I did see the Sextus Julianus quotes in Eusebius, but (maybe stupidly, as I didn't check if Sextus was quoted elsewhere) I saw it in the same light as the Hegesippus quotes in Eusebius. IE A later personage (Eusebius), who appears to be involved in what should/should not be in the bible, quoting 'other' sources (from within the same organization) that have now been lost. I think I see the Eusebius testimony a bit like a Labour (UK) supporter of Tony Blair quoting Mandelson or Alastair Campbell without those original documents being there (or similar scenario for Maggie Thatcher).
Eusebius cites direct quotes from the works of S. Julius Africanus and Hegesippus; the fact that these are now
lost has no bearing on their value as source materials in Eusebius' time, as obviously they were not lost when he transcribed them. I'm not sure what his role as a canonical scholar (not compiler) has to do with the matter at hand, namely citations in his Historia Ecclesiae
, which was not commentary on the canon, but was a history of the early church. If there is some suggestion here that Eusebius tinkered with genealogical data to downplay the role or significance of Jesus' relatives, I can't imagine why he would have included these citations at all.
I know I project my ideas back (it's difficult not to), but the bible and history has taught me about lineages. It is all about who your father/mother was. Royalty particularly are obsessed with it, the Jewish priesthood ditto. The Gospels 'prove' the importance of this, as even though Jesus is the 'Son of G_d', they still feel the need to show he was of a 'mortal' royal (or maybe priestly see below) line (as if being G_d wasn't qualification enough).
The Gospel genealogies are obviously conflicting and very difficult to interpret through a Christian gloss. For one thing, they both culminate in Joseph, and to orthodox Christians Joseph wasn't Jesus' father; so by what I consider a very contrived formula they seek to differentiate between Joseph's wholly immaterial genealogy in Matthew, and Mary's genealogy in Luke. Also, by noting the inclusion (twice) of the name Levi in Luke's version, some well-meaning but ill-informed Biblical scholars conclude that Mary was a Levite, ergo Jesus was a kohan
, or hereditary priest. Thus in Jesus we have an assumed
confluence of royal and priestly lineage. A few problems arise from this formula:
a) Luke's genealogy shows descent from David through his son Nathan, while the royal lineage passed through the descendants of his brother Solomon. Nathan was never a king and thus his descendants were not kings.
b) If Luke's genealogy actually culminates with Mary, even if there was an established line of royal descent (through Solomon and not Nathan) Mary could not pass this on to her own son, as the succession excluded females.
c) Tribal affiliations were determined according to the twelve sons of Jacob; therefore despite the double appearance of the name Levi in Luke's genealogy, these two individuals are positioned many generations after these tribal affiliations were established. Luke's genealogy shows descent from Jacob's son Judah, not Jacob's son Levi, some (not all) of whose male descendants form the kohanim
, or priestly caste. A kohan
must be born the son of a father who is both a Levite and a kohan
, it is non-transmissible through mothers. Thus if Luke's genealogy is Mary's, as Christian scholars have been assuming for centuries, even if she was a Levite, her son would not be, and could thus not be a kohan
So I still don't see, given that some much trouble was gone to to prove how 'royal' the family was, that after Jesus/James/Jude/Simon...blah nothing seems to exist to show the ongoing Royal family.
Likely because the House of David had ceased to reign many centuries before Jesus was born, thirteen generations before in fact (I know, Matthew cites fourteen between Jeconiah/Jehoiachin and Jesus, but it's only fourteen if you count Jesus as the fourteenth so it's not technically "between"). But again, this is Matthew's version that Christians hold to be Joseph's bloodline of descent, which to a Christian would have nothing to do with Jesus.
If, for the sake of argument, we hold that Joseph really was Jesus' biological father and Matthew's genealogy is accurate, we can see a closer degree of royal descent than in Luke's version but there are mitigating circumstances that should be taken into account. Thirteen generations up from Jesus we find the name of the second-to-last king of Judah, Jeconiah/Jehoiachin. From there down we see a chronological list this king's male descendants, but none of them are kings. Unlike the British royal family where primogenture determines the right to succession by order of birth, the Judean kings didn't use this formula. Each king picked his own successor from among his sons, it was not automatically determined by which son was eldest. Likewise with formerly reigning European royal houses that used primogeniture to determine their succession, the claimant or head-of-house is still designated by this method. We don't know by what method, if any, the House of David might have used to determine a claimant and head-of house, if any at all as the succession rights were discretionary to the reigning monarch. Without a sitting king to pick which son would succeed him, and owing to the fact that their kingdom was demolished thirteen generations before Jesus, I don't know how anyone could possibly determine that Jesus was "the" solely rightful heir. A descendant, yes, but likely one of thousands after thirteen generations had passed.
I know SP will now say, I'm just repeating this, but I still don't see that Eusebius/Hegesippus.. does this. . There was so much 'change' going on at the time of Eusebius that without again knowing 'motive', the quotes could be intentionally misleading. They could be to discredit, they could be to prove, they could be to...who knows?
Why conclude a perfidious "motive" on Eusebius' part at all? Might it not have been easier just to exclude any mention of these people at all? Or to make an attempt to discredit them more obvious? Neither S. Julius nor Hegesippus called these two grandsons of Judah impostors. If that was Eusebius' goal, he didn't pull it off very successfully.
I also don't see that for all the trials and tribulations that Jews had been through (according) to the OT and how they still kept a direct priesthood of the line, that they would not have kept meticulous records - even if the older records had been intentionally or unintentionally destroyed.
I'm not saying the Desposyni didn't exist at all, just that the evidence seems scant. In fact in one way I want the Desposyni to have existed - as I'll explain below.
Bear in mind the number of times the Jews had been driven out of their homeland into a life of exile and deprivation, or were comquered. There were plenty of opportunities for records to have been destroyed. In S. Julius, he mentions some who committed their "begats" to memory.
The other question (or set of related questions) that I'll throw in here (just so I can't be accused of repeating), is ... weren't the Jews particularly fussy about their priesthood?
If by "fussy" you mean exclusionary, then yes. The kohanim
or priestly caste came from the tribe of Levi (although belonging to the tribe of Levi didn't automatically make one a priest) and descended from Aaron.
Isn't it also 'true' that Christianity was a Jewish religion and that it was corrupted and that the true 'Jerusalem' church was simply a break away Jewish sect?
That's my understanding.
Christianity was Jewish. So for any of Mary/Joseph's children to assume a priestly role, wouldn't they have to prove a tie back to Levi/Aaron? Hence again the genealogy.
Yes. But where is it stated in scripture that Jesus assumed a priestly role? He was a rabbi (teacher), not a kohan (priest).
But isn't it also 'true' that there were two 'Jewish' recognised priesthoods? The OT explains how Moses/Aaron as Levites established Aaron and it also talks of Abraham and Melchizedek (was what, 500+ years before the founding of the Aaronic priesthood?). This priesthood was slightly different to the Aaronic priesthood, as Melchizedek was both priest and king.
I wouldn't classify Melchizedek as "Jewish" per se, but rather as a Jebusite. The OT doesn't mention two distinct Jewish lines of priesthood existing concurrently, and Melchizedek existed before there were "Jews".
To me, the promotion of Jesus seemed to be more along those lines. King of The Jews and Priest. Melchizedek. The follow on then is how Melchizedek is interpreted as a name and how that seems to fit with the Qumran scrolls and the 'teacher of righteousness' - taken (possibly) to refer to James. Would that then follow, that Jesus and his family were from a line of mortal Priest-Kings going back to 2000BC.
I guess it would depend on who was doing the promoting. The two genealogies don't point in that direction at all.
Isn't this 'priest-king' thing also what separated the stories of the Merovingians from other 'Royal' dynasties? I know this is retro-fitting them back - and I'm there asking for evidence of this - but wouldn't it then make sense if the Merovingians were the extension of that line - so the line does continue, and not just 'vanish'?
Before Clovis' conversion to Catholicism, the Merovingian chieftains were pagan and served their tribal gods in a "priestly" role, yes. After Clovis' conversion, no - the Merovingian monarchs played no sacerdotal role. "Priest-King" suggests a concurrence of roles and that is a misnomer in their case.
I think (as I said earlier), if we're looking at Jesus/MM, then we have to understand why and what relevance it has. To me, if Jesus was of a line of priest kings, then if he married MM and had children, that is what would be expected.
That's a pretty big "if". By Jewish standards, and according to the two NT genealogies, Jesus could not have been a kohan as he wasn't a Levite or a descendant of Aaron. If there was some other hereditary line of priests that Jesus' supporters were promoting then there doesn't seem to be any indication of it in the NT.
All conjecture (and conspiracy theory) of course and nothing new, but still a way of explaining the whole scenario (and maybe justifying a 'hidden bloodline' theory? Although why a line of priest-kings (or any 'royalty' for that matter) is any more 'special' than you or me still baffles me)
But don't you think that theories and conjecture should be based on something
tangible, and not just taking advantage of perceived holes in, or insufficient analysis of, the narrative itself? I mean, should the fact that nowhere in the Gospels does it state unequivocably that Jesus had thirty-two teeth in his head be sufficient reason to speculate or theorize about how many teeth he actually had? Should we assume that because the narratives say nothing at all on the matter we can safely conclude that he didn't
have a full set of teeth?
PS the obvious thing here is also that the priest-king line isn't 'Jewish' as we know it. It just seems to come from 'nowhere' at the time of Abraham - and is obviously well established as Abraham recognises the priestly role of Melchizedek.
Yes, in Jewish teaching Melchizedek is a Jebusite who worships the same god that Abram/Abraham worships. The timeframe is pre-Jewish, so from that standpoint neither Melchizedek nor Abraham were Jews. They weren't even technically Hebrews.