“Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter,” said Jim Zeigler, the state auditor of Alabama, defending Roy Moore against allegations of pedophilia. Zeigler has been roundly chastised for the blasphemous nature of his remark.
His statement is striking in another respect. Consider that it was made by a “Bible-believing born-again Christian,” as Zeigler describes himself on Facebook. His assumptions about certain attributes of Jesus’s legal parents are as familiar as a Nativity scene on a Christmas card but cannot be sourced to the Bible. Their origins are in extra-scriptural tradition. A Bible-believing born-again Christian who is a true Protestant should cast a skeptical eye toward it, at least in theory.
Nowhere in the Bible is Mary’s age at the time of her betrothal attested. Neither is Joseph’s.
All we know from the New Testament is that, when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the dream, Joseph was