You say the minimum number of Jesus' siblings is seven. Matthew 13 says his brothers are James, Joseph, Simon, Judas, and also mentions “all of his sisters.” Four brothers are named, then there are his sisters (plural), so I count a minimum of six. Does “all of” indicate more than two sisters? I brought this question up in church last night and several did not agree with your answer seven. —H.C.

Well, yes, both grammatically and logically, “all” could indicate two. (Or even just one.) But the word we would expect if Jesus had only two sisters is “both.” (This works the same in ancient Greek as in modern English.)

So the more natural reading is that Mary had five sons plus three or more sisters. I am not saying it’s impossible that he had only two, but “all his sisters” would be an odd way of referring to the both of them.