So who was Joseph the father of Jesus?

Gordie Jackson
3 min readJan 17, 2021


James Tissot (French, 1836–1902). The Anxiety of Saint Joseph (L’anxiété de Saint Joseph), 1886–1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 6 5/16 x 7 13/16 in. (16 x 19.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.20 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.20_PS2.jpg)

Our Elijah Summer School group continue to meet monthly and this month we were looking at, “ Who was Joseph the father of Jesus?”

In my own search for the answer I came across the following 7 things

1.The image of Joseph

I like this image of Joseph as it takes him away from the Christmas card image and brings him alive, in his workshop, thinking with the world outside going about its business.

2. What does the name mean?

Joseph is derived from the Latin form of Greek Ioseph, from the Hebrew name Yosef meaning “He will add”, from the root Yasaf. In the Old Testament Bible, Joseph was the 11th son of Jacob, the traditional ancestor of the people of Israel.

Sourced from

I think giving him the name he would have known ‘Yosef’ also brings him alive. We Anglicise so may Biblical names that inadvertently we can set the character in our culture rather the one in which they lived.

3. We have the biblical references ( if you wish to check them out)

Matthew chapter 1 v 1 to 17 gives us the Genealogy of Jesus

Matthew chapter 1 v 18 to 24 tells us Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

Matthew 2:13 tells of The Escape to Egypt

Matthew 2:19 tells of The Return to Nazareth

Matthew 13:55 Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?

Luke 3:23 another Geneology

Joseph is an important name for the Israelites as he was one of Jacob’s son and makes up one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Curious that in the Matthew genealogy Joseph's father is Jacob but not in Luke's.

I happened to listen to a lecture last Sunday at the National Library of Israel in which one of the speakers made the comparison between Joseph in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, both spoken to in dreams, both go to Egypt and both have fathers named Jacob. We begin to see the significance of his name within Judaism.

4. The official version of Joseph

Did I know that Joseph was a Saint? Funny I have never seen him as a saint, just Joseph. The Wikipedia link will give you a mainstream Christian view of Joseph.

6. Apocryphal writing

I certainly didn't know there was an ‘Apocryphal’ account of Joseph. In it, we read that Joseph was a widow who had children before the birth of Jesus. Mary is a young girl who is entrusted to Joseph who becomes pregnant with a child. Perhaps it is from here that a tradition built up that the brothers and sisters of Jesus were from Joseph’s first marriage. This helped out a doctrine that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life.

7. Joseph was not the father of Jesus, Panthera was?

In reading about the genealogy of Jesus I encountered a claim I hadn't heard before neither did I know it came from the Talmud.

I consulted Rabbi Alon the director of Elijah who referred me to Peter Schafer’s Jesus in theTalmud

I did attempt to find an Islamic reference to Joseph but found only one reference which didn't give much clarity. If you know of one please leave it as a response.




Gordie Jackson

Speaks with a Northern Irish accent, lives in Hertfordshire, England.