Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!

Lorenzo Lotto 1523

With best wishes to all our readers for a joyful holiday.

Irreverent and irrelevant thoughts:

Why is Joseph so often portrayed as an old man?

What are those little putti doing--looks like they have a treasure map! 

Shouldn't they cover up that baby?  Looks cold out there!

How can there be a crucifix on the wall?  Is this one of those time travel stories? 



it's margaret said...

None of those thoughts are irreverent nor irrelevant!

I don't know why Joseph is always old... . There must be an oblique reference somewhere...

Looks like the putti are singing!

Nope --no covering for that baby --proves he has a belly button and that makes him human!

There are a lot of nativity scenes with images of the crucifix, or the ground cracking and opening before the manger, or demons peeping around the corner, or the stable in absolute ruins.... matches the story about the three magi bringing spices that were used in embalming or for wrapping up with a corpse for burial--- his death "prefigured" in his birth. --which is why I like the gospel of Mark --no miracle birth stuff in it. Jesus is just hit upside the back of his head with the Spirit as a grown man being baptized by John in the river... --and there is no birth stuff in the gospel of John, either. Just the Word that God spoke in the very beginning becoming enfleshed. I like that, too.

But, there we are... .

IT said...

Thank you Margaret. I like that.

JCF said...

I think the "Joseph is old" imagery is based merely upon his absence in Gospel accounts of Jesus's adulthood (i.e., he died, so was likely older. Knowing the effect of infectious diseases, I'm not sure why "Death = Age", but perhaps there are other clues).

Joseph is (for RCs) the patron saint of A Happy Death (the idea that, to be surrounded by Jesus & Mary at death MUST have made it happy! :-?)

Even if shown old, that's still better than (some) Byzantine imagery of Joseph, off alone and bitter, as a supposed cuckhold of the Holy Spirit! :-0

gadarene said...

I'd bet that Joseph appears as an old man because one of the other "books" or other "gospels" or other "narratives" of the early Christians said he was old. We tend to forget that till the Reformation (sic) so much of the common knowledge of the people came from told stories, remembered stories from these other books which has been handed-down (paradosis) or in the Latin-to-English, "Tradition." There is lots and lots of stuff like that, lie one of the magi being black, or facing the East when we pray, or triple dipping in baptism.... none of it in the Canonical writings we have today. I'll have to play with is .....

Brian Davis said...

I have always assumed that Joseph is portrayed as an older man because the Roman Catholic church teaches that he and the Blessed Virgin Mary never consummated their marriage and Mary remained "ever virgin". It would be easier to believe that an older man would be willing to marry a younger, pregnant woman to protect her reputation and consent to a celibate marriage and it fit into the narrative that he died and left Mary a young widow. Also, did you know that Joseph never speaks a word in the Bible?

JCF said...

Heh-heh, Brian that reminds me of a joke---

[For Adults Only! ;-p]

Three (let's assume m/f) couples---2 senior citizens, 2 middle-agers, and 2 young newly-weds---applied to join a certain church, which had a distinct membership requirement.

On the honor system, each couple had to go without sex for a week, in order to join.

For the older couple, this was not difficult. For the middle-aged couple, some cold showers were required, but they made it.

However, the young man, very embarrassed, had to report to the pastor that he and his wife and failed.

"After almost a week, on the last evening, she leaned over to pick up a can of corn, and looked SO LUSCIOUS, I had to have her right then and there!"

The pastor, not without compassion, sadly told the young man that he and his wife would not be able to join this church.

The young man, with understanding, acknowledged this, adding "we've been banned from the supermarket, too".