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GREEK: 256 Alfaiov Alphaios
NAVE: Alphaeus
EBD: Alphaeus
Aloft | Along | Alpha | Alpha And Omega | Alphabet | Alphaeus | Alpheus | Also | Altaneus | Altar | Altaschith


In Bible versions:

the father of James, one of the twelve
the father of Levi (Matthew), one of the twelve.
Arts Topics: James, Son of Alphaeus, in Various Compositions; Other Portraits of James, Son of Alphaeus


Strongs #256: Alfaiov Alphaios

Alphaeus = "changing"

1) The father of Levi the publican (Mr 2:14)
2) The father of James the less, so called, one of the apostles

256 Alphaios al-fah'-yos

of Hebrew origin (compare 2501); Alphoeus, an Israelite:-Alpheus.
see HEBREW for 02501

Alphaeus [EBD]

(1.) The father of James the Less, the apostle and writer of the epistle (Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13), and the husband of Mary (John 19:25). The Hebrew form of this name is Cleopas, or Clopas (q.v.).

(2.) The father of Levi, or Matthew (Mark 2:14).

Alphaeus [NAVE]

1. Father of James, Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18.
2. Father of Levi, Mark 2:14.


(changing) the father of the apostle James the Less, (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13) and husband of Mary. (John 19:25) [MARY] In this latter place he is called Clopas (not, as in the Authorized Version, Cleophas).


ALPHAEUS - al-fe'-us (Alphaios; Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, Halphaios):

(1) The father of the second James in the list of the apostles (Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:15; Acts 1:13).

(2) The father of Levi, the publican (Mk 2:14). Levi is designated as Matthew in the Gospel of Mt (9:9). There is no other reference to this Alpheus.

Some writers, notably Weiss, identify the father of Levi with the father of the second James. He says that James and Levi were undoubtedly brothers; but that seems improbable. If they were brothers they would quite likely be associated as are James and John, Andrew and Peter. Chrysostom says James and Levi had both been tax-gatherers before they became followers of Jesus. This tradition would not lend much weight as proof that they were brothers, for it might arise through identifying the two names, and the western manuscripts do identify them and read James instead of Levi in Mk 2:14. This, however, is undoubtedly a corruption of the text. If it had been the original it would be difficult to explain the substitution of an unknown Levi for James who is well known.

Many writers identify Alpheus, the father of the second James, with Clopas of Jn 19:25. This had early become a tradition, and Chrysostom believed they were the same person. This identity rests on four suppositions, all of which are doubtful:

(a) That the Mary of Clopas was the same as the Mary who was the mother of the second James. There is a difference of opinion as to whether "Mary of Clopas" should be understood to be the wife of Clopas or the daughter of Clopas, but the former is more probable. We know from Mt 27:56 and Mk 15:40 that there was a James who was the son of Mary, and that this Mary belonged to that little group of women that was near Jesus it the time of the crucifixion. It is quite likely that this Mary is the one referred to in Jn 19:25. That would make James, the son of Mary of Mt 27:56, the son of Mary of Clopas. But Mary was such a common name In the New Testament that this supposition cannot be proven.

(b) That the James, who was the son of Mary, was the same person as the James, the son of Alpheus. Granting the supposition under (a), this would not prove the identity of Clopas and Alpheus unless this supposition can also be proven, but it seems impossible to either prove it or disprove it.

(c) That Alpheus and Clopas are different variations of a common original, and that the variation has arisen from different pronunciations of the first letter ("ch") of the Aramaic original. There are good scholars who both support and deny this theory.

(d) That Clopas had two names as was common at that time; but there is nothing to either substantiate or disprove this theory.


It seems impossible to determine absolutely whether or not Alpheus, the father of the second James, and Clopas of Jn 19:25 are the same person, but it is quite probable that they are.

A. W. Fortune

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