Thursday 27 February 2014

A return to Rabbinic Dilemma 101

This document I had never thought I'd be coming back to but it appears I need to look at some more objections that have been raised.

"barry umansky5 February 2014 20:25
I wanted to respond to an older post, so I will do so here as I surmise you probably would not notice a comment to what you posted last October. This is in reference to what you called a rabbinic dilemma regarding the genealogies in the NT. You wrote you did not see any evidence that would prevent Jesus inheriting the right to the Davidic throne via adoption thru Joseph. There are numerous problems with this position. 

First, although there are descriptions in the Torah which allude to an adoptive process, the institution of adoption was not legally defined in biblical times. I will refer to several instances to show that tribal lineage remained with the biological father.

Second, there is no reference in the NT to indicate that Joseph "adopted" Jesus."

Firstly, regarding the second point, If Jesus was born to Mary after the marriage of Joseph and Joseph looked after him as he would his own, that is adoption. The argument presented by barry is from silence.

The subject of the first point is elaborated on by barry in the comment.

"Third, Although the institution of adoption, through its widespread use in Roman law was well known in talmudic times, the codifiers of Jewish law denied that Jewish law recognized an institution of "adoption." Rather, they created an institution which did not change the legal status of the parents of the person whose custody has changed.

The Torah specifies that blood rights, such as tribal lineage, are transmitted exclusively from a father to his biological sons. Whenever the Israelites were selected to serve in the army, it was done "according to the house of their father":

Numbers 1:17-18 - (17) Then Moses and Aaron took these men, who were indicated by [their] names, (18) and they assembled all the congregation on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees according to their families according to their fathers' houses; according to the number of names, a head count of every male from twenty years old and upward.
Similarly, the Aaronic Priesthood can only be transmitted from a father to his biological sons (Exodus 40:15; Numbers 25:12-13).

A Jew who was adopted into a family of a tribe other than his birth tribe does NOT take the tribe of the adopting family In Judaism an adopted child retains the tribe of his birth (if he had one). A girl retains her father's tribal status until such time as she marries outside of that tribe (and then she is a member of her husband's tribe).

In Ketuvim (Writings) we are told that Esther is adopted by her cousin Mordechai (Book of Esther 2:7). Esther's full name is used twice in the story --- and both times it is tied to her birth father (Esther daughter of Avihayil). (Book of Esther 2:15 and 9:29) -- in other words, she is called by the name of her biological father, not her adoptive father. 

Other instances include the adoption of Moses by Pharoah's daughter who later married Mered who was of the tribe of Judah. Yet Moses is always considered a Levite as of course was his older brother Aaron."

There is a problem with using Esther and Moses, they were already born in their respected context. Lets grant what barry is saying is right., Moses himself was still part of the Levitical lineage, that's fine. Esther herself was still the son of Avihayil or Abihail after his death, despite Mordecai taking her in. Unfortunatly for barry, this doesn't prove his case against Jesus. Mary had already been pledged to Joseph in marriage and after their ceremony, Jesus was born in a manger to Mary and because of Joseph consummating the marriage AFTER his birth, he is still considered part of Joseph's line and brought into it.

While Numbers 1:18 does mention the subject of men from their clans, it is speaking on the subject of military service and calling on individual men from those tribes to serve in that militia.

"This ruling is found in the Torah and is the underlying principle or halacha still being practiced today more than 3000 years. Unlike the Western legal tradition,
traditional halakhah contains
no provision for the legal incorporation
of an adopted child into her new
family. While adoption is viewed as
deeply admirable and to be encouraged,
it is not transformative of lineage
as it is in the Western legal system.
An adopted child’s status follows
that of his or her biological parents,
not that of the adoptive parent(s).

From your Trinitarian perspective, Jesus was "fathered" by the holy spirit- ie he has no tribal lineage. There is no firm evidence of adoption by Joseph and even if there was, tribal lineage cannot be passed on to the adopted child."

Jesus being "fathered by the Holy Spirit" is an incorrect statement, his physical body was concieved by the Spirit but he existed from eternity. I would also need to look at the subject of halacha before I can comment on that however. Again, the Torah doesn't leave adoption out of the question with respect to being accepted into a tribe.

Feel free to judge my words.

1 comment:

  1. excuse the late reply. You have not provided any evidence that adoption is a possible mechanism for the transmission of tribal lineage. The Hebrew Bible specifies that such lineage is determined through paternal biological transmission. Not only have you been provided with several passages attesting to that (eg the Aaronic priesthood), you have been informed that this remains the practice more than 3000 years after Sinai, ie if a male kohen adopts a son whose biological father is not a kohen, then that son does not become a kohen. This is the most plausible explanation for the discovery of the Cohen Modal Haplotype (CMH)- a set of genetic markers on the Y (male) chromosome which is found in a much higher frequency in contemporary Jewish kohanim as compared to Jewish non-kohanim and non-Jews. These markers are shared by both Sephardic and Ashekenazic kohens indicating a common origin before the origin of the diaspora under the Roman empire. One study dated the original Y carrier to approximately 3200 years ago, which corresponds to the estimated dates of Aaron.