Volume 10, Issue 8, page 6

probably the oldest extantï manuscriptic version of "The Gospel according to St. Matthew",
verse 16 runs: "Jacob begat Joseph; and Joseph ,
to whom the Virgin mary was betrothed, begat
Jesus who is called the Christ" -- a version
which makes the genealogy applicable to Jesus,
but contradicts the virginity of Mary.

Moreover, in this Sinaitic Syriac version,
the words, "to whom tire Virgin Mary was betrothed", are undoubtedly an interpolation, as
the Bible is filled with these spurious interpolations. The original must have stated simply, "Joseph begat Jesus," as in the other later manuscripts to which reference was made.

Evidently the original genealogy was written when the virgin birth story was unkown ,
and verse 16 is an attempt to reconcile the
older story of a descent from David with the
later story of a virgin birth.

It would be an amazing thing if the carpenter Joseph could trace an unbroken line of
descent for about 4,000 years back to Adam.
But the authors of these two Gospels pretend
they could do it for him.

Chapter 2 of Luke presents what should be,
from the point of view of chronology, one of
the most important texts in the Gospels. It
collates the birth of Jesus with a census of
the people taken by Quirinius, governor of
Syria, the Cyrenius of the Bible.

Matthew has the parents of Jesus go on a
journey so as to avoid a massacre of young
children; but Luke says they went on a journey
to conform with the regulations of a census.

The only census to which this could refer
occurred in 6 or 7 A.D. But we are told the
birth of Jesus was announced to Mary during
the reign of Herod, who died in 4 B.C.

According to matthew, Herod's death was announced to Joseph some time after his arrival
with the infant Jesus in Egypt. How long after
they arrived we are not told; but, according
to this account, Jesus must have been born in
the year 5 B.C. at least, and probably earlier.

According to Luke, Jesus must have been
born in 3 B.C. at the very latest. According
to the second chapter, in 6 A. D. at the very
earliest. The interval of approximately 10
years or more cannot be bridged by any explanation. One account, or both, are wrong.

It is remarkable that, after all the details about the events surrounding the birth
and a brief account of one episode in childhood, mentioned only by Luke (2:40-52), no
further data appears as to the life of Jesus
until he is about 30 years old.

Luke in his 3rd chapter, like Matthew in
his, moves on to the baptism, which formed the
starting-point of Mark, said to be the original Gospel. After this one episode in Jerusalem, there is an absolute blank; and then the
story begins again with an episode which fits
well with mark's story, or with the remainder
of Luke's story, but which joins in badly to
the virgin birth story that precedes it.

Paul's epistles, admittedly the earliest
Christian writings which the world has, would,
if they stood alone, leave us in almost total
darkness of the story told in the Gospels. We
would know nothing of the virgin birth, of the
miracles, or of the sayings of Jesus, and would
have some very few, very questionable, and
very brief references to the alleged death and
resurrection of a Christ.

If Paul's Epistles were the only Christian
documents we had, we would have a fairly clear
idea of the charity and other ethical ideals
which early Christianity taught, but no data
at all of the life and sayings of Jesus.

The orthodox theory is that the Epistles
were addressed to those who knew something of
Jesus by reports and traditions; but such reports and traditions must have been meager,

even if there were any at all, as even the
authors of the various Epistles apparently knew
not enough of the Gospel story of Jesus to be
able to refer to it in support of their arguments. They always quote from the Old Testament and never anything, traditional or evangelical, of Jesus.

When Paul desires to convince his audience
that Jesus was Christ, he presents no evidence
about the life of Jesus described in the Gospels, but offers Old Testament quotations,
which his listeners, as devout Jews, should
believe "must needs have been fulfilled".

Had Paul ever heard of the events recorded
in the Gospels, they had failed to convince
him, as he persecuted the followers of Jesus,
not yet called Christians, until he had his
"vision" or "saw" the "risen Jesus". Had he
never heard of these events, the Jesus of whom
he spoke must have been a very dim personality
in his mind, or far different from the Jesus
described in the Gospels he had never read.

Paul presents himself as the originator of
his doctrine, which has for its basis a code
of ethics that he designates as his own gospel, and which "was preached", he declared, "to
every creature which is under heaven, whereof
I Paul am made a minister" (Col. 1:23).

This doctrine was not that of the Jesus who
performed miracles, walked on water, stilled
the storm, made the blind to see, the lame to
walk, brought the dead back to life, and was
born of a virgin without the need of a father.

The doctrine of the perpetual virginity of
Mary was mooted by some of the early church
fathers, who quoted in support of their theory
the words of Ezekiel, "This gate shall be shut;
it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter
in by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel,
hath entered in by it, therefore shall it be
shut" (xliv: 2).

That words which plainly referred to a gate
of the temple should be taken as prophesying
as to the womb of a future mother of God, is
typical of the exegetical methods pursued by
early Christians and accepted by later ones.

Furthermore, in view of the fact that Jesus
is said in the Gospels to have had brethren,
and that James is several times called "the
brother of Jesus ", the idea of Mary's perpetual
virginity and the motive for attempting to
teach this doctrine, are at first not easy to
recognize. But studying comparative religion,
we find the notion is an old one. The mothers
of each successive Buddha are said to have died
shortly after giving birth to their "divine"
children. Their wombs had become holy, and no
other child could occupy them.

So the brothers of Jesus, mentioned in the
Gospels, while at first considered full brothers, were later, to. preserve the virginity of
Mary thruout her life, described by the church
fathers as the children of Joseph by another
wife; and lately, when the church, in her desire to glorify chastity, taught that Joseph
had lived as a perpetual celibate, they were
described as being the first cousins of Jesus.

In the middle of the Fburth Century, one
Jovinian, an Italian monk, had the temerity to
assert that mary ceased to be a virgin when
Jesus was born, and for this serious offense,
was flogged and banished to a desolate island.

During the first four centuries of the
Christian era, nothing was known as to the 0
death or burial of Mary. The church corrected
this omission. Ephesus, at the synod held with E-,
reference to the mother of God controversy,
claimed the honor of containing her burial
place. This was affirmed by the synod to be a
fact.. Then Jerusalem, much later, claimed the