Wednesday, March 9, 2011

NT Pod 50: What do we know about the sisters of Jesus?

NT Pod 50 asks "What do we know about the sisters of Jesus?" It is just under twelve minutes long.

NT Pod 50: Jesus' Sisters (mp3)
NT Pod 50: Jesus' Sisters (mp3) (Alternative location)

Key texts: Mark 6.3, Matt. 13.56, Protevangelium of James 19, Gospel of Philip 59.6-11, Epiphanius, Pan. 78.8.1, 78.9.6, Ancoratus 60.1.

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Thanks to Ram2000, Me and You, for the opening theme, released under a Creative Commons agreement.


  1. Very interesting topic! Regarding Bauckham's position that the Protoevangelium of James takes for granted that Salome is a sister of Jesus, how does he then explain Mary being a virgin at the time of Jesus' birth? I would assume that he would reconcile this by saying Salome is Jesus' half-sister (the daughter of Joseph from a prior marriage). Is this in fact what Bauckham argues? If not, then you have one of two positions to choose from: two virgin births (Salome and then Jesus), or Mary being returned to virginity after giving birth to Salome; both of which would be guilty of reading too much into the text.

    Also, I have a question regarding the citation in GPhilip. The copy that I am referring to is from Ehrman's "Lost Scriptures", and my GPhil 59 does not match up with the present podcast. Rather, GPhil 32 is where your quote shows up. Is there not a unified layout of chapter and verse in texts like these? Just curious. Thanks!

  2. Hi CJ,
    Thanks for your comments. Bauckham thinks that all of Jesus' brothers and sisters are Joseph's children by a previous marriage. He thinks that Salome's presence with the family is a sign that the text is taking for granted that this "Salome" was a daughter of Joseph who was with the rest of the family at the cave in Bethlehem. He wonders why else she would be there. I am troubled, though, that the text does not spell out that she is a sister of Jesus, and it does not even prepare us for that earlier on when it does mention Joseph's sons.

    Re. references: both are right. One (59.6-11) relates to where it is found in Nag Hammadi Codex II and the other refers to the internal verse numbering. The former is what Bauckham uses, but the latter would be more convenient, I think.

  3. I seem to recall reading references to later literature that refers to relatives of Jesus (presumably descended from his brothers and sisters) being present in early church during the first few centuries. Is it possible to get any information about names from these sources?