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James the Less is a figure of early Christianity.[1] He might or might not have been a person separate from James the Great and James the Just.

Statue of James, identified with the Apostle James, at the church of the Mafra Palace, Portugal


In the New Testament, James appears only in connection with his mother "Mary" in Mark 15:40, Mark 16:1, Matthew 27:56. In Mark 15:40 and Matthew 27:56 he is accompanied by a brother called Joses or Joseph.

Identification as James, the son of Alphaeus

James the Less is usually identified with James, son of Alphaeus, one of the Twelve Apostles. This association might possibly identify his mother as the same person as Mary of Clopas, mentioned only in John 19:25. It must however be noted that the Gospel of John does not include anyone called James among Jesus' disciples.

Identification as James the Just

James could also be identified as being the brother of Jesus, James the Just. Mark 15:40 associates James with Jesus' mother Mary and brother Joses. In Mark 6:3, when referring to Jesus, it states that people asked if he was not the son of Mary and brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon.

See also


  1. He is also labelled "the minor", "the little", "the lesser", or "the younger", according to translation.

External links


  • James the Less: The Latter Rain Page
  • Eusebius, Historia Ecclesia
  • Who's Who in The New Testament, Ronals Brownrigg, Oxford University Press, 1993
  • The 12, The Story of Christ's Apostles, Edgar J. Goodspeed, Holt, Rinehart and Winston
  • The Search for the Twelve Apostles, William Steuart McBirnie, Ph. D. Tyndale Pp183–194.