Friday night in Stroud over 30 people joined a talk entitled 'The Riddle of the Gospels: were there two Jesus children?' I was invited by a friend and enjoyed the talk and thought-provoking discussion led by Friedrick Roder, co-founder of the Paradise Community near Painswick.
Photos: taken of slides shown during the evening - apols for the angle but I ended up on the floor at the front as the room was so packed
Friedrick showed us slides of a number of paintings that pose some interesting questions - a lot of the discussion was based on the work of Rudolf Steiner - the 20th century Austrian scientist and philosopher whose thoughts are increasingly becoming more popular - particularly in this area where there are a number of Steiner schools and other institutions. His work arguing there were 2 Jesus children is based on consideration of gospels and other texts - and as you might imagine has been greeted in some quarters by derision and even anger.
Basically in the Matthew and Luke Nativity stories there are different births, different locations for the births, and two separate genealogies. Theologians over the centuries have struggled with these inconsistencies - while both gospels show the descent of Jesus from the House of David there are significant differences like:
MATTHEW GOSPEL LUKE GOSPEL
Solomon lineage Nathan lineage
Kingly roots Priestly roots
42 generations 77 generations Joseph's father is Jacob Joseph's father is Heli
The emphasis is on the masculine and Joseph Emphasis is on the feminine and the Madonna
Angel appears to Joseph Angel appears to Mary
Parents live in Bethlehem Parents live in Nazareth
Travel to Bethlehem Birth takes place in a stable Birth takes place in home of Joseph
Interestingly 38 years after Steiner's first spoke of there having been two Jesus children a surprising discovery was made in the birth place of Jesus. In the spring of 1947 in the area around Kirbet Qumran the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered - portions of a scroll were found that would later come to be known as the Damascus Document which speaks of a central dogma among the Essene community of the prophesy of two Messiahs - one, a Messiah of Aaron; and one, a Messiah of Israel; a priestly Messiah and a kingly Messiah, both coming out of the House of David to rule side by side.
Apparently many works of art have depicted what some see as the two Jesus children from the earliest centuries of Christianity. Does this mean there were two children? It surely cannot be known but it is fascinating to consider. In the discussions during the evening we were shown how to see John The Baptist and poss John the Evangelist? But in some of the pics you have to ask why is there another child and who is that child?