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A Harmony of the Gospels for Students of the Life

On the subject in Princeton Theol


(2)

The use of Joseph without the article, while it is used with every other name in the list. "The absence of the article puts the name outside of the genealogical series properly so-called."--Godet. This would seem to indicate that Joseph belonged to the parenthesis, "as was supposed." It would read thus, "being son (as was supposed of Joseph) of Heli." Luke had already clearly stated the manner of Christ's birth, so that no one would think he was the son of Joseph. Jesus would thus be Heli's grandson, an allowable meaning of "son." See Andrews' (new edition) _Life of Our Lord_, p. 63.

(3) It would seem proper that Matthew should give the _legal_ descent of Jesus, since he wrote chiefly for Jews. This, of course, could only be through Joseph.

(4) And it would seem equally fitting that Luke should give the _real_ genealogy of Jesus, since he was writing for all. And this could come only through Mary. If it is objected that a woman's genealogy is never given, it may be replied that women are mentioned for special reasons in Matthew's list, though not counted, and that Mary's name is not mentioned in this list. The genealogy goes back to her father either by skipping her as suggested above and making son mean the grandson of Heli, or by allowing Joseph to stand in her place in the list, as he would have to do anyhow. On the whole, then, this theory seems the most plausible and pleasing. So practically Luther, Bengel,

Olshausen, Lightfoot, Wieseler, Robinson, Alexander, Godet, Weiss, Andrews (new edition, p. 65), Broadus, and many recent writers.

But Bacon (Genealogy of Jesus Christ, Hastings D. B. and Am. J. of Theol. Jan., 1911) says that nearly all writers of authority abandon any effort to reconcile the two pedigrees of Jesus save as the effort of Christians to give "His Davidic sonship rather than His actual descent." See Machen's survey of negative criticism, on the subject in Princeton Theol. Review (Jan., 1906). Barnard (Hastings D. C. G.) admits two independent accounts, but sees no solution, but Sweet (Int. St. Bible Encyl.) accepts the view that Matthew gives the real genealogy of Joseph and Luke that of Mary. Plummer (Comm. on Luke) thinks it incredible that Mary's genealogy should be given by Luke.

_6. The Probable Time of the Saviour's Birth_

Every one now understands that the accepted date of our Lord's birth is wrong by several years. The estimates of the true date vary all the way from one to seven years B.C. There are various data that fix the year with more or less certainty, but none of them with absolute precision. They do, however, agree in marking pretty clearly a narrow limit for this notable occurrence, B.C. 6 or 5.

1. The death of Herod the Great is relied on with most certainty to fix the year of Christ's birth. The rule of Archelaus and Antipas demands B.C. 4. Josephus mentions an eclipse of the moon which occurred shortly before he died. Ant. XVII, 6, 4. This eclipse is the only one alluded to by Josephus, and fixes with absolute certainty


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