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Jude (brother of Jesus)

Jude (alternatively Judas or Judah) was one of the four brothers of Jesus (Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55) according to the New Testament. He is traditionally identified as the author of the Epistle of Jude, a short epistle which is reckoned among the seven general epistles of the New Testament — placed after Paul's epistles and before the Book of Revelation — and considered canonical by Christians.[1][2]

New Testament

Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55 record the people of Nazareth saying of Jesus: "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judas, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us?". Protestants generally relate these brothers and sisters to the Matthew 1:25 indication that Joseph "knew her not until after she brought forth her firstborn" and the implication that Joseph and Mary did have sex thereafter. Many Christians (Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and some Protestants) believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary and interpret the relationship of "brothers of Jesus" in ways that are compatible with that belief, such as stepbrothers or cousins.

Attribution of Jude

The Epistle of Jude has been attributed to him, on the basis of the heading "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James" (Jude 1:1) where "brother of James" is taken as brother of James the brother of Jesus.

Alternative attribution

Both "Judas" and "Jude" are English translations of the Greek name Ιουδας, which was a very common name in the 1st century. Over the years the identity of Jude has been questioned, and confusion remains among biblical scholars. It is not clear if Jude, the brother of Jesus, is also Jude, the brother of James, or Jude the Apostle, son of Mary mother of James the less and Jude.

There is an Apostle Jude in some lists of the Twelve, but not in others. He is called Jude of James. The name "Jude of James", as given in Luke 6:16, is sometimes interpreted as "Jude, brother of James" (See King James Version), though such a construction commonly denotes a relationship of father and son. Other lists of the twelve include Thaddaeus, which may be nickname for the same apostle. His nickname may have occurred due to a resemblance to Jesus or to avoid confusion between Jude and Judas Iscariot.[3][4][5] A local tradition of eastern Syria identifies the Apostle Jude with the Apostle Thomas,[citation needed] also known as Jude Thomas or Judas Didymus Thomas (Thomas means twin in Aramaic, as does Didymus in Greek.)


If Jude is counted among the ”brothers of the Lord” mentioned in Paul the Apostle's epistles, then it can be assumed that Jude was married; Paul notes that the brothers, like most of the earliest leaders of the church except Paul himself, brought a “believing wife” with them.[6]

Hegesippus, a 2nd-century Christian writer, mentions descendants of Jude living in the reign of Domitian (81-96). Eusebius relates in his Historia Ecclesiae (Book III, ch. 19-20):

"But when this same Domitian had commanded that the descendants of David should be slain, an ancient tradition says that some of the heretics brought accusation against the descendants of Jude (said to have been a brother of the Saviour according to the flesh), on the ground that they were of the lineage of David and were related to Christ himself. Hegesippus relates these facts in the following words.

"Of the family of the Lord there were still living the grandchildren of Jude, who is said to have been the Lord's brother according to the flesh.
"Information was given that they belonged to the family of David, and they were brought to the Emperor Domitian by the Evocatus. For Domitian feared the coming of Christ as Herod also had feared it. And he asked them if they were descendants of David, and they confessed that they were. Then he asked them how much property they had, or how much money they owned. And both of them answered that they had only nine thousand denarii, half of which belonged to each of them;
and this property did not consist of silver, but of a piece of land which contained only thirty-nine acres, and from which they raised their taxes and supported themselves by their own labor."

Then they showed their hands, exhibiting the hardness of their bodies and the callousness produced upon their hands by continuous toil as evidence of their own labor. And when they were asked concerning Christ and his kingdom, of what sort it was and where and when it was to appear, they answered that it was not a temporal nor an earthly kingdom, but a heavenly and angelic one, which would appear at the end of the world, when he should come in glory to judge the quick and the dead, and to give unto every one according to his works. Upon hearing this, Domitian did not pass judgment against them, but, despising them as of no account, he let them go, and by a decree put a stop to the persecution of the Church. But when they were released they ruled the churches because they were witnesses and were also relatives of the Lord. And peace being established, they lived until the time of Trajan. These things are related by Hegesippus.[7]

Eusebius also relates (in Book III, ch. 32,5f.), that they suffered martyrdom under the Emperor Trajan.

Epiphanius of Salamis, in his Panarion, mentions a Judah Kyriakos, great grandson of Jude, as last Jewish Bishop of Jerusalem, that lived beyond Bar Kokhba's revolt.


  1. ^ Thomas Patrick Halton, On Illustrious Men, Volume 100 of Fathers of the Church:a new translation, CUA Press, 1999 p.11
  2. ^ See Richard Bauckham, Jerome and the Early Church Fathers
  3. ^ John 14:22
  4. ^ Commentary on John 14:22, Expositor's Bible Commentary CDROM, Zondervan, 1978
  5. ^ Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to Saint John volume 2, Anchor Bible p. 641
  6. ^ 1 Corinthians 9:5
  7. ^ [1]

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