This article consists of four sections. Firstly, it reflects on the public debate regarding Jesus' alleged illegitimacy. The article argues that illegitimacy here refers to fatherlessness. Secondly, Joseph is focused on. According to New Testament writings of the latter part of the first century, Joseph is either Jesus' biological father (John's gospel) or the person who adopted him as son (the gospels of Matthew and Luke). Thirdly, Joseph as a legendary literary model is discussed (in the Old Testament, intertestamentary literature, the New Testament, writings of the Church Fathers and the dogtrines of the Orthodox Church). Fourthly, the articles
sketches a picture of a fatherless Jesus based on evidence from the earliest intracanonical writings (the Sayings Gospel Q, traditions in the
Gospel of Thomas, Paul's letters and the Gospel of Mark). Joseph does not appear in these writings. The article concludes with a reflection on the relevance of fatherlessness for today.