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The Two Genealogies of Jesus in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke

Rudolf Steiner's explanation of the two Gospel genealogies of Jesus may seem at first sight not only difficult but even startling to some readers of this booklet This will not arise from any lack of intelligence on their part, but solely from the nature of the subject which, however, will act as a transforming force and will illuminate the mind and soul of the reader who is willing to entertain these thoughts without prejudice.

It should be realized that the early Christian theologians discussed this problem of the two different genealogies of Jesus and attempted many explanations none of which are acceptable. Even the great St. Thomas Aquinas of the thirteenth century offered an explanation which was not tenable.

There were traditions prevalent especially among the painters of the Renaissance concerning this problem. This can be seen in the paintings of Raphael — especially in the totally different character of the Jesus child in his painting known as the “Madonna della Casa Alba” (Hermitage, Leningrad) from that of the child in his painting known as the “Madonna del Cardellino” (Uffizi, Florence). The characteristics of these two children are so strikingly different that one finds it difficult to believe that they were intended to be representations of the same person. The first seems clearly that of the Solomon Jesus child, and the second that of the Nathan Jesus child. In his painting “Madonna del Duca di Terra Nuova” (Berlin) both Jesus children are represented. This is not offered as a proof, but as a possible explanation of something that has so far eluded many earnest seekers.

What can be called supporting evidence (not proof) of a still more striking character can be seen in the mural by Borgognone in the Church of S. Ambrogio at Milan, depicting the scene of Jesus in the Synagogue before the Elders. If one studies these beautiful paintings with reverence in connection with the Gospels, their truth and significance can illuminate the spirit of the contemplator. Such a subject will forever elude any attempt to discover physical historical “proofs.”

Modern man has little use for genealogies, and rightly so. They no longer carry the weight they bore in ancient times when the blood relationship held great significance in determining the position of the individual in human society. Today the human being has importance as an ego. Hence the modern indifference to these two different Gospel genealogies of what Rudolf Steiner calls the two Jesus children. But the ancients viewed the descent through generations as of great importance. They also held certain numbers in high esteem; for instance, the number 7 and its combinations 14, 42, 56, 77. When they occurred in life and events, attention was paid to their presence. If one contemplates these two genealogies, it will be seen that the number 7 and its combinations play an important role.

This brief note cannot do more, however, than draw attention to these facts. The reader can investigate the matter himself. He will discover much of interest. The two genealogies are given below.

Henry B. Monges.


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