EUSEBIUS ON THE BROTHERS OF THE LORD

Eusebius Commentary on Psalm 69

Patrologia Graeca 737B

Translation by Rev. Dr. Kappes

*PG 737B+ But also: “I’ve become someone estranged from my brother (adelphois), and an alien to the sons of my mother.” Two orders are set up in the formerly mentioned phrase: first, the one [order], which belongs truly to his brothers (adelphôn), who “was become estranged.” Second, what belongs to the sons of his own mother [See in last paragraph: These brother for Eusebius is the Jewish Synagogue of the mother of all Israel] . Nay more it ought to have been that the sons of his mother, since they [the latter] are “brothers”, they also likewise prophecy to the former. But he [the Psalmist] did not name the sons of his mother “brothers” (adelphous), as the the other [order], that is following the first order of his aforenamed brothers. So, it is that his disciples have become like his brothers, about whom also in another place [Psalms], he says: “I will announce your name to my brothers (adelphois), and I will hymn you in the midst of the Church.” And in the Gospel, he [Jesus] appeared to Mary after the resurrection of the dead, saying: “Walk toward my brothers, and tell them: ‘I go up to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.’” So, “he was become estranged to his brothers” following the time of the obvious passion, when all his disciples had left him and fled, and the very crown of the apostles Peter denied him thrice. “He became estranged and an alien to them.” An alien he was become to the sons of his mother, of a truth not also to those being his “brothers.” The Gospel has remembered “his brothers” and “mother”, when, he went into his own country (Mark 6), he taught in their synagogue, to the effect that they [the people there] were surprised and said: “Whence this wisdom from him? Is not this who is the son of a carpenter? Is not his mother and his brothers (adelphoi) and are all his sisters among us? Whence all these things from him?” Now, therefore, if we would take the so-called sons (in what is at hand) of his mother to be those [referred to in the Psalm], it is then necessary that the holy Virgin appears to become the mother of “the rest of his brothers.” However, James his brother who stands in relation to him [Jesus], did not “become the estranged man of him”, and he is not “an alien” regarding faith in him, but rather [this is] very much so regarding one of his racially related (gnêsiôn) disciples [viz., Judas?], with the result that [James] he takes up too the very first throne of the Church in Jerusalem. And the rest of his brothers, even if they were not also from the very first much believing in him, but after all these things they are those that are clearly believing. The Gospel recounts that, consequently: “His mother and his brothers stood outside, seeking to him.” And in the Acts of the Apostles is read, consequently, that: “The apostles were all hardy in common in prayer with Mary his mother and his brothers.” So, how is it possible for them [apostles] to be considered “an alien”? Since there is no place for it to be said about them: “I was become estranged from my brothers, and an alien to the sons of my mother”? For he [Jesus] was no alien regarding them, but quite precious [to them]: such that his aforesaid brothers are no longer to be regarded sons as belong to Mary, but they who are called sons of his mother would be other men who are following them, to whom he [Jesus] became an alien. First, you should understand then that “mother” is the “gathering/synagogue” (Number 1:2-3) of Jews and every kinsmen (syngeneian) [of a different biological mother] by flesh (kata sarka) among [Jews] from circumcision [Romans 1:3;9:3]; second the sons of this kind of mother [viz., synagogue] who have rejected him, and who said: “We know not this one, whence he is from.” Because he was telling them, since they thought him to be an alien: “Why do you not know my speech? Namely you are not able to hear my word” [PG 740B]

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