>Jesus Christ, Ph.D.

>The Telegraph of London has a review of The Jesus Discovery, a book by Adam Bradford, in which the author said that Joseph, Jesus’ father, was a middle-class, highly educated architect. According to the author, the translation that says that Joseph was a carpenter distorts the meaning of the word in the New Testament.

In addition, Bradford claims that “Jesus become the most senior Rabbi of his time, thus explaining how he was able to exert such influence and why his teachings became such a concern to the authorities.”

According to the review, Bradford came to “his conclusions after studying and comparing the original Greek and Hebrew scriptures, as well as using human psychology to analyse the behaviour towards Jesus as depicted in the Bible.”

According to the review of the book, Bradford said that “Jesus’s high ranking position as a Jew seems to have been written out of history but in fact it makes more sense of the Bible. If Jesus was the son of a poor itinerant carpenter with some radical ideas nobody would have been that concerned about what he said.”

Bradford continues: “But, because Jesus was trained up to become the most educated Jew of his time it gave him the chance to exert extraordinary influence and let him get away with acts that normal Jews would have been imprisoned or chastised for.”

“For example, when Jesus turned the money changers out of the temple there is no mention in the Bible of the police guards getting involved or there being a backlash. The money changers were an essential part of gaining revenue for the Temple so if Jesus was an ordinary Jew he would have been arrested or physically attacked.”

“Christ enjoyed social privileges that would not have been available to an uneducated itinerant carpenter. Not only was he able to clear the official Temple market on two occasions without interference but he was also able to teach unhindered in the Temple courts and synagogues.”

“Throughout the Bible he is addressed with formal titles of Rabbi and Doctor of the Law- the highest position in Jewish society, even by his enemies.”

Bradford also said that Joseph, Jesus’ father, was a scholar who helped teach the Torah and was involved in the judiciary. In addition, Bradford believes that Joseph, as an architect skilled at working with structures of stone and wood, was involved in the building the temple during the days of Herod. Bradford wrote: “Three times a year, Joseph would have taken Jesus to the major Jewish festivals in Jerusalem and pointed out various aspects of the Temple’s construction that he had overseen.”

Joseph’s involvement in building the temple may explain Jesus’ words when he visited the temple at the age of twelve. At that time Jesus said: “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). Bradford said: “I believe this has a double meaning referring to the fact Joseph helped build the temple as well as to God. The priests who Joseph had trained would have looked after the boy Jesus for the five days until his parents found him.”

It was at this time that the religious authorities recognized that Jesus was “a child genius” and recruited him to enroll in their school. After his graduation, Jesus was ordained as a Rabbi and then as Doctor of the Law.

To read the review in its entirety, visit The Telegraph online.

I have not read Bradford’s book. The quotes above were taken from the review of the book published in The Telegraph. I made a quick search for the book on Amazon.com, but I was unable to find the book listed there.

It is possible that Bradford is right on his views about Joseph and Jesus, but I doubt it. The New Testament presents another view of Joseph and Jesus and that view goes contrary to the view presented by Bradford.

Many people have tried to show that Jesus was not the humble carpenter of Nazareth. Some say that Jesus was rich. Others believe that he belonged to the upper class of Judean society because he was a professional.

People tend to forget what Jesus said about himself: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).

People also forget what Paul said about Jesus: “For your sake he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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21 Responses to >Jesus Christ, Ph.D.

  1. >Does Paul's statement that he "became" poor, imply that he once was rich, and then became poor?


  2. >Jordan,This is what Paul said: "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9).However, you can not assume that he was a rich man and then became poor after he began his ministry.I believe Paul's reference is to his status prior to the Incarnation.Thank you for visiting my blog.Claude Mariottini


  3. The Watcher says:

    >I know we shouldn't view scientific research as the result of a 'consensus of opinion', but when you have hundreds – perhaps thousands – of Biblical scholars who say 'This is what this means' and 'That's what that means', then someone comes along with a completely different take on a topic, I tend to get heartburn. It will be interesting to read what this man has written (I don't think the book is out yet) and see how he comes up with his ideas.


  4. The Watcher says:

    >I was wrong – the book IS out. you can find it here: http://www.templehouse-publishing.com/books.htm


  5. >Watcher,When someone comes with a new theory about Jesus, all of us should be suspicious. Since I have not read the book, I cannot make a definite evaluation of his view. We have to wait for the book to be published, read it, and then see if his view is supported by biblical evidence.Claude Mariottini


  6. >Watcher,Thank you for this information. I had checked at Amazon but could not find the book.Claude Mariottini


  7. Anonymous says:

    >Interesting. The Times article quotes academic support for the theory. If Jesus was indeed a genius, and he would appear to have demonstrated signs of being so at age 12, it makes sense that the doctors from the Temple would have wanted to recruit him once he turned adult aged 13. And his genius would have resulted him gaining theological parity with them, hence his never being side-lined as irrelevant. He is certainly called Rabbi.And if Joseph received gifts from the Magi he can not have been considered poor!What say you?


  8. >Dear Anonymous,Since I have not read the book yet, I cannot comment on the merits of the academic support.There is no evidence that the religious authorities enrolled Jesus in their school. The biblical evidence is just not there. There is much speculation about Jesus' silent years, thus the theory developed by the author.The problem with the gifts from the Magi is that we do not know how much they brought. Was it enough gold for Joseph to live a rich life? Or was it enough gold to help them move to Egypt and live there for several months or even a few years?Jesus was know as a teacher, but the religious authorities criticized him often because from their perspective, they knew he had no learned education.Claude Mariottini


  9. Anonymous says:

    >The Magi, wealthy men, brought gifts fit, in quantity surely, for someone they saw as being a king.What evidence can you offer that ' the religious authorities criticized him often because from their perspective, they knew he had no learned education.'?Also: 'The New Testament presents another view of Joseph and Jesus and that view goes contrary to the view presented by Bradford.'What other view of Joseph is it that the NT presents?Thanks for your interesting blog!


  10. >Dear Anonymous (or Mr. Bradford?),How do we know that the Magi brought that much gold to make Joseph a rich man? Here we are just guessing.Read the gospels and you will discover that the Pharisees and the Sadducees often criticized Jesus for his teachings and Jesus often criticized the Pharisees and the Sadducees for their teaching. They were just not in the same page when it came to teaching.The offering Joseph and Mary offered in the temple was the kind of offering poor people offered. But this was before Joseph became rich with the gold the Magi gave him.Thank you for visiting my blog.Claude Mariottini


  11. Anonymous says:

    >Sorry to be a bother (and I am not Mr Bradford!).You missed my question on Joseph.Surely the Pharisees + Sadducees were both on separate pages themselves? For Jesus to be on still another page does not imply any educational lack – do those parties ever cite one in his regard?Again, thanks for the helpful debate forum, and I wish you a Happy Easter.


  12. Anonymous says:

    >I feel that the theories created by Adam Bradford should be treated as suspicious. Because alot the respect that he saids Jesus got from an "official position" could also be gotton for Jesus by winning the hearts and minds of the ordinary Jewish people and the official Jewish Regilious gave Him honorary titles of rabbi and teacher for the love and commitment He created among the people through His works


  13. Anonymous says:

    >Adam Bradford theories has a number of large wholes in it. For instance if he was being trained and involved with the religious hierarchy until age 30 that means he must have been toeing their line until then which seems at odds against his own teachings after than. Also if he could astound the regilious at age 12 why would he get a official "religious education". The respect he did get from the regilious during his ministry could also be explained because the religious saw it as politically expedient to do so since most of the Jewish people was for him during his ministry until near the end.


  14. >To my 3 Anonymous friends above:To Anonymous # 1:I am sorry that I confused you with Mr. Bradford.As for Joseph, we know little about him. All that we know is related in the gospels and that is not very much. Since Joseph was a carpenter, it is possible that he worked in building Herod's temple, but this is just a theory that no one can prove.From the gospels, it is also very clear that the religious authorities of his days were opposed to Jesus' teachings.Anonymous # 2 and # 3:I agree with both of you that Bradford's theory is not very strong and it is based on assumptions that are based on a weak interpretation of the biblical texts. Even after listening to his lecture, I was not convinced.Thank you for this interesting conversation. Happy Easter to all of you.Claude Mariottini


  15. qraal says:

    >If Jesus was an important Rabbi that makes more sense of why James, JC's brother, seems so significant in Josephus & other places. James, for a Galilean peasant nobody, had seemingly anomalous access to the Temple and was seen as a very holy man by his contemporaries, including Josephus. Why? Bradford's thesis makes it perfectly understandable.


  16. >Graal,The theory makes sense when it is presented to an audience or it is written in a book, but the theory has no biblical or historical foundation. The desire to transform Jesus into someone of our own creation is not new, but every attempt has failed, and I am sure this one will fail too.Claude Mariottini


  17. >Dear Doctor Mariottini, I found your blog by chance, by posting an article about this book too. Having studied the history of architecture, I think Joseph was not an architect himself, architects had a higher political position in society since ancient times,if so, it should have been recorded somewhere. Maybe he was a master builder. There are many holes in the Bible, for example, the exodus couldn´t be proven by Jewish doctor archaeologists. Even though, we have to be guided by our hearts. I really don´t care who Jesus was, I believe in him, that´s it. We should follow our feelings.


  18. Anonymous says:

    >According to the article in the Telegraph and the lecture on the Templehouse-Publishing site, the theory is based on Josephus' comments regarding the need to train priests as tektons to build the Temple. Joseph was a tekton, and also devout (hence respected), lived at that time + would have been well-placed to train the priests. How is that lacking biblical / historical foundation?


  19. >Dear Anonymous,The Bible says little about Joseph. However, the Bible seems to indicate that he was not as rich as the book and lecture indicate. Morever, it is very doubtful that Jesus was educated by the religious authorities of his day. All that the book can offer is a possibility and a theory. There is no proof for the theory.Claude Mariottini


  20. >Myriam,I agree with your views about Joseph. It is clear from what we read in the New Testament that Jesus was not taught by the religious authorities of his day.Thank you for visiting my blog.Claude Mariottini


  21. Anonymous says:

    >Dear Dr Mariottini,Thank you for your interesting site.Surely the Magi bought the Holy Family large enough gifts for them to be defined as 'rich' in that society? And surely 2 Cor 8:9's use of 'plousio' means material wealth, also supported by the context of material giving? Surely if Jesus spoke to the rich young ruler from personal experience, eg giving up wealth himself to live a life of comparative poverty, (rather like St Francis later did) then his words would carry even greater significance? It is one thing to be poor having been raised poor, + quite another thing to be voluntarily poor having been previously comparatively well off.No one is saying here that Jesus preached prosperity (quite the reverse) but he may have not have been asking the rich young ruler to do anything that he had not already done himself.I do not understand the insistence in many quarters that Joseph had to have been an uneducated man. A 'tekton' was a skilled craftsman, not a manual labourer. These skills were in demand, + it is likely that he was able to support himself by them, even in Egypt. Surely his description of being 'devout' (Matt 1:19) means 'one who kept the law'? And the law had been made extremely complex by successive generations of Rabbinic writings. To keep the law required that one knew the law well; that would not have been possible for someone who did not study the law and so know it well.The image of a simple uneducated person does not seem to have any foundation in Scripture, rather in tradition only. Devout parents such as Joseph and Mary would surely have bought up their son to be educated in the study of Torah -the Law commanded it. Specific answers are needed rather than vague generalities. A happy Easter to you.


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