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Joses is a name, usually regarded as a form of Joseph, occurring four times in the New Testament:

Etymology of Joses

Joses is a short Greek form of Joseph. Unlike Greek Joseph however, which remains frozen as Joseph in all grammatical cases, Joses functions like a true Greek name and is declined in Greek, taking the ending -etos in the genitive case, hence Josetos, "of Joses."

Although spelling of Joseph is fairly constant in Greek, spellings of the short forms Joses and Josis vary. Tal Ilan's catalogue of Jewish name inscriptions of the period (2002) notes variation is the spelling of "Joseph" (indeclinable in Greek) and various shorter (and sometimes declined) Greek variants but also notes that the full form Joseph is dominant with 47 of 69 Greek inscriptions.[2]

Jose, ancestor of Jesus

The Jose mentioned as 15th descendant of David (in the line from Solomon's younger brother Nathan in the Gospel of Luke) is otherwise unknown. The Greek spelling (Ἰωσή, Iōsē) is a variant of Joses.

Joses, brother of Jesus

Joses is only mentioned twice in the New Testament, in parallel passages in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3, which record the people of Nazareth's rejection of Jesus:

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him. Mark 6:3 ESV

A minority of (Alexandrian, Western) Greek manuscripts in Matthew 13:55 read "Joseph" (Ἰωσήφ) the standard spelling of the name.[3]

Joses, brother of James the younger

Joses brother of Jesus is usually distinguished from a second Joses mentioned in passing in three verses (Matthew 27:56 and Mark 15:40, 47) which mention among the women present at Jesus' crucifixion "Mary, the mother of James ("the Less" in Mark) and Joses".

There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. Mark 15:40 ESV

The text in Mark continues to say "Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where [Jesus] was laid." (15:47 ESV). In the New Testament, the name "James the Less" appears only in this verse in Mark 15:40, who, by parallel accounts of the women at the crucifixion is usually equated with "Mary the mother of James," and with Mary of Clopas, mentioned only in John 19:25. According to a tradition of Hegesippus (Eusebius III.11) this Clopas was a brother of Joseph making his wife Mary, Jesus' aunt and this James the younger and Jose to be Jesus' cousins.[4]

Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses might be unlikely to be Mary the mother of Jesus, but James Tabor suggests that she is, in fact, Mary, the mother of Jesus and that Clopas was her second husband.

Bishops of Jerusalem

A "Joses" appears in the bishop lists of Epiphanius ("Josis") and Eusebius ("Joseph") of the early bishops of Jerusalem.[5]

Christian traditions

In the medieval Golden Legend, Joses is also identified with Joseph Barsabbas,[citation needed] also called Justus, who in the Acts of the Apostles 1:23 is mentioned as a candidate to fill the vacancy created by the death of Judas Iscariot. Justus is listed third in the hereditary line of succession of the Desposyni after James the Just and Simeon of Jerusalem as Bishops of Jerusalem.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
  2. ^ Bauckham in Quarles Buried Hope Or Risen Savior: The Search for the Jesus Tomb 2008 Page 84 "In Greek this short form of the name is rarer and does not seem to have any consistent spelling.41 Among the Greek forms of the name Joseph, Iosepos (....) is overwhelmingly dominant, accounting for 47 of the 69 occurrences "
  3. ^ Greek New Testament, United Bible Societies, - footnotes to Mark 6:3 and critical apparatus NA24.
  4. ^ ed. Wilhelm Schneemelcher New Testament Apocrypha - Gospels and Related Writings. p483
  5. ^ Richard Bauckham, Jude and the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church p 76.