Jesus was a Jew (and I am not) by Josh Graves

Jesus was a Jew (and I am not) by Josh Graves August 6, 2014

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Jesus taught like a Jew. Dressed like a Jew. Thought like a Jew. Ate like a Jew. Sabbathed like a Jew. Spoke like a Jew. Jesus taught, dressed, thought, ate, talked, and got his sabbath on like a Jew because–are you ready for it?–Jesus was a Jew. He came from Jewish parents. He was raised in a tiny Jewish town. Probably grew up learning Torah, the primary sacred text for Jewish children.

Now that we all agree, I have a story to tell you. And, this story is true. Meaning, this story happened and it has meaning.

One of the strangest theological arguments I’ve ever been part of took place (surprise, surprise) in a church building on a Sunday morning after I had taught a class on the parables of Jesus and preached a sermon on the Emmaus Road story in Luke 24.

An impeccably dressed man walked up to me after worship with concern and anger in his eyes. “How can you assert that Jesus was a Jew?” He asked. I thought someone was pulling a prank on me. Like a church’s version of “Candid Camera” or something. I looked around, there were no cameras. Only a guy in an awesome suit bearing down on me with toxicity and frustration.

“I’m sorry. What did you say?”

“How can you assert that Jesus was a Jew? We know Joseph was not Jesus’ father. Jesus’ father was the Holy Spirit. It’s never been proven that Jesus’ mother-Mary-was a Jew. Therefore, Jesus was not a Jew. If Jesus were/is a Jew, God would be a Jew and that would be no good for the rest of the people on Planet Earth.” That is a direct quote. I kid you not (note: “kid” is not the word I would prefer to use but this is a family friendly blog).

I stood there stunned. I could not believe that I was having this conversation. A conversation that was about to turn into a full-fledged argument.

So, I struck an inner yoga pose, took deep breaths, and tried to remember what Brene Brown is teaching all of us about courage and said something like this.“Well, Jesus is from Nazareth, born in Bethlehem. He has a Jewish name. He taught like a Jew. Dressed like a Jew. Thought like a Jew. Lived among Jews. Probably ate like a Jew. Had Jewish male and female disciples. He obviously had studied Torah diligently like a good Jew. He believed in baptism and Eucharist, two practices that were birthed out of the heart of Jewish teaching (River Jordan crossing in the Exodus account and Passover).  Plus, Jesus’ mother was related to Elizabeth whose husband Zechariah was a priest. Matthew and Luke both trace Jesus’ family history through the story of Israel, showing how God has chosen to reveal himself in the particularity of Israel in order that all people might come to faith in YHWH, the one true God.”

On the spot, still not convinced that I wasn’t being filmed for later comedy, that was the best I could come up with.

This man then proceeded to unleash one of the most anti-Semitic, conspiracy-laced treatises I’ve ever heard in my entire life. To be fair, you need to know that this gentleman is not crazy. He’s not an outlier. He is, by all accounts, an intelligent and successful person. So don’t read this and think, “Who cares? The guy is a conspiracy theorist.”

For too long, evangelical churches have put up with dangerous theses like “Jesus was not a Jew.”All I’m saying is this post-sermon debater is dead wrong. I love to answer people’s questions, on other settings, with “…maybe…but it could be this or that…” but I’m not even playing with this topic. This guy, as I would have said 15 years ago, was straight trippin’.

Alas, ten more minute of debate ensued, he kept repeating that he didn’t believe Jesus was a Jew and really didn’t care for preachers who suggested otherwise. He believed Jesus was a universal “everyman” with no regard for Jesus’ biblical and historical correlations to Judaism, Galilee, and the nation of Israel.

This wasn’t about Jesus. This was about Israel. As in Israel today, the nation-state. Obviously. It took me a few minutes but then I got it.

And now, a rant of the electronic nature.This is an important moment to note that the cancerous notions of anti-Semitism which led to the mass genocide (The Shoah) of over 6 million Jews in the Holocaust under the oppressive and death-dealing hand of Hitler, was a cancer that grew within Protestant Europe generally and the German Protestant churches that thrived in Germany specifically. This inflammatory hatred of Jews emerged from the (false) teaching by some that Jews could not be trusted because Jews—after all—killed Jesus. The truth—according to the New Testament—is that everyone had a hand in Jesus’ public execution: some of his disciples, Jewish leaders, Roman political figures, and Roman military soldiers.

Furthermore, many contemporary historians have traced such anti-Semitism to statements and actions of Martin Luther near the end of his life. You can read about this disturbing truth in his work On the Jews and Their Lies (see Chris Probst, Demonizing the Jews) in which he refers to Jews as “envenomed worms and the devil’s people.” He even suggests that Jews “should be murdered if they did not accept Jesus.” Consider attitudes towards brown and black skinned humans in England in the 17th century that reared its ugly head again during the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. in Detroit and Nashville and Jackson, MS in the 20th century. Are these hatreds not passed down? Where do said hatreds come from? They are passed, like a toxic disease, from generation to generation.

History is always messier than we want it to be. That is, the anti-Semitism that emerged in the Protestant Reformation resurfaced during Hitler’s reign of terror in Germany. To the credit of the Lutheran Church in Germany, this denomination eventually and adamantly distanced itself with Luther’s anti-Semitic teachings, writings, and speeches.[1] Is it fair to suggest that Martin Luther is responsible for the Holocaust? Of course not. Nor is to fair to ignore the immense contributions of Karl Barth (the Barman Declaration) and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church to resistance of evil’s power unleashed in the ideological and physical mission of the Third Reich.

But to suggest that Luther’s anti-Semitic sentiments (clearly expressed near the end of his life) had nothing to do with the Lutheran church’s near silence in the face of the Third Reich’s terror is naïve at best, dishonest at worst.[2] But you don’t need a sermon at this point because a song has already said what needs to be said: Jesus was a Jew who came to announce to Israel and the whole world, that the love God is available to all. Even Jews. Even Gentiles. Praise be to God.[3]

Charles Wesley’s (1707-1788) Come Thou Long Expected Jesus bears these words:

Israel’s strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart
Born Thy people to deliver
Born a child and yet a king
Born to reign in us forever
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring

And the whole church said (today and one day in the future), Amen. This is the Gospel. This is the Gospel birthed by the kingdom of God.

Joshua Graves is the lead minister for the Otter Creek Church in suburban Nashville, TN. He is author of The Feast (2009), Heaven on Earth (2012), and How Not To Kill a Muslim (2015). You can follow Josh on twitter@joshgraves.


[2] Full disclosure. One of my smartest friends (a brilliant theologian) had this to say about the previous few paragraphs: “It is fair to say that the Nazis and liberal German theologians used Luther to justify their approach, and Luther certainly opened himself up for that.  But, theologically, I would lay the most weight at the feet of the mid-19th century theologians who believed (like Hegel among others) in the progress of history and who identified the Kingdom of God with social progress, or with the Volksgeist (the spirit of the people) of the nation. When that is nationalized, as in the case with late 19th century German thought through the unification of Germany under Bismark, the identity of the German Nation and the Kingdom of God is more secure. With Wagner and others, the German Nation is understood racially rather than politically, and thus you have the groundwork for Nazis.  So, more specifically, I would lay the weight in the 19th century rather than Luther. Something about Lutheran theology, despite its rants against Jews on occasion (which has more do to with Medievalism, economics, and fear than it does Luther’s theology), hindered a Holocaust for over three hundred years.” So, there you are. A nuanced, conservative point of view.

[3] With all of the events happening in the Middle East today, please don’t read this as a Pro-Israel blog. This is a blog about telling the truth (as much as possible) of Israel, mistreatment of Jews, Jesus . . . and about our history and skeletons.

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  • RJS4DQ

    This is such an important post. If we loose sight of Jesus as a Jew and the OT context most of the things he said and did are vague wisps bereft of most of their meaning. And Paul is grossly misinterpreted (I think one of the biggest problems we have today). When Jesus sais he came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets we would be wise to understand this context well and to think hard about his place in it.

  • William van Loon

    Bravo! What scares me and is still a great concern on my part and perhaps on the part of other Jewish followers of Jesus, is the stream of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish thinking still running through the church today. The person you mentioned and his rather sick and skewed thinking is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Yes. Jesus was a Jew, lived as a Jew and is a Jew today and he will always be the Son of David. I am proud to count myself as a Jew and one of his Jewish disciples.

    Thanks again.

  • Patrick Mead

    Brilliant. Accurate. And terrifying. Hate and racism and nationalism live inside all of us. If we do not acknowledge them, we will not allow the Spirit to trump them.

  • violingirl

    I’ve seen a lot of anti-Semitism in the church, too. I became so concerned about it that I began attending a messianic synagogue on Saturdays to balance out those teachings (although I am not Jewish by blood, I have a Jewish side of the family by marriage). Predictably, a minister asked me to stop doing that. I had to wonder why. (Probably just jealousy that I was “seeing” another church.)

    During this time, I became very grieved that Jewish and Gentile disciples still worship separately, when we were meant to worship together. Without Jews in our churches, it is inevitable that there will be anti-Jewish ideas spread among us, since this sort of thing is bred in a vacuum of ignorance. Many messianic synagogues also teach that Jews and Gentiles shouldn’t worship together. The non-acceptance of outsiders (and outside ideas) is a problem on both sides. To me, the Bible is clear that Jews and Gentiles are ONE family of believers now. Can’t we start living like it?

  • Patrick

    If Jesus wasn’t a Jew, He isn’t Messiah. That old boy wasn’t up on much OT theology.

    We should not as opposed to anti semitism make the opposite error and see Jews as special either since God doesn’t(God is no respector of persons).

    1st century Jerusalem was held specifically responsible/culpable for Jesus’ mistreatment. That’s about as clear as crystal according to the Gospels and Acts and it was predicted to happen going back to Moses’ writings. 70 AD didn’t accidentally happen.

    Modern Israel as well does evil like the USA or Burma does. They’re people, only flawed people.

    The first century Jewish leadership did have Jesus killed, Pilate tried everything in the book to avoid that. Don’t shy from what the Gospels&Acts teach whether about 1st century Jewish leadership OR the ethnicity of The Lord’s physical body.

    It was all a fulfillment of the Hebrew scriptures themselves. Just because some Christians are anti semitic idiots doesn’t change the truth. Neither does the holocaust. Neither does ethnic Jewish sensitivity and we do them no favor by avoiding the truth.

    Remember, Moses quoted Yahweh saying to ancient Israel, “I will make you jealous by the Gentiles” and Paul re quoted that passage.

  • Brian Mansfield

    Please tell me that story happened on one of the Sundays where you were the visiting preacher.

  • Heidi Palmer Lytle

    The person you are speaking about in this article probably wouldn’t like the Jewishness of Jesus portrayed in the book “Zealot” by Reza Aslan. Jim and I read the book together and I suspect this book shows a more accurate Jesus than most of us, white, Anglo, middle class, American Christians are comfortable with. It was an exceptionally challenging book to read, but both of us felt we learned a great deal.

  • Thanks for the comments and insights, friends. Brian-Ha. That conversation did NOT happen in Nashville. Promise.

  • Many years ago, a woman, who was a paid nursery worker in a church my wife and I pastored, angrily approached me because she had heard me say that the earliest apostles were a Jewish messianic movement and that they did not become known as Christians until they began to include Gentiles on the basis of faith in Jesus alone. She saw Christian and Jewish as incompatible terms. When I tried to explain that Jesus came from a Jewish home as the Jewish Messiah, and focused by far the greater part of his time, energy, and resources during his earthly life ministering to Jews, albeit with a world mission ultimately in mind, and that all twelve of his core disciples were Jews, she became irate and stopped listening. I don’t recall the details, but we ended up with a new child care worker…so there were some blessings in the conflict.

    I am disturbed today because I continually hear Christians drawing a sharp line of distinction between the Old and New Testaments, usually phrased as a contrast between legalism and grace. I point out that my name John (derived from yeho-hanan (the Lord’s grace) would not exist were not hanan (grace) such an important Old Testament word, one of the five key terms through which the Lord revealed his ways and glory to Moses in Exodus 34:6, and that Exodus 34:6 is a key point of reference through the remainder of the Old Testament and on into the New Testament. Most scholars today are saying that grace and truth in John 1:14-17 refer back to hesed (steadfast covenant love) and emeth (faithfulness) in Exodus 34:6. And I believe that agape’s Christian meaning is rooted not only in Christ’s self-giving love but also in the Old Testament’s most important theological word hesed .

    In my book Living the Full Bible, I trace twenty major theological themes through the whole Bible showing that their New Testament development is deeply rooted in their Old Testament origins. I hope that this will be at least a small drop of water toward a flood of change on this issue: You can read Chapter 3 that is based on Exodus 34:6 for free on that website.

  • I’m always amazed at these “Jesus was a Jew” as if all Jews were the same. Yes Jesus son-of-Joseph was a Jew, but he was not just any Jew, We know from the historian Flavius Josephus (Joseph son-of-Matityahu) that there were three main sects of Jews: Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes, so how can there be a “Jesus was a Jew” discussion without mentioning which kind of Jew he was? Jesus was neither a Pharisee nor a Sadducee; Jesus was an Essene. Jesus severely criticized both the Pharisees and the Sadducees as Jews of little faith and practice. Jesus taught using the preferred books of the Essenes, such as Isaiah, Jesus and his cousin John approved the practice of Baptism which was an Essene practice, and Jesus taught the teachings of the Essenes, such as Matthew 10:9-12: “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting.” The term “worthy person” was the nickname Essenes had for each other and any truly observant Jew who heeded the prophets instead of following the Priests of the Temple.
    It’s in part because people hear that Jesus so severely criticized the Pharisees and the Sadducees but they know nothing about the Essene Jews that people think Jesus must not have been a Jew because he criticized “the Jews” so harshly. He was not criticizing “the Jews” because he actually was criticizing the Pharisees and Sadducees for not remaining true to Judaism as the Essenes did..

  • John W. Frye

    I disagree. I don’t think the evidence supports your contentions. Jesus was not an Essene, nor was John the Baptist. The Essenes departed as much from God’s vision for Israel to the world as the Pharisees and Sadducees did. The Essenes were a self-centered Jewish cult living in a self-created ghetto called Qumran and who hated Jews-not-like-them as well as Gentiles. Casual similarities do not equal solid identity.

  • If you cherry pick “the evidence” and ignore most of it, then of course you will “disagree.” If you think the Essenes only lived in the Qumran monastery then you have no idea and no knowledge about the Essenes so your opinion is not based on the facts. The Essenes of Qumran were the monastic Essenes, not the Essenes who had families. Your description of the Essenes is like describing the Franciscan monastics and saying their monasteries are self centered cults so there were no people raising families as Catholics. There most definitely were Essene communities that included families that thrived with a communal lifestyle sharing all their food and resources throughout the whole region, from Mt Carmel Essenes in the north where Jesus was born in the Nazareth area and where Mary and Joseph lived, all the way south to Egypt where Mary, Joseph and Jesus stayed in the Essene community in the vicinity of Alexandria during their time of the hiding.
    Read the history of the Jewish Wars by Josephus if you want to learn about the Essenes:

    “They have no one certain city, but many of them dwell in every city; and if any of their sect come from other places, what they have lies open for them, just as if it were their own; and they go in to such as they never knew before, as if they had been ever so long acquainted with them. For which reason they carry nothing at all with them when they travel into remote parts, though still they take their weapons with them, for fear of thieves. Accordingly, there is, in every city where they live, one appointed particularly to take care of strangers, and to provide garments and other necessaries for them.”

    That is not a “casual” similarity to what Jesus taught, it is an exact similarity.

  • Andrew Dowling

    “Jesus was an Essene”

    Hardly any biblical scholars take this view seriously. That some Essenes were itinerant preachers sharing possessions, and so was Jesus, so Jesus was an Essene is completely ignoring the fact that in 1st century Romen/Judea you would have had wandering groups of holy men ALL OVER THE PLACE representing various sects and traditions.

  • No, there is no ignoring that people wandered around. I too saw The Life of Brian. But read the real histories. Begin with Josephus. The Essenes were not “some itinerant preachers sharing possessions.” The Essenes were well and long established communities throughout Judea, Samaria and Israel, from Mt. Carmel all the way south even to Alexandria Egypt. sharing possessions. If you can’t accept that as the basic fact of the wide spread communities of the Essenes, then we are not having a discussion based on facts.

  • Andrew Dowling

    They had communities across a wide expanse of territories but were clearly far less in number than the Pharisees and Sadducees. You seem to also be ignoring the theology as displayed in the Qumran documents . .the only primary documents we have from the movement. And the differences between the Judaism there and what we can derive from the Gospels are significant to say the least. Unless you want to run with the James Tabor/Aslan fantasy that the Gospels all whitewashed Jesus’s radical Essene past . . .

  • KenderJ

    Well, if people are that upset to find out that Jesus was a Hebrew, how do they react when you tell them that Jesus was not Caucasian? A couple of small quibbles. First, Anti-Semitism did not start with the Protestant Reformation. Anti-Semitism is as old as the Catholic Church. The Protestants didn’t get rid of everything Catholic, just the parts they didn’t agree with, some more than others, which is why Lutheranism is called “Catholic Light”.

  • katta

    Yes, Luther was against the Jew an said, preacht it. But he was a catholic, who never wanted to devide the church and never thought of himself as a protestant, as the term is known now. The hate against the jews is much older, and it comes from the catholic church. They preached, that the jews murded Jesus. Luther was just one catolic, who learned the same as a kid, and never changed that.
    As Jesus was a Jew, Luther was a catholic.

  • patriciamc

    A more accurate Jesus than most of us are comfortable with? Throughout my life, I’ve attended Methodist, Presbyterian, and non-denominational churches, and all of them have taught that Jesus was brown, Jewish, etc. For many, many Christians, it’s no big deal.

  • Patrick

    I guess it’s what tradition we come from as believers, but, I am 60, believed when I was 14 and I have never heard a discouraging word about Jews, not 1 time “in the Christian culture I live among”, which are southern USA fundies.

  • How do you square your confident assertion that Jesus was an Essene with the fact that Josephus names among their beliefs (1) strict observance of the Sabbath, and (2) forbidding their adherents to express anger? Jesus violated both of these rather clearly during his ministry.

    What is more likely is that Jesus adopted whichever views of a group he regarded as correct. We see him reading haftorah in the synagogue, like a good Pharisee. We see him making pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem, like a good Sadducee.

    The best analysis I’ve read of the subject suggests that the Essenes may have been centered around a group of Sadducee-like Jews who regarded the Hasmonean takeover of the temple priesthood as illegitimate, and who continued the true Levitical priesthood in a separate location. Jesus’ own take on this feature of 1st century Judaism was more moderate than theirs; he told the people, “They sit in Moses’ seat, so give them the respect due to Moses; but do not follow their example, for they behave wickedly.” (See Matthew 23:1-12)

    Jesus may have known Essene teaching, but it is very, very unlikely that he was one of them.

  • It is clear that you are a True Believer of the “Jesus was an Essene” sect. You’ve made that clear. But chiding all opponents for “cherry-picking evidence” or for “sheer ignorance,” and declaring “exact similarity” to a group whose beliefs are hardly known, tells us that conversation with you is not possible.


  • I don’t think she’s referring to the color of Jesus’ skin. I think she’s referring to Jesus’ demeanor. As a zealous Middle-Easterner, Jesus would have been much more aggressive, loud, and confrontational than western Christians would tolerate. Most of them would have simply broken fellowship with Him because He was too aggressive and “un-Christian.”

    Not only that, but He probably held hands with his disciples at times and stood WAY inside the body zone with which westerners are comfortable.

    Yeah, western Christians would likely have found the accurate Jesus very, very uncomfortable to be around.

  • “If Jesus wasn’t a Jew, then He isn’t Messiah.”

    +10. Thanks for providing us with a quick, punchy, and correct sound bite that sets these sorts of complaints back on their heels. I will remember it and use it.

  • Thanks for the insightful comments from everyone on this thread. Per the “Essene” discussion…I’ve never read a historian who believed Jesus was part of this sect. I can’t think of one historian. Reza Aslan wants to make him a zealot (interesting but ultimately wrong) but … I think there’s more going on.

  • My assertion is that Jesus was born into an Essene extended family with his parents being Essenes and his cousins including John “the Baptist” being Essenes, I do not assert that he preached “as an Essene” but that his preaching was based in Essene thought. My view is that Jesus was raised as an Essene but in his twenties came to see certain of the limitations of the insularity of the Essene communities and cultures and his mission was to take what he saw as the essential truth of Essene Judaism out to the wider society of Judaism as a corrective to the errors of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus’s mission was to teach a universal Judaism not divided into sectarianism between the three sects. But because he was raised as an Essene he did not criticize the Essenes directly and only criticized the two other sects.
    So I agree that when Jesus emerged into public life in his early thirties, that he was not at that time practicing or preaching strictly “as an Essene” but as a universalist with his own version of a universal non-sectarian Judaism. But that does not negate that his personal background was as an Essene and the major points of his teaching were derived directly from the Essene way of life and observance.

  • Then your claim to be defending a position “based on facts” has to be some sort of joke. What little is written of the family history of Jesus and of John the Baptist contains no claim that they were Essenes, nor any indication that they were.

    Luke’s gospel identifies Zacharias as a priest in Jerusalem, which makes it far more likely that he was a Sadducee, and Matthew’s gospel shows Joseph applying a contemporary exegetical rule about divorce from a source that only a Pharisee would accept (Matthew 1:19; see Instone-Brewer, “Divorce and Remarriage in the Church,” 2006. The divorce “for any reason” was a Pharisaic innovation, and it was the only avenue available to Joseph to divorce Mary without publicly exposing her to disgrace.)

    But even if you don’t recognize these details that suggest where their loyalties lay, there are simply no indicators that they were Essenes. The only facts you have are the bits of Jesus’ teaching that seem to be consistent with what we SUPPOSE about Essenes, which details are hazy at best. And you really have no idea where he got them, or why.

    So basically, you’ve concocted an imaginary family history that happens to correspond to a few of the facts that we know (but not to others). And on that basis, you’re out here insulting others’ intelligence and learning, and claiming to be “fact-based” where others are “cherry-picking.”

    Please pardon me if I regard your approach as less than rigorous scholarship.

  • PS: What’s your source for the claim that the Essenes greeted each other as “worthy person?”

    And surely you know that Jews who were not Essenes practiced ritual washings, don’t you? Look up “mikvah” if you doubt me. See for historical detail. The Mishnah, a Pharisaic document, contains extensive rules for the preferred characteristics of mikva’ot.

  • Elhanan Ben-Avraham

    Jesus (Yeshua was His name) was not only a Jew, but is still a Jew (“King of the Jews”), a descedant of the Jewish King David, and is allegedly going to return as a Jew to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, with the same circumcised body in which He was crucified, and as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” which means Jewish. Whoever accepts Jesus as fully God, declares that God is a Jew.

    Elhanan ben-Avraham, Jersalem, Israel

  • zKatherine

    How could a person read the prophesies of the OT and the NT genealogy of Jesus and possibly come to the conclusion that he was not a Jew?! Obviously, he was basing his conclusion on his anti-Semitic feelings rather than logic. I admire your patience, Scot!!

  • Jim Killion

    Not surprised with his view on Jesus’ ethnicity. It’s a natural result of dispensational theology.

  • Andrew Dowling

    Luther’s attitude toward Judaism actually became much more hostile later in life, after he’d left the Catholic Church.

  • Hi Josh,
    You wrote, “you need to know that this gentleman is not crazy. He’s not an outlier.”

    Nothing wrong with using the suit-guy as a launching point for your [good] article, and he may debatably not be crazy, but “not an outlier”?

    I’ve been a churched Christian in Michigan, Texas, New York and Tennessee for 38 years, and have never heard a Christian claim that Jesus was not a Jew (including Luther, btw).

    Indeed, I believe if you lined up 1000 Christians from 500 different local churches, and told them Jesus was a Jew, and asked if they had any disagreement with that, 999 or 1000 of them would say, “No”.

    (I didn’t say I have not run into any viscerally anti-semetic ignorant Christians influenced by their ignorant families or friends.)

  • zKatherine

    @Jim Higgins: It’s my understanding that Jewish tradition listed men instead of women in genealogical links. Are you denying then that Luke’s genealogy list is not of Mary’s father and subsequent ancestors? Do you believe it’s Joseph’s family genealogy but a different variation of Matthew’s? How do you explain Romans 1:3-4 where “which was made of the seed of David” literally means “who was born through”–Mary–who was the “seed of David”? Also, how do you explain away the fact that Mary was from the tribe of Judah (Hebrew 7:14) and related to the tribe of Aaron through marriage (Zechariah and Elizabeth)? Not to mention the fact that Mary lived in a Jewish town and practiced the Jewish tradition of circumcision on the 8th day, etc.?