Luke 2:33 Confusion

Luke 2:33 as translated in (RSV) says:

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.

Seems like mentioning (father) in the RSV translation could cause confusion with the idea of the Virgin birth.

Whereas the same passage - Luke 2:33 as translated in (KJV) says:

And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.

No confusion in KJV translation.

The original Greek reads “father”, not Joseph. Joseph had assumed the role of Jesus’ Earthly father, and the gospel of Luke itself had made clear only a few verses only that Mary was a virgin and that Jesus has no biological father.


The KJV is not an authorized version.

The Douay-Reims, NABRE, RSV, NRSV all use “father and mother”.

There is no confusion. A single verse is not taken in isolation. There is no way to confuse who Joseph is or how Jesus was conceived.

Father is being used because Joseph was his legal father.


Remember that lineage is traced through the fathers (Matthew 1) and Jesus Christ is called the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5, Genesis 49:9). Judah is the tribe of Joseph. Levi is the tribe of the Virgin Mary.

Apocalypse 5

5 And one of the ancients said to me: Weep not; behold the lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Even though overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, Joseph is the father of Jesus, and we do not know if miraculously the Holy Trinity made it genetically match the germ of Joseph.

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Where is this from?

Elizabeth (descended from Aaron) was a cousin of Mary.

Luke 1

5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.

36 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren:

The proper term is kinswoman.

Also, Jesus is explicitly said to be a Judahite. Jesus’s mother would also be from Judah in order to marry Joseph according to the Mosaic Law.

Thank you. Levitical priests who served in the Temple were required to marry within their tribe. See Leviticus 21 and Ezekiel ch. 44, Haftarat Emor.

As posted earlier, “Jesus Christ is called the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5, Genesis 49:9)” and “Judah is the tribe of Joseph.”

The same was true for all the tribes.

No. The ban on inter-tribal marriage was lifted on 15th of Av from the time after the conquest and division of Canaan under Joshua (at the time of the Judges).

Even if Mary had Levite blood it would be distant, as we are told Mary and Elizabeth are kinswomen.

Is this known as a historical fact?


@Vico, I now see you already answered this question in your post #6. Yes, Elizabeth must have been a Levite, otherwise Zacharias wouldn’t have been allowed to act in his priestly capacity. But we don’'t know how closely Mary was related to her, do we?

So do you take it that the Luke genealogy shows Mary as descended from David through his son Nathan (Luke 3:31)?

We do know that Luke 2:4 mentions of the census in Bethlehem was required of Joseph, descended from David, of course, since it is by fathers.

No it is not certain.

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Thank you, @Vico!

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Here is a study that claims that the y chromosome is the only contribution from the Father.

Also for the parents of the Virgin Mary, Joachim was of the tribe of Judah and Anna of the tribe of Levi, so that would make Mary take the lineage from Judah. From the apocryphal Gospel of James.


There have been contradictions.

The apocryphal Gospel of James translation I referred to was from Jerome, however there is another from Faustus who became Bishop of Riez in Provence which contradicts, saying that Joachim, her father, was a priest so was of the tribe of Levi.

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The issue is what did Luke actually write? Luke wrote “his father and mother.” Keep in mind that Luke has already explained Jesus’ origin and parentage in Luke 1. There is no confusion to the reader unless they parse chapter 1 off from chapter 2. Additionally, it is clear that Joseph adopted Jesus as his son and raised him as such. This is no different than Jacob taking Manessah and Ephraim and declaring them his sons in place of Joseph and giving them a portion of the inheritance of the Promised Land.

I have no issue with the KJV translation versus the RSV translation. Either is correct, but if you believe in formal equivalence as your translation philosophy, then RSV’s translation of this verse would be more faithful to that philosophy.

This online collation of the NT manuscripts shows that most of them have “father” (πατηρ) in this verse. Only the Codex Alexandrinus (identified here as GA 02) has the name Joseph (Ιωσηφ) instead. -

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