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This one has been dogging me for a while. I know there is no (direct) Biblical source to answer this question, but perhaps the scholars here might be better informed as to the existence of some secondary sources or references to who this mystery person mentioned in Luke 3:27 (and nowhere else) might be.

Luke 3:27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,

So, without going into the question of the divergent lineages (unless you think it is relevant to answer this), who was Neri? Are there any clues anywhere as to who he might have been?

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Unless you’re looking to unify the lineage lists (in which case neri = “my light” & malki = “my king” might be useful) there seems to be exactly no information on Neri. –  J. C. Salomon Apr 1 '14 at 15:15
Yeah, I don't believe the lineages do unify, as far as I see one is to Mary, the other to Joseph, so they need not be the same. I know it's a long shot, but sometimes someone out there might have some clue or little bit of info that can be really useful. –  Raphael Rosch Apr 1 '14 at 20:11
You might enjoy reading a work of 19th C scholarship: Lord Arthur Hervey, The genealogies of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as contained in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke... (Macmillan, 1853). It will take a while for that link to load: be patient. :) See also the "hit" on p. 159 for a connection with @J.C.Salomon's suggestion. Also, Plummer's ICC commentary on Luke is regularly referenced still. –  Davïd Apr 2 '14 at 20:11

1 Answer 1

Raymond E. Brown says in An Introduction to the New Testament, p131, that Luke's list is less classically monarchical than Matthew's, but there is little likelihood that either is strictly historical. In other words, we should not look for Neri in biblical history, but try to understand why the author of Luke chose to depart from the Old Testament genealogy for Shealtiel.

From a hermeneutic point of view, there is no reason to see Luke's genealogy as that of Mary. The text in Luke 3:23 clearly states, "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli." Also, no matter whether Luke's genealogy was that of Mary or Joseph, Shealtiel (father of the great Zorobabel) can have only one father - either Neri (Luke) or Jechonias (Matthew). If we accept that the Old Testament (followed by Matthew, with spelling variation) was correct in recording the father of Shealtiel, then Neri was a literary creation and does not exist outside Luke's Gospel.

The author of Matthew's Gospel chose a classically monarchical genealogy, with a couple of modifications for theological reasons. The author of Luke's Gospel chose a genealogy outside the monarchy until we go all the way back to King David - in line with this author's empathy for the poor and disadvantaged.

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Saying that the genealogies presented are not historical but a "literary creation" introduces all manner of hermeneutical problems, not the least of which is to throw into question the claim of historicity of the Gospel account, when there is no indication that any of its content is to be taken figuratively (as would be the case in the Psalms for example). So this creates more problems than it solves. But thanks for the answer anyway. –  Raphael Rosch Apr 2 '14 at 22:04
@RaphaelRosch but it's a perfectly valid perspective and he shows his work for it. I'm glad to have Dick's perspective, and many others alongside it. +1 –  Dan Apr 2 '14 at 22:31
I didn't say it wasn't, and I didn't -1 him either, just pointing out the hermeneutical problems with the position. As I mentioned, the question itself is difficult to answer, so any insight is appreciated, but I am looking for an answer that is Biblically sound, which doesn't mean I am not grateful for the effort and the answer. –  Raphael Rosch Apr 2 '14 at 23:19

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