Talk:Brothers of Jesus

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The Sources talk page has been set up to archive citations from primary sources until they can be moved to Wikisource: Desposyni according to the Church Fathers Ovadyah 13:11, 17 April 2007 (UTC)


the "see" of Israel: A See is the seat of a bishop. There was a (Pauline Christian) see of Jerusalem, but the idea of a see of "Israel" which no longer exised, or even of Palestine or Judea, which did exist, is the product of a modern imagination. Wetman 01:12, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

  • Wetman is correct therefore I have edited the article to reflect his comment. Loremaster 04:23, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I feel that an entry Desposyni needs to disambiguate all the "cover names" in the Pauline New Testament (like "Mary mother of James" after the Crucifixion) and the equivocations that cover genuine family relationships. And the relations of Jesus and Mary Magdalene need to be carefully addressed. After all "who" the Desposyni were is a basic point. (I'm not competent to do this. Or I'm chicken...) Wetman 06:24, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)

  • As always, I agree with Wetman. The Desposyni article was a quick creation of mine that I intended to come back to one day and make over but never did. I will try to do so as soon as I get some free time and find more sources. Loremaster 14:43, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)


Hello, what's the source for this statement: "Every early community of Judean followers of Jesus, whether it was Nazarene or Ebionite, was governed by a desposynos as a patriarch, and each of them carried one of the names traditional in Jesus' family but no one was ever named after him."

Also, what's the source for Jesus being a descendent of Zadok, David's High Priest? The Zadok given in Jesus' genalogy in the New Testament belongs to the time after the Babylonian Exile, at least five hundred years afte David's Zadok, doesnt' he?

Thanks. -- 17:50, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The source for the first claim is Martin, Malachi. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church. New York: Bantam, 1983. 30-31.
The second claim is inaccurate and has been corrected to state that Jesus was a descendant of Aaron rather than Zadok. The source is Luke 1:5 and Luke 1:36. Do you need me to elaborate more?
Loremaster 20:37, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I have edited somewhat the statement of their dynastic legitimacy as fact. They may of course be true heirs, I don't know, but there just isn't enough documentation or other evidence to establish such claims irrefutably. Fire Star 15:30, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

What sources did Malachi Martin cite for his statement that "Every early community of Judean followers of Jesus, whether it was Nazarene or Ebionite, was governed by a desposynos as a patriarch, and each of them carried one of the names traditional in Jesus' family but no one was ever named after him?" Martin's account of the desposyni meeting with Pope Sylvester is equally suspicious. Where did he get it? Jbull 13:59, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Blood relative?[edit]

I thought that most Christians believed that Joseph wasn't a blood relative of Jesus. Is this an inaccuracy in the article, or an inconsistency within the belief being explained? Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 18:19, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

As "Son of God", logically Jesus could be no more than a half-brother of any human being. Thus the desposyni, as Jesus' human relatives, are "half-brothers" and "half-cousins" and "half-second cousins twice removed" if you like. But, and much more to the point, no such distinctions are made in Scripture, unless "brothers" does not really mean brothers —a strained reading that Roman Catholic tradition since Jerome has come ever more strongly to assert, because the developing mythology of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary trumped the plain-spoken statements in Scripture concerning family relationships. If the entry is insufficiently clear, it is because we need to be very careful on these points, or "disputed" banners will be applied and "controversial" text suppressed. --Wetman 18:52, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The Perpetual virginity of Mary is NOT mythology, but doctrine of the Catholic and Orthodox churches, as well as being accepted by most Lutheran and Anglican churches (the MAJORITY of Christianity). You cannnot write a wikipedia article in a biased form. This article is terribly anti-catholic. It needs to be rewritten. --Willthacheerleader18 (talk) 21:51, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I wasn't talking about brothers or half-brothers, but about Joseph (described as Jesus' father in the article). Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 19:01, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I added a short caveat to address this but this has to be developed. Loremaster 20:47, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
OK — though now I have another problem. Who used this term in this way if not Christians? Following the various links I managed to work it out (though I'm still a little hazy), but shouldn't this be stated clearly right at the beginning?
Incidentally, in Cypriot Greek Desposyni means Miss, Mademoiselle, etc. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 22:01, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I've edited the article again for clarification. Desposyni was a term used by Christians, Nazarenes and Ebionites. However, only the Ebionites used it to refer to Joseph due to their belief that he was the biological father of Jesus. Have you taken the time to learn more about the differences between these three sects within the Jesus movement? Loremaster 20:18, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Church fathers[edit]

I'm crossposting a recent post on Talk:Jesus Arch O. La Grigory Deepdelver 22:34, 4 May 2006 (UTC):

Hey - I would have just added this myself but the page is frozen. But I think we should add a section on the Fathers' view of Jesus' genealogy (specifically the view in Augustine's Retractions 2:7; St. Jerome's Commentary on Matthew 1:16; Eusebius of Caesarea's view in the Ecclesiastical History 1:7; and John Damascene's view in his Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 4:14. That tradition says:

Heli son of Matthat was descended from David's son Solomon; Jacob son of Matthan from David's son Nathan. The Fathers claim that Heli and Jacob were in fact half-brothers. According to tradition, their mother Estha first married Matthat and had Heli; then after Matthat died, she married Matthan and had Jacob.

Now, when Heli grows up, he marries a woman (tradition doesn't assign her a name as far as I can tell) but dies before they have any children. Then, in accordance with the levirate law in Deuteronomy 25:5, Jacob married Heli's widow, and "raised up seed for his brother." Thus, Jacob was physically Joseph's father, but Heli was accounted his father in accordance with the Law. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Adam sk (talkcontribs)

Jesus Descendants down to today[edit]

The 2003-06 best seller, Da Vinci Code claimed the holy grail was Jesus bloodline down to today and was just following that same subject from earlier (1983-4) best seller, Holy Blood Holy Grail. Many off point disagreements over this assume immediately, that this meant Jesus didnt die on the cross and never went to heaven and so later had children. And so that would undermine all Christianity.

In fact, no one in these discussions ever meant that; they meant Jesus had children before he died on the cross and then still went to heaven. And the Bible clearly prophecied that Jesus would have children.

See -

  • He shall see his Seed - Isaiah 53: 10
  • He shall sprinkle his Seed across many nations - Isaiah 52:15
  • Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and His Maker, ask me of things to concerning My Sons ... Isaiah 45: 11

The only source settling this all out for On Point consideration is the new book : The Jesus Presidents,

Descendants to Today to You?

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Spam? Arch O. La Grigory Deepdelver 21:19, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Jesus Descendants[edit]

Descendants of Jesus himself are "direct" Desposyni versus descendants of related lines descended from his brothers and sisters or from his cousin John the Baptist.

These are the related lines of Jesus direct family including a postulated twin of his named Thomas who died in Mylapore, India where the evidence exists, it is claimed, for his having living there.

In addition, in Northwest India, are records of Jesus himself having visited and remained a time. And some claim, he is buried there. (see below)

Other's claim, Joseph of Arithathea was Jesus brother and so his bloodline in UK down to today also was a Desposyni line.

            Jesus = Mary Magdeline                Jesus twin Thomas
_____________________________________________     ___________________  
          |            |             |            died Mylapore India

Rama Theo Joseph Jesus II Tamar/ 40-70 AD Joseph Justus Alain/Galain Demaris Dau no known children

 down to              down to       + ? Paul
 Merovingian Kings    FitzAlan      no known
  AND to Brit,          &           descendants
  Scot, Wales kings   Stewart
  and all European     lines
    Kings             all Europe
  • for more info see: The Jesus Presidents showing Jesus lines to today
    • Jesus also reportedly had a 2nd wife Lydia

Jesus Life in India[edit]

Expert Holgar Kersten sets out the details of Jesus life and death in India in his book [Jesus lived in India] (Element, Rocport, Mass, 1994 ISBN 1-85230-550-9).

He also discusses Jesus reverred tomb in Srinagar, Kashmir, India. desposyni sr~

If he's an expert, that's good enough for me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:09, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Jesus never went to India. And he died in the land of Judea (Isreal). --Willthacheerleader18 (talk) 00:01, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
The theory is pushed by Ahmadis and advocates of the Aquarian Gospel, but has never gained ground among "mainstream" Christians or scholars. AnonMoos (talk) 00:31, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Ah, that's interesting.. --Willthacheerleader18 (talk) 00:46, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Personal surmise[edit]

This article is marred by self-indulgent personal surmise. Can it be re-edited as a report of what's been said, to give the reader a sense of the historical development of these ideas? --Wetman 08:01, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Basic argument[edit]

While this article mentions different opinions within the scriptures, it makes no mention of one of the most basic arguments - that a married man and woman, of that time period, would produce no issue, ever. In a time and place when women were expected to spend their lives bearing and raising sire for their husbands, and children were the only way for a person to ensure a future for themselves once they were past working prime. Its almost impossible to believe. BethEnd 02:38, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Dude, you don't "rais[e] sire" and the article should not imply that you do.
  • Perhaps the article is not plain and clear enough, if someone has inserted John the Baptist here, as a "a relative of Jesus" (Yes, I do know the tradition, even its sources.) --Wetman 20:22, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Peer review Javascript[edit]


The following suggestions were generated by a semi-automatic javascript program, and may or may not be accurate for the article in question.

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  • Watch for redundancies that make the article too wordy instead of being crisp and concise. (You may wish to try Tony1's redundancy exercises.)
"Crisp" is both subjective and redundant. I suggest it is sufficient that the article be concise.
    • Vague terms of size often are unnecessary and redundant - “some”, “a variety/number/majority of”, “several”, “a few”, “many”, “any”, and “all”. For example, “All pigs are pink, so we thought of a number of ways to turn them green.”
"Majority" means "more than half", "any" means "any", and "all" means "all". These terms are not "vague" and should be used freely when appropriate.
  • This article needs footnotes, preferably in the cite.php format recommended by WP:WIAFA. Simply, enclose inline citations, with WP:CITE or WP:CITE/ES information, with <ref>THE FOOTNOTE</ref>. At the bottom of the article, in a section named “References” or “Footnotes”, add <div class="references-small"><references/></div>.[3]

You may wish to browse through User:AndyZ/Suggestions for further ideas. Thanks, Arch O. La Grigory Deepdelver 21:22, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Catholic interpretation about Jesus'brothers[edit]

The article did not give details. I made some additions. Please, correct me if my English is not right.

The article is extremely anti-catholic and needs to be entirely rewritten. --Willthacheerleader18 (talk) 22:29, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

General vomit[edit]

UUuurrk! Rursus 00:03, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Holy Spirit[edit]

Why does this article not also include the popular belief that the Holy Spirit encompassed Mary and she bore Jesus? --KCMODevin 05:21, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Bible's Prophecy That Jesus Would Have A Family[edit]

  • He shall see his Seed - Isaiah 53: 10
  • He shall sprinkle his Seed across many nations - Isaiah 52:15
    • note- the HE in these two verses is Jesus Christ.
  • Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and His Maker,

ask me of things to come concerning My Sons ... Isaiah 45: 11

The only source today setting this all out for On Point consideration is the new book - The Jesus Presidents. See link in article references.

All the other endless dialogue is 100% from persons unfamiliar with the subject except their familiarity with side issues as brothers, sisters, cousins -- see article.

/s/ AOEF

Toward peer review[edit]

This article has a lot of potential. There is much good material to work with, probably enough to get to GA. However, much of the article contains direct quotes extracted from various sources. These need to be rewritten in summary style with inline quotes or reference tags to the notes section. The primary sources could also be added to Wikisource and linked from there. Other parts of the article are reasonably complete but lack citations. These need to be cleaned up a bit and properly sourced. Currently, the article uses all three styles of citations: footnotes, embedded citations, and Harvard references. Personally, I prefer using footnotes to embedded citations or Harvard references. I think they improve the appearance of the article. Ovadyah 01:48, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Historical accounts of the Desposyni[edit]

I put the primary source quotations of Eusebius in quotation format and copied them to the Sources archive. They look good enough now for Wikisource. The quotations should be replaced in the article with a narrative abstract. However, we have a small problem. There is no secondary source which cites these quotations. An editor cannot act as her/his own secondary source. Ovadyah 00:39, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Now I see why. The section on Historical Accounts with the quotations of Eusebius, the section on the Desposyni and the Pope with the quotes of Malachi Martin, and the sections on Extended Family and Patriarchal Rule were all lifted verbatim from this website on the desposyni.[1] This simply will not do. Quoting from Malachi Martin's book, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church" without permission is also a copyright violation. Ovadyah 00:51, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

This academic discussion on Internet Infidels about Jesus' Jewish relatives contains some useful links to primary sources and books on the subject, including Joan E. Taylor "Christians and the Holy Places: The Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins", Oxford 1993. Ovadyah 01:33, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

How can there be historical accounts for something that was invented by Malachi Martin and has been copied by conspiracy theorists.
The only occurence of the term "Desposyni" I know of is in Julius Africanus letter to Aristides, ch. 5. However it does in no way confirm what M. Martin has written. In fact what he has written is contradicting itself and is contradicted by the extant sources. Quoting him is not a violation of copyright, as long as he is referenced as the author. But his writing is of no historical value, AFAIK.
Also, internet infidels is hardly a reliable website, hardly containing academic discussions.
Str1977 (smile back) 17:05, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry I missed your post in all the "excitement". The fact that secondary sources are discussing the Desposyni is noteworthy, despite the limited information available from primary sources. Rather than dismiss Martin's POV, I would rather bring in as many contrasting sources as possible to make the article NPOV. Let's just follow the evidence and go where it leads us. Please keep in mind as we go forward that we are allowed to "state" primary sources but not interpret them. That is one of the biggest problems with this article. Some editors can't resist launching into exegesis of gospel passages. Unfortunately, that is original research. We need to find secondary sources to do that for us. I didn't mean to imply that Internet Infidels is a reliable source. I just mentioned it as a thought starter. Cheers. :0) Ovadyah 15:10, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure about this. If Martin writes a book presenting fantasies about the Deposyni, about a Joses and a meeting with the Pope or the Emperor (all of this unknown from any sources) or that the Deposyni had a monopoly on church government (contrary to the sources) we cannot and should not include this as a valid historical perspective or interpretation because it is not.
You are raising the difficult issue of "undue weight", which I have struggled with on other articles. I recall Eisenman also mentioning this meeting with the Pope, although I thought it was at the end of the 2nd century. I will try to locate the reference when I have more time. From what I recall reading about the Desposyni, they did have a monopoly on what they regarded as the legitimate Church, and they saw the Pauline churches as apostate. I think the best way to resolve these discrepancies is to bring all these "sources" into the article. Ovadyah 16:16, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
As far as the term is concerned, I still think about creating a "relatives of Jesus" article which systematically presents accurate information and interpretations in an NPOV manner - and by interpretations I mean all of them, not just the fringe dubious ones. Cheers, Str1977 (smile back) 10:44, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
The way to NPOV is not to create separate, parallel articles. If you think the article is POV, then please work to improve it. However, imho, you don't fix an article by deleting everything that conflicts with your own POV. If there is a controversy, an article is made NPOV by bringing in alternative viewpoints from verifiable secondary sources. Ovadyah 16:01, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I never suggested creating a separate article but one that replaces this. One could of course also call this overhauling and renaming this article, as frankly the title sucks big time.
Also I never suggested deleting all I disagreed with - what I want is to groom the horse not from the tail but from the head and that is not beginning by highlighting the fringe.
As for Mr Martin - if he invents something out of thin air I don't think we should give it publicity. It's not a matter of disagreement but of non-verifiability. I could write a book about Caesar being fathered by aliens because I say so - it wouldn't be included here even if it sold millions. Str1977 (smile back) 20:00, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I am opposed to changing the title of the article, since Desposyni has a specific historical meaning. However, adding "relatives of Jesus" as a redirect is fine. I can't argue with the proposition of presenting the "majority" view, whatever that is. It's up to a motivated editor to find verifiable secondary sources that advocate this view. However, exegesis or sermonettes by an editor are not an acceptable substitute. Verifiability of secondary sources is a Wiki requirement, but it's not a requirement for a secondary source to verify all their opinions with primary sources. They are entitled to speculate, while editors are required to merely report. Again, the criterion of undue weight under NPOV policy is a tough one, since another editor could argue that removal of the same source is POV supression. Ovadyah 21:25, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. "Desposyni" is not a common term for the relatives of Jesus, except in certain fringe literature. As we saw above, it actually only appears once in the sources.
I also disagree with you on verifiability and "secondary sources" - if they are mere speculation than they are not scholarly at all and should either not be used or presented only with the disclaimer that it's speculation. Under the circumstances Anne Catherine Emmerich would be a more reliable source than Mr Martin. Str1977 (smile back) 06:46, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Desposyni is widely understood as a term for Jesus' relatives. When it Google it, I see over 10,000 hits. How often it appears in the primary literature is irrelevant. And "fringe" is in the eye of the beholder, like your POV. I also disagree with you on your definitions of verifiability and secondary sources. Unless an entire secondary source is not verifiable, then it is verifiable. An author is entitled to summarize findings without providing detailed references. It happens all the time in popular works. An author is also entitled to speculate without disclaiming, "Now I am speculating". As an editor, I prefer to report an author's speculations as just that. However, I have been reminded frequently in discussions on other articles that this is not a requirement. If you think Martin is so "spurious", why have you not countered his "fringe" position with multiple mainstream references from the scholarly sources that you claim to study? Ovadyah 12:33, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Googling is not a proper way of finding out what is the best term. You know best that the Internet is fully of intellectual riff-raff. Fringe is no in the eye of the beholder but clearly detectable by looking at the scholarly consensus on an issue.
At least regarding history, it is like this: If an author doesn't mention his sources, one cannot take his supposed finding serious. Of course an author is free to speculate what might happen in the future or even what might have happened in the past - but he is not free to claim that every church was governed by Desposyni" (contrary to all sources) and that a man called Joses (of whom noone every heard a thing) met with Pope Silvester (a meeting unknown to history). That's not speculation but inventing history.
Why have I not countered it? Because my time is limited and, granted, this issue is not exactly my greatest expertise. But I will in time. Str1977 (smile back) 19:04, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

More on Jesus' Descendants[edit]

Outbursts of religious piety may be laudable in other forums, but they have no place on Wikipedia. However well intentioned, they are still original research. Tabor is a legitimate secondary source, and the article is reporting the facts as he sees them. Reporting the opposing POV of other verifiable secondary sources is fine. Modifying Tabor's views to something he does not in fact believe is misleading at best. Ovadyah 00:04, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Tabor is a legitmate secondary source for his ideas, not for the facts as his interpretation is dubios. The article should not "report the facts as he sees it" but the facts as they are and his view as it is (but I am sure that that is what you meant).
Also "Outbursts of religious piety" have a place on Wikipedia - on user pages, on talk pages and, if the subject of the article, in articles too, as long as the article conforms to all our policies. Str1977 (smile back) 10:46, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
You are mistaken. On your own user page, you can say what you like. However, talk pages are supposed to be used for discussing improvements to an article, not for discussing the subject of the article. An "outburst", pious or otherwise, is not permitted in an article because it is original research, if not outright vandalism. Please reread the Wiki policy on original research. Ovadyah 16:41, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
And, Oyadyah, you shouldn't call these editors bigots. Not only because it is a personal attack but because it is not accurate. The edits are mistaken for sure as they falsify what Tabor says but they are not bigotry. Str1977 (smile back) 10:50, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I stand by my remarks, and note that an admin temporarily locked the article to discourage further acts of vandalism. :0) Ovadyah 16:25, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Sometimes such outbursts can serve the aim of improving the article and sometimes they don't. In any case, a certain flexible room should be given. No need to shout everything down. I agree with you about OR (but not about vandalism - that is something different, though deplorable too) but while I am rereading you should definitely read WP:NPA, as it is not optional. An admin locking the page has nothing to do with it as he didn't call them names - you did. Str1977 (smile back) 20:05, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Repeated falsification of Tabor's views by several IP's was judged by an admin to be vandalism. That is why the article was locked. Admins don't lock articles for violations of OR. I have reread WP:NPA. I agree with you that I should not have called the IPs religious bigots. Rather, I should have said that their vandalism was religious bigotry, because they knowingly falsified a secondary source and replaced it with their own theological POV. Ovadyah 21:49, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
No, you should have called their actions "vandalism". Bigotry is something different. Str1977 (smile back) 06:41, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
The vandalism was the repeated nature of their actions, despite repeated requests to stop. That is all I intend to say about the subject. I really don't care whether you agree or not. Ovadyah 12:40, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree that it was vandalism. But it was not bigotry.
I really don't care whether you care about my agreeing or disagreeing. But I do care that wiki rules are followed. If I see you throwing around personal attacks again I will report it. Str1977 (smile back) 19:05, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm just quaking in my boots. Ovadyah 20:59, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
You should take wiki rules seriously. Otherwise there is no room for you in this community. Ignoring the rules would make you no better than the people you criticized. Str1977 (smile back) 12:15, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Hmm. Sounds like a threat to me and a personal attack. I suggest you read WP:CIVIL and WP:NPA yourself before you cast stones at other editors. :0) Ovadyah 15:15, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Sounds funny, given the content of my "threat" - that you desist from personal attacks. I so far have neither attacked you personally. Under your premises, your "go and read ..." is a threat too. Str1977 (smile back) 07:39, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Joseph has no children according to Tabor.[edit]

The diagram accredited to James Tabor is incorrect, in that all the children credited to Mary and Joseph are actually the children of Mary and Clophas (a Levirate marriage).--Michael C. Price talk 11:03, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Imho, it's a reasonable hypothesis. Jesus would have been referred to in Jewish terms as a "mamzer", which most people take to mean a bastard, but is really closer to "parentage of unknown origin". It means that no adult male can stand up and vouch for his parentage, which would be the case if Joseph were deceased. Another possibility which ties into the Pantera suggestion is that "Joseph" is a synonym for a Northern Israelite (as in son of Joseph), which could mean a Galilean or a Samaritan. It's interesting (to me at least) that when Jesus is accused of being a Samaritan in the Gospel of John, he never bothers to refute that charge, although he rebutts all the other accusations. And then of course we have the parable of the good Samaritan. Either way, Clophas could assume the parental responsibility through a Levirate marriage.
BTW, unless Tabor published the present diagram, it should probably still be considered a synthesis. Ovadyah 23:30, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Interesting Samaritan hypothesis. Diagrams are exempt from the original research rule. It's OK to construct a graphic, as long as you have a source for the information -- and in this case we have Tabor. --Michael C. Price talk 07:43, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

This is rubbish! There is no historical basis for this. Jesus' genealogy is very well known. (talk) 13:58, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

John The Baptist[edit]

Was not related to Jesus. Only the Gospel Luke contains this fabrication. The Christianity articles on Wikipedia are so infected with the tendency to regard the Bible as unqualified historical truth (though we use scholarship to determine where this is possible) is galling. Get your act together, Wikipedians. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:19, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

I revert this. We have a source for the relationship, even if you do not like it (which is OR). Str1977 (talk) 22:34, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Who was that Guy? All of the Desposyni come from Mary's side of the family and were all Kohenim just like John the Baptist. They were only descendants of David in the same way that the Hasmoneans were, i.e. by marriage. (talk) 13:55, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Special pleading aside, the whole section needs to be referenced by verifiable secondary sources. Ovadyah (talk) 16:13, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
John the Baptist was the son of Saint Elizabeth, who is reffered to as a relative or "cousin" of the Blessed Virgin Mary. --Willthacheerleader18 (talk) 21:47, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

pop culture[edit]

These sections always bug me. There has been almost a couple thousand years worth of culture since the beginning of this subject, so a more accurate name for the final section in this article would be In popular culture of the late 1990's to the early 2000's in English speaking parts of the Western hemisphere. Which is ridiculous. Can I dump it?--Jzeise (talk) 01:03, 27 September 2009 (UTC)


I think the article needs to be re-written, since its wording appears to be attacking the doctrine of perpetual virginity. The article should have a non-biased view, not simply a view accepted by certain bodies (Protestants, in this cituation). In fact, the majority of Christians (Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, and some Lutherans) beleive in Mary's perpetual virginity. So even then this article would be written in the minority's view point. Nevertheless, it should be non-biased. --Willthacheerleader18 (talk) 21:49, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

I think Willthacheerleader has a very good point. There are in particular regrettable instances of biased language [e.g. things like ``[t]he most natural conclusion which are heavy with subjectivity] together with some omissions. For example, a common argument which has been advanced against the existence of brothers of Jesus born of Mary is John 19.25-27: had Mary had other sons, Jesus's decision to place his mother in the care of ``the beloved disciple would have been rather strange. If a brave soul were willing to edit this article to put some more balance in it, I think the (rather antiquated) Catholic encyclopedia page on the same subject [which can be found ] might prove useful. Best wishes! V. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:50, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

A further thing: why is there an entire paragraph regarding Malachi Martin's claim, even while the article seems to suggest the said claim is essentially just a statement of personal opinion by someone living almost two thousand years after the events? It would be better to have a proper historical/academic sources. Best wishes, V. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:00, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

The Malachi Martin claims should be removed or minimized and only noted that Martin proposed a different theory. I added the Catholic version of the family tree as the first given (the tree follows the one of the two trees in the cited article, but the formatting and names were modified from other trees in this article, so it is an original tree as drawn). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:55, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

Biblical verses about the Desposnyi[edit]

"Brothers", "sisters" or "brothers and sisters" of Jesus of Nazareth are cited in Matthew 12:46-47; Matthew 13:55-56; Mark 3:31-32; Mark 6:3; Luke 8:19-20; John 2:12; John 7:3, 5; Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5. Aldo L (talk) 15:35, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Yep. Are these all in the article? And what about WP:COMMONNAME for the title? In ictu oculi (talk) 09:06, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Catholic perspective[edit]

There should be a section on the Catholic perspective. This article is too biased. --Willthacheerleader18 (talk) 20:37, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

I agree. Yes. There should be, there should also be some more mainstream SBS and Protestant type material in here too. This article is giving way too much weight to Ebionite reconstruction and Tabor etc. views. I've made some basic edits. But really someone needs to put Tabor etc on one side and simply fill in this article from what would be found in standard scholarly commentaries which have the "tertiary" feel presenting all views such as Word or Anchor rather than one-off single-POV books. In ictu oculi (talk) 09:05, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Moved out view by Malachi Martin[edit]

Starts here
A certain amount of publicity has been won by the following record of Eusebius of Cesarea claimed by the controversial Irish priest Malachi Martin. However, he gave no valid source for his story.

A meeting between Sylvester (Pope Sylvester I) and the Jewish Christian leaders took place in 318....The vital interview was not, as far as we know, recorded, but the issues were very well known, and it is probable the Joses, the oldest of the Christian Jews, spoke on behalf of the Desposyni and the rest.

...That most hallowed name, desposyni, had been respected by all believers in the first century and a half of Christian history. The word literally meant, in Greek, "belonging to the Lord." It was reserved uniquely for Jesus' blood relatives. Every part of the ancient Jewish Christian church had always been governed by a desposynos, and each of them carried one of the names traditional in Jesus' family---Zachary, Joseph, John, James, Joses, Simeon, Matthias, and so on. But no one was ever called Jesus. Neither Sylvester nor any of the thirty-two popes before him, nor those succeeding him, ever emphasized that there were at least three well-known and authentic lines of legitimate blood descent from Jesus' own family..."

...The Desposyni demanded that Sylvester, who now had Roman patronage, revoke his confirmation of the authority of the Greek Christian bishops at Jerusalem, in Antioch, in Ephesus, and in Alexandria, and to name desposynos bishops to take their place. They asked that the practice of sending cash to Jerusalem as the mother church be resumed... These blood relatives of Christ demanded the reintroduction of the Law, which included the Sabbath and the Holy Day system of Feasts and New Moons of the Bible. Sylvester dismissed their claims and said that, from now on, the mother church was in Rome and he insisted they accept the Greek bishops to lead them.

...This was the last known dialogue with the Sabbath-keeping church in the east led by the disciples who were descended from blood relatives of Jesus the Messiah. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church

Stops here

Is this notable? Should it be shifted to his own article? In ictu oculi (talk) 01:22, 7 May 2012 (UTC)


Is Desposyni really the common name here? Seems that even many of the contributors on Talk here can't spell it. I find it difficult myself. Brothers of Jesus is far far far and away better documented in GB and GS. In ictu oculi (talk) 01:22, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Hmm. It's not totally neutral - some would say they were Jesus' cousins - but I think it's the common name, and would support the move. StAnselm (talk) 07:05, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
I've expanded and sourced Jerome's view that they were cousins - I think (?) he's the only one for that view. Worth noting given the importance of Jerome. But his view would be included by his argument that "brothers" can mean "cousins". Will wait and see what others say. In ictu oculi (talk) 08:27, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
Or just stick it in RM and get wider input. In ictu oculi (talk) 00:05, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved to Brothers of Jesus. Favonian (talk) 08:02, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

Desposynibrothers of Jesus – with desposyni to remain as a redirect. Per WP:COMMONNAME. The Greek term δεσπόσυνοι, "those belonging to the master" for James, Simon, Joses and Jude has a long tradition from Sextus Julius Africanus but today is outweighed by the Galatians 1 term: "brothers of Jesus" + James 60,400 results since 1980 vs. "desposyni" 593 since 1980, and even these only occur when also supplied with the English as an explanation. In ictu oculi (talk) 00:05, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

  • Support move per nom. StAnselm (talk) 00:28, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong support "Desposyni" is all but inaccessible to non-biblical scholars. --BDD (talk) 00:22, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Implications about "Brothers of Jesus" in Basil of Caesarea and early ecumenical councils.[edit]

I observe that this page contains a number of generalizations like "Jerome, apparently representing the general opinion of the Church, maintained that Mary remained always a virgin..." and "By the 3rd century the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary was well established....Much of the church therefore did not accept that Mary could have had any children." However, I came across a potentially important counterexample attributed to Basil of Caesarea which John Norman Davidson Kelly paraphrases in his Early Christian Doctrines (1978 ed). Kelly writes, "...not only the Antidicomarianites attacked by Epiphanius and the Arian Eunomius openly taught that the 'brethren of the Lord' were Mary's sons by Joseph, but Basil of Caesarea, when criticizing the latter, implied that such a view was widely held and, though not accepted by himself, was not incompatible with orthodoxy." (pgs. 494-495, Google Books link)

As Basil and Jerome are near contemporaries, the claim that the denial of perpetual virginity was still "widely held" appears noteworthy from the standpoint of inclusion in the article, especially as the claim is reported in a WP:RS written by a notable scholar. Kelly cites "Hom. in sanctam Christi gen. (PG 31, 1468 f.)" for Basil's statement (where PG = Patrologia Graeca), which I was able to look up on Google Books (1857 edition and 1885 edition). It would seem that Migne placed Hom. in sanctam Christi gen. in an appendix entitled Homiliae quaedam dubiae (i.e. dubious works). So my first question is, did Basil actually compose this work? Does anyone know what current scholarly opinions on the topic are? Inputting the name of Basil's book into Google yielded a link to an article published in Vigiliae Christianae whose abstract begins with "The bulk of Basil of Caesarea's neglected Homilia in sanctam Christi generationem is a commentary..." So that makes two contemporary scholars who seem to presuppose Basil's authorship against one 19th century scholar who deems it dubious. But then again, I have very little familiarity with Hom. in sanctam Christi gen. and the scholarly works written about it, so it's worth posing the question.

Also, is anyone here able to read either Latin or patristic Greek? If so, it might be interesting to see exactly how Basil "implied" that "such a view was widely held". (I'm not advocating doing WP:OR, but it is possible that Basil's text itself provides a clearer picture about which Christians "widely held" such a view than Kelly's description of it did. If so, it would be appropriate to include an English translation of a relevant quote in the article, possibly in a footnote.)

Another point which the article should discuss is the effect the ecumenical councils had on the state of the question. Kelly notes that the fifth century councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon marked an end to doubts about Mary's perpetual virginity (Google Books link). Constantinople II (553 A.D.) declared Mary "ever-virgin" and thus formally placed the view that Jesus' brothers were biological children of Mary outside the scope of catholic/orthodox Christianity. (Google Books link for reference purposes.)

P.S. This Talk page contains a rather large number of discussions from years ago that should be archived. Does everyone else agree that it's time to call on User:MiszaBot_I? --Mike Agricola (talk) 20:55, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

I regret not having been able to respond immediately to your interesting comment and request. I have read the passage of Basil of Caesarea (or, if you prefer, attributed to Basil) and I quite fail to see how Kelly can have drawn from it the conclusion that Basil implied that the view that the "brethren of the Lord" were Mary's sons was widely held. After quoting Matthew 1:25, the text says:
Τοῦτο δὲ ἥδη ὑπόνοιαν παρέχει, ὅτι μετὰ τὸ καθαρῶς ὑπηρετήσασθαι τῇ γεννήσει τοῦ Κυρίου τῇ ἐπιτελεσθείσῃ διὰ τοῦ Πνεύματος τοῦ ἁγίου, τὰ νενομισμένα τοῦ γάμου μὴ ἀπαρνησαμένης τῆς Μαρίας. Ἡμεῖς δὲ, εἰ καὶ μηδὲν τῷ τῆς εὐσεβείας παραλυμαίνεται λόγῳ (μέχρι γὰρ τῆς κατὰ τὴν οἰκονομίαν ὑπηρεσίας ἀναγκαία παρθενία, τὸ δ' ἐφεξῆς ἀπολυπραγμόνητον τῷ λόγῳ τοῦ μυστηρίου), ὅμως διὰ τὸ μὴ καταδέχεσθαι τῶν φιλοχρίστων τὴν ἀκοὴν ὅτι ποτὲ ἐπαύσατο εἶναι παρθένος ἡ Θεοτόκος, ἐκείνας ἡγούμεθα τὰς μαρτυρίας αὐτάρκεις.
The Migne Latin translation is:
Iam autem hinc oritur suspicio, Mariam posteaquam generationi Domini per Spiritum sanctum factae pure inservivit, tum demum consueta nuptiarum opera non denegasse. Nos autem, etiamsi hoc pietatis doctrinam nihil laedat, (siquidem ad dispensationis usque ministerium necessaria erat virginitas: quod vero postea evenit, id ratio mysterii curiosius inquirere non cogit), cum tamen Christi amantes audire non sustineant quod Deipara aliquando desierit esse virgo, testimonia illa sufficere arbitramur.
An English translation would be:
This itself presents a basis for the idea that, after serving in purity the generation of the Lord accomplished through the Holy Spirit, Mary did not refuse normal matrimonial activity. Although this does not excessively (παρα-) outrage pious discourse (since virginity was required for performing her service, but consideration of the mystery does not demand curious enquiry into what happened afterwards), nevertheless, because lovers of Christ reject the account that the Mother of God ever ceased to be a virgin, I for my part consider those testimonies sufficient. (This translation was done by me. I have since found another English translation here.)
I see no hint there that the view rejected by the text was "widely held". I think also that Kelly's presentation of the view that Mary had matrimonial relations with Joseph after giving birth to Jesus as "not incompatible with orthodoxy" is misleading. The text says that, objectively speaking, the mystery of Mary's service as Mother of God did not necessarily demand that she continued to be a virgin afterwards, but it adds that the φιλόχριστοι, the lovers of Christ - and who are these but the orthodox? - reject that idea that she ever did cease to be a virgin.
I am also puzzled by Kelly's "when criticizing the latter" (i.e., Eunomius?). I can find no mention of Eunomius in the text. I have even looked through the whole of the homily, columns 1457-1476 and failed to see mentioned the name of Eunomius (with whom Basil did elsewhere have conflict). So what did Kelly mean by "the latter"?
The phrase "apparently representing the general opinion of the Church" in the article keeps very close to what is in the cited article of the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church: "apparently voicing the general opinion of the Church". It is my strong opinion that, far from opposing this statement about the general opinion of the Church, what the Basil of Caesarea text says of the φιλόχριστοι actually supports it. I have no access (even with Questia, and in view of the picture certain editors were painting of me at the time I did not dare apply for the other free subscriptions that were on offer and for which there was proportionally greater demand) to the cited page of John Painter's Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition, to see if that source says the same as the ODCC.
I certainly have no objection to calling in MiszaBot, and I don't believe any other editor would object. Esoglou (talk) 15:48, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your input Esoglou. Appreciated. In light of the information you provided, it does appear that there is a serious question about the verifiability of Kelly's statement. I won't edit the article to include it unless something new pops up later on. Kelly is widely recognized as a prominent expert in early Christianity, so I'm still inclined to think that he was referring to *something* he encountered in the work in question. For example, it may be possible that there is a misprint in the citation or he was using a particular edition where "PG 31, 1468 f." refers to a different page than the scanned Google texts would indicate?? Something like that could also account for the missing reference to Eunomius. Unfortunately, my skills in Latin and patristic Greek are quite lacking, so I cannot investigate this further. Perhaps though some editors coming across this discussion in the future may be familiar with Basil's work and could shed some additional light on the topic.
I do agree that I really can't see other editors objecting to archiving discussions that concluded several years ago, so I'll add the archiving code. (P.S. This is my first time adding archival code to a Talk page, so I would appreciate someone making sure I did it correctly! Thanks!) --Mike Agricola (talk) 19:25, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Greek vs. Aramaic[edit]

It seems that the article makes a strong case for the diferentiation in greek for 'brother' and 'cousin'. But the apostles and Jesus did not speak greek: as far as I can gather they spoke ancient aramaic, where the distinction is not so clear, as far as I understand. Since most of the writings about Jesus were written at least 50 years after the facts and probably by third parties I do not see what importance the existence of differentianted words for 'brother' and 'cousin' in greek, or latin or english, has to do with anything. Why is it considered important? -- (talk) 03:50, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

What counts is the language of the writings that are quoted. These (in particular the Gospels) are in Greek, not Aramaic. Esoglou (talk) 08:31, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Question about pop culture references[edit]

In my opinion, it sounds "useless information" in context of this article to mention such weird references in pop culture as the ones in this article. Does every article have to have references in pop culture? Also, pop culture references are endless swamp, because pop culture increases rapidly everyday. Perttup (talk) 03:56, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

No, articles certainly don't have to have a popular culture section, and I don't think it belongs here. StAnselm (talk) 04:57, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Changes to Lede.[edit]

Hi. I disagree with the recent attempt to change the lede (and given the recent reverts, it appears that others do too, so here's a place to discuss it.)

The New Testament itself refers to James, Joses, etc. as "brothers". Therefore "brothers of Jesus" is a phrase used by all Christians; the controversy revolves around how "brothers" should be interpreted. Moreover, the proposed change ("In support of this belief, various New Testament verses are claimed to name four brothers of Jesus"...) incorrectly characterizes the easily verified fact that the NT calls these men "brothers" as a "claim". Esoglou is therefore correct that "brothers of Jesus" is a phrase used by those Christians who embrace perpetual virginity too, albeit the interpretation of "brothers" is different than that of those who view these individuals as uterine brothers. I do agree with Laurel though that the lede should make it "clear that there are opposing traditions in the scholarship." So here's my proposal (which I'll only include if editorial consensus warrants):

The brothers of Jesus is a New Testament designation applied to James, Joseph (Joses), Judas and Simon, among whom James is given a special prominence. Also mentioned, but not named, are sisters of Jesus. Some scholars argue that these brothers held positions of special honor in the Early Christian Church. Antidicomarianites and many critical scholars claim that these "brothers" and "sisters" refer to the children of Mary and Joseph. Followers of the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions, as well as some Anglicans and Lutherans, accept the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary and therefore reject the claim that Jesus had blood siblings. They maintain that the people named are called "brothers" on account of their close association with the family of Jesus, but are actually either cousins or children of Joseph from a previous marriage.

--Mike Agricola (talk) 16:43, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for this Mike. It's a good and fair handed approach. I could go along with most of it. Where it falls down I think, is not making explicit enough that the "brothers" are uterine brothers (i.e. as a result of sexual intercourse, not by adoption or extended meanings of the word "brother"). Laurel Lodged (talk) 16:54, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. "Brothers" need not always refer to literal blood siblings. For example, even in the English language, an adopted or step-child can be called the "brother" of another child who is the biological offspring of the family's mother and/or father. The Greek term "adelphos" which English translations of the NT render as "brother" works the same way, as the more in-depth discussion later in the article makes clear. So I don't agree that it needs to be made explicit that "'brothers' are uterine brothers" - because sometimes they aren't. However, I just edited the final sentence in my proposal to include the statement, "They maintain that the people named are called "brothers" on account of their close association with the family of Jesus" which clarifies how many Christians can call these men "brothers" despite not viewing their relationship to Jesus as a uterine one. --Mike Agricola (talk) 17:03, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
OK. I can go along with that. Thanks again. Laurel Lodged (talk) 17:31, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Has there been confusion about the meaning of "uterine" siblings? Doesn't the word mean "having the same mother, but different fathers" (like the legend or, if you prefer, theory of the Three Marys#The three daughters of Saint Anne)? I don't suppose anyone at all holds that "uterine siblings" fits the relationship between Jesus and those who are explicitly called his brothers and sisters in Mark 3:31; 6:3; Matthew 12:46; 13:55-56; 28:10; Luke 8:19-20; John 2:12; 7:3, 5, 10; 20:17. I doubt also if anyone holds that they were "agnate" siblings of Jesus: children of the same father (or at least of one who was supposed to be the same father) but with different mothers. The belief that they were neither uterine nor agnate siblings but step siblings is the traditional belief in the East: having neither the same father nor the same mother but legally of the same family because of the marriage between the mother of Jesus and the father of the siblings of Jesus.
The present version of the article says: "The Gospel of Mark [4] (6:3)[5] and theGospel of Matthew (13:55–56)[6] are cited as evidence for the uterine brothers of Jesus." Who cites these verses as evidence that they were only his uterine siblings, not full siblings? The next sentence says: "That is to say that James, Joseph (Joses), Judas, and Simon were the sons of Mary and of Joseph" (full siblings).
The word "uterine" is used in the correct sense in the quotation from Eusebius in the "As church leaders" section: "Matthan, who was descended from Solomon, begat Jacob. And when Matthan was dead, Melchi, who was descended from Nathan begat Eli by the same woman. Eli and Jacob were thus uterine brothers." Esoglou (talk) 20:51, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Hi Esoglou. You said, "I don't suppose anyone at all holds that 'uterine siblings' fits the relationship between Jesus and those who are explicitly called his brothers and sisters." Actually a lot of contemporary Protestants hold this view, especially Evangelicals/Baptists. They hold that Mary was the mother of Jesus and was also the mother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon. If they accept the virgin birth of Christ, they effectively believe that Jesus received his paternal DNA through a divine miracle, but they also hold that Joseph and Mary conceived his brothers through normal marital relations. Same mother, but (effectively) two different fathers. James Tabor, who is mentioned in the article, advocates a different version of the uterine hypothesis whereby Jesus' biological father was Tiberius Iulius Abdes Pantera and the biological father of his brothers was (probably) Joseph. However, hardly any other scholar agrees with Tabor's proposal.
Anyways, "The Gospel of Mark [4] (6:3)[5] and the Gospel of Matthew (13:55–56)[6] are cited as evidence for the uterine brothers of Jesus."" should probably be reworded to say "...evidence that the brothers of Jesus are also sons of Mary." Only (some) Protestants would cite these verses as evidence of uterine brotherhood. Critical scholars and liberal Christians who reject belief in the virgin birth of Christ generally hold that Jesus and his brothers are both the biological children of Mary and Joseph - full brothers, not uterine brothers. But both groups agree that these brothers are also children of Mary. --Mike Agricola (talk) 21:27, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Mike is correct. The whole thrust of the article was to advance the Protestant view that Jesus had uterine brothers. My edits were to add balance. But this does not alter my agreement with Mike suggested paragraph. As it turns out, his choice of the phrase "blood siblings" is superior to using the word uterine. But on a different point, where is the evidence for "the traditional belief in the East"? Does the East not share the view that Joseph was chaste? Laurel Lodged (talk) 21:33, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Traditionally, Latin/Catholic Christianity has embraced the Hieronymian (i.e. Jerome) interpretation of the brothers of Jesus. It presumes that Joseph was chaste and the "brothers" are really cousins. Eastern Christians have traditionally embraced the Epiphanian view (named for Epiphanius of Salamis) whereby Joseph was an elderly widower with children from his earlier marriage who became engaged to Mary and hence these children were step-brothers to Jesus. This view is traceable as far back as the second century, especially to the Protoevangelium of James which has traditionally had some degree of popularity in the East. Origen also implies somewhere in his writings that the Gospel of Peter (which was used by some eastern Christians for a time around the third century) supported such a view. Richard Bauckham wrote a helpful summary of the relatives of Jesus which could be a useful External Link (or even a reference) in the article. --Mike Agricola (talk) 21:57, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Mike, thanks for fixing the article by removing the claim that what the cited NT passages were seen as evidence for was a uterine relationship. And for explaining that some Protestants do look on God's fatherhood of Jesus as practically on a par with Joseph's supposed fatherhood of the siblings (and thus in line with the Muslim understanding of the Christian belief). You also answered well the query about the traditional belief in the East. Of course, "blood siblings" would cover both uterine and agnate and full siblings. Esoglou (talk) 08:33, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
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