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Yishai
Jul 12th 2007, 02:22 AM
Matthew 1:16

Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

Luke 3:23

When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli,

What was the name of Joesph's father?

diffangle
Jul 12th 2007, 02:50 AM
Good question, sadly I don't have an answer but will be interested in finding out what others have to say. :hmm:

HisGrace
Jul 12th 2007, 02:57 AM
This is from a Bible commentary - "It has been said, also, that Joseph was the legal son and heir of Heli/Eli, though the real son of Jacob, and thus the two lines terminated in him. This was the ancient explanation of most of the fathers, and on the whole is the most satisfactory. It was a law of the Jews, that if a man died without children, his brother should marry his widow. Thus the two lines might have been intermingled.

According to this solution, which was first proposed by Africanus, Matthan, descended from Solomon, married Estha, of whom was born Jacob. After Matthan's death, Matthat being of the same tribe, but of another family, remarried his widow, and of this marriage Heli was born. Jacob and Heli were therefore children of the same mother. Heli dying without children, his brother Jacob married his widow, and begat Joseph, who was thus the legal son of Heli. This is agreeable to the account in the two evangelists. Matthew says that Jacob begat Joseph; Luke says that Joseph was the son of Heli; that is, was his legal heir, or reckoned in law to be his son"

markedward
Jul 12th 2007, 02:58 AM
Here's something I found online:

One of the best treatments of this problem is The Virgin Birth of Christ by J. Gresham Machen (New York: Harper Brothers, 1930). The solution Machen argues for is that "while the Matthean genealogy traces the successive heirs to the throne of David from David to Joseph, the Lucan genealogy traces the ancestors of Joseph back to David." (p. 206).

He explains, "The Lucan genealogy, in other words, starts with the question, 'Who was Josheph's "father"?' the answer to that question is, 'Heli.' . . . In the Matthean genealogy, on the other hand, we start with the question, 'Who was the heir to David's throne?' The answer is, "Solomon,' and so on down to Joseph." (p. 207).

You can see the signal that something like this is happening by comparing how the genealogies are the same from Abraham to king David, and then they diverge. For example, in Luke 3:31 it says that Nathan is David's son, while in Matthew 1:6 it says that David was the father of Solomon. Now we know from 2 Samuel 5:14 that Nathan and Solomon were both sons of David. But only Solomon was the heir of the throne (1 Kings 1:13).

So the possible solution to why the genealogies are different from David down to Joseph is that Luke is giving the physical ancestors (or in one or two cases a very close adoptive relation), while Matthew is most interested in showing that the father of Jesus is the legal heir to the throne of David.

The correctness of this view of the purpose and the meaning of each genealogy is confirmed by the fact that the genealogy in Luke begins at the end and works backward, whereas the genealogy in Matthew begins at the beginning. Where the point was to trace the actual descent of Joseph back to David that could be done by recording the tradition of the family as to his actual father, Heli, and the actual father of Heli, and so on up to Nathan the son of David. But where the point was to mention the successive heirs of the Davidic throne, it was natural to begin with David and work down. (p. 207).

What then actually happened in the generations just before Jesus? Here is one possible scenario. And that is all we can do is offer plausible solutions since the actual facts are hidden from us.

Matthew's genealogy
Eleazar
Matthan
Jacob
Joseph

Luke's genealogy
Levi
Matthat
Heli
Joseph

Suppose that Eleazar, the legal heir of David's throne died without widow or son. Customarily a more or less close relative would be counted as his legal descendent and be said to have been "begotten" by him. Suppose also that Matthan is that relative and is the same person as Matthat (in Luke) with an alternative spelling. That would mean that Jacob and Heli are brothers. Then suppose that Jacob dies before he has sons. According to the custom of Levirate marriage (see Matthew 22:25) the brother of the deceased man is to marry and raise up descendants for the sake of the name of the dead brother. Thus Heli marries Jacob's wife and they give birth to Joseph, Jesus' father. In this way Joseph is the legal heir through Jacob's line, but the actual physical son of Heli.

Perhaps the best lesson from this complicated hypothetical case is simply that apparent contradictions in the Bible do have plausible and possible solutions and we should be slow to throw out a book that has proved itself over and over for thousands of years as the mighty, saving, transforming word of God.

matthew94
Jul 12th 2007, 03:04 AM
I believe Matthew gives us Joseph's genealogy
I believe Luke gives us Mary's genealogy

Why I believe Luke records Mary’s genealogy
--a. The phrase ‘so it was thought’ speaks to an exception
--b. Luke’s birth account tends to follow Mary’s perspective
--c. Jewish custom left off the mother’s name from a genealogy
--d. The original greek had no punctuation or parenthesis
--e. Even 1st century unbelievers believed Heli was Mary’s father
--f. Church tradition considers Heli to be Mary’s father
--g. Biological descendants of Jeconiah was cursed from kingship

Supporting commentary...


John Gill

Which was the son of Eli;
meaning, not that Joseph was the son of Eli; for he was the son of Jacob, according to (Matthew 1:16) , but Jesus was the son of Eli; and which must be understood, and carried through the whole genealogy, as thus; Jesus the son of Matthat, Jesus the son of Levi, Jesus the son of Melchi… till you come to Jesus the son of Adam, and Jesus the Son of God; though it is true indeed that Joseph was the son of Eli, having married his daughter; Mary was the daughter of Eli: and so the Jews speak of one Mary, the daughter of Eli, by whom they seem to design the mother of our Lord: for they tell F2 us of one,
``that saw, (yle tb Myrm) , "Mary the daughter of Eli" in the shades, hanging by the fibres of her breasts; and there are that say, the gate, or, as elsewhere F3, the bar of the gate of hell is fixed to her ear.''
By the horrible malice, in the words, you may know who is meant: however, this we gain by it, that by their own confession, Mary is the daughter of Eli; which accords with this genealogy of the evangelist, who traces it from Mary, under her husband Joseph; though she is not mentioned, because of a rule with the Jews F4, that
``the family of the mother is not called a family.''

Jamieson, Fausset, Brown

being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, &c.--Have we in this genealogy, as well as in Matthew's, the line of Joseph? or is this the line of Mary?--a point on which there has been great difference of opinion and much acute discussion. Those who take the former opinion contend that it is the natural sense of this verse, and that no other would have been thought of but for its supposed improbability and the uncertainty which it seems to throw over our Lord's real descent. But it is liable to another difficulty; namely, that in this case Matthew makes Jacob, while Luke makes "Heli," to be Joseph's father; and though the same man had often more than one name, we ought not to resort to that supposition, in such a case as this, without necessity. And then, though the descent of Mary from David would be liable to no real doubt, even though we had no table of her line preserved to us (see, for example, Luke 1:2-32, and incredible--that two genealogies of our Lord should be preserved to us, neither of which gives his real descent. Those who take the latter opinion, that we have here the line of Mary, as in Matthew that of Joseph--here His real, there His reputed line--explain the statement about Joseph, that he was "the son of Hell," to mean that he was his son-in-law, as the husband of his daughter Mary (as in Ruth 1:11,12), and believe that Joseph's name is only introduced instead of Mary's, in conformity with the Jewish custom in such tables. Perhaps this view is attended with fewest difficulties, as it certainly is the best supported.

Matthew Henry

v. 23, etc. Matthew had given us somewhat of this. He goes no higher than Abraham, but Luke brings it as high as Adam. Matthew designed to show that Christ was the son of Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth are blessed, and that he was heir to the throne of David; and therefore he begins with Abraham, and brings the genealogy down to Jacob, who was the father of Joseph, and heir-male of the house of David: but Luke, designing to show that Christ was the seed of the woman, that should break the serpent’s head, traces his pedigree upward as high as Adam, and begins it with Ei, or Heli, who was the father, not of Joseph, but of the virgin Mary. And some suggest that the supply which our translators all along insert here is not right, and that it should not be read which, that is, which Joseph was the son of Heli, but which Jesus; he was the son of Joseph, of Eli, of Matthat, etc., and he, that is, Jesus, was the son of Seth, of Adam, of God, v. 38. The difference between the two evangelists in the genealogy of Christ has been a stumbling-block to infidels that cavil at the word, but such a one as has been removed by the labours of learned men, both in the early ages of the church and in latter times, to which we refer ourselves. Matthew draws the pedigree from Solomon, whose natural line ending in Jechonias, the legal right was transferred to Salathiel, who was of the house of Nathan, another son of David, which line Luke here pursues, and so leaves out all the kings of Judah. It is well for us that our salvation doth not depend upon our being able to solve all these difficulties, nor is the divine authority of the gospels at all weakened by them; for the evangelists are not supposed to write these genealogies either of their own knowledge or by divine inspiration, but to have copied them out of the authentic records of the genealogies among the Jews, the heralds’ books, which therefore they were obliged to follow; and in them they found the pedigree of Jacob, the father of Joseph, to be as it is set down in Matthew; and the pedigree of Heli, the father of Mary, to be as it is set down here in Luke. And this is the meaning of hos enomizeto (v. 23), not, as it was supposed, referring only to Joseph, but uti sancitum est lege—as it is entered into the books, as we find it upon record; by which is appeared that Jesus was both by father and mother’s side the Son of David, witness this extract out of their own records, which any one might at that time have liberty to compare with the original, and further the evangelists needed not to go; nay, had they varied from that, they had not gained their point. Its not being contradicted at that time is satisfaction enough to us now that it is a true copy, as it is further worthy of observation, that, when those records of the Jewish genealogies had continued thirty or forty years after these extracts out of them, long enough to justify the evangelists therein, they were all lost and destroyed with the Jewish state and nation; for now there was no more occasion for them.

The People’s New Testament

The descendant of a long line of kings was a poor carpenter of Nazareth. As the husband of Mary he was the legal father of Jesus, and Matthew gives his line of descent. A comparison of the table given by Luke will show that it differs in part from that of Matthew. Between David and Joseph the lists are widely different. Several views, all possible, have been presented, but the most probable explanation is that Matthew gives the line of Joseph, the legal line, and that Luke gives the line of Mary, the mother of our Lord. As the Jews regarded only male descent, unless Joseph, the supposed father, was a descendant of David they would not have recognized the genealogy as a fulfillment of the prophecies that Christ should be the Son of David; while Luke, himself a Gentile and writing for Gentiles, was more particular to give the line that shows that Jesus is really the Son of David. If Mary was the daughter of Heli, especially if an heiress, Joseph, by marriage, would become the "son of Heli." That there is no contradiction between the two tables is shown by the fact that the Jews who best understood their genealogies never charged it. These tables were preserved with great care, for various reasons, until Christ was born, but it is asserted that Herod destroyed them. If this is incorrect, they did not survive the destruction of Jerusalem.

Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament

Being Son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli (wn uio▀ w▀ enomizeto Iwshp tou Helei). For the discussion of the genealogy of Jesus see on "Mt 1:1"-17. The two genealogies differ very widely and many theories have been proposed about them. At once one notices that Luke begins with Jesus and goes back to Adam, the Son of God, while Matthew begins with Abraham and comes to "Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ" (Matthew 1:16). Matthew employs the word "begot" each time, while Luke has the article tou repeating uiou (Son) except before Joseph. They agree in the mention of Joseph, but Matthew says that "Jacob begat Joseph" while Luke calls "Joseph the son of Heli." There are other differences, but this one makes one pause. Joseph, of course, did not have two fathers. If we understand Luke to be giving the real genealogy of Jesus through Mary, the matter is simple enough. The two genealogies differ from Joseph to David except in the cases of Zorobabel and Salathiel. Luke evidently means to suggest something unusual in his genealogy by the use of the phrase "as was supposed" (w▀ enomizeto). His own narrative in Luke 1:26-38 has shown that Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus. Plummer objects that, if Luke is giving the genealogy of Jesus through Mary, uio▀ must be used in two senses here (son as was supposed of Joseph, and grandson through Mary of Heli). But that is not an unheard of thing. In neither list does Matthew or Luke give a complete genealogy. Just as Matthew uses "begat" for descent, so does Luke employ "son" in the same way for descendant. It was natural for Matthew, writing for Jews, to give the legal genealogy through Joseph, though he took pains to show in Matthew 1:16,18-25 that Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus. It was equally natural for Luke, a Greek himself and writing for the whole world, to give the actual genealogy of Jesus through Mary. It is in harmony with Pauline universality (Plummer) that Luke carries the genealogy back to Adam and does not stop with Abraham

John Wesley

The son of Heli - That is, the son - in - law: for Heli was the father of Mary. So St. Matthew writes the genealogy of Joseph, descended from David by Solomon; St. Luke that of Mary, descended from David by Nathan. In the genealogy of Joseph (recited by St. Matthew) that of Mary is implied, the Jews being accustomed to marry into their own families.

Adam Clarke

Being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph
This same phrase is used by Herodotus to signify one who was only reputed to be the son of a particular person: τουτονπαιςνομιζεται he was SUPPOSED to be this man's son.
Much learned labour has been used to reconcile this genealogy with that in St. Matthew, Matthew 1:1-17, and there are several ways of doing it; the following, which appears to me to be the best, is also the most simple and easy. For a more elaborate discussion of the subject, the reader is referred to the additional observations at the end of the chapter.
MATTHEW, in descending from Abraham to Joseph, the spouse of the blessed virgin, speaks of SONS properly such, by way of natural generation: Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob, Luke, in ascending from the Saviour of the world to GOD himself, speaks of sons either properly or improperly such: on this account he uses an indeterminate mode of expression, which may be applied to sons either putatively or really such. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being, as was SUPPOSED the son of Joseph-of Heli-of Matthat, considerable support from Raphelius's method of reading the original ωνωςενομιζετουιοςιωσηφτουηλι, being (when reputed the son of Joseph) the son of Heli, not always speak of sons properly such, is evident from the first and last person which he names: Jesus Christ was only the supposed son of Joseph, because Joseph was the husband of his mother Mary: and Adam, who is said to be the son of God, was such only by creation. After this observation it is next necessary to consider, that, in the genealogy described by St. Luke, there are two sons improperly such: i.e. two sons-in-law, instead of two sons.
As the Hebrews never permitted women to enter into their genealogical tables, whenever a family happened to end with a daughter, instead of naming her in the genealogy, they inserted her husband, as the son of him who was, in reality, but his father-in-law. This import, bishop Pearce has fully shown, νομιζεσθαι bears, in a variety of places-Jesus was considered according to law, or allowed custom, to be the son of Joseph, as he was of Heli.
The two sons-in-law who are to be noticed in this genealogy are Joseph the son-in-law of Heli, whose own father was Jacob, Matthew 1:16; and Salathiel, the son-in-law of Neri, whose own father was Jechonias: 1 Chronicles 3:17, and ; Matthew 1:12. This remark alone is sufficient to remove every difficulty. Thus it appears that Joseph, son of Jacob, according to St. Matthew, was son-in-law of Heli, according to St. Luke. And Salathiel, son of Jechonias, according to the former, was son-in-law of Neri, according to the latter.
Mary therefore appears to have been the daughter of Heli; so called by abbreviation for Heliachim, which is the same in Hebrew with Joachim

Jonathon Sarfati

 Sceptics claim that the genealogies of Matthew and Luke contradict, because they supposedly give different fathers for Joseph, the husband of Mary.

However, Luke is tracing Mary’s line, showing that she was also a descendant of David, as implied in Luke 1:32. Conversely Matthew traced the legal line from Joseph to David, but this line was cursed because of Jeconiah (Jer. 22:17–30). This curse means that if Joseph had been Jesus’s biological father, then Jesus would not have been eligible to sit on King David’s throne. Here are some reasons that Luke should be understood as giving Mary’s line:
 Luke’s nativity narrative mainly presents Mary’s perspective, while Matthew presented Joseph’s perspective. So readers of the original Greek would realize that the writers intended to present Mary’s and Joseph’s lines respectively.
 The reason Luke didn’t mention Mary explicitly is that rules for listing Jewish ancestry generally left out the mothers’ names.
 A clear pointer to the fact that the genealogy in Luke is Mary’s line is that the Greek text has a definite article before all the names except Joseph’s. Any Greek-speaker would have understood that Heli must have been the father of Joseph’s wife, because the lack of an article would mean that he would insert Joseph into the parenthesis (as was supposed) in Luke 3:23. So he would read it not as ‘Jesus … being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli’, but as ‘Jesus … being son (as was supposed of Joseph) of Heli’ (NB: the original Greek had no punctuation or even spaces between words). Indeed, the Jewish Talmud, no friend of Christianity, dating from the first few centuries AD, calls Mary the ‘daughter of Heli’, which could have come only from this understanding of what Luke meant.

Yishai
Jul 12th 2007, 10:02 AM
So we really have no clue? I guess it makes the writers look honest. If they were trying to fake the story of Jesus then they surely would have collaborated their stories.

David Taylor
Jul 12th 2007, 01:45 PM
So we really have no clue?

I thought Matthew94's post was pretty explanatory to me....but that's just me I guess.

Teke
Jul 12th 2007, 01:51 PM
Matthew 1:16


Luke 3:23


What was the name of Joesph's father?

Here (http://www.levendwater.org/companion/append99.html) is a chart of the regal line, and the natural line ("seed of the woman") and the scripture references on what law applied. Our promise in Genesis came thru the seed of the woman.

Yishai
Jul 12th 2007, 10:53 PM
I thought Matthew94's post was pretty explanatory to me....but that's just me I guess.

Ditto here, however we do not know that to be true. It is a possibility.............

Ramon
Jul 13th 2007, 01:47 AM
Matthew 1:16


Luke 3:23


What was the name of Joesph's father?


Matthew traces his ancestors through Joseph, Luke traces his ancestors through Mary- the first name in the geneology should read "son in law"

Matthew shows him to be the Jewish Messiah descended from David and Soloman

Luke shows him to be human descended from the first man

OldChurchGuy
Jul 13th 2007, 02:16 AM
Matthew 1:16


Luke 3:23


What was the name of Joesph's father?

At the risk of incurring everyone's wrath, it is just possible the writer's of Matthew and Luke were clueless about the other's manuscript and wrote the genealogies based on the best information available to them.

The various explanations offered are all plausible if one is operating from the perspective that these are part of a divinely inspired inerrant set of writings. If one is operating from the perspective that these writings are inspired but not necessarily inerrant then the first paragraph is also plausible.

But, since we do not have the original manuscripts of any of the New Testament (or Old Testament for that matter), the best that can be offered in way of an answer is a guess.

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy

Ramon
Jul 13th 2007, 03:07 AM
if you read the Gospels certian themes jump out from them:

Matthew:Jesus was the Messiah
Mark:Jesus was a servant
Luke:Jesus was human
John:Jesus was God

of course he was ALL four and each gospel shows him to be, but there is a theme to each one..........the Messiah had to be descended from David and Soloman, Matthew shows this to be the case, he traces his line through Joseph, Luke traces his line through Mary, who was also a desendant of David, but not of Soloman, Luke traces Jesus through Mary to show is human side that he descended from Adam who was the first human, the second name in Luke's Gospel should read "son in law" and not actual son.........

Yishai
Jul 14th 2007, 04:30 PM
At the risk of incurring everyone's wrath, it is just possible the writer's of Matthew and Luke were clueless about the other's manuscript and wrote the genealogies based on the best information available to them.

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy

No wrath, just a question. Wouldn't that mean that Matthew and Luke were not inspired by God to write the Gospels?

Ramon
Jul 14th 2007, 05:06 PM
Heli was Mary's Father. Therefore in Luke it reads Joseph son of Heli. This "son" might be a more distant relationship than a biological son. It should read Joseph the son in law of Heli. Then Luke's Gospel traces Jesus' descent through his mother's line.


Matthew traces Jesus' "descent" through Joseph's line. Matthew leaves out names because of what he was trying to show in his Gospel. He was trying to show that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah who had to come from David and Solomon's line.


So two different genealogies, but no contradictions. Mary simply married someone from the same tribe as herself, which was not uncommon. So we can see that Mary is also from the line of David, but not from Solomon's line. Joseph was from both and by human terms the Messiah had to be from both.

punk
Jul 14th 2007, 08:04 PM
It should be borne in mind that if this occurred in some other religion's scriptures (say the Qur'an), most people here would be quick to jump all over it as a blatant contradiction.

All the explanations here proceed from the assumption that there isn't a contradiction. Nothing in the text justifies any of the above explanations.

My point?

When you are defending the text as being "without contradiction" and at the same time you are explaining away problematic portions by assuming there are no contradictions in the text and finding some (any!) explanation that allows for that, you are being quite circular in your reasoning.

No one is going to buy into what you are saying if you tell them:

1. I believe in the Bible because it is without contradictions
2. I can show it is without contradictions by assuming it is without contradictions and concocting appropriate explanations

Reasoning should be well-founded.

matthew94
Jul 14th 2007, 10:48 PM
All the explanations here proceed from the assumption that there isn't a contradiction. Nothing in the text justifies any of the above explanations.

I think this was an overstatement. Just because someone offers a commentary on a passage doesn't mean they are attempting to explain a contradiction. There are multiple reasons for understanding Luke's genealogy as Mary's. A solid argument can be made for this simply based on textual and historical evidence absent a motive to defend inerrancy.

Yishai
Jul 15th 2007, 03:08 AM
I think this was an overstatement. Just because someone offers a commentary on a passage doesn't mean they are attempting to explain a contradiction. There are multiple reasons for understanding Luke's genealogy as Mary's. A solid argument can be made for this simply based on textual and historical evidence absent a motive to defend inerrancy.

Shouldn't all evidence be Biblical?

Ramon
Jul 15th 2007, 03:56 AM
It should be borne in mind that if this occurred in some other religion's scriptures (say the Qur'an), most people here would be quick to jump all over it as a blatant contradiction.

All the explanations here proceed from the assumption that there isn't a contradiction. Nothing in the text justifies any of the above explanations.

My point?

When you are defending the text as being "without contradiction" and at the same time you are explaining away problematic portions by assuming there are no contradictions in the text and finding some (any!) explanation that allows for that, you are being quite circular in your reasoning.

No one is going to buy into what you are saying if you tell them:

1. I believe in the Bible because it is without contradictions
2. I can show it is without contradictions by assuming it is without contradictions and concocting appropriate explanations

Reasoning should be well-founded.


My reasoning is well founded and so his whoever put together the canon of the New Testament. If they thought there was a contradiction they would not have included both Matthew and Luke. Read Matthew, he clearly states the story from Joseph's viewpoint and Luke clearly states it from Mary's point of view. The text backs this up, I do not explain the text, the text explains it self.

OldChurchGuy
Jul 15th 2007, 11:56 AM
No wrath, just a question. Wouldn't that mean that Matthew and Luke were not inspired by God to write the Gospels?

I have no problem with the idea that the writers of Matthew and Luke felt inspired by God to write their accounts. I am not as certain, though, that they were aware of any other gospels (except probably the Gospel of Mark) nor were they writing with the idea that in a few centuries their works plus the writings of others would be compiled into a collection of books we now call the Bible. Thus, they were both writing based on genealogies they believed to be true even though they have differences. But since they didn't know of each others writing, they would have no reason to believe that there might be a discrepancy in the genealogical accounts.

The Mary and Joseph genealogies is a plausible theory but I see no other writings to back it up. Therefore, from my perspective, it seems that the two were writing independently of each other is also a plausible theory.

Still risking the label of blasphemy I remain,

OldChurchGuy

Yishai
Jul 15th 2007, 01:49 PM
I have no problem with the idea that the writers of Matthew and Luke felt inspired by God to write their accounts. I am not as certain, though, that they were aware of any other gospels (except probably the Gospel of Mark) nor were they writing with the idea that in a few centuries their works plus the writings of others would be compiled into a collection of books we now call the Bible. Thus, they were both writing based on genealogies they believed to be true even though they have differences. But since they didn't know of each others writing, they would have no reason to believe that there might be a discrepancy in the genealogical accounts.

The Mary and Joseph genealogies is a plausible theory but I see no other writings to back it up. Therefore, from my perspective, it seems that the two were writing independently of each other is also a plausible theory.

Still risking the label of blasphemy I remain,

OldChurchGuy

I do believe that both Gospels were inspired by God. With that in mind, I feel there must be an explanation for the genealogies. Maybe it was not important? :confused

punk
Jul 16th 2007, 09:17 PM
I think this was an overstatement. Just because someone offers a commentary on a passage doesn't mean they are attempting to explain a contradiction. There are multiple reasons for understanding Luke's genealogy as Mary's. A solid argument can be made for this simply based on textual and historical evidence absent a motive to defend inerrancy.

Give a sufficiently clever person any two texts, and they can come up with a "solid" argument for their agreement and their "inerrancy".

It isn't that hard for clever people to come up with "solid" reasons for what they believe without evidence.

punk
Jul 16th 2007, 09:19 PM
My reasoning is well founded and so his whoever put together the canon of the New Testament. If they thought there was a contradiction they would not have included both Matthew and Luke. Read Matthew, he clearly states the story from Joseph's viewpoint and Luke clearly states it from Mary's point of view. The text backs this up, I do not explain the text, the text explains it self.

You are assuming they were trying to put together a noncontradicting set of texts.

Where is your evidence for that?

Perhaps they were simply assembling an anthology of authoritative texts without any concern for consistency or contradiction.

watchinginawe
Jul 16th 2007, 10:53 PM
You are assuming they were trying to put together a noncontradicting set of texts.

Where is your evidence for that?

Perhaps they were simply assembling an anthology of authoritative texts without any concern for consistency or contradiction.punk, all one must do is assume that each text, individually, tells the Truth. If each tells the Truth, then noncontradiction (both texts being True) stands regardless of what the intents of the "binders" were. What evidence do you have that one of the texts is false? Let's cut to the chase, why don't you identify the false Gospel for us and save us the time?

punk
Jul 16th 2007, 11:10 PM
punk, all one must do is assume that each text, individually, tells the Truth. If each tells the Truth, then noncontradiction (both texts being True) stands regardless of what the intents of the "binders" were. What evidence do you have that one of the texts is false? Let's cut to the chase, why don't you identify the false Gospel for us and save us the time?

My original point was that we must beware of using circular reasoning in presenting our beliefs to others:

If you read every text of the Bible assuming that it is "truth", then you cannot turn around and say the Bible has been proven "true".

You can't claim to demonstrate anything you assume at the outset.

I mean I can assume at the outset that the statement "all circles are squares" is true. Then, assuming this truth, I find I have to redefine what "circle" and "square" mean as words in order to make that statement true.

So at the end, sure, my redefined "circles" and "squares" are such that "all circles are squares", but I have hardly proven anything.

If you want to determine whether the Bible is "true" in any empirical sense, you cannot simply assume it its "true" and then tweak your reading appropriately.

watchinginawe
Jul 16th 2007, 11:49 PM
My original point was that we must beware of using circular reasoning in presenting our beliefs to others:

If you read every text of the Bible assuming that it is "truth", then you cannot turn around and say the Bible has been proven "true".I assume that one might study the Bible for themselves, not just offered in a presentation of beliefs to others. It seems in your prior points in the thread that you suggested that what we offer as resolving contradictions we don't really believe, we just offer it to maintain "inerrancy" as an unreasoned apologetic.

You are right about what and how we present our knowledge to others. Of course we have to be careful of circular logic in our philosophies. Science has the same problem. Just because science asserts that knowledge attained through science can be derived by studying and assuming only natural phenomena, that doesn't prove the non-existance of supernatural phenomena. Nevertheless, valuable scientific knowledge can be derived from study done with the prescribed philosophy.

The same is true with the knowledge gained from study of the Bible if we accept as our philosphy that the Bible is inerrant (dogma if you prefer). Our study doesn't prove the Bible inerrant, the philosophy of inerancy determines the boundaries of our study and knowledge.

While cute, your analogy of circles and squares therefore doesn't fit. That would make the false assumption that the two genealogies CAN'T be reconciled and that therefore one of the texts is a false Gospel. The assumption that they CAN'T be reconciled is an... assumption also. These kinds of "contradictions" can indeed be found by simply assuming the Bible to be a false uninspired document compiled by various men through the ages. I got pretty good at finding that kind of knowledge of the Bible when I held that philosophy as an atheist.

God Bless!

punk
Jul 17th 2007, 12:37 AM
I assume that one might study the Bible for themselves, not just offered in a presentation of beliefs to others. It seems in your prior points in the thread that you suggested that what we offer as resolving contradictions we don't really believe, we just offer it to maintain "inerrancy" as an unreasoned apologetic.

I'm assuming we want our beliefs to be well-founded, rather than having different sets of beliefs for different situations.


You are right about what and how we present our knowledge to others. Of course we have to be careful of circular logic in our philosophies. Science has the same problem. Just because science asserts that knowledge attained through science can be derived by studying and assuming only natural phenomena, that doesn't prove the non-existance of supernatural phenomena. Nevertheless, valuable scientific knowledge can be derived from study done with the prescribed philosophy.

Non sequitor.


The same is true with the knowledge gained from study of the Bible if we accept as our philosphy that the Bible is inerrant (dogma if you prefer). Our study doesn't prove the Bible inerrant, the philosophy of inerancy determines the boundaries of our study and knowledge.

This is, of course problematic, since, assuming that most religions assume some or another text is inerrant, there is no way to resolve among the texts whether any is inerrant in any normal sense.

All we end up with are a series of situational notions of inerrancy, say inerrant_christian for the Bible, inerrant_muslim for the Qur'an, and so on. So now both Christian and Muslims are each correct when they say the Bible or the Qur'an is "inerrant", since when the Christian says "inerrant", they mean "inerrant_christian", and the Muslim similarly means "inerrant_muslim". Of course the Bible fails to be "inerrant_muslim" and the Qur'an fails to be "inerrant_christian".

Of course now we are simply using made up words with no real point to them and debating there meaning without ever really addressing whether the Bible or Qur'an is (in fact) inerrant in any absolute sense.


While cute, your analogy of circles and squares therefore doesn't fit. That would make the false assumption that the two genealogies CAN'T be reconciled and that therefore one of the texts is a false Gospel. The assumption that they CAN'T be reconciled is an... assumption also. These kinds of "contradictions" can indeed be found by simply assuming the Bible to be a false uninspired document compiled by various men through the ages. I got pretty good at finding that kind of knowledge of the Bible when I held that philosophy as an atheist.

What do you mean? I did in fact reconcile the fact that all circles are squares, we simply didn't really know what circles and squares were.

The problem with saying that the mere fact that we can reconcile two divergent issues means they aren't contradictory, is that one can always find a way (however improbable) to reconcile any apparent contradiction, if one is sufficiently clever.

You are leaving us in the situation that we can never prove the Bible has any contradictions because you've assumed it doesn't have any contradictions.

But if it is impossible to ever (in principle) prove the Bible has contradictions, then the very notion that "the Bible has no contradictions" itself becomes meaningless.

watchinginawe
Jul 17th 2007, 12:57 AM
The problem with saying that the mere fact that we can reconcile two divergent issues means they aren't contradictory, is that one can always find a way (however improbable) to reconcile any apparent contradiction, if one is sufficiently clever.You are putting words in my mouth.

Your original post:
It should be borne in mind that if this occurred in some other religion's scriptures (say the Qur'an), most people here would be quick to jump all over it as a blatant contradiction.

All the explanations here proceed from the assumption that there isn't a contradiction. Nothing in the text justifies any of the above explanations.

My point?

When you are defending the text as being "without contradiction" and at the same time you are explaining away problematic portions by assuming there are no contradictions in the text and finding some (any!) explanation that allows for that, you are being quite circular in your reasoning.

No one is going to buy into what you are saying if you tell them:

1. I believe in the Bible because it is without contradictions
2. I can show it is without contradictions by assuming it is without contradictions and concocting appropriate explanations

Reasoning should be well-founded.Where did the conversation turn into what we might tell ... Muslims? Thanks for the heads up about what other religions might think of us if we attempt to resolve this genealogy.

The thread is about our study, not reasoned apologetics to those of other religions. Because of your apparent fear of intellectual disingenuousness, your choice appears to be to say "hey, it's a blatant contradiction". I'm OK with that for you if that is how you want to resolve it. But there are others who don't see a "blatant contradiction" and are willing to seek binary truths in the case.

God Bless!

matthew94
Jul 17th 2007, 05:45 AM
Give a sufficiently clever person any two texts, and they can come up with a "solid" argument for their agreement and their "inerrancy".

It isn't that hard for clever people to come up with "solid" reasons for what they believe without evidence.

That's one explanation
Another explanation would be that there wasn't a error to begin with, only an apparent error.

punk
Jul 17th 2007, 04:11 PM
That's one explanation
Another explanation would be that there wasn't a error to begin with, only an apparent error.

Another possibility is that there is a contradiction in fact, it is there, and it was deliberately placed there.

Another possibility is that there is a contradiction in fact, and it is a wee little boo boo.

The problem is that we cannot resolve among the possibilities by simply assuming there is no problem in the text.

punk
Jul 17th 2007, 04:13 PM
You are putting words in my mouth.

Your original post:Where did the conversation turn into what we might tell ... Muslims? Thanks for the heads up about what other religions might think of us if we attempt to resolve this genealogy.

The thread is about our study, not reasoned apologetics to those of other religions. Because of your apparent fear of intellectual disingenuousness, your choice appears to be to say "hey, it's a blatant contradiction". I'm OK with that for you if that is how you want to resolve it. But there are others who don't see a "blatant contradiction" and are willing to seek binary truths in the case.

God Bless!

We should apply the same criteria to ourselves as others rather than holding ourselves to a much lower standard than others.

My point was that people would be less inclined to let arguments such as given above for these passages fly if they were being given by another religion (if only for the simple reason that the arguments aren't very good to begin with).

Not very good, you say?

How ought we to judge that?

Let us take each genealogy in isolation and suppose that it was the only one we had. Now suppose someone came along and interpreted the genealogy according to the explanation given to resolve the the problem of the two genealogies taken together. In both cases any reasonable person reading the text would say "No, the text clearly says that so-and-so is the father of Joseph, where are you getting all this other stuff from?"

matthew94
Jul 17th 2007, 05:47 PM
Another possibility is that there is a contradiction in fact, it is there, and it was deliberately placed there.

Another possibility is that there is a contradiction in fact, and it is a wee little boo boo.

The problem is that we cannot resolve among the possibilities by simply assuming there is no problem in the text.

I don't assume such

The problem I have with the apparent tone of your point is that you seem to be putting down any of the discussions participants who come to the conclusion that the canonical books are without error. It is not, though, safe to assume that each person with this belief arrived at it by circular reasoning. There's a point in which one should stop playing devil's advocate, as the point intended has already been made. There are defensible reasons for holding to a view of Scripture that is without error which don't include pre-foundational assumptions. In other words, not everyone is on this side of the debate is 'simply assuming.'

matthew94
Jul 17th 2007, 06:24 PM
Let us take each genealogy in isolation and suppose that it was the only one we had. Now suppose someone came along and interpreted the genealogy according to the explanation given to resolve the the problem of the two genealogies taken together. In both cases any reasonable person reading the text would say "No, the text clearly says that so-and-so is the father of Joseph, where are you getting all this other stuff from?"

Here is where I believe you've made your mistake and why we arrive at different conclusions. First, you've created a hypothetical that removes us from the realm of reality. I am not totally against this, but it instantly weakens your argument because, in fact, we don't have only 1 genealogy to deal with. Anytime we have more than 1 piece of evidence, in any walk of life, new questions are brought up. Your methodology would, seemingly, force a murder investigation to deal with each line of evidence in a completely independent manner. If such a methodology were utilized, very few murder investigations would reach a resolution.

But, for the sake of argument, I'll grant your hypothetical and pretend that we only have Luke's genealogy. You are incorrect to state that all reasonable people would conclude that it was Joseph's genealogy. I believe many, especially those who studied it intensely, would come to the same conclusion I have come to because there are a multitude of good reasons for such a conclusion.

First, anyone having solid knowledge of Hebrew would know, from the outset, that punctuation is not present in the original wording of Luke 3:23. Instead, the punctuation is added by the translators to show their understanding of the passage. There are various ways to punctuate 3:23 which lend themselves to various interpretations. For example:


Option #1
Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli This rendering does indeed seem to indicate that Joseph was the son of Heli, but this rendering is not necessarily the intention of the greek


Option #2
Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was (the son so it was thought of Joseph) the son of Heli This rendering connects Jesus to Heli (I'm sure you know, of course, that the word 'son' in greek can mean son or grandson). Jesus was the supposed son of Joseph, but traced His actual lineage to Heli. Either rendering is allowable in the greek. If the text didn't include the phrase "so it was though" I'd be in complete agreement with you. But that phrase is present and there for a reason. We know, of course, that the reason includes that fact that Jesus wasn't actually a descendant of Joseph. This would, for any thinking person, open up the possibility that the one giving us the genealogy is interested in giving an actual genealogy.

Second, anyone who studied the entire context of Luke's first few chapters would recognize that he was giving Mary's perspective all the way through. Whereas Matthew focuses on Joseph's predicament, the angel coming to him, the Lord appearing to Joseph in a dream showing him how to protect his family from Herod, the Lord appearing to Joseph in a dream telling him to return to Israel, etc. Matthew puts us in Joseph's shoes from the genealogy up to chapter 3. In stark contrast, however, Luke puts us in Mary's shoes throughout his Christmas narrative. The angel comes to Mary with the announcement, Mary is the one in the predicament, Mary visits Elizabeth, Mary wraps the child in clothes and places Him in the manger, Mary treasures up all these things and ponders them in her heart, etc. Mary is the focus so a thinking person would have every reason to consider the possibility that Mary was the basis for Luke's genealogy. And Luke's phrase "so it was thought" would be an open door to arrive at that conclusion.

Third, such a thinker would have to consider why Luke wouldn't simply have used Mary's name instead of a seemingly confusing mention of Joseph. Was there any good reason to exclude Mary from her own genealogy? The answer is yes since it was customary in Jewish culture to exclude women as more than mere attachments to the story. Famous women were sometimes mentioned alongside their husband, but not as the official line of descent. If this aspect of Hebrew culture is true, then anyone rejecting the Marian genealogical conclusion is pressed into a problem. They'd have to ask themselves: "Is there any culturally acceptable way that Luke could have given us Mary's genealogy that I would accept as Marian?" The apparent answer is no. If Luke, culturally, wouldn't have used Mary's name, then it was impossible for him to communicate to someone with such a view. Our goal should be to be able to receive what the author's intended to communicate and our methodology shouldn't exclude that.

Fourth, any thinking person would research what ancient writers said about the genealogy. And they would find some writers claiming that Mary, not Joseph, was from Heli. And they would note that this claim was from Jewish sources, not Christian. Why would Jews wish to reconcile Luke & Matthew's apparent conflict? They wouldn't. And so this antagonistic witness to the idea the Mary was from Heli instead of Joseph serves as further ground to arrive at the above conclusion.

Fifth, a thinker would, at least, consider the opinion of church history and commentaries on this genealogy. And the thinker would see an abundance of interpretors viewing it as Marian.

All that could be arrived at even if we only had Luke's genealogy. It would, at the very least, be a considerable possibility. And that's not even considering the question that every reader should automatically ask "Why would I want Joseph's genealogy anyways if he isn't even a biological descendant?" There may be (I believe there are) good answers to that question (hence Matthew's genealogy of Joseph), but the question is a valid one that would get thinkers thinking (this is especially relevant considering Joseph was from Jeconiah who's blood-line had been cursed from kingship. Jesus, being a legal descendant of Jeconiah, but not a 'blood' descendant, was a rightful and allowable king. The uniqueness of the scenario (a virgin birth) made Jesus, perhaps uniquely qualified for His role).

So, as I said, I think you are overstating your case by saying no reasonable person would consider whether the genealogy was Mary's, even in your hypothetical (fake) scenario. Add to that the fact that we have 2 differing genealogies and any thinking person would have all the more reason to consider various possibilities. It's simply a matter of which possibility is most reasonable.

punk
Jul 17th 2007, 07:22 PM
I don't assume such

The problem I have with the apparent tone of your point is that you seem to be putting down any of the discussions participants who come to the conclusion that the canonical books are without error. It is not, though, safe to assume that each person with this belief arrived at it by circular reasoning. There's a point in which one should stop playing devil's advocate, as the point intended has already been made. There are defensible reasons for holding to a view of Scripture that is without error which don't include pre-foundational assumptions. In other words, not everyone is on this side of the debate is 'simply assuming.'

The "apparent tone" exists entirely inside your head.

Here's a question though:

What would constitute sufficient proof to you that a contradiction existed in the Bible?

How would someone go about proving this?

I think this is the crux of the matter, since what I see being advocated is a standard of reasoning by which it becomes impossible (even in principle) to ever establish there is a contradiction in the text.

There is a world of difference between:

1. It is is impossible under any circumstances to establish there is a contradiction in the text.

2. There is a perfectly reasonable set of criteria to establish that a contradiction exists in the text, but there just happen to not be any.

matthew94
Jul 17th 2007, 07:37 PM
What would constitute sufficient proof to you that a contradiction existed in the Bible? How would someone go about proving this? I think this is the crux of the matter, since what I see being advocated is a standard of reasoning by which it becomes impossible (even in principle) to ever establish there is a contradiction in the text.

As much as this is a problem on the conservative end (I agree it can be a problem), it is also a problem on the liberal end (as I demonstrated by asking the question, in my previous post, of whether it was even possible for Luke to communicate a Marian genealogy given your methodology).

To answer your question, I should first say that you are perhaps assuming too much about me. I never said there are no contradictions in Scripture. I've seen contradictions. I'm just unfamiliar with any contradictions that are impossible to resolve. Nor do I passionately care, one way or the other, if Scripture is free from contradiction on minor details. I only defend that idea that Scripture is a reliable account of God's revelation to man.

My main point in this thread, all along, has been that most of the supposed 'contradictions' that people mention are only apparent. I showed, in my previous post, that there is plenty of scholarly reasoning for concluding that Luke records Mary's genealogy and, further, that it is more reasonable to take this view than to consider it a contradiction. One claiming a contradiction there would first have to explain away the evidence that it is Marian and then answer questions about how the contradiction came to be (did the authors just make stuff up? did they have different sources? why would the different sources have different genealogies? why wouldn't early christians erase such a glaring contradiction? etc).

So since I only have interest in defending the reliability of Scripture, your question becomes: "what would it take to convince you that a certain Scripture is not reliable" and the answer is it would take strong evidence that the passage wasn't written by the influence of a prophet or apostle of God because God, not Scripture, is the true authority for a Christian.

punk
Jul 17th 2007, 07:49 PM
Let's look at the Greek:

Καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὡσεὶ ἐτῶν τριάκοντα ἀρχόμενος, ὢν, ὡς ἐνομίζετο, υἱός Ἰωσήφ, τοῦ Ἠλί

Literally (leaving out punctuation):

"And the same was Jesus about years thirty at the beginning being it was thought son of Joseph of Heli"

So you want to parse it as:

"And the same was Jesus (about years thirty at the beginning being it was thought son of Joseph) of Heli"

Rather than as:

"And the same was Jesus about years thirty at the beginning being it was thought son of (Joseph of Heli)"

So the question gets to the tendency of Greek to place a whole subordinate clause awkwardly intervening between a noun and a genitive modifying it?

And be sure, even in Greek your reading makes the text terribly awkward. It is definitely not good Greek, and goes to the limits of grammatical acceptability.

It is definitely not a situation of two equally valid readings forcing the reader to choose. It is the case of one reading which is substantially more fluid and natural, and one which is awkward in the extreme but (barely) justified by the rules of Greek grammar.

The awkwardness and forcedness of the reading in English is comparable to that in Greek.

Don't pretend they are equally reasonable readings.

matthew94
Jul 17th 2007, 08:00 PM
No, I'd punctuate it like this

"And the same was Jesus about years thirty at the beginning being (it was thought son of Joseph) of Heli"

Which doesn't sound any stranger than your rendering to me

A.T. Robertson, one of the most famous Greek Biblical scholars apparently didn't see this rendering as problematic as he comments on the passage "If we understand Luke to be giving the real genealogy of Jesus through Mary, the matter is simple enough....Plummer objects that, if Luke is giving the genealogy of Jesus through Mary, uio� must be used in two senses here (son as was supposed of Joseph, and grandson through Mary of Heli). But that is not an unheard of thing. In neither list does Matthew or Luke give a complete genealogy. Just as Matthew uses "begat" for descent, so does Luke employ "son" in the same way for descendant. It was natural for Matthew, writing for Jews, to give the legal genealogy through Joseph, though he took pains to show in Matthew 1:16,18-25 that Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus. It was equally natural for Luke, a Greek himself and writing for the whole world, to give the actual genealogy of Jesus through Mary."

So, once again, you appear to be over-stating your case.

punk
Jul 17th 2007, 08:10 PM
As much as this is a problem on the conservative end (I agree it can be a problem), it is also a problem on the liberal end (as I demonstrated by asking the question, in my previous post, of whether it was even possible for Luke to communicate a Marian genealogy given your methodology).

To answer your question, I should first say that you are perhaps assuming too much about me. I never said there are no contradictions in Scripture. I've seen contradictions. I'm just unfamiliar with any contradictions that are impossible to resolve. Nor do I passionately care, one way or the other, if Scripture is free from contradiction on minor details. I only defend that idea that Scripture is a reliable account of God's revelation to man.

My main point in this thread, all along, has been that most of the supposed 'contradictions' that people mention are only apparent. I showed, in my previous post, that there is plenty of scholarly reasoning for concluding that Luke records Mary's genealogy and, further, that it is more reasonable to take this view than to consider it a contradiction. One claiming a contradiction there would first have to explain away the evidence that it is Marian and then answer questions about how the contradiction came to be (did the authors just make stuff up? did they have different sources? why would the different sources have different genealogies? why wouldn't early christians erase such a glaring contradiction? etc).

So since I only have interest in defending the reliability of Scripture, your question becomes: "what would it take to convince you that a certain Scripture is not reliable" and the answer is it would take strong evidence that the passage wasn't written by the influence of a prophet or apostle of God because God, not Scripture, is the true authority for a Christian.

A resolved contradiction isn't a contradiction. That's the whole point of resolving it.

As for the criteria:

Personally, I have no idea how one would begin to go about establishing whether a text was written under the influence of a prophet or apostle of God. So if you have any ideas how to go about doing this, I'm all ears.

But a text is a text, and the errancy of a text should have nothing to do with who wrote it, but should be something one can establish from the text itself.

If two passages in a context where a reasonable reader expects a plain meaning contradict each other on that plain meaning, then it seems reasonable to conclude there is a contradiction.

So, for instance, it would be impossible to establish contradiction in say Heidegger, since nothing has a plain meaning, and can be interpreted however one wants.

Of course one is left with the sneaking suspicion that Heidegger isn't saying anything at all.

And this is getting a step towards my concern:

A text which is infinitely malleable and interpretable ends up having no content at all.

Real objective content doesn't allow for infinite malleability.

Sure you can assume the Bible is without error, and read accordingly, but in doing so you are effectively saying "the Bible has nothing to say".

punk
Jul 17th 2007, 08:32 PM
No, I'd punctuate it like this

"And the same was Jesus about years thirty at the beginning being (it was thought son of Joseph) of Heli"

Which doesn't sound any stranger than your rendering to me

A.T. Robertson, one of the most famous Greek Biblical scholars apparently didn't see this rendering as problematic as he comments on the passage "If we understand Luke to be giving the real genealogy of Jesus through Mary, the matter is simple enough....Plummer objects that, if Luke is giving the genealogy of Jesus through Mary, uio� must be used in two senses here (son as was supposed of Joseph, and grandson through Mary of Heli). But that is not an unheard of thing. In neither list does Matthew or Luke give a complete genealogy. Just as Matthew uses "begat" for descent, so does Luke employ "son" in the same way for descendant. It was natural for Matthew, writing for Jews, to give the legal genealogy through Joseph, though he took pains to show in Matthew 1:16,18-25 that Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus. It was equally natural for Luke, a Greek himself and writing for the whole world, to give the actual genealogy of Jesus through Mary."

So, once again, you appear to be over-stating your case.

Where exactly does this "it was natural" for a gentile to give a biological genealogy come from?

The hellenic world was no more concerned with natural genealogies than the Hebrew world.

In fact, the whole process of adoption (which included full grown adults) into extended families puts the lie to any such concern.

You can find families where people adopt adults as sons to take over the family simply because their sons were incompetent.

The easiest place to find such cases is among the Roman aristocracy (heck just look at the Julii clan around the times of Gaius Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar).

In the ancient hellenic world the family functioned more like a business enterprise than the modern family does.

No, non-Jews were perfectly capable of understanding the notion of someone being in a family but not being biologically part of the family.

Moreover Greeks had a lower opinion of women than Jews, and wouldn't much have cared about Jesus' mother's pedigree, but of course they would have cared about Joseph's pedigree, because that relates to the family's position (i.e. the lineage of patri familii tells one about the history of the family, which is what matters).

matthew94
Jul 17th 2007, 08:41 PM
Personally, I have no idea how one would begin to go about establishing whether a text was written under the influence of a prophet or apostle of God. So if you have any ideas how to go about doing this, I'm all ears.

You have 'no idea' how to go about establishing the authorship of a piece of literature? How do you come to recognize the authorship of Josephus' works? Or any other work of literature? You can come to a solid conclusion of such a thing by studying what time period it would have been written in, who claims to have been the author, who testifies to that claimed authorship, etc. There are tons of questions a historian would ask toward this end.


But a text is a text, and the errancy of a text should have nothing to do with who wrote it, but should be something one can establish from the text itself.

Once again, you are isolating the evidence without need. A more holistic approach is appropriate in my opinion. We don't just have a text. We have a text and a claim about a text. We have a text and historical comments about the text. We can examine these claims by considering all the corresponding evidences.


A text which is infinitely malleable and interpretable ends up having no content at all. Real objective content doesn't allow for infinite malleability.

Infinite malleability? You, once again, show a tendency toward extreme overstatement. We're not talking about infinite interpretations. With Scripture, we're talking about a handful of interpretations for a given passage and degrees of evidence for each view.



Sure you can assume the Bible is without error, and read accordingly, but in doing so you are effectively saying "the Bible has nothing to say".

Once again, you're only assuming that I'm assuming. That was my original reason for addressing your post. There's a big difference between assuming absent evidence that the Bible is without error and investigating Scripture thoroughly enough to consider the handful of possibilities leading to the conclusion that the accounts are reliable accounts of history.

Teke
Jul 17th 2007, 09:18 PM
"Bryennios Codex" (H) in which the Didache is preserved (MS dated by Leontos the copyist to 1054 CE)



Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whom the Christ was born, is descended from a Levitic family, as the divine evangelists indicated. But Matthew traces Joseph's descent from David through Solomon, while Luke (says) through Nathan. Solomon and Nathan were both sons of David. Now the evangelists were silent about the ancestry of the holy virginsince it was not customary for the Hebrews nor for the divine scripture to give genealogies for women and there was a law prohibiting one family from contracting marriage (with a person) from another. Insofar as Joseph was descended from a Davidic family, he contracted to marry the holy virgin who was from his own ancestry. So they were content to indicate the ancestry of Joseph. Now there was a law that when a childless husband died, his own brother was to go to impregnate the wife and raise up an offspring for the one who had died. Thus the resultant child was, on the one hand, by nature (an offspring) of the second one, who had generated it, but by law, (offspring) of the one who died. Now, from the seed of Nathan, son of David, Levi generated Melchi. But from the seed of Solomon, Matthan generated Jacob. But when Matthan died, Melchi the son of Levi, from the family of Nathan, impregnated the mother of Jacob and generated from her Eli. This resulted in half-brothers with a common mother, Jacob and Eli. But Jacob was from the family of Solomon, while Eli was from the family of Nathan. Then when Eli, from the family of Nathan, died childless, and Jacob his (half-)brother took his (Eli's) wife he generated Joseph and raised up an offspring for his (dead) brother. So Joseph is by nature a son of the Jacob who descended from Solomon, but by law (he is son) of Eli (who descended) from Nathan.

punk
Jul 17th 2007, 09:36 PM
You have 'no idea' how to go about establishing the authorship of a piece of literature? How do you come to recognize the authorship of Josephus' works? Or any other work of literature? You can come to a solid conclusion of such a thing by studying what time period it would have been written in, who claims to have been the author, who testifies to that claimed authorship, etc. There are tons of questions a historian would ask toward this end.

You changed subjects. I said I had no idea how to determine whether the author was a prophet or apostle of God. Even if I know Josephus wrote text X, how do I decide if Josephus is a prophet or apostle?


Once again, you are isolating the evidence without need. A more holistic approach is appropriate in my opinion. We don't just have a text. We have a text and a claim about a text. We have a text and historical comments about the text. We can examine these claims by considering all the corresponding evidences.

We have a text and a bunch of hearsay. The question is whether the text is in error or contradicts at a point.

Sure when we discuss the color the sky, there is a president of the US, but it doesn't mean the identity of the president has any bearing on the color of the sky.


Infinite malleability? You, once again, show a tendency toward extreme overstatement. We're not talking about infinite interpretations. With Scripture, we're talking about a handful of interpretations for a given passage and degrees of evidence for each view.

No, we are talking about assuming a possibly contradictory text must have a reading that is non-contractory, and that that reading is correct. That is that any problematic text must have a more amenable meaning.


Once again, you're only assuming that I'm assuming. That was my original reason for addressing your post. There's a big difference between assuming absent evidence that the Bible is without error and investigating Scripture thoroughly enough to consider the handful of possibilities leading to the conclusion that the accounts are reliable accounts of history.

Actually, you are now the one that is changing the issue. I'm not talking about "reliable accounts of history", I'm talking about whether we can say that the Bible is "inerrant", and any reasonable person understand the statement "the Bible is inerrant" to mean it is without error, not that it is without error on major points.

Either you agree with me that the Bible is not inerrant (simply because it does make mistakes somewhere, even minor ones) or you don't. But don't bait-and-switch saying it is inerrant on major issues, then simply say it is "inerrant" (which implies absolute inerrancy).

matthew94
Jul 17th 2007, 10:06 PM
You changed subjects. I said I had no idea how to determine whether the author was a prophet or apostle of God. Even if I know Josephus wrote text X, how do I decide if Josephus is a prophet or apostle?

Based on the authority of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, for Christians, Jesus Christ is authoritative. We have reliable documents which relate to us which men were chosen as His Apostles.


We have a text and a bunch of hearsay. The question is whether the text is in error or contradicts at a point.That is the question at hand, but you're barred yourself from finding an answer by refusing to take a holistic approach to evidence. You're assuming, it seems, that differences are contradictions instead of being open minded enough to explore various approaches and consider their merit, or lack thereof.


Sure when we discuss the color the sky, there is a president of the US, but it doesn't mean the identity of the president has any bearing on the color of the sky.You're clearly comparing apples with oranges. How would ancient comments about a text and historical research about the culture in which the text was written not have a bearing on our understanding of the text?


No, we are talking about assuming a possibly contradictory text must have a reading that is non-contractory, and that that reading is correct. That is that any problematic text must have a more amenable meaning.No, why do you insist that non-punk posters are making such assumptions? When have I ever said that the text 'must' have a reading that is non-'contractory'? I have simply said that there are understandings of the text that eliminate apparent contradiction and that such options should be weighed against the fullness of the evidence.


Actually, you are now the one that is changing the issue. I'm not talking about "reliable accounts of history", I'm talking about whether we can say that the Bible is "inerrant", and any reasonable person understand the statement "the Bible is inerrant" to mean it is without error, not that it is without error on major points.

Either you agree with me that the Bible is not inerrant (simply because it does make mistakes somewhere, even minor ones) or you don't. But don't bait-and-switch saying it is inerrant on major issues, then simply say it is "inerrant" (which implies absolute inerrancy).Changing the issue? This thread simply asks the question "what was the name of Joseph's father." My input into this thread is that Joseph's father was named Jacob and that Heli was Mary's father. I have given my reasoning for believing what I believe.

Your entrance into this thread began with a startling and false statement:


All the explanations here proceed from the assumption that there isn't a contradiction. Nothing in the text justifies any of the above explanations.You were wrong on 4 counts. All the explanations did not proceed from such assumptions. Certain aspects of the text do indeed justify some of the explanations.

Clearly, of course, the subject of inerrancy is not an orphan to this conversation. I'm not pretending you're out of line for bringing it up. But you, by no means, can pretend that my discussion of the reliability of Matthew 1:16 and Luke 3:23 are off-topic since those are the 2 passages the original poster quoted. The main subject at hand is not biblical inerrancy, but "what was the name of Joseph's father."

The most appropriate responses are (in no particular order):
a) Jacob
b) Heli
c) Both
d) Neither

I picked "A" and gave my reasons why I don't agree with "B" or "C"

What is your opinion? Why?

punk
Jul 18th 2007, 04:56 PM
Based on the authority of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, for Christians, Jesus Christ is authoritative. We have reliable documents which relate to us which men were chosen as His Apostles.

So we are back to the position that a certain set of texts are authoritative simply because they are authoritative, without any means of determining, given a wholly new text X whether it is also authoritative.

What's the point?


That is the question at hand, but you're barred yourself from finding an answer by refusing to take a holistic approach to evidence. You're assuming, it seems, that differences are contradictions instead of being open minded enough to explore various approaches and consider their merit, or lack thereof.

The argument is not whether the texts contradict. The argument is whether your position is such that it is even possible (in principle) to demonstrate two texts contradict.

You still haven't given me a practical set of criteria which I could use that would convince you (even in principle) that two biblical texts contradict.

Unless it is possible to demonstrate a contradiction, then non-contradiction is meaningless.

The issue is one of methodology.


You're clearly comparing apples with oranges. How would ancient comments about a text and historical research about the culture in which the text was written not have a bearing on our understanding of the text?
No, why do you insist that non-punk posters are making such assumptions? When have I ever said that the text 'must' have a reading that is non-'contractory'? I have simply said that there are understandings of the text that eliminate apparent contradiction and that such options should be weighed against the fullness of the evidence.

Because all the ancient comments in question are sufficiently late and removed as to call them into question.

Even 100 years is a long time, and plenty of commentary in the US about US history a mere 100 years ago is wholly contradicted by other commentary.

The ancient situation is far worse, standards were far lower, and all the commentary is by people with a prior commitment to a particular conclusion. Moreover we do not even have a representative sample of commentary, we have texts selected by a particular group.

This is rather like learning about the US Civil War entirely from a handful of texts compiled by the Daughters of the Confederacy.


Changing the issue? This thread simply asks the question "what was the name of Joseph's father." My input into this thread is that Joseph's father was named Jacob and that Heli was Mary's father. I have given my reasoning for believing what I believe.

That may be so, then I independently made a post about poor methodology and circular reasoning. You could have chosen to ignore that post, but you addressed it.

So if you are choosing to address my issue by addressing the OP, that doesn't really work, since there is a distinction in topic.

You can believe what you want to believe, and it really doesn't matter to me. I think you have bad reasons for it, and I think why you believe something is as important as what you believe, and if you tell me:

"I think the sky is blue because George Bush is president"

I'll say your belief in the blueness of the sky isn't well-founded regardless of whether it is true.


Your entrance into this thread began with a startling and false statement:

You were wrong on 4 counts. All the explanations did not proceed from such assumptions. Certain aspects of the text do indeed justify some of the explanations.

Clearly, of course, the subject of inerrancy is not an orphan to this conversation. I'm not pretending you're out of line for bringing it up. But you, by no means, can pretend that my discussion of the reliability of Matthew 1:16 and Luke 3:23 are off-topic since those are the 2 passages the original poster quoted. The main subject at hand is not biblical inerrancy, but "what was the name of Joseph's father."

The most appropriate responses are (in no particular order):
a) Jacob
b) Heli
c) Both
d) Neither

I picked "A" and gave my reasons why I don't agree with "B" or "C"

What is your opinion? Why?

My introduction to the thread was perfectly reasonable given the fact that one reading of the Greek is substantially more natural than the other, and that no one would presume to read Luke in any way other than saying that Heli was Joseph's father were it not for the presence of Matthew.

In fact, if for some reason Matthew had been lost, and were dug up in some jar in the wilderness today, people would probably say its genealogy was wrong on the grounds that it contradicted Luke.

You've given no means in that hypothetical for determining that Matthew ought to be considered authoritative.

You of course will say that isn't the historical situation, but I'd contend that our notion of the authority of the text shouldn't rest on mere historicity (i.e. its always been part of the canon), but that we should have a standard that would have allowed the canon to evolve over the course of 2000 years into its present form.

After all, what is the conceptual difference between assembling a canon over the course of a century or so, and assembling it over the course of two millennia?

As for A,B,C,D, you didn't give E "We can't determine it". Which we can't since we have only two sources which contradict each other.

matthew94
Jul 18th 2007, 06:16 PM
So we are back to the position that a certain set of texts are authoritative simply because they are authoritative, without any means of determining, given a wholly new text X whether it is also authoritative.

What's the point?

What's the point of discussing an issue with you if you consistently insist on misrepresenting the person you are in discussions with? You are the one talking about some straw man that uses circular reasoning. I never said the text is authoritative because its authoritative, I said the text is authoritative because it was written as a result of men who were given the authority from Jesus to teach. That's not circular at all, it's a straight line of authority passed down from the Father to the Son to the Apostles.

Further, why are you pretending that I have given no means of determining whether a hypothetical new text is also authoritative. It would simply be a matter of determining based on research whether or not it was Apostolic.


The argument is not whether the texts contradict. The argument is whether your position is such that it is even possible (in principle) to demonstrate two texts contradict.

You still haven't given me a practical set of criteria which I could use that would convince you (even in principle) that two biblical texts contradict.

Unless it is possible to demonstrate a contradiction, then non-contradiction is meaningless.

The issue is one of methodology.

As much as you accuse the people in this thread of assuming there are contradictions and then using that assumption as the foundation of their argument, you are doing the same thing in reverse. You are assuming that there are contradictions and casting off any doubters as persons with flawed logic.

Of course it is possible to demonstrate that two texts contradict. They contradict if it is impossible to resolve an apparent conflict. Of course, many people do, indeed, reason the circular way that you have described and come up with resolutions that don't make a lot of sense. In such a case, a 'contradiction' may be, presently, the most likely understanding of the apparent discrepancy. But it would be extremely intellectually arrogant to claim that 'contradiction' is the only solution (instead of just claiming it is the best solution) or to insist that resolution is impossible or illogical.

Where you have failed in this thread is simply shown in the fact that you have not adequately responded to the case(s) for resolution presented here, instead insisting that contradiction is, apparently, the only legitimate and intellectual option. This is a very 'western' mentality where one simply attempts to dismiss competing views from the realm of 'reasonable consideration.' I've held throughout that 'contradiction' is a possibility to be contemplated whereas you've seem determined to posit only 1 option as reasonable.


Because all the ancient comments in question are sufficiently late and removed as to call them into question. Even 100 years is a long time, and plenty of commentary in the US about US history a mere 100 years ago is wholly contradicted by other commentary. The ancient situation is far worse, standards were far lower, and all the commentary is by people with a prior commitment to a particular conclusion. Moreover we do not even have a representative sample of commentary, we have texts selected by a particular group.This is rather like learning about the US Civil War entirely from a handful of texts compiled by the Daughters of the Confederacy.

I simply disagree. I think your position smells of 21st century arrogance toward 1st century thinkers. What's more, you keep using the word 'all' as if you're being accurate in doing so. You're not. All the commentary is not by people with a prior commitment to a particular conclusion. Why would some Jews hold Heli to be Mary's father? They had no commitment to resolve Matthew & Luke. They should have heralded the difference! Your overstatements just don't stand up to scrutiny.


That may be so, then I independently made a post about poor methodology and circular reasoning. You could have chosen to ignore that post, but you addressed it.

So if you are choosing to address my issue by addressing the OP, that doesn't really work, since there is a distinction in topic.

I certainly don't mind discussing it. I was just calling you out for accusing me of trying to change the subject when it was you who brought the subject change into the conversation. Needless to say, this is no big deal.


You can believe what you want to believe, and it really doesn't matter to me. I think you have bad reasons for it, and I think why you believe something is as important as what you believe, and if you tell me:

"I think the sky is blue because George Bush is president"

I'll say your belief in the blueness of the sky isn't well-founded regardless of whether it is true.

Why do you pretend as if the 'why' one believes is only important to you? Pardon me, but that seems like an incredibly arrogant thing to say. In reality, and that's what I prefer to deal with instead of rhetoric, we both care about the 'why' and the 'what.' I'm not about to pretend that you don't care about the 'why' or the 'what,' so I'm disappointed that we can't discuss these issues together without one of us thinking more highly of the thoroughness of their own thought-process. And why you insist on using straw men comparisons like your blue-sky/bush analogy is beyond me. How does that contribute to a serious discussion? I can only imagine that the only reason you keep making such statements is that you continue to insist that I am holding to inerrancy simply for inerrancy's sake even though I have described my position quite differently.


My introduction to the thread was perfectly reasonable given the fact that one reading of the Greek is substantially more natural than the other, and that no one would presume to read Luke in any way other than saying that Heli was Joseph's father were it not for the presence of Matthew.

In fact, if for some reason Matthew had been lost, and were dug up in some jar in the wilderness today, people would probably say its genealogy was wrong on the grounds that it contradicted Luke.

Some greek scholars seem to disagree with you that one of the two readings is unlikely. Why don't you provide some quotes from well known greek scholars declaring their disdain for the reading I suggested? I provided a commentary from Robertson where he considers it a legitimate option. That's one of the big difficulties I've had in discussing this issue with you, you simply haven't brought in evidence to defend your claims or even dealt with most of the arguments that I brought up for the Marian genealogy view (for example, you seemingly ignore the bulk of my post about why many people, even with just "Luke" would have had good reason to consider it as Mary's genealogy). What good is discussion if you don't discuss the main point of the thread?


You've given no means in that hypothetical for determining that Matthew ought to be considered authoritative.You of course will say that isn't the historical situation, but I'd contend that our notion of the authority of the text shouldn't rest on mere historicity (i.e. its always been part of the canon), but that we should have a standard that would have allowed the canon to evolve over the course of 2000 years into its present form. After all, what is the conceptual difference between assembling a canon over the course of a century or so, and assembling it over the course of two millennia?

If you don't agree that Matthew is an authoritative commenter on the life of Christ than we have bigger issues than this thread can contain. If, as I might suspect, you question whether the gospel of Matthew is even authored by Matthew than that is a legitimate discussion (though, probably still better had in another thread). Matthew is authoritative because Jesus selected him, as shown by various historically reliable manuscripts, to be one of 'the twelve.'

I doubt we are very different in our views of the canon. You simply assume we are. But perhaps we can discuss that next time in comes up in a thread about the canon.


As for A,B,C,D, you didn't give E "We can't determine it". Which we can't since we have only two sources which contradict each other.

I'm fine with option E (I assumed it was implied since my goal in giving 4 options was not to determine fact, but simply to give the best options). I don't think the 'best option' is agnostic. If I were asked to rank the 5 options I'd rank them as following based on the evidence

1. Jacob
2. Both
3. Unknown (your E option)
4. Heli
5. Neither

Would you care to share your ranking of the 5 options?

Teke
Jul 18th 2007, 07:16 PM
Here is some more info for those who may be confused about the names in the genealogy being addressed. Joachim and Anna are Mary's parents. Joachim=Eliakim (OT)=Eli/Heli.



The name "Joachim" is related to "Eliakim" (2 Kings 23:34), which can be rendered as "Eli," which explains the use of this name by the holy Evangelist Luke (3:24). The Talmud also refers to the virgin Mary as "the daughter of Eli," which apparently was the modified form of the name Joachim. The names, Joachim and Anna, themselves not only derive from apocrypha which are heretical, but also from Saint Epiphanius of Cyprus (Haer. 48), and are reproduced by Saint John of Damascus (De Orth. Fid. 40). In the ancient catacombs there is found a depictions of St Anna with a reference to her name and that she is the mother of the virgin Mary.

This is four historic references to Mary's parents.

matthew94
Jul 18th 2007, 07:27 PM
Good find Teke. Can I ask where that quote is from?

Teke
Jul 18th 2007, 11:37 PM
Good find Teke. Can I ask where that quote is from?

It's some end notes by a Russian Orthodox Protopresbyter (Michael Polsky). Just some general info. There is more info on Jesus and His mother in the Talmud, most of it ugly. I didn't want to go into that.

History (with refs) on Jesus and Mary has always been standard study within the church.:)