Mormonism LIVE: 055: Christmas & The Historical Jesus

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Bill Reel and RFM take a look at the Historical Jesus and hit on the main points that Biblical criticism brings into focus and once they are done, your Christmases may never be the same.

Jesus son of Mary – Illegitimate birth. Mark infers. The early church theologian Origen (d. 251 CE) has a polemical tract in which he writes an apologetic for Jesus’ virgin birth against Celsus, a pagan skeptic of Christianity (around 178 CE). Celsus was a proponent of the idea that the virgin birth story was a fiction invented by Jesus, when the truth was (as he apparently believed) Jesus was the biological product of his mother and a Roman soldier named Pantera. Also Virgin births were a common trope and polemic device in ancient mythology.

  • Manger – ACU scholar Stephen Carlson writes that the word “kataluma” (often translated “inn”) refers to guest quarters. Most likely, Joseph and Mary stayed with family but the guest room was too small for childbirth and hence Mary gave birth in the main room of the house where animal mangers could also be found. use the links below from Dan McllellanManger/Inn – Scripture Translation Supervisor for the LDS Church, PhD in theology and religion https://www.tiktok.com/@maklelan/video/7037619189456358703?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1

 

More on the nativity – Daniel McClellan https://www.tiktok.com/@maklelan/video/7037685245172256046?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1 Traditional Account of the nativity – Daniel McClellan Scripture Translation Supervisor for the LDS Church, PhD in theology and religionhttps://www.tiktok.com/@maklelan/video/7040144974750731566?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1 Inconsistencies in the narrative – Matthew and Luke, the only Christian gospels which give us the virgin birth story, contain problematic details-both internally and in comparison to each other. For example, it’s been pointed out often that Luke’s dating of the census (while Quirinius was governor of Syria) in Luke is problematic. There are also difficulties when the accounts are compared to each other. The two genealogies don’t exactly reinforce each other and there are a number of striking differences when compared alongside each other–in particular the migration to Egypt in Matthew (2:13-14) which is completely absent from Luke. In Luke’s account, Mary and Joseph take Jesus home immediately to Nazareth (2:39-40), with no reference to a flight to Egypt or a conflict with Herod. Live in Bethlehem? – According to the Matthean infancy narrative, Joseph and Mary are natives to Bethlehem! They live in their house there! Houses would be part of patriarchal compounds with as many as 50 to 100 people.  There is no Lukan manger mentioned, and definitely no stables! The author “Matthew” expects his audience to understand this, being that he writes for people equipped with culturally-appropriate auxiliary background information. We Western Christians, reading with spurious familiarity, are blind to this. Did the Holy Family go from Bethlehem to Jerusalem and then straight back to Nazareth, as “Luke” tells us? Or did they reside in Bethlehem, give birth to Jesus there, live about two years there until the magi come, then flee to Egypt, then some years after go to a place they’ve never been to before and take up residence there, as “Matthew” says? (No need to read the following but in case someone asks why 2 years – Notably, the magi visit Jesus in a house (not an inn or stable) and their visit is as late as two years after the birth. Matthew 2:16 records King Herod’s orders to kill baby boys up to the age of two based on the report about Jesus’s age from the magi. This delay is why most Christian churches celebrate the visit of the magi on “Epiphany” or January 6) the slaughter of the innocents – given that Bethlehem probably had fewer than 1,000 residents, it’s possible the slaughter of the innocents involved just three or four babies, Witherington said. “We’re not talking about streets lined with dead babies,” Witherington told Live Science. In a world full of brutality and violence, it’s not clear the death of a few no-name babies in a sleepy village would have made the history books. Erroneous History about a Census – A similar situation exists with the Lukan census of the whole world when Quirinius was governor of Syria (Luke 2:1–2). This census was presumably made when Herod the Great reigned over Judea (1:5), and who was alive when Jesus was born and for some time after. Copious records exist from the time of Caesar Augustus’ reign (27 BCE—14 CE). These records describe many events during that reign, particularly the most important. None of them mention anything about a worldwide census. And consider how “Luke” describes this census: people must return to the home of their ancestors. Consider what the Empire would look like in order to accomplish that—throngs of millions migrating all over for the census. And yet all historical records remain silent on it? In his own history, Augustus himself fails to mention this achievement! That’s simply not credible.

 

RESOURCES: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/messyinspirations/2019/12/history-discrepancies-jesus-birth/ https://www.patheos.com/blogs/unsystematictheology/2016/03/six-problems-with-the-virgin-birth-biblical-and-historical-perspective/

 

https://theconversation.com/what-history-really-tells-us-about-the-birth-of-jesus-89444

 

http://www.paulonpaul.org/jesus/narr_2_birth.htm

 

https://www.livescience.com/49228-nativity-story-facts-history.html https://tabletalkmagazine.com/posts/the-controversial-birth-of-jesus/ https://www.patheos.com/blogs/messyinspirations/2019/12/different-jesus-birth-stories/

 

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