,18
87 Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary on Acts 21,24
88 A. EDERSHEIM, The Temple, ch. 10, p. 154
89 B. CHILTON, James, Jesus’ Brother, p. 256
90 EDERSHEIM, The Temple, ch. 10, p. 154
Paul himself described the occasion of Acts 21 as follows:
Now after some years I came to bring to my nation alms and offerings. As I was doing this, they found
me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. (Acts 24,17-18)
This indicates that the expenses that Paul paid for the four poor Nazarites may have been part
of the alms and offerings he brought for the Jewish nation and not solely for the Jerusalem
church. This enhances the probability that the four poor Nazarites weren’t some specific
Christians, known to James, but ordinary poor temple visitors whose guidance was entrusted
to James and the rest of the representatives of the people. Now it is also of more significance
that the ‘pillars’ of the Jerusalem church – James, Cephas and John – already asked Paul at
the end of his second post-conversion visit to keep supporting the poor of Jerusalem
materially, which Paul was eager to do.91 Especially James may have asked this from Paul
because of his responsibility for this part of the temple service as head of the deputations.
And his duty of lining up equally the cured lepars and any other (wealthier) persons at the
Nicanor Gate, may have inspired him to write that (also) Christians should not deliberately
give the poor a lowly place in their meetings (Jas 2,1-6).
James, to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion, greeting
James, while being the bishop of Jerusalem, and calling himself “a servant of God and of the
Lord Jesus Christ”, still addressed his epistle with many concrete and serious admonitions “to
the twelve tribes in the Dispersion”.92 This complies with his position of head representative
of the people: of all the twelve tribes of the Israelites, wherever they might be. That the
concept of Israel’s twelve tribes was still alive is also shown by Paul’s words before king
Agrippa, describing God’s promise of raising the dead as a promise unto which “our twelve
tribes hope to attain”.93 In fact, in 62 CE, when the scribes and Pharisees try to convince
James to speak to the people, they use the argument that for the Passover “all the tribes, with
the Gentiles also” had gathered,94 probably implying that this would be a good occasion for
James to speak to the twelve tribes he himself represented.
Paul: “other apostles, the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas”
Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of
the Lord and Cephas? (1Cor 9,5)
In this verse, that may list the Church’s hierarchy as Paul sees it, Paul compares himself to a)
“other apostles (‘the rest’, ‘loipoi’)” and b) “the brothers of the Lord” and c) to “Cephas”,95
referring to: a) the twelve Galilean apostles and the apostles of the Eleven and James the Just,
and then b) to James’ fellow Davidic representatives of the Israelites, and finally c) to the ex-
high priest Caiphas, who caused the dispute with Paul in Antioch.96 From this verse it appears
that the “brothers of the Lord” are distinguished from the apostles; so they weren’t apostles
except their leader James. This confirms the same distinction, made in the Cenacle, between
“his [Jesus’] brothers” and the apostles.
91 Gal 2,6.9-10
92 Jas 1,1
93 Acts 26,6-8
94 Eus., H.E., II,23,11
95 1Cor 9,5 NA27
96 See my article Paul’s Cephas is Caiphas – Author of 1Peter and Hebrews, www.JesusKing.info, 04-01-
The Kerygma: He appeared to James, then to all the apostles
In the ‘kerygma’ (1Cor 15,3-7) Paul writes that Jesus “appeared to James; then to all the
apostles”, which implies that this James was an apostle. This was also implied by Paul when
he wrote to the Galatians “I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother”.97
The issue, raised by Chilton, concerning “the nature of James’ apparent relation to those
responsible for the operation of the temple”, is successfully answered by the thesis of this
article, that James was the Davidic head of the representatives of the people in the daily
communal liturgy of the temple, who also had the duty to guide those who had private
business in the temple, especially the poor, during the time between the two daily communal
rituals: the morning ritual and the evening ritual, and who also read the Torah in the temple
synagogue with the high priest. The thesis is supported by the evidence from the New
Testament (cf. Acts 15,16 21,17-18.23-26 24,17-18 Gal 2,6-10 Jas 1,1.27 2,1-5) and from
Christian tradition (Hegesippus and Eusebius, who describe James’ virtues, activities in the
temple, and nicknames, especially ‘the Just’ and ‘Mourner’).
James’ being the head of the representatives prior to, and after, Jesus’ resurrection would
also explain how James could come to such a prominent position in the Church too: he may
already have been a prominent Jew before he became a Christian, and his apostolic status,
obtained from Jesus’ appearing to him, in combination with his prominence among the Jews,
will have led to his being elected to become Jerusalem’s bishop after Simon Peter had left.
© A.A.M. van der Hoeven, the Netherlands, February 16, 2009.
97 1Cor 15,7 Gal 1,19
Fig. 1 A sketch of the sanctuary of the temple
(according to Edersheim’s description in “The Temple: Its Ministries and Services”, chapter 2)
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New York, Routledge, 1999.
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Ant. Jewish Antiquities (work of Josephus)
AV Authorized Version
CE Christian Era or Common Era
Haer. Haereses (work of Epiphanius)
H.E. Historia Ecclesiastica (= Church History) (work of Eusebius)
NA27 Nestle-Aland 27th edition of the Greek text of the New Testament
NIV New International Version
RSV Revised Standard Version