The GenealogiesThe genealogies of Jesus are given in two of the Gosplels.
The genealogy given in Matthews is assumed to be the genealogy of Joseph.A second genealogy is given in the Gospel of Luke. This is assumed to be the genealogy of Mary.
An obvious difficulty is that the two genealogies appear to show the same ancestors for both Mary and Joseph. In any case as Jesus is the son of God why does the Genealogy of Joseph matter?
The gospels are supposed to be the inspired word of God, immune from error, so the apparent discepancies between these two genealogies have caused much concern this has caused. The emergence of relatives of Jesus also causes concerns for the Church of Rome but is less of a concern to the Orthodox Church.There is little doubt that the objective of both Gospel writers and Eusebius was to establish that Jesus was descended from both King David and the tribe of Levi, a necessary qualification for a high priest, thus giving Jesus the perfect credentials to be King of the Jews and the Messiah.
In turn this perfectly fitted Jesus with the ability to shape the Jewish people into any mould he devised.
The issue is complicated by the fact that the people who figure in this genealogies are in many cases real people who can be found in Jewish records.
This has lead to many attempts to produce alternative genealogiesWhich honour both the jewish records and the content of the gospel genealogies.
St Eusebius SolutionSt Eusebius of Caesarea (AD 325) attempted to resolve the issue. Of course wether these ideas did originate in 325 or were introduced much later during a copying process is open to doubt! He, or someone using his credentials concludes that Heli and Jacob are what he describes as “uterine brothers” that is they had the same mother. When Heli died Jacob married Heli’s wife and according to Eusubius
when Jacob married Heli’s wife his son Joseph though Jacob’s biological son was Heli’s legal son. However the Gospel of Luke indicates that Heli was Mary’s father, so that Mary and Joseph were half brother and sister.
These genealogies still cause difficulty. A somewhat disingenuous question sent to the Pope by a Jewish organisation produced a less than convincing response.
There is of course always the possibility that he did not exist at all, that he was simply an invention intended to divert the Jewish nation from the path of conflict. If so it was the most successful manipulative invention ever created