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Re: The note of S 028 on Mat 1:16

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  • Daniel Buck
    ... Mattan (Mt 1:15), the priest in Bethlehem, begat three daughters: Maria, Sobbe, Anna. Maria gave birth to Salome, the midwife. Sobbe gave birth to
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 12, 2005

      Wieland Willker wrote:

      >> Here's my attempt to understand this:

      Mattan (Mt 1:15), the priest in Bethlehem, begat three daughters: Maria, Sobbe, Anna. Maria gave birth to Salome, the midwife.

      Sobbe gave birth to Elisabeth. But Anna (gave birth to) the holy mother of God. So are Elisabeth and the holy Maria and Salome the midwife from three sisters (lit. female brothers).

      But the forerunner and Salome the wife of Joseph are from two male brothers: Barachias begat Zacharias and Haggai, the former (then) Johannes, the latter Salome, the wife of Joseph, the carpenter.

      But Joseph with her begat Jakobus, Simon, Judas, Jose, Esther, Maria.

      What could be the source of this note? >>

      Thanks for putting it in English, Wieland, for the benefit of those whose Greek isn't at their fingers' ends.

      This sets up an interesting genealogy that is obviously related to the Protoevengelium of James, with the following connections:

      1) It identifies the father of John the Baptist (slain at the altar in the PoJ) as "Zechariah the son of Berechiah" (slain at the altar in Matthew 23:35).

      2) It identifies the midwife who confirmed Mary's virginity at delivery (Salome in PoJ) as her maternal cousin .

      3) It identifies Mary's mother as Anna (PoJ adds her father's name, Joachim).

      4) It identifies Jesus' 'brothers' as sons of Joseph and a wife by an earlier marriage (thus affirming the perpetual virginity of Mary as propounded in PoJ).

      Clearly this marginal note seeks to tie up all loose ends in the Advent narrative (even naming Joseph's first wife as Salome, a paternal cousin of John the Baptist). But it makes a fatal mistake in calling Matthan a priest; Matthan's male genealogy goes straight back to the Kings of Israel, and thus he could not have been a descendant of Aaron in the male line as was required for all priests.

      This is the way Julius Africanus linked the two NT genealogies in his letter to Aristides:

      [There is an interesting textual problem here. As noted by Bede in his gospel, Africanus substitutes for Matthat his grandfather, Melchi.]

      Eliezar (of Solomon) and Levi (of Nathan) were both married to the same woman (who knows which one was first; it doesn't matter, and Africanus doesn't even rule out the possibility of divorce). Thus Matthan and Matthat were half brothers. Matthan begot Jacob by Estah, and he died. Matthat then begot Heli before marrying his half brother's widow and becoming Jacob's stepfather as well as uncle. Heli then died childless, his widow marrying Jacob. From this union came Joseph, the legal son of Heli but the physical son of Jacob.

      Africanus goes on to interpret Luke 3:23 as follows:

      "Jesus, supposedly the son of: Joseph the son of Heli the son of Melchi . . ."

      Thus giving Joseph's physical ancestry in Matthew as:

      Joseph the son of Jacob the son of Matthan . . .

      and his legal ancestry in Luke as:

      Joseph the son of Heli the son of Melchi . . .

      Yet Jesus' physical ancestry through Mary was left unaccounted for until the appearance of this note, which gives it as:

      Jesus the son of Mary the daughter of Anna the daughter of Matthan the priest of Bethlehem.  Other accounts would probably identify Matthan as the son of Eliezar, not of the priestly line but the kingly one,  Joachim being the priest who married Anna the descendant of Judah. Certainly it was commonly believed in antiquity that Mary and Joseph were counsins.

      It wasn't until the 15th century that the idea arose of making Mary the physical offspring  of Heli in Luke 3:23, and it wasn't until the Protestant rejection of Mary's Perpetual Virginity that it really caught on.

      I close with Africanus' conclusion:

      "This may or may not be the truth of the matter; but in my opinion and that of every fair minded person no one else could give a clearer exposition, and we must content ourselves with it even if it is unconfirmed, as we are not in a position to suggest a better or truer one. The Gospel, however, in any case states the truth."

      Daniel Buck

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