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The Geneolgies of Christ

Doubting Thomas

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A buddy and I were talking last night about apologetics regarding Christ being the heir of David. My friend mentioned that someone he was conversing with said Jesus couldn't be the Messiah since he wasn't the physical descendant of Joseph as the lineage allegedly could only pass through the male. This got us talking about the geneologies of Christ listed in Matthew and Luke and why they are differerent. My friend suggested the common Protestant answer that one was through Joseph (Matthew's) while the other was actually through Mary (Luke's). I told him I had heard an alternative offered by someone in the early Church (?Eusebius, I think) that both were through Joseph, but one had to deal with biological lineage and the other had to do with legal heirs (ie, in the case of levirite(sp?) marriage).

My question is where does this leave Joachim and Anna? Were Joachim and Anna decendents of David? If so, does Joachim correspond to anyone listed in Luke's geneology? How does the Orthodox Church account for the differences in the two geneologies?
 

optxogokcoc

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God bless.

I would like to help you, but I really dislike LEGAL FORMULAE of the Jewish nature (Geneaology beeing such) and will say something more only if other brothers and sisters don't know the reason.

For now all I will say is that the differences are of legal nature and both have Joseph as immediate predesessor, due to legal paternity or the LAW OF PATERNITY as in Jewish law. Matthew will produce succesion of the king and Luke a succesion of biological paternity. Some Fathers (Ante-Nicene) shall state that Mary was indeed of Davidic Lineage.

As far as Joachim and Anna are concerned, I think that Annas example is of liturgical nature as somebody who loved God many a year and who in the end is prepared to meet her Mesiah. Her and or his geneaology is of no concern for the FIDES FACTA in these chapters.
 

prodromos

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Hi DT,

Numbers 27:1-11
1 And the daughters of Salpaad the son of Opher, the son of Galaad, the son of Machir, of the tribe of Manasse, of the sons of Joseph, came near; and these were their names, Maala, and Nua, and Egla, and Melcha, and Thersa; 2 and they stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes, and before all the congregation at the door of the tabernacle of witness, saying, 3 Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the midst of the congregation that rebelled against the Lord in the gathering of Core; for he died for his own sin, and he had no sons. Let not the name of our father be blotted out of the midst of his people, because he has no son give us an inheritance in the midst of our father's brethren. 4 And Moses brought their case before the Lord. 5 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 6 The daughters of Salpaad have spoken rightly: thou shalt surely give them a possession of inheritance in the midst of their father's brethren, and thou shalt assign their father's inheritance to them. 7 And thou shalt speak to the children of Israel, saying, 8 If a man die, and have no son, ye shall assign his inheritance to his daughter. 9 And if he have no daughter, ye shall give his inheritance to his brother. 10 And if he have no brethren, ye shall give his inheritance to his father's brother. 11 And if there be no brethren of his father, ye shall give the inheritance to his nearest relation of his tribe, to inherit his possessions; and this shall be to the children of Israel an ordinance of judgment, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Numbers 36:1-12
1 And the heads of the tribe of the sons of Galaad the son of Machir the son of Manasse, of the tribe of the sons of Joseph, drew near, and spoke before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the heads of the houses of the families of the children of Israel: 2 and they said, The Lord commanded our lord to render the land of inheritance by lot to the children of Israel; and the Lord appointed our lord to give the inheritance of Salpaad our brother to his daughters. 3 And they will become wives in one of the tribes of the children of Israel; so their inheritance shall be taken away from the possession of our fathers, and shall be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which the women shall marry, and shall be taken away from the portion of our inheritance. 4 And if there shall be a release of the children of Israel, then shall their inheritance be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which the women marry, and their inheritance, shall be taken away from the inheritance of our family's tribe. 5 And Moses charged the children of Israel by the commandment of the Lord, saying, Thus says the tribe of the children of Joseph. 6 This [is] the thing which the Lord has appointed the daughters of Salpaad, saying, Let them marry where they please, only let them marry [men] of their father's tribe. 7 So shall not the inheritance of the children of Israel go about from tribe to tribe, for the children of Israel shall steadfastly continue each in the inheritance of his family's tribe. 8 And whatever daughter is heiress to a property of the tribes of the children Israel, [such] women shall be married each to one of her father's tribe, that the sons of Israel may each inherit the property of his father's tribe. 9 And the inheritance shall not go about from one tribe to another, but the children of Israel shall steadfastly continue each in his on inheritance. 10 As the Lord commanded Moses, so did they to the daughters of Salpaad. 11 So Thersa, and Egla, and Melcha, and Nua, and Malaa, the daughters of Salpaad, married their cousins; 12 they were married [to men] of the tribe of Manasse of the sons of Joseph; and their inheritance was attached to the tribe of their father's family.

We know through Holy Tradition that Mary was an only child, thus she received her family's inheritance and was required, if she married, to marry someone within the same tribe so that her tribe would not lose that part of their inheritance to another tribe. Of course this doesn't completely solve the problem as it only ensures that Mary is a descendant of Juda and not necessarily of David. Perhaps somebody else has some insight as to why Mary would marry a closer relative rather than a distant. Perhaps the reason Joseph took Mary on the difficult journey to Bethlehem (considering she was heavily pregnant at the time) was because she too had to register in David's town?

Anyone else have any insights, because this is something that has bothered me too.

John.
 

prodromos

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I just remembered. Luke 1:27 according to Saint John Chrysostom at least, states that Mary is of the house of David. Unfortunately the verse can also be read as stating that Joseph is of the house of David and many English translations insert semicolons and such which tend to force the latter interpretation, so it is not conclusive (in my mind at least).

John.
 

Doubting Thomas

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Here's a passage from the Protevangelium of James which dates to about 150 AD:

"10. And there was a council of the priests, saying: Let us make a veil for the temple of the Lord. And the priest said: Call to me the undefiled virgins of the family of David. And the officers went away, and sought, and found seven virgins. And the priest remembered the child Mary, that she was of the family of David, and undefiled before God. And the officers went away and brought her. And they brought them into the temple of the Lord"

Although this is not a canonical work, it's fairly early and is consistent (I guess) with the Tradition and liturgy of the Orthodox Church (based on my limited knowledge of both). Therefore, we have an early extrabiblical witness of Mary belonging to the house of David.

How this fits with the geneologies I'm still not sure. On one hand, the friend I mentioned in the first post in this thread told me he read an article which supposedly quoted a non Christian Jew from the first century who cursed Mary the "daughter of Heli" for her role in the Christian movement. This quote, if legitimate, would lend credence to the Protestant explanation of Luke's geneology being through Mary. (I'll see if I can locate that article). If this is true, then there is the question of whether or not one could be justified in identifying Joachim with Heli.

On the other hand, I recall I bible study ("Harmony of the Gospels") at my previous baptist church in which the teacher (who was a trustee at one of the Baptist seminaries) had a book which detailed some Patristic explanations for the geneological discrepency, a few of which maintaining that both geneologies were through Joseph. If this is the case, then there is no problem of reconciling Joachim with Heli--they are separate individuals who are both descended from David (assuming the Protevangelium is accurate in this regard). Again, when I have a moment I'll see if I can hunt down the patristic explanations for the differing geneologies, unless someone else can beat me to it.
 

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Not an expert, of course! But wouldn't the fact apply that one is considered a Jew only if his or her mother is/was a Jew? Given that, the Theotokos' genealogy would count most heavily. Even today, a "legal" Jew is one born of a Jewish mother. (I understand that this has been challenged, and possibly changed, among the most liberal wing of Judaism in the U.S.)
 

JohnCassian

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I'm glad someone brought up the Protevangelium of James, but there's a far more telling passage right at the beginning, in which St. Joachim is identified as a descendant of David from the Tribe of Judah. Hence his knowledge of St. Joseph, the subsequent betrothal, etc.

St. Anna, on the other hand, is of the tribe of Levi, specifically of the descent of Aaron, and after Aaron, Zadok. We know this based on the Nativity of St. John the Forerunner, who was the rightful heir to the High Priesthood of his father, St. Zacharias, i.e. it is through St. Anna that the Theotokos is related to St. Elizabeth. I would, and have, argued that St. John is therefore the Zadokite High Priest referred to in Ezekiel, since Christ's High Priesthood is that of Melchizedek, not that of Aaron.

 

Doubting Thomas

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JohnCassian said:
I'm glad someone brought up the Protevangelium of James, but there's a far more telling passage right at the beginning, in which St. Joachim is identified as a descendant of David from the Tribe of Judah. Hence his knowledge of St. Joseph, the subsequent betrothal, etc.
Really? I didn't see that about Joachim in the version I read (at newadvent.org). I'll check again. Which version of the Protevangelium have you read?

St. Anna, on the other hand, is of the tribe of Levi, specifically of the descent of Aaron, and after Aaron, Zadok. We know this based on the Nativity of St. John the Forerunner, who was the rightful heir to the High Priesthood of his father, St. Zacharias, i.e. it is through St. Anna that the Theotokos is related to St. Elizabeth. I would, and have, argued that St. John is therefore the Zadokite High Priest referred to in Ezekiel, since Christ's High Priesthood is that of Melchizedek, not that of Aaron.
Thanks for the info.
 

JohnCassian

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Doubting Thomas said:
Really? I didn't see that about Joachim in the version I read (at newadvent.org). I'll check again. Which version of the Protevangelium have you read?Thanks for the info.
I'll have to doublecheck tonight when I can have the book in hand, but if I get a chance, I'll put a direct quote. I'm (hopefully correctly) remembering the translation in ANF, though its possible that I'm confusing the Protevangelium of James with another early account of the Theotokos' Nativity. I'll make sure this evening.

 

JohnCassian

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JohnCassian said:
I'm (hopefully correctly) remembering the translation in ANF, though its possible that I'm confusing the Protevangelium of James with another early account of the Theotokos' Nativity.
As I suspected might be the case, I did conflate a couple of texts. The information about St. Joachim was actually from these two early documents in ANF, one a letter of St. Jerome:

http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-68.htm#P5970_1750772

http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-69.htm#P6204_1831404

Sorry for the error of memory.

 
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