Conflicting Genealogies of Jesus and JohnM’s Thesis of a Matrilineal Bloodline Refuted

Conflicting Genealogies of Jesus and JohnM’s Thesis of a Matrilineal Bloodline Refuted November 4, 2012

In one of my recent posts about the Nativity, JohnM has been defending a particular harmonisation of a biblical difference. I would like to set it out here in order to show that his epistemological approach is somewhat dodgy and that the issues remain. In fact, it annoyed me so much that he refused to do the required research and claimed I was the ignorant one in using Danth’s Law. Providing next to no defence and evidence, and claiming me to be the one who has been refuted and does not know what they are on about is red rag to a bull.

So let me set out what the issues are. The two genealogies from Matthew and Luke are very different indeed. Luke’s genealogy is a long list of names which goes back to Adam, the first man, supposedly (we will ignore the huge elephant in the room of human genetics, history, anthropology, palaeontology and so on). Luke’s 77 generations used in the genealogy is a symbolic number representing, according to early theologian Augustine, the forgiveness of sin. Seven was a very important number for the time and so it looks like Luke might be counting in groups of seven. As mentioned, one of the crucial points of the genealogies was to link Jesus through to David so to prove that Jesus was of Davidic stock. This fulfils some vital prophecies which predict that the Messiah will come of the House of David[1], liberally scattered around the Old Testament.

As far as Matthew is concerned, there is a genealogy in 1 Chronicles 3 which overlaps Matthew’s and it seems like he has omitted three names (Joash, Amaziah, and Azoriah) which undermines one of the two lists. This is probably Matthew’s doing – it could well be an opportunity to lose a few names for numerical reasons, and these kings were particularly wicked, coming to infamous ends by God’s will. Also, two Jeconiahs seem to have been melded into one. The fact that the genealogies differ from the Old Testament list is telling, though.

There are only thirteen names in the last tesseradecad (a group of fourteen names). This is not thought to be a simple mistake of miscounting on the part of Matthew and as a result many second guesses have been put forward. For example, Mary could be counted as a generation alongside Joseph; Jeconiah could be doubled as mentioned; names at the beginning or end of the tesseradecads after David could be double-counted and so on.

I could spend a lot of time looking in to these, but what is important is why there are differences at all.

John claims that Matthew’s genealogy is paternal whilst Luke’s is maternal (MG). Let’s look to see whether this can be right. Now, in order for this hypothesis to be most probable these things must be the case:

1)      The MG must either have high prior probability (ie there is previous evidence for such so that it is usual or not uncommon)

2)      And / or the evidence in this case for this MG is high (enough to even overcome a low prior probability)

3)      It must be more probable than every other competing hypothesis

This is the basis of Bayesian probability.

Let us look at the argument John provides. Firstly he gives this link.

This link provides absolutely no argument for an MG – it just talks through the people in the genealogy, so it is irrelevant. This is what John claims of it:

Well.. As I said, it’s pretty simple.. because there are 4 ways of listing genealogy..

You can track the males, by listing the the males.

You can track the males, by listing the the females.

You can track the females, by listing the the males.

You can track the females, by listing the the females.

Now seeing that both gospels mentions men, only 2 of these are relevant.

Following Joseph, Luke has Heli. Matthew has Jacob. Right then and there, you should know that it’s different genealogies.

And when one actually lays out the puzzle ( http://www.ldolphin.org/2adams… ) things add up beautifully.

Of course, that link does not lay out the puzzle at all. It says nothing, absolutely nothing, for positively evidencing how an MG could come about and be more probable than an alternate explanation.

Let us look into the 4 claims above. You can track males through listing males. The other three, I am not aware of any other biblical evidence or non-biblical evidence. The problem for John is that the genealogy does not track a woman through a male line, it tracks a man, through a woman, through a male line. Thus the complete arbitrariness renders it utterly irrelevant whether men or women are in the genealogies. To go 42 generations, then switch to a woman, then back to a man again is random.

And here is the point. There really is no other evidence of matrilineal genealogies in the bible, or anywhere else. This then means that the prior probabilities are exceptionally low. In fact, if there is no known matrilineal Jewish genealogy, then the prior probability is a minimal nonzero. This then requires the evidence for it to be exceptionally good.

So what other evidence does John provide. One other link, which seems to be a Jew for Jesus type chap arguing for a MG. However, the link does not really do the work John hopes. It spends most of the time arguing over whether an adopted son can legally inherit (ie Jesus not being of the seed of Joseph). This is not anything specifically to do with MGs. In fact, it is a similar link to the previous one, doing no work on MGs such as establishing that Luke’s genealogy is well established as such.

John, it seems, is getting confused, conflating ideas of MG with ideas of matrileneally derived ethnicity. This is a totally different thing. It is a one generational ethnic identification. As wiki states:

Matrilineality in Judaism is the view that people born of a Jewish mother are themselves Jewish. The conferring of Jewish status through matrilineality is not stated explicitly in the Torah, though Jewish oral tradition maintains this was always the rule, and adduces indirect textual evidence. In biblical times, many Israelites married foreign women, and their children appear to have been accepted as Israelite without question; the Talmud understands that the women in question converted to Judaism.

But as far as a matrilineal bloodline is concerned, there is no evidence and both the linked articles say absolutely nothing.

So despite asking several times, John failed to produce anything approaching positive evidence for Luke’s genealogy being MG. Now let me produce the counter arguments. Remember, for John’s thesis to work, he needs to establish the positive case for Luke being a MG and in so doing, also needs to refute all negative arguments. First, let me produce some quotes by established academics on the subject.

Raymond E. Brown called it a “pious deduction”; and Joachim Gnilka “the desperation of embarrassment”. Cited in Frederick Dale Bruner, Matthew: The Christbook, Matthew 1-12 (Eerdmans, 2004), page 21-22. See also Larry Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ (Eerdmans, 2003), page 273.

“Luke’s genealogy, was universally supposed to be that of Joseph.”– Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, NPNF2-01.

“Mattan, who was descended from Solomon, begat Jacob. And when Matthan was dead, Melchi, who was descended from Nathan begat Eli by the same woman. Eli and Jacob were thus uterine brothers. Eli having died childless, Jacob raised up seed to him, begetting Joseph, his own son by nature, but by law the son of Eli. Thus Joseph was the son of both.” – Eusebius, History of the Church, 1.7.15.

Julianus Africanus, citing the records of the desposyni, showed early interpretations of the genealogy as referring to Levirite marriage:

Matthan and Melchi, having taken the same woman to wife in succession, begat children who were uterine brothers, as the law did not prevent a widow, whether such by divorce or by the death of her husband, from marrying another. By Estha, then—for such is her name according to tradition—Matthan first, the descendant of Solomon, begets Jacob; and on Matthan’s death, Melchi, who traces his descent back to Nathan, being of the same tribe but of another family, having married her, as has been already said, had a son Eli. Thus, then, we shall find Jacob and Eli uterine brothers, though of different families. And of these, the one Jacob having taken the wife of his brother Eli, who died childless, begat by her the third, Joseph—his son by nature and by account. Whence also it is written, “And Jacob begat Joseph.” But according to law he was the son of Eli, for Jacob his brother raised up seed to him.

As Raymond Brown, who I really rate as a Christian scholar (dealing honestly with evidence) in his awesome “Birth of the Messiah”, p.89, states:

“What influences this suggestion is the centrality of Joseph in Matthew’s infancy narrative, as compared with the spotlighting of Mary in Luke’s. Even at first glance, however, this solution cannot be taken seriously: a genealogy traced through the mother is not normal. in Judaism, and Luke makes it clear that he is tracing Jesus’ descent through Joseph. Moreover, Luke’s genealogy traces Davidic descent and despite later Christian speculation, we really do not know that Mary was a Davidid.”

So that is merely a couple of points. Some others follow:

1)      There is a massive disparity between the two account with regards to the number of ancestors. Luke’s genealogy has many more. The MG hypothesis does nothing to answer this. The thesis that they were symbolic, not interested in accuracy, and independent answers both issues better.

2)      Some apologists claim the lack of an article before Joseph in Luke 3:23 is somehow evidence for an MG. Richard A. Hoyle, in a syntactical analysis of the Greek, states, on the other hand:

In Luke’s genealogy, 3:23–38, only two names occur without the article, Jesus and Joseph (3:23). These are marked as salient, since they have no article even though both are Discourse-old (3:21, 1:27). Here Jesus and Joseph are salient at PARAGRAPH level, i.e. throughout the whole genealogy, strongly suggesting that this is Joseph’s lineage being listed. [my emphasis]

So far, this means that not only is there no evidence for MGs, and established cholars refute it, but the syntax defends a Josephan genealogy.

3)      Mary being the daughter of Heli / Eli (as is claimed by apologists of Luke’s genealogical mention of Eli) is a controversial apologist attempt to make sense of the genealogy but is not a good reading of the Talmud. As this essay states:

…scholars who have extensively studied the contextual evidence see no connection. Herford Travers, author of Christianity in Talmud and Midrash, comments:

“There is, in Jerusalem Hagigah 77d, a reference to a certain Miriam the daughter of ‘Eli, whom, on account of the name (cf. Luke iii.23), one might be tempted to connect with the story of Jesus; but there seems to be no suspicion on the part of the Talmud of any such connection, and what is told about her does not seem to me to point in that direction.” (Herford Travers, Christianity in Talmud and Midrash, pg, 43. Note: Book available on-line: ).

Scholar Norvall Geldenhuys echoes this sentiment as he leans on the work of respected German scholars Strack and Billerbeck who also does not see any connection:

“The Miriam, daughter of Eli, who is referred to in the Talmud (Chagigah 77d), has in all probability nothing to do with Mary the mother of Jesus, as is made plain in Strack-Billerbeck ( in loc .)” (Geldenhuys, Gospel of Luke , 154 n. 5).

While the evidence is not totally conclusive at this point. What has been shown here is the HUGE question mark that is placed over the assertion that “according to received Jewish tradition, Mary was the daughter of Heli/Eli.” There are simply to many complications surrounding this Talmudian reference to make such a claim.

It does not say that Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli. JohnM and apologists might try to claim that it doesn’t say it, but it was implied. This is simply disingenuous. You can make up whatever the hell you like and claim the Bible implies it if it doesn’t say it. A son-in-law relationship is clearly detailed elsewhere in the Bible AND in Luke:

1 Sam 18:18,22

And David said unto Saul, Who am I? and what is my life, or my father’s family inIsrael, that I should be son in law to the king?

And Saul commanded his servants, saying, Commune with David secretly, and say, Behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee: now therefore be the king’s son in law.

Another example of the son-in-law relationship:

 Neh 6:18

For there were many inJudahsworn unto him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.

Luke himself made reference to such a relationship.

 Luke 12:53

The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

4)      Mary’s patrilineal heritage is more traditionally seen as Joachim. As the Catholic encyclopedia relates, and in referencing two of the Apocryphal texts,

If we were to obey the warning of St. Peter Damian, we should consider it a blameable and needless curiosity to inquire about those things that the Evangelists did not deem it advisable to relate, and, in particular, about the parents of the Blessed Virgin (Serm. iii de Nativ. B.M.V.). Tradition nevertheless, grounded on very old testimonies, very early hailed Saints Joachim and Anne as the father and mother of the Mother of God.

5)      This is a really important piece of evidence. Luke HIMSELF shows that he referred to Luke as of David’s heritage:

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” – Luke 1.27-28.

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David …” – Luke 2.4

There is not one mention IN THE GENEALOGY of Mary. This is so obvious it is often overlooked. If one wanted their readership to realise that the genealogy used is maternal, and not uncommonly so if JohnM is to be believed, then you would surely indicate it as such. Luke doesn’t. At all.

6)      I really should have put this as number one. There is no evidence for MGs in the Bible, or as far as I can see, outside of the Bible. In fact, it is worse than that, God commands bloodlines to be patrilineals. As Numbers 1:2-19 states:

2 “Take a [a]census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, every male, head by head 3 from twenty years old and upward, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel, you and Aaron shall [b]number them by their armies. 4 With you, moreover, there shall be a man of each tribe, each one head of his father’s household. 5 These then are the names of the men who shall stand with you: of Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur; 6 of Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai; 7 of Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab; 8 of Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar; 9 of Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon; 10 of the sons of Joseph: of Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; of Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; 11 of Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni; 12 of Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai; 13 of Asher, Pagiel the son of Ochran; 14 of Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel; 15 of Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan. 16 These are they who were called of the congregation, the leaders of their fathers’ tribes; they were the heads of [c]divisions ofIsrael.”

17 So Moses and Aaron took these men who had been designated by name, 18 and they assembled all the congregation together on the first of the second month. Then they registered by ancestry in their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, head by head, 19 just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

So JohnM needs to provide some evidence of MGs in order to give the thesis any kind of acceptable probability.

As this essay from Losing My Religion states:

There is not one genealogy in the Bible that is about a woman nor any instance where a king inherits rights to a throne via his mother. A woman could not pass on what she could never possess herself.

Furthermore, there is not one single verse in the entire Bible which establishes that Mary was even from the House of David. Mary was the cousin of Elizabeth who was a Levite (Luke 1:5,36). That is the only scriptural reference to what tribal identity Mary was connected to. When asked to produce a verse which shows that Mary was Davidic, Christians can produce nothing because there is nothing to produce.

Not a single word can support their wishful thinking that Mary was the offspring of David. All the concocted excuses of Christians regarding to the validity of Jesus as a king Messiah lead nowhere when probed beneath the surface.

To further disqualify Jesus as a valid king Messiah, the Luke 3 genealogy doesn’t include Solomon anywhere in the list so it cannot produce a king Messiah regardless of any other consideration. As shown earlier, the king Messiah had to descend from Solomon as well as David.

In order to get around all these problems, Christians attempt to invent a hybrid genealogy. They claim Jesus was adopted by Joseph and inherits the legal rights to the throne via Joseph in Matthew and had a blood connection to David via Mary in Luke. Christians try to toss all the names from the Luke and Matthew genealogies into a pot and then manufacture a valid Messiah from it.

Not only does Luke stress that Joseph has Davidic ancestry, nowhere does he suggest the same of Mary. On the contrary, Luke makes Mary a relative of Elizabeth, and she is a descendent of the priestly family of Aaron (Luke 1.5,6). Elizabeth is also married to Zechariah, himself a Levite of the Abijah division, so-named after a priest who returned from exile with Zerubbabel. The clear inference is that Mary has priestly, not royal, blood.

So, genealogy traced through the maternal line is not characteristic of Judaism. Luke makes it abundantly clear that he is tracing the descent of Jesus through Joseph and it is only the existence of a contradictory bloodline in Matthew that compels apologists to ignore the natural reading of Luke and proffer an untenable alternative.

 

I could go on, but I have a lot of other writing to do (4 book projects AND blogging), so this should be enough for John to get stuck in to. He must realise that the maternal thesis was a late development by Protestant thinkers to try and resolve a perceived problem. It was not how it was originally read, and for that we have primary evidence, some quoted above. This is important to note, because straight away, the probability of this thesis is less likely than the obvious understanding, to the point that that was how Christians understood it. He has a lot of work to do to set out his thesis as THE MOST probable account. I have not put out the alternative theories, but suffice to say that he must also show the MG thesis to be more probable than them (eg historical inaccuracy from independent accounts (high prior probability); Levirite marriage thesis (predates MG thesis and has higher priors too), symbolic as opposed to accurate (good evidence for this using exegesis) and so on).


[1] For example, Psalms 89:3-4 Psalms 132:11, Isaiah 16:5, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Isaiah 11:1–10

"You apparently know nothing about sociology. Well that's ok, that just means those who make ..."

Counter Apologist: Love, Hiddenness, and Why ..."
"Feel free to check out WP: Emotivism. MacIntyre's first example is the "rich aesthetes" in ..."

Counter Apologist: Love, Hiddenness, and Why ..."
"You remind me that the £3,000,000 (collected in Russia and donated to the families of ..."

UK Election Analysis: Brexit, the Media, ..."
"The constitution doesn't talk about firearms at all. Just 'arms' generally. So unless you're committed ..."

Police Chief Rails Against NRA, Miller ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • JohnM

    Who says that it’s an attempt of harmonisation, rather than an obvious explanation that corrects your misinterpretation?

    What is the default interpretation of the bible? There is no such thing.

    Luke’s 77 generations used in the genealogy is a symbolic number representing, according to early theologian Augustine, the forgiveness of sin. Seven was a very important number for the time and so it looks like Luke might be counting in groups of seven.

    What does that have to do with anything?

    Augustine of Hippo, was the guy that coined “Just War” and “Original Sin”. Doctrines that anyone with a bible can falsify in 5 minutes. Why would you rely on him?

    The problem for John is that the genealogy does not track a woman through a male line, it tracks a man, through a woman, through a male line.

    And this is where you get it wrong. It’s a perfectly valid method in Genealogy, to track the line of descent, though the women in the family, by mentioning the males that they married.

    Of course, that link does not lay out the puzzle at all.

    But that’s a clear lie. The link that I provided ( http://www.ldolphin.org/2adams.html ), lays out the tree, and shows how everything adds up, if one takes such an interpretation, as I do.

    And so we end up with both Joseph and Mary being of the House of David. Something that we would expect, given that we know, that Jews married within their own tribe. ( Tobit 4: 12 )

    • “Who says that it’s an attempt of harmonisation, rather than an obvious explanation that corrects your misinterpretation?”

      Have you not read my piece????????

      1) The initial interpretation was a Josephan one. Your thesis is a later Protestant invention,
      2) There is NO mention of an MG in Luke. Thus to interpret it as such is not to take it at face value. The only reason not to take it as face value is if you need to interpret it differently. Since it contradicts Matthew, there is a need for an alternate interpretation (though the original posited Levirite marriage), 

      Thus it is a harmonisation. 

  • JohnM

    I find your response to be shocking bad…

    We have no clue what the “initial interpretation” was.

    Neither the Catholic nor the Lutheran churches, can lay claim to being the first ones reading the texts.  You mentioned Augustine of Hippo. That’s 350+, Long after Emperor Constantine corrupted the church.

    Furthermore, your logic is flawed. It’s perfectly possible for the first to read the text, to have a wrong interpretation of the text. If we want to discover the true interpretation of the text, then we have to look at the evidence ourselves.

    And the text itself tells us nothing, as to what kind of genealogy it is. So we also have to figure that out for ourselves, based on what makes most sense of the evidence.

    • “We have no clue what the “initial interpretation” was.”

      Do you read what I write? There is reference to Eusebius and now Julianus Africanus to tell us what the early church father s thought. You really aren’t dealing with the evidence, are you?

      “And the text itself tells us nothing, as to what kind of genealogy it is. So we also have to figure that out for ourselves, based on what makes most sense of the evidence.”

      Brilliant. and you STILL have not provided us with ANY evidence of biblical or non-biblical usage of a maternal genealogy. In fact, the Numbers reference above gives a divine decree for paternal bloodlines.

      So the text, on the form of ALL other Jewish genealogies is a bloodline through Joseph.

      You STILL have not given me ANY evidence of Luke being an MG. Your two links were about adoption laws. Please, stop dodging the issue and provide something.

  • JohnM

    None of those are even close to the first, reading the texts. And it’s still flawed logic. The first to read the text, does not defines the correct interpretation.

    You STILL have not given me ANY evidence of Luke being an MG.

    I’m not the one claiming that it’s a false interpretation. That’s you. And until you provide a valid reason for why I should dismiss it, it remains a valid interpretation.

    • WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!!!!!

      Come on John, stop this craziness. Tell me, where in Luke 3 does it tell you it is an MG?

      It doesn’t. In fact, it actually, and from other Lucan writing, assumes a Josephan genealogy.

      So, in order for you to uphold an ALTERNATE reading, the burden of proof is on you. There are no other MGs in Jewish writing that I or anyone else knows of. I have asked you COUNTLESS TIMES to provide one. You haven’t.

      Therefore, what epistemic right do you have to claim this should be the default interpretation.

      The only reason to read it like this is because there is trouble reconciling it with Matthew.

      Please, do the problem some justice. Your theory was first pronounced in the 8th century . That means it took some 700 odd years before someone even came up with the theory. And you think that makes it the default reading?????????

      Please answer my points above and do not bury your head in the methodological sands.

      And for the love of God, give me one example of a maternal genealogy in Jewish writing otherwise you don;t have a leg to stand on – it would be THE ONLY Jewish MG known to man!

  • JohnM

    That’s the fallacy of shifting the burden of proof.

    Remember that you’re the one claiming, that my interpretation is invalid.

    It is your claim, your burden of proof.

    • Actually, John and every credible scholars is calling your interpretation invalid. John cited, for example, the esteemed Raymond Brown said your “solution cannot be taken seriously.”

      And just look at that Luke says. Luke said Joseph was the son of Heli. Not Mary. For your interpretation to work, Luke must mean something he doesn’t say.

      You are saying the opposite of what Luke says and claim that is what Luke says. You are making the claim against the language of the Gospel and the scholarly consensus. That means the burden of proof is on you.

      • JohnM

        Aaron Adair:

        And just look at that Luke says. Luke said Joseph was the son of Heli. Not Mary.

        Actually, John and every credible scholars is calling your interpretation invalid.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heli_%28Bible%29

        Heli is a Biblical individual mentioned in Luke 3:23 whom many Protestant scholars consider is the father of Mary, mother of Jesus. The Lukan genealogy mentions Joseph, not Mary, but does not have the word “son of” in the Greek text, leading to the suggestion that “son-in-law” of Heli is intended … advocates of this view include John of Damascus (8th C), Annius (15th C), Luther, Bengel and Lightfoot.[1] Harry A. Ironside

        • Which, if you have read my piece, is refuted by Greek scholars.

          it is a suggestion. And a poor one. and your entire theory rests on it. You know, the default reading. A suggestion.

    • John, Aaron has said it perfectly. YOU are the one with the burden as I have CLEARLY set out above and as Aaron says. Why you can’t see this, I cannot fathom. Take a step back, read Luke 3 again, and then imagine you had never read Matthew or that it did not exist. THEN see what the default reading should be. After all, the Josephan reading existed for 800 years before John of Damascus even mentioned it and it was only really favoured by later protestants. 

      And yet YOU claim the burden is on ME??????

      AND YOU STILL HAVE NOT PROVIDED A SINGLE DAMNED AMTRILINEAL GENEALOGY!!!!

      NOT ONE!

      why would you think that an MG would be the default?

  • OK, this is getting to almost embarrassing levels. Since you will not provide me with any genealogies, let me ask you a yes or no question.

    Do you know of any biblical matrilineal genealogy?

    Do you know of any Jewish extra-biblical matrilineal genealogy?

  • JohnM
    • “the son of Joseph, [b]the son of [c]Eli”

      What part of that says “The son of Mary, the daughter of Eli”?

    • From one of the commentaries you linked:

      These verses contain the genealogy of Jesus. Luke also Luke 3 gives a genealogy of the Messiah. No two passages of Scripture have caused more difficulty than these, and various attempts have been made to explain them. There are two sources of difficulty in these catalogues.1. Many names that are found in the Old Testament are here omitted; and,2. The tables of Matthew and Luke appear in many points to be different.From Adam to Abraham Matthew has mentioned no names, and Luke only has given the record. From Abraham to David the two tables are alike. Of course there is no difficulty in reconciling these two parts of the tables. The difficulty lies in that part of the genealogy from David to Christ. There they are entirely different. They are manifestly different lines. Not only are the names different, but Luke has mentioned, in this part of the genealogy, no less than 42 names, while Matthew has recorded only 27 names.Various ways have been proposed to explain this difficulty, but it must be admitted that none of them is perfectly satisfactory. It does not comport with the design of these notes to enter minutely into an explanation of the perplexities of these passages. All that can be done is to suggest the various ways in which attempts have been made to explain them.But you seem to think it is all sewn up by a ‘default reading’!!!

    • JohnM, you are not very good at this arguing things. Linking to the Greek does not constitute an argument. And the quote you had earlier was to a Protestant apologetic, not an argument for that reading. Moreover, the link the biblegateway.com goes against what you said because the footnote says that the meaning used in the verse about Joseph and Heli has the same meaning throughout the genealogy  You aren’t even reading your own links!

      But if you want to talk about the Greek, prepare to hurt. It says that Joseph was the υοις of Heli. υοις is the word for ‘son’. The LSJ Greek-English lexicon does not provide for a meaning of son-in-law. Different words are used by in-laws. For example, Samson is the son-in-law of the Timnite, and the Greek translation (LXX) of Judges 15:6 it calls Samson the νυμφιος (means the bridegroom) of the Timnite. Not υιος. And the same meaning is used throughout the genealogy of Luke.

  • JohnM

    I didn’t link any commentaries. I linked a standard translation of the bible. And the greek text, so that you could see for yourself, that it’s not there in the greek.

    • Andy_Schueler

      I linked a standard translation of the bible. And the greek text, so that you could see for yourself, that it’s not there in the greek.

      And the “it” in “it´s not there in the greek”, seems to be that “… “son-in-law” of Heli is intended”. So you admit that this interpretation is not supported by the original greek – finally some progress.

    • Except that IT IS! You obviously can’t read it.

    • A commentary on the Lucan passage on Biblios. First one I checked.

    • What’s not there?

  • JohnM

     Aaron Adair :

    But if you want to talk about the Greek, prepare to hurt. It says that Joseph was the υοις of Heli. υοις is the word for ‘son’.

    http://biblesuite.com/greek/tou_3588.htm

    • And? If you don’t have an argument, Then what’s the point of your link? And why did you link the definite article in the genitive rather than the word υιος? 

    • Andy_Schueler

      It´s always a party with this guy…. :-D 

      Do you actually read any of the links you are posting JohnM ? 

  • JohnM
    • You already provided that link. You can link to Greek, but you obviously cannot read it because eve on that page it says “Joseph…was the son of Heli”. And before you linked to the definite article, which suggests you don’t even know what it is. You have no clue what the Greek says, yet you claim against all the scholars and all the classical readings and basic logic that your reading is to be preferred.

      I suggest you at least argue your point. Linking all day is not an argument, especially if the links contradict what you claim.

  • JohnM

    Jonathan:

    What’s not there?

    It’s there in English, as the translators has added it. It’s not there in the Greek. Get it?

    • But it is! Luke uses parallel structuring, starting with Jesus is (supposedly) the son of Joseph, who is [the son] of Heli, who is [the son] of etc., etc., etc. This is standard rhetorical practice. And besides, being ‘of’ the next person is standard meaning in this context of descendant, not legal connection. Think otherwise, provide evidence.

  • JohnM

    Καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν Ἰησοῦς ἀρχόμενος ὡσεὶ ἐτῶν τριάκοντα, ὢν υἱὸς, ὡς ἐνομίζετο Ἰωσήφ τοῦ Ἠλὶ

    • And? What are you saying is not there? That it does not say Joseph is the son of Heli? So the list ehich continues of…of…of.. also does not say that. But that is what it means. You say it once and then τοῦ  τοῦ  τοῦ  τοῦ 

      Unless you mean something else?

  • JohnM

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heli_%28Bible%29
    The Lukan genealogy mentions Joseph, not Mary, but does not have the word “son of” in the Greek text

    • None of them have son of. What do you think it means? The nextdoor neighbour of? The primary school friend of?

      Er, you are starting to appear barking mad.

      Oh, and in case you missed the other 45 times:

      let me ask you a yes or no question.Do you know of any biblical matrilineal genealogy?Do you know of any Jewish extra-biblical matrilineal genealogy?Edit
      Reply

    • Linking to wikipedia does not constitute an argument, especially when the article is just repeating a Protestant apologetic. Have an actual argument here rather than deflect away what is obvious to scholars.

  • JohnM

    Aaron Adair:

    Actually, John and every credible scholars is calling your interpretation invalid.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heli_%28Bible%29

    Heli is a Biblical individual mentioned in Luke 3:23 whom many Protestant scholars consider is the father of Mary, mother of Jesus.

    Liar, liar, pants on fire! ;)

    • When it says “many”, and the links only provide two, and none of them credible (and both long dead). Why do you think John and I mention people like Raymond Brown, Joachim Gnilka, Larry Hurtado, and more if you want? That is why I said credible scholars, not dead hacks who won’t address the problems any better than you have.

      And what’s more, the arguments from these Protestants mentioned on the Wiki page is, well, not argument at all but just assertion. That is why they are not credible. John and I have pointed out what the text says, what the experts say, and how no piece of evidence has been provided for the wording used to be that Joseph was a son-in-law to Heli but Mary was his actual son.

      That’s the thing about an argument, you have to provide evidence and show why it supports your conclusion, not just link over and over again. That’s an avoidance strategy, and it shows you are engaging in pseudo-scholarship. 

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2012/11/04/a-defining-feature-of-pseudoscience/

      • Also, this is Ironside’s argument:

        “Women’s names are dropped out of this genealogy, but here we are told that Joseph was the son of heli. This genealogy then is clearly the genealogy of Mary. ”

        Ha ha ha ha !

        1) non sequitur
        2) ‘begs the question’ (in bastardised sense)

        His argument is rather like John’s – there is a problem, therefore it must be maternal.

        Despite there not being a single extant or referenced maternal genealogy.

    • Oh, and in case you missed the other 45 times:
      let me ask you a yes or no question.
      Do you know of any biblical matrilineal genealogy?
      Do you know of any Jewish extra-biblical matrilineal genealogy?

  • JohnM

    Sure I have Jonathan… Here’s my little surprice…

    Genesis 5:2 – KJV
    Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

    Man and woman is one flesh, in the bible.

    If you mention the man, you have mentioned both.

    Reading the bible as we read modern books, is made of epic fail.

    So how silly do you feel right now?

    • “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.”

      WTF?
      Is that you matrilineal genealogy? Are you serious? Is this a joke?

      “So how silly do you feel right now?”

      I don’t know whether to laugh hysterically or cry…

      This is your answer? Really? This is your evidence of a matrilineal genealogy that I have been asking for? You have had a week to come up with this?

      wow.

    • JohnM: like Jon mentioned, this is a strange thing to say.

      And you are unfortunately reading the book very poorly because it doesn’t say both Adam and Eve were called Adam, but were both called ‘man’ or ‘human’ to be more PC. That is what ‘Adam’ means. Do you really think it was a Hebrew custom to name all women after their husband? Is Mary ever called Joseph? What lunacy this would be.But you didn’t know that because you neither know Hebrew nor did you look at other translations (compare NKJV, NIV, NASB, RSV, and others) nor did you even think how plausible such a reading of the text would be. So who should be feeling silly now?

    • Andy_Schueler

      Sure I have Jonathan… Here’s my little surprice…

      It´s “surprise”.

      Man and woman is one flesh, in the bible.If you mention the man, you have mentioned both.

      Sure, mentioning the mother of Jesus would have actually been completely irrelevant, just talking about a dude called “Joseph” clearly implies that he was married, and that his wife was called Mary, and that she got knocked up by some holy spirit. The gospel authors were just terrible writers – which is why they write about Mary repeatedly although talking about her husband alone would have been completely sufficient since they are “one flesh”.
      How could we miss that ??
      And this obviously also means that when the Bible mentions the father´s geneaology, it actually mentioned the mother´s geneaology as well because something-something-bible-is-infallible-something, amirite ?!  

  • JohnM

    Oki sorry, I didn’t mean to be so rude, Jonathan..

    The point I’m making is, that you can’t just read an old text, as we read books today. And you can’t just assume, that they use names in the same way, as we do today..

    In order to understand Genesis 5:2, you have to understand Genesis 2:24.

    That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

    The bible operates with a completely different view of marriage.. Most people today, consider marriage, a practical arrangement, between two individuals. The bible consider marriage, a union between two individuals, whereby they become one unit, one flesh. And from that point onwards, they are one.

    And so to argue that the bible has to mention Miriam, is just making a classic mistake, of reading the bible though modern eyes..

    As for the two poodles, jumping up and down.. I’m sorry, but I have a hard time taking you guys serious.

    • John, it’s not rude, don’t worry.

      It is, however, bizarre, It is not a genealogy, which is a recognised written form with characteristics and so on.

      Which means you still have not provided a single reference to a maternal genealogy.

      You have not dealt with the Greek issues, and you have not dealt with a single argument presented here, irrespective of the way one reads a creation account!

      • JohnM

         Jonathan :

        Which means you still have not provided a single reference to a maternal genealogy. You have not dealt with the Greek issues, and you have not dealt with a single argument presented here, irrespective of the way one reads a creation account!

        Well I guess that’s how you see it, Jonathan :)

        I think I’ll just disagree, as I don’t think that there’s anything that I could say, to actually change your mind.

        • Andy_Schueler

          Well I guess that’s how you see it, Jonathan :)

          I think I’ll just disagree, as I don’t think that there’s anything that I could say, to actually change your mind.

          You sound like the black Knight:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKhEw7nD9C4

        • “I think I’ll just disagree, as I don’t think that there’s anything that I could say, to actually change your mind.”

          You could start by providing the required evidence to support your thesis. 

          I will now provide you with an analogy to explain your position. I shouldn’t have to, but you are being willfully stubborn and lacking in any critical analysis,

          Let’s take the resurrection accounts. You believe the body disappeared form the tomb after three days due to resurrection. There are several hypotheses, but this is the one you take based on some kind of comparative analysis. I imagine this is absolutely true, anyway, but that is besides the point.

          i come along and claim that there is a Jewish practice whereby if someone is crucified and buried in a tomb, they are left for a day and then moved to another tomb by their children. This is commonly accepted Jewish practice. This explains why the body was not there 3 days later. I also claim that this is the default understanding of the scenario, and it explains all the data claims from all of the gospels.

          You, rightly, then ask me to show how such a Jewish practice of children removing crucified bodies from one tomb to another is evidenced. You demand I show you one primary or secondary account of this happening.

          I then bang on about nothing for posts on end, dodging the request. Eventually I post something from Genesis about Jewish people dying which is not relevant to tomb procedures. I still do not provide you with ANY evidence that this practice was, in fact, common practice and that people believe have always thought this was the case.

          I end up not providing you with any evidence, even though this is not the reading of the gospels, there is no mention of it in the gospels or any other bible book. The burden of proof is on me, and yet I fail to provide not only evidence, but any answer to the multiple criticisms you put up against that thesis.

          I then claim you are the ignorant one and claim my thesis is clearly right, whilst refusing to do you the justice of evidencing it. i then just bow out in claiming that ‘we are getting nowhere’ and ‘I am clearly not convincing you’ and ‘I am not here to convince you’ and ‘we just interpret the evidence differently’ and so on.

          You would have every right to tell me where to get off.

    • I’m not sure if I am one of those supposed poodles you refer to, but it is rather odd you begin your comment apologizing for being rude and then end it by being rude.

      But again, you avoid what is at issue: because a married couple was of one flesh doesn’t mean that you refer to the wife using the husband’s name. And Gen 5:2 doesn’t say Eve is named Adam and you supposed, but simply she is called “human”. You then through on a theological interpretation of Gen 2 to make an argument for what the Jews believed, yet, as Jon has asked for numerous times, you provide no example from Jewish record of matrilineal genealogy.

      Basically, you are being accused of making things up to avoid the problem of the Bible not being 100% on all things. This is crackpot stuff, and your examples show desperation, not inspiration. Heck, your example isn’t even a genealogy!

      So, for the love of Pete, give Jon an example of an ancient Jewish matrilineal genealogy. if you can, you’d be the first in history and should write a paper to a journal.

    • Andy_Schueler

      And from that point onwards, they are one.

      Sure, “becoming one flesh” is not just a metaphor for an emotional connection, it literally means that two individuals turn into one individual and this obviously also means that patrilineal and matrilineal geneaologies are actually the same thing! 

      As for the two poodles, jumping up and down.. I’m sorry, but I have a hard time taking you guys serious.

      It´s always the same pattern with you, you make the most outlandish claims, get angry and insulting when people call you out on your BS, and then you lie about it:
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2012/10/29/the-hoops-the-christian-has-to-jump-through-to-believe-the-nativity/#comment-696634348
      What you are is yet another datapoint in support of the theory that it is simply impossible to believe in biblical infallibility and / or young earth creationism without turning into a notorious liar. Lying to yourself and to others seems to be the only way to ease the cognitive dissonance for a while… Pathetic. 

  • JohnM

    I wouldn’t ask you to prove anything about child-grave-robbers. If you think that’s an acceptable explanation, then you’re free to think that.

    But I would challenge you, on the basis of the information we do have in the gospels..

    Because how would the children have gotten past the Roman soldiers, guarding the tomb, as to prevent anyone from stealing the body, in order to claim resurrection? The punishment for falling asleep, on guard-duty, was death. And how would a bunch of children have moved a 2 ton stone without the soldiers taking notice?

    • Exactly.

      And I would challenge you on the information that we DO have in the Bible – no maternal genealogies, no reference to any. And all the other arguments I gave.

    • Andy_Schueler

      But I would challenge you, on the basis of the information we do have in the gospels..

      Because how would the children have gotten past the Roman soldiers, guarding the tomb, as to prevent anyone from stealing the body, in order to claim resurrection? The punishment for falling asleep, on guard-duty, was death

      “11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.”
      Matthew 28:11-15
      The guards probably figured that money is more important than their lives, right ?
      Seriously, the whole story is obviously made up – if Jesus was actually crucified and buried in a tomb, the romans clearly didn´t give a fuck even according to the Bible, no investigation after the corpse of an executed criminal was apparently stolen and they didn´t even raise the issues at the trials of Peter and Paul!

       And how would a bunch of children have moved a 2 ton stone without the soldiers taking notice?

      Some magic support from the 1 / 2 angels being present at the time.

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler

    You sound like the black Knight

    Hehe. I think you would call that a “Palooka”.
    http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/palooka.htm

    I’m more like a Godzilla.
    http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/godzilla.htm

    And you 2 poodles are Xenophobes
    http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/xenophobe.htm

  • JohnM

    Jonathan:

    And I would challenge you on the information that we DO have in the Bible – no maternal genealogies, no reference to any.

    That’s not information. That’s interpretation.

    • JEEBUS MAN!!!

      There is none – you have provided none (other than Luke, but we are trying to calculate prior probabilities). That is not interpretation! That is NO EVIDENCE. There is not one IN the bible or OUTSIDE the bibel. 

      You have had a week to find something and you have found nothing but a creation account which is 1) not a genealogy 2) not a genealogy 3) not a genealogy. Oh, and it refers to both man and woman together in non-genealogical form.

    • Andy_Schueler

      That’s not information. That’s interpretation.

      Come on, try to be honest for once:
      1. Men and women being “one flesh”, even if taken literally (which is absurd, but what the hell), is completely unrelated to geneaologies. A patrilineal geneaology stays a patrilineal geneaology even if one follows your interpretation that a married couple is actually one individual – all that would mean is that this two-headed individual has now multiple geneaologies. 
      2. Do you, or do you not admit that there is no single biblical geneaology that is unambigiously matrilineal – meaning that the text in question clearly states that the lineage presented is a maternal one ? If you don´t admit that, name an example.

  • JohnM

    http://christianity.about.com/od/biblefactsandlists/a/jesusgenealogy.htm
    One of the most widely held theories suggests that Matthew’s account follows the lineage of Joseph, while Luke’s genealogy is that of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This interpretation would mean that Jacob was Joseph’s biological father, and Heli (Mary’s biological father) became Joseph’s surrogate father, thus making Joseph Heli’s heir through his marriage to Mary. If Heli had no sons, this would have been the normal custom. Also, if Mary and Joseph lived under the same roof with Heli, his “son-in-law” would have been called “son” and considered a descendent. Although it would have been unusual to trace a genealogy from the maternal side, there was nothing usual about the virgin birth. Additionally, if Mary (Jesus’ blood relative) was indeed a direct descendant of David, this would make her son “the seed of David” in keeping with Messianic prophecies.

    Now that’s about.com

    How many of such links, would it take, to convince you, that it’s actually a widely held theory, recognized by many people, as a good explanation for what you would like to see as “errors” in the bible?

    Or are you just going to sit there and play judge all day, based on how you personally feel about it?

    • Andy_Schueler

      How many of such links, would it take, to convince you, that it’s actually a widely held theory, recognized by many people, as a good explanation for what you would like to see as “errors” in the bible?

      1. Try to find a single scholar who supports this theory and who would not loose his job if he would not support it (meaning that he works at an evangelical University that makes you sign a “statement of belief” in biblical infallibility like this one:
      http://www.liberty.edu/aboutliberty/index.cfm?PID=6907 ).
      2. A “good” explanation would be one that is supported by evidence. You have provided zero evidence, you have not linked to any evidence and you will not find any evidence.
      3. Jonathan has provided an exhaustive list of criticisms to this theory, you have not answered any single one of those – and you obviously don´t care. We get that you will happily believe any crazy-ass nonsense that reconciles clear contradictions in the Bible, but this is not a rational point of view – you are not looking for explanations that are true, you assume the Bible to be true and make up stories to fit this preconceived idea (and before you argue that we do the same, just with the preconceived idea that the Bible is false, note that we do provide evidence and we don´t believe in any crazy-ass theory just because it contradicts the Bible).

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler :

    you will happily believe any crazy-ass nonsense that reconciles clear contradictions in the Bible

    Sometimes I ask myself..  How stupid are you really?

    The 2 genealogies mentions different names.. On the basis of that, any rational person should know, that the 2 genealogies, are not tracking the same line of descent.. 

    “But they both mention Joseph”

    And that’s where your ignorance comes to play. It’s a perfect valid method in genealogy, to track the woman, by mentioning the man that she married. And I myself have asked several genealogists that I came across, in order to confirm it.

    So in this case at least, the “clear contradictions in the Bible” are a product of your lack of insight, into an old text, that you insist on reading, as if it was written yesterday. It’s just absurd, irrational and downright silly.

    • Andy_Schueler

      The 2 genealogies mentions different names.. On the basis of that, any rational person should know, that the 2 genealogies, are not tracking the same line of descent.. 

      No, a rational person realizes at this moment that several explanations are possible :
      – the 2 geneaologies are the matrilineal and patrilineal one (and also realizes how incredibly unlikely that is given that the Bible mentions lots of geneaologies – all patrilineal without exception and based on all the other problems with this theory that Jonathan elaborates on) 
      –  that the author of Luke and / or the author of Matthew had only access to incomplete or erroneous information about the ancestry of Jesus.
      – that the author of Luke and / or the author of Matthew made the geneaology up to fit the prophecy that the Messiah would be of the house of David.

      You cannot consider either the possibility that the geneaologies are faked or that they are erroneous, because that would mean that the Bible is fallible – and considering that is not an option for you. You´d rather deal with the cognitive dissonance of believing any crazy-ass nonsense as long as it reconciles clear contradictions in the Bible.

      And that’s where your ignorance comes to play. It’s a perfect valid method in genealogy, to track the woman, by mentioning the man that she married. And I myself have asked several genealogists that I came across, in order to confirm it.

      1. “It is possible therefore it is probable” is fallacious reasoning, 
      2. You give zero evidence to support that theory and you cannot deal with any of the many problems of this theory, it allows you to keep your belief in biblical infallibility and that´s all you care about, truth is irrelevant – you already know it to be true that the Bible can never be in error and you will lie to yourself and to others to protect that belief.

      So in this case at least, the “clear contradictions in the Bible” are a product of your lack of insight, into an old text, that you insist on reading, as if it was written yesterday.

      Any contradiction can be reconciled by making stories up out of thin air – you find two different geneaologies for the same person ? No Problem! Just make up some crazy-ass nonsense about one being the matrilineal one and the other being the patrilineal one even if the text doesn´t contain any passage to support that theory and there is not a single example in the text or in other literature contamporaneous to it that contains a matrilineal geneaology. If someone points out the fact that this explanation is completely ad hoc and is highly problematic for a long list of reasons, just lie about it or call him an ignorant fool who lacks your “insight and imagination”. Don´t stop to think that the fact that you have zero evidence to support your explanation and cannot answer any criticism to your explanation might mean that your explanation is simply wrong – you already know that it cannot be wrong because the Bible is never in error, so any Bullshit story that reconciles clear contradictions simply MUST be true.

      We are used to that, Muslims do exactly the same with their holy book – they see a clear contradiction, make up some crazy-ass nonsense to reconcile it, and then they engage in the same “it´s possible therefore it´s probable” reasoning that you use here. What´s funny is that you´ll see the fallacious reasoning in the muslim approach and not in your own and vice versa.

      • @disqus_VpcCfzNZjQ:disqus – you really need to answer Andy’s (and my) points now, You have done too much evasion by far. You have NOT provided evidence, and you have not answered a single point of refutation. 

        Also, Andy made a great point about towing the party line. I was involved in a big debate about Mike Licona. He, in a huge academic work, sensibly concluded that Matthew 28 was symbolic poetic writing. Remember, this is the claim, completely unverified or corroborated by any other human on earth, that all the Saints resurrected and flew over Jersualem. Amazing amazing instance that, if it had happened:

        1) the other gospel writers would have reported it
        2) bloody loads of people would have written about it or referenced it

        So Licona, who is a good bloke and someone I rate (as far as apologists go) produced a well measured and highly probable thesis (no independent scholar believes Matt 28 as historical). what happened?

        Norman Geisler got him sacked from his position,  both his job as research professor of New Testament at Southern Evangelical Seminary and as apologetics coordinator for the North America Mission Board (NAMB).

        So this is what happens to ‘objective’ biblical exegesis? 

        • Andy_Schueler

          Norman Geisler got him sacked from his position,  both his job as research professor of New Testament at Southern Evangelical Seminary and as apologetics coordinator for the North America Mission Board (NAMB).

          John blogged about this topic a few months ago (a similar case where a NT researcher was fired for doing his job and arriving at an unpopular conclusion at an evangelical college) – overall, it seems obvious that biblical infallibility is just not a defensible academic position, but if an evengelical institute or university becomes a little too liberal, the sponsors will jump off and fund other institutes. 
          Seems to be a uniquely US-american problem to me, we had just one case here in Germany where a research theologian almost lost his job for expressing unpopular views (but quite drastic ones – he doubts the divinity of Jesus, which is obviously a very unpopular view among theologians). 

    •  [[Sometimes I ask myself..  How stupid are you really?]]

      Funny, we all ask the same thing of you.

    • @disqus_VpcCfzNZjQ:disqus –

      Do you concede any points? Or do you think that all those criticisms and points of refutation amount to nothing?