Luke's Testimony : Part 9
...continued from Part 8
Translators have played games with Luke 3:23, which begins the genealogy of Jesus. A selection of English Translations:
And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli…(KJV).
Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli… (ESV).
Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli… (NIV).
In these English versions, translators have disguised the meaning of the verse by either inserting parenthesis in the incorrect place or by inserting the following words which do not appear in the Greek texts—“which was the son” or “the son” immediately preceding “of Heli…”.
It was surprising to discover that scholars of the Roman Catholic Church have actually known and recorded the correct translation of Luke 3:23. The Roman Catholic Encyclopaedia article entitled Genealogy has the following to say:
St. Matthew’s genealogy is that of St. Joseph; St. Luke’s, that of the Blessed Virgin. This contention implies that St. Luke’s genealogy only seemingly includes the name of Joseph. It is based on the received Greek text, on (os enomizeto ouios Ioseph) tou Heli, “being the son (as it was supposed, of Joseph, but really) of Heli. This parenthesis really eliminates the name of Joseph from St. Luke’s genealogy, and makes Christ, by means of the Blessed Virgin, directly a son of Heli.
So, the Catholic Encyclopaedia’s translation of 3:23 is:
And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years old, being the son (as it was supposed of Joseph, but really) of Heli.
In his Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, the renowned exegete and scholar of Biblical Greek, Frédéric Louis Godet,* inserts dashes in the text and says:
The text, therefore, to express the author’s meaning clearly, should be written thus:
And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years old, being a son—as was thought, of Joseph—of Heli, of Matthat…
Although Frédéric Godet and the Roman Catholic Church assert that Luke’s genealogy is that of Mary, i.e. “Jesus, (Mary), Heli, Matthat”…. to maintain the doctrine of the Virgin Birth, Godet’s arguments as to the original genealogical information provided by Luke and the correct translation of the passage remain overwhelmingly convincing. The one issue upon which these scholars are united is that the name of Joseph does not belong in the original genealogy.
Luke records the Jesus is the biological son of a man named "Heli". Let that sink in for a moment and then reflect that the endlessly-debated “conflict” between the two genealogies of Matthew and Luke is simply an illusion necessitated by adherence to the doctrine of the Virgin Birth.
* Frederick Louis Godet, "Gospel of St. Luke", http://www.biblecentre.net/comment/nt/flg/luke/luke-Index.html
Coming up...He who sits in the heavens