The Religious A priori


Jesus Genealogies








Skeptics and anti-missionaries often raise many difficulties in attempts to prove that Jesus could be the Messiah. Here are the major difficulties with which I will deal:


(1)Disparity in size of two lists.

(2) Two genealogies said to contradictic.

(3) Matt's gemealogy is not Jesus' bloodline.

(4) Curse on Line in Matt.

(5) If Luke's list is Mary's line, King can't come through female.

(6) Luke's list is useless anyway it goes through Nathan, and Messaih must come through Solomon.


The assumptions that I will mae here, and in answer to the first problem:

Matthew's list is Joe's bloodline while Luke's list is Mary's genealogy. These are not the same list. That is apparent since one goes thorugh Nation and one Through Solomon and all the names are different except for about three, it is clear they are not meant to be the same list. I will deal with the proof that one is Joe's list and the other Mary's latter.

Matt's line = Joesph's line

Luke's Line = Mary's line


Disparity in size of two lists



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Matt's geneology is taken in reverse order to presentation--since Luke's order is reversed to Matt, I've put them all in the order of going back in time form Jesus to David.


Jechoniah (Jahoachin) is in red in Matt's list to mark the begining of exile


highlight Matt's list to see the mising names that he left out, names of the knigs of Judah (and their one Queen).


Luke's Geneaology Matt's Geneaology
suppossed son of Joseph Jo husband of Mary
Eli,
Matthat,
Levi,
Melchi,
Jannai,
Joseph,
Mattathias,
Amos,
Nahum,
Hesli,
Naggai,
Maath,
Mattathias,
Semein,
Josech,
Joda,
Joanan,
Rhesa,
*Zerubbabel,
*Shealtiel,
Neri,
Melchi,
Addi,
Cosam,
Elmadam,
Er,
Joshua,
Eliezer,
Jorim,
Matthat,
Levi,
Simeon,
Judah,
Joseph,
Jonam,
Eliakim,
Melea,
Menna,
Mattatha,
Nathan,
Jesus
Joseph the husband of Mary,
Matthan,
Eleazar,
Eliud.
Achim,
Zadok,
Azor.
Eliakim,
*Zerubbabel.
*Shealtiel,
*Jeconiah
Jehoiakim
Jehoahaz
Josiah.
Amon,
Manasseh,
Hezekiah.
Ahaz,
Jotham,
Amaziah
Joash
Uzziah (Azariah?)
Joram,
Jehoshaphat,
Asa.
Abijah,
Rehoboam,
Solomon
David

The thing is we notice something odd about Matthew's list (apart form the lack of names).It is basically a list of the king's of Judah. All the names form Rehaboum to Jahoachin are all king's of judah. That line was hereditary and it involved the one family line of Solomon. Obviously then a lot of the missing names are knigs of Judah. The list abridged. This is not unknown. There abridged gnealogies in the Old Testament:

Ken Palmer
visited on 5/24/06

lifeofChrist.com


Genealogical abridgement occurs not only in Matthew 1:1, but also in the Old Testament. Compare Ezra 7:3 with 1st Chronicles 6:7-10, and you can see how Ezra deliberately skipped six generations from Meriaoth to Azariah (son of Johanan).

Son could also be used to describe kinship without sonship. Although Zerubbabel was the nephew of Shealtiel (1st Chronicles 3:17-19), he was called the son of Shealtiel (Ezra 3:2, Nehemiah 12:1, Haggai 1:12). Jair is another example of this principle. He was a distant son-in-law of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 2:21-23 and 7:14-15). Yet, he was called the "son of Manasseh" (Numbers 32:41, Deuteronomy 3:14, 1st Kings 4:13).
The point to remember is that the word son can be applied to several types of relationships.


The reason Matthew breaks up his geneaology into groups of 14, 14,13 is probalby for memorization. It makes memorizing easier.

when we stick in the nams of the missing Kings of Judah the lists come up a bit more even. There is a difference in eight names with the missing Kings of Judah in there. No dobut there are other spaces for abrdibement.


Since most of my answers invovle the idea that Luke = Mary and Matt = Jo let's tackle that one next. Are my reasons "totally arbitrary?" Of course not, and most Biblical Scholars agree with my reading,and in fact the great Rabbinical scholar Alfred Edersheim agreed with it.


Skeptics often argue that there's no reason to think that Luke's geneaology is Mary's and Matt's is Jo's. They must both be of Jo's line becasue Luke doesn't mention Mary but says Jesus was suppossed the son of Jo."

Lists do not contradict: Luke = Jo, Matt = Mary



These are clealry two different lists. They are not contradictions of each other, they follow two different familiy lines. One is for Mary and one for Joseph.

A. Different lists.

(1) Vastly different numbers of names indicates differnt lists.

The first thing to notice is that Luke's version has twice as many people in it. The second thing is that they are all different. There aren't just one or two differences, they are all different, except Zerubabel and Shealtiel, who come 10 generations apart in the two lists, which probably indicates they are two different sets of Father and son which are over 100 years apart.

This is clelary not two attempts to make the same list, but two totally different lists.

(2) Matt gores through Solmon; Luke Through Nathan; different sons of David

Luke's line goes through Nathan, While Matt's line goes thorugh Solomon. But only Solomon's line has the promise that is decendent would always be on the throne (presumably meaning he would be the Messiah). It cannot be that Luke was just ignoarnt. He's far too knowledgeable of Jewish customs and no doub had Jews to furnish his research. So the idea that he's ust ignorant of the fact doesnt' wash. If he was trying to manufature a line to boost Jesus Messianich credentials he would surely just make it go throug Solomon. the fact that he does not suggests that he's not trying to construct the same list, but is in fact trying to make up Mary's line, because if it was through Mary it wouldn't count Messianically anyway. It would have to go through the Father to count as Messianich. We can get around that by the argument that Jospeh adopted Jesus, but why compound the problem by trying to go through Nathan?

(3) Matt is clearly trying to connect to Royal (legal) line to argue for Messiahship, Luke is demonstrating blood heritage to David.

Matt clearly identifies where Jahoacin and Shealtiel come in, and he himself says they are connected to the exile. In his list he says "After the deportation R8 to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation R7 to Babylon." " This is clealry marking the line as the line that extends from the last King of Judah, and that it is the line containing the Zerubabel who re-establishes the Messianch blessing on the line the lifts the curse of Johoachin. That would be crucial to establishing the line as having a right to the throne. Without that the author might as well just forget it. Luke has a Zerubabel and Shealteil in his line, but makes no attempt to identify them as the decendents of Jahoachin. In fact they dencend from differnt people, and their decendents are different: see above list.

Luke's list:

Josech,
Joda,
Joanan,
Rhesa,
*Zerubbabel,
*Shealtiel,
Neri,
Melchi,
Addi,
Cosam,


Matt's list:

Achim,
Zadok,
Azor.
Eliakim,
*Zerubbabel.
*Shealtiel,
*Jeconiah
Josiah.
Amon,
Manasseh,
Hezekiah.

clealry two seperate lines. If we put them in the chronological contexts the two couples would be about 100 years apart.

That is a pretty clear indication that Matt was trying to establish the connection to the throne and Luke was not! Thus they have different purposes in writting, so probably not working on the same list.

B. Matt = Joe; Luke = Mary.

Skeptics often gloat, and arrogantly entoning "it doesnt' say Mary does it?" They domgatically ingore the fact that Jews didn't put women in geneolgoies. Matt does, but only as a speical noteworthy members of the line. To set out the feamle's line would be ridiculous. In such a case the proper thing to do would be to use the husband as thel egal heir and trace it as though it were his line. This is especially the case if he was adopted as legal heir (son-in-law) by the father (in-law).

(1)Luke lists Jospeh not Mary because he was the legal heir to that line.

Complete Bible genealogy.com

Jesus was the natural son of Mary, who conceived by the Holy Ghost and therefore He becomes the Son of God (Luk 1:34-35). Considering the fact that by the Jewish tradition women are never listed in the genealogical links, it is acceptable that Luke lists Joseph instead of Mary (as he was the "father" of Jesus) and thus Luke names Joseph as son of Heli. Further, since Heli had no sons but only daughters, we can find a precedent of the same type of name substitution in Num 27:1-11 and Num 36:1-12.




(2) Language of the geneaologies

Matt mentions Jo is husband of Mary. This seems like a purposeful attempt to connect the geneaology to Jesus from Joseph as his adopted father. But Matt says specifically that Jospeh was begotton by Matthan; while Luke uses no such language. The terms Luke uses to describe the relationship between Jesus and Joseph is "Suppossedthe son of..." which certainly implies that there is no begatting between the two. Taken together these seem frank admittions, on Luke's part that he's not really dealing of Joseph's actutal blood line, and for Matt, that he is daling with Josephe's actually blood line.

Of course skeptics will ask "why doesn't it name Mary?" Jews tired to avoid using women in Geneaologies. If the woman was without a brother, the husband could be adopted as legal heir by father and thus it becomes his legal line. So if this was the cause Luke uses Joseph as the leagal heir to the line.

(3) Similarities in names between Mary's Parents in Luke and Mary's partens in latter traditions.

New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.

"Though few commentators adhere to this view of St. Luke's genealogy, the name of Mary's father, Heli, agrees with the name given to Our Lady's father in a tradition founded upon the report of the Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal Gospel which dates from the end of the second century. According to this document the parents of Mary are Joachim and Anna. Now, the name Joachim is only a variation of Heli or Eliachim, substituting one Divine name (Yahweh) for the other (Eli, Elohim). The tradition as to the parents of Mary, found in the Gospel of James, is reproduced by St. John Damascene [24], St. Gregory of Nyssa [25], St. Germanus of Constantinople [26], pseudo-Epiphanius [27], pseudo-Hilarius [28], and St. Fulbert of Chartres [29]. Some of these writers add that the birth of Mary was obtained by the fervent prayers of Joachim and Anna in their advanced age. As Joachim belonged to the royal family of David, so Anna is supposed to have been a descendant of the priestly family of Aaron; thus Christ the Eternal King and Priest sprang from both a royal and priestly family" [30].



Talmud agrees with Protoevangelium on Mary's father:

Geneology of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible study manuels
"It is indirectly confirmed by Jewish tradition [that Luke's genealogy is of Mary's line]. Lightfoot {Horae Hebraicae on Luke iii. 28} cites from the Talmudic writers concerning the pains of hell, the statement that Mary the daughter of Heli was seen in the infernal regions, suffering horrid tortures. {Suspensam per glandulas mammarum," etc.} This statement illustrates, not only the bitter animosity of the Jews toward the Christian religion, but also the fact that, according to received Jewish tradition, Mary was the daughter of Heli; hence, that it is her genealogy which we find in Luke....

If Mary was the daughter of Heli, then Jesus was strictly a descendant of David, not only legally, through his reputed father, but actually, by direct personal descent, through His mother....

[Therefore] Mary, since she had no brothers [as evidenced in Jn 19:25-27] was an heiress; therefore her husband, according to Jewish law, was reckoned among her father's family, as his son. So that Joseph was the actual son of Jacob, and the legal son of Heli. In a word, Matthew sets forth Jesus' right to the theocratic crown; Luke, His natural pedigree. The latter employs Joseph's name, instead of Mary's, in accordance with the Israelite law that 'genealogies must be reckoned by fathers, not mothers."



(4)Luke is more connected to Mary than Matthew is.


*Luke uses words such as women and womb more times than the other Gospels (Helms p.65)

*Only Luke is interested in Mary's inner life (2:18, 34, 51)

*Luke gives us the famous lines rejoying in pregnancy--something most men woudln't think about doing.(1:42-46)

*ONly author to mention fetal quickening and mention it as a sympotom of the Holy Spirit coming into the womb 1:42)


As a phyiscian Luke was drwawn to the idea of a pregnant woman in Mary's condition and perdicatiment. it seems many scholrs find a connection and an interest that Luke had in Mary. Matthew focuses upon Joseph in the announcmenet of the child. But Luke focuses upon Mary, followers her to her cousins and puts the spot light on her.



(5)Use of definate article


Jews didn't like putting women in geneolgoies. If Jo was adopted into the line as it's legal heir, because the father was sonless, the it would be more common to use him as the heir rather than Mary, even though it was her actaul blood line. We can see the way the genealogy is written there is a clue that Joseph is only the legal heir. All the other names have definate article in front them but not Jo's name. So "the Heli," "the so and so" that would be litteral reading. Only Jo is missing this definate article, indicating there is something different.

Now one might argue that this tradition (Protoevangelium) takes it ques form Matthew. But why would they use the nick name instead of using the name givne in Matthew? That creates more confussion than it resolves. It would seem that the names have a connection, but are clearly from different traditions of use.

This quotation also gives us good reason to assume that Mary didn't have a brother. Because the alternative traidtion of the Protoevangelum and the chruch father's mentioned seem to hold to that view.



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for a compelte discussion on all the geneaological problmes click here.



The Religious A priori