An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

James of Jerusalem Brother of Our Lord Jesus Christ

(James the Just). In the gospels according to Matthew and Mark, and in the epistle to the Galatians, James of Jerusalem is referred to as the brother of Jesus. According to 1 Cor 15:7, he witnessed an appearance of Christ after the resurrection. Some scholars argue that he is a cousin or half-brother of Jesus, and that the word “brother” is used in a generic sense to describe his relationship to Jesus. Roman Catholics who uphold the perpetual virginity of Mary do not acknowledge that James was the son of Mary and Joseph. James was clearly a leader of the church at Jerusalem. He presided at the Council of Jerusalem which dealt with issues that divided Jewish and Gentile Christians. James was put to death in Jerusalem by the Sanhedrin in 62. James is traditionally acknowledged as the author of the epistle of James in the NT. James’s authorship of this epistle has been challenged, but not conclusively refuted. Hegesippus, an early church historian, referred to James as “the Just” for his piety, and claimed “that he was holy from his mother’s womb.” James is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Oct. 23.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.