Sapphire Sky

October 28, 2012

Genealogy of Jesus Christ

Filed under: theology — Tags: , , , , , , — Dima Kotik @ 2:11 pm

Does the difference in the genealogies of Jesus Christ in the gospels of Matthew and Luke present a problem for Christian faith by challenging historicity of Christ? Perhaps you have heard this difference explained by claiming that Matthew is tracing the ancestry of Christ’s father and Luke the ancestry of his mother. But that’s not the full story. In reality, both evangelists are tracing genealogy of Christ through his father, but Matthew follows the biological ancestry while Luke follows legal ancestry. This divergency exists because of a common ancient near eastern custom of levirate marriage. Since women in the ancient world did not have the right to own land, they risked losing all their property if their husbands died before they had a mature son. A mature male relative closest to her husband, however, could rescue the widow and her children from the doom of poverty by marrying her. This way he would preserve her estate, becoming her legal guardian and redeemer, but by doing so he would legally assume the identity of her deceased husband and would have to give up the rights to inheritance he could receive from his father. Such an act was often seen as heroic charity, especially if the redeemer came from a wealthier family, as it can be seen in the book of Ruth. Continue to read…

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