Joseph, more than a carpenter?


In recent years, many attempts have been made by so-called “experts” to bring doubt into key passages of Scripture, the end result of which is to cause unknowledgeable Christians to question the authenticity of Jesus and inevitably their own faith. Usually, there is a personal or political/social agenda behind it. Nevertheless, at face value many may be intrigued. There does not appear to be a “discrediting” agenda and the assertion—that Jesus’ father was more than just a “carpenter”—opens up a credible scenario that explains many passages in the Bible.

Jesus Discovery (United Kingdom)—The Daily Mail has reported on a book called The Jesus Discovery by Dr. Adam Bradford, which contends that Jesus was “the son of a middle-class, highly educated architect and rose to become the highest ranking Rabbi of His age.” His book reportedly explains why Christ was able to exert such influence and why His teachings became such a concern to the authorities.

Bradford contends:

“If Jesus was the son of a poor itinerant carpenter with some radical ideas nobody would have been that concerned about what He said. 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 moneychangers 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,” he adds, “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.”

Referring to construction work in Jerusalem, Bradford notes: “In about 22BC, King Herod ordered that a gigantic Jewish temple should be built in Jerusalem:

They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” (John 2:20)

because only Jewish priests could build the sacred parts of the building, Herod conscripted ten thousand skilled craftsmen to assist and instruct one thousand Jewish priests in the skills of master craftsmen. Statistically, given that ten thousand skilled craftsmen were employed there is every likelihood that Joseph, who was a devout Jew, was one of these “tekton’s“, skilled at working with large structures of stone and wood.”

First century historian Dr. Mark Whitters, of Eastern Michigan University, reportedly believes that The Jesus Discovery gives a proper insight into how Jesus was able to become such an important figure.

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