The Christmas Story. 2. The Genealogy of Jesus

In a lot of the posts in this series, I’ll quote from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (RSV). It’s still a very good translation and a great study Bible. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) is also excellent. One of the things no one thought about in producing the RSV was inclusive language. the NRSV rectifies that, but it may go too far in representing some passages as inclusive when they are intentionally not. A minor defect and all translations have some. Anyway, the RSV is online and free, it’s nearly always superior to the King James Version (KJV) [see also here] and I’ll point out a few places where that’s important for the story of Jesus’ birth as I go along. (Sometimes I will use the New English Translation (NET) also free online, and the English Standard Version (ESV) a few times.)

Matthew chapter 1 begins with the phrase (RSV) “The book of the genesis of Jesus Christ, the son of David, and the son of Abraham.” Matthew knows what he is going to write in his Gospel, and this introduction is perspicacious. Two things: people at the time (ca. 70AD+) will not likely read this, they will hear it, and it was written in Greek.[1] Matthew begins with the word “genesis” (in Greek) and that’s the same Greek word that came to be used for the first book of the Hebrew Bible—Matthew’s story is styled as a New Genesis. There is a new creation, a new “God’s people” if you will, and the colophon above has things in a new order. Jesus comes first, then Abraham. And of course, David. The kingdom is always in view for Matthew. And it’s clear that for Matthew, the Christmas story begins with Abraham. Right away you can feel the tension over Jew and Gentile, and what it means for a gentile to become a Christian.
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The Christmas Story. I

I did a series last year on the Birth of Jesus as found in Matthew and Luke in the New Testament. I’ve modified things a little and present it for your Christmas cheer this year. Happy Advent/Christmas.

The canonical Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John make up about 40% of the New Testament. That 40% amounts to about ninety chapters. Of those ninety or so chapters, four discuss the birth and childhood of Jesus. This is a tiny section of the New Testament, but it has had an enormous effect on human culture and of course, Mormonism is a subset of that culture. Whatever one thinks about the commercialization of Christmas, it cannot be denied that Christmas and the Christmas story stand at the center of much of religious consciousness.
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Early National Systems. Slavery and Its American Social Constructs: part 2.

By the time Joseph Smith moved from Vermont to New York, ca. 1816, there were 8.5 million people in the US. Of those 8.5 million, 1.5 million or so were part of a hereditary slavery system, the property of their white male owners (a few were held by Native Americans).
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Early National Systems. Slavery and Its American Social Constructs: part 1.

Industrialization of the North–Cotton

The Jeffersonian ideal of the independent tiller of the soil (“Agrarian Republicanism”), not cramped in diseased, polluted cities but exercising economic self-sufficiency and ruling with the patriarchal hand all under his purview. That patriarchal hand meant that the income that might be generated by wife and children, belonged to him, as did the associated laboring bodies. That ideal was most prominently subverted by the Lowell, Massachusetts textile industry. The Textile mills in Lowell were an important innovation in American enterprise on two fronts. The most interesting here was the matter of labor.
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The Lord’s Prayer, Nineteenth-Century Update

I suspect that most Latter-day Saints do not know that Joseph Smith revealed a Lord’s Prayer for the New Dispensation. No, not in the Inspired Version (or Joseph Smith Translation, revision) of the Bible. This was a revelation, almost certainly connected to that biblical revision work, but separate from it, a New Prayer for the Last Times, much like the original prayer was a prayer for the last times. To catch the vision here, I’ll take the Mathean prayer and place it in parallel with this new prayer, that was dictated on October 30, 1831. The context of the prayer is important, and it serves as a kind of preface for foundational revelations of November 1831 that defined church polity and established a form of government that carried on through modern manifestations of Mormonism.
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