Called the Less because younger or smaller in stature than James the son of Zebedee. He was the son of Alpheus or Clopas and brother of our Lord (see above); was called to the apostolate, together with his younger brother Jude, in the spring of the year 28. At some time in the forty days that intervened between the resurrection and the ascension the Lord appeared to him. (1 Corinthians 15:7) Ten years after we find James on a level with Peter, and with him deciding on the admission of St. Paul into fellowship with the Church at Jerusalem; and from henceforth we always find him equal, or in his own department superior, to the very chiefest apostles, Peter, John and Paul, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. (Acts 9:27; Galatians 1:18,19) This pre-eminence is evident throughout the after history of the apostles, whether we read it in the Acts, in the epistles or in ecclesiastical writers. (Acts 12:17; 15:13,19; 21:18; Galatians 2:9) According to tradition, James was thrown down from the temple by the scribes and Pharisees; he was then stoned, and his brains dashed out with a fuller's club.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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