Did Matthew make an error? by Hilary of Poitiers

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In the Gospel of St. Matthew, there is an alleged error in counting fourteen generations from the Babylonian captivity to Mary. The gospel says:

“ So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen genera-tions, and from David to the Babylonian captivity fourteen generations, and from the Babylonian captivity to Christ fourteen generations.”

(Matthew 1:17).

St. Hilary offers an unusual explanation saying that the one birth of Christ is reckoned as containing two births:

“There are fourteen generations indicated until Mary, but we only count thirteen generations. In reality, this will not appear as an error to those who know that our Lord Jesus Christ did not take his origin from Mary alone. In fact, the idea of his eternal generation is also included in his bodily generation.!”

Hilary of Poitiers , In Matthaeum 1, 2; PL 9, 920-21.

If you are interested in more quotes on Virgin Mary, you can find them in Mary and the Fathers of the Church on Amazon in both in Kindle and paperback formats.


Gambero, L., 1999. Mary and the Fathers of the Church 1st ed. Translated by Buffer, T., San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

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