17 Mar 2014 
#82 An answer to Carrier's objections about "brother of the Lord" in Galatians 1:19 meaning true flesh and blood brother of Jesus

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Carrier's words (in dark navy blue) are drawn from his own blog. My replies are current.

1) "Paul sometimes refers to specific Christians as brethren, sometimes not. There is not always any particular “reason” why. It’s just a variation of style. Indeed, to always consistently refer to them as brother (or indeed, the pleonastic “brother of the Lord”) would be fastidious, which is the kind of thing all schools of the time taught writers not to do. (See my related comment in the previous thread.) Paul will be expected to mostly use just “brother,” when it can be understood from context what he means, because ancient writers understood that pleonasm was to be avoided unless it served a purpose; but such a purpose could include the equally admired practice of variatio, an element of ancient rhetorical style (to occasionally change your idiom).
Accordingly, because of how composition was taught in antiquity, we should expect Paul to stick mostly to an idiom but occasionally vary it. This entails the prediction that we will see occasional variations in the way he refers to Christians. Pleonastically including the complete phrase “brother of the Lord” would be one possible form of that variation; so the fact that we see it only occasional conforms to the prediction entailed by our background knowledge of ancient rhetoric. It is therefore expected, without requiring any particular explanation (other than this one: this is how ancient writers were taught to write).
 
In Galatians, Paul used the word "brothers" (plural) eleven times. The word means always the Christian audience of his epistle, except once ("false brothers" in 2:4).
The word "brother" (singular) appears only once and is associated with a person named James and followed by "of the Lord".
"variatio" could be invoked only if "of the Lord" was applied to any of the ten occurrences of "brothers" meaning fellow Christians, but not to the only singular form of the noun with a named person associated with it.  

2) That he would on rare occasion use the complete phrase “brother of the Lord” would not be unexpected. The more so if Peter had a brother named James, as that would require Paul in this instance to distinguish the apostle James from James the brother of Peter, in which case saying just “brother” wouldn’t do, necessitating the full epithet “brother of the Lord,” i.e. not of Peter (because Paul says he met with “Peter” and no other apostle except this James).
 
Of course, Peter having a known brother named James is not evidenced. Can things solely imagined be treated as counter-evidence? It appears Carrier thinks that as part of his methodology.

3) "Likewise, another possibility I raised there is that it refers to a rank (which we otherwise don’t know about, except possibly from Clement two centuries later). But again, we do not have to assume this."
 
Another unevidenced possibility, except if one thinks Clement of Alexandria is a reliable witness on James. 

4) "I think the most probable explanation is another one entirely: that part of Paul’s point in Gal. 1 is that he is not on intimate terms with the Jerusalem Pillars (the same Peter, James, and John of Gal. 2), and one way to rhetorically emphasize that is to use the complete formal expression “brother of the Lord,” since truncating to “brother” implies more familiarity (which Paul does not want to do here), and Paul’s most common idiom (of saying “my/our/your” brother) implies more than familiarity, but actual intimacy (it is an endearment), and he definitely doesn’t want to do that here…to the contrary, he would more likely want to distance himself from that impression as much as possible, in which case we should expect him to go in entirely the opposite direction, and use the coldest, most formal idiom possible that isn’t insulting or false."
 
"The brother of the Lord" is hardly cold and formal. Instead it invokes a close intimacy between James and "the Lord" (thought as strictly a heavenly Deity according to Carrier), which certainly Paul did not want to suggest.

5) The next most probable explanation is the possibility (which has been entertained even under peer review, as I discussed in the previous thread) that Paul is saying the James he met is not the pillar but not even an apostle, possibly a mere companion of Peter, which is why he would have to mention him, so as to make sure no one can accuse him of lying (Gal. 1:20) by pointing out that another Christian was present when Paul met with Peter, just not an apostle (Gal. 1:18-19)."
 
Another very convoluted product of the imagination of Carrier. And now James is not a pillar, which goes against the supposition in 2).
I am suspiscious when someone makes arguments on opposite premises to "demonstrate" the same thing (James the pillar, and then James not the pillar: same conclusion).
Never mind Paul used the expression "the (NOT "a") brother of the Lord".
And normal syntax would dictate when, in a text, somebody ("James") is first named and with a distinctive attribute ("of the Lord"), the next occurrence of the same name ("James"), without any attribute, would refer to the same entity named & somewhat described earlier ("pillars" is not a personal attribute because others were also "pillars").
 
What is the best explanation for "James, the brother of the Lord"?
This is the first reference of “James” in ‘Galatians’. But at the time (around 38) of Paul’s first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion (as narrated in Galatians 1:18-20) there was another prominent member of the “church of Jerusalem” named James, the brother of John, who got executed around 42 (according to Acts 12:1-2). Therefore, Paul probably wanted to identify the “James” he met then, more so due to this one becoming most important later.
Because that other James was not a brother of Jesus, referring to James in Galatians 1:19 as "the brother of the Lord" would remove any confusion.
 
Also, because the two "James" were part of the same church (of Jerusalem), they would share the same beliefs. Therefore, if "brother of the Lord" meant Christian, that would not be a distinctive trait between the two "James".
 
As for me, I detected many pieces of evidence that the (Galileans) leaders of the church of Jerusalem never became Christians. For explanations and evidence: see tag: here
If accepted, that would solve the problem very quickly: if "brother of the Lord" does not mean Christian, then it refers to a true flesh & blood familial relationship.
And of course, in Paul's epistles & 'Hebrews', Jesus has been described human & earthly and therefore likely to have flesh & blood brothers: See  tags: {brothers of the Lord} and {earthly & human Jesus}
See here for Carrier's explanation on "James, brother of the Lord" from his book "On The History Of Jesus" (OHJ)

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {brother(s)} {brother of the Lord} {Carrier} {Galatians} {Galatians 1:19} {historical Jesus} {James} {mythicism} {Paul}
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