In this ground-breaking examination of responses to Joseph the Carpenter, Dr. Jacobs offers fresh insight into the historic understanding and perception of this often forgotten figure.
Challenging assumptions about the ways Joseph was understood and perceived in the first several centuries of Christianity, Jacobs begins his study with a thorough review of the earliest narrative portrayals of Joseph in the New Testament. Subsequently, he carefully traces the diverse responses to Joseph through the analysis of numerous works of art and narratives. In the process, he documents the presence of two trajectories: one, the most dominant, which affirms the roles of Joseph presented in the nativity accounts and highlights his significance and, another, which diminishes these roles and, consequently, Joseph's significance.
While Jacobs's study documents the presence of tensions with respect to understanding and perception of Joseph within this period of Christianity, it also reveals that Joseph had much more importance than has previously been acknowledged.
Philip Walker Jacobs, Ph.D., 2014, University of Wales, Bangor, is an Instructor in Humanities and Fine Arts at Cape Fear Community College and an Adjunct Instructor at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. He is the author of A Guide to the Study of Greco-Roman and Jewish and Christian History and Literature (University Press of America).