The Conflicting Genealogies of Jesus

Israelite Genealogies
An Old Testament tradition substructure the notion of a “chosen” people, ancestral genealogies were mandatory in ancient Israel to prove “purity” of blood descent. Since hieroglyphics Israel was arguably the world’s most patriarchal society, Israelite genealogies were strictly paternal. As the lawyers of their day, responsible for compiling genealogies, Jewish scribes were notoriously creative. An beyond price trait when the subject’s biological father was either unknown or an embarrassment.
So well-known was the prophecy that the Messiah would be a descendant of Majesty David, two of the four Gospels, Matthew and Luke, include genealogies to authentic Jesus’ Davidic heritage. While both authors persevere Joseph was only Jesus’ step-father, they fail to name Jesus’ heredity father. Such an prominent omission strongly suggests the lists of names were compiled for pedagogical reasons. Matthew’s list concerning ancestors begins with Abraham, the supposed Father from Faith; Luke traces Jesus back to Adam, the supposed first man. But it was not necessary for an Israelite genealogy to go back as far as Abraham, and none that did would be believed.

Virgin Birth

According to the early Church’s doctrinal position, Matthew furthermore Luke do not identify Jesus’ biological father therefore he had none. Mary’s perpetual virginity was justified mainly via yeoman of the Greek word for “virgin” in the infancy narratives when a literal reading from “virgin” was entirely out of context. All Jewish girls were described as virgins before marriage, including nil extraordinary was invoked by use of the word. Absent an explicit identification of the father, the Church was able to force its own interpretation onto the text. In an ancient world accustomed to tales of gods descending to globe to soak women, vestal birth was an ideal vehicle with which to derail or forestall questions about the biological father.

Some scholars still insist Matthew furthermore Luke advocate a virgin birth. And because virgin birth is so totally alien to Judaic thought, it is assumed Luke was a pagan convert. No one has yet explained from where Matthew got the idea; nor has anyone clarified why the word “virgin” is no longer used to describe Mary after Jesus was born, which was the whole point about the doctrine.

Ironically, the dynamics of how Mary conceived a child while preserving hier virginity unscathed provided fertile breeding ground for all manner of cerebral hypotheses toward Greek-speaking intellectuals. In due course, the terrestrial was introduced to the high theological conviction of the Trinity. Simultaneously God, the Son of God, furthermore the Saintly Spirit, Jesus was the world’s first and only hermetically sealed individual; spontaneously generated confidential the womb of his mother; without sexual intercourse, lacking the sperm, chromosomes, and DNA of a human father, and devoid of the uncommon genetic signature of a paternal ancestry.

Nonetheless, by its very existence a kindred tree or genealogy constituted proof that the subject’s father was known. Modest birth not only negates the centrality of the bloodline principle upon which messianic Judaism was founded, it contradicts the requirement for genealogies.

The Davidic Divide

Since biblical genealogies do not make bright reading (so and so begat so connective so etc), most readers skip them altogether. But anyone taking the time to study the genealogies of Jesus will notice Matthew and Luke differ not only on the identity of Joseph’s father, whose alias was supposedly in livelihood memory, still on the plenary Davidic lineage.

Several unconvincing solutions to this thorny problem are offered. A Google scrutinize confirms the following explanation as the most popular: Matthew’s genealogy follows Old Testament tradition so lists the names of Joseph’s forefathers. Luke, on the other hand, cites Mary’s paternal ancestry – regardless no precedent for maternal genealogies existing anywhere in the archives of Judaism. While extremely knowledgeable about Israelite history, Luke, we are told, was not as “Jewish” as Matthew, apparently observed customs less rigorously.

For skeptics, the gross discrepancies between the lists of names proves that at least one, if not both, genealogies is fraudulent. Believers nor skeptics, however, have explained why Luke prefers the relatively imponderables Nathan similar Jesus’ predecessor over his brother, the greatly revered and much-loved Israelite hero King Solomon of whom the Old Testament famously prophesies, “the throne of Sovereign Solomon would last forever excess Israel” (I Chronicles 22: 9-10), or why Matthew includes the somewhat obscure name about Jeconiah, of whom the prophet Jeremiah predicts, “He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David, or rule anymore in Judah” (Jeremiah 22:30).

In compiling their genealogies, Matthew and Luke patently utilized sources from different traditions in circulation during the first century. Even though both genealogies purport to fulfill the messianic prophesy, it is safe to say that neither source tradition represents mainstream Judaism of that period.


Without exception, Israelite genealogies precluded the names of women. Names of Gentile, or non-Israelite, women were therefore unthinkable. So how come Matthew names four exotic women, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and the “wife of Uriah” (Bathsheba) in the pre-monarchic (from Abraham to David) list of Jesus’ ancestors? The standard theological response to this anomaly is that Matthew cites these foreigners to emphasize Jesus as a liberator for the whole world, not lone Jews. A pious ideal, but same which conveniently overlooks the racial exclusivity expressed near to Matthew’s adult Jesus:

“Go nowhere among the Gentiles….but go rather to the lost sheep regarding the house of Israel.” (Mt 10:6-7)

“I have come only for the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”  (Mt 15:24)

Each of these four women violated sacrosanct rules of sexual conduct which made them liable to punishment by death according to the Law of Moses. As described in the Old Testament, Tamar seduced her father-in-law; Rahab was a “prostitute;” the unmarried Ruth sneaked into Boaz’s bed; and Bathsheba was an adulteress. Yet all of them are regarded by Jews as heroines of Israel equal they risked their lives to further the Israelite cause. The Bible describes how Tamar, Ruth, and Bathsheba willingly participate in scandalous liaisons that produce offspring with men from a specific Israelite bloodline. Matthew’s source for Rahab’s role in this messianic lineage is unknown.

Reportedly, the Israelite forefathers had no foreknowledge of these foreign women’s “sacred mission.” So, while the mission’s success did not depend entirely on non-Israelites, the provenance of the “sacred mission” did.

Luke’s pre-monarchic genealogy is au fond the very as Matthew’s (minus the four foreign women), except Jesus’ ancestry is traced all the course back to “Adam, son of God.” As Israelite genealogies did not trace back to God, the “son of God” phraseology is frequently attributed to pagan influences. Voluminous publication like the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, has proven that divine begetting was thematic to the particular school about Judaism that secreted away its sacred texts among the caves at Qumran before the Roman army arrived in 68 C.E.

“When Revere has begotten the Christ among them.” (1QSa 2:11)

Not by chance does Luke repertoire 77 names in Jesus’ genealogy. A prophecy in the apocalyptic Folio concerning Enoch, also found at Qumran, foretells that the Messiah would deliver Israel 77 generations after the fall of the angels (1 Enoch 10:11-12). Enoch also predicts the coming of an eschatological “Elect One;” Luke is the only other writer to apply the same epithet to Jesus (Lk 9:35).

Because so much of its content was paraphrased, even quoted, in the New Testament, until recently scholars believed the Book of Enoch originated in the beginnings of the Christian era. With the discovery at Qumran of several Enochic manuscripts that date from the second century BC, this theory was shattered. The Modern Covenant did not influence the Book of Enoch. The Book regarding Enoch actuated the New Testament. More specifically, Enochic Judaism influenced Luke’s lineage of Jesus.

Poles Apart

Can the gulf between the ancestral names be understood if Jesus was claimed by two sects, whose opposite traditions formulated disparate genealogies? Not entirely, because it cannot be taken for granted that Matthew’s and Luke’s lode materials refer to the birth of the same man. Comparing the respective genealogies, an unmistakable break in the Christ bloodline occurs inside the Davidic household – a rift that never heals. Regardless of their historical accuracy, the simplest explanation for two incompatible lineages is that they generated unique individuals – two persons recognized as the Messiah or Christ by one or the other faction from which their corresponding genealogies originate.

The idea from two separate “Christ” personages is corroborated by the two equally irreconcilable birth accounts that Matthew and Luke record.