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What happened to Joseph (husband of Mary)?

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by sk3ptic, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. sk3ptic

    sk3ptic Newbie

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    I've always thought that at Christmas when all the nativity plays are performed and there is always this talk about the virgin Mary and baby Jesus, Joseph often gets left out of it all and no one really mentions him. Of course he isn't really essential to the story (many people might argue) as if Mary really were a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus (and he was the son of God), Joseph isn't the biological father of Jesus.
    After Luke 2:41-52 (when Jesus is at the tempel as a boy) Joseph is never mentioned again (and he isn't mentioned by name there either), so what do people believe happened to him after that?
    When Jesus is preaching it is mentioned that Mary and his brothers come along (and the same when he is crucified), so it must mean that Mary and Joseph had children together and Joseph had died in the space of 10-15 years? Unless Mary got married to someone else after Joseph died which seems highly unlikely given the attitudes to marriage at that time.

    Also, how old were Mary and Joseph when Jesus was born? I've heard a lot of people say that Mary was only around 13. Could Joseph have been in his late teens/early 20s?

    Could it be argued as well that Joseph had more faith than Mary? If Mary had been a virgin and told she was giving birth to a baby (and could physically feel it) she would know it was true as soon as she heard because she would know she never 'did the deed' with anyone else to get pregnant. However, with Joseph, (as we can see from the 2nd chapter in Matthew) he did have his doubts, but ultimately he believed his wife and God, so could it be argued he had more faith and belief?
     
  2. Mediakira

    Mediakira Senior Member

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    Joesph died when Jesus turned 30. But I can't say of what he died from.
     
  3. GrayAngel

    GrayAngel Senior Member

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    You pretty much answered your own question. Joseph wasn't emphasized as much because he had little part to play in the birth of Jesus, while Mary was a virgin mother, which was a really big deal.

    What is hear is that he likely died, but the Bible doesn't specifically state why he wasn't present in Jesus' later life. I would think he'd at least visit Jesus' grave, but Mary came alone. Perhaps Joseph was too busy with his work at home, but I think the explanation that he was dead probably fits best.

    I don't know if Mary had remarried. According to custom, a brother of Joseph's could have married her, and any children that would come out of that would be considered Joseph's. Also, I don't think widows were considered unclean. They might have been less desirable than the young virgin girls, but I don't know if there were any barriers to prevent a widow to be married again.

    I don't know, and I don't know if we have any way of finding out. From what I've heard, it was likely that Mary was in her teens, but Joseph could have been as old as 40 or more. I would think Joseph would be a little more quick to find a wife than that, but I can't say anything for certain.

    Yes. Mary knew that she was pregnant, and also that she had never slept with any men. But Joseph was uncertain, wanting to divorce her quietly at first. It took an angel to convince Joseph to keep her.
     
  4. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis De profundis clamavi et exaudisti me.

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    Based on the rather stark silence in the New Testament coupled with tradition, St. Joseph had died before Jesus' public ministry, though exactly when we don't know. One account from St. Epiphanius says that St. Joseph died at the ripe old age of 90 around the year AD 18.

    According to Tradition St. Joseph was a widower who already had children (the brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned in Scripture) and betrothed the young Mary in order that she be provided for. Again, traditionally, the belief has been that they never engaged in sexual intercourse and that Mary remained a virgin her entire life.

    All-in-all we just don't know.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  5. GrayAngel

    GrayAngel Senior Member

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    I personally find the belief that Mary remained a virgin for her whole life despite being married a bit ridiculous.
     
  6. Faulty

    Faulty bind on pick up Supporter

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    Agreed, especially in light of Psalms 69.
    Psalms 69:9
    For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
    This scripture was fulfilled in John 2 at the cleansing of the Temple (Jo 2:17) as refering to Jesus. He is the "me" in this verse. This is plain.

    Now we back up one verse, within the same thought...
    Psalms 69:8
    I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother’s sons.
    Who is the "I" and the "my" refering to? The same "Me" in verse 9, Jesus.

    He was a stranger to HIS brothers, and an alien to His MOTHER's sons. Not his father's sons, because He had no earthly father, but His earthly mother, Mary, and her sons. These were half-brothers, sharing a single parent, not two, and they were not conceived through the Holy Spirit as Jesus was. Nope. They came about the old-fashioned way.
     
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  7. sk3ptic

    sk3ptic Newbie

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    If it is generally believed by the majority of Christians that there would have been a pretty large age gap between Mary and Joseph when they had Jesus, why do the majority of depictions of the nativity scene show Mary and Joseph to be of a similar age? Obviously (disregarding the thousands of school nativities) it would probably be seen as very controvertial nowadays to show a young teenager giving birth with her 30-40 year old husband-to-be standing at her side, but even if you are not a Christian and don't believe in any of the Biblical stories, you can't deny that in those times, men of a certain age married much younger women because they were marriages of convenience not really for love.
    Has there even been a portrayal of the nativity story that has picked actors of a similar age to what Mary and Joseph could have been?
     
  8. razeontherock

    razeontherock New Member

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    Per the account Via Crucis gave, Joseph was 72 when he married Mary. Also, Jesus commits Mary's care to John while He's on the Cross. This does indeed indicate she had no other children, and that Joseph had died. (Also note that John was the last surviving Apostle, and apparently the only one not to be martyred)
     
  9. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran CF Ambassador

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    It's pretty clear why Joseph isn't emphasized. In the NT it's because very little is said about Jesus' early days. Most of it is the story of the virgin birth, where clearly Mary is the major player. Looking at Luke, the only thing other than the virgin birth, including the rest of the birth story, is in Luke 2, and it treats Mary and Joseph equally. By Luke 3 Jesus is an adult, and we assume Joseph is dead.

    As for Christian tradition, the virgin birth caused most of the attention to be on Mary. The implication seems to be that Jesus wasn't in any normal sense Joseph's son.

    In reality, it appears that Jesus spent most of his life with both parents. I would assume that in the 1st Cent his father would have mentored him more than his mother. Unless he was a particularly incompetent father, we can no doubt see his influence in the adult Jesus, but it's a bit unfair to him that we don't know more about him. My speculation is that if the virgin birth is literally true, God probably used Joseph's DNA to supply the male half of Joseph's genetic complement. But there's no possible way to verify that. If both halves don't come from humans, it causes problems for Jesus' true humanity, and Joseph would be the obvious source.
     
  10. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis De profundis clamavi et exaudisti me.

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    A few Icons of the Holy Family depict Joseph as fairly aged, such as these:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  11. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    That sounds like an approach to "Jesus prophesies" in the OT that would get you in all sorts of messes if generally applied.
     
  12. GrayAngel

    GrayAngel Senior Member

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    Considering there is no Biblical evidence for the Catholic version of the story, I'll stick with the OT prophecies. Plus, I find it hard to believe that Mary could remain a virgin despite her undefined number of years in marriage.
     
  13. razeontherock

    razeontherock New Member

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    Well if Joseph was 72 when they married ...
     
  14. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    As Calvin observed, the bible doesn't directly answer the question either way. He decided in favor of perpetual virginity.

    But your method is not a good way to use "Jesus prophesies" from the OT: they don't function that way and trying to get them to will get you in a muddle quickly.

    I don't see that incredulity is a very strong argument at all under the circumstances.
     
  15. GrayAngel

    GrayAngel Senior Member

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    I don't know of any Jesus prophesies that don't work. All of them describe Jesus life, even down to the detail of how much money He would be traded for by Judas.

    I believe that the Bible is perfect, including the OT. I'll believe what it says over baseless tradition.

    Why do Catholics consider it so important to think of Mary as a permanent virgin, anyway. The only significance of her virginity is that she got pregnant while she was still a virgin. There's no point in remaining a virgin after that.
     
  16. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    it's not a question of not working, is a question of the sort of thing they are.

    So, for instance, if you keep reading Hosea 11 as though it's talking about Jesus you'll find some explaining to do.
     
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