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View Diary: D'var Torah: Deborah, Jael, Miriam, and the problem with "Girl Power" (116 comments)

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  •  Don't forget about Tamar. (14+ / 0-)

    That's a very interesting "subversive" story in the Torah.  Tamar makes real asses out of the men in her family, especially Judah, and exposes the injustice and hypocrisy of patriarchy.

    What I love to contemplate--and there's little else that we can do about it--is how stories like the one about Tamar ever got into the canon.  Was it some kind of respect for a text because it was old?  Were there "subversives" among the editors from time to time?

    •  it appears to have got in as a lesson to men, (6+ / 0-)

      from various viewpoints, besides perhaps being in some way needed for sequence in the narrativ.

      in completely diff direction, Esther not mentioned yet?  maybe too conventionally just a proper female for her day?

      •  Another reason (7+ / 0-)

        is Tamar, along with Rahab and Ruth, is an ancestor of King David... and, incidentally, the 3 of them along with Bathsheba, are ancestors of Jesus Christ...

        Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

        by awesumtenor on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 03:24:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Respect for the text, essentially. (7+ / 0-)

          The former is a very plausible reason for the Ezraite editors to have retained it.  The latter is obviously not.

          That's part of what makes the Hebrew Bible so interesting.  There's so much that's contradictory but retained out of respect for ancient written texts that had become part of the tradition.  It amounts to a kind of pluralism because there's also evidence that these ancient editors were aware of these issues and tried to patch things together.  Look at how all the conflicting texts about slavery were kept, e.g. Exodus and Deuteronomy.  It's a real window into how these ideas developed long ago and the debates that flared around them.

        •  Oh, I detailed the entire Tamar story below... (6+ / 0-)

          ...not realizing someone already mentioned her here.

          I think this and other stories demonstrate how the Bible has always been a living document. One of the Bible's main messages is that nobody's perfect.

          Another lesson from this and other stories, is that the only real principle about human relations that's set in stone according to the essence of Judaism, is justice.

          Regardless of the social norms of the day, and whatever specific rules oppress the crap out of women/non-Jews/gays/you-name-them, the only principle that's paramount is justice. All the rest are just arrangements of social convenience, and when push comes to shove they must bow down or bow out to justice.

          •  But mishpat is always subversive. (5+ / 0-)
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            Eowyn9, Assaf, ramara, maggid, mettle fatigue

            You don't hear much about mishpat in the D histories or in the Wisdom lit.  It's mainly in the prophets, and they're all a bunch of stinkin' commie terrorist radicals.

            There's a great debate in the HB between those subversives and the Establishment D historians (though the Ds are a bit progressive like DK) and the right-wing Wisdom pricks.

            What's amazing is that stories like Tamar and prophets like Amos made it into the canon.  I attribute a big part of it to the fortunate fact that the Bible was written by a "loser" people who were constantly overrun by cruel enemies and alternately oppressed by their own corrupt leadership switching off with bloodthirsty conquerors.

            You just don't find this kind of literature surviving among the great powers of the ANE.

            •  Sorry, what is "mishpat" (4+ / 0-)

              and why is it inherently subversive?

              "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

              by Eowyn9 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:45:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  "Mishpat" = Justice. (6+ / 0-)

                Nice succinct statement of the prophetic point of view:

                Micah 6:8--What does YHWH require of you?  Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.

                Typical prophetic view of rulers and the rich:

                Amos 6:

                They lie around on beds decorated with ivory, and sprawl out on their couches. They eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the middle of the pen.  They sing to the tune of stringed instruments; like David they invent musical instruments.  They drink wine from sacrificial bowls, and pour the very best oils on themselves. Yet they are not concerned over the ruin of Joseph.

                (Joseph is metonymy for the northern tribes conquered by the Assyrians.)

                Modern paraphrase would substitute the billionaires who fly around in the gilded jets while not giving a shit about their fellow human beings starving in poverty.

                Prophetic prediction that God will punish the rich and powerful--Amos 5:

                "There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court and detest the one who tells the truth.  You levy a straw tax on the poor and impose a tax on their grain.

                Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine.  For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins."

                Later in the same chapter:

                "But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!"

                The message is "subversive" in the sense that it is not the dominant message of the HB.  The D histories and Wisdom lit reflect a modern Republican line of thinking that those who suffer deserve it.

                At the same time, even the prophets aren't truly revolutionaries.  They look to God to bring mishpat rather than relying on their own devices.  This quietism perhaps reflects their powerlessness both within their social group and beyond that, their nation's powerlessness among the much greater nations that surrounded it.

                •  IMHO Amos was totally in line with most prophets. (4+ / 0-)

                  As you write, most of them were the subversive Lefties of their day.

                  And AFAIK, Jesus preached in direct continuation to that spirit.

                  •  At least as represented by the canonical gospels.. (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Eowyn9, ramara, Assaf, mettle fatigue

                    Jesus was a lot less political than the HB prophets.  In all likelihood, any political tendencies were toned down by the writers trying to get along with the Romans.

                    Still, Jesus seems more like a "transcendant" type than a revolutionary, Crossan notwithstanding.

                    •  Let me modify that... (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ramara, Assaf, mettle fatigue

                      Actually, it's Luke who's in that prophetic tradition.  Compare his beatitudes to Matthew's.  Luke includes curses on the rich.  Very Amos-like.

                      The other two synoptics just don't carry that.  And John.  Well, that's another basket of fish entirely.

                    •  I would place Jesus (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      organicus, Eowyn9, Assaf, mettle fatigue

                      as practicing civil disobedience - if he felt a law was not right, he ignored it. And was willing to take the consequences.

                      Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

                      by ramara on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 09:30:34 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Jesus never questioned the law... (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Assaf, mettle fatigue

                        ...so much as it was the interpretation and application of it that he attacked... As was noted earlier in the thread regarding Ezra, he set the law on a slippery slope towards a legalistic interpretations see that in the Sermon on the mount in both Matthew and Luke's accounts; particularly in the statements where he juxtaposes the letter and the spirit of the law like this from Matthew chapter 5:

                        Mat 5:43    Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44    But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you...
                        It is noteworthy that he says "Ye have heard that it hath been said" and not "it is written" because his issue is not with the law; it is with the low information believers who sufficed themselves to order their lives based on what someone told them someone else said and the teachers of the law Jesus characterized as blind guides because they were more prone to study what someone said regarding the law than the law itself...

                        Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

                        by awesumtenor on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 11:03:57 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  And you're right. (5+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Eowyn9, awesumtenor, ramara, maggid, Assaf

                    Amos, Micah, Jeremiah, Isaiah I and III, Ezekiel.  All rads.  I'd say that about Isaiah I even though he was Hezekiah's pal.

                    On the other hand, Ezra would make a good southern Republican.  Racist reactionary and Isaiah III's enemy.

                    •  "Isaiah III's enemy" -- that's quite an (4+ / 0-)

                      eye-opening concept. I know exactly what you mean (and I've always disliked Ezra.)

                      Coming from a traditional Christian viewpoint, I was brought up to see "the Bible" as a unified whole -- "the word of God" and all that. I've come to have a great appreciation for the diversity and dialectical nature of much of the Hebrew Bible (particularly, as you point out, the different viewpoints of the historians versus the prophets versus the lawgivers, etc.) But I'd never once considered the idea that the author of one book could be in heated disagreement with another (so much so as to term them an "enemy", if only intellectually...)

                      Instead of scribes obediently copying down dictation from God, this brings to mind the image of a discussion group or debating club with various people vigorously defending opposing views. The debate could get pretty rowdy, with people shouting at each other and even nearly coming to blows before some moderator (the rabbis who compiled the Talmud?) steps in and calms things down. I love it! :D

                      "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

                      by Eowyn9 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 08:04:46 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Compare and contrast: (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        ramara, Assaf, mettle fatigue

                        3rd Isaiah:

                        This is what the Lord says:

                        “Maintain justice
                            and do what is right,
                        for my salvation is close at hand
                            and my righteousness will soon be revealed.
                        2 Blessed is the one who does this—
                            the person who holds it fast,
                        who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it,
                            and keeps their hands from doing any evil.”

                        3 Let no foreigner who is bound to the Lord say,
                            “The Lord will surely exclude me from his people.”
                        And let no eunuch complain,
                            “I am only a dry tree.

                        4 For this is what the Lord says:

                        “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
                            who choose what pleases me
                            and hold fast to my covenant—
                        5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls
                            a memorial and a name
                            better than sons and daughters;
                        I will give them an everlasting name
                            that will endure forever.
                        6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord
                            to minister to him,
                        to love the name of the Lord,
                            and to be his servants,
                        all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
                            and who hold fast to my covenant—
                        7 these I will bring to my holy mountain
                            and give them joy in my house of prayer.
                        Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
                            will be accepted on my altar;
                        for my house will be called
                            a house of prayer for all nations.”

                        8 The Sovereign Lord declares—
                            he who gathers the exiles of Israel:
                        “I will gather still others to them
                            besides those already gathered.”

                        Ezra's sermon:
                        “But now, our God, what can we say after this? For we have forsaken the commands 11 you gave through your servants the prophets when you said: ‘The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other. 12 Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them at any time, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it to your children as an everlasting inheritance.’

                        13 “What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved and have given us a remnant like this. 14 Shall we then break your commands again and intermarry with the peoples who commit such detestable practices? Would you not be angry enough with us to destroy us, leaving us no remnant or survivor? 15 Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.”

                        If we understand that 3rd Isaiah and Ezra were contemporaries, it's clear that they were in direct conflict about how to handle the "people of the land."

                        For another stark contrast, compare Ezekiel's sermon in chapter 18 to the entire theme of the Deuternomic history that Jerusalem fell because of all the ancient sins of Israel/Judah, and for that matter, Exodus 20.

                        For another, compare the laws re: slavery in Exodus to those in Deuteronomy, especially what happens to a slave upon manumission.

                        There are plenty of interesting debates in the HB.

                        •  The D histories (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Assaf, mettle fatigue

                          come from the period between fall of the northern kingdom, and the destruction of the First Temple and exile to Babylon, as are most of the Prophets. The histories serve as an attempt to explain the destruction of the northern kingdom, and try to get Judah back on track, and to justify the Davidic kingship, which is from the tribe of Judah.

                          I'm looking for a study partner to study these histories in English because my Hebrew is elementary, though I would appreciate a partner who could help with translation issues. Might you be interested?

                          Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

                          by ramara on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 09:36:46 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  One thought about Ruth (5+ / 0-)

                        is that it was added to the canon to counteract Ezra's intransigence.

                        Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

                        by ramara on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:33:03 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm glad to see you here. (4+ / 0-)

                    Except for Joel who spoke of turning plows into swords...

                    Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

                    by ramara on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:30:22 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I love Amos and the other prophets, but I am (4+ / 0-)

                  curious as to why you say the idea of "justice" is not prevalent in the rest of the Hebrew Bible -- since a quick search for "justice" on Bible Gateway turns up at least 60 results from the non-prophetic works. (http://www.biblegateway.com/...) Is it a question of two different words in Hebrew both being rendered as "justice" in English?

                  I always saw the idea of justice as being deeply embedded in Jewish law -- the concept of the punishment fitting the crime ("an eye for an eye"), along with verses protecting the vulnerable of society (widows, orphans, and so on).

                  "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

                  by Eowyn9 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 07:57:30 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Where do you see it and in what context? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Eowyn9, mettle fatigue

                    Almost all of the "justice" is "mishpat," but remember the length of these texts.  As a matter of emphasis, it predominates in the prophetic material.

                    And in the Torah, it's the "D" material where it's found most often.  That's the "Book of the Law" rediscovered in Josiah's time that leads to a reformation.  And it's far more class conscious than the rest of the Torah material.

                    I do think that "mishpat" has a somewhat different meaning in Proverbs.  There's little to no recognition of class and oppression there.  There's definitely none of the attack on royal and wealthy privilege there that's found in the prophets.

                    I'd distinguish it this way.  In the Wisdom lit, especially Proverbs, mishpat is procedural nicety.  Let's not appear to be unfair to the poor plebes.  In the prophets, mishpat is a rushing torrent that God will send down to drown the rich and powerful because they have abused their privilege.

                •  And it is the subversive nature of mishpat (4+ / 0-)

                  that is the reason those texts and many others like it resonated with the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s... and still does motivate progressives, in many respects, today. Social justice and equity, being one's brother's keeper, having a burden for those on the margins of society cannot be separated from these writings and time and again we see that subversive voice of mishpat speaking truth to power when power failed to rule as the law and the prophets required.

                  Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

                  by awesumtenor on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 09:59:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The other Hebrew word for Justice is (3+ / 0-)

                  tzedek.  Both words translate to "justice" in English, although tzedek is also translated as "righteousness".  My own take on the difference between the two is that mishpat is the equitable operation of the law whereas tzedek is the larger ideal of fairness behind the laws.  There is a good article on that here.

        •  They would have to be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mettle fatigue

          ancestors of Jesus since the Messiah would be from the Davidic line. I would include one of Lot's daughters as well.

          Now that is an example of tracing lineage back to reach the mothers who began it.

          Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

          by ramara on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:25:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How can Jesus have David as an ancestor (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ramara, mettle fatigue

            when he was conceived by a human mother and a spirit father, and the line of David was claimed to have come down to Joseph who did not father Jesus? Matthew chapter  1  traces the line to Joseph and then right after that explains that Joseph was not Jesus's genetic father. Plus Luke 23 has a whole other geneology that doesn't match Matthew's. For example, Solomon is in the first geneology and not in the second.

            •  Hey, I'm Jewish (3+ / 0-)

              I had the same question about it.

              Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

              by ramara on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 08:13:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Maybe we should check the holy spirit's (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mettle fatigue, ramara

                geneology too! ;)

              •  I'm Christian and I don't think there was a virgin (0+ / 0-)

                birth; however, there probably are reasons that the some of the authors of the Jesus life narratives included it. Scholars seems to have several  ideas about the reasons it might have been developed and included; you can find them in the writings of contemporary New Testament scholars.

                The reason for the genealogies is probably more obvious, and if one is thinking of the gospels as accounts written by different people at different times and in different places,  the lack of agreement is not a surprise.

                And, of course, Mark's version, believed to be the oldest of the canonical gospels, starts with Jesus being baptized by John. And Paul, as I recall, does not deal with this kind of stuff at all. Neither the birth nor the genealogy of Jesus is relevant to his teachings.

                The recording of the oral tractions about Jesus was not done until  well after his death, and various stuff had been added on for various reasons by human beings.

                Applying scholarship to the Bible does not bring faith; but in my opinion, it need not destroy it either. It brings some clarity to some of the puzzling bit in the Bibles, others will probably always remain so.  

            •  Here's a whole article on the subject: (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mettle fatigue, Navy Vet Terp

              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              It's rather complex. Various scholars have put forth various theories. You're right, of course, that the two genealogies are very different. Some people think that the first is his genealogy through Joseph and the second is through Mary's line instead (since Joseph was not really his father.)

              "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

              by Eowyn9 on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 08:22:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Both of them list Joseph as (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mettle fatigue

                the end of the line, so I don't know where they get Mary into all that.  My copy of Luke has "Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the sone of Heli, etc..."   I like the "as was supposed" part.

                •  If you read the article I linked, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mettle fatigue

                  you'll find out. ;)

                  "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

                  by Eowyn9 on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 10:10:17 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I DID read the article you linked, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mettle fatigue

                    but it doesn't change the fact that my bible SAYS Joseph is the end result of both geneologies, and there are no footnotes in either text that say "this COULD mean son-in-law" or maybe Mary, or whatever else the wiki article says. Or, for that matter, whatever the "let's make this all really complicated" analysis crowd says.

                    This is a good example of how people get their minds all stretched and folded up into total confusion by the interpretation games that religion presents, especially with texts.  IF these books were meant to be read by all of god's creation, then why make it a mysterious puzzle of words and expect everyone to figure it out.  If god intended Jesus to have a human geneology and "inspired" a gospel writer to record it, you would at least think god could get it right, make it clear to his transcriber,  and make it all understandable for the average Joe who picks up a copy.

                    It also would have helped if god had just sent down Wikipedia along with the bible, so people could have gotten it all straight a whole lot sooner! ;)

                    •  Ahem. From the section entitled (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mettle fatigue, VirginiaJeff, ramara

                      "Maternal ancestry in Luke", we have:

                      Luke’s text says that Jesus was “a son, as was supposed, of Joseph, of Eli”.[35] The qualification has traditionally been understood as acknowledgment of the virgin birth, but some instead see a parenthetical expression: “a son (as was supposed of Joseph) of Eli.”[36] In this interpretation, Jesus is called a son of Eli because Eli was his maternal grandfather, his nearest male ancestor....In any case, the argument goes, it is natural for the evangelist, acknowledging the unique case of the virgin birth, to give the maternal genealogy of Jesus, while expressing it a bit awkwardly in the traditional patrilinear style.

                      According to this theory, the reason Mary is not implicitly mentioned by name is because the ancient Hebrews never permitted the name of a woman to enter the genealogical tables, but inserted her husband as the son of him who was, in reality, but his father-in-law.[41]

                      So, you were actually on the right track with the "supposed" bit!

                      "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

                      by Eowyn9 on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 01:37:13 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Well, it looks like Luke forgot to share (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mettle fatigue

                        these details with the reader, which is my essential point. No study guides were written to go with these texts, so I guess god only wants his messages and narratives to get through to those who have the time and the inclination to delve into the nuances of everything. Kind of backs up the Catholic idea that you need a priest to translate between you and god.

                        •  *shrug* Well, just like any work of ancient (4+ / 0-)

                          literature translated from another language into English, and into an entirely different cultural context -- yes, you have to study it, read some commentaries, and give it some thought. Learning a bit of the ancient language in question would certainly help, as well. Would you expect to understand Homer's Odyssey, Beowulf, or the Iliad without reading up on its cultural and linguistic context?

                          Of course, instead of putting one's time towards serious study of a religious text and various scholars' viewpoints on interpretation, one can always just spend one's time and energy engaging in endless internet debates instead...

                          Your choice, I guess!

                          "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

                          by Eowyn9 on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 03:04:29 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  The Odyssey etc. were not presented (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ramara, mettle fatigue

                            then and not presented now as being the be all and end all word of the creator of the universe in his/her intent to communicated with mankind.

                            To me, the fact that the only manner that these gods (Jewish and Christian) felt was appropriate or effective in communicating his/her/their intentions to his/her creation was to pick one period in time to inspire some writings and then let the whole message go through thousands of years of interpretation.  No divine corrections, no divine updates.  So that leaves us in present time with trying to deal with modern issues based on these old writings. It usually doesn't work out too well.  

                            As for endless internet debates on religious, I thought that was exactly what D'Var Torah was all about.

                            I've seriously studied Christianity for a long time (and hope to continue when Richard Carrier's latest book comes out), but I have not studied other faiths in such detail (except a world's religions course in college, and some eastern and native american thought when I was going through my new age phase).  So I read D'Var Torah once in awhile to see what the process of analysis and comment is in terms of your small group on Kos.  Of course, I realize it can be completely different in other Hebrew studies sites, but I don't go to strictly religious sites.

                            Thank you for making me feel welcome to come and comment once in awhile on this series of diaries. Happy New Year.

            •  I 'm a Christain and I don't think there was a vir (0+ / 0-)

              gin birth; however, there probably are reasons that the some of the authors of the Jesus life narratives included it. Scholars seems to have several  ideas about the reasons it might have been developed and included; you can find them in the writings of contemporary New Testament scholars.

              The reason for the genealogies is probably more obvious, and if one is thinking of the gospels as accounts written by different people at different times and in different places,  the lack of agreement is not a surprise.

              And, of course, Mark's version, believed to be the oldest of the canonical gospels, starts with Jesus being baptized by John. And Paul, as I recall, does not deal with this kind of stuff at all. Neither the birth nor the genealogy of Jesus is relevant to his teachings.

              The recording of the oral tractions about Jesus was not done until  well after his death, and various stuff had been added on for various reasons by human beings.

              Applying scholarship to the Bible does not bring faith; but in my opinion, it need not destroy it either. It brings some clarity to some of the puzzling bit in the Bibles, others will probably always remain so.  

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