about Joseph  
What about tradition?

Devotion to St.Joseph developed slowly in the church.

Early Christian stories originating in Syria and Egypt from the year 150 onward depict him as an old man, a widower, who marries the Virgin Mary and faithfully cares for her and the Child.

an older Joseph
The painter Albertinelli portrays an older Joseph

The image of an aged Joseph usually appears in medieval art, drama and poetry. It is the common image of Joseph in the Eastern churches.

The image arose because an aged Joseph would more likely ensure the perpetual virginity of Mary. And if he were a widower, the brothers of Jesus mentioned in the gospels (Mt.12:46) might refer to Joseph's children by a previous marriage.

Scholars today generally dismiss these characterizations. Joseph was most likely a young man, not previously married.

Venerable Bede
Venerable Bede

Venerable Bede (+735) summed up early Christian thought about Joseph's role:

"It was necessary that Blessed Mary have a husband who would vouch for her reputation and care faithfully for our Lord and Savior. Joseph offered the child in the temple as the law prescribed. He brought him and his mother into Egypt to avoid danger and brought them back from there. He did everything needed for a child so vulnerable and so small."

recognition: the 15th century and beyond

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