Stephen C. Carlson and the Matthean genealogy.

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Diogenes the Cynic
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Post by Diogenes the Cynic » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:41 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
JoeWallack wrote:
My interest here is what the Matthean genealogy may (or may not) tell us about the putative family of Jesus. Period.
What does this mean?:
  • 1) You are only interested in what "Matthew" likely meant?

    2) You are only interested in "Matthew's" evidence for historicity?
I am interested in both of those insofar as they help illuminate what is going on with the putative family of Jesus. I am even interested in the phenomena that you are (not unjustly) calling errors, just so long as they illuminate what is going on with the putative family of Jesus. If the payload is a measure of understanding concerning early Christian history (including, especially in this case, matters related to the family of Jesus), then I am interested. If the payload is that Matthew did or did not commit errors, then I could not care less.
Regardless of whether Matthew made a math error, his genealogy is a theological fabrication an tells us nothing genuinely historical about Jesus; family except that (maybe) his father was named Joseph.

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Re: Stephen C. Carlson and the Matthean genealogy.

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:42 am

The Stromata makes reference to the mystical significance of the number of names in the genealogy. I am not sure it was Clement who wrote these words.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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Re: Stephen C. Carlson and the Matthean genealogy.

Post by Diogenes the Cynic » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:44 am

Secret Alias wrote:The other corollary of an alleged 'royal lineage' of Jesus is that it confirms that (a) Jesus was a human being and (b) a human king - things which were certainly 'in dispute' in the period Hegesippus was writing.
To be a king, he would have had to have been a biological descendant of David through the father. Jewish Royal succession could not pass through adoption or through the mother.

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Re: Stephen C. Carlson and the Matthean genealogy.

Post by DCHindley » Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:32 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:This post is in response to a nice article penned by Stephen Carlson: The Davidic Key for Counting the Generations in Matthew 1:17. ... I submit that, if anybody can lay claim to being the brother whose line the genealogy was meant to justify, Clopas is he. The original genealogy, with its fraternal emphases and its termination at Joseph, does a much better job of explaining how Symeon, son of Clopas, came to replace James as leader of the church in Jerusalem than it does of justifying the lines of the putative brothers of Jesus. The brothers at issue are those of the last name on the list: Joseph.
Would it be safe, at this point, to submit the words of church fathers explaining, or perhaps explaining away, the dynastic aspect of the "desposyni" (little despots, where despot is not always a bad term in antiquity, buit does suggest that these family members were despots/rulers in waiting) and family members of Jesus in general?

Gotta get back to work from my lunch break.

DCH

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Re: Stephen C. Carlson and the Matthean genealogy.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:16 pm

DCHindley wrote:Would it be safe, at this point, to submit the words of church fathers explaining, or perhaps explaining away, the dynastic aspect of the "desposyni" (little despots, where despot is not always a bad term in antiquity, buit does suggest that these family members were despots/rulers in waiting) and family members of Jesus in general?
Sure, please do. Especially since, with the possible exception of Secret Alias, no one commenting so far seems to have picked up on the implications I was drawing from (my slight tweaking of) the article.

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Re: Stephen C. Carlson and the Matthean genealogy.

Post by Thor » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:44 pm

Diogenes the Cynic wrote: To be a king, he would have had to have been a biological descendant of David through the father. Jewish Royal succession could not pass through adoption or through the mother.
I know this is the common view. But where does people like Cyrus fit into this description? Perhaps a stupid question, but :confusedsmiley:

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Re: Stephen C. Carlson and the Matthean genealogy.

Post by DCHindley » Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:12 pm

Thor wrote:
Diogenes the Cynic wrote: To be a king, he would have had to have been a biological descendant of David through the father. Jewish Royal succession could not pass through adoption or through the mother.
I know this is the common view. But where does people like Cyrus fit into this description? Perhaps a stupid question, but :confusedsmiley:
Cyrus was simply called God's "anointed". Anointing does not just occur with kings, but priests and anybody formally chosen for a special mission by an authority.

DCH

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Re: Stephen C. Carlson and the Matthean genealogy.

Post by Diogenes the Cynic » Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:54 pm

Thor wrote:
Diogenes the Cynic wrote: To be a king, he would have had to have been a biological descendant of David through the father. Jewish Royal succession could not pass through adoption or through the mother.
I know this is the common view. But where does people like Cyrus fit into this description? Perhaps a stupid question, but :confusedsmiley:
Cyrus was called a "Messiah," but he was not called a Davidic King. The two things are not necessarily synonymous.

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Re: Stephen C. Carlson and the Matthean genealogy.

Post by DCHindley » Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:43 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
DCHindley wrote:Would it be safe, at this point, to submit the words of church fathers explaining, or perhaps explaining away, the dynastic aspect of the "desposyni" (little despots, where despot is not always a bad term in antiquity, buit does suggest that these family members were despots/rulers in waiting) and family members of Jesus in general?
Sure, please do. Especially since, with the possible exception of Secret Alias, no one commenting so far seems to have picked up on the implications I was drawing from (my slight tweaking of) the article.
Carlson has a knack for finding exactly what he is looking for. Take that however one likes, I suppose, but look how he found a "bald swindler" when he wanted to moot Smith's "secret gospel". I was a bit surprised that Carlson said that it would be hard to support the idea that Matthew wrote in Hebrew (as suggested by Hugh Schonfield many years ago), when I seem to recall he was supportive, not quite as many years ago, of the idea that Matthew wrote his gospel first in the "Hebrew tongue" and it was translated into Greek as folks were able, but perhaps this has to do with Aramaic, not Hebrew. It is not likely to be Q, since he's not a "believer".

Anyhow, I hope you're not suggesting that you would have preferred that someone else would pipe up, but let me assure you this will have nothing to do with Pauline interpolations, the redaction of Josephus to discredit the Emperor Maximinus' Acta Pilati, or that Hegesippus may have used some otherwise unknown account of a trial of the Idumean general Jacob the son of Sosas before Simon son of Giora as a model when he described the death of James the Just. Attractive and glorious as those ideas may be, the fact that folks in Jesus' family acted like, or were suspected of, being royal aspirants, is fairly straight forward.

The sum of it is this: Relatives of Jesus believed they were of Davidic descent and were called to task for it by Domitian and Trajan, and some of them called themselves "little despots". Hegesippus (or at least Eusebius) tries to make it look like these relatives, in the time of Domitian, held some small plot of land and farmed it themselves, and looked forward to a "spiritual" kingdom, but these come across to me as attempts to blunt the fact that they claimed Davidic descent in a way that the authorities thought was subversive. Also, one church father seemed to feel it necessary to relate that family members who claimed Davidic descent, trash talked Herod as if he was a pretender.*

DCH

*Hegesippus, Commentaries, via Eusebius, History of the Church 3:20
After the capture of the Jews by (Emperor) Vespasian “there still survived of the kindred of the Lord the (two) grandsons of Judas, who (Judas) according to the flesh was called his (Jesus’) brother. These were informed against, as belonging to the family of David, and (an official named) Evocatus (or a person who held the rank of an evocati in the army) brought them before Domitian Caesar: for (that one) dreaded the coming of Christ, as Herod had done. And he asked them if they were descendants of David, and they confessed that they were. Then he asked them how much property they had, or how much money they owned. And both of them answered that they had only nine thousand denarii, half of which belonged to each of them; and this property did not consist of silver, but of a piece of land which contained only thirty-nine plethora [if the original Greek measure was meant = 13.28 English acres, if equated with Roman iugerum, 26.56 acres], and from which they raised their taxes and supported themselves by their own labor." Then they showed their hands, exhibiting the hardness of their bodies and the callousness produced upon their hands by continuous toil as evidence of their own labor. And when they were asked concerning Christ and his kingdom, of what sort it was and where and when it was to appear, they, answered that it was not a temporal nor an earthly kingdom, but a heavenly and angelic one, which would appear at the end of the world, when he should come in glory to judge the quick and the dead, and to give unto every one according to his works. Upon hearing this, Domitian did not pass judgment against them, but, despising them as of no account, he let them go, and by a decree put a stop to the persecution of the Church. But when they were released they ruled the churches because they were witnesses and were also relatives of the Lord. And peace being established, they lived until the time of Trajan. These things are related by Hegesippus.
Hegesippus, Commentaries, via Eusebius, History of the Church 3:32
It is reported that after the age of Nero and Domitian, under the emperor whose times we are now recording [Trajan], a persecution was stirred up against us in certain cities in consequence of a popular uprising. In this persecution we have understood that Symeon, the son of Clopas, who, as we have shown, was the second bishop of the church of Jerusalem, suffered martyrdom. Hegesippus, whose words we have already quoted in various places, is a witness to this fact also. Speaking of certain heretics he adds that Symeon was accused by them at this time; and since it was clear that he was a Christian, he was tortured in various ways for many days, and astonished even the judge himself and his attendants in the highest degree, and finally he suffered a death similar to that of our Lord. But there is nothing like hearing the historian himself, who writes as follows: "Certain of these heretics brought accusation against Symeon, the son of Clopas, on the ground that he was a descendant of David and a Christian; and thus he suffered martyrdom, at the age of one hundred and twenty years, while Trajan was emperor and Atticus governor [possibly Procurator or Prefect over Judea, and which would likely have been between 103/3 and 104/5 CE]." And the same writer says that his [i.e., Symeon, the son of Clopas] accusers also, when search was made for the descendants of David, were arrested as belonging to that family. And it might be reasonably assumed that Symeon was one of those that saw and heard the Lord, judging from the length of his life, and from the fact that the Gospel makes mention of Mary, the wife of Clopas [John 19:25ff], who was the father of Symeon, as has been already shown.

The same historian says that there were also others, descended from one of the so-called brothers of the Saviour, whose name was Judas, who, after they had borne testimony before Domitian, as has been already recorded, in behalf of faith in Christ, lived until the same reign. He writes as follows: "They came, therefore, and took the lead of every church as witness and as relatives of the Lord. And profound peace being established in every church, they remained until the reign of the Emperor Trajan, and until the above-mentioned Symeon, son of Clopas, an uncle of the Lord, was informed against by the heretics, and was himself in like manner accused for the same cause before the governor Atticus [possibly Procurator or Prefect over Judea, and which would likely have been between 103/3 and 104/5 CE]. And after being tortured for many days he suffered martyrdom, and all, including even the proconsul, marveled that, at the age of one hundred and twenty years, he could endure so much. And orders were given that he should be crucified."


Hegesippus, Commentaries, via Eusebius of Caesarea, History of the Church 4.22.4
4) [Hegesippus] also describes the beginnings of the heresies which arose in his time in the following words:
4b) And after James the just had suffered martyrdom, as the Lord had also on the same account, Symeon, the son of the uncle of the Lord, Clopas, was appointed the next bishop. All proposed him as second bishop because he was a cousin of the Lord. Therefore they called the church a virgin, for it was not yet corrupted by vain discourses.
Clement of Alexandria, Hypotyposeis via Eusebius, History of the Church 2.1.3-6
3) But Clement in the sixth book of his Hypotyposeis writes as follows: For they say that Peter and James and John after the ascension of the savior, as if also preferred by the Lord, did not strive for glory, but rather elected James the just to be bishop of Jerusalem.
Africanus, Letter to Aristides, via Eusebius, H.E. 1.7 etc.

[I will pass by without comment his attempt to explain away the differences between the genealogies of Matthew and Luke. However, he does give the following accounts about Jesus' family and their genealogy and the genealogy of Herod]
For the kinsmen of the Saviour after the flesh, whether to magnify their own origin or simply to state the fact, but at all events speaking truth, have also handed down the following account: Some Idumean robbers attacking Ascalon, a city of Palestine, besides other spoils which they took from a temple of Apollo, which was built near the walls, carried off captive one Antipater, son of a certain Herod, a servant of the temple. And as the priest9 was not able to pay the ransom for his son, Antipater was brought up in the customs of the Idumeans, and afterwards enjoyed the friendship of Hyrcanus, the high priest of Judea. And being sent on an embassy to Pompey on behalf of Hyrcanus, and having restored to him the kingdom which was being wasted by Aristobulus his brother, he was so fortunate as to obtain the title of procurator [127] of Palestine.1 And when Antipater was treacherously slain through envy of his great good fortune, his son Herod succeeded him, who was afterwards appointed king of Judea under Antony and Augustus by a decree of the senate. His sons were Herod and the other tetrarchs. These accounts are given also in the histories of the Greeks.2

But as up to that time the genealogies of the Hebrews had been registered in the public archives, and those, too, which were traced back to the proselytes3 —as, for example, to Achior the Ammanite, and Ruth the Moabitess, and those who left Egypt along with the Israelites, and intermarried with them—Herod, knowing that the lineage of the Israelites contributed nothing to him, and goaded by the consciousness of his ignoble birth, burned the registers of their families. This he did, thinking that he would appear to be of noble birth, if no one else could trace back his descent by the public register to the patriarchs or proselytes, and to that mixed race called georæ.4 A few, however, of the studious, having private records of their own, either by remembering the names or by getting at them in some other way from the archives, pride themselves in preserving the memory of their noble descent; and among these happen to be those already mentioned, called desposyni,5 on account of their connection with the family of the Saviour. And these coming from Nazara and Cochaba, Judean villages, to other parts of the country, set forth the above-named genealogy6 as accurately as possible from the Book of Days.7

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Re: Stephen C. Carlson and the Matthean genealogy.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jul 22, 2015 7:09 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Ben C. Smith wrote:
DCHindley wrote:Would it be safe, at this point, to submit the words of church fathers explaining, or perhaps explaining away, the dynastic aspect of the "desposyni" (little despots, where despot is not always a bad term in antiquity, buit does suggest that these family members were despots/rulers in waiting) and family members of Jesus in general?
Sure, please do. Especially since, with the possible exception of Secret Alias, no one commenting so far seems to have picked up on the implications I was drawing from (my slight tweaking of) the article.
Anyhow, I hope you're not suggesting that you would have preferred that someone else would pipe up....
No, not at all, David, and what you have submitted here is exactly the sort of thing I wanted to bring up. I consulted Jude and the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church, by Bauckham, as I prepared the OP, because I wanted to explore exactly how integrated (or not) Jesus is with the family later known as the desposyni (at least in some circles).

In the particular case of the Matthean genealogy, for example, if Carlson is right that Matthew modified a 40-generation genealogy terminating with Joseph with an emphasis on brothers, and if I am correct that the emphasis on brothers better applies to the brother(s) of Joseph, not of Jesus (whom that genealogy does not name), then the logic need not include Jesus at all; it may all have to do with the succession of James passing to Symeon, and it is Matthew himself who has brought Jesus into the family in this case by assuming that he is the son of Joseph.

I find this phenomenon similar to what one finds in most of the New Testament apart from the Pauline mention of James the brother of the Lord. Acts never lets on that James is the brother of Jesus; nor does the epistle of James; and the epistle of Jude is introduced by Jude the brother of James. There is a peculiar hole where one might expect to find Jesus at some point.

Just exploring options here; nothing definitive yet; but your post is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind. Thanks, David.

Ben.
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