Jesus and Adoption

"Christ and the Rich Young Ruler" by Heinrich Hofmann, 1889


According to the Biblical accounts and orthodox Christian tradition, Jesus was not the biological son of Joseph the Carpenter, but literally the son of God. He was referred to by his contemporaries as the son of Joseph, and the Gospels record that Joseph married Mary the Virgin knowing she was pregnant, thus tacitly accepting her son as his.

This would be tantamount to legally adopting him, which makes the Holy Family unique in this directory, with Jesus and both his parents being listed, although none was adopted or fostered in the modern European-American sense of the terms, and both Joseph and Jesus grew up in the care of their biological mothers.

Jesus grew up to establish a reforming sect of Judaism which was transformed after his crucifixion into the new religion of Christianity.


Complete Who's Who in the Bible, edited by Paul Gardner. (London: HarperCollins Religious, 1995) The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962)