3.15.05 A commentary on the family of Jesus
Copyright © 1993-2005 Mel West. All rights reserved.
One of the major controversies in the Gospels of Jesus involves whether or not he had brothers and sisters. There is an opinion which has lasted for nearly two thousand years that Jesus had no brothers or sisters. This opinion relates to the precept that Jesus, being the Messiah (Greek = Christ), is the only begotten Son of God, even God himself, born of the Virgin Mary through the Holy Ghost (God). The conception is described as follows, according to Matthew:
Matthew 1.18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost...
1.20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
1.21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
1.22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
1.23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
1.24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
1.25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
Luke added more detail to this story:
Luke 1.26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
1.27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the Virgin's name was Mary.
1.28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
1.29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
1.30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.[see Grace_and_Truth.html for similarity of the terms "favor" and "grace"; ed. note].
1.31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
1.32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
1.33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
1.34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
1.35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall over shadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
The verse relating to the prophesy of a Virgin giving birth to a son is as follows:
Isaiah 7.11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
7.12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.
7.13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?
7.14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel....
7.23 And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall even be for briers and thorns.
7.24 With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns..
The Virgin of whom Isaiah prophesied is a Sign of God to Israel. The practice over the eons until the latter half of the 20th century was for the male to give preference in marriage to a female who is a virgin or, as also used in English, a maiden. The requirement in Isaiah is that a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son, whose name is Immanuel, meaning God with us, and on that day Israel shall be scattered and its land, having been emptied of people through an invasion, will become briers and thorns.
As relating to this prophesy, the Virgin Mary and her son, Jesus, are the only ones who laid claim to the prophesy just prior to Rome's destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and emptying of Judah of its people, under the Roman General Turbo, circa. 135 A.D. After the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, the emperor issued an edict that no Jew should be allowed to approach Jerusalem to the extent that they can lay their eyes upon it. Hadrian is the emperor who initiated the first persecution of the Jews. They were forbidden to practice their religion and their books were confiscated.
So the Virgin Mary and her son, Jesus, were the Sign of the Scattering of Israel, and Jesus spoke to that vision, in Luke 21, etc. It is suffice to say that since Israel has been redeemed to the land and it is now flowing with milk and honey, a fruitful field, as it were, the probability that the Virgin Mary and Jesus did fulfill Isaiah 7.14 ff. should be foremost in every Jew's mind today.
As to the family ties of Jesus there are clues in the Gospels and we have commentaries among early church fathers. We begin with Irenaeus (circa. 185 A.D.) who not only wrote a great exposition on the faith, but also took the position that the Church of Rome had attained preeminence as the custodian of the apostolic tradition. Thus, with regard to this argument he has traced the apostolic succession from Jesus down to his own time: Linus, Anacletus, Clement, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Hyginus, Pius, Anicetus, Soter, Eleutherus. St. Peter is missing from this list of Irenaeus--no doubt because St. Peter was the bishop of Antioch and bishops could not change parishes in the first two centuries of the church-- and makes his first appearance in the list as the First Bishop of Rome in the Liberian Catalog compiled in Rome about 354 A.D. from an earlier tradition.
In a work of Irenaeus called "The Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord" we have a commentary in the first chapter on an early church father called Papias, "who was a hearer of John and a friend of Polycarp," as Papias in his fourth book testified. Papias wrote five books, says Irenaeus.
Papias, says Irenaeus, was more concerned about the actual testimony of men who had witnessed or received the tradition, as relating to the Gospels; and he notes that "Matthew put together the oracles of the Lord in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could".
If this is true, then the word for Virgin in Hebrew is "Alma" and it is used both in Isaiah 7.14 and in the scripture relating to David's death dead, where a virgin was placed next to him to keep him warm (I Kings 1.1-4). For further commentary on the words having to do with "virgin" see alma.html.
With these things in mind we know that the proof of Isaiah 7.14 relied not on the concept of "immaculate conception" but that a virgin would conceive and give birth to a son. The father is not noted nor how she would conceive, and these particulars are not essential to the Sign of which Isaiah spoke. The particulars are that a virgin would conceive a son who would be called, "God with us" at the time Israel is scattered to the world. This happened.
The particulars relating to the conception of the Virgin Mary relate to Luke's exposition that the Holy Ghost would over-shadow her and be involved in the conception, since "all things are possible to God".
With this understanding the next step in the precepts is that if the Virgin's son is "God with us", even as the Son of God, then the Virgin Mary must be the Mother of God. This is how she is addressed in the Catholic Church today.
This presented another problem since a tradition developed that the Virgin Mary was a perpetual virgin and in an Apocryphal story called "The Protoevangelion" the following story (which carries much of Luke's recension and expands upon it) is told. Included in the story are people who turn out to be noted as relatives of Jesus.
10.20 Then Joseph arose from his sleep, and glorified the God of Israel, who had shown him such favor, and preserved the Virgin.
11.1 Then came Annas the scribe, and said to Joseph, Wherefore have we not seen you since your return?
11.2 And Joseph replied, Because I was weary after my journey, and rested the first day.
11.3 But Annas turning about perceived the Virgin big with child.
11.4 And went away to the priest, and told him, Joseph in whom you placed so much confidence, is guilty of a notorious crime, in that he hath defiled the virgin whom he received out of the temple of the Lord, and hath privately married her, not discovering it to the children of Israel.
11.5 Then said the priest, Hath Joseph done this?
11.6 Anas replied, If you send any of your servants, you will find that she is with child.
11.7 And the servants went, and found it as he said.
11.8 Upon this both she and Joseph were brought to their trial, and the priest said unto her, Mary, what hast thou done?
11.9 Why hast thou debased thy soul and forgot thy God, seeing thou wast brought up in the Holy of Holies, and didst receive thy food from the hands of angels and heardest their songs?
11.10 Why hast thou done this?
11.11 To which with a flood of tears she answered, As the Lord my God liveth, I am innocent in his sight, seeing I know no man.
11.12 Then the priest said to Joseph, Why hast thou done this?
11.13 And Joseph answered, As the Lord my God liveth, I have not been concerned with her.
11.14 But the priest said, Lie not, but declare the truth; thou hast privately married her, and not discovered it to the children of Israel, and humbled thyself under the mighty hand of God, that thy seed might be blessed.
11.15 And Joseph was silent.
11.16 Then said the priest to Joseph, you must restore to the temple of the Lord the Virgin which you took thence.
11.17 But he wept bitterly, and the priest added, I will cause you both to drink the water of the Lord [see Numbers 5.11-28; ed. note], which is for trial, and so your iniquity shall be laid open before you.
11.18 Then the priest took the water, and made Joseph drink, and sent him to a mountainous place.
11.19 And he returned perfectly well, and all the people wondered that his guilt was not discovered.
11.20 So the priest said, Since the Lord hath not made your sins evident, neither do I condemn you.
11.21 So he sent them away...
12.1 And it came to pass, that there went forth a decree from the Emperor Augustus, that all the Jews should be taxed, who were of Bethlehem in Judaea.
12.2 And Joseph said, I will take care that my children be taxed: but what shall I do with this young woman?
12.3 To have her taxed as my wife I am ashamed; and if I tax her as my daughter, all Israel knows she is not my daughter.
12.4 When the time of the Lord's appointment shall come, let him do as seems good to him.
12.5 And he saddled the ass, and put her upon it, and Joseph and Simon followed after her, and arrived at Bethlehem within three miles...
12.10 (nearing Bethlehem) And he went again across the way, and Mary said to Joseph, Take me down from the ass, for that which is in me presses to come forth.
12.11 But Joseph replied, Whither shall I take thee? for the place is desert.
12.12 Then said Mary again to Joseph, take me down, for that which is within me mightily presses me.
12.13 And Joseph took her down.
12.14 And he found there a cave, and led her into it.
13.1 And leaving her and his sons in the cave, Joseph went forth to seek a Hebrew midwife in the village of Bethlehem...
14.1 Then I beheld a woman coming down from the mountains, and she said to me, Where art thou going, O man?
14.2 And I said to her, I go to inquire for a Hebrew midwife.
14.3 She replied to me, Where is the woman that is to be delivered?
14.4 And I answered, In the cave, and she is betrothed to me.
14.5 Then said the midwife, Is she not thy wife?
14.6 Joseph answered, It is Mary, who was educated in the Holy of Holies, in the house of the Lord, and she fell to my lot, and is not my wife, but has conceived by the Holy Ghost.
14.7 The midwife said, Is this true?
14.8 He answered, Come and see.
14.9 And the midwife went along with him, and stood in the cave.
14.10 Then a bright cloud over-shadowed the cave, and the midwife said, This day my soul is magnified, for mine eyes have seen surprising things, and salvation is brought forth to Israel.
14.11 But on a sudden the cloud became a great light in the cave, so that their eyes could not bear it.
14.12 But the light gradually decreased, until the infant appeared, and sucked the breast of his mother Mary.
14.13 Then the midwife cried out, and said, How glorious a day is this, wherein mine eyes have seen this extraordinary sight!
14.14 And the midwife went out from the cave, and Salome met her.
14.15 And the midwife said to her, Salome, Salome, I will tell you a most surprising thing which I saw,
14.16 A virgin hath brought forth, which is a thing contrary to nature.
14.17 To which Salome replied, As the Lord my God liveth, unless I receive particular proof of this matter, I will not believe that a virgin hath brought forth.
14.18 Then Salome went in, and the midwife said, Mary, show thyself, for a great controversy is risen concerning thee.
14.19 And Salome received satisfaction.
14.20 But her hand was withered, and she groaned bitterly.
14.21 And said, Woe to me, because of mine iniquity; for I have tempted the living God, and my hand is ready to drop off.
14.22 Then Salome made her supplication to the Lord, and said, O God of my fathers, remember me, for I am of the seed of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.
14.23 And make me not a reproach among the children of Israel, but restore me sound to my parents.
14.24 For thou well knowest, O Lord, that I have performed many offices of charity in thy name, and have received my reward from thee.
14.25 Upon this an angel of the Lord stood by Salome, and said, The Lord God hath heard thy prayer, reach forth thy hand to the child, and carry him, and by that means thou shalt be restored...
The title of this account begins: "The Protevangelion; or, A Historical Account of the birth of Christ, and the Perpetual Virgin Mary, his mother, by James the Lesser, Cousin and Brother of the Lord Jesus, chief Apostle and first bishop of the Christians in Jerusalem." This book is supposed to have been originally composed in Hebrew. We see in it Hebrew arguments concerning the trial of Joseph and Mary having to do with suspected adultery, where a virgin conceives outside of wedlock. The punishment for such a crime against the Law of Moses is stoning of both the male and female involved. As part of the trial they are forced to drink bitter waters (Numbers 5.17ff.) which contain a curse, causing the flesh to rot, etc. If they pass the test they are exonerated, as is recalled in the apocryphal story.
The next important point in the story is the finding that the Virgin Mary was still virgin after she gave birth to Jesus (as evidenced by Salome, who no doubt was a child and not capable of being a midwife). Sons of Joseph are mentioned in the story by name: Joseph and Simon, and it may be that Salome is also the daughter of Joseph. What is implied in the story, of course, is that Joseph is a widower and the Virgin Mary was thus given to him. Since he is mentioned as a Son of David, and the story also notes that the father of the Virgin Mary was a rich man named Joachim, who married Anna and the two were without child until Anna pledged that any child given to them would be pledged to the temple. Anna conceived and she pledged the daughter she bore, whom she named, Mary, to the temple to serve as a Temple Virgin, in the Holy of Holies. Later, through other documents, we learn that Mary had sisters who are Mary, wife of Cleophas, and sister of Martha and Lazarus. How the Virgin Mary came to have another sister named Mary is puzzling, but this sister, Mary, plays even a more puzzling role in revealing the family relationships.
Irenaeus, chapter 10.6 , records the following quote from Papias who gives an account of the family of Jesus: (1) Mary the mother of the Lord; (2) Mary the wife of Cleophas or Alphaeus, who was the mother of James the bishop and apostle, and of Simon and Thaddeus, and of one Joseph; (3) Mary Salome, wife of Zebedee, mother of John the evangelist and James; (4) Mary Magdalene. These four are found in the Gospel. James and Judas and Joseph were sons of an aunt (2) of the Lord's. James also and John were sons of another aunt (3) of the Lord's. Mary (2), mother of James the Less and Joseph, wife of Alphaeus was the sister of Mary the mother of the Lord, whom John names of Cleophas, either from her father or from the family of the clan, of for some other reason. Mary Salome (3) is called Salome either from her husband or her village. Some affirm that she is the same as Mary of Cleophas, because she had two husbands.
Jesus came into Galilee and began teaching in the synagogues, astonishing people with his wisdom. It was asked:
Matthew 13.55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
13.56 And his sisters, are they not all with us?
Luke 8.19 Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.
8.20 And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.
8.21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God and do it.
The women with him in Galilee:
Luke 8.1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him.
8.2 And a certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,
8.3 And Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
John 19.25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
Matthew 27.55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
27.56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses and the mother of Zebedee's children...
Mark 15.40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;
15.41 (who also when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.
Before the scene at the tomb Luke records some information about these women:
Luke 23.55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulcher, and how his body was laid.
23.56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
24.1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
24.2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher..
24.10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
27.61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulcher.
28.1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.
Further in the account of Luke we are told that Jesus is seen resurrected first by Cleopas (Cleophas)and his son Simon (who was next in line to inherit the "throne" of the Apostolic Church in Jerusalem after St. James):
Luke 24.18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
In identifying who the people were who were marching with Jesus from Galilee through Jericho, we have the account of Jesus being approached by the blind man BarTimaeus. Moments before that event we have this account concerning the mother of James and John, who, in the scriptures, are known as the "sons of Zebedee":
Matthew 20.20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshiping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
20.21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
Mark's earlier gospel (Mk. 10.35) shows James and John approaching Jesus directly, and here we see Matthew has added to the text, noting that it was the mother of James and John who approached Jesus. Luke points out in the Last Supper scene that there was strife among them as to who should be accounted the greatest. In any event we know that one of the women listed at the tomb is one of the women in Jericho who is the mother of James and John, who in Luke 24.10 is listed as Mary, the mother of James.
In the Secret Gospel of Mark (appended to an epistle of Clement), which was discovered in the monastery of Mar Saba only recently, we have:
And after the words, And he comes into Jericho, (Mark 10.46) the Secret Gospel adds only, And the sister of the youth whom Jesus loved and his mother and Salome were there, and Jesus did not receive them..
The youth whom Jesus loved is John, the brother of James, who are the the sons of Zebedee.
Now it came to pass that:
Luke 10.38 ..he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
10.39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
10.40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
10.41 And Jesus answered, and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
10.42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from here.
We know who these people are through John's account:
John 11.1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
John 11.2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
And thus John goes on to confirm Luke's account:
John 12.1 Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
12.2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
12.3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.
Matthew 26.6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
26.7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
26.8 And when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
26.9 For this ointment might had been sold for much, and given to the poor.
26.10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
26.11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
26.12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
26.13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial.
Luke 7.36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
7.37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
7.38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
7.39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
7.40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on...
7.44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
7.45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
7.46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
7.47 Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
7.48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
What this series of scriptures from the Gospels has told us:
1) Lazurus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, lived with his sisters, Martha and Mary in Bethany (just a short walk outside of Jerusalem), and Mary is the sister of the Virgin Mary. The house they lived in is also known as the house of Simon the leper.
2) Mary is also the husband of Cleophas. She is also the one who anointed Jesus' feet with expensive ointment. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are Jesus' aunts and uncle. Mary's son, Symeon, became the heir to the throne of the church in Jerusalem, being the judge following James. That James was the judge of the early church Apostolic Council is evident in Acts 15.19ff. and 21.21 ff. concerning the judgment of Paul's mission to the Gentile.
3) That Jesus' aunt was recorded as a sinner (whose sins Jesus forgave) and is noted among the company of women who are always with him (in Galilee, it must be asked what sin she committed. The gospels refer to the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee and "the other Mary". As Papias points out there were four Marys in the Gospels: the (1) Virgin Mary, (2) Mary Magdalene, (3) Mary the wife of Cleophas, and (4)[Mary] Salome.
Referring to the scene at the cross we see them:
John 19.25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus (1) his mother, and his mother's sister, (3) Mary the wife of Cleophas, and (2) Mary Magdalene.
Mark 15.40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was (2) Mary Magdalene, and (3) Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and (4) Salome;
Matthew 27.55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
27.56 Among which was (2) Mary Magdalene, and (4) Mary the mother of James and Joses and the (3) mother of Zebedee's children...
If Mary, the sister of the Virgin Mary, is the wife of Cleophas and also the mysterious "other Mary" who may be the wife of Zebedee, it follows that John and James may have also been cousins of Jesus. That John knew Jesus as a rabbi at the time of Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist (Jesus' other cousin), indicates a closer relationship than one who just happened to have been standing in line behind Jesus, waiting for John the Baptist to bring them into the Kingdom of Heaven. Thus:
John John 1.34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
1.35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;
1.36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
1.37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
1.38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
1.39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
1.40 One of the two [besides John the Apostle ed. note] which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
1.41 He first findeth his own brother, Simon, and saith unto him, we have found the Messais, which is being interpreted, the Christ..
In Book III.32 Eusebius quotes Hegesippus:
The same writer tells us that in the sequel, when members of the royal house of Judah were being hunted, Symeon's accusers were arrested too, on the ground that they belonged to it. And it would be reasonable to suggest that Symeon was an eyewitness and ear witness of the Lord, having regard to the length of his life and the reference in the gospel narrative to Mary, wife of the Cleopas, whose son he was, as explained in an earlier section.
The same historian tells us that other descendants of one of the brothers of the Savior named Jude lived on into the same reign [of Domitianreigned 81 A.D. to 96 A.D.; ed. note], after bravely declaring their faith in Christ, as already recorded, before Domitian himself.
...Consequently they came and presided over every church, as being martyrs and members of the Lord's family, and since profound peace came to every church they survived till the reign of Trajan Caesartill the son of the Lord's uncle, the aforesaid Symeon son of Cleopas, was similarly informed against by the heretical sects and brought up on the same charge before Atticus, the provincial governor. Tortured for days on end, he bore a martyr's witness, so that all, including the governor, were astonished that at the age of 120 he could endure it; and he was ordered to be crucified.
[from Hegesippus] Some of these [heretics] charged Symeon, son of Cleopas, with being a descendant of David and a Christian; as a result he suffered martyrdom at the age of 120, when Trajan was emperor and Atticus consular governor.
Eusebius III.11 After the martyrdom of James [the brother of Jesus] and the capture of Jerusalem [in 70 A.D.] which instantly followed, there is a firm tradition that those of the apostles and disciples of the Lord who were still alive assembled from all parts together with those who, humanly speaking, were kinsmen of the lordfor most of them were still living. Then they all discussed together whom they should choose as a fit person to succeed James, and voted unanimously that Symeon, son of the Cleopas mentioned in the gospel narrative, was a fit person to occupy the throne of the Jerusalem See. He was, so it is said, a cousin of the Savior, for Hegesippus tells us that Cleopas was Joseph's brother.
Knowing that Jesus is descended from Joseph the Carpenter and Mary and both are heirs to the House of David, and seeing that Mary, wife of Cleopas, is the sister of the Virgin Mary, and that Cleopas is also the brother of Joseph the Carpenter, it is no wonder, following the royal blood line of the House of David that Symeon would stand next in line after James, the brother of Jesus, who first reigned over the See of Jerusalem following Jesus' death.
Eusebius records how James became Jesus' successor in the throne of David:
In book 2.1 Eusebius reminds us what Paul mentioned of James:
Of the other apostles I saw no one except James the Lord's brother (Gal 10.19).
Then in book 2.23 Eusebius gives us the narrative of the Martyrdom of James, 'the Lord's brother':
When Paul appealed to Caesar and was sent to Rome by Festus, the Jews were disappointed of the hope in which they had devised their plot against him and turned their attention to James the Lord's brother, who had been elected by the apostles to the episcopal throne at Jerusalem. This is the crime that they committed against him. They brought him into their midst and in the presence of the whole populace demanded a denial of his belief in Christ. But when, contrary to all expectation, he spoke as he liked and showed undreamt-of-fearlessness in the face of the enormous throng, declaring that our Savior and Lord, Jesus, was the Son of God, they could not endure his testimony any longer, since he was universally regarded as the most righteous of men because of the heights of philosophy and religion which he scaled in his life. So they killed him, seizing the opportunity for getting their own way provided by the absence of a government, for at that very time Festus had died in Judaea, leaving the province without governor or procurator. How James died has already been shown by the words quoted from Clement, who tells us that he was thrown from the parapet and clubbed to death. But the most detailed account of him is given by Hegesippus, who belonged to the first generation after the apostles. In his fifth book he writes:
"Control of the Church passed to the apostles, together with the Lord's brother James, whom everyone from the Lord's time till our own has called the Righteous, for there were many Jameses, but this one was holy from his birth; he drank no wine or intoxicating liquor and ate no animal food; no razor came near his head; he did not smear himself with oil, and took no baths. He alone was permitted to enter the Holy Place, for his garments were not of wool but of linen. He used to enter the Sanctuary alone, and was often found on his knees beseeching forgiveness for the people, so that his knees grew hard like a camel's from his continually bending them in worship of God and beseeching forgiveness for the people. Because of his unsurpassable righteousness he was called the Righteous and Oblias in our own language 'Bulwark of the People, and Righteousness'fulfilling the declarations of the prophets regarding him.
Representatives of the seven popular sects already described by me asked him what was meant by 'the door of Jesus', and he relied that Jesus was the Savior. Some of them came to believe that Jesus was the Christ: the sects mentioned above did not believe either in a resurrection or in One who is coming to give every man what his deeds deserve, but those who did come to believe did so because of James. Since therefore many even of the ruling class believed, there was an uproar among the Jews and Scribes and Pharisees, who said there was a danger that the entire people would expect Jesus as the Christ. So they collected and said to James: 'Be good enough to restrain the people, for they have gone astray after Jesus in the belief that he is the Christ. Be good enough to make the facts about Jesus clear to all who come for the Passover Day. We all accept what you say: we can vouch for it, and so can all the people, that you are a righteous man and take no one at his face value. So make it clear to the crowd that they must not go astray as regards Jesus: the whole people and all of us accept what you say. So take your stand on the Temple parapet, so that from that height you may be easily seen, and your words audible to the whole people. For because of the Passover all the tribes have forgathered, and the Gentiles too.'
So the Scribes and Pharisees made James stand on the Sanctuary parapet and shouted to him: 'Righteous one, whose word we are all obliged to accept, the people are going astray after Jesus who was crucified; so tell us what is meant by "the door of Jesus".' He replied as loudly as he could: 'Why do you question me about the Son of Man? I tell you, He is sitting in heaven at the right hand of the Great Power, and He will come on the Clouds of heaven.' Many were convinced, and gloried in James' testimony, crying: 'Hosanna to the Son of David!' Then again the Scribes and Pharisees said to each other: 'We made a bad mistake in affording such testimony to Jesus. We had better go up and throw him down, so that they will be frightened and not believe him.' 'Ho, ho!' they called out, 'even the Righteous one has gone astray!fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah:
Let us remove the Righteous one, for he is unprofitable to us. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their works (Isa. 3.10)
So they went up and threw down the Righteous one. Then they said to each other "let us stone James the Righteous', and began to stone him, as in spite of his fall he was still alive. But he turned and knelt, uttering the words: 'I beseech Thee, Lord God and Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.' While they pelted him with stones, one of the descendants of Rechab the son of Rachabimthe priestly family to which Jeremiah the Prophet bore witness (Jer. 34), called out: 'Stop! what are you doing? the Righteous one is praying for you.' Then one of them, a fuller, took the club which he used to beat out the clothes, and brought it down on the head of the Righteous one. Such was his martyrdom. he was buried on the spot, by the Sanctuary, and his headstone is still there by the Sanctuary. he has proved a true witness to Jews and Gentiles alike that Jesus is the Christ.
Immediately after this Vespasian began to besiege them."
[Says Eusebius] This is the Full account which, in agreement with Clement, is given by Hegesippus. So remarkable a person must James have been, so universally esteemed for righteousness, that even the more intelligent Jews felt that this was why his martyrdom was immediately followed by the siege of Jerusalem, which happened to them for no other reason than the wicked crime of which he had been the victim. And indeed Josephus did not hesitate to write this down in so many words:
These things 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.
Josephus has also recounted his death in Antiquities Book XX:
Caesar sent Albinus to Judaea as a procurator, when he was informed of the death of Festus. But the younger Ananus, who as I said had received the high priesthood, was headstrong in character and audacious in the extreme. he belonged to the sect of the Sadducees, who in judging offenders are cruel beyond any of the Jews, as I have already made clear. Being a man of this kind, Ananus thought that he had a convenient opportunity, as Festus was dead and Albinus still on the way. So he assembled a council of judges and brought before it James, the brother of Jesus, known as Christ, and several others, on a charge of breaking the law, and handed them over to be stoned....
Such is the story of James, to whom is attributed the first of the 'general' epistles. Admittedly its authenticity is doubted, since few early writers refer to it, any more than to 'Jude's', which is also one of the seven called 'general'. But the fact remains that these two, like the others, have been regularly used in very many churches.
"..we suggest you read the old legend of the Holy Grail. Our copy comes from the 1986 edition by Penguin Books, of The Quest for the Holy Grail , translated by P. R. Matarasso and also Sir Thomas Malory's work, Le Morte d'Arthur ...
..it is a curious note in history that the source of the Galahad legend is attributed to a Joseph of Arimathaea, a Jew who knew Jesus well enough to lend his family his tomb. He was recorded as being one of the two rulers of the Jews in Jerusalem, ruling beside Caiaphas in the Temple. Sources available to us call him a very rich man and a merchant; sometimes the priests of the temple refer to him as Father, a name of respect, perhaps being used much in the fashion as we address, in our own day, The Pope. The Pope is the recognized father of the church of Jesus Christ.
We had to ask why it was Joseph of Arimathaea who offered Christ his tomb. Where were the members of Christ's family? Why wasn't he turned over for burial in his family's tomb?
Our sources also describe Joseph of Arimathaea as a friend of Pilate, the Roman Governor who presided over Christ's trial. Joseph, by our reckoning, was an extremely influential man.
He lived on the heights above Jerusalem, probably where the other rich patriarchs of Jerusalem lived. The High Priest who presided over the Sanhedrin before him, who proclaimed Jesus to the world, whose name was Simeon, also lived in the Heights. For a source refers to Simeon's two sons being resurrected and back in the streets of their home in the Heights. Their tombs were near their house in the Heights. Joseph of Arimathaea's Garden Tomb was probably near to his house in the Heights as well.
How one attained to the leadership of the Sanhedrin, and the methods of electing its members to its council was through family relationships, as evidenced in many documents of the Oral Torah: the Midrash, Fathers according to Rabbi Nathan, etc.
The record of Jesus's family is extremely scant. We know that one named Zecharias, the husband of Elizabeth, the Virgin Mary's cousin, served as a priest in the temple. We suspect he was a Levite, but Elizabeth, to be of the same lineage of the Virgin Mary, had to derive her inheritance through Judah (and David). Not having much further information for edification, we have to stop here with the things we know to be true. But from here we can speculate a little, and probabilities are in our favor that what we surmise can be shown to be true.
Joseph of Arimathaea was a Jew, a son of Judah. This is what our sources suggest. He had a high position as a ruler in Jerusalem, even presiding over the Sanhedrin. He was very rich.
There is one in Jesus's family who was very rich as well. It was His grandfather, Johachim, who married His grandmother, Anna. Our sources suggest that Anna was a widow. She had been married before. Johachim was a son of Judah. Now, in this relationship, we have possibly sons of Johachim and the lone child of the marriage between Johachim and Anna: the young child who became to be called the Virgin Mary.
In the matters involving Widows we know that the Law calls for a man to marry his brother's widow. If Johachim had other brothers this also suggests that he is the eldest surviving brother. Taking the possibility of other brothers of Johachim being extant, we then can ask whether Jospeh of Arimathaea was one of Johachim's brothers or comes from his family line.
Related to that line is another man mentioned before of high status: Zecharias, a relative (married to Elizabeth) of the Virgin Mary, who served as priest in the Temple of the Lord. How did he come to receive that status? Did he come from a well founded family himself?
As a child Mary was dedicated to the temple and served in it. Certain sources name the High Priest of the Temple at that time as Abiathar, another as Reuben, and another as Isachar. After them Zecharias, the husband of Elizabeth, is mentioned and he appears to have been murdered in the temple.
After Zecharias, is mentioned the High Priest Simeon who happened to name Jesus as the Messiah. He was an old man who believed that he would see the Messiah before he dies.
In the chronology we have a record or tradition of a family from whence Jesus is derived which is closely connected with the Temple priesthood. Perhaps it is not unusual for any family to dedicate its child to the temple, but we suspect that the dedication of Mary to the temple went beyond the mere fact that the Virgin's mother, Anna, who was barren, had pledged her firstborn child to the Temple in gratification for the gift of the child. Nor can we suspect it ordinary for the young child Jesus to be allowed to minister to the priests in the temple. A relative in the temple, such as Zecharias, would explain why he was able to facilitate himself so easily in the Temple. Certainly if I were a priest in the Temple and my cousin came to study there and showed great merit I would be proud of him and display him to my peers.
In our day the tradition of pastors dedicating their children to follow in their footsteps is quite common. How many ministers on television do we hear claim that their father's were ministers? Thus, it would not be extraordinary to conclude that the Jews carried on the same practice in Jesus's and Mary's day. We would not be surprised to learn that Mary had relatives beyond Zecharias who had served or were serving either in the Temple or Sanhedrin. Furthermore, we must recognize that then marriages were arranged, just as it is reported that the priests arranged to marry Mary off to one of the older patriarchs of the line of David. His name was Joseph who was a carpenter, a simple man by trade, whose home city was in Bethlehem.
Sources suggest that Joseph had other children before he married the Virgin Mary. Others suggest that Joseph and Mary had other children between them besides Jesus. Thus we have some names such as Joseph (Jose?), Simon, and James. The eldest would presumably be the one named after his father, Jose or Joseph. Joseph Sr., the carpenter, though his birthright city was Bethlehem, lived in Nazareth. Mary's mother, Anna, according to our sources, was born in Bethlehem, but she gave birth to Mary in Nazareth. Johachim, the rich man and widower, lived in Nazareth. This tells us that the families of Johachim and Joseph were, at the least, neighbors sharing the same cityand Nazareth is not a very large town. Some scholars have even suggested that Nazareth could not have been extant (or much of a town) in Jesus' day. Regardless, we suspect Joseph the carpenter and Johachim, father of the Virgin Mary, were relatives. At the time of marriage to Mary, Joseph was an old man well on in his years, and their marriage appeared in the scriptures as an oddity. The thing used to explain away the marriage is the fact that the priests of the Temple, or perhaps the synagogue in Nazareth, decided to marry off the Virgin and chose the prospective husband through a random toss of the rods of David. All of the sons of David then living were invited to cast their rod to the priests who, in turn, observed a dove to descend upon the elder of the sons of David, who was Joseph. One report shows it descending on his rod; another shows it descending upon his head. In sum, the tradition reports that Joseph was chosen by God to marry the Virgin, and that Joseph the Carpenter was the eldest qualified suitor in the direct inheritance of King David. Hence through the tradition we have the report that both the Virgin and her husband, Joseph, were descendants of David. They were relatives; how close is anybody's guess (in the Old Testament stories we find a tradition of the Hebrews marrying cousins; i.e. the story of Jacob).
Getting back to Joseph of Arimathaea we find perhaps the most mysterious figure mentioned in the New Testament. He appears in connection with the burial of Jesus, then disappears. He appears with another man who is a ruler of the Sanhedrin. His name is Nicodemus (possibly Joseph of Arimathaea's son). The Gospel account of Joseph of Arimathaea is as follows:
John 19.38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
19.39 And there came also Nicodemus, what at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
19.40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
19.41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein was never man yet laid.
19.42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulcher was nigh at hand.
The account of Nicodemus in the Gospel:
John 3.1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
3.2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3.3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
3.4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
3.5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
3.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
3.7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
3.8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
3.9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
3.10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
3.11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
3.12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?...
Nicodemus served on the Sanhedrin and from the Gospel of Nicodemus we learn more about Jospeh of Arimathaea, much of it probably being legend and much of it being fact. Sorting through our sources we find that it was Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea who went together in carrying Jesus to the tomb. After this we have in the reports of Jesus's resurrection two men walking away from the tomb with Him. The most likely people to take the body out of the tomb would be Nicodemus and Joseph. For they put it there and Joseph owned the tomb. It was called his Garden Tomb and probably near his house in the Heights, as we suggested earlier.
We again recall that Simeon's son's tombs were in their garden, near their house in the Heights.
We don't here suggest that Joseph of Arimathaea hid the body of Jesus to allow the stories of his resurrection to propagate. It really doesn't make any difference in the outcome of our story [The_String_of_Pearls.html; ed. note]. But we do point out that these two men played a very important and critical role in the story of Jesus, and they are the least known of all the characters in the story! It's an oddity.
The Gospel of Nicodemus , which claims itself to have been found in the records of Pilate, mentions [also] that Nicodemus is a secret disciple of Jesus. As mentioned, Nicodemus served in the Sanhedrin along with Joseph of Arimathaea, and his Gospel records that he went to see Jesus by night, being afraid he would be discovered as a disciple of Jesus. The Apocryphal sources also suggest that Joseph of Arimathaea was of the same ilk, a friend of Christ's in secret. They suddenly emerge out of secrecy in the burial of Jesus and then return back into the cloak of secrecy afterwards. We wondered, why all the secrecy over these two men? We wondered how these two influential men of the Sanhedrin could even be connected with Jesus. Certainly they must have endangered their positions by taking custody of Jesus's body. This furthers our suspicions.
Our wondering turns to another source: the story of the Holy Grail. In that legend, which was first introduced in 1190 in an account called the Conte del Graal , written by Chretien de Troyes, the mysterious Joseph of Arimathaea emerges out of secrecy again. This time he is called the Fisher King and carries the Holy Grail, the cup which Christ is reported to have used in the Last Supper. Other accounts say that Joseph had stored some of Christ's actual blood in it.
How Joseph of Arimathaea came to possess the Holy Grail is another mystery worth delving into. And here we are led back to the author of the account of the Holy Grail who is reported to have come from Troyes, France.
Troyes, according to our sources, was a seat of the Templars, and the Templars were a group of knights who became the main defenders of Christendom. It was from them that came the great crusades. It is no surprise, then, that the story of the Holy Grail came out of the bastions of Troyes.
Having this story in their possession, as it appears to be so, we can now ask about this name called the Fisher King. He is their first hero, and his name is, as mentioned, Joseph of Arimathaea, a very influential man, a friend of Pilate. Our first detailed account [ the Apocrypha] of him comes even from the records of Pilate.
Now does the appellation Fisher King come from the fact that he was a merchant (in fish?) or from the comment Jesus made, I will make you fishers of men ? Or, referring to Jesus as the Fisher King does it suggest that he is carrying the family line of Jesus, of David, in him? The account of the Holy Grail suggests that he is more than a disciple of Jesus and probably a relative. This leads us to the speculation that he may even have been one of the elder sons of Joseph the carpenter, Joseph Sr. And this would make him first in the entire line of the sons of David, because Joseph the Carpenter was extolled as first in line of the sons of David. He was the eldest of all the sons of his time. His position, in the line, then becomes passed down to his eldest son. Joseph of Arimathaea could very easily have been the elder (half) brother of Jesus. (or perhaps his uncle, a son of Johachim). And this would explain the secrecy, hiding his kinship to Jesus, because of his power, his prestige, and his proximity to Pilate. It may also explain the great extent Pontius Pilate went to exonerating himself of any blame concerning the execution of Jesus. For if Pilate were a friend of Joseph of Arimathaea, as reported, and if he knew Joseph of Arimathaea was a relative of Jesus, he would necessarily be sympathetic to Jesus's defense.
Another curiosity comes into play when we consider these things. The Jews have a tradition of referring to people according to their father's name, just as it also has been in European tradition. The Jewish Messiah to come is often called Joseph ben Israel: Joseph, son of Israel. Jesus is referred to as Jesus ben Joseph the carpenter. Joseph of Arimathaea, on the other hand, is referred to as Joseph of the Heights (Arimathaea). Jesus was also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, denoting his city of origin (home). Admittedly this doesn't offer us much upon which to lean, but it is curious that we have no record on Joseph of Arimathaea which denotes his family lineage. For he was an extremely important man in his time, one of the rulers in Jerusalem. You would think that anyone referring to him in record would know of his family name. For sure, we are pulling at straws but we wonder who he really is and why he had such a secret role burying the member of another family, which family, as we mentioned earlier, was not without position or money. Again, we recall Johachim, a man of means, the grandfather of Jesus, and Zecharias, a man of position in the Temple, the cousin of Jesus (also Jesus' brother James is recorded above as a high priest in the Temple). Our suspicions are too much aroused. Jesus was not among a impoverished relatives and probably one of them, Joseph of Arimathaea, offered up his tomb; and, according to the Grail, Joseph of Arimathaea was born of the noblest lineage known to man . To Christians and Jews the noblest lineage known to man would be that of David the King.
The aforementioned books on the Grail lead us to yet another conclusion. The adventures of the Grail seem to be the only record extant of a line of men descending from David (aside from the Ethiopian line descended from Solomon and the Queen of Sheba). The Latter Day Messiah, according to the Old Testament Prophesies, has to be of the lineage of David. Reflecting upon this we conclude that any Messiah to come has only the tales of the Grail to draw upon in establishing His Lineage.
The name, Galahad, in the Grail stories first appears through Sir Lancelot, whose homeland is France. He was a great noble of France. He went to England (then called Logres) to King Arthur's court and served on the Round Table. Many knights at the Round Table, including King Arthur, were cousins of Sir Lancelot. And in the story many of the marriages being formed were between cousins. King Arthur himself sired a son through his own sister! And we see the intrigue of the Arthurian legend itself is not so much a romance between King Arthur's wife, Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot, but was in reality a French knight, Sir Lancelot, carrying on a love affair with his own cousin, Guinevere. And more so, early in the story we are told that Sir Lancelot had an affair with the King of Ireland's daughter, who gave birth to a son named, after his own father, and called Galahad.
At the Round Table there was one chair purposely left vacant. It was called the Seige of Danger . Anyone who sat in it faced instant death. A prophesy went with the chair to the effect that only a gallant knight to come, born of the seed of Joseph of Arimathaea, could take that Seige of Danger. And Sir Galahad, Sir Lancelot's son, was acclaimed the rightful heir to that seat. In the stories he is often referred to as the Haut Prince (High Prince).
Further in the story we see Galahad going onto a ship to take rest on Solomon's bed. The prophesy concerning that bed stated that only the rightful heir of Solomon (the line of David) could rest on it .
In the adventure to discover the Grail, Sir Galahad is accompanied by two cousins: Sir Bors de Ganis and Sir Percival. A prophesy relating to their adventure said that two of them would die and one would come again. Of these only Sir Bors survived the adventure of the Holy Grail.
Other relatives of Sir Galahad include Sir Ector de Maris and Sir Lionel (Sir Lancelot's brothers), Sir Helin le Blank, son of Sir Bors, Sir Blamor de Ganis, Sir Bleoberis, Sir Aliduke, Sir Galihud, Sir Galihodin, and Sir Bellengerus le Beuse, Sir Gahalatine, Sir Menaduke, Sir Villiars the Valiant, Sir Hebes le Renoumes; among others, including King Arthur's kin. All of these seem to stem from one King Ban and later King Pelles, from whom Sir Lancelot du Lake derives his inheritance. And those directly descended from King Pelles along with Sir Lancelot are mentioned as Sir Tor, Sir Aglolval, Sir Durnore, Sir Lamorak, and Sir Percival. A brother to Sir Lamorak, who was killed in the early part of the story, was Sir Tristram (the subject of another Grail Romance called Tristram and Isolde ). Sir Tristram's Cross can still be seen near Glastonbury with his epithet inscribed upon it. So of all these names and more, at least we know one of them actually did live. In fact, Sir Tristram is the earlier hero of the entire episode.
The tale concerning King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table is not only a myth remembering the great adventures of the Round Table, it also does one other thing: it remembers a terrible war between England and France. It records that in the battle near Dover over 100,000 men were killed, leaving King Arthur standing alone with all of his worthy knights slain around him. It seems that most of the sons of Joseph of Arimathaea, which were related to King Arthur, suddenly became extinct in that terrible war between cousins.
Many scholars have concluded that the myth concerning this war is not altogether a fabrication; and by consensus they seem to agree that King Arthur's court was actually located near Avilon (Glastonbury).
It is difficult to tell how the land of Britain was divided up among all the sons of Joseph of Arimathaea. This is understandable, because the story of King Arthur and the Round Table was remembered from the viewpoint of its French Cousins; and we are told in the story that when Sir Lancelot returned to France with his kin he divided up the country as follows:
Sir Lionel was crowned King of France
Sir Bors was crowned King of all King Claudas' lands
Sir Ector de Maris, Sir Lancelot's youngest brother, was crowned King of Benwick (also called Bayonne or Beaune, where the wine
of Beaune is)
Sir Blamor was made Duke of Limousin in Guienne
Sir Bleoberis was made Duke of Poitiers
Sir Ghalantine was made Duke of Auvergne
Sir Galihodin was made Duke of Saintonge
Sir Galihud was made Earl of Perigord
Sir Meaduike was made Earl of Rouerge
Sir Villiars the Valiant was made Earl of Beearn
Sir Hebes le Renoumes was made Earl of Comminges
Sir Lavaine was made Earl of Armagnac
Sir Urre' was made Earl of Estrake
Sir Nerovens was made Earl of Pardiac
Sir Plenorius was made Earl of Foix
Sir Selises of the Dolorous Tower was made Earl of Marsan
Sir Melias de Lile was made Earl of Tursan
Sir Bellengerus le Beuse was made Earl of the Launds
* Sir Palomides was made Duke of the Provence
*Sir Safer was made Duke of Languedoc
Sir Clegis was made the Earl of Agen
Sir Sadok was made the Earl of Surlat
Sir Dinas le Seneschal was made Duke of Anjou
Sir Clarrus was made Duke of Normandy
* These men were Saracens and not reputed as blood kin to Sir Lancelot.
All of the kin of Sir Lancelot, through their bloodline to the Fisher King, Joseph of Arimathaea, are candidates for the throne of David. Again, the many other cousins of King Arthur in England and Wales, perhaps even Ireland and Scotland, as tradition relates, are also candidates for the throne of David.
Many scholars have concluded that the Castle of Cardif or some other location in South Wales is the home of Camelot. But Mallory's Book XVIII, chapter 20, tells us that King Arthur and Queen Guinevere observed a black barget going down the river Thames headed towards Westminster Abbey, where the nobility then were buried. The barge carried the Maid of Astolat in it and she came from the castle of Astolat (known also as Guildford) nearby, about seven miles from Windsor Castle. Sir Thomas Mallory refers to King Arthur's Castle of Camelot as the Castle of Winchester. This suggests that near Windsor is a place which was once known as Winchester Castle. About seven miles away, across the river, was the castle of Astolat. We know this because Sir Lancelot had to cross the river going from Winchester to get there; and it was a short distance. In addition, in as much as King Arthur and his Queen were looking out the window and spied the black barget going towards London down the Thames, it follows that the Winchester of which Mallory spoke had to be located on the Thames before it reaches London, where Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London were located. Because the black barget was passing down the river past their castle it also follows that Astolat was up river from Winchester. Now near these is a place called the King's ford. We mention these things for edification, calling them to the attention of the Galahad of our book. For he carries a double lineage to Joseph of Arimathaea."
Apocryphal books which are of interest with regard to the above:
The Gospel of the Birth of Mary--attributed to St. Matthew
The ProtEvangelion--attributed to James
The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christattributed to Joseph the high-priest, called by some Caiaphas. This is an old gospel used by the early Christians which through the traditions associated with Jesus' (somewhat fanciful) miracles as an infant, was well documented through history (Eusebius; etc.; in 1599 the synod at Angamala, in the mountains of Malabar, condemned this gospel as being commonly used by the Nestorians) Of interest in the gospel are names, such as Joseph who is also known as the high priest, Caiaphas. Also an old Hebrew woman, fetched by Joseph, attends the birth of Jesus as in the ProtEvangelion.
The Gospel of Nicodemus, formerly called the Acts of Pontius Pilate--attributed to Nicodemus
These books should be available on the internet through links to the Apocrypha http://home.sn.no/~noetic/libe.htm and other links carried on Maravot's_welcome.html.
Launched 4.5.98; updated 4.25.98; 5.2.98; 6.12.99; 5.27.2000; 10.10.04; 3.15.05
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