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The Bible normally refers to the apostle James by the name of Jacob, from the Hebrew Ya’akov, which became Iacobus in Latin, leading to a great variety of first names in different European languages: Jacobo, Iago, Yago, Tiago, Diego, Santiago, Xacobe, Jaime, Jaume, Jacob, Jakob, Jacques, Giacomo and James, to mention just a few. The Spanish variant Santiago evolved from the composition Sanctus Iacobus.

According to the Bible, James was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and the older brother of the apostle John. The Gospels refer to him as “the Greater” to differentiate him from the other apostle James (James Alphaeus or James “the Less”).

Some interpretations also point to Salome as the sister of Mary, which would mean that James and John were Jesus’ cousins.

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Who was James?
Who was James?