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James, son of Zebedee and the brother of John, was executed by the order from Herod Agrippa between 41-44 AD. He was put to death "with the sword". (c.f. Acts 12:1-24).

This James, the brother of John, is mentioned in Matt. 4:21; 10:2; 17:1; Mark 1:19, 29; 3:17; 10:35; 13:3; Luke 9:28; and Acts 1:13; 12:2. He is an important figure in the Gospels, less so in Acts due to his early death as a martyr under Herod Agrippa I no later than the spring of 44 CE (Acts 12:2). This early martyrdom argues against identification of this James with the author of the Epistle of James.

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