Did Jesus Have a Brother? 'Brother James' Mentioned in Ancient Christian Document

Did Jesus Have a Brother? 'Brother James' Mentioned in Ancient Christian Document

A manuscript of ancient alternative Christian teachings has been found by two researchers from the University of Texas. The manuscript, found at Oxford University, describes Jesus’ relationship with a brother called James.

The Greek-language scripture is being labelled as part of the Nag Hammadi Codex, a collection of early Christian writings discovered in Egypt back in 1945.

Example of a First Apocalypse of James page. © Cairo Coptic Museum

Example of a First Apocalypse of James page. © Cairo Coptic Museum

Wrapped in velum, the original documents were uncovered by farmers in the village Nag Hammadi and contain teachings of Gnosticism, a strand of Christianity that incorporates pre-New Testament doctrine.

The newly studied heretical writings, mentioning secret teachings from Jesus to James, described as the Christian messiah’s brother, are believed to date back to the fifth or sixth century. According to Geoffrey Smith, one of the scholars who located the artifacts, very few examples of Gnostic texts in the Greek language still exist.

Pages found by Smith and Brent Landau relate to the First Apocalypse of James, which refers to Jesus and his brother. The existence of Jesus’ brother is debated among religious scholars, with some arguing he could have been the head of an early church.

 

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