Tag Archives: family of Jesus

Jesus Never Claimed To Be God

Peter Did Not Believe That Jesus Is God —

Even Peter did not believe that Jesus was God. For instance, when Jesus privately asked Peter “who do you say that I am?” Peter replied “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16.15-16). While Peter acknowledges that Jesus was the promised Messiah of Israel and the son of God, he did not acknowledge Jesus as God (1).

is-Jesus-God

Fig (1) Is Jesus really God?

On one occasion Jesus told his apostles that he will suffer many things at the hands of the religious authorities in Jerusalem, and eventually be put to death by them. When Peter heard this, he took Jesus aside and said “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You’” (Matthew 16.22). If Peter had thought that Jesus was God why would he have said that?

During his discourse on the first day of Pentecost, Peter talked about  “Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst” (Acts 2.22). Peter tells his audience “let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2.36). Here again Peter distinguishes Jesus from God and in the process makes Jesus subordinate to God. Peter also refers to Jesus as the servant of God. (Acts 3.13, 26; cf. 4.27, 30).

Blessed Be The God And Father Of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Peter did not believe Jesus was God but that he was the son of God. He notes in the salutation of his first New Testament letter, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1.3). A couple of verses later he writes “Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God” (v. 21). Peter did not accept Jesus as God but acknowledged that he was the “Christ, the Savior, the obedient and subordinate servant of the sovereign and only God—the Father” (2).

Even Jesus did not at any time claim that he was God. In John 8:54 Jesus is supposed to have said “If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God John (8:55). In fact throughout the gospel of John, Jesus constantly distinguishes himself from God and shows himself as subordinate to God and states clearly that he was sent on his father’s direction (John 3:16; 17:3). In Luke 22:42 Jesus is shown as praying in the Garden for, not his will to be done, but the Father’s. In Mark 15:34, Jesus is shown as crying out “My God, my God, what have you forsaken me” (3).

Again in Revelations 4 and 5 Jesus talks of the one on the throne as God and of himself as the Lamb of God. In John 14:28 he states “for my Father is greater than I”.

Even The Family Of Jesus Did Not Believe Him To Be God

Even the family of Jesus did not believe him to be God. On the contrary because of what he said and on the way in which he conducted himself his family thought that Jesus was “out of his mind, Mk 3:21.  In John 7:1-5 it has been stated clearly that his brothers did not believe him. While they accept him as “a special teacher, man of God, or miracle worker, they do not accept Jesus as the messiah. Early Christians considered Jesus as an agent of God, and as the son of God but not as God. The Epistle to the Hebrews describes Jesus as the mediator of the New Covenant. James in line with Old Testament prophecies believed that Jesus was an ordinary man chosen by God to lead his people. This was very different to the idea championed by Paul that Jesus was a divine being, born of God himself. This was in line with the conviction of Jewish Christians that Jesus was a messiah but not divine (4).

Hardly Anyone During The Time Of Jesus Accepted Him As God

Hardly anyone during the time of Jesus accepted him as God. Most early Christians accepted Jesus as divine. But this divinity was subject to competing interpretations. In general however early Christians viewed Jesus as an agent of God. Immediately after the crucifixion of Jesus there was no talk about his resurrection. Resurrection was a notion that was added later to appeal to a section of prospective converts. The Jews of that period had a different concept of resurrection and even that was eschatological.

Since the Gospels were written long after the crucifixion of Jesus it is quite likely that stories about him changed over time. It is very likely that individuals took these stories and modified them to suit their needs. There was no one to question these stories and after a period these stories were conflated with other stories to create entirely new stories. As a consequence by the time these stories were penned it became impossible to tell truth from fabrication.

Knowing that people were in a constant state of oppression were looking for a heavenly warrior who would vanquish their oppressors and finally give then the peace and prosperity that they so longed for, Paul offered them an alternative religion with a hero who not only resurrected himself but would also resurrect them and lead them to peace and prosperity. Within 15-20 years of the crucifixion of Jesus, Paul who wrote the largest early explanations about Christian theology referred to Jesus as the resurrected “Son of God”. Paul promised that Jesus would return from heaven and save his faithful from impending destruction of the world. It is worthwhile to note that well into the 2nd century Christians preferred oral tradition to written scriptures (5).

Oppressed people everywhere preferred a religion that held the promise of the coming of an avenger who would vanquish the oppressor and lead them to everlasting peace and prosperity. And Paul believed that Jesus would come back in his lifetime itself and resurrect Christians, give them supernatural bodies and share with them the kingdom of God. Paul believed that the end was imminent although he was unspecific about it.  He consoled his persecuted listeners that the dead will rise first and then be followed by the still living. He speaks about the battle at the end between Jesus and the people of lawlessness and the eventual triumph of Jesus. Paul’s influence is said to have been more compelling than any New Testament author and made the Torah redundant. He depicted the church as the body of Jesus and everyone outside the church as “under judgment” (6).

Maccoby posits that Paul blended Judaism, Gnosticism, and mysticism to create Christianity as “a cosmic savior religion”. Thomas Jefferson criticizes Paul as the “first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus” (7).

However, the Jewish elders did not think that Jesus was God. To them the empty tomb meant foul play.

References:

(1) Servetus the Evangelical. (n.d.). Did Peter Believe Jesus Was God?. Retrieved 2011, from http://servetustheevangelical.com/doc/Did_Peter_Believe_Jesus_Was_God.pdf

(2) Servetus the Evangelical. (n.d.). Did Peter Believe Jesus Was God? Retrieved 2011, from http://servetustheevangelical.com/doc/Did_Peter_Believe_Jesus_Was_God.pdf

(3) Did Jesus Ever Claim to be God? (2011). Retrieved 2011, from http://conservapedia.com/Debate:Did_Jesus_ever_claim_to_be_God%3F

(4) Leafe, David. (2006). Did Jesus Have a Secret Family? Retrieved 2011, from http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/FeaturesMiddEast/CanaanJesus01.htm

(5) Early Christianity. (2012). Retrieved 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Christianity

(6) Paul the Apostle. (2012). Retrieved 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_of_Tarsus.

(7) Paul the Apostle. (2012). Retrieved 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_of_Tarsus

Picture Credits: (1) Is Jesus Really God            https://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=637&q=Jesus+as+god&oq=Jesus+as+god&gs_l=img.3..0j0i24l9.4054.7742.0.8468.12.11.0.1.1.0.131.1170.2j9.11.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..0.12.1176.tJ3FNEAof3Q#imgrc=32-JhMw3F8iMFM%3A

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Amazing details about the family of Jesus

How Big Was The Family Of Jesus?

Matthew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3 (see also Mk. 3:31; Lk. 8:20; Jn. 2:12; 7:3-5; Acts 1:14; Gal. 1:19; 1 Cor. 9:5) talk of the brothers and sisters of Jesus. These references gave the rise to the confusion whether these so called brothers and sisters of Jesus were his blood siblings. This issue became pertinent because the bible uses the Greek words adelphos and adelphe – literally meaning brother and sister respectively – to describe Jesus’ relationship to the supposed brothers and sisters.

Antonio_da_Fabriano_II_-_Saint_Jerome_in_His_Study_-

(Fig 1) St. Jerome in his study

Why did the bible use the words adelphos and adelphe if the brothers and sisters were not the full brothers and sisters of Jesus? This according to some is an error of translation. Hebrew and Aramaic – the former being the original language of the bible and the latter, the language of the time – did not have a word to denote cousin or nephew or other such relationships.

As a result when required to be exact one would have had to say “the son of my father’s brother” or simply “my brother”. In the latter case the relationship was correctly understood based on tradition. Because of this, when the old testament was translated to Greek, the version called the “Septuagint” or “LXX” the traditional Hebrew expression adelphos was used even though there is a word in Greek to denote a cousin simply because the Hebrew expression was customarily also understood as cousin. This convention was continued in the New Testament also.

Were These 6 The Blood Siblings Of Jesus?

In support of their claim that the six brothers and sisters of Jesus were indeed his blood siblings some scholars claim that Jesus was referred to in the Bible as the “first-born son” of Mary, implying that Mary had other children besides Jesus. However St. Jerome, a priest, confessor, theologian and historian, contests this claim by saying that during the time of Jesus it was tradition to use the moniker “first born” to refer to the child that first comes out of a womb, even though there may not have been other children after that.  He states that “The word of God defines first-born as everything that openeth the womb.”

However since the Bible refers to Jesus as the first born of Mary it is possible that Joseph had children by a previous wife. According to apocryphal sources it seems that when he was forty years, Joseph married a woman named Melcha or Escha. Other sources name this woman Salome. In any case it is said that they were married for forty nine years and that the couple had six children – two girls and four boys. The boys were named Justus, Simon, Judas and James and the girls Assia and Lydia. These six children of Joseph would thus be the step brothers and sisters of Jesus.

But there are those who argue that the Jews of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus still followed the Mosaic Law which encouraged married couples to have many children. So why would Joseph and Mary want to be different?

Saint Jerome who also held the perpetual virginity doctrine, argued that the brothers of Jesus were in fact sons of Mary’s sister, whom Jerome identified as Mary of Cleopas.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church refers to a statement by a modern scholar, whom it does not identify, that the brothers of Jesus were the sons of Clopas (Joseph’s brother according to Hegesippus) and Mary, the wife of Cleopas without clarifying whether or not this Mary was the sister of Jesus’ mother.

A few modern writers identify Mary of Clopas with Jesus’ mother. James Tabor postulated that Clopas, whom he accepts as a brother of Joseph, became the second husband of Jesus’ mother. Tabor argues that Clopas married Mary according to the Levirate law. This is unlikely as this would only apply in case of a childless widow. (1)

(1) References  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clopas

Picture Credits:
St. Jerome in his study https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome#/media/File:Antonio_da_Fabriano_II_-_Saint_Jerome_in_His_Study_-_Walters_37439.jpg

 

What Happened To The Patriarch Of The Family Of Jesus?

All Mention Of Joseph Of Nazareth Ceases

From the moment Jesus mentions his heavenly father all mention of his earthly father Joseph of Nazareth ceases.

Several reasons are cited for this.

One reason is that by the time Jesus became an adult Joseph had died. We know for certain that the only member of the family of Jesus who followed him to Jerusalem was James the brother of Jesus. The others of the family of Jesus may have joined him later. But we are not sure.

Joseph of Nazareth

(Fig 1) Joseph of Nazareth

According to the apocryphal “Story of Joseph the Carpenter”, the patriarch of the family of Jesus was a hundred and eleven years when he died, on 20 July 18 or 19 CE. But according to St. Epiphanius, Joseph was ninety years old when he died and was “buried in the Valley of Josaphat.” However, considering extra-biblical sources it would appear that Joseph died before Jesus began his adult ministry and was buried in Nazareth.

The majority Catholic opinion is that Joseph was many years older than Mary and was a widower with six children – two girls and four boys. Four of those children were already married by the time Joseph took Mary to his house. Only James was a little boy and “Mary took care of James and raised him with Jesus.”

This theory seemed the most plausible considering the closeness between Jesus and James. Because of his advanced age and the majority of his family in Nazareth Joseph continued to stay there where he died and was buried.

Valley of Josaphat
(Fig 2) Josaphat Valley

Others believe that he had gone to the feast of the Pasch to pray at the Temple where he died and was buried in Josaphat in the tomb of his ancestors.

For more on this please read “Jesus May Have Had 6 Brothers And Sisters” at bit.ly/1UktdAC

Please subscribe to my blog https://familytombofjesus.wordpress.com

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(Fig 1) Joseph of Nazareth
00x.63https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Joseph#/media/File:Guido_Reni_042.jpg

(Fig 2) Valley of Josaphat https://www.google.co.in/search?q=joseph+of+nazareth&biw=1280&bih=612&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwjZg7WQg73KAhWBcY4KHV0fACIQ_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=%22valley+of+josaphat%22&imgrc=_S1TjRYrLOyVZM%3A

Who Really Made Up The Holy Family Of Jesus?

Was This The Family Of Jesus?

Was the family of Jesus just him, Mary and Joseph? Or was the holy family of Jesus made up of more than just this three? Did Jesus have six brothers and sisters?

Christ_in_the_house_of_his_parents
(Fig 1) Jesus in the house of his parents?

According to some accounts the six referred to in the New Testament as the brothers and sisters of Jesus were in fact his step brothers and sisters. There are claims that when Joseph was forty years, he married a woman named Melcha or Escha. Other sources name this woman Salome. In any case it is said that they were married for forty nine years and that the couple had six children – two girls and four boys.

According to some sources the names of the six siblings were Justus, Simon, Judas and James and Assia and Lydia. And according to some accounts James was the youngest of the four boys. Others claim that James was the eldest of the boys since he is almost always mentioned first in the list. However even Matthew and Mark do not agree on the order in which the boys were born. Matthew (Matthew 13.54–56) lists them as “James and Joseph and Simon and Judas”, whereas Mark (Mark 6.3) lists them as “James and Joses [a variant of Joseph] and Judas and Simon”.

So did the family of Jesus comprise of nine rather than the three popularly referred to as the Holy Family of Jesus Christ?

The other controversy relating to the family of Jesus is: was James the eldest or the youngest of the siblings?

Both the Evangelists who list the siblings mention James making him the eldest.

If the six so called brothers and sisters were indeed the step siblings of Jesus, it is likely that James was the eldest and elder to Jesus. But if they were the blood brothers and sisters of Jesus then while James could still be the eldest of the six siblings he would be younger than Jesus.

The answer to this and other questions will depend on Mary’s place in the Family of Jesus.

For more on this please read “Jesus May Have Had 6 Brothers And Sisters” at bit.ly/1UktdAC

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Siblings of Jesus
bible blog 211

Is This The Family Tomb Of Jesus?

Has The Family Tomb Of Jesus Been Discovered?

Opinion is divided. There are as many people who are convinced as there are people who think that there is absolutely no chance of this being the Jesus family tomb. Let’s first see why some people think that it is.

Some people believe that the very location of the Talpiot tomb is indicative of its significance. The importance of the location can only be appreciated if one understands the location of the Temple. It was aligned from east to west with the Holy of Holies towards the west end of the Temple. It is generally agreed that from west to east there were “the Holy of Holies, the sanctuary, the altar and court of the priests, the Court of the Women (Court of Prayer), and the eastern wall, separated from the Temple by a portion of the Court of the Gentiles”.

Nicanor Gate(Fig 1)

Importance Of The Alignment Of The Talpiot Tomb

This alignment has to be seen with reference to the location of the four or five gates of the old city. These gates were aligned east to west in such a manner that the rising sun shone directly through the gates into the sanctuary. Of these gates the Nicanor Gate is of particular importance because it is this gate that appeared on early Roman coins and it is this gate that is symbolized over the entrance to the Talpiot tomb. This is the gate through which Jesus rode into Jerusalem and then onto the Temple coming down from the Mount of Olives. Besides there is a significant relationship between the latitudinal coordinates of the Talpiot tomb and the coordinates of the Temple Mount.

It was believed that it is through the eastern gate that the Messiah will come at the time of judgment. Therefore it is of significance that the Talpiot tomb is aligned to this gate and that a chevron is symbolized over the entrance to the tomb.

It has been argued by some that it is reasonable to expect that the tomb of Jesus would be in Jerusalem rather in Galilee. Although assuming that Nazareth may have been the hometown of Jesus and his brothers and sisters, it is quite likely that all of them had relocated to Jerusalem following Jesus. John Dominic Crossan an Irish-American New Testament scholar, has reasoned that it is possible that James the brother of Jesus moved to Jerusalem long before the crucifixion of Jesus (1).

Another reason why the tomb of Jesus should be in Jerusalem and not in Nazareth could be because Jesus had his roots in Jerusalem and not in Galilee. It is quite likely, the notion that Nazareth was Jesus’ hometown originated because of an attempt at retrospective prophecy fulfillment – the confusion arising from Isaiah’s prophecy and the word netzer. It is possible that Jesus could have been called a Nazirite – an ascetic like Samson. Or the word netzer could simply mean born from the line of David. In this case Jesus’ hometown would be Jerusalem.

Names Belonged To The Family Of Jesus

Individually, the names found on the ossuaries from the Talpiot tomb were names that were very common during that period, for them to all be found in one tomb is indeed rare. Since they are all names of individuals who belonged to the immediate or extended family of Jesus has led many people to believe that this is indeed the Jesus family tomb.

It is generally agreed that the names on the ossuaries from the Talpiot is a close match to the family of Jesus of Nazareth that cannot be brushed aside without due consideration, when you add the ossuary of “James son of Joseph” to the list it is almost slam dunk that this tomb is indeed the tomb of the Biblical Jesus. But then there is more than just one problem why this cannot be done.

Why The Talpiot Tomb Cannot Be The Tomb Of Jesus

Rahmani who catalogued all the ossuaries in the possession of the state of Israel opined that “In Jerusalem’s tombs, the deceased’s place of origin was noted when someone from outside Jerusalem was interred in a local tomb.” It was the custom that ossuaries of deceased belonging to Judean families bear inscriptions that indicated the ancestry or lineage by naming the father. For instance the ossuary of Judah would bear the inscription “Judah son of John”. However ossuaries of deceased from outside Judea would bear an inscription giving the place of origin of the individual. Even the Gospels and historians such as Flavius Josephus refer to the difference in inscriptions between Judean and non-Judean ossuaries. Because the Talpiot ossuaries make no such distinction, some scholars believe that the tomb is not the tomb of the family of Jesus of Nazareth, but is in fact no more than the tomb of a Judean family (2).

Not Enough Reason To Conclude This Is Not The Tomb Of Jesus

But this is not reason enough to conclude that the Talpiot tomb is not the family tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. Consider that of the 895 ossuaries belonging to the State of Israel and catalogued by Rahmani, only 227 are inscribed. And yet of the ten ossuaries found in the Talpiot tomb, six bear inscriptions. This is much higher than the general average of about 25%. Besides this, the ossuary bearing the inscription the “Yeshua bar Yehosef”, is the only ossuary with such an inscription. In spite of the limited patronymics the cluster of names on the ossuaries of the Talpiot tomb has statistical relevance. If Jesus had a family tomb, it would have been logical to expect the names of the individuals listed in the Talpiot tomb. The only name that may come as a surprise is that of Judah who some think is the son of Jesus that he had with Mariamne or Mary Magdalene

Hollywood director James Cameron and Canadian investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici made a documentary about the Talpiot tomb and called it The Lost Tomb of Jesus. The documentary was aired once on Discovery Channel. Britain’s Channel 4 which was also supposed to the air the documentary canceled the program. As expected the highly explosive nature of its conclusions attracted a lot of criticism from academics and many Christian clerics (3).

However a prominent New Testament specialist from Princeton Theological Seminary, Prof. James Charlesworth, was sufficiently interested to organize a conference in Jerusalem in January 2008. He invited over 50 archeologists, statisticians and experts in DNA, ceramics and ancient languages, to debate as to whether or not the Talpiot tomb is the tomb of Jesus Christ.

The Tomb Of Jesus – An Endless Debate

Although the deliberation as to whether this is indeed the tomb of Jesus will go on for years to come, the participants voted unanimously that the tomb, now sealed should be reopened and studied further. Jacobovici told Time magazine “I feel vindicated”. “It’s moved from ‘it can’t be the Jesus’ family tomb’ to ‘it could be’” (4).

One argument against the Talpiot tomb being the tomb of Jesus is that Jesus was too poor to afford a rock-cut tomb. While Magness supports this contention she concedes that one of the followers of Jesus was Joseph of Arimathea, an influential and wealthy man. It is not unreasonable to expect that Joseph of Arimathea to have provided a rock-cut tomb for Jesus. After Jesus, James his brother took over the leadership of the movement, and in a short time he had such a sizeable following that even Josephus mentioned it in his Antiquities. It is likely that one of his followers could have provided Jesus with a permanent burial place. Besides if the family of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, of Bethany could afford to bury their dead in a rock-hewn tomb, why not Jesus (5) (6).

Shimon Gibson of the IAA has stated that from all the many excavations in the Jerusalem area no trench graves were discovered and that only rock-cut tombs were prevalent, giving rise to the conclusion that even average Jews in Jerusalem practiced burial in tombs rather than trench graves (7).

However it must be remembered that with the exception of Matthew, none of the other evangelists make any mention of where Jesus was buried. Even John whose source is independent of Mark and Luke says nothing about whose tomb Jesus was buried in. Only in Matthew is Joseph of Arimathea described as a “rich man” who buries Jesus in “his own new tomb”. This seems like a tendentious attempt by Matthew to show that this was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah who talks of a suffering servant who is buried in the tomb of a rich man (8).

In John we learn that “in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there” (John 19:41-42). What John said comports well with the primary which is Mark. Both agree that this was a burial that was hurriedly done. John states clearly that it was a temporary burial that was necessitated as it was the day of preparation as the next day was the Sabbath (9).

To further show that Jesus was poor and could therefore not afford a rock-cut tomb Jodi Magness Professor, University of North Carolina, claims that “the Romans generally reserved crucifixion for the poorer classes, who they regarded as common criminals.” This is however not the case. Prof. Magness is most likely not right on both counts: neither was Jesus poor nor was he considered a common criminal. Even if Jesus was poor and considered a common criminal by the Romans, Professor Magness seems to forget the capabilities of faithful followers. There are earlier referred instances to bear this out. According to Mark (Mark 6:29) the followers of John the Baptist placed his body in a tomb. From the Syriac “Ascents of James” we learn that the followers of James bury the murdered Stephen in a tomb near Jericho. So even if Jesus was poor, and a condemned criminal, surely his followers would have found a tomb in which to bury him.

The reason cited by some scholars as to why Jesus could not have had a tomb in Jerusalem is that being from Nazareth, it was reasonable to expect that if he did indeed have a tomb, it would have been in Nazareth and not in Jerusalem. And even if he did have a tomb in Jerusalem some scholars say that the ossuaries would have borne in addition to names the place of origin of the individual such as “Jesus of Nazareth, Jose of Nazareth, Matthew of Capernaum, Mary of Nazareth, Mariamene of Magdala, and Judah son of Yeshua from Nazareth” (10).

Amos Kloner concluded based on the totality of the finds at Talpiot that the tomb can be dated “from the end of the first century B.C.E. or the beginning of the first century C.E., until approximately 70 C.E.” He also estimated that the bones of approximately 35 people were recovered from the tomb. His approximation is that there were the bones of 17 people inside the ossuaries and the bones of another 18 outside.

However according to Shimon Gibson who was part of the excavation team “the number of interments in the cave is unknown, but, basing himself on data obtained from other tombs that have been studied, Kloner believes that it might have been about thirty-five individuals. Unfortunately, this is mere guesswork since the anthropological remains from the Talpiot tomb were never examined or quantified” (11).

Another reason cited as to why the Talpiot tomb is not the tomb of Jesus is that if there was a tomb with his physical remains, all that the enemies of Jesus had to do to discredit him was to point to the tomb. In that case the belief and the teaching that Jesus resurrected bodily would have had no validity. Further there is no tradition of the Talpiot tomb ever being venerated by the followers of Jesus.

Scholars say that the ossuary supposed to have contained the physical remains of Jesus could not possibly be that of the biblical Jesus for the simple reason that it bore no embellishment or title befitting a master or messiah (12).

However others are convinced that the Chevron above the entrance and the cross mark on the ossuary of Jesus think are sufficient adornment, considering that the Essenes did not want to draw attention either to themselves or the tomb. If others did not know about the existence of the tomb is because it was the guarded secret of a secluded group.

Dominic Crossnan reasons that there would have been no tomb to mark the burial of Jesus as he “died a criminal’s death on the tree of shame” and would have been “eaten by dogs”. However others counter this, saying that although the Romans used crucifixion “to maintain peace and order and punish rebellious provincials for incitement to rebellion and acts of treason” archeological evidence and Jewish laws show that victims of crucifixion were not prevented from being buried. As the bible narratives show, Pilate did not object to Arimathea burying Jesus.

The names in the Talpiot tomb so closely match the members of Jesus’ family that a statistician from Toronto, Canada argued that the chance of the cluster of names being found in one tomb was 1:600. However Bock and Wallace claim that the names involved are too common for the hypothesis to be true. Enlisting the support of Tal Ilan, Stephen Pfann, and Amos Kloner, the two state that a mere 16 names account for 75% of the names in use then.

Each of the names from Talpiot made up 3% to 9% of the population of that time. The duo claimed that “…these names are not just common, but extremely common.” But this line of reasoning is untenable considering that the name Jesus on an ossuary occurs only four times in Hebrew/Aramaic and five times in Greek, for a total of nine out of 227. This argument is also weak considering that one cannot equate commonness of individual names to the occurrence in a tomb of the group of names (13).

Take the name Joseph, it was quite common – 14% of the population. But if you take the specific Aramaic form of Yose occurs only thrice. That by no means makes it common. The bottomline is that it is not the frequency of names that one must consider but the cluster of names. As such when considering a “Jesus family tomb” the question to ask is: What is the probability of there being a 1st century Jewish family tomb with a Jesus son of Joseph, a brother named Yose, and a mother named Mary being found? This is the material with which a statistician can analyze correlate the results with what a historian might then hypothesize as the probability of these specific names being found in a pre-70 CE Jesus tomb (14). In fact of the several tombs that were excavated in the Jerusalem area over the last 200 years not a single tomb was found even with the limited group of names: Jesus son of Joseph, Maria, and Yose.

As regards the reburial of Jesus Prof. Meyers states “”The issue of why Jesus would have had a secondary burial after having his body taken from the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea and buried elsewhere on the third day and then again a year later in an ossuary is a serious issue that cannot easily or readily be resolved… least, the practice of reburial in an ossuary is most often associated with the most pious individuals, namely, the Pharisees, and it is difficult to associate Jesus with the more conservative wing of that group”(15).

Even if the burial practice of the Pharisees was followed in the case of Jesus the tomb contained within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher could not have been his final resting place as the tombs within it were interconnected (16). At best the tombs within the Sepulcher as Kloner suggests must have been “a borrowed tomb” that was owned by the Sanhedrin.One fact is quite evident: this was not the tomb of a rich man – the tomb of Arimathea. Either that or as Matthew claims the prophecy of Isaiah 53:9, was not fulfilled (17).

For this reason the tomb inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher cannot be the final resting place of Jesus. And for reasons already stated neither does the Garden Tomb qualify. Merely by elimination the Talpiot tomb is the most likely the family tomb of Jesus.

Joe Zias stated in an interview in late 2005 and early 2006 that he first noted “Jesus son of Joseph” when the “Jesus Son of Joseph” documentary was being made. According to him the cluster of names was so “unusually impressive” that if they were not of verified provenance he would have been suspicious of forgery (18).

What Simcha Jacobovici, Prof. Tabor and others have tried to show is that the Talpiot tomb could possibly be the tomb of Jesus. However critics have trashed this claim without assigning any substantial refutation. As long as there is no proof to the contrary it is likely, based merely on the one ossuary of “Yeshua”, that the Talpiot tomb is the tomb of Jesus. There has been no proof to the contrary (19).

If this is the family tomb of Jesus there are some questions that need to be answered. The glaring question is why all the members of Jesus’ family were not buried in this tomb. This may or may not have been the case. According to Amos Kloner it is quite possible that the tomb contained more than ten ossuaries and that it was also possible that the bones of more than one individual were kept in a single ossuary. Besides, according to Amos Kloner the bones of approximately 35 people were recovered from the Talpiot tomb –approximately the bones of 17 people inside the ossuaries and the bones of another 18 outside.

So it is quite possible that Jesus’ entire family could have been buried in this tomb, except that no attempt was made to study the bones for possible identifications.

Please also read my blogs:
“The Talpiot Tomb – An Accidental Discovery” at bit.ly/1mrgdgQ
“Is This The Ossuary of Mary Magdalene?” at bit.ly/1RTTpna
“Judah – Was He The Son Of Jesus And Mary Magdalene?” at http://bit.ly/1Z4LNO0
“Jesus And Mary His Mother – Are These Their Ossuaries?” at http://bit.ly/1mF9sbx
”What Happened To The Bones From The Talpiot Tomb?” at http://bit.ly/1IUmRHa
”How Important Is The Chevron above the Entrance to the Talpiot Tomb?” at
http://bit.ly/1UC27oa

References:

(1) Koopmans, John. (2008). Talpiot Tomb – Fascinating New Discovery. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.bib-arch.org/scholars-study/jesus-tomb-01.asp

(2) Ben-David, Yirmәyahu .(2008). Burning Issues: Talpiot Tomb Complex. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.netzarim.co.il/Museum/Sukkah03/Burning%20Issues%20Talpiot%20Tomb.htm.

(3) McGirk, Tim. (2008). Jesus ‘Tomb’ Controversy Reopened. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1704299,00.html

(4) McGirk, Tim. (2008). Jesus ‘Tomb’ Controversy Reopened. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1704299,00.html

(5) (Finegan, Archaeology of the New Testament, pp. 359-374).

(6) Ben-David, Yirm?yahu . (2008). Burning Issues: Talpiot Tomb Complex. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.netzarim.co.il/Museum/Sukkah03/Burning%20Issues%20Talpiot%20Tomb.htm

(7) Gibson, Shimon. (2009). The Final Days of Jesus. The Archaeological Evidence. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. New York.

(8) Two Burials of Jesus of Nazareth and The Talpiot Yeshua Tomb. (2007). http://www.sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?articleId=651

(9) Two Burials of Jesus of Nazareth and The Talpiot Yeshua Tomb. (2007). http://www.sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?articleId=651

(10) Franz, Gordon. (2012). The So-Called Jesus Family Tomb ‘Rediscovered’ in Jerusalem. Retrieved 2012, from
http://www.lifeandland.org/2009/01/the-so-called-jesus-family-tomb-rediscovered-in-jerusalem/

(11) Gibson, Shimon. (2009). The Final Days of Jesus. The Archaeological Evidence. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. New York.

(12) Evans, Craig & Feldman, Steven. (2007). The Tomb of Jesus? Wrong on Every Count. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.bib-arch.org/scholars-study/jesus-tomb-02-b.asp

(13) Talpiot Dethroned. (2000-2012). Retrieved 2011, from http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/talpiot357921.shtml

(14) Tabor, James. (2007). The Talpiot Tomb: Separating Truth from Fiction. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.jesusdynasty.com/blog/2007/04/

(15) Ben-David, Yirm?yahu . (2008). Burning Issues: Talpiot Tomb Complex. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.netzarim.co.il/Museum/Sukkah03/Burning%20Issues%20Talpiot%20Tomb.htm

(16) Obscurities around the Tomb of the Holy Sepulcher. (2000-2012). Retrieved 2011, from http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/tombs358017.shtml

(17) Tabor, James. (2008). Archive for the ‘Talpiot Jesus Family Tomb’ Category. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.jesusdynasty.com/blog/category/talpiot-jesus-family-tomb/page/2/

(18) Tabor, James. (2007). The Talpiot Tomb: Separating Truth from Fiction. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.jesusdynasty.com/blog/2007/04/

(19) Ben-David, Yirm?yahu . (2008). Burning Issues: Talpiot Tomb Complex. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.netzarim.co.il/Museum/Sukkah03/Burning%20Issues%20Talpiot%20Tomb.htm

Picture Credits:
(Fig 1) Model reconstruction of the Nicanor gate in Jerusalem  http://www.magnoliabox.com/art/370985/model-reconstruction-of-the-nicanor-gate-in-jerusalem-in-66-ad

Jesus And Mary His Mother – Are These Their Ossuaries?

The Other Ossuaries From The Talpiot Tomb

The Ossuary Of Matya
The third ossuary IAA 80.502 – Rahmani 703 – It has the name “Matya” in Hebrew inscribed on it. In English this would stand for Matityahu, or Matthew.

Matthew is an unexpected name among the Talpiot group even though it is referred to many times in the genealogical records of Jesus. The name “Matya” (Matia) is inscribed in Hebrew on the outside while the name Mat(y)a on the inside is scratched. Although there are several explanations as to who this Matthew could be, one cannot say with certainty what his relationship was to Jesus (1).

Some scholars contend that there is no Matthew in the immediate family of Jesus. However, according to the genealogy given by Luke (3:23), we know that Mary the mother of Jesus had many “Matthews” in her family, therefore the presence of a “Matthew” in this family’s tomb is consistent with the information provided in the Gospels (2). (See fig. 2)

In Tal Ilan’s onomasticon 46 males were recognized by this name (3).

The Ossuary Of Yeshua bar Yosef
The fourth ossuary was a plain limestone ossuary. It was numbered IAA 80-504 and 704 by Rahmani. The Aramaic inscription is generally translated to English as “Jesus son of Joseph”.

The ossuary bearing the Aramaic inscription “Yeshua bar Yosef” is probably the most sensational of the Talpiot ossuaries. There are several claims that this is the ossuary of Jesus of Nazareth. This is a plain limestone ossuary on which the first name is preceded by a big cross-mark. (See fig 1). The name itself is difficult to read because of the scratches and the clumsiness of the superficial inscription. However the same name appearing on ossuary 702 helps to decipher the inscription and say with a degree of accuracy that the inscription is Yeshua.

Jesus ossuary

Ossuary said to be that of Jesus of Nazareth (Fig. 1)

Levi Rahmani an Israeli archeologist had this to say about the inscription “The first name, preceded by a large cross-mark, is difficult to read, as the incisions are clumsily carved and badly scratched. There seems to be a vertical stroke representing a yod, followed by a shin; the vav merges with the right stroke of the ‘ayin. The reading ‘Yeshua’ is corroborated by the inscription on No. 702 referring to Yeshua, the father of Yehuda.” Amos Kloner, an archeologist, had this to say about the inscription “The first name following the X mark is difficult to read. In contrast to other ossuaries in this tomb, the incisions are here superficial and cursorily carved. Each of the four letters suggesting ‘Yeshua’ is unclear, but the reading is corroborated by the inscription on Ossuary 2, above.”

Both Rahmani and Kloner agreed that the inscription on this ossuary was difficult to read and that the translation was questionable. Some have suggested that the inscription should read as “Hanun”. There is yet another ossuary in the collection of the State of Israel with the inscription saying “Jesus the son of Joseph”. However, this ossuary is unprovenanced (4). The inscription is the other instance of a personal name with patronymics (5).

The Ossuary Of Yose
The fifth ossuary numbered IAA 80-504 – Rahmani 705 – is another unadorned ossuary with the name “Yose” inscribed on it. “Yose is an abbreviation for Yehosef or Joseph.

This plain ossuary inscribed YWSH is another controversial ossuary. While Tabor seems to say that this should be interpreted as Yoseh, some scholars contend that the name should be interpreted as Yosah. Yosah, they explain is not the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek for Joses who is the brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3). While Kloner interprets the inscription as Yose and an abbreviation of Yehosef (Joseph), he does not attach any significance to the name it being the second most common male name of that time after Simon. (See fig. 2)

six ossuaries

(Fig. 2)

Kloner has this to say about the name: “Yose is a contraction of Yehosef (Joseph), the second most common name in the Second Temple period (Ilan 1987: 238; see Hachlili 1984: 188–190). [Simon / Simeon is the most popular name]. Ilan has recorded 232 individuals with this name (2002: 150–168, 449). Some 35% of all known Jewish males of the Hellenistic and Roman periods in Eretz Israel bore? Hasmonean? names: Matthew (Ossuary 3, above), John, Simon, Judas (Ossuaries 2 and 4, above), Eleazar, and Jonathan. Joseph was the sixth brother in the family (2 Maccabbees 8:22), and the similar popularity of this name may be explained by this fact (Ilan 1987: 2 40–241)” (6).

Some scholars consider this Hebrew inscription “Yose” a rare rendition of a nickname for the name “Yosef”. Jesus is said to have had four brothers – whether full brothers, half-brothers, or cousins – one of whom was Joseph. In the Gospel of Mark, the earliest Gospel, Jesus’ brother Joseph is referred to as “Yose” (7).

It has been generally understood that Jesus’ father was named Joseph and that Jesus’ brother was called Joses. However we must note that while Mark refers to the brother of Jesus as Joses, he never refers to the father of Jesus by name. On the other hand while Matthew refers to the brother of Jesus as Joseph, he refers to the father of Jesus also as Joseph. There is not an instance in the Gospels that refers to the father as Joseph and the brother as Joses (8).

Joseph in itself is a very common name; 14% of males at that time were called Joseph. We are given to understand that the name was so commonly used that there were more than one Joseph in a family and that if the father was named Joseph the son used a nickname Joses to distinguish one Joseph from the other (9). Bock, Darrell L., and Wallace, Daniel B., give this explanation to take away some of the significance of the “Yoseh” in the Talpiot tomb. A study was conducted to see how often this practice of naming two different Josephs differently in one family. The conclusion of this study is significant to the extent that there is only one instance of the two names occurring together in one family and that is the instance of the Talpiot tomb (10).

The Ossuary Of Marya
The sixth inscribed ossuary numbered IAA 80-505 – Rahmani 706 – was of plain limestone and was inscribed with the name “Marya”.

This ossuary may be the ossuary of the mother of Jesus as this is a popular Aramaic version of reference to Mary the mother of Jesus. Besides there is a distinction in the way in which this Mary was referred to from the way in which Mary Magdalene was referred: Miriame / Miriamne. However it must be remembered that 25% of all Jewish women of that time were named “Miriam”. Nevertheless the mother of Jesus was always referred to in the Latin version of Miriam which is Maria. This is indeed rare since, it was seldom that a Hebrew name was phonetically inscribed in Latin (11). (See fig. 2)

We do not know on what basis Rahmani concludes – albeit cautiously – that Yose of ossuary 705 and Marya of ossuary 706 may be the parents of Yeshua (704) and the grandparents of Yehuda (702). However Simcha concurs with Tabor’s conclusion that ossuary 705 contained the bones of Jose the brother of Jesus. According to Mark 6:3 Jesus had a brother named Jose (12).

The Plain Ossuaries
The remaining three ossuaries that did not have any inscriptions were numbered IAA 80-506 – Rahmani 707, IAA 80-507 – Rahmani 708 – and IAA 80-508 – Rahmani – 709.

These three ossuaries had rosettes on them.

The tenth ossuary that went missing was numbered IAA 80-509. This ossuary was also labeled “plain”. Rahmani states that it was a “plain, broken specimen” but does not list it in his catalogue. (See fig. 2).

Please also read my blogs:

Judah – Was He The Son Of Jesus And Mary Magdalene? at http://bit.ly/1Z4LNO0

Is This The Ossuary of Mary Magdalene? at bit.ly/1RTTpna

The Talpiot Tomb – An Accidental Discovery at bit.ly/1mrgdgQ

References:
(1) Ben-David, Yirm?yahu . (2008). Burning Issues: Talpiot Tomb Complex. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.netzarim.co.il/Museum/Sukkah03/Burning%20Issues%20Talpiot%20Tomb.htm

(2) Younker, Randall W. (2007). The Jesus Tomb. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/documents/Jesus%20Tomb.htm

(3) (4) (6) Franz, Gordon. (2007). The So-Called Jesus Family Tomb. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2007/04/04/so-called-jesus-tomb

(5) Rollston, Christopher A. (2007). Prosopography and the Talpiyot Yeshua Family Tomb: Pensées of a Palaeographer. Retrieved 2011, from http://sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?articleId=649

(7) (12) The Lost Tomb of Jesus. (n.d). Retrieved 2011, from http://www.thebostonchannel.com/download/2007/0226/11116102.pdf

(8) Goodacre, Mark. (2010). Retrieved 2010 from http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/talpiot357921.shtml

(9) Bock, Darrell L., and Wallace, Daniel B., Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Culture’s Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ,

(10) Kilty, Kevin . (2010). Talpiot Dethroned. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/talpiot357921.shtml

(11) Younker, Randall W. (2007). The Jesus Tomb. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/documents/Jesus%20Tomb.htm

And

Have Tomb, Will Argue, Page 3, Dare We Trust Eusebius the “Lair?”
http://www.doxa.ws/Jesus_pages/Resurrection/Tomb_yes3.html

Picture Credits:
(Fig 1) The Jesus ossuary  http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/biblianazar/esp_biblianazar_36.htm

(Fig 2) The other ossuaries  https://sareinochi.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/fig13.jpg

Mysterious Joseph Of Nazareth – Facts And Myths

The Family of Jesus is a simple nuclear family. We are told that Mary is his mother and that Joseph is his foster father. At first blush this seems straightforward.

But not if you look at the story of Joseph of Nazareth from the perspective of the Talpiot tomb.

In March 1980 construction workers uncovered part of a burial cave belonging to the Second Temple period in the south of the Old City of Jerusalem, in the vicinity of East Talpiot. Based on the names inscribed on the ossuaries (bone boxes) excavated from this tomb some scholars claim that this is the family tomb of Jesus.

Other scholars vehemently oppose this claim. One of the principal reasons they cite as to why the Talpiot tomb cannot be the Family Tomb of Jesus is that the ossuary of Joseph the foster father is not among those excavated from this tomb.

Could there be a reasonable explanation for this?

The seemingly straightforward Joseph of Nazareth is actually ambiguous.

Matthew And Luke Are The Principle Source Of Information About Joseph

The principle source of information about Joseph the patriarch of the family of Jesus is from the first chapter of the gospels of Matthew and Luke. They are also probably the only reliable source. However apocryphal literature abounds with information about Joseph. Yet the reason they have not found their way into the Canon of the Sacred Books could be because they are not considered to be reliable. Besides this, even though some of this literature is based on dependable traditions they are considered too fantastic for a place in the Sacred Books.

The apocryphal literature concerning the life of Joseph include the “Gospel of James”, the “Pseudo-Matthew”, the “Gospel of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary”, the “Story of Joseph the Carpenter” (Fig 1), and the “Life of the Virgin and Death of Joseph” (1). To make matters worse not all of this little information is consistent. There are differences in the accounts of Matthew and Luke.

Joseph the carpenter

Joseph Of Nazareth Is A Controversial Biblical Character

Joseph of Nazareth is probably one of the most controversial biblical characters. The controversy begins with his very genealogy. While Matthew refers to him as the son of Jacob (2), Luke refers to him as the son of Heli (3). Although these two claims are different they both attempt to trace the lineage of Joseph to David

There are quite a few explanations for the difference in the genealogies of Joseph as per Matthew and Luke:

Matthew was Jewish and wrote for a Jewish audience. Therefore if he is to present Jesus as the king of the Jews, his descent from David was paramount. This is why he begins verse one in 1:1-17 by describing Jesus as the “son of David, the son of Abraham.” In his statement Matthew gives more importance to Jesus’ kinship to David the king of Israel than to his descent from Abraham the father of Israel (4).

Tracing The Lineage Of Jesus Through Joseph

If the bloodline of Jesus is to fulfill the condition that he is the son of David and the son of Abraham (5), then his lineage must only be traced through the legal father of Joseph i.e. Jacob. Doing this was important from Matthew’s perspective because he was trying to project Jesus as the heir to the throne of David – the new “King of the Jews”. In an attempt to emphasize this Matthew refers to Jesus as the “son of David” seven times in his gospel (6). And it is only in his gospel does Jesus refer to the “The throne of his glory” (19:28, 25:31). By tracing the lineage of Jesus through Joseph the adopted father, Matthew was following Jewish tradition since it was the practice then for an adopted son to be given the lineage of the adopted father (7).

One explanation as to why Matthew refers to Joseph as the son of Jacob is that of Julius Africanus (Epistle to Aristides, c. 200-225). According to him a woman named Estha (the name according to tradition) was married to Matthan a descendant of Solomon (Mt 1). She bore a son named Jacob. After the death of Matthan, Estha married Matthat a descendant of Nathan (Lk 3). She bore him a son called Heli. This made Jacob and Heli half-brothers. When Heli died without any heirs, his half-brother Jacob took his widow as his levirate wife. Joseph was born of this union. Thus Joseph became the biological son of Jacob while being the legal son of Heli. Julius Africanus claims that his account is based on information given to him by the descendants of James the brother of Jesus (8).

However this explanation does not pass Jewish tradition. According to Jewish tradition the genealogy of a levirate son would show him as the natural son of his deceased father and not as the son of his natural father. The author of the gospel of Matthew was either fully aware of Jewish tradition or tended to ignore it as otherwise he would have had to reproduce the genealogy of Joseph on similar lines as that of Luke. However this explanation will be true if Jacob was the legal father of Joseph and Heli the biological father. It is quite likely that the relationship of Joseph to Heli and Jacob was misunderstood by Julius Africanus or an error of textual tradition.

Tracing The Lineage Of Jesus Through Mary

Luke on the other hand not being Jewish did not concern himself with details and limited himself to tracing the genealogy of Jesus from Nathan. Besides this Luke was writing for a non-Jewish audience and was more concerned with showing Jesus as descended from God. He had to do this, since being a descendant of King David was not of any great significance to non-Jews. Therefore he traced the genealogy of Jesus through Mary who was the daughter of Heli. Had he traced the genealogy of Jesus through Joseph and Jacob, then Jesus would not qualify as the son of God. The genealogy of Luke was inspired by the baptism of Jesus when God cried out from heaven that “This is my beloved son”. By doing this not only did Luke show that Jesus was a descendant of David through Nathan, but that he was also the son of God (9).

Even though it was Jewish custom to trace only male genealogies, Luke did not commit an error by tracing a female genealogy. There were two conditions under which it was proper to trace female genealogies. One “If a man dies without leaving a son, you shall let his heritage pass on to his daughter” (10), and two “This is what the Lord commands with regard to the daughters of Salphahad: They may marry anyone they please, provided they marry into a clan of their ancestral tribe, so that no heritage of the Israelites will pass from one tribe to another, but all the Israelites will retain their own ancestral heritage” (11). Mary satisfied these two conditions: her father had no sons and she married within her tribe: the tribe of Judah (12).

Are Joachim And Heli The Same Person?

On the surface this explanation to reconcile the difference in the genealogies of Jesus by Matthew and Luke seems reasonably satisfactory. But this gives rise to another controversy. According to the Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal Gospel written sometime during the end of the second century, the Gospel of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, and the Book of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the parents of Mary are given as Joachim and Anna. So are Joachim and Heli the same person? Many scholars answer this question in the affirmative. They say that Joachim is just a variation of Joakim or Eliakim. The following two verses tend to support this line of thought:

Kings 23:34, “And Pharao Nechao made Eliakim the son of the Josias king in the room of Josias his father, and turned his name to Joakim…”

Chron 36:4, “And he made Eliakim his brother king in his stead over Judah and Jerusalem; and he turned his name to Joakim…”

It is probable that over the centuries the name Eliakim was shortened to Eli or Heli, after all, what is Heli in Greek is Eli in Hebrew. For instance the high priest in Sam 1:3 is called Heli in the Challoner-Rheims, but is referred to as Eli in the New American Bible and in Mark 2:14. Joachim and Heli seem to be the same person (13).

The Controversy About Joseph’s Hometown

The other principal controversy relates to Joseph’s hometown. Joseph is supposed to have descended from a Bethlehem family in Judea. This is also the birthplace of King David. Although by profession Joseph was a carpenter he was said to be a wise and learned man who was also a priest of the temple of the lord. He was a good-natured man, hard-working and a strict adherent of Jewish religious principles and observances (14). Even though it is generally understood that Joseph was from Bethlehem a town in Judea, there is nothing known about how he then finds himself in Nazareth in Galilee. It is quite likely that the skimpy means of his family and the rebuilding of Sepphoris and the ample work that was available there may have prompted Joseph to shift to Nazareth which was in proximity to this bustling town. Joseph was a carpenter by trade a skill that was in demand in Sepphoris. Whatever the reason we learn from the scriptures that Joseph is settled in Nazareth a short time before the Annunciation.

However from the lengthy stories relating to Joseph from apocryphal sources it would seem that Joseph was in Nazareth long before the Annunciation. According to apocryphal sources it appears that when he was forty years, Joseph married a woman named Melcha or Escha. Other sources name this woman Salome. In any case it is said that they were married for forty nine years and that the couple had six children – two girls and four boys.
More about the hometown of Joseph of Nazareth later.

Please also read my blog “Is The Introduction Of Nazareth Retrospective Prophecy?” at bit.ly/1NkO85k

Reference:

(1) Souvay, C. (1910). St. Joseph. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 2011, from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08504a.htm

(2) Matthew 1:16 (New American Standard Bible)
“Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.”

(3) Luke 3:23-38 (New International Version, ©2011)
“Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli”

(4) The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah. (1973, 1978, 1984, 2011). Retrieved 2011, from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+1:1&version=NIV

(5) Pursiful, Darrell. (2010). The Genealogy of Jesus 6. Retrieved 2011, from http://pursiful.com/2010/10/the-genealogy-of-jesus-6/

(6) The Genealogy of Christ. (n.d). Retrieved 2011, from
http://www.abecedarian.org/Pages/Lineage.htm

(7) Genealogy of Christ. (n.d). Retrieved 2011 from http://www.geocities.ws/christiantriviaworld/GenealogyofChrist.htm

(8) Pursiful, Darrell. (2010). The Genealogy of Jesus 6. Retrieved 2011, from http://pursiful.com/2010/10/the-genealogy-of-jesus-6/

(9) Unique Placement of the Genealogy. (2010). Retrieved 2011, from http://www.lifeofchrist.com/life/genealogy/luke.asp

(10) Laws Concerning Heiresses.(n.d.). Retrieved 2011, from http://www.usccb.org/bible/numbers/27/

(11) Stanley, Bob. (2000). The Genealogy of Jesus Christ Through Mary… Retrieved 2011, from http://home.inreach.com/bstanley/geneal.htm

(12) Stanley, Bob. (2000). The Genealogy of Jesus Christ Through Mary… Retrieved 2011, from http://home.inreach.com/bstanley/geneal.htm

(13) Stanley, Bob. (2000). The Genealogy of Jesus Christ Through Mary… Retrieved 2011, from http://home.inreach.com/bstanley/geneal.htm

(14) The Urantia Book, BIRTH AND INFANCY OF JESUS. (n.d.). Retrieved 2011, from http://www.truthbook.com/index.cfm?linkID=1374#U122_1_1

Picture Credits:

(Fig 1) Joseph of Nazareth – the carpenter https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:La_Tour.jpg