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Was Jacob (Matthew 1:16) or Heli (Luke 3:23) the father of Joseph and husband of Mary?

(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage)

The answer to this is simple but requires some explanation. Most scholars today agree that Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph and Luke gives that of Mary, making Jacob the father of Joseph and Heli the father of Mary.

This is shown by the two narrations of the virgin birth. Matthew 1:18-25 tells the story only from Joseph's perspective, while Luke 1:26-56 is told wholly from Mary's point of view.

A logical question to ask is why Joseph is mentioned in both genealogies? The answer is again simple. Luke follows strict Hebrew tradition in mentioning only males. Therefore, in this case, Mary is designated by her husband's name.

This reasoning is clearly supported by two lines of evidence. In the first, every name in the Greek text of Luke's genealogy, with the one exception of Joseph, is preceded by the definite article (e.g. 'the' Heli, 'the' Matthat). Although not obvious in English translations, this would strike anyone reading the Greek, who would realize that it was tracing the line of Joseph's wife, even though his name was used. The second line of evidence is the Jerusalem Talmud, a Jewish source. This recognizes the genealogy to be that of Mary, referring to her as the daughter of Heli (Hagigah 2:4). (Fruchtenbaum 1993:10-13)

From: 101 Cleared up "Contradictions" in the Bible by Jay Smith, Alex Chowdhry, Toby Jepson, James Schaeffer. Posted on The Apologia Project.


Matthew gives Mary's geneology. Matthew was written in Aramaic. The Aramaic peshitta identifies the Joseph in Matt 1:16 as the "gowra" (which can be translated father) of mary, and the Joseph in Matt 1:19 as the "baala" (which can be translated as husband) of Mary.
Both these different aramaic words were translated as "aner' in the greek whcih was subsequently translated husband.
Both Mary's husband and father were named Joseph!

"Of these Pantaenus was one:it is stated that he went as
far as India, where he appears to have found that
Matthew's Gospel had arrived before him and was in the
hands of some there who had come to know Christ.
Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had preached to them
and had left behind Matthew's account in the actual
Aramaic characters, and it was preserved till the time of
Pantaenus's mission."

Quoted from the translation by G. A. Williamson, The
History of the Church, Dorset Press, New York, 1965,
pages 213-214.

Moreover, Eusebius (Hist. eccl., III, xxiv, 6) tells us that the
Gospel of Matthew was a reproduction of his preaching, and this we
was in Aramaic. An investigation of the Semitic idioms observed in the
Gospel does not permit us to conclude as to whether the original was in
Hebrew or Aramaic, as the two languages are so closely related.
it must be home in mind that the greater part of these Semitisms simply
reproduce colloquial Greek and are not of Hebrew or Aramaic origin.
However, we believe the second hypothesis to be the more probable,
that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Aramaic.”

Catholic Encyclopedia

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