Sunday, March 20, 2005


A few thoughts as we approach Easter...

I was reminded recently by I forget what that "Christ" is not actually Jesus's last name. Mary was not married to Joseph Christ, son of Balthazar Christ, tracing back to Abraham Christ. There was no House of Christ in Israel or Judea. In fact, "Christ" derives from the Greek "christos," meaning roughly Messiah, itself a translation from the Hebrew word for "anointed one."

What this all means, at least if your mind works like mine does (and God help you) is that the "Christ" in Jesus Christ refers to Jesus's calling or station in life, much like many English surnames are derived from the vocation of some distant ancestor. Names like Farmer, Miller, Hunter, and Carpenter, which, if he hadn't made the move into serious professional religion, would have probably been Jesus's last name. Fortunately, this did not happen. I say fortunately, because "Jesus Carpenter!" and "Carpenter almighty!" just don't work very satisfactorily as verbalized oaths. Also fortunately, this occupational-surnames fad died out a few centuries ago, or we would today be a society with family names like Tax Accountant and Teamster and Refrigerator Repairman.

And the newspapers would carry announcements like "ENGAGED: Marcy Elizabeth Cable Guy, daughter of Earl and Maude Cable Guy, to Dirk J. Human Resources Coordinator, of the Shaker Heights Human Resources Coordinators..."

Another interesting aspect to this is the implication for the widely anticipated Second Coming. If the Messiah were to return in contemporary human form, we could enter the glorious age of, say, Phil Christ, or Duk Chen Christ, or Shaquille Christ, or, if you want to be totally (even blasphemously) spooky, Osama Christ.

Actually, I'd like to see that, just to witness the effect on George Bush.
Happy Easter week.


Blogger jmckinney3 said...


I really enjoyed reading this piece. I was just asking my wife "what is Jesus's last name .. it certainly isn't "Christ" .. maybe it was "Carpenter"! The I went to the web and typed in "What is Jesus'e Last Name"? That's how I found your article. Nice!


March 23, 2005 at 4:42 PM  

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