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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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ALPHÆUS . 1 . The father of James the Apostle ( Matthew 10:3 = Mark 3:18 = Luke 6:15 = Acts 1:13 ), commonly identified with James the Little, son of Mary and brother of Joses or Joseph ( Mark 15:40 = Matthew 27:56 ). The identification is confirmed by John 19:25 , if it be allowed that Clopas is the same name as Alphæus. And this is most likely. Both names probably represent the Aramaic Chalphai (cf. 1Ma 11:70 ). St. John’s ‘Clopas’ is almost a transliteration, while ‘Alphæus’ is the name in a Greek dress, the disguise being more apparent if it be written, with WH [Note: H Westcott and Hort’s text.] , ‘Halphæus.’

2 . The father of Levi the tax-gatherer ( Mark 2:14 ), afterwards Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist ( Matthew 9:9; Matthew 10:3 ). It is remarkable that in Mark 2:14 Codex Bezæ and some cursives read James for Levi , and there is a tradition (Chrysost. in Matth . xxxiii.) that the Apostles Matthew and James had both been tax-gatherers. It is perhaps possible that Alphæus the father of James was identical with Alphæus the father of Levi, and that the two tax-gatherer Apostles were brothers. Nothing is recorded of Alphæus; yet, if these identifications be allowed, great was his glory. He was evidently himself a believer; his son Joses, though undistinguished, was evidently a believer also; his son James was an Apostle; his son Matthew was an Apostle and an Evangelist; and his wife Mary was one of the faithful women who stood by the Cross and visited the Sepulchre ( Mark 16:1 ).

David Smith.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Alphaeus'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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