The geneaology of Christ? Commentary on Luke by Frederic Louis Godet

by Masterpiece 8 Replies latest jw friends

  • Masterpiece

    Has anyone checked the quote from Frederic Louis Godet ? Is it accurate? WT quotes:

    "“This study of the text in detail leads us in this way to admit—1. That the genealogical register of Luke is that of Heli, the grandfather of Jesus; 2. That, this affiliation of Jesus by Heli being expressly opposed to His affiliation by Joseph, the document which he has preserved for us can be nothing else in his view than the genealogy of Jesus through Mary. But why does not Luke name Mary, and why pass immediately from Jesus to His grandfather? Ancient sentiment did not comport with the mention of the mother as the genealogical link. Among the Greeks a man was the son of his father, not of his mother; and among the Jews the adage was: ‘Genus matris non vocatur genus [“The descendant of the mother is not called (her) descendant”]’ (‘Baba bathra,’ 110, a).”—Commentary on Luke, 1981, p. 129."

  • jgnat

    Well, I disagree with it somewhat. The Jewish people count their lineage through the matrilineal line. The children of a Jewish mother are Jewish.

  • snare&racket

    Is that the one based on Joseph? Because Joseph has no fatherly connection to Jesus..... No dna, no lineage.... Dumb bronze age peeps.

  • Bart Belteshassur
    Bart Belteshassur

    What copy of the text was Godet reading. The greek text states that "Jesus being son as supposed of Joseph, of Heli...etc". How can he claim that there is a " and pass immediately from Jesus to his Grandfather".

    Why would the Jews have an adage in latin, I didn't think that this was a language the Jews where at all familiar with.

    This geneology of Luke combined with the one of Matthew shows that Heli was also Jacob and that Jacob Heli was the father of Joseph. This sounds as if it has some connection with Genisis, Abraham,Issac, Jacob,Joseph, and Judah. Just a thought?

  • Bart Belteshassur
    Bart Belteshassur

    jgnat- Both the lists only refer the males in the line, so although I agree that modern day Jews use the maternal line this does not appear to be the case in either Matthew or Luke.

    Wilst Luke shows a geneology which comes from Nathan, Matthew shows it through Solomon and makes the the claim that Jeconiah was the son of Josiah. This indicates that this geneology of Joseph, whether he was Jesus' true father or not, is contrived because Jeremiah 22:28-30 "for from his offspring not a single one will have any success sitting on the throne of David and ruling anmore in Judah".

    So it seems to me that the geneology of Luke is the correct one for Joseph and that Matthew's is in contridiction of God's word.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I believe few people think these are correct geneologies. When the father is named, how can we ever know? To me, these are attempts to legitimize Jesus, a bastard. If Jesus is the son of God and son of man, his human descent is unimportant. The son of man claim is the important one. It is the messianic one. There are prophecies that the Messiah would come from David's line. A believing church could concoct descent from David. Did these people even exist in history?

    Jews would not believe this claim. I understand why a gospel writer would want Jesus to be descended from important people.

  • cofty

    Matthew’s list contains 28 names including David and (step-dad) Joseph. Luke’s contains 42 names including David and Joseph and apart from these two individuals only two more names match in these lists.

    Some biblical apologists have attempted to reconcile these lists by claiming that neither list actually attempts to give full accounts. The terms “son of” and “begat” don’t mean a direct father-son relationship but if we put the overlapping lists together we get a fuller genealogy of Jesus. In other words Luke mentions people not mentioned in Matthew and vice-versa.

    OK let’s take a closer look at this and see if it works. David lived in the 10th C. BC giving us about 1000 years between David and Jesus. As we said above Matthew gives us 28 names and Luke gives us 42. This works out at an average of 35 years per generation according to Matthew and only 23 years according to Luke. If we combine them and are careful not to count the names that appear in both lists twice that gives us a minimum of 67 generations and a time span of only 14 years per generation. This also assumes the unlikely factor of every one being a first-born and that there are no other names that both Matthew and Luke forgot to include. This is an impossible explanation.

    However Matthew does not actually allow us this generous explanation. He says emphatically…

    “Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ". Matt 1:17

    So according to Matthew there were only 28 generations between David and Jesus. So even allowing for the possibility of some individuals having more than one name Luke’s 42 generations cannot be reconciled with this plain statement of Matthew.

    2 Sam 7:12 said “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom.”

    Paul wrote in Romans1:3 concerning “…his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David,”

    And yet as we observed above there was no fleshly link at all between David and Jesus if we are to take the virgin birth story literally.

    Other apologists have proposed that one list traces the genealogy through Joseph and one through Mary. This is flatly contradicted by both gospels.

    “..and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” – Matt 1:16

    “Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,” – Luke 3:23

    Notice by the way that they can’t even agree on the name of Joseph’s dad, typically Matthew wants to make an OT parallel and so of course Joseph has to be the son of Jacob!

    The two names that do correspond in the list also rule against this idea. If the two lists are the separate genealogies of two people they don’t get to merge at random points in this way.

  • Bobcat


    Here is the Godet quote in context:

    It is interesting that the Society presents the idea of Luke's Mary-Genealogy as a given, with the Godet quote to support the idea. (Note the standard WT use of "evidently" in the Insight article.)

    The article conveniently leaves out the arguments of many scholars against this idea.

    The BECNT-Luke commemtary (Darrell Bock, Vol. I, Excursus pp. 918-923) lists six main approaches to the Matthew-Luke genealogy problem. All of them have problems that prevent a conclusive end to the controversy. The second possible argument presented in the commentary excursus is the idea presented as a solution by the WT:

    [Start quote]

    2. Another common approach is to argue that Matthew gives the genealogy through Joseph, while Luke gives the genealogy through Mary. (Hendriksen 1978: 222-25; Godet 1875: 1.201). Dating back to Annius of Viterbo in 1490, the view argues that Joseph is not really in view in [Luke] 3:23, where Luke says that Joseph was "supposed to be" (enomizeto) Jesus' father. In addition, the absence of the article tou before Joseph's name shows that he is not part of the genealogy. It is also argued that seeing Joseph in the genealogy puts Luke in a double contradiction in that he disagrees not only with Matthew, but also with himself, since he has already made clear that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary (1:27). Finally, it is argued that rabbinic tradition knows of the connection between Heli (also spelled Eli) and Mary (Y. Hag. 77d 2.2) There are many problems with this approach. First, it is not at all clear that the rabbinic reference applies to Mary. In fact, most doubt that it does, because the Miriam referred to there is not called the mother of Jesus and thus could be any Miriam. Second, the absence of the article tou can be explained simply because Joseph starts the list. Third, the virgin birth does not prevent legal paternity from passing through the father (Gordon 1977). Thus, no contradiction with the virgin birth exists. Fourth, the most natural way to read the Greek is as a genealogy for Joseph (Carson 1984: 64), given that Mary is not named at all here and that the genitive tou at the front of the list is masculine. To clearly bring in Mary, Luke could have named her and/or changed the opening genitive to a feminine, similar to Matt. 1:16 and its use of es, which makes clear that the Matthean connection is only to Mary.

    [End quote]

    In summary at the end of the excursus, Bock concludes that of the six main arguments considered, this one about Mary is not a possible candidate for the solution to the problem. But as pointed out in the quote above, Hendriksen and Godet do favor this idea. So the WT is not alone in taking this position.

    I wouldn't doubt that the WT got its Godet quote by using a commentary such as the one quoted above. Bock's 2 volume commentary on Luke is considered the gold standard in Lukan commentaries. It is probably in the WT reference libraries at Bethel. Thus, the WT is most likely aware of the problems associated with the Lukan-Mary-Genealogy hypothasis. But you wouldn't know that from referencing just the Insight Volumes.

    Some further interesting points to note in the Insight reference: Normally, if an idea is ancient the WT will cite that as weight in favor of that idea. But this Lukan-Mary-Genealogy idea only dates to 1490. Thus, no mention of that in the Insight article. Notice also that the Insight paragragh starts with a premise (that Luke's genealogy is of Mary) and then proceeds to 'prove' it with the Godet quote.

    Of course, that Insight writing style does not, in itself, prove the idea wrong. But the style is more understandable when one sees the larger picture of information available that is not included in the Insight article.

    Incidentally, one of the problems Bock's commentary discusses with regard to genealogical lists is the practice of Levirite marriage over the centuries among the Jews. He cautions against simply writing off the list in Luke as a fabrication.

    Take Care

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    So once again Jehovah's Witnesses selectively choose one scholar over a broad consensus of scholars who disagree with the Witness views. This is a repeating pattern with their Biblical analysis. It can't just be sloppiness. No, someone is searching academc databases to find a few sentences that viewed in isolation might bolster the view. Cofty's analysis shows that an accurate geneology is not possible. I suggest that first century readers may have realized it was not possible. The Bible is not inerrant. This is not news.

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