James the Less

James the Less was one of the 12, called the less because he was younger than the other James. He was the son of Alpheus (Clopas) and of a certain Mary who followed Jesus and brother of Joses. If Levi was the son of the same Alpheus, that would have made Matthew and James brothers. According to tradition both were tax collectors. James is the son of Alpheus and Mary is the mother of James the less and of Joses. The scriptures do not agree as to only one Alpheus because Mary is not mentioned as mother of Matthew. Confusing indeed.

Though strongly attached to the Jewish tradition, James was sentenced to death on a charge of having violated the law of Moses. He is said to have been crucified while preaching at Ostrakine in Lower Egypt. A carpenters saw is the symbol of James the Less in Christian art. It is believed that his body was sawed to pieces.
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