Sabbath 30/10/38/120

Dear Friends

The question has been raised as to: How old was Joseph when he married Mary? (i.e. the Mother of Christ, Mariam)

In the paper Catholicism Frequently asked Questions (No. 008) we have a similar question:
"What ever happened to Joseph, Mary's husband? After the birth of Christ he is not mentioned other than when Christ was in the Temple. "  [The fact is that he was present when Christ was 12 years in the temple but that is the last recorded instance of him].

A: The answer appears to be that he was dead by the time of Christ's ministry. Christ's mother was given into the care of John at the crucifixion and it appears that his brothers and sisters joined them from that time. Jacob, called James, the brother of Christ was chairman at the Jerusalem conference of the apostles in Acts and Jude also went on to write his book. His entire family became leaders of the Church for three centuries. The only conclusion we have is that Joseph died prior to the baptism of Christ in 27/28 CE and sometime after Christ's discussions in the Temple at about twelve years of age in 7 CE. The fact that he had four brothers and a number of sisters indicates Joseph lived for a good many years and well after the events of 7 CE. There is a work called the History of Joseph the Carpenter and the complete text is preserved in the Boharic and Arabic. A Latin version was made from the Arabic in the fourteenth century. The text is allegedly a story given by Christ on the Mt. of Olives but the text is a post fifth century text which was affected by Mariolatry and the doctrine of the assumption which emerged in that century and is spurious. The story of Christ's Family is in the paper The Virgin Mariam and the Family of Jesus Christ (No. 232).

These spurious works also referred to by Islam are often referred to in dealing with the family of Christ.  Our questioners ask: I was reading on a website called "answering islam" and according to that website, it says Joseph was 99 years old and Mary was 12 years old when they got married. I was just wondering if this was true or not.

What is the minimum age for marriage in the Holy Quran?
The canonical Gospels do not specify the age at which Joseph married Mariam (Mary).

The reason I was reading about this is because I was reading that the prophet Muhammad married a six year old girl when he was 50 years old. So I started doing some investigating to see if any of it was true. When I started reading, one website said the same thing about the Bible.

Aisha was nine when he allegedly consummated the marriage but we are not at all sure of this as his children came from his first wife.  The assertion relies on a Hadithic comment for its authority.

The apocryphal texts can be read but have no doctrinal authority and are not part of Scripture.

How old was Mary?  The Bible is silent on the matter but the apocryphal work on Joseph the carpenter says she was 12 and consummate at 14.  Fourteen was the normal age for marriage at the time and often at 12. Betrothal assumes marriage and is the same thing or a quasi marriage.

The questioners said that another [Islamic] website they were reading said that Moses allowed the raping of 3 year old babies.   

These statements by these people are not in the Scriptures and there is no evidence historically that such an offence could have been committed in ancient Israel. The records from the Tractate Talmud have some scandalous comments that are not supported by Scripture.

It is our opinion from the historical works that the assertion regarding Joseph being 99 is a lie aimed at making him unable to father more children or indeed any children. He had at least seven or eight children by Mariam and maybe even more.

In regard to the assertion re 99 we ask: Does the Bible say Joseph was 99? No it does not at all.  The assertions against Moses and Qasim are lies. As for Moses permitting the rape of three year olds, your own common sense should guide you in that defamation. Moses’ personal life argues totally against such a view.

The questioner’s point is that “if the Quran and the Bible are about the same God, then why do they have such a strong opposition in terms of its followers, on both sides? If they are testament of the same creator, why do the people who follow it oppose each other so fiercely?

Don't mainstreamers and the rest of us have the same problem? The same God, yet opposing views on just about everything else.

I think because there are many people who hate Israel, [because of] the Bible concept of a chosen nation of God among the nations.”

This also begs the questions: Why do the Sunni hate the Shia so much that they kill them? Why are the Kurds so opposed by the Sunni? Why did the Jews try to kill the Christians using the Arabs in the Seventh century?

Why did the Arab pagans bust up the church and turn it into the Islamic farce we see now? The answer is that it is still Satan's planet as god of this world and he will not allow the truth until his time is over or cut short.

The questioner asked: “But a true follower of the real truth wouldn't or cannot hate Israel. If they do, they are not true followers. Right? Or wrong?”

The fact is that Christ sent them all into captivity on orders from God at 70 CE. The religion of Judaism is not based solely on the Bible, is not Jewish, and nor is the nation of Israel Israelite or Jewish. It is probable that only 10% of all Jews are actually Jewish (see the paper Descendants of Abraham Part V: Judah (No. 212E)).

It is not a matter of hatred but a matter of obedience and condonation of offence. God will deal with them all soon. It is not a matter of hatred but of correction.

The apocryphal writings as summarised in the Catholic Encyclopaedia have Joseph married at 40 to Melcha and she died when he was 89. He then married "Mary " (actually Mariam) when he was allegedly 90. The brothers of Christ were allegedly the children of Joseph and his first wife.

The apocryphal work, “The History of Joseph the Carpenter” records him to be betrothed at 90 and living with her at 92 and dying at 111. Most of these works are developed to maintain the perpetual virginity of Mariam.  It indicates he had pursued normal relations at 92. There is no authentic original record asserting that Christ's brothers were not his actual brothers from Mariam and that his sisters were not with them also when they were referred to by the elders as being amongst them in the gospel texts.

The text in Mark 6:3 shows that the traditions of the apocryphal works cannot be correct as the brothers and sisters were all with Christ when the people of Galilee spoke of him and the apostles. They were all there in the village and the girls were not married indicating they were probably below 12 -14 which was the eligible age for marriage at the time. Christ was well over 31.  Had his sisters been born between the time when Joseph was 40-50 they would have been over 70 years of age which is nonsense.

Do not be led astray by apocryphal works designed to contradict scripture of the canon.

James the brother of Christ was martyred in 63/4 CE 36 years after this event. Had he been the firstborn of Joseph (and this supposed Melcha) then James would have been approximately 118 years of age which he was not. He was younger than the Christ and one of the apostles and approximately 29 in 28 CE and 63 when he was killed.

The propaganda re James shows that according to the apocryphal 5th century Mariolatrist writings, James was born when Joseph was 40 and thus he had to be 50 when Christ was born and thus 110-119 years old when he was killed which he was not. The accounts differ by at least ten years and more. The very advanced age of Joseph, marrying Mary, was accepted as true by most early Church Fathers. Reverend Jeremiah Jones writes about 2 to 3 pages long that Infancy Protevangelion of James was accepted by Early Church Fathers as a truthful account of Mary and Joseph’s marriage. If one reads the Infancy Gospel of James (Protevangelion of James), in Chapter 8 it says that Mary was married to Joseph when she was 12 years old.

“…His eldest son was James, surnamed Oblias—that he begat him when he was about forty years old: after him he had another son named Jose, then Simeon and Judas, and then his two daughters Mary and Salome: after his wife’s death he continued many years a widower, and about fourscore years old married Mary. Besides Epiphanius, several other of the Greek fathers have given into this same opinion, viz. Hilary, Chrysostome, Cyrill, Euthyymius, Theophylact, Cecumenius, and generally, as bishop Peaterson says: ‘all Latin fathers till Ambrose, and the Greeks afterward; from which it is very evident that the account of Joseph’s age and family, which is in the Gospel of the Birth, Mary, and the Protevangelion of James, met with very general credit among ancient Christians.” [10]

This Fifth century Mariolatry should be dismissed on the very grounds of its absurdity.

Wade Cox
Coordinator General