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Desposyni

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  Quote Sidney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Desposyni
    Posted: 31-Mar-2012 at 13:43
According to the New Testament and early church traditions, Jesus had cousins, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters. Many of these individuals accepted Jesus’ ministry, and were members of the infant Christian church.
Those identified as appearing in the NT (although their relationship is not always given) are;
Mary, his mother
Joseph the carpenter, his (step) father
James, Joses/ph, Simon & Jude/as, the brothers of Jesus
Mary and one or more other (unnamed), sisters of Jesus
Mary/Salome, the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus
Zebedee the husband of Salome
John & James, the sons of Zebedee
Alphaeus/Clopas the brother of Joseph the carpenter
Levi, Simeon, James & Joses the sons of Alphaeus/Clopas
Mary the wife of Clopas
Joseph of Arimathea, a great uncle of Jesus
Simon the Leper, a cousin of Joseph the carpenter
Mary, Martha & Lazarus, children of Simon the Leper
Elizabeth the Levite, a cousin to Mary the wife of Joseph the carpenter
Zecharias the priest, husband of Elizabeth
John the Baptist, son of Zecharias & Elizabeth

According to Julius Africanus, who wrote c.220AD, Jesus’ human relations were called ‘Desposyni’, and came from Nazareth & Cochaba. Members of this family were still alive in his own time.

Eusebius, the Church Historian of the 4th Century, quotes Hegesippus (d.180AD) as saying that in the reign on Domitian, the emperor ordered the execution of all those in King David’s line. The grandsons of Jude, the brother of Jesus, were brought before him and admitted that they were descended from David, and also Christians. They showed Domitian that they were farmers and that the Kingdom they awaited was not an earthly one. Domitian viewed them as being too simple to be a threat and released them. Because they were of Christ’s family and had borne testimony they were made leaders of the church, and they survived to the reign of Trajan, when another persecution occurred against Christians and the House of Judah. In this time Simeon the son Clopas and cousin to Jesus, was martyred at the age of 120. Later tradition gives these two grandnephews of Jesus the names James and Zoker.
Simeon, the son of Clopas, mentioned above and martyred in 107AD, was the second Bishop of Jerusalem, having succeeded James, the brother of Jesus, in 62AD. Eusebius tells us that the succeeding Bishops of Jerusalem, to the year 135AD, were all circumcised Hebrews, but then the emperor Hadrian expelled all Jews from Jerusalem and so gentile Christians took over the position. Later commentators have taken this to mean that all these Hebrew Bishops were of Jesus’s family, and the last Hebrew Bishop was Judah Kyriakos, traditionally said to have been of the family of the James and Zoker, descendants of Jude.

According to an historian of Christianity in Persia, Bar Hebraeus (d.1286), other members of the Desposyni travelled to Persia and became Bishops of Seleucia-Ctesiphon.
Abris (Abrosius), of the family of Joseph the carpenter, was already in Seleucia-Ctesiphon, but on a visit to Antioch was chosen by Simeon, the Bishop of Jerusalem, to succeed the recently deceased Mari as Bishop in Persia. He was Bishop for 17 years. He was succeeded by Abraham, of the family of Jacob (James) the brother of Jesus, and was also consecrated in Antioch. He was Bishop for 12 years. He was succeeded by Yokab, also of the family of Joseph the carpenter. Yakob was residing in Jerusalem, but was sent to Persia and was Bishop for 18 years.

Another attested member of the Desposyni appears on the South coast of Turkey. In the time of the emperor Decius there was a Christian called Conon, living as a gardener in Magydus, near present day Antalya. He was arrested, and taken to the local governor as a Christian. He was asked who he was, and he claimed to be a native of Nazareth and a kinsman of Jesus. Nails were knocked into his feet and he was forced to run before a chariot, resulting in his death, c.250AD.

There is also a Welsh belief (10th Century or earlier) that the ancestor of the kings of Gwynedd, Beli Mawr, was married to Anna, the cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus.

Finally, within some of the Arthurian romance cycles, there is the 13th Century belief that Joseph of Arimathea fathered a family line known as the Fisher Kings, who were guardians of the Holy Grail in Britain.


Edited by Sidney - 31-Mar-2012 at 13:44
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  Quote Leroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Mar-2012 at 18:08
Thanks that was really interesting. Just to clarify the brother thing, the New Testament is quite explicit that Mary was a virgin and the early Church fathers acknowledged this.

The Protoevangelium of James states that Joseph already had children before he married the Virgin Mary. The brothers of Jesus (James, Joseph, Jude, and Simon) were most plausibly his step-brothers. Simon may have been his cousin (Eusebius quoting Hegesippus):

And after James the Just had suffered martyrdom, as the Lord had also on the same account, Symeon, the son of the Lord's uncle, Clopas, was appointed the next bishop. All proposed him as second bishop because he was a cousin of the Lord.

Note that in Aramaic there is no word for cousin and the word brother is used for close relations and also for friends and companions (more than 120 different people are called Jesus' brothers).

Sources:
Clement of Alexandria, II Comments on the Epistle of Jude
Eusebius, Church History, 8, 5


Edited by Leroy - 31-Mar-2012 at 18:12
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Mar-2012 at 18:10
Some apocrypha even claim Jesus married and had children after the crucifixion
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  Quote Leroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Mar-2012 at 18:13
Do you happen to know which ones, their dates and reception by the Church?
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Mar-2012 at 18:19
Not off the top of my head, but i'll see what i can find
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  Quote Leroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Mar-2012 at 18:42
If such apocrypha exist they are probably gnostic and of a rather late origin. I'm guessing they are modern interpretations though.
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Mar-2012 at 20:35
Edging toward a Dan Brown rehash if ya asking me. Course no one did.... so I'll just throw in some counter rhetoric anyway. And as it address the above question it's pertinent.
 
 
 


Edited by Centrix Vigilis - 31-Mar-2012 at 20:35
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 00:03
I don't buy that Mary was a virgin - to have a baby one has to have had sex in some shape and form; not that it matter, but this was a later addition when the Church became sexophobic and has to make sure that no "blemish" of any sexuality ever "marred" Jesus - it was a piece of propaganda, in other words. So, Jesus having brothers and sisters and family makes no difference to me, in the opposite, makes a case for his possible existence - /which by any means has not been proven along the centuries/.

Keep in mind that I don't want to insult anyone's sensibilities, nor I want anyone to agree with me, when discussing such flammable topicsSmile
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 01:12
to have a baby one has to have had sex in some shape and form
Nope. Not according to the doctrine and dogma of the Virgin birth of Jesus.
 
And there in lies the failure of the revisionist and or secularist attempt (and in particular the atheist or Christian religion haters) to restate evidence that does not exist or distort that which does. Even when one considers the differences in interpretation of the aforementioned..amongst the faithful.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 01:24
I prefer to hold myself on reality about that - I had a child, I know something of how those things are done and how are not done.
Doctrines and dogmas are exactly that - doctrines and dogmas, not facts or realities, as far as I'm concerned; I'm not obliged to follow any of them. I wrote on this before - if Jesus existed to start with, he was a man with all the body parts and functions any man has; the same goes for her mother, etc. Every other attempt to explain normal bodily functions with some miracles is not needed and if it's done, it's a figment of someone's imagination and used for propaganda needs.

This is what I see. How you are going to classify it is your choice, I don't have to accept it.Smile
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 01:31
This is what I see. How you are going to classify it is your choice, I don't have to accept it.Smile
 
 
Certainly correct and entirely your perogative.
Ntl...
I shall pray for your further enlightment.Wink
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 04:27
Tried this one too for some years - I'm not a believer material.
I appreciate the thought though, my friendSmile.


Edited by Don Quixote - 01-Apr-2012 at 04:32
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  Quote Leroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 09:22
Originally posted by Don Quixote

I don't buy that Mary was a virgin - to have a baby one has to have had sex in some shape and form; not that it matter, but this was a later addition when the Church became sexophobic and has to make sure that no "blemish" of any sexuality ever "marred" Jesus - it was a piece of propaganda, in other words.

I don't expect anyone else to believe in the virgin birth of Christ. I'm just pointing out the fact that it has been held since the beginning of the Church. If Mary's perpetual virginity was a later addition, there would not have been a consensus about it among the early Church fathers.

So, Jesus having brothers and sisters and family makes no difference to me, in the opposite, makes a case for his possible existence - /which by any means has not been proven along the centuries/.

Whether you think the virgin birth is myth is not the point, the point is that from a historical point of view the myth was believed by the early Christians. Smile


Edited by Leroy - 01-Apr-2012 at 09:24
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  Quote Sidney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 10:39
I find the Desposyni interesting for three reasons;

1. That a family believed themselves related to an individual who lived one or two hundred years before them, implies some knowledge that that person existed and was important. There are some modern arguments that Jesus never even existed in 1st Century Palestine, but these family traditions place him within a genealogical context.

2. These people claimed a relationship through Joseph the carpenter, not through Mary. If Joseph had no children by Mary then that connection would be of no great import, espescially as he vanishes early on from the gospels. I know 'family' could include an extended range of individulas, adopted/half/step/in-law/full blooded, but its an interesting point, although I'm not sure whether it has any significance.

3. Why did their claims die out? Did they all forget, or the lines become extinct. How late did the tradition last of being related to Jesus?

Jesus' brothers pose an interesting problem for some people, or have an easy solution for others. Either they were full siblings (and Jesus was a son of Joseph, which is a problem for Jesus' divinity), or they are other children of Mary (which poses questions about Mary's virginity). Usually they are explained as children of Joseph by a previous marriage, or they are made into cousins - children of Mary's sister and Joseph's brother.

My still-undecided-and-open-to-change thoughts are;
The New Testament interpretation is that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born, not that she remained a virgin all her life. That belief came later when people wanted Mary to have been 'without sin' (i.e. had no sexual intercourse) inorder to have received the Holy Spirit, and God must have maintained her sinlessness inorder to proove how holy she was. And having a (so to speak) divine womb, it can't have been polluted by mortals, unless you accept that any further children were (at least in part) divine, which no one did. But the idea of Mary's perpetual purity meant that she too had to have been born 'without sin', and so we get the tricky situation where her mother Anna was also said to have concieved through the Holy Spirit. This train of thinking leads to the inevitable repetiton ad infintum (i.e. Anna must also be without sin, and so her mother must have concieved via the Holy Spirit, and so her mother, etc.) which seems unlikely. It also led to inventions of how Mary could have had a sister if Mary was a virgin birth, in the same way that people argue over how Jesus could have had siblings.

Going back to the New Testament, Jesus is called Mary's first-born son. To me that implies the existence of others. I see no reason not to accept that Jesus had uterine brothers and sisters, whether or not Jesus' was the literal son of God.

Also, while the word 'brother' in Aramaic (or in most languages for that matter) didn't neccesarily mean 'son of the same parents', why, when given a group of people who were all companians or near relatives of Jesus, is one, James, singled out as his 'brother'?

But that is my interpretation, and I know that there are arguments and beliefs against it, from ones more versed individuals than I am.
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 14:08
Originally posted by Leroy


Whether you think the virgin birth is myth is not the point, the point is that from a historical point of view the myth was believed by the early Christians. Smile

True, it had been believed, and it's believed now - but believes have nothing to do with reality, no? People believed in Zeus and Ganesha, this doesn't men that objectively they existed. This is besides the point, the OP here is about the relatives of Jesus, seen as real people, which means that they had been born, and lived. It's a hard thing to talk about people connected with religion in a purely secular way, because different religious views get into it; but I thought the idea here is to talk about them outside of the Christian milieu that had enveloped them since they came about.
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 14:18
but believes have nothing to do with reality, no?
depends on the individual version of reality me thinks. But I ken yer latter point so am moving on.Big smile
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 14:36
The claims of Desposyni didn't die out easily, Eusebius of Cesarea recorded that in AD 318 a Desposyni delegation went to Rome to talk with the Bishop Silvester at Constantine's Lateran Palace:
"... Through their chief spokesman. Joses, the delegated argued that the Church should be rightfully centered in Jerusalem, not Rome. They claimed that the Bishop of Jerusalem should be a true hereditary Desposinos, while the bishops of other major centers - such as Alexandria, Antioch and Ephesus - should be related. After all, they declared, Bishop clement of Alexandria had written that Jesus's brother James /as the appointed Nazarene Bishop of Jerusalem/ was "the Lords of the Holy Church and the bishop of bishops". In that respect, their Israelite-Christian movement was of far higher authority than a contrived Roman offshoot centered upon St. Peter, who was a mere apostle of the Lord and not a family member. Not surprizingly, their demands were made in vain..." pg. 27-28 "The Magdalene Legacy" by Laurence Gardner.

So, it;s all fight for power - a claim of the "clan" over the claim of politically based power - and this has nothing to do with faith, just earthly power.

As for the virgin birth, I don't see what this have to do with anything. If there is God /which as an agnostic I don't think impossible/, he created sex, so all living creatures can procriate, so sex cannot possibly be sinful, on the opposite, it's divinely ordained. The sexophibic strain in Christianily didn;t came from Judaism /that respected sex, and wanted more wived so more sex and more kids come about/, but from the Greek Stoic philosophy that got instilled in Christianity by the Early Fathers of the Church.

Sexuality is not a simple thing, it plays an extremely important role in the human psychological life; if humans are cretaed bu god, this god knew very well what he was doing be putting sex in humans life - it's the glue between a man and woman, a glue so strong than can keep 2 people bonded for life, even considering that living with another person is the hardest thing possible. If there is higher plan for humanity /which I don't exclude as possibility/ sexulaity is an important part of it, not something dirty and sinful, that has to be cut out of human life. That's why for me was Jesus married or not, did he have sex or not, did Mary have sex or not, have nothing to do with the question "is there a God", and "was Jesus divine". If there is a god, his way to create is through sex that he ordained - and as such is to be enjoyed by humans as a part of their effort of becoming better persons, after all then life is only a school for people's souls. I don't see who a son of god would become more divine by not doing what his father, the god, ordained as a way of creation.

In other words, there is no need of "virgin birth" because sex is divine instrument, so to speak, nor a sin. This is my opinion anyway.
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  Quote Sidney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 16:28
Originally posted by Don Quixote

The claims of Desposyni didn't die out easily, Eusebius of Cesarea recorded that in AD 318 a Desposyni delegation went to Rome to talk with the Bishop Silvester at Constantine's Lateran Palace:"... Through their chief spokesman. Joses, the delegated argued that the Church should be rightfully centered in Jerusalem, not Rome. They claimed that the Bishop of Jerusalem should be a true hereditary Desposinos, while the bishops of other major centers - such as Alexandria, Antioch and Ephesus - should be related. After all, they declared, Bishop clement of Alexandria had written that Jesus's brother James /as the appointed Nazarene Bishop of Jerusalem/ was "the Lords of the Holy Church and the bishop of bishops". In that respect, their Israelite-Christian movement was of far higher authority than a contrived Roman offshoot centered upon St. Peter, who was a mere apostle of the Lord and not a family member. Not surprizingly, their demands were made in vain..." pg. 27-28 "The Magdalene Legacy" by Laurence Gardner.


I've heard this story too, but if Laurence Gardner found it in Eusebius, he must have a hitherto unknown source, as it doesn't appear in the known records of that historian.

It does however, appear in the work of Malachi Martin "Decline and Fall of the Roman Church" (1981). Malachi starts by saying that the interview between Pope and Desposyni was not recorded, yet then goes on to tell us what was discussed, which seems to be a contradiction. He also states that the Hebrew Bishops of Jerusalem, and in fact all the early church leaders in the East, were Desposyni, and that the Desposyni were only classed as such if they were blood relatives to Jesus through his mother Mary, which is at odds with the references I've found. Malachi gives no sources for his information, and writes his history in a very readable, but also very novelistic, style, which makes it hard to judge which parts are historically attested and which is artistic retelling.

Edited by Sidney - 01-Apr-2012 at 16:29
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 17:25
Hm, this is the second time I get a remark that something Gardner said is not exactly right, I'll start questioning his book and motives. I haven't read Malachi Martin, but I don't like unreferenced with primary source research.
Thank you for bringing this to my attention, I'll look deeper into itSmile
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 17:48
Originally posted by Centrix Vigilis

but believes have nothing to do with reality, no?
depends on the individual version of reality me thinks. But I ken yer latter point so am moving on.Big smile

I suppose it can be said in this way. Gabriel Marcel said that believers have an access to reality than is open only to them, in the same way as a person who is school in reading notes have the doors of classical music open to him on another level, that a person who doesn't know anything about theory of music cannot experience. Hence, you have open for you doors I cannot pass, so in general I cannot really understand the question in the way you do; and I separate things in way in which you don't see them - that's because you are a person of faith and I'm not.

Faith - it's an elusive thing, one cannot learn it, cannot fake it, cannot prove it to oneself, cannot force it one oneself, even if one wants to - it is there or not. I've been reading religious philosophy in the last, say, 13 years, and I'm fond in particular of the medieval theologians - but none of this rubbed off on me, even in the years when I was associated with a particular church. I respect your point of view, and in a way envy you, since I'm smelling a flower from behind a glass, while you have it in your nose - but this is only as far as I can go.

Anyway, I wouldn't like my opinions to be an obstacle to your participation in the discussion hereSmile - I love reading your posts on the matter, even when I don't agree with them. I don't need to agree with someone in order to discuss with them, nor I don't want then to agree with me - what a boring world it would be if everyone thought like me.
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