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James the Just (died AD 62) was the first bishop or patriarch of Jerusalem. He was called "the Just" because of his asceticism. Eusebius of Caesarea records passages from Hegesippus that describe his death (see links below), whose account is verified by Josephus and Clement. According to these sources, the Pharisees, upset at his teachings, threw him from the summit of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, then stoned him to death. Josephus adds that this occurred while Albinus was procurator of Palestine, dating this to AD 62. Vespasian's siege and capture of Jerusalem delayed the selection of Symeon, son of Clopas, to succeed him. He is most likely the James mentioned in Acts 12:17, 15:13ff, and 21:18.
Eusebius also reports the tradition that James the Just was the son of Joseph, and therefore the brother of Jesus (as well as Jude) mentioned in Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3, and Galatians 1:19. Paul further describes James in Galatians, with Cephas (better known as Peter) and John, as one of the "pillars", and who will go preach to "the circumcised" (that is the Jews) while Paul and Barnabas will preach to the Gentiles (2:9, 2:12). James's relation to Jesus has been problematic to many Christians due to the belief that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and James the Just would therefore be at best a half-brother or a step-brother. See Christology.
Some apocryphal gospels testify to the reverance Jewish followers of Jesus (like the Ebionites) had for James. Specifically, the Gospel of Thomas relates that the disciples asked Jesus, "We are aware that you will depart from us. Who will be our leader?" Jesus said to him, "No matter where you come [from] it is to James the Just that you shall go, for whose sake heaven and earth have come to exist."
James the Just is sometimes given credit for writing the New Testament book the Epistle of James, although it has also been ascribed to James the Great and James the Less. The Protevangelion of James, or "Infancy gospel of James", a work of the 2nd century, also presents itself as written by James.
On June 18, 2003, the Israeli Antiquities Authority published a report concluding that the inscription containing the Ya`aqov bar Yosef akhui di Yeshua` ("James son of Joseph brother of Jesus") on an ossuary is a modern forgery based on their analysis of the patina. Specifically, it appears that the inscription was added recently and made to look old by addition of a chalk solution. The ossuary came to light in 2002 under questionable provenance and was thought by some to be historical evidence for Jesus's brother James. The dealer, Oded Golan, has been arrested and found to have forgery equipment and partially completed forgeries.
"Further studies have disputed with this conclusion, and the matter is far from settled." (references are required here)