Original Research

Jesus' father: The quest for the historical Joseph

Andries van Aarde
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 54, No 1/2 | a1410 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v54i1/2.1410 | © 1998 Andries van Aarde | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 December 1998 | Published: 12 December 1998

About the author(s)

Andries van Aarde, Department of New Testament Studies (Sec A), University of Pretoria, South Africa

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This article aims at demonstrating the historical probability that Joseph, the father of Jesus, should be regarded as a legendary figure. It seems that the Joseph figure is modeled after the patriarch in the First Testament. Here Joseph was exalted despite of slander. He married an 'impure' virgin. He became the adversary of Judah. His sons, bornin Egypt, were seen as the forefathers of the illegitimate Samaritans. He was regarded as an ethical paradigm. He served as the ideal type for God's beloved child. The search for the historical Joseph leads to the conclusion that Jesus grew up fatherless. This conclusion has enormous consequences for the quest for the historical Jesus.


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