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Joseph (Hebrew יוֹסֵף, "Yosef"; Greek: Ἰωσήφ), often clarified as Joseph the Carpenter, is an important figure in Christian belief, the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus. According to Christian tradition he was not the biological father of Jesus, but acted as his foster-father and as head of the Holy Family. According to Christian tradition, Jesus was referred to as the son of Joseph during his public life, though in Mark he is referred to as Mary's son (Mark 6:3). Joseph is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches.
Matthew and Luke each have a genealogy that traces Joseph's lineage back to King David. Matthew says that his father was called Jacob,[Mt. 1:16] but Luke says he was a son of Heli.[Lk. 3:23] Matthew and Luke are the only Gospels which include the Infancy Narratives, the stories of Jesus' birth and infancy. In Matthew, Joseph lives in Bethlehem, the city of David, where Jesus is born, and then moves to Nazareth with his family. In Luke, he lives in Nazareth, but travels to Bethlehem in compliance with the requirements of a Roman census. He then lives in Bethlehem for an unspecified period (perhaps two years) until King Herod's massacre of the innocents forces him to take refuge in Egypt with his family; on the Herod's death he brings his family back to Israel, and settles in Nazareth.
The Gospels describe Joseph as a "tekton" (τέκτων); traditionally the word has been taken to mean "carpenter", though the Greek term is much less specific. It can't be translated narrowly; it evokes an artisan with wood in general, or an artisan in iron or stone. Very little other information on him is given in the Gospels, in which he never speaks. He is mentioned in them as present on the visit to Jerusalem when Jesus was 12, but no mention can clearly be placed later than that one. Christian tradition, though vague on the time and place of his death, represents Mary as a widow during the adult ministry of her son.[Jn. 19:26-27] In Roman Catholic and other traditions, he is the patron saint of workers and has several feast days. He was also declared to be the patron saint and protector of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius IX in 1870, and is the patron of several countries and regions. With the growth of Mariology, the theological field of Josephology has also grown and since the 1950s centers for studying it have been formed.
Historians generally agree with the Gospel accounts as far as describing Joseph as a Jewish craftsman or builder from Nazareth, Mary's husband, and the father of Jesus. Some scholars have argued that his genealogies and the infancy narratives in which he appears have little if any historical value, while others have argued that the genealogies and the infancy narratives are historically accurate.