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Persons named in the Gospels

Swammerdami

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I tend to get fascinated with useless trivia! It's not so bad: It "keeps me off the streets", and once upon a time some of the useless trivia was just useful enough to build up a small nest-egg for me. Unfortunately -- Fair Warning! -- sometimes I share the useless trivia at IIDB. :cool:

First a disclaimer: I am NOT a Christian; I do NOT think Jesus worked miracles; I do NOT read the Bible for spiritual enlightenment. My sole objective is to try to guess the motives of the Bible's writers, and to try to guess the distinction between fact and fiction. I knew almost nothing about history for most of my life but, for whatever reason, an interest in history (especially ancient history or even prehistory) was aroused after I retired.

Sometimes it seems that the Gospel writers were very parsimonious with their words! :cool: Not only was papyrus expensive, but professional scribes had to be hired. For example, in the Gospel of Mark the only mention by names of Jesus' family -- with an important exception -- is this well-known passage:
Mark 6:3-4 said:
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
That's it!! Father Joseph is mentioned ZERO times in the entire Gospel. Brother James -- who became a top pillar of the Church before the Gospels were written -- is mentioned ONLY here in all the Gospels. (Matthew and Luke offer the same list of brothers; Matthew replaces "the carpenter" with "the carpenter's son," still not naming Jesus' father except in the Nativity myth of chapters 1-2.)

I wrote that there is an important exception; a place where Mark does repeat his mention of Mary and two of Jesus' brothers.
Mark 15-16 said:
[15:40] There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome. These women had followed him when he was in Galilee and ministered to him ...
. . .
[15:47] Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses [Joseph] saw where Jesus' body was laid.
. . .
[16:1] And when the Sabbath passed, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him.
The "other Mary" is the mother of James and Joses, and therefore also the mother of their older brother Jesus! But does it seem odd not to just call her "Jesus' mother"? For some reason the author of Mark is reluctant to say this out loud! Why? (Matthew and Luke have the same reticence, with the former changing two instances of that Mary to just "the other Mary." John refers to Jesus' mother, e.g. in his famous last words, but mentions her by name . . . ZERO times.

This reluctance to identify Mary as Jesus' mother strikes me as peculiar -- and should seem peculiar whether you treat the Gospels as fact or fiction.

(By the way, I compose this post using TWO laptops -- each has deficiency -- and sometimes copy/paste verses from a Bible translation different from the KJV I usually use. This explains the Joses/Joseph substitution above -- two renderings of the same name. John/Jona/Jonah also seem to translate from the same (Greek?) name.)

Does the reluctance to name Mary, Joseph and Jesus' brother James seem peculiar?) This James is called "the First Bishop of Jerusalem", and was assassinated in the 60's AD, BEFORE the alleged writings of the Gospels.

There are other oddnesses in Gospel names which I'll mention in a follow-up post.
 
So, a question for you since you seem interested in evaluating the historicity of the thing: looking specifically at Matthew 19:12, do you expect that this is an authentic attribution to the source that was simply omitted from the other gospels due to the radical nature of such an endorsement of gender affirming transition or do you think this is a later dogmatic mutation caused by the insertion by an author who was themselves either a eunuch or eunuch-wannabe?

The reason this strikes me as an important question is the known comorbidity between atypical gender expressions (such as auto-castration, making oneself a eunuch), and the sorts of thought patterns that precipitate books like the Bible (if we are being serious about original author motives)

It's exactly the sort of thing that would conveniently be forgotten by some authors and groups because it is "really weird", and included specifically by others, ostensibly those who value the insight.
 
The first guy mentioned in my pocket edition is Chap I.
 
Simplest and least irregular, given the thread title, is to just list all the named persons in a Gospel. I choose John's Gospel.

Persons named in John's Gospel
  • 8 persons long dead (#mentions in parens). Abraham(11), Jacob/Israel(3), Joseph bin Israel(1), Moses/(Musa)(13), David(2), Solomon(1), Esaias(4), Elias(2).
  • Persons named in both John's and Mark's Gospel
    • Jesus (250+ mentions)
    • Pontius Pilate (21 mentions) - though I think John always omits the "Pontius"
    • John the Baptist (20 mentions)
    • Simon Peter (50 mentions). - Cephas, his patronynmic is bar Jonah.
    • Andrew, Simon Peter's brother (5 mentions)
    • Zebedee, father of James and John (1 mention) - patronymic used in lieu of names
    • Martha, Mary Magdalene's sister (9 mentions)
    • Mary Magdalene, Martha's sister (14 mentions)
    • Judas Iscariot (8 mentions) - his patronymic is bar Simon.
    • Caiaphas (5 mentions) - high priest
    • Annas (2 mentions) - high priest
    • Joseph of Arimathea (1 mention)
    • Barabbas (1 mention) - robber spared instead of Jesus
  • Persons named in John's Gospel but not Mark's
    • "the disciple Jesus loved" (5 mentions) - presumably one of the sons of Zebedee
    • Nicodemus (5 mentions) - Pharisee attracted to Jesus
    • Malchus (1 mention) - his ear was cut by Simon Peter. Unlike Simon in the synoptic Gospels, John's Simon doesn't cower when Jesus is arrested, as Simon in the synoptics does. Instead see John 18:10-11.
    • Lazarus, brother of Martha and Mary Magdalene (11 mentions) - story and kinship quite different from Lazarus at Luke 16:20-25
    • Nathanael of Cana (6 mentions) - oft-mentioned near-disciple, not in synoptics
    • Philip (12 mentions) - disciple, synoptics mention only in list
    • Thomas Didymous (8 mentions) - disciple, synoptics mention only in list. "Doubting Thomas" story is unique to John's G.
    • Mary (1 mention) Jesus' mother's sister, and wife of Cleophas - present at the crucifixion
    • Cleophas (1 mention), husband of Jesus' Aunt Mary - same as Cleopas of Luke 24:18?
    • Judas not Iscariot (1 mention) - same as Judas at Luke 6:17 ?
    • "sons of Zebedee" (1 mention) - meaning "James and John".
  • Persons named in Mark's Gospel but not John's
    • Mary, the mother of Jesus! - John mentions the mother several times but never names her.
    • Joseph, Jesus' father (2 mentions) - but I call that zero mentions since they're just patronymics
    • Jesus' 4 brothers: James, Joses, Jude, Simon
    • James, son of Zebedee and principal disciple
    • John, son of Zebedee and principal disciple
    • Bartholomew, Matthew, James bar Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite, Judas bar Alphaeus - six other disciples. Synoptics only list.

All three synoptic Gospels make it clear that James and John, sons of Zebedee are, with Simon Peter, among the three principal disciples. Yet John never mentions James or John, except once as "the sons of Zebedee" and 5 times as "the beloved disciple." John also conceals the name of Mary, Jesus' mother! Why?
 
So, a question for you since you seem interested in evaluating the historicity of the thing: looking specifically at Matthew 19:12, do you expect that this is an authentic attribution to the source that was simply omitted from the other gospels due to the radical nature of such an endorsement of gender affirming transition or do you think this is a later dogmatic mutation caused by the insertion by an author who was themselves either a eunuch or eunuch-wannabe?

Thanks for the question! I'm sorry that my answer is I don't know. I do NOT understand the purpose or background of the excerpt, and am 1000% UNQUALIFIED to comment on any schism between Pauline, Johanine or Marcan moralities. If, as you suggest, this parable is unique to Matthew, this might be a clue for scholars, but I'm just a casual bystander.

Could it POSSIBLY be related to another question I've had about the "Secret" version of Mark written about by Clement? A young man spends the night naked with Jesus. What's the scoop on that?
 
So, a question for you since you seem interested in evaluating the historicity of the thing: looking specifically at Matthew 19:12, do you expect that this is an authentic attribution to the source that was simply omitted from the other gospels due to the radical nature of such an endorsement of gender affirming transition or do you think this is a later dogmatic mutation caused by the insertion by an author who was themselves either a eunuch or eunuch-wannabe?

Thanks for the question! I'm sorry that my answer is I don't know. I do NOT understand the purpose or background of the excerpt, and am 1000% UNQUALIFIED to comment on any schism between Pauline, Johanine or Marcan moralities. If, as you suggest, this parable is unique to Matthew, this might be a clue for scholars, but I'm just a casual bystander.

Could it POSSIBLY be related to another question I've had about the "Secret" version of Mark written about by Clement? A young man spends the night naked with Jesus. What's the scoop on that?
What huh now? There's actually a Gay Mark?

Edit: I read the excerpt and the wiki article. It was interesting.
 
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Jesus' 4 brothers: James, Joses, Simon, Jude
So, what's up with "Simon"???

Jesus,
James,
Joses,
Jude,

and

Simon???

Did Mary run out of ideas for names beginning with 'J'? Was she worried that if Simon were called Joseph (a name with which she should be passing familiar, as it's presumed to be the name of the father of some, maybe most, of her kids*), he'd get mixed up with Joses, or be called "Junior" (which also begins with a 'J', so maybe she should have just gone with it)?

Are we sure he wasn't really called "Jimon"? Perhaps it was a medieval typo.

These are important questions that Bible scholars appear to be ignoring. What are they trying to hide??










* Maybe after you have been impregnated by God Himself, any subsequent men are pretty forgettable. When she was at the Department of Child Services, giving them the names of her kids' fathers, she was probably like "Well, the oldest's father was the Holy Spirit of the Lord, and the rest were fathered by whatshisnsme, you know, thingy, the carpenter dude, can't even remember to book a room at an inn, and frankly, he's no God in the bedroom, so he doesn't exactly stick in your mind, you know?"
 
My "book report" is almost finished; but I must touch on the Problem of the Jameses. This "problem" is exacerbated by the Roman Church with their "perpetual virgin" myth. They refuse to admit that Jesus could have any brothers. Googling to understand the Jameses leads to Catholic fictions. Instead the identity of the three Jameses, while obscure, can be deduced.

Each of the synoptic Gospels makes clear that there were three disciples who were principal among the Twelve. These three are Simon Peter, James and John; the latter two being the sons of Zebedee. (Mark always lists the sons of Zebedee in that order: James, then John.) In Mark 10:41, the other disciples even complain about the special status the sons of Zebedee have.

In Acts and Galatians we learn that there are three "pillars of the Church" in Jerusalem, named Peter, James and John. But this is a different James. Out with one James, in with another, but the transition is mentioned only once:
Acts 12:1-3 said:
Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
James was the key disciple behind Simon Peter, yet his death is treated very briefly. And almost immediately Acts begins speaking of another James, without identifying him, though we deduce he must be Jesus' brother James. (Acts 12:17 "... [Peter] said 'Go show these things unto James, and to the brethren....") To distinguish these two Jameses, the first is called James the Greater, the second James the Just.

But is it just coincidence that when one of the three most prominent disciples was killed he was, in effect, replaced with another also named James?

In OP I mentioned -- only half-joking -- that the Gospel writers were very parsimonious with their words as though they couldn't afford a professional scribe! But -- no joking -- why WERE they so parsimonious with their words? Mark mentions Jesus' mother Mary four times, but three times as "Mary mother of James" or "Mary mother of Joses." weird?

And John never mentions ANY of the three Jameses, and never names Jesus' Mary.
John 19:25 said:
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
Does this name three women or four? Did Mother Mary have a sister, also named Mary? Would that be unusual? (Giving Mary a sister Mary is part of the contortions that Catholics need to support their "perpetual virgin" myth.)

In the Gospel of John, there are ZERO Jameses mentioned by name. From the name of the Gospel and its penultimate verse, we assume that the "beloved disciple" was John son of Zebedee (and brother of James).

In the Gospel of Mark, THREE Jameses are mentioned by name: James son of Zebedee (brother of John), James son of Alphaeus (brother of Jude), James son of Joseph(?) (brother of the Lord Jesus).

How do we know that the James so prominent in Acts and Galatians was not one of the Twelve disciples? Various reasons, for example, in 1 Corinthians 15:4-7 Paul tells us that "the twelve [disciples]" saw the Resurrected Jesus, and only "After that, he was seen of James."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OK, I'm done! I think that there are interesting conundrums in the Gospels. I hope experts can clarify some of this.
 
A thoughtful investigative perspective for the sake of curiosity (and not for the sake of debating).
As a believer I would still find this interesting and engaging to read - seeing what interesting suggested explanations are brought to the topic table from various povs.

(It would certainly influence me to read more... to engage in the discussion)
Carry on 🙂
 
The reluctance to name Mary as Jesus' mother might have been to reduce the possibility of her being worshipped as something special by virtue of her being the mother of Jesus'.
Seeing today how many RCs venerate/worship Mary as the mother of Jesus that was probably a wise move. Didn't work though.
It is so easy for misunderstanding or plainly foolish thinking to arise.
Even in John's Gospel he (John) has an attribute (immortality) misattributed to him John 21:20-22.
 
I'm not so concerned about the 5 Christ brothers (Jesus + 4) because any good NT scholar will remind you that Donny Osmond has 7 brothers, most of whom no one gives a shit about. Also, deities sometimes have kids that just don't crave the limelight (i.e. Tiffany Trump.) What does irk me is that Mary and Joseph named one of the younger brothers 'Joses'. Are you kidding me? Jesus and Joses? They were that uncreative? How did that work out when Jesus gave his dorky little bro a loincloth wedgie -- did Joseph actually keep the names straight when he was mad?
"Joses, let go of -- I mean Jesus, let go of Joses. And Jesus, I mean Joses, quit yer bawling, he didn't really hurt you. And for God's sake -- not you, Jesus -- would you, Jesus, no, Joses, no I guess it is Jesus, would you quit doing this stuff on the Sabbath?"
I think the real mystery in Bible names, though, is at Judges 10:1, with the one and only mention of Puah, son of Dodo. He was part of the leadership hierarchy of Israel. I believe we don't know more about him because the Bible writers realized how ridiculous he and his dad sounded, just as names. Imagine what the cops said when they were stopped for ass-parking violations.
Cop: You need to move your ass. This space is reserved for official chariots. I need to see your license. (Pause.) You're...Puah? You're the son of...Dodo? (starting to enjoy himself) I think I arrested your cousin last week, Booya, the son of Bozo. Okay, move along.
I'm also convinced that Dodo is responsible for the long list of birds you can't eat in Leviticus 11.
I have applied for an honorary doctorate from Moody Bible Institute, because I think I have earned it.
 
Miscellaneous and useless trivia:
John 19:25 said:
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
Does this name three women or four? Did Mother Mary have a sister, also named Mary? Would that be unusual? (Giving Mary a sister Mary is part of the contortions that Catholics need to support their "perpetual virgin" myth.)

I Googled a bit. This is THREE women, not four but Hegesippus et al think "sister" should be sister-in-law, with Clopas the brother of Joseph, and the named Mary possibly Clopas' daughter rather than wife.

I think the real mystery in Bible names, though, is at Judges 10:1, with the one and only mention of Puah, son of Dodo....

I'm also convinced that Dodo is responsible for the long list of birds you can't eat in Leviticus 11.

My own Bible searches automatically show both KJV and Douay-Rheims. I was curious enough about Dodo to check Judges 10:1 and see
[King James] And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim.
[Douy-Rheims] After Abimelech, there arose a ruler in Israel, Thola, son of Phua, the uncle of Abimelech, a man of Issachar, who dwelt in Samir of mount Ephraim:
I see lots of spelling differences between the two translations, but how did "uncle of Abimelech" mutate into "son of Dodo"?
 
That's it!! Father Joseph is mentioned ZERO times in the entire Gospel.
John refers to Jesus' mother, e.g. in his famous last words, but mentions her by name . . . ZERO times.
Are these names later additions?
Matthew 19:12
Yeah, that also is one of the ways to get Kingdom of God. I have read that Christians of later dates also practiced it.
 
That's it!! Father Joseph is mentioned ZERO times in the entire Gospel.
John refers to Jesus' mother, e.g. in his famous last words, but mentions her by name . . . ZERO times.
Are these names later additions?
Matthew 19:12
Yeah, that also is one of the ways to get Kingdom of God. I have read that Christians of later dates also practiced it.
Well, what strikes me as an important observation here: there's no way that there was already a "kingdom of God" cult doing this in eyeshot of Jesus. Just people doing what they thought was right by themselves.

In many ways I think "for the kingdom of God" may itself be an insert.

Later on several sects practiced this and unsurprisingly, many of them were cut down by the church.

Last I knew there were no surviving eunuch enclaves in "Christian" countries.
 
Jarhyn said: "Well, what strikes me as an important observation here: there's no way that there was already a "kingdom of God" cult doing this in eyeshot of Jesus. Just people doing what they thought was right by themselves."

If Jesus was the first to come up with the 'Kingdom of God', then he also knew how to get it.
 


My own Bible searches automatically show both KJV and Douay-Rheims. I was curious enough about Dodo to check Judges 10:1 and see
[King James] And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim.
[Douy-Rheims] After Abimelech, there arose a ruler in Israel, Thola, son of Phua, the uncle of Abimelech, a man of Issachar, who dwelt in Samir of mount Ephraim:
I see lots of spelling differences between the two translations, but how did "uncle of Abimelech" mutate into "son of Dodo"?
Careful...you may run afoul of SOG (Scourge of Gideon), an anti-Dodoist offshoot of Opus Dei. They are ruthless and meticulous about scrubbing the ancient texts of details which may be used by eighth graders and similar commentators to disparage the scripture. They are now attempting to retranslate Gen. 10 to eliminate 'Cush, the son of Nimrod' and Ex. 33:23, where Moses gets a peek at Jehovah's celestial buttocks.
 
Jesus' 4 brothers: James, Joses, Simon, Jude
So, what's up with "Simon"???

Jesus,
James,
Joses,
Jude,

and

Simon???

Did Mary run out of ideas for names beginning with 'J'? Was she worried that if Simon were called Joseph (a name with which she should be passing familiar, as it's presumed to be the name of the father of some, maybe most, of her kids*), he'd get mixed up with Joses, or be called "Junior" (which also begins with a 'J', so maybe she should have just gone with it)?

Are we sure he wasn't really called "Jimon"? Perhaps it was a medieval typo.

These are important questions that Bible scholars appear to be ignoring. What are they trying to hide??










* Maybe after you have been impregnated by God Himself, any subsequent men are pretty forgettable. When she was at the Department of Child Services, giving them the names of her kids' fathers, she was probably like "Well, the oldest's father was the Holy Spirit of the Lord, and the rest were fathered by whatshisnsme, you know, thingy, the carpenter dude, can't even remember to book a room at an inn, and frankly, he's no God in the bedroom, so he doesn't exactly stick in your mind, you know?"
What about Jesus' sisters? What were their names?
 
Jesus' 4 brothers: James, Joses, Simon, Jude
So, what's up with "Simon"???

Jesus,
James,
Joses,
Jude,

and

Simon???

Did Mary run out of ideas for names beginning with 'J'? Was she worried that if Simon were called Joseph (a name with which she should be passing familiar, as it's presumed to be the name of the father of some, maybe most, of her kids*), he'd get mixed up with Joses, or be called "Junior" (which also begins with a 'J', so maybe she should have just gone with it)?

Are we sure he wasn't really called "Jimon"? Perhaps it was a medieval typo.

These are important questions that Bible scholars appear to be ignoring. What are they trying to hide??










* Maybe after you have been impregnated by God Himself, any subsequent men are pretty forgettable. When she was at the Department of Child Services, giving them the names of her kids' fathers, she was probably like "Well, the oldest's father was the Holy Spirit of the Lord, and the rest were fathered by whatshisnsme, you know, thingy, the carpenter dude, can't even remember to book a room at an inn, and frankly, he's no God in the bedroom, so he doesn't exactly stick in your mind, you know?"
What about Jesus' sisters? What were their names?
The number of sisters and their names are not specified in the New Testament, but the apocryphal 3rd century Gospel of Philip mentions a Mary, and Salome, who appears in the late 2nd century Gospel of James, is arguably the other sister.[24]
 
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