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Why do traditions of “Messiah ben Joseph” show remarkable parallels to Joseph Smith’s own life?

Messiah Ben Joseph is an ancient Jewish tradition that there will be a forerunner (from the house of Joseph) to Christ’s coming. 

The tradition is included in the Talmud, Targumim, Kabbalistic writings and Apocryphal writings. It is remarkable how closely Joseph Smith’s life resembles this ancient tradition. Some of the similarities include:

Related to Messiah Ben Joseph, John Tvedtnes recounted the following story:

In the late 1970s while teaching with the Brigham Young University Jerusalem program, I was invited to give a series of lectures in Hebrew on the subject of Mormonism at the University of Haifa. In one of the lectures, I displayed a chart outlining Joseph Smith’s major accomplishments. I intended to speak about each item on the list and at the end suggest that Joseph Smith fit the qualifications for the Messiah of Joseph expected by the Jews, but that turned out to be unnecessary. By the time I got through the top third of the list, I heard whispering among a group of Orthodox Jewish students in the audience. They were saying ‘Messiah Ben Joseph, Messiah, the son of Joseph.’

Latter-day Saints QA – Messiah Ben Joseph – Evidences

Why think these similarities are purely coincidental?


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