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August 16th, 2011
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The Endless Genealogies.

The Endless Genealogies

By Dmitry A. Alexeyev, S.-Petersburg.

1 Tim. 1:3-4: “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables (μυθοις) and endless genealogies (γενεαλογιαις απεραντοις), which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: [so do].

So, what are the ‘myths and endless genealogies’ against which the objection of the 1 Timothy’s author is directed? It goes without saying, this author is not the Apostle Paul, because Paul could not to know anything about ‘antithesis of the false-named gnosis’ (αντιθεσεις της ψευδονυμου γνωσεως – 1 Tim. 6:20), i.e. the compilation of the quotations from the Septuagint and the Gospel, published by Marcion not earlier than in 140. However, against what ‘myths and genealogies’ he calls his addressee to ‘exhort to some people’?

Well, they are here!

Matt. 1:1-17: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; and Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; and Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; and Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; and Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her [that had been the wife] of Urias; and Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; and Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; and Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; and Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: and after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; and Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; and Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; and Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David [are] fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon [are] fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ [are] fourteen generations.

Genealogy, indeed, is endless. And totally mythological one.

Luke 3:23-38: “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was [the son] of Heli, which was [the son] of Matthat, which was [the son] of Levi, which was [the son] of Melchi, which was [the son] of Janna, which was [the son] of Joseph, which was [the son] of Mattathias, which was [the son] of Amos, which was [the son] of Naum, which was [the son] of Esli, which was [the son] of Nagge, which was [the son] of Maath, which was [the son] of Mattathias, which was [the son] of Semei, which was [the son] of Joseph, which was [the son] of Juda, which was [the son] of Joanna, which was [the son] of Rhesa, which was [the son] of Zorobabel, which was [the son] of Salathiel, which was [the son] of Neri, which was [the son] of Melchi, which was [the son] of Addi, which was [the son] of Cosam, which was [the son] of Elmodam, which was [the son] of Er, which was [the son] of Jose, which was [the son] of Eliezer, which was [the son] of Jorim, which was [the son] of Matthat, which was [the son] of Levi, which was [the son] of Simeon, which was [the son] of Juda, which was [the son] of Joseph, which was [the son] of Jonan, which was [the son] of Eliakim, which was [the son] of Melea, which was [the son] of Menan, which was [the son] of Mattatha, which was [the son] of Nathan, which was [the son] of David, which was [the son] of Jesse, which was [the son] of Obed, which was [the son] of Booz, which was [the son] of Salmon, which was [the son] of Naasson, which was [the son] of Aminadab, which was [the son] of Aram, which was [the son] of Esrom, which was [the son] of Phares, which was [the son] of Juda, which was [the son] of Jacob, which was [the son] of Isaac, which was [the son] of Abraham, which was [the son] of Thara, which was [the son] of Nachor, which was [the son] of Saruch, which was [the son] of Ragau, which was [the son] of Phalec, which was [the son] of Heber, which was [the son] of Sala, which was [the son] of Cainan, which was [the son] of Arphaxad, which was [the son] of Sem, which was [the son] of Noe, which was [the son] of Lamech, which was [the son] of Mathusala, which was [the son] of Enoch, which was [the son] of Jared, which was [the son] of Maleleel, which was [the son] of Cainan, which was [the son] of Enos, which was [the son] of Seth, which was [the son] of Adam, which was [the son] of God.

And this genealogy is also mythological, although, of course, is not so endless, as the first one.

We must to note that the ‘endless genealogies’ in the Gospel of Matthew is the imitation of the Septuagint:

Gen. 5:1 : αυτη η βιβλος γενεσεως ανθρωπων
Matt. 1:1 : βιβλος γενεσεως Ιησου Χριστου

Gospel’s author Matthew, who wrote in the second century and who, in any case, should not to be falsely identified with the Apostle Levi Matthew, was, generally, very impressed with the Septuagint’s style. But the genealogies have also another and very important significance: they allow us to reject firmly an “…Jerome D. Quinn's proposal that the author of Luke-Acts was the author of the Pastoral Epistles and that he intended a tripartite work, on the pattern of contemporary collections of documents about or by a famous figure and concluding with a letter or collection of letters by the great man. Luke-Acts-Pastorals would then be a "tripartite tractate" to counter Marcion's scripture, the Pastorals meaning to supplant the earlier letters. (Robert M. Price. The Evolution of the Pauline Canon // Hervormde Teologiese Studies, Number 1&2 June 1997, 36-67.) Evangelist Luke, who wrote in the second century and who should not to be confused with ‘beloved physician’ mentioned only at once (in Col. 4:14) in the Paul’s Epistles collection, of course, could not at one time to fabricate myths and genealogies (Luke 3:23-38) and to ascribe the exhortations against these myths and genealogies to the Apostle (1 Tim. 1:3-4).


Also we must to note that the name of the medieval parody on the Gospel, Sepher Toldot Ishu (ספר תולדת ישו), copied with love on some anti-Christian web-sites, is a literally translation of the words βιβλος γενεσεως Ιησου in the very beginning of Gospel of Matthew and the New Testament as a whole. 

In this context, it is quite interesting point of view by the early medieval theologian Faustus Numidian:

“For our part, while no one can alter our conviction that the Son of God comes from God, we might indulge a credulous disposition, to the extent of admitting the fiction, that Jesus became the Son of God at Jordan, but not that the Son of God was born of a woman. Then, again, the son said to have been born of Mary cannot properly be called the son of David, unless it is ascertained that he was begotten by Joseph. You say he was not, and therefore you must allow him not to have been the son of David, even though he were the son of Mary. The genealogy proceeds in the line of Hebrew fathers from Abraham to David, and from David to Joseph; and as we are told that Joseph was not the real father of Jesus, Jesus cannot be said to be the son of David. To begin with calling Jesus the son of David, and then to go on to tell of his being born of Mary before the consummation of her marriage with Joseph, is pure madness. And if the son of Mary cannot be called the son of David, on account of his not being the son of Joseph, still less can the name be given to the Son of God.

Moreover, the Virgin herself appears to have belonged not to the tribe of Judah, to which the Jewish kings belonged, and which all agree was David's tribe, but to the priestly tribe of Levi. This appears from the fact that the Virgin's father Joachim was a priest; and his name does not occur in the genealogy. How, then, can Mary be brought within the pale of relationship to David, when she has neither father nor husband belonging to it? Consequently, Mary's son cannot possibly be the son of David, unless you can bring the mother into some connection with Joseph, so as to be either his wife or his daughter.”

See: Augustin, Contra Faustum, 23, 3-4.

Further, what the Russian religious philosophers of the beginning of the XXth century thought about the ‘endless genealogies’? Lev P. Karsavin wrote, for example, the following words in his work ‘Saint Fathers and Teachers of the Church’ (Л.П. Карсавин, «Святые отцы и учители церкви»): “In the Minor Asian churches from the times of the Apostle Paul, strolling and imposter apostles called for extreme asceticism and sowed ‘Judaic fables’, however, not only Judaic ones. Reasoning ‘according to the human tradition and the elements of this world, which were the subject of astrology, they rejected this world and disdained all fleshly things. But, at the same time, they sought to bridge through a gaping abyss between Incomprehensible One and the world, fabricating ‘endless genealogies’ of gods, opening multitudes of ‘angels’, world-organizers and world-rulers (demiurges). And instead of God-Man as the only Mediator between God and people, an immense number of intermediaries (sometimes semi-divine, sometimes – the created ones) appeared like angels, whose cult and magical intercourses with whom began to develop quickly.”

What a pity! We have already understood everything about ‘however, not only Judaic’ fables (μυθοις). Well, now we have to understand the Judaic myths and, at the same time, the human legends and the elements of this world (στοιχεια του κοσμου τουτου)...

Translated from Russian by (copyleft) Alex Moma, 2011.

All the Biblical quotations given according to the King James Holy Bible.


Original source in Russian see here: 


(2 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:August 17th, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC)


Thanks for the translation.

I doubt the assertion about the dating of 1 Timothy on two grounds: I am not convinced that Marcion is the original author of the idea of a falsely named gnosis. Even if he were, it does not prevent an interpolation at a later date. Bart Ehrman has detailed some egregious interpolations into the works of Paul as recent as the third century.
[User Picture]
Date:August 19th, 2011 12:01 pm (UTC)

Re: Cool.

Thank you, Sophia. Tomorrow my next translation (4th in this community) will be ready and published.

I'm reading Ehrman just now. Synchronicity according to Jung...
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