James the Brother of Jesus
Eusebius of Caesarea (260-340 CE), Archbishop under Constantine, tells us in his "Ecclesiastical History" that James was "The lord's brother, who had been elected by the Apostles to the episcopal throne at Jerusalem," - "Ecclesiastical History" 2.23
Knowing Jesus would soon depart from them, his Disciples, according to the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas, (buried and preserved in Nag Hammadi, Egypt), asked him who would lead them, "And Jesus said to them, 'In the place you are to go, go to James the Righteous, for whose sake Heaven and Earth came into existence.'"
Jerome (342-420 CE), basing his knowledge on Hegesippus, Clement of Alexandria, and the Jewish historian Josephus, also knows this when he says in his "Lives of Illustrious Men" that "He [James] alone enjoyed the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies, since, indeed, he did not wear woolen, but only linen clothes, and went into the Temple alone and prayed on behalf of the people, so that his knees were reputed to have acquired the callousness of a camel's knees," and that after Jesus departed "was immediately appointed Bishop of Jerusalem by the Apostles." - "Lives of Illustrious Men" chapter 2
Palestinian Jewish Christian Hegesippus (100-180 CE), portions of whose five books of early Church history only survive in passages cited by Eusebius, tells us, "There were many James', but this one...the Lord's brother...was Holy from his birth. Everyone from the Lord's time till our own has called him the Righteous," and that "[b]ecause of his unsurpassable Righteousness he was called the Righteous, and Oblias," (E.H. 2.23)
The second century Syriac Apostolic Constitutions tell us that James was "the brother of Christ according to the flesh... and one appointed Bishop of Jerusalem by the Lord Himself," (8.35).
In another passage surviving only in Eusebius, Clement of Alexandria (150-215 CE) tells us that the "Gift of knowledge" was imparted by Jesus to "James the Righteous, to John, and to Peter," and that these in turn "delivered it to the rest of the Apostles, and they to the Seventy, of whom Barnabas was one," (E.H. 2.1).
Clement of Rome (30-97 CE), or someone purporting to be him, addresses his letter in the non-canonical Pseudo-Clementine Homilies of Clement to "James... the Bishop of Bishops, who rules Jerusalem, the Holy Assembly of the Hebrews and the Assemblies everywhere," as does Peter similarly in his Homilies letter.
Even Josephus (37-96 CE), who was not a Christian, but was a Jewish contemporary of James, knows about him, and even insists that James' death was the reason the Jewish people believed Jerusalem fell: "These things [the Uprising and consequent destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans] happened to the Jews in requital for James the Righteous, who was a brother of Jesus known as Christ, for though he was the most Righteous of men, the Jews put him to death."
This passage, remarked on also by Origen (185-254 CE), and Jerome, only exists in Eusebius' E.H., Jerome's Commentary on Galatians, and Origen's letter (Contra Celsus 1.47), and, interestingly, is no longer extant in any manuscript of the works of Josephus! Commenting on it, Eusebius says, "So remarkable a person must James have been, so universally esteemed for Righteousness, that even the most intelligent of Jews felt this was why his martyrdom was immediately followed by the siege of Jerusalem," (E.H. 2.23)
This contradicts Christian belief that the Temple fell because of the "death of Jesus," as Origen is well aware and at pains to "correct" in Contra Celsus. This letter also tells us that "the wonderful thing is that, though he [Josephus] did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the Righteousness of James was so great...that the people thought they had suffered these things on account of [him]." (Commentary on Matthew; 10.17)
For his part, Jerome, in his Lives, writes "This same Josephus records the tradition that this James was of so great Holiness and reputation among the people that the destruction of Jerusalem was believed to have occurred on account of his death," and in a Commentary that "So Holy was James that the people zealously tried to touch the fringes of his garment," (Commentary on Galatians 1:19); these are the fringes commanded to be worn by observant Jews in Numbers 15:38:
"Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them throughout their generations fringes in the corners of their garments, and that they put with the fringe of each corner a thread of blue. And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that you may look upon it, and Remember all the Commandments of YHWH, and do them; and that you go not about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you use to go astray." Numbers 15:38-39
דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם, וְעָשׂוּ לָהֶם צִיצִת עַל כַּנְפֵי בִגְדֵיהֶם, לְדֹרֹתָם; וְנָתְנוּ עַל צִיצִת הַכָּנָף, פְּתִיל תְּכֵלֶת. וְהָיָה לָכֶם, לְצִיצִת, וּרְאִיתֶם אֹתוֹ וּזְכַרְתֶּם אֶת כָּל מִצְוֹת יְהוָה, וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם; וְלֹא תָתוּרוּ אַחֲרֵי לְבַבְכֶם, וְאַחֲרֵי עֵינֵיכֶם, אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם זֹנִים, אַחֲרֵיהֶם.
Even the very attire of James reminded the masses that, as he retorted to Paul, "Faith without works is dead." As well we are told here that this was to be bid unto the "B'nei Yisrael," the Children of Israel, throughout their generations. This did not expire with Jesus Christ, as he also confirmed many times that there was not a single aspect, or even the smallest letter of the Torah that was to pass away on account of him. And still, despite Paul's claims to the contrary, the Torah did not expire when he came pandering to the Roman Beast.
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James the Brother of Jesus