>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).
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary