« Alpha and Omega Alphæus Alsace-Lorraine »


ALPHÆUS, al-fî´us: Father of the second James in all four of the lists of the apostles. He is interesting in so far as he may with probability be identified with the Clopas (A. V. Cleophas) of John xix. 25. Of the two Marys who stood by the cross with the mother of Jesus, one is called in this passage the wife of Clopas; in Matt. xxvii. 56 and in Mark xv. 40, the mother of James, or James the Less, presumably the second apostle of this name. The question how the use of two different names, Alphæus and Clopas, is to be explained may be answered in two ways. Either Κλωπάς (= Κλεόπας, a contraction of Κλεόπατρος, as Ἀντίπας of Ἀντίπατρος) was the Greek name which Alphæus bore in addition to his Aramaic one; or there are here two alternative Grecized forms, both representing חַלְפִּי. Against the former view is the fact that the contraction κλω for κλεο in Greek names is never found elsewhere; and in favor of the latter is the fact that the initial ח, commonly rendered by the smooth breathing or by X, is sometimes also represented by K. In any case the diversity of names need not prevent the identity of person. This identity would make Alphæus the uncle, and James, the son of Alphæus, the cousin, of Jesus—a result of some importance for the question as to James.

(K. Schmidt).

The most probable solution of this much vexed problem seems to lie in a ground form עלפי, the two modes of pronouncing the first letter of which (as in Arabic) would give rise to the variant names Alphæus and Clopas or Cleophas.

G. W. G.

Bibliography: J. B. Lightfoot, Galatians, p. 267, London, 1890; T. Keim, Jesus of Nazara, iii. 276, London, 1878; J. B. Mayor, Epistle of St. James, pp. xvi-xvii., London, 1897; DB, i. 74-75; EB, i. 122-123.

« Alpha and Omega Alphæus Alsace-Lorraine »


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