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Joseph, Mary's Husband
Husband of the Virgin Mary. He is scarcely mentioned in the New Testament outside the birth and infancy narratives in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. There are indirect references to him in John 1:45; 6:42. It is likely that he had died before the ministry of Jesus began. Matthew and Luke both show him as a man of Davidic descent (Matt. 1:19f.; Luke 2:4) who was betrothed to Mary at the time of the conception of Jesus, but had no intercourse with her until after His birth (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:27, 35). It is natural to assume that the brothers of Jesus referred to in the gospels were subsequent children of Joseph and Mary. While the account of the Annunciation* in Luke's gospel is told from Mary's point of view, that in Matthew is told from Joseph's. Through the appearance of angels in dreams he was able to take Mary as his wife rather than divorcing her (Matt. 1:18- 25), and to escape from Herod to Egypt (Matt. 2:13-15) and return again to Israel (Matt. 2:19-23). The veneration of Joseph goes back to early times in the Eastern Church, but seems to have started in the West only in the late.
Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The gospels of Matthew and Luke assert that Jesus was born to Mary at a time when she was betrothed to Joseph, before their marriage was consummated (
Joseph was a carpenter (
A tradition embodied in the 4th cent.
1. References in:
(1) Before the Nativity.
(2) After the Nativity.
(a) Luke’s Account:
(b) Matthew’s Account:
But according to Matthew it was from the Wise Men of the East that Jesus received homage at Bethlehem (
(c) The Proper Sequence of the Two Narratives:
If a type is to be sought in the character of Joseph, it is that of a simple, honest, hard-working, God-fearing man, who was possessed of large sympathies and a warm heart. Strict in the observance of Jewish law and custom, he was yet ready when occasion arose to make these subservient to the greater law of the Spirit. Too practical to possess any deep insight into the Divine mysteries or eternal significance of events which came within his knowledge (compare
3. References in Apocryphal Literature:
Theaccording to James, a work composed originally in the 2nd century, but with later additions (compare Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, 47-63), gives a detailed account of the marriage of the aged Joseph with Mary, of their journey to Bethlehem, and of the birth of Jesus. A similar gospel, reputed to be by Thomas the philosopher, of later origin and Gnostic tendency (compare Hennecke, 63-73), narrates several fantastic, miraculous happenings in the domestic life of the Holy Family, and the dealings of Joseph with the teachers of the youthful Jesus. Other legends, from Syriac or Egyptian sources, also dealing with the Infancy, in which Joseph figures, are extant. The chief is The (compare Hennecke, Handbuch der neutestamentlichen Apokryphen, 95-105). This contains an account of the death and burial of Joseph at the age of 110, and of the entreaties of Mary to Christ to save him. Its aim was to show forth Christ as the Saviour, even at the last hour, and the rightful manner of Christian death. Joseph has received a high place in the Calendar of the Roman Catholic Saints, his feast being celebrated on March 19.