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St. James the Less

(Heb. Yakob; Sept. Iakob; N.T. Greek Iakobos; a favourite name among the later Jews).

The name "James" in the New Testament is borne by several: (1) James, the son of Zebedee, Apostle, brother of John, Apostle; also called "James the Greater." (2) James, the son of Alpheus,


1 Corinthians, chapter 15 n he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last
Acts, chapter 1 ter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew an
Acts, chapter 1 mew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and
Acts, chapter 1 Judas the son of James. All these with one accord devote
Acts, chapter 12 He killed James the brother of John with the sword;
Acts, chapter 12 "Tell this to James and to the brethren." Then he departed and went
Acts, chapter 15 nished speaking, James replied, "Brethren, listen to me.
Acts, chapter 21 nt in with us to James; and all the elders were present.
Gala.1 apostles except James the Lord's brother. (In what I am
Gala.2 was given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be p
Gala.2 men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came 
Jame.1 James, chapter 1 Jame.1
Jame.1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Chr
Jame.2 James, chapter 2 Jame.2
Jame.3 James, chapter 3 Jame.3
Jame.4 James, chapter 4 Jame.4
Jame.5 James, chapter 5 Jame.5
Jude, chapter 1 , and brother of James, to them that are called, beloved in God the
Luke, chapter 5 and so also were James and John, sons of Zeb'edee, who were partners
Luke, chapter 6 s brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew,
Luke, chapter 6 and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called
Luke, chapter 6 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Luke, chapter 8 ter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child.
Luke, chapter 9 ter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.
Luke, chapter 9 his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want
Luke, chapter 24 the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to
Mark, chapter 1 farther, he saw James the son of Zeb'edee and John his brother, who
Mark, chapter 1 d Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-l
Mark, chapter 3 r; James the son of Zeb'edee and John the brother of J
Mark, chapter 3 n the brother of James, whom he surnamed Bo-aner'ges, that is, sons
Mark, chapter 3 and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon
Mark, chapter 5 except Peter and James and John the brother of James.
Mark, chapter 5 the brother of James. When they came to the house of t
Mark, chapter 6 and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his
Mark, chapter 9 th him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apa
Mark, chapter 10 And James and John, the sons of Zeb'edee, came forward
Mark, chapter 10 be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them t
Mark, chapter 13 ple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
Mark, chapter 14 th him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed
Mark, chapter 15 ry the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salo'me,
Mark, chapter 16 ry the mother of James, and Salo'me, bought spices, so that they mig
Matthew, chapter 4 other brothers, James the son of Zeb'edee and John his brother, in
Matthew, chapter 10 rew his brother; James the son of Zeb'edee, and John his brother;
Matthew, chapter 10 tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
Matthew, chapter 13 not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?
Matthew, chapter 17 him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mo
Matthew, chapter 27 ry the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zeb


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St. James the Lesser
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James the Lesser
... James, the Lesser or Younger, son of Alpheus, or Cleophas, and Mary,
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... Ivan Akimovich Sushchenko: The Apostle James the Lesser Artist: Ivan Akimovich
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... Catholic Encyclopedia: St. James the Less; Patron Saints Index: James the Lesser
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KILLED FOR CHRIST The Story of the Early Christian Martyrs by Barry Shelton.

... 4) James, the son of Mary, brother of Joseph (or Joses): Mark, xv, 40 (where he is
called ò mikros "the little", not the "less", as in the DV, nor the "lesser ...
Description: Identifies St. James the Less with James the Apostle, son of Alpheus, and with James the brother of...

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The Catholic Encyclopedia
 Robert Appleton Company

St. James the Less

The name "James" in the New Testament is borne by several: (1) James, the son of Zebedee, Apostle, brother of John, Apostle; also called "James the Greater." (2) James, the son of Alpheus, Apostle: Matt., x, 3; Mark, iii, 18; Luke, vi, 15; Acts, i, 13. (3) James, the brother of the Lord: Matt., xiii, 55; Mark, vi, 3; Gal., i, 19. Without a shadow of doubt, he must be identified with the James of Gal., ii, 2, 9; Acts, xii, 17; xv, 13 sqq.; xxi, 18; I Cor., xv, 7. (4) James, the son of Mary, brother of Joseph (or Joses): Mark, xv, 40 (where he is called ò mikros "the little", not the "less", as in the D.V., nor the "lesser"); Matt., xxvii, 56; probably the son of Cleophas or Clopas: John, xix, 25, where "Maria Cleophæ" is generally translated "Mary the wife of Cleophas", as married women are commonly distinguished by the addition of their husband's name. (5) James, the brother of Jude: Jude, i, 1. Most Catholic commentators identify Jude with the "Judas Jacobi", the "brother of James" (Luke vi, 16; Acts, i, 13), called thus because his brother James was better known than himself in the primitive Church. 

The identity of the Apostle James (2), the son of Alpheus and James (3), the brother of the Lord and Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem (Acts xv, xxi), although contested by many critics and, perhaps, not quite beyond doubt, is at least most highly probable, and by far the greater number of Catholic interpreters is considered as certain (see BRETHREN OF THE LORD, where the chief argument, taken from Gal., i, 19, in favour of the Apostleship of St. James, the brother of the Lord, is to be found). The objection moved by Mader (Biblische Zeitschrift, 1908, p. 393 sqq.) against the common statement that "Apostles" in Gal., i, 19 is to be taken strictly in the sense of the "Twelve" has been strongly impugned by Steinmann (Der Katholik, 1909, p. 207 sqq.). The James (5) of Jude i, 1 must certainly be identified with James (3), the brother of the Lord and the Bishop of Jerusalem. The identification of James (3), the brother of the Lord and James (4), the son of Mary, and probably of Cleophas or Clopas offers some difficulty. This identification requires the identity of Mary, the mother of James (Matt., xxvii, 56; Mark, xv, 40), with Mary the wife of Cleophas (John, xix, 25), and, consequently, the identity of Alpheus (2) and Clopas (4). As Clopas and Alpheus are probably not two different transcriptions of the same Aramaic name Halpai (see CLEOPHAS), it must be admitted that two different names have been borne by one man. Indeed, there are several examples of the use of two names (a Hebrew and a Greek or Latin name) to designate the same person (Simon-Petrus; Saulus-Paulus), so that the identity of Alpheus and Cleophas is by no means improbable. 

On the whole, although there is no full evidence for the identity of James (2), the son of Alpheus, and James (3), the brother of the Lord, and James (4), the son of Mary of Clopas, the view that one and the same person is described in the New Testament in these three different ways, is by far the most probable. There is, at any rate, very good ground (Gal., i, 19; ii, 9, 12) for believing that the Apostle James, the son of Alpheus is the same person as James, the brother of the Lord, the well-known Bishop of Jerusalem of the Acts. As to the nature of the relationship which the name "brother of the Lord" is intended to express, see BRETHREN OF THE LORD. 


Had we not identified James, the son of Alpheus with the brother of the Lord, we should only know his name and his Apostleship. But the identity once admitted, we must consequently apply to him all the particulars supplied by the books of the New Testament. We may venture to assert that the training of James (and his brother Jude), had been that which prevailed in all pious Jewish homes and that it was therefore based on the knowledge of the Holy Scripture and the rigorous observance of the Law. Many facts point to the diffusion of the Greek language and culture throughout Judea and Galilee, as early as the first century B. C.; we may suppose that the Apostles, at least most of them, read and spoke Greek as well as Aramaic, from their childhood. James was called to the Apostolate with his brother Jude; in all the four lists of the Apostles, he stands at the head of the third group (Matt., x, 3; Mark, iii, 18; Luke, vi, 16; Acts, i, 13). Of James individually we hear no more until after the Resurrection. St. Paul (I Cor., xv, 5-7) mentions that the Lord appeared to him before the Ascension. 

Then we lose sight of James till St. Paul, three years after his conversion (A. D. 37), went up to Jerusalem. Of the Twelve Apostles he saw only Peter and James the brother of the Lord (Gal., i, 19; Acts, ix, 27). When in the year 44 Peter escaped from prison, he desired that news of his release might be carried to James who held already a marked preeminence in the Church of Jerusalem (Acts, xii, 17). In the Council of Jerusalem (A. D. 51) he gives his sentence after St. Peter, declaring as Peter had done, that the Gentile Christians are not bound to circumcision, nor to the observance of the ceremonial Mosaic Law, but at the same time, he urged the advisability of conforming to certain ceremonies and of respecting certain of the scruples of their Jewish fellow-Christians (Acts, xv, 13 sqq.). On the same occasion, the "pillars" of the Church, James, Peter, and John "gave to me (Paul) and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision" (Gal., ii, 9). He publicly commended the great charter of Gentile freedom from the Law, although he still continued the observance in his own life, no longer as a strict duty, but as an ancient, most venerable and national custom, trusting to "be saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts, xv, 11). When afterwards some came from James to Antioch and led Peter into dissimulation (Gal., ii, 12), his name was used by them, though he had given them no such commandment to enforce their interpretation of the concordat which, on his proposal, had been adopted at the Council of Jerusalem. When St. Paul after his third missionary journey paid a visit to St. James (A.D. 58), the Bishop of Jerusalem and "the elders" "glorified the Lord" and advised the Apostle to take part in the ceremonies of a Nazarite vow, in order to show how false the charge was that he had spoken of the Law as no longer to be regarded. Paul consented to the advice of James and the elders (Acts, xxi, 1 sqq.). The Epistle of St. James (see JAMES, EPISTLE OF SAINT) reveals a grave, meek, and calm mind, nourished with the Scriptures of the Old Testament, given to prayer, devoted to the poor, resigned in persecution, the type of a just and apostolic man. 


Traditions respecting James the Less are to be found in many extra-canonical documents, especially Josephus (Antiq., XX, ix, 1), the "Gospel according to the Hebrews" (St. Jerome, De vir. ill., II), Hegesippus (Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", II, xxiii), the pseudo-Clementine Homilies (Ep. of Peter) and Recognitions (I, 72, 73), Clement of Alexandria (Hypot., vi, quoted by Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", II, i). The universal testimony of Christian antiquity is entirely in accordance with the information derived from the canonical books as to the fact that James was Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem. Hegesippus, a Jewish Christian, who lived about the middle of the second century, relates (and his narrative is highly probable) that James was called the "Just", that he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor ate animal food, that no razor touched his head, that he did not anoint himself or make use of the bath, and lastly that he was put to death by the Jews. The account of his death given by Josephus is somewhat different. Later traditions deserve less attention.

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