The name James (from Ancient Greek Ἰάκωβος (Iákōbos); Hebrew יַעֲקֹב‎ (Yaʿăqōḇ)) appears 42 times in the New Testament.[1] James was a very common given name in the historical period and region of Jesus, but surnames were still very rare. It is therefore not always clear which person these names refer to, and whether some refer to the same person or distinct characters, which has led to confusion. Therefore, Christian authors and modern scholars have given these men names based on their known attributes.[2][3] According to American theologian and scholar Donald Hagner (2012), there are at least 5, and possibly up to 7, different Jameses in the New Testament.[3]

James the Less (by Batoni, c. 1740). It is disputed whether he is to be identified with James, son of Alphaeus, or James, brother of Jesus.[2][3]
James the Less (by Batoni, c. 1740). It is disputed whether he is to be identified with James, son of Alphaeus, or James, brother of Jesus.[2][3]

The following Jameses are found in the New Testament:

F.P. Dutripon's Latin Bible concordance (Paris 1838) identified just 2 people named Jacobus (James) in the New Testament: Jacobus I was identified as the apostle James, son of Zebedee. Jacobus II was identified as being simultaneously the apostle James the son of Alphaeus; James the Just; James the Less (Mark 15:40), son of Mary (mother of James and Joseph (Matthew 27:56; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10) and sister of the Holy Virgin Mary (Mark 6:3)); James the first bishop of Jerusalem; the author of the Epistle of James; James the brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3)); James, the father of Jude (Luke 16:6); the James mentioned in Acts 12:17, 15:13, 21:18, 1 Corinthians 15:7, Galatians 1:19, 2:9,12; and the James, brother of Jude mentioned in Jude 1:1.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "Strong's Greek: 2385. Ἰάκωβος (Iakóbos) -- 42 Occurrences".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Losch, Richard R. (2008). All the People in the Bible: An A-Z Guide to the Saints, Scoundrels, and Other Characters in Scripture. Cambridge: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 183–187, 428. ISBN 9780802824547. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hagner, Donald A. (2012). The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books. p. 779–. ISBN 9781441240408. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  4. ^ Pope John Paul II (2000). Catechism of the Catholic Church (Second ed.). Libreria Editrice Vaticana. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-57455-110-5. "The Church has always understood these passages [regarding Jesus' brothers] as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, 'brothers of Jesus,' are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls 'the other Mary.' [footnote: Mt 13:55; 28:1; cf. Mt 27:56]"
  5. ^ a b c d Felix Opoku-Gyamfi (April 2019). "Literary Issues in the Letter of Jude". Researchgate. Avondale College of Higher Education. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  6. ^ Norris, Frederick W. (2013). "Jude (first century)". Encyclopedia of Early Christianity: Second Edition. Abingdon: Routledge. p. 638. ISBN 9781136611582. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  7. ^ Dutripon, François Pascal (1838). Concordantiae Bibliorum sacrorum Vulgatae editionis ad recognitionem jussu Sixti 5. pontif. max (in Latin). Paris: Belin-Mandar. p. 715–6. Retrieved 31 August 2021.