Do we have any reason, apart from tradition, to believe Jesus took up Joseph’s trade of carpentry?

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Where did the idea come from that Jesus was a carpenter? My Bible says this was Joseph’s profession and that Jesus was regarded as “the carpenter’s son” (Mt 13:55). Do we have any reason, apart from tradition, to believe Jesus took up Joseph’s trade?


Yes. The Bible says so. In Mark 6:3, the people of Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, astonished by the way he spoke with authority, ask, “Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary?” Jesus is spoken of here as “the carpenter,” rather than as the “the carpenter’s son,” as in the passage you cited.


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  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    The Greek word is Teckton which means builder. Jesus spoke Aramaic, and probably knew Hebrew, so who knows what the original word was… The word means “builder,” and in that region where everything was made of rock and stone, it means Jesus was probably a stonemason.

    I’ve read that it was a Jewish father’s responsibility to teach his son a trade and later get him a wife. It appears that Joseph taught him stonemasonry, which makes sense given the many references to stone and rock in the NT.

    It does not appear that Joseph obtained a wife for Jesus unless she was specifically written out of the story. It would be extremely unusual for Jesus not to have been married – so unusual, that it would have begged an explanation, much as a Jew suggesting one eat body and drink blood begs a greater explanation than is given. But then there are many things in Christianity that beg an explanation!

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