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Meditation 268
A Bible Genealogy Challenge

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It has been a while since I last provided a challenge[1] for those who believe the bible is literal truth, the word of a God who cannot possibly be wrong. It is time for a new one.

I was inspired to place this new challenge from reading The Jesus Mysteries[2].

In the New Testament, both Matthew and Luke go to great lengths to show that Joseph, husband of Mary was descended from Abraham via David. What is not immediately apparent, because Matthew works from Abraham forward, and Luke works from Joseph backwards, is that the paternal descent of Joseph from David is widely different between the two writers, so different in fact that they cannot agree on Joseph's father; so different that while Matthew gives 28 generations from David to Joseph, Luke gives 43. (They do essentially agree on Abraham to David; I suppose that is because they could crib that information directly from the Old Testament.)

Following are the relevant passages so that you can confirm the above.

Matthew  Chapter 1

1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;

3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;

4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;

5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;

6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;

7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;

8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;

9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;

10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;

11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:

12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;

13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;

14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;

15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;

16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

Luke Chapter 3

23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

24 Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph,

25 Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge,

26 Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda,

27 Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri,

28 Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er,

29 Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi,

30 Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim,

31 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David,

32 Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson,

33 Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda,

34 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham,

So here is the challenge for those who believe the Bible literally, and the reward is a Doctor of Theological Studies degree from the International University of Nescience:

Satisfactorily and logically explain how both these genealogies can both be the literal truth.

For a "cum laude" on your degree, provide in addition:

A satisfactory and logical explanation of why Matthew and Luke both found it necessary to prove that Joseph was descended from David and Abraham, given that, according to both writers, he was not the actual father of Jesus.

I await replies to this challenge with interest. They will be published in Debate and Discourse, whether or not they are deemed to meet the standard for a degree.

 

Footnotes:

  1. for previous challenges, see Meditations 20 and 38, each of which generated some discussion.
  2. For more on this worthwhile book, see Meditation 249.