Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Editing, Genealogy, and Bible Study

...or my work, my hobby, and my religion.

I have just received the last author contract for Sword and Sorceress 29. This year the postal service managed to lose two of them, so it took longer than usual. The next steps are to gather the author bios, decide what order to put the stories in, write all the introductions, assemble the book, and proofread, proofread, and proofread.

In my spare time, of which I have very little, I do genealogy, which is probably one of the world's most fascinating hobbies. I didn't know until recently that one of my Swedish great-great-grandmothers bore six illegitimate children, and I'm betting that my grandmother never knew that either. If you want to find out everything about your family that your family didn't want you to know, take up genealogy.

Editing and genealogy, however, are an unsettling foundation for reading the beginning of the Gospel according to St. Matthew. Chapter 1 begins with something labelled "the genealogy of Jesus Christ." It starts with Abraham and ends with "Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born." Matthew spends the remainder of the chapter making it very clear that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus (he was married to Mary when Jesus was born, so he was presumably his legal father). In genealogy, this is called a non-paternal event. This does not necessarily imply illegitimacy; adoption is another example of a non-paternal event, as is marrying a widow and raising her children from the earlier marriage as your own.

Editing is changing the way that I read; I find that I notice typos, missing punctuation, and errors in grammar much more than I used to. My eyes used to skip right over what was on the page and just pick up the meaning, but I'm starting to fear those days are gone.

As I re-read Matthew, I just hope that God arranged for Jesus to look like Joseph. If he actually resembled the paintings that show him as blond, blue-eyed, fair-skinned, or all of the above, Mary would have had to make explanations to more than just her husband.