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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Alphaeus

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(Ἀλφαῖος ), the name of two men.

1. The putative father of James the Less (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13), and husband of Mary, the sister-in-law of our Lord's mother (John 19:25) (See MARY); for which reason James is called "the Lord's brother" (Galatians 1:19). (See JAMES). A.D. ante 26. It seems that he was a (perhaps elder) brother of Joseph, to whom, on his decease without issue, his widow was married according to the Levirate Law (q.v.). By comparing John 19:25, with Luke 24:10, and Matthew 10:3, it appears that Alphaeus is the Greek, and Cleophas or Clopas (q.v.) the Hebrew or Syriac name of the same person, according to the custom of the provinces or of the time, when men had often two names, by one of which they were known to their friends and countrymen, and by the other to the Romans or strangers. More probably, however, the double name in Greek arises, in this instance, from a diversity in pronouncing the ח in his Aramaean name, חִלְפִי (chalphay', changing, as in the Talmudists, Lightfoot, ad Acts, 1, 13), a diversity which is common also in the Septuagint (Kuinol, Comment. on John 19:25). (See NAME). Or rather, perhaps, Clopas was a Greek name adopted out of resemblance to the Jewish form of Alpheus (like "Paul" for "Saul"), if, indeed, the former be not the original from which the latter was derived by corruption.

2. The father of the evangelist Levi or Matthew (Mark 2:14). A.D. ante 26.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Alphaeus'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/a/alphaeus.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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