A quick scan of the Gospels gives us the names of the Apostles, including James the Great and James the Less… but what of James the Just… you know, Jesus’ brother? Unfortunately, ‘James,’ or Iakobos, appears to have been such a common name (like Mary) that we may never know for sure.
Certainly we know from the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of Paul that there was a fellow named James that was heir to Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem. Tradition holds that this James was the same James the Just who was the brother of Jesus. Though some scholars debate it, tradition also interprets Mark’s Gospel as suggesting that Jesus’ own family thought he was crazy.
Acts and the Epistle of James clearly show a dispute between Paul and James (and apparently Peter) over circumcision for Gentiles and other unpleasant Jewishness, so we know from the text itself that there were disputes between Paul’s version of Christianity and that of Jesus’ own followers and (presumably) family.
This begs the question… what would “the True Faith” look like if Jerusalem hadn’t been sacked by Vespasian in 70 A.D… and the Church of James and Jesus had survived?
At the risk of sounding like a hippie, Jesus’ life and ministry was dominated by lessons about unconditional love and trust in God, not correct beliefs and rituals. Christianity is what it is today with its current doctrines not because it was always held to be the correct way… it is because James and his Church did not survive the Empire, while Paul and his Empire-wide and extremely Greek version of the Church… did.
 Matthew 4:21…son of Zebedee, brother of the Apostle John, the “beloved” of Jesus.
 Matthew 10:3…son of Alphaeus. It is also possible that “Mary the mother of James and Joseph” (Matthew 27:56) refers to this James, though because ‘Joses’ and ‘Joseph’ are interchangeable names, that Mary may in fact be Jesus’ mother, Mary (Matthew 13:55).
 Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3.
 Acts 12:17, 15:13, and 21:18, the Epistle of James
 Butz, Jeffrey J. The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity. Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont. 2005.
 Mark 3:21; see also Matthew 13:57 and Mark 6:4.
 Acts 15:1-35.
 James 2:14-26, compare with Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 2:11-21.
 Matthew 25:31-46 clearly has Jesus himself disputing Paul’s later claims of “justification” by faith alone.
 Precisely what Jesus often used as his basis for chastising the Pharisees and Sadducees.
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