The Nativity of the Messiah in the Swirl of Traditions and Calendars

“Non vi è mese nell’anno, ove forsè si eccettui il Luglio, che non abbia trovati partitanti, i quali lo proclamino pel mese Natalizio” —Antonio Maria Lupi[1]

The date of the birth of Christ is a controversial subject. For much of Christian history from the fourth century onward, a winter birth was accepted by seemingly nearly all of Christendom, perhaps largely through trust in Ecclesiastical authorities. In recent decades, however, the pendulum seems to be swinging in the opposite direction, with a great many even among the laity declaring that they “know” Christ was not born in December.

At the time of this writing, it is Christmas for those who follow the Julian calendar,[2] so, in the spirit of the feast, it seemed auspicious to briefly discuss some interesting evidence which might favor the plausibility of a winter birth for Christ, and then note some interesting convergences which have occurred in this Christmas season in particular.

When discussing what, if any, possible evidence there might be for determining the birth of Christ, I like to turn to a source some might find unexpected: the Babylonian Talmūd. Tractate Ta`anīt 29A provides one of the few sources to assign a date to a Jewish priestly course. The text includes a claim that when the first Temple was destroyed, it was the 9th of the Hebrew month of Ab, during the priestly course of Yehoyarīb.

If it is possible for the the priestly course of Yehoyarīb to fall around the 9th of Ab, then it is possible for Yehoyarīb to fall in early August (for example, in 2016, the 9th of Ab fell on 13 August, on the Gregorian calendar). From there, Christians may note that, according to Luke 1:5, Zechariah was in the Temple during the priestly course of Abiyah, which fell seven weeks after that of Yehoyarīb.[3] Therefore, if Yehoyarīb can fall in early August, then Abiyah can fall in late September or early October (for example, this year, seven weeks after 9 Ab [i.e. 13 August] fell on 1 October). A rather straight forward reading of Luke 1:26,36 leads many to believe Mary became pregnant roughly six months after Zechariah’s time in the Temple, which allows us to put Christ’s birth nine months later, or fifteen months after Zechariah’s time in the Temple (this could fall in late December or early January). Of course the argument is not without its pitfalls, but, at the very least, it shows the plausibility of a winter birth for Christ, in light of extant evidence.

Fascinatingly, another potential bit of evidence in favor of a winter birth for Christ might be found in yet another unexpected source: section 8 of Tertullian’s Adversus Judaeos.[4] In that text, Tertullian covers the amount of time from the birth of Jesus through the reigns of various emperors. He concludes with the calculation that the amount of time between the end of the siege of Jerusalem and the birth of Jesus is 52 years and 6 months. No doubt, those familiar with the relevant history will dispute the timeframes Tertullian assigns to certain reigns (not to mention that he totally omits the reign of Claudius), and, that aside, if the precise chronology were accepted, then with the destruction of the temple coming in the year 70, this would mean Christ was born in the year 18, far later than what is generally accepted.

Conceding that, the fascinating part can still remain for some, in the precise number of months. If the temple was destroyed in the summer (e.g. the 9th of Av on the Hebrew calendar), six months prior to that would be January or February. We can wave our hand and say Tertullian was simply wrong, but it is nonetheless interesting to note that one of the earliest sources to discuss the birth of Jesus can be interpreted as indirectly alluding to it happening in the winter.

But if we are delving into early Patristic literature, this immediately begs the question, what about those Patristic sources which explicitly endorse dates in other seasons? Clement of Alexandria’s Stromata, book I, chapter 21,[5] states that some reckon the birth of Christ to have been on the 25th day of the month of Pachon (in Coptic, Pashons, also called Genbot by Ethiopians). That would put his birth in late May or early June. However, Ludwig Ideler argued that “the Egyptian Christians, when they heard that Christ was born in the ninth month, in namely the Jewish year, thought of the ninth of their own, hence Pachon.”[6]

It is interesting to note the Apostolic Constitutions (a text which dates at least as far back as the fourth century, which apparently compiles various earlier sources, and which many scholars believe was put together in Syria) states that the birth of Christ should be celebrated on the 25th day of the ninth month, without clarifying according to which calendar.[7] At this point, it will seem like pure speculation to argue that 25 Pachon was reached by misunderstanding an older tradition about Him being born on the 25th day of the 9th month of a different (i.e. Hebrew rather than Egyptian) calendar. But note that in the same portion of his Stromata, Clement affirms that from the birth of Christ to the death of Commodus were 194 years, 1 month, and thirteen days. Commodus died on 31 December. One month and thirteen days before that would put the birth of Christ around 18 November. However, if we note that Clement was probably going by an older solar calendar which did not employ our quadrennial leap years, that would make a difference of about 48 days. Ergo, the implication seems to be that Christ was born circa. 5 January.

That does not line up perfectly with 25 Kislev (i.e. the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar, when starting the count at Nīsan), but it does allow us to more plausibly learn towards the conclusion that perhaps the 25 Pachon date was based on a misunderstanding of an older tradition (and Clement goes on to mention the tenth month as another possibility). Either way, the text from Clement’s Stromata is often put up as affirming a Spring date for the birth of Christ, but many have failed to notice that it can alternatively be read as implying a winter date.

Now, we could argue back and forth about other details, like whether shepherds would be out with their flocks at night during the winter,[8] or even discuss whether the Qur’ānic narrative precludes a winter birth,[9] but I feel content with the paragraphs above at least helping to show that a winter birth may be more plausible than some might suspect. Here, before closing, I want to touch on some interesting convergences, alluded to near the start of this blog entry, which occurred during this Christmas season.

It was already noted that certain sources put Christ’s birth on the 25th of the ninth month, and some speculate that is according to the Hebrew calendar. Interestingly, this past year (2016), 25 Kislev on the Hebrew calendar overlapped with 25 December on the Gregorian calendar. Beyond that, there is a later Jewish tradition which holds that Jesus was born on 9 Tevet.[10] It just so happens that this year, 9 Tevet on the Hebrew calendar overlaps with 25 December on the Julian calendar (i.e. the date at the time of this writing: Gregorian 7 January, 2017). Of course such convergences do not prove anything, but I nonetheless found it worthy of note that, this holiday season, one ancient Christian tradition about Christ’s nativity may have lined up with the Gregorian date for Christmas, while an alternative Jewish tradition about Jesus’ birth almost simultaneously lined up with the corresponding Julian calendar date for the same feast.

On that note, and in closing, I’d like to wish a Merry Christmas to those who are celebrating today, and likewise express my hope that those who celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar also had a very Merry Christmas.

NOTES:

(1) Translation: “There is no month in the year, with the exception of perhaps July, for which I have not found partisans who proclaim it the month of the Navity”.
Source: Francesco Antonio Zaccaria, Dissertazioni Lettere ed Altre Operette del Chiarissimo Padre Antonmaria Lupi, (Faenza, 1785), dissertazione IV, p. 220, which can be viewed online, here:
https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_nlgHNxOR2hwC

(2) While it is popular to simply say “Catholics and Protestants celebrate Christmas on 25 December, but [many] Orthodox celebrate on 7 January,” the somewhat more nuanced reality is that even the latter date falls on 25 December, according to the Julian calendar. That is to say, those who celebrate today and those who celebrated thirteen days ago actually agree that Christmas should fall on 25 December. They just don’t happen to agree when 25 December falls.

(3) Cf. 1 Chronicles 24:7-10; also see Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, book VII, section XIV, number 7.

(4) I consulted the translation in Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson (eds.), Ante-Nicene Christian Library, (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1895), vol. XVIII, p.224.

(5) I consulted the translation in Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson (eds.), The Ante-Nicene Fathers, (Buffalo: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885), vol. II, p. 333.

(6) Ludwig Ideler, Handbuch der Mathematischen und Technischen Chronologie, (Berlin: August Rücker, 1826), vol. II, p. 387, footnote 1, which can be viewed online, here:
https://archive.org/details/handbuchdermath02idelgoog
The German text reads: “die ägyptischen Christen, da sie hörten, dafs Christus im neunten Monat, nämlich des jüdischen Jahrs, geboren sei, dachten an den neunten des ihrigen, d. i. an den Pachon.”

(7) See book V, section III; I consulted the translation in Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson (eds.), Ante-Nicene Christian Library, (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1870), vol. XVII, p. 130.

(8) Luke 2:8 places shepherds in the field with their flocks on the night of Christ’s birth, which many argue would not happen in the winter. One could counter that Genesis 31:40 flies in the face of the claim, as it has Jacob recounting being consumed by frost/ice (קרח) while tending the flocks on certain cold nights. Moreover, the Babylonian Talmūd, tractate Beytsah 40A, in the Mishnah portion, makes a distinction between different kinds of animals which people herd and bring out to pasture —midbariyot and bayaytot— and Gemarā in that same section provides the opinion of Rabī (Judah ha-Nasī) that midbariyot are not returned to a settlement, not even in winter. But most relevant would be the following report from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, which notes that even to this day, some Palestinian shepherds will be out in the fields with their flocks all year round, including during lambing season, which, interestingly enough, happens in December-January:
http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/p8550e/P8550E01.htm

(9) Many Christians would question the relevance of the Qur’ān, but this blog is owned by a Muslim, and, moreover, the question is of interest to me because there is a minority of professed believers in the Qur’ān who also celebrate the birth of Jesus in the winter (namely the `Alawīs). Ahmed Deedat popularized an argument that the stream and fruit-bearing tree in sūra Maryam 19:24-25 implies it was not during a Palestinian winter. However, one can counter that Tafsīr al-Jalālayn on that passage posits that the stream had been dry and the tree had been withered. In other words, they understood the text as meaning a miracle had occurred. One might object that they are under no requirement to side with the interpretations of al-MaHalī and as-SuyūTī, but the point of appealing to them is to show that it is far from obvious that the Qur’ānic text is making any reference to the season.

(10) Most would argue the tradition was influenced by Christian celebration. Nonetheless, it comes up in Yom-Tov Lewinsky, Sefer ha-Mo`adīm, (Tel Aviv: D’vir, 1957), vol. VII, p. 94, which can be viewed online, here:
http://download.hebrewbooks.org/downloadhandler.ashx?req=41742
Perhaps humorously, it also comes up in Hebrew Wikipedia’s entry for 9 Tevet (under the section on “Hagīm uMo`adīm):
https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/ט’_בטבת



Categories: Islam

78 replies

  1. Trinitarians believe in a singular ”what”, which they believe the Shema addresses when it states explicitly that God is One. So in Mark 12:29 they believe Jesus is addressing the OUSIA as ONE, not the Father as being the only one who is truly God. But the context of Mark 12: 29 become clear when we look at the response of the scribe. His response decisively clears up any Trinitarian misconceptions when three singular personal pronouns are used to refer to God the Father, and declaring that ”He is One, and there is no one else besides Him”. I would like to challenge all Trinitarians at this point to prove me wrong. In this passage:

    Why does Jesus not modify the Ancient Shema, to purge it of its *associated* Unitarian Monotheism?

    Why does Jesus not correct the Scribe, if his understanding is deficient/incomplete?

    If Jesus was truly God, would he not be able to know, that this exact passage would be used to deny his Deity by millions, possibly billions of people his alleged Divinity? So he should have cleared it up right? Then why did he not?

    In any case, Jesus remaining silent at this point or at any, and not declaring the truth about God (i.e the Trinity), would make him a deceiving serpent and a worshipper of a false god. If he knew God was Triune, he sure did a great job of hiding it and misleading others that he was a Unitarian. This would make him a deceiver and the worst prophet/human/god in the history, which make him untrustworthy in all matters, even for Christians. If he genuinely was NOT A Trinitarian, then everything makes perfect sense. I need a response from Christians. If Jesus was not a Trinitarian, then why are you, Denis Giron ,Mr Shamoun, James White , Ken etc?

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  2. Denis,
    Interesting article, but it seems to be full of speculation on possible convergences, none of which can be verified as being entirely accurate. In the end, all you really have is conjecture. The fact remains that the Bible itself gives no indication of actual date of Jesus birth, nor does it condone or sanction the Christmas celebration of his birth.

    In regard to the Alawite, they are considered to be a heretical sect at best, and apostates at worst and outside the fold of mainstream orthodox Islam. Alawites have not always even considered themselves to be Muslim. So an appeal to Alawite beliefs in regard to winter birth is not convincing at all.

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    • Greetings Ibn Issam

      I agree that a number of assumptions are employed (e.g. the portion which builds on the priestly courses assumes it was a normal nine month pregnancy, and assumes the time between Zechariah’s time in the temple and Elizabeth’s pregnancy was negligible). So a winter birth is not proven beyond all doubt, but I do believe such is shown to be quite plausible, which is helpful in these days, where so many seem to take for granted that a winter birth is out of the question, devoid of evidence, et cetera.

      As for the Christmas celebration, I would note that the Bible records believers establishing new feasts (e.g. Purim in Esther, Hanukkah in the first book of Maccabees for those who hold to a larger Biblical canon, and here the mention of Hanukkah in John 10:22 may be worthy of note). I think the authority to establish new feasts falls under the Episcopacy’s power to “bind and loose” (cf. Matthew 16:19, 18:18, with the OT parallel being Isaiah 22:20-22). Therefore, I agree the Bible does not mention the Nativity feast, but I do not consider such problematic, in light of the ability of believers to establish new feasts (i.e. I’m fine with it being a feast established by the Episcopacy at a later time).

      As for `Alawīs, I am well aware they are not part of Islamic orthodoxy, which is why I was careful to describe them as professed believers in the Qur’ān. I’m not here to say who is or is not a Muslim, but even if we agree they are non-Muslims, that would simply mean there are also non-Muslims who profess belief in the Qur’ān (some would include Ahmadīs therein). But note that I was not trying to establish a winter birth based on `Alawī belief; rather, while acknowledging that most Christians would not care if the Qur’ānic narrative contradicted a winter birth, I was noting that I personally wanted to explore the question precisely because there are some professed believers in the Qur’ān who celebrate Christ’s birth in winter. In other words, my argument was not “Jesus was born in winter because `Alawīs celebrate His birth then;” rather, my argument was “if an `Alawī, or any other professed believer in the Qur’ān, believes Jesus was born in winter, that belief is not necessarily contradicted by sūra Maryam.”

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    • Dennis,
      In my view, the whole of the problem with Christianity is summed up by your statement – “I agree the Bible does not mention the Nativity feast, but I do not consider such problematic, in light of the ability of believers to establish new feasts (i.e. I’m fine with it being a feast established by the Episcopacy at a later time).”

      The predilection to so easily accept such innovation has led Christianity far away from the historical Jesus and the purity of his original message. With respect, you may be fine with that, but I could never be.

      Rather than abiding by a scripture in which God nor Jesus himself condones or sanctions such celebrations, Christians prefer to follow their own desires, and do what they will regardless, in looking for justification outside of God’s word. Instead of following the word of God, you are celebrating an innovated man-made holiday. If Christians did not so easily accept such innovation they would not be forced to resort to such plausible conjectures in the first place in order to try and determine a date for the birth of Jesus. Isn’t it enough to know that Jesus was a Prophet of God who was “plausibly” born either in the warm spring/summer months OR in the colder fall/winter months? I mean what does it matter when he was born, when his message of absolute Monotheism is what matters most.

      In regard to Alawis, I understood your original point. However, I maintain that given their syncretic beliefs, and heretical interpretations the Alawis (whether Muslim or not) have never seemed to exhibit a strong or correct interpretative understanding of the Qur’an to begin with, and even less so now. The Alawis have historically adopted the outward religious beliefs of others and adjusted them to their own theological purposes, while also doing so to gain acceptance from larger groups in order to protect their minority community and more secretive inward beliefs. Therefore, in regard to their celebration of a winter birth it cannot so easily be attributed to an accurate understanding or interpretation of Qur’an. Rather it is most probable that it is simply an adoption of the traditional custom which they observed in Christian communities around them.

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    • Greetings again, Ibn Issam

      On the question of innovation, this is where I think the aforementioned feasts like Pūrīm and Hanūkkah are quite relevant. Those are feasts established by believers, and thus seem to show, therefore, that believers can establish new feasts. For this reason, John 10:22 (which I mentioned previously) becomes particularly interesting, as it places Christ in the Temple during Hanūkkah. The verse can be interpreted as meaning that Christ Himself celebrated Hanūkkah (which, that verse aside, is not an absurd conclusion even if we think of Jesus as living very much a first century Palestinian Jewish life). If Christ celebrated Hanūkkah (or Pūrīm, for that matter), it would mean He was not hostile to feasts established by believers. And I don’t see any reason to think the Episcopacy’s power to “bind and loose” (Matt 16:19, 18:18) excludes an authority to establish new feasts.

      Regarding `Alawīs, I do not believe they derive their celebration of Christmas from the Qur’ān (i.e. they are not “Qur’ān-only”). I merely mentioned them in passing, simply because the existence of professed believers in the Qur’ān who celebrate Christ’s birth in the winter is one of the things that interests me in the question of whether the Qur’ān contradicts the belief that Jesus was born in winter. That was the real issue: the question of whether sūra Maryam contradicts the belief that Jesus was born in the winter.

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    • Dennis,
      John 10:22 merely places Jesus at the temple around the time of the feast of dedication. However, it does not at all indicate that he approved or condoned the actual festival, or even participated in any way other than using it as an opportunity to preach his message to the Jews. It is also not clear that Jesus celebrated Purim, as scholars have debated on this. He may have been actually celebrating Passover, which is a holiday that is more widely accepted and which even Prophet Muhammad sanctioned (Youm Al-Ashura) to commemorate the act of God saving the Jews from Pharaoh as well as for other additional reasons.

      In regard to the Episcopacy’s power to bind and loose (Matt 16:19, 18:18) you seem to be saying that a divine sanction to innovate new things in Gods religion is documented in Matthew. However, I think this is far from the divine truth. Given that we know that the Gospel of Matthew is a forgery written by an unknown pseudepegraphal author how are we to be sure that this is a divine sanction rather than an insertion, alteration, misquote, etc. by a theologically or politically motivated and very fallible human author? I think it is interesting that in the verse before Matt. 16:19, we read that Peter is the Rock that the Church will be built upon (Matt 16:18). However, we know that is false as historically it was Apostle James who was the true Rock that the Church was built upon, as he led the first Church in Jerusalem. This indicates that the relevant verses here in Matthew 16 may be a politically inspired Roman alteration of the scripture intended to lend authority to the growing institution of the Roman Church, and to solidify its claim to power with in Christianity by granting itself the power to “bind and loose” and justify the innovation of new traditions and practices within the faith. Unfortunately, we know that this led to many paganistic practices (including winter solstice Christmas Celebrations) entering into Christianity.

      Another indication that Matthew is not the inspired word of God, is that in the verse following that of “bind and loose” we read the following: “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:18). And we know without a doubt that this prophecy did not turn out to be true either. Otherwise, whenever two Christians agree on something it would miraculously appear and yet we do not see this happening. Want a new House or new Car, immortality, unlimited wealth, a world without Muslims and Jews? Just get 2 Christians on earth to agree on it and ask for it, and it so it will be done!!!! Clearly this verse is false, and that casts extreme doubt on any divine sanction for the Episcopacy’s right to bind and loose in Matthew 18:18 as well as in 16:19 which says the same.

      The argument about Surah Maryam 19:25 is weak and does not really help your case with or without the Alawis.

      So in the end, you are left only with speculative conjectures, implausible scenarios extracted from a “Swirl of traditions and Calendars” and evidence based in scriptural forgeries.

      Not very convincing.

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    • “Given that we know that the Gospel of Matthew is a forgery..”

      I have never heard a NT scholar say that.

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    • Paul,
      OK, I may have overstepped. But is it not true that the Gospel of Matthew is written by an unknown pseudepigraphal author writing in the name of Matthew?

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    • Greetings Ibn Issam

      Regarding John 10:22, I agree it does not explicitly say He celebrated that feast (I alluded to as much in my previous comment), but His proximity to it (His being in the Temple during the feast) is noteworthy, and, as I touched on previously, I think many (including serious non-Christian scholars) would consider His being firmly within a 1st century Palestinian environment (with what some might call Pharisaical leanings) makes for a decent probability that He did celebrate that feast.

      As for the connection of Passover with `Āshūrā, I’m reluctant to affirm that. Note that the latter happens on the tenth of the lunar month, while the former happens a few days later in its respective lunar month, right at the full moon (and thus is more akin to the Ides of March on the old lunar Roman calendar [i.e. before the Julian reforms], which fell around the first full moon of Spring). Perhaps the better Jewish holy day to connect to `Āshūrā might be Yom Kipūr?

      Whatever the case, turning to your objections to the Episcopacy’s authority to “bind and loose,” you didn’t really dispute the meaning of the text, rather you seemed only to seek to undermine it as Scripture. I think we knew before entering the correspondence you did not consider the Gospel of Matthew to be Scripture. But it is nonetheless Scripture for Christians.

      Regarding your precise objections, on the subject of James holding the Episcopal chair of Jerusalem, interestingly enough, just last night I was rereading Chysostom’s 88th homily on the Gospel of John, and in his commentary John 21:19, he states that James held the chair at Jerusalem, while Peter was the teacher of the world:

      http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/240188.htm

      That aside, even in the present day Roman Catholic Church, there are both Melkite and Latin bishops of Jerusalem, with the Pope still being the head of the Church. Now, I’m not making any positive assertions about the necessity of Matt 16:18 establishing Peter as the leader of the Church (rather I am working within the paradigm of your comment), but my point is that having a Church structure in which one man is head of the Church and another holds the Episcopal office at Jerusalem, is neither implausible nor incoherent.

      As for Matthew 16:18 allegedly being a “Roman alteration,” do you have any manuscript evidence to back up such a charge? And what are we to make of the same reading appearing in the Peshīttā?

      On the subject of asking for something and receiving it (in Matt 18), I do not believe that applies to all believers (I have specially applied verse 18 to the Episcopacy). Moreover, I take texts like that to be limited to those things which are within the scope of God’s will and plan (ergo not literally everything will come about).

      But at this point I have a methodological question. You previously seemed to want doctrine to be rooted in “the Bible” or “Scripture,” yet now you are seeking to undermine Christian Scripture. Can you clarify what you meant by “the Bible” or “Scripture,” just so I might know what sort of corpus you have in mind?

      Beyond that, I have another question on methodology (it is one I often raise when rather strict limitations are placed on the sources of Christian doctrine). Christians believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. However, such a belief is not explicitly affirmed by Jesus in the earliest texts to attribute quotes to Him. Do you feel Christians should continue to believe (and teach) that doctrine? Or do you feel it should be avoided in light of the lack of explicit support from a quote attributed to Jesus?

      Regarding the statement that my brief comment on sūra Maryam being “weak,” I’m not sure what you mean when you say it does not “help [my] case with the `Alawīs”. Just to be clear, I was not arguing that positive evidence for a winter birth can be found in that Qur’ānic text; rather, I was merely exploring the claim that specifically sūra Maryam precludes the possibility of a winter birth. As for the `Alawīs, I merely mentioned them in passing, as an example of professed believers in the Qur’ān who celebrate Jesus’ birth in the winter. That is all.

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    • Ibn

      “In my view, the whole of the problem with Christianity is summed up by your statement – “I agree the Bible does not mention the Nativity feast, but I do not consider such problematic, in light of the ability of believers to establish new feasts (i.e. I’m fine with it being a feast established by the Episcopacy at a later time).”

      The predilection to so easily accept such innovation has led Christianity far away from the historical Jesus and the purity of his original message. With respect, you may be fine with that, but I could never be.”

      This is double edged sword. The quran does not detail significant aspects of muslim religious practice – your argument rebounds back on you ten fold.

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    • Dennis,
      Sorry for late reply, was sick for a couple of days.

      If Jesus celebrated any festival it would have likely been Passover, And yes, Passover = Youm al-Ashura:
      http://muslimmatters.org/2011/12/06/is-the-fast-of-ashura-similar-to-passover-or-yom-kippur/

      In regard to Chrysostum he was writing sometime between c. 349 – 407, long after Jesus and his disciples had passed, and were no longer around to differ with his opinions. Of important note, Chrysostum is known for denouncing Jews and Judaizing Christians in a series of virulent Homilies. It has been debated whether his polemics were Anti-Jewish supersessionism at best, or flat out anti-semitic at worst. So is it really any surprise that Chrysostum would favor Peter and the Roman Church over James and the Jerusalem Church? In regard to Chrysostums assertion of Peter being the teacher of the world, this is in contradiction to Prophet Jesus who said, “I am sent only unto the house of the lost sheep of Israel.” His message was not for the world, but was targeted for the Jews alone. Paul and the Roman Church expanded the mission to the gentiles without divine sanction.

      Matt. 16:18 does not give any indication of Church structure nor does it establish an Apostolic See. It does not designate anyone to serve or hold Episcopal office at either Jerusalem or Rome. Many Christians interpret the word “Petros” as referring to Peter, while the similar feminine word “Petra” is used in the verse as referring to THE Rock which the Church would be built upon. He was not referring to the masculine Peter (Petros). Some Christians have said that Jesus was actually referring to himself as the Rock the church is built upon. Others have said that Apostle James was the Rock. There are other interpretations as well so it is not as clear as you would have us think.

      “Although it is true that petros and petra can mean ‘stone’ and ‘rock’ respectively in earlier Greek, the distinction is largely confined in poetry. . . . The Greek makes a distinction between petros and petra simply because it is trying to preserve the pun, and in Greek the feminine petra could not very well serve as a masculine name” (D.A. Carson, Matthew, Frank E. Gaebelein, ed. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 8, [Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984], p. 368).

      It could also be possible, that Jesus may have pointed to the an actual rock on the ground in Jerusalem and said, “this is THE Rock…” The Roman Church seems to recognize these problems and refers to the Aramaic word (Kipha) in an effort to prove that Peter is the Rock. However the problem here is that we do not have the Aramaic text as it is actually Greek. Therefore, the problem with Matt. 16:18 seems to be a translational issue, which the Roman Church clearly took advantage of in order to lend itself authority, and to solidify its claim to power with in Christianity. In regard to the Peshitta, it is no surprise that the verse would be found there since the NT was translated into Syriaic from the Greek. Multiple readings of a similar verse in various manuscript copies does not rule out translational errors (or other textual problems if any) that could have been transmitted in a variety of ways. Again, if the verse indicates that Peter is the Rock that the Church will be built upon, we know that is false, as historically it was Apostle James who was the true Rock that the Church was built first upon, as he led the first Church in Jerusalem. How can Peter be the Rock the Church was built upon, when Jesus had already established the faith, and James had already built the Church in Jerusalem before the Roman Church ever even came in to existence?

      In regard to binding and loosing in Matt. 16:19 & 18:18 it has been alternately interpreted as a form of verbal warfare against evil, “binding Satan and Loosing the person from possession.” It has also been interpreted as meaning that Christians can “loose wealth and health or bind poverty and sickness.” It has also been interpreted to mean that those members of the church who sin and repent are to be “loosed” or in other words, restored to fellowship, while those who are unrepentant are to be “bound” or removed from fellowship (Matt. 18:15-17). So it is not at all absolutely clear even amongst Christians what is actually being referred to by the verse. However, a more sensible answer is that it is a Rabbinic reference to forbidding and permitting certain things within the church. Roman Catholics have concluded that it is only Peter and his spiritual descendants, the Popes, who have the keys to the kingdom and can bind and loose. However, we see the disciples disputing amongst themselves as to which of them is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven on two occasions (Mt 18:1; 20:21) and even on the night before Christ’s death. Clearly neither Peter nor the rest understood Jesus to say here that Peter was to have supreme authority.

      Keith Mathison states, “. . . many Roman Catholics have assumed that if they can demonstrate that the ‘rock’ is a reference to Peter then they have somehow proven that Christ established the Roman Catholic papacy in Matthew 16. The leap from ‘this rock’ being a reference to Peter to the doctrine of the papacy, however, is textually groundless. Let us assume that the ‘rock’ does refer to Peter. What have we lost (if we are Protestant) or gained (if we are Roman Catholic)? Nothing. Because even if the passage is speaking of Peter, it says absolutely nothing about succession, infallibility, supreme jurisdiction or any other fundamental elements of the modern papacy” (Keith Mathison, The Shape of Sola Scriptura, [Canon Press, 2011], p. 186).

      So in the above we can see that the Roman Church’s attempt to stretch the interpretation of the verses in such a way as to grant itself the power to “bind and loose” and justify the innovation of new traditions and practices within the faith is really a leap which is not indicated by the text itself. Therefore, to say that 18:18 gives sanction to innovating new practices and festivals is really reading something into the text that is not actually there. I mentioned Matt. 18:19 previously as, regardless of your own eisegetical interpretation, if taken literally word for word it casts doubt on the divine authenticity of Matt. 18:18.

      In regard to methodology, it is not up to me what Corpus Christians choose to use. I do recognize that there may be some truth in all the various Judeo-Christian texts and manuscripts but we would be foolish not to recognize that there are also falsehoods and textual problems therein as well.

      In regard Jesus being born of a virgin, again, Christians can teach whatever they wish (and indeed they often do). If the Christian Bible doesn’t have a quote from Jesus to support the Virgin Birth then this is another good reason for truth seeking Christians to accept Islam. Rest assured that, in the Qur’an, we Muslims have a direct quote from Almighty God Allah in affirmation of the Virgin Birth.

      Kev’s comment does not even deserve a response, as it has already been refuted ad naseum on this blog and elsewhere.

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    • Greetings Ibn Issam

      No worries about the delay. These correspondences afford us all the time we need to deal with other matters.

      Yes, I think it is fair to conclude Jesus kept Passover (the Synoptics give that strong impression), but so too, I think scholars would see nothing implausible about a 1st century Palestinian Jew (especially one who seemed similar to the Pharisaical interpretation) holding Hanukkah (and John 10:22 placing Jesus in the Temple during Hanukkah becomes quite interesting in that regard).

      Regarding your link, serious problems with connecting Passover to `Āshūrā remain. As was mentioned previously, the former does not take place on the 10th of the lunar month, but rather the 14th going into the 15th. Moreover, some of the Islamic traditions appealed to apparently have Jews fasting on the relevant day, but Passover is not a fast day; rather it is a feast day. On an interesting side note, if the relevant tradition happened in MuHaram in the first year of the Hijri calendar, then it is worth noting that (a) it can be plausibly argued that in that year [corresponding to 622 on Christian calendars], the month of MuHaram on the Islamic calendar lined up with the month of Āb on the Hebrew calendar, and (b) there are Jews who fast on the 9th of Āb. With men going by the moon, it is possible for one man’s lunar calendar to be a day different from another man’s lunar calendar (happens all the time). Ergo, it is at least possible the relevant traditions were referring instead to the 9th of Āb? [Of course, as the link alludes to at the end, different Jewish communities do have various other feasts and fasts, so there could be various other possibilities.]

      ***

      Now, recall that in a previous post, you wrote the following:

      «in the verse before Matt. 16:19, we read that Peter is the Rock that the Church will be built upon (Matt 16:18).»

      In my response, I included the following disclaimer:

      «I’m not making any positive assertions about the necessity of Matt 16:18 establishing Peter as the leader of the Church (rather I am working within the paradigm of your comment)»

      So it was you, not me, who raised the claim that Matthew 16:18 establishes Peter as the rock the Church would be built upon. That was part of your initial objection to the relevant texts. So for you to now post arguments against Matt 16:18 meaning such, you are undermining one of your own initial objections. If it is now your position that Matt 16 does not necessarily establish Peter as the leader of the Church, then there was no need to get into whether it is possible to have one man as leader of the Church and another man as the Bishop of Jerusalem (and thus the discussion on Chrysostom becomes moot as well).

      Regarding binding and loosing, you wrote:

      «a more sensible answer is that it is a Rabbinic reference to forbidding and permitting certain things within the church.»

      Yes, and the question remains, just as Rabbinic Judaism holds that new feasts can be established, could not the authority to “bind and loose” held by the Episcopacy likewise include the establishment of new feasts? Simply saying that it does not include such is unhelpful, especially if you yourself agree it can be understood in a Rabbinic context.

      ***

      On a side note, I wanted to comment on the following, which you wrote:

      «Prophet Jesus who said, “I am sent only unto the house of the lost sheep of Israel.” His message was not for the world, but was targeted for the Jews alone.»

      That text from Matthew 15:24 is badly misunderstood. Note that it was in reference to a gentile woman, who was asking for a miracle healing/exorcism, and the disciples asking that she be sent away. Note the context: the gentiles ask Jesus to send the gentile woman away, but He does not do so, rather He responds that He is only sent to the lost sheep of Israel. That begs the question, how does such a statement relate to His refusal to meet their request? In verse 26 He implies that it would not be proper to give something that is meant for children of Israel. When the woman shows great humility and faith, she then gets precisely that which Jesus had just said was for Israel.

      To understand that text, one should note how Matthew 3:9 lines up with Galatians 3:29 (i.e. a person who does not descend from Abraham biologically could still be Abraham’s son, via correct faith). It also ties in with how John 8:44 and Romans 9:6 line up with Revelation 2:9 (i.e. there can be descendants of Jacob who are not true Jews, and then one can see what makes a true Jew in Romans 2:28-29 and Colossians 2:11). On a deeper level, if the tree in Romans 11 is understood to be Israel and the woman in Revelation 12 is understood to be Israel, then we see the true Israel is comprised of believers (i.e. membership in Israel is not based strictly on lineage, which is even an OT concept, as per Ruth 1:16, Esther 8:17 and Judith 14:10).

      Once this is grasped, one can get a better sense of the deep exchange in Matthew 15, where Jesus refuses to send away a gentile woman even though He says He’s only sent to lost sheep of Israel, and where He gives that woman precisely what He said is for Israel. The woman’s faith brought her into Israel. Moreover, Matthew 28:19-20 has Christ giving the command to the disciples to teach all nations, abrogating a previous command for them to focus on Israelites.

      ***

      On the subject of the canon, you say it is not up to you what corpus Christians employ. But recall that you were demanding things be backed up by “the Bible” and “Scripture”. I was requesting that you be clear about what you mean by such phrases, so that we don’t have to worry about the goalposts being moved.

      As for the Virgin Birth, you wrote:

      «If the Christian Bible doesn’t have a quote from Jesus to support the Virgin Birth then this is another good reason for truth seeking Christians to accept Islam.»

      But it seems Islam too lacks a quote from Jesus explicitly affirming the Virgin Birth. You appealed to your belief that the Qur’an is the word of God, but if such appeals to the supernatural are permissible, then Christians can find recourse in their own faith-based beliefs about the Biblical narratives. But more importantly, you seem to have tacitly agreed that even if the Bible does not quote Jesus as affirming something, that does not mean that thing is therefore false, or forbidden to Christians by God to embrace.

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    • Salaam Denis,
      The Bible can be interpreted in many different ways, and if it makes you feel warm and happy to say that Jesus celebrated Hannukah then you are free to do so. However, the Bible really gives no direct indication that he actually celebrated. For instance, I have been in the vicinity of the Church during Christmas, but I did not take part in the celebrations. So simply being in a location does not necessarily imply or mean that one is engaged in the specific celebration or even that one condones or sanctions such festival. Therefore, I think it is perfectly justified to interpret John 10:22 as meaning that Jesus was simply there to preach his message to the Jews. I won’t get into the unreliability of the Gospel of John.

      According to the Hadiths, the Jews of Madinah fasted on the 10th, and it was a day of merriment and adornment, which likely included a Passover feast and celebration at the end of the day of fasting. I think that the link makes a good case that it is entirely plausible that the Jews of Madinah were celebrating Passover. There are also many other events in Abrahamic history that occurred on Ashura which make it a religiously significant date regardless.

      In regard to Matt. 16:18 and Peter being the Rock (or not), it is all connected in the nebulous vortex of Christian scriptures. So, I don’t think that I was wrong to bring it up in response to the matter of church structure etc.

      Regarding “loosing and binding” my understanding of the Rabbinic context is that it means to forbid and/or permit certain behaviors of members within the Church, not that it is license to innovate new traditions and practices within the Church. I understand that there are other interpretations, and that just adds more confusion to an already confusing Christianity.

      About Matt. 15:24, Jesus clearly says “I was sent ONLY to the lost sheep of Israel.” Which not only begs the question WHO sent him, but why? The answer is that he was sent by the One true almighty God Allah, in order to bring the Jews back to the pure belief. Jesus likened the Caananite woman to a dog (15:26), which implies that all Gentiles are akin to dogs, not fit to receive the message in its fullness (at least not yet). That Jesus saw the great faith in the woman and healed her daughter, only means that Jesus had mercy on her and that she received a “crumb…from the master’s table” (15:27) it in no way implies that he opened his targeted message up to the Gentiles. Note that Jesus did not convert the Gentile woman into Judaism, or Christianity in any way shape or form. Neither did Jesus ever convert even a single other Gentile into Judaism or Christianity. Your references to the verses within the Pauline epistles represent Paul’s own attempt at reinterpreting the Gospels in order to manipulate them and give the impression that the religion is opened up to Gentiles – against the express teachings of Jesus himself. The Disciples themselves were very Jewish in their beliefs, and did not share Paul’s Roman understanding, and the unknown author of Acts verifies that the Jewish Disciples were only “spreading the word among the Jews” (Acts 11:19) and that Peter was hesitant to bring the gospel to a Gentile household. Also Matt. 28:19 has been proven to include the added text of the Trinitarian formula (an interesting tangent) and also contradicts Matt. 7:6 & 10:5. I understand and appreciate that you believe in the validity of those scriptures and hold to that interpretation, but I don’t think that Paul’s writings hold true to the more accurate historical understanding of Jesus actual mission to the Jews alone. In contrast, to Jesus whose Disciples were only Jews, the companions of Prophet Muhammad were from all walks of life, nations, social ranks, gender, and race and his message was truly a universal message for all mankind. 4:122-125; 49:13

      Regarding the virgin Birth Islam doesn’t require a quote from Jesus when the whole of the Qur’an is a direct quote from God himself! I do not have to appeal to my own faith belief in this instance, since the Qur’an presents itself as the divine speech and word of God, whereas the Bible really does not do so in the same way and even indicates otherwise in places. The only thing that I have “tacitly” agreed to is that if Christians want to teach an Islamic principle, then they are more than justified in doing so as the evidence is based in the Last Testament of Qur’an. Again, Christians can teach whatever they wish (and indeed they often do).

      Back to your original thesis and subject of the blog post the evidence for a winter birth seems to be full of speculation based on possible convergences, none of which can be verified as being entirely accurate. In referring to the Bible as evidence of a winter birth we must keep in mind that the Bible has not been preserved, and that the earliest traceable Bible we can find is a Greek Bible which surfaced four hundred years after the death of Jesus (may peace and blessings be upon him). There are no originals. There have been numerous different translations and copies of the Bible and until this day, we find many different versions saying completely different things. How can we rely on a book that has no record of preservation as giving an accurate indication of the actual date or general season of Jesus birth, let alone a statement to condone or sanction the Christmas celebration of his birth? More importantly, how can we rely on such a book to guide us to salvation?

      In the end, all you really have is conjecture.

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    • Salām Ibn Issam (`Iṣām?)

      «the Bible really gives no direct indication that he actually celebrated»

      It’s not explicit in that regard, but note that I also appealed to Him being very much rooted in a 1st century Palestinian Jewish environment, seemingly with Pharisaical leanings. That increases the probability of Him celebrating Passover (i.e. reading John 10:22 in that context).

      «According to the Hadiths, the Jews of Madinah fasted on the 10th, and it was a day of merriment and adornment, which likely included a Passover feast and celebration at the end of the day of fasting.»

      But again, the chief problems are that (a) Passover occurs several days later than the tenth of the lunar month, and (b) it is not a fast, but rather a feast. Being that it seems MuHaram lined up with Āb circa 1 AH, it may hav’ve been a fast for the 9th of Āb?

      «Regarding “loosing and binding” my understanding of the Rabbinic context is that it means to forbid and/or permit certain behaviors of members within the Church, not that it is license to innovate new traditions and practices within the Church.»

      But Rabbinic Judaism permits the establishment of new feasts (hence Purim, Hanukkah, and many celebrations which came after that for various communities). Therefore, if we are to understand the power to “bind and loose” in a Rabbinic paradigm, I don’t see why it would not also include the establishment of new feasts.

      «About Matt. 15:24, Jesus clearly says “I was sent ONLY to the lost sheep of Israel.”»

      But as I noted, the text gives the impression He said such in response to the disciples asking Him to send her away. That’s what’s curious: He tacitly rejects their request, and meets it with that statement. My understanding, in light of (a) how the event unfolded, and (b) the rest of the New Testament, leads me to the conclusion that her faith made her part of Israel.

      «Jesus likened the Caananite woman to a dog (15:26), which implies that all Gentiles are akin to dogs»

      I would say descendants of Jacob too can get the designation of dog (Proverb 26:11, 2 Peter 2:22), among other things (like worm, Isaiah 41:14). As for the woman, yes, the implication is that she is not one of the children, but rather a dog, and what she was asking for was for the children, not for dogs.

      «That Jesus saw the great faith in the woman and healed her daughter, only means that Jesus had mercy on her and that she received a “crumb…from the master’s table” (15:27) it in no way implies that he opened his targeted message up to the Gentiles.»

      I would say that was meant for the children was given to her precisely because her faith made her one of the children (as I said, this is a deep subject, but it is alluded to in Matthew 3:9, and brought out more fully in Romans 2:28-29, Romans 9:6, Galatians 3:29, Ephesians 2:12-19, Romans 11 (if the tree is understood to be Israel), Revelation 12 (if the woman is understood to be Israel).

      As for Christ opening His message up to the gentiles, that comes up more clearly in Matthew 28:19.

      «Your references to the verses within the Pauline epistles represent Paul’s own attempt at reinterpreting the Gospels in order to manipulate them and give the impression that the religion is opened up to Gentiles»

      I’m not so sure Paul was offering an interpretation of the Gospel of Matthew (most scholars would say Romans and Galatians were written before Matthew, though dating is somewhat speculative). Moreover, it’s not just Paul that teaches this concept (it is alluded to in Matthew 3:9, Revelation 2:9, Revelation 12:17).

      «against the express teachings of Jesus himself»

      It is not against the teaching of Christ, as He himself commands them to convert people from every nation (Matt 28:19).

      «The Disciples themselves were very Jewish in their beliefs, and did not share Paul’s Roman understanding, and the unknown author of Acts verifies that the Jewish Disciples were only “spreading the word among the Jews” (Acts 11:19) and that Peter was hesitant to bring the gospel to a Gentile household.»

      Acts is clear that some were hesitant, but we see the clarification in Acts 10 and Acts 15.

      «Also Matt. 28:19 has been proven to include the added text of the Trinitarian formula (an interesting tangent) and also contradicts Matt. 7:6 & 10:5.»

      It has not been proven that the Trinitarian formula is an addition, but that is irrelevant, as even those who side with the alternative reading, have the text calling for the conversion of persons from all nations. As for Matthew 10:5, if a doctor tells you to take a certain number of pills each day, and then at a later point tells you to stop taking the pills, he is not merely contradicting himself. I read the text as meaning Jesus understood what was appropriate for the disciples, and narrowed their focus at one point, while broadening it later on (it is more akin to abrogation than mere contradiction). Moreover, in Matthew 26:64, Jesus alludes to Daniel 7 (and the fourteenth verse of that text makes clear that people from all nations and liguistic groups will follow the Son of Man like figure).

      «Regarding the virgin Birth Islam doesn’t require a quote from Jesus when the whole of the Qur’an is a direct quote from God himself!»

      I mean no disrespect, but that is more an appeal to a position within your faith, than something universally agreed upon. It is not that different from Christians appealing to Scripture being inspired.

      «Back to your original thesis and subject of the blog post the evidence for a winter birth seems to be full of speculation based on possible convergences»

      There is indeed a certain amount of speculation involved, but I find it quite helpful, as an increasingly popular sentiment is that we “know” Jesus wasn’t born in the winter. The way that, for example, Luke lines up with the Talmūd to allow one to lad very close to the date of the Catholic feast strikes me as particularly interesting.

      «There have been numerous different translations and copies of the Bible and until this day, we find many different versions saying completely different things.»

      There are variant readings for various Biblical texts, but that does not apply here (i.e. there isn’t some significant variant for Luke 1 which alters the course of my argument).

      You may reject the Bible, but it is a source of doctrine for Christians. Moreover, it strikes me as interesting that, even if we treat the text as mere literature, one of the earliest sources to mention Jesus leans towards a winter birth.

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    • “In verse 26 He implies that it would not be proper to give something that is meant for children of Israel. When the woman shows great humility and faith, she then gets precisely that which Jesus had just said was for Israel.”

      she gets waste which falls to the floor after she made jesus realise that crumbs fall to the ground. the womans faith is to admit in front of jesus’ disciples that she, her ill daughter and her people are indeed crap eating dogs and are subservient to the children. for her daughters sake she had to humilate herself and beg for crumbs. after she schooled jesus, she changed his mind

      “For that retort, be on your way, the demon has come out of your daughter.”

      jesus was making a show of the woman in front of his disciples. he did not send her away because he had an opportunity to expose his opinion of gentiles , if she cracked, he would have said , “see”

      i would never call a woman a “little bitch” or “dogs” if she was grabbing my feet. i would be ashamed. i would put compassion over rituals and jewish way of life if someone wanted help for her sick daughter. her sick daughter knew nothing about gentile and jewish system of life. have compassion for her kid.

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    • “But as I noted, the text gives the impression He said such in response to the disciples asking Him to send her away.”

      ben c smith who is a christian greek speaker at the biblical criticism forum said that the greek could mean “send her away ” in the sense of imploring him to help her so she goes away.

      ibn anwar wrote :

      The following verse (v. 23) notes that Jesus simply ignores her begging and even his disciples who were with him “erotoun” (implored) their master to help her…

      http://unveiling-christianity.net/2016/03/16/jesus-messiah-world/

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    • «she gets waste which falls to the floor after she made jesus realise that crumbs fall to the ground.»

      The problem is that what Christ gave her was not a mere fraction of what she requested, but rather precisely what she asked for help with. So she got precisely that which is for the children. When read in the context of the entire New Testament (rather than mere speculation in a vacuum), it can mean she was treated as though she were one of the children.

      «ben c smith who is a christian greek speaker at the biblical criticism forum said that the greek could mean “send her away ” in the sense of imploring him to help her so she goes away.»

      That seems a bit speculative, but perhaps. Even if that were possible, an obvious meaning remains simply get rid of her.

      «The following verse (v. 23) notes that Jesus simply ignores her begging»

      Or he was waiting for the right (teachable) moment, e.g. when he had the disciples attention.

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    • “The problem is that what Christ gave her was not a mere fraction of what she requested, but rather precisely what she asked for help with. So she got precisely that which is for the children. When read in the context of the entire New Testament (rather than mere speculation in a vacuum), it can mean she was treated as though she were one of the children.”

      she got a distant miracle, not guidance on how to be saved from eternal hell fire.
      she begged her way for this. compare to jairus daughter who gets VIP treatment . she gets a HOME visit.
      also, i don’t know what was there to teach? jesus clearly taught his disciples that non-jews are unclean, misguided and animals.
      one should not give holy stuff to them.
      if the disciples were “ignoring her” they were following orders from jesus. in private , he tells them his opinion of non-jews.

      jesus does not think animals are capable of faith.

      sri lankan scholar

      rajini wickramatra rebera :

      many scholars, theologians and preachers attempt to MINIMISE the impact of jesus’ response to her, since the image of jesus one sees in this incident does not fit the inherited image we have of him as the ‘kind , understanding , ever-helpful savior’

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    • “The problem is that what Christ gave her was not a mere fraction of what she requested, but rather precisely what she asked for help with. So she got precisely that which is for the children. When read in the context of the entire New Testament (rather than mere speculation in a vacuum), it can mean she was treated as though she were one of the children.”

      she didn’t win a seat on the table munching next to the children. she had to give verbal CONFIRMATION that she eats UNDER the table NEAR the FEET.

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    • ” Even if that were possible, an obvious meaning remains simply get rid of her.”

      we don’t know . it could be argued that they were showing some form of COMPASSION. they wanted her to receive what she begged for.

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    • «compare to jairus daughter who gets VIP treatment . she gets a HOME visit.»

      The woman did not ask for a home visit. She asked that her daughter be healed. That was restricted for the children. She did not get a portion of what she asked for; rather she got all that she asked for (ergo despite her own allusion to crumbs, she got more than mere crumbs in the end). [By the way, Matthew 8:5-13 is worthy of note, as healing a gentile’s child from afar is not necessarily indicative of an unwillingness to go to the home.]

      «also, i don’t know what was there to teach?»

      Precisely that which is taught by the New Testament: the difference between a person inside and outside of the true Israel is faith (cf. Romans 11).

      «jesus does not think animals are capable of faith.»

      If that were the case, would “great is thy faith” mean she ceased to be an animal?

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    • “If that were the case, would “great is thy faith” mean she ceased to be an animal?”

      notice that in marks version he just replies “for that retort…” he does not even call her “woman”

      did she cease to be an animal in matthews version?

      i’ll quote thom stark on this :

      A Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’ he answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’

      But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘lord, help me.’ he answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly. (Matthew 15:22-28)

      Jesus began with a myopic vision: he was sent only to care for Israelites. The Canaanite “dogs” were out of his purview. But it wasn’t until he was confronted with one of these dogs, face to face, that he discovered, to his surprise, that they are humans too, and dignified, even in their despair, capable of greater faith even than the so-called “faithful.”

      He was tempted in all ways as we are, tempted to see the Other as less dignified, less worthy, less faithful, less capable of faithfulness, less inclined to tolerance. He was tempted to see the Other as Other, rather than as Self. At first, he couldn’t see his own people, couldn’t see himself, in her. But confronted with that Other, Jesus learned. He learned to sympathize. To sympathize with the enemy. Jesus learned.

      /////////

      so the woman converted jesus i think.

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  3. The New Testament’s infancy narratives—the only biblical records of Jesus’ birth and the events surrounding it—differ from and contradict one another.

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    • Greetings Burhanuddin.

      One way to escape the alleged contradiction is to take a reading of Luke 2:2 which is somewhat different from what appears in mainstream translations. However, both the NIV and ESV contain footnotes alluding to the fact that πρωτη can mean before (i.e. on such a reading, the text is stating that such happened before the governorship of Quirinius).

      Now, this approach is widely mocked in discussions on the internet, but it was endorsed by N.T. Wright’s “Who Was Jesus” (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1993) [cf. p. 89], and, more worthy of note, it gets mentioned in the entry for προτερος, in Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English lexicon (I’ll share a scan of the relevant portion of the entry; note that it states that such happened elsewhere in the NT, namely in John, and can even occur when the word is followed by a word in the genitive, which ηγεμονεθοντος in Luke 2:2 is in):

      This raises a number of questions, such as why do we have no record of this census (I don’t think the absence of a record rules out the possibility), why perform a registration in area still under a client king (I suspect such, in theory, could have been conducted with Herod the Great’s cooperation/permission), and why would Luke mention Quirinius (it could be argued, as Wright does, that the author of Luke anticipated that if he merely mentioned a census, readers might think of the well known one in the time of Quirinius, so he could have been clarifying that such was actually an earlier registration).

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    • This raises the question, why believe in such an implausible census as historical fact?

      I think the nature of the census described in Bible rules out the possibility.

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    • Greetings Burhanuddin

      How do we measure the plausibility of the relevant census? For example, in section 8 of the Res Gestae Divi Augusti (from the Monumentum Ancyranum) [as found in Frederick W. Shipley, “Velleius Paterculus [&] Res Gestae Divi Augusti,” (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1924), pp. 356-359], three different censuses under Augustus are mentioned, and they seem to be clearly restricted to Roman citizens, yet have massive numbers (causing scholars to speculate and debate about the counting method for decades). Presumably, Augustus would’ve had other censuses for subjects who were not citizens? If so, to my knowledge such for specifically his reign are not often mentioned (save for one under Quirinius, for only a portion of the empire), but they are not implausible.

      Beyond that, comparing a post-common era census of Jews mentioned by Bar Hebraeus as happening under Claudius, to one mentioned by Josephus as happening under Cestius, to one mentioned by Talmūd Bavlī as being carried out by one of the Agrippas (with the latter two being based on counting animals sacrificed during Passover, yet with massive differences in count), the details diverge so much it can be debated whether they are all referring to the same single census or more than one census. With history being murky in that regard, I really question the value of a “ex silentio” arguments.

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    • We measure with our mind. A worldwide census where everyone has to move to the town his ancestry came from? Highly implausible.

      Like

    • Just to be clear, the word translated “world” is οικουμενη, which can easily be read as a reference to the territory under Roman control/influence (cf. Liddell-Scott). For an analogy, Orthodoxy’s Patriarch of Constantinople bears a title which includes the related adjective Οικουμενικος (usually translated “ecumenical,” but meaning that his office pertains to the οικουμενη, though in a limited sense).

      With that, note further that we have evidence of censuses of Roman citizens under Augustus, and at least one census of Palestine under his reign. We have evidence of subsequent censuses in Egypt and Palestine during the reigns of other emperors.

      This begs the question: why would such censuses be taken? Are we to assume various Roman authorities were only interested in Roman citizens plus the general inhabitants of Egypt and Palestine? One would think such interest would extend to other parts of Roman territory as well, no?

      The registering of the Ecumene did not have to happen with a single census. Rather, such registering could have been conducted by multiple localized or focused censuses (e.g. a census of Roman citizens, another of Egyptian territory, another of Palestinian territory, still others for other territories, et cetera). There is nothing implausible about Augustus ordering a number of measures which could collectively approximate a registry of the Ecumene within his sphere of influence. That seems to clearly have been an interest of his.

      Like

    • Not sure what you are saying. Do you have evidence for a universal Roman census ordered by Augustus where everyone has to move to the town his ancestry came from?

      Like

    • I was assessing the plausibility of Augustus wanting a registering of the Ecumene within his sphere of influence.

      As for Luke 2:3, the text can be understood as having transitioned to the situation specific to Palestine (at least for property owners).

      So, just as I see no reason to consider a registry of the Ecumene implausible, so too I see no reason to consider it implausible that, at least within Palestine (and perhaps other territories), men (or at least those who owned property) would return to their areas (especially if what was being assessed was property/wealth).

      Like

    • So you have no evidence. I stick with the plausible majority view that the New Testament’s infancy narratives—the only biblical records of Jesus’ birth and the events surrounding it—differ from and contradict one another.

      Like

    • We have evidence that under Augustus there were at least three censuses of Roman citizens and at least one of the territory of Palestine. We have evidence of other censuses of Palestine and Egypt during the reigns of subsequent emperors.

      I previously asked if we should think Roman authorities were only interested in Roman citizens and the broader territories of Egypt and Palestine. It seem obvious that the interest held there would extend to other territories. Such is plausible part of an interest in the overall Ecumene (within the Roman sphere of influence).

      We also know that censuses within ancient Roman territory often (but not always) focused on property, wealth (I would consider it nearly intuitive that a registry of the οικουμενη would relate to interests of οικονομια [the revenue of the territory and the stewardship of properties], thus a property owner would likely return to his οικος [house], or perhaps have an οικονομος [steward/manager of a property] be present for him).

      As for texts mentioning Augustus’ decision to carry out a registry of the Ecumene, we have Luke. You consider the claim therein implausible, but you have not given a reason to agree with you. I have argued why it is perfectly plausible, above.

      As for the charge of “contradiction” between the Matthean and Lukan infancy narratives, what do you have in mind? It seems to me the only potential contradiction is if we read the texts as having the Nativity happen both during the reign of King Herod (i.e. the father of Archelaus) and the governorship of Quirinius. I already addressed that above (when responding to the video you posted), after which you transitioned to the subject of an Ecumene-wide census in general. Is there some other alleged contradiction which you have in mind?

      Like

    • Tiresome. Are you kidding?

      “But there are other differences that are difficult, if not impossible to reconcile. If all you had was Matthew’s Gospel, it would be clear what Joseph and Mary’s original hometown was. Bethlehem! (Not – decidedly not – Nazareth). There’s no word about them *traveling* to come to Bethlehem (because of a world-wide census, as in Luke). In Matthew, Jesus is born in Bethlehem. Some two years later the magi come to worship him (in his “house” Matthew says) (you know it’s about two years later because King Herod asks the magi about when the star appeared that they’ve been following, and after they tell him he has his soldiers kill every boy two years and under in Bethlehem; so it’s safe to say the magi have been on the road for at least a year or more; none of that is in Luke). Joseph and his family escape to Egypt to avoid Herod’s wrath. And then, when Herod dies, they are able to come back. BUT (this is the key point) they can’t return to Bethlehem in Judea, because now Archelaus is the king, and he’s worse than his father Herod! And so the couple is forced to *relocate* to Nazareth.

      None of that fits in with what Luke says, where Joseph and Mary are not from Bethlehem but from Nazareth; they have to go to Bethlehem to register for this (alleged!) census being taken of “all the world” (!), Mary just happens to go into labor while there, and so Jesus is born there.

      Moreover, Luke is clear that after 32 days, when Mary performs her sacrifice for ritual cleansing (cf. Lev. 12), they return home to Nazareth. But if that’s true, how can Matthew be right that they fled to Egypt? The whole thing doesn’t work.”

      From Bart Ehrman’s blog

      Like

    • “We have evidence that under Augustus there… and at least one of the territory of Palestine.”

      That’s the one you argue isn’t the one mentioned in Bible.

      Like

    • You have no evidence for a universal Roman census ordered by Augustus where everyone has to move to the town his ancestry came from.

      Like

    • “As for the charge of “contradiction” between the Matthean and Lukan infancy narratives, what do you have in mind?”

      in the gospel of luke where is there even one indication that the childs life was in danger?

      quote:

      the language of Luke 2:41 certainly indicates that Mary and
      Joseph went to Jerusalem EVERY YEAR because the Greek has KAT’ ETOS, which means annually or every year. This is a well-attested expression, on which you can see other examples in Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon (1957 edition), p. 317. Luke 2:41 indicates that they made this annual trip from the birth onward, and so that would have included the entire reign of Archelaus

      Liked by 1 person

    • nearly all experts now agree that the gospels are a REFUTATION of each other and when luke was written, luke was NOT super glued or attached to the gospel of matthew

      when we read the gospel of luke, we read:

      Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of
      the Passover

      dr carrier wrote :

      Luke says they were publicly announced there (Lk 2:21-39) so couldn’t
      have been hiding in the crowds, and this was not at Passover. But for
      every subsequent year, there were hundreds of thousands of
      inhabitants of Judea (and hundreds of towns), so if they could hide
      in Passover crowds, they could hide in the general populace. Matthew
      doesn’t say they could hide in crowds. He says they feared *even to
      go there* and thus *went somewhere else*. Only by fabricating meaning
      that isn’t there and twisting the obvious meaning of the text can you
      invent any harmonization, and that strains against credulity in the
      face of all the other contradictions.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nota Bene: This post will contain replies to both Burhanuddin and Mr. Heathcliff (greetings to both gentlemen).

      ***

      ***

      Burhanuddin wrote:
      «Tiresome.»

      Well, now, there are no time constraints on our correspondence, so if you wish to step away for a time, please do. I certainly step back from correspondences when other matters are pressing.

      Burhanuddin quoted Bart Ehrman thusly:
      «If all you had was Matthew’s Gospel, it would be clear what Joseph and Mary’s original hometown was. Bethlehem!»

      But there is no verse in Matthew which says such. So what we see is not a contradiction between Matthew and Luke, but rather a contradiction between Luke and a guess Ehrman might’ve made were he reading Matthew in a vacuum (a guess which is nowhere supported by the text itself).

      Burhanuddin quoted Bart Ehrman thusly:
      «two years later the magi come to worship him»

      Not necessarily. Herod may have concluded the Magi had betrayed him two years after the time when they had told him they saw the star. Recall that Herod sent them to search for the child and bring back word (Matt 2:8), and there is no telling how long he waited before he concluded too much time had elapsed.

      Burhanuddin quoted Bart Ehrman thusly:
      «the couple is forced to *relocate* to Nazareth»

      The statement that they went to Nazareth during the reign of Archelaus is not a contradiction. If they had experience with both Bethlehem and Nazareth, and were unwilling to return to the former, the latter could easily be at the top of the list of alternatives.

      Burhanuddin quoted Bart Ehrman thusly:
      «None of that fits in with what Luke says, where Joseph and Mary are not from Bethlehem but from Nazareth; they have to go to Bethlehem to register for this (alleged!) census»

      Do you not see the problem here? Ehrman asserts that neither parent is from Bethlehem in the Lucan narrative, but if that very narrative has Joseph returning to Bethlehem, that means, contrary to Ehrman’s assertion, the narrative is actually telling you the exact opposite: Joseph had a history with Bethlehem afterall!

      Burhanuddin quoted Bart Ehrman thusly:
      «Luke is clear that after 32 days, when Mary performs her sacrifice for ritual cleansing (cf. Lev. 12), they return home to Nazareth. But if that’s true, how can Matthew be right that they fled to Egypt?»

      Earlier Ehrman claimed the magi came when the child was two years old. While the text does not necessitate such, that would nonetheless mean they fled to Egypt when the child was two, well after the purification, which would have occurred when the child was a mere 40/41 days old. Here Ehrman is claiming the Gospels are inconsistent, yet his own objections do not seem to be consistent with one another.

      Burhanuddin quoted me (Denis) thusly:
      «We have evidence that under Augustus there… and at least one of the territory of Palestine.»

      Burhanuddin replied:
      «That’s the one you argue isn’t the one mentioned in Bible.»

      In the approach I offered as a possibility, it could be the case that Luke anticipates it would be the census readers might have in mind, lest he clarify.

      But your objection seems to miss the point of the argument from which you took the quoted excerpt. We have evidence of multiple censuses of Roman citizens and at least one census of Palestine, and it seems unlikely those would be the only subjects Augustus was interested in (ergo, such details can be interpreted as part of a larger framework to get a sense of the Ecumene).

      Burhanuddin wrote:
      «You have no evidence for a universal Roman census ordered by Augustus where everyone has to move to the town his ancestry came from.»

      On the contrary, again, we have mention of Augustus wanting to register the Ecumene in a very early Greek text now popularly called “the Gospel of Luke”. I do not think it can just be waved off a priori. Consider a thought experiment: suppose the Gospel of Luke never became part of the Christian canon of Scripture and thus was largely unknown to history. Suppose in the late 19th century, someone finds a textual fragment dating to the 2nd or 3rd century, that contains only the Greek text that now appears in Luke 2:1-3. I think scholars would take that fragment seriously (just like they take seriously Roman census material found at Orynchus a little over a century ago).

      Now, we can discuss the plausibility of that claim in Luke 2:1-3. Thus far, you have not presented any arguments against its plausibility, while I have presented arguments for why it is plausible in light of other evidence.

      ***

      ***

      Mr. Heathcliff quotes someone else thusly:
      «Joseph went to Jerusalem EVERY YEAR»

      This need not be a contradiction. One easy explanation is that, although they considered Archelaus dangerous, that did not prevent them from slipping into Jerusalem for the Passover feast and then slipping back out (i.e. their sense of religious obligation overrided sense of danger).

      An alternative that is that Luke 2:41 is starting the count of “every year” from some point after “the child grew and became strong” in verse 40 (i.e. they stayed away until the boy got bigger, and then they made it a practice to visit Jerusalem every Nissan).

      Mr. Heathcliff quoted Richard Carrier thusly:
      «Luke says they were publicly announced there (Lk 2:21-39) so couldn’t have been hiding in the crowds, and this was not at Passover.»

      Notice how this quote from Carrier seems willing to concede that they could have hid in the crowds during Passover (which buttress the answer to a previous objection, above).

      As for them being publicly announced (better put: celebrated and talked about by Anna [there’s no indication how many people witnessed the parents interaction with Shimon]), see my objection to Burhanuddin/Ehrman, above: there is no indication that they were in danger at the time of the purification. Herod may not have resorted to violence until well after.

      Mr. Heathcliff quoted Richard Carrier thusly:
      «if they could hide in Passover crowds, they could hide in the general populace»

      Indeed, but they also could have assessed/wagered that hiding briefly in a city packed with pilgrims is a bit less dangerous than hiding in the general populace when the pilgrims are not there. But of course, that is assuming “each year” means from the very beginning, rather than from when the child grew and became strong.

      Like

    • quote :
      Mr. Heathcliff quotes someone else thusly:
      «Joseph went to Jerusalem EVERY YEAR»

      This need not be a contradiction. One easy explanation is that, although they considered Archelaus dangerous, that did not prevent them from slipping into Jerusalem for the Passover feast and then slipping back out (i.e. their sense of religious obligation overrided sense of danger).
      ////////////////

      you know , with these how it could have been scenarios, one must ask, what the heck was the POINT OF going to egypt?

      you have judea which is bigger than jerusalem and you could(USING your harmonization) hide your fully god and fully baby within JUDEA , without the need to take your god to EGYPT.

      “slipping back out”

      how did they do it?

      GALILEE

      . NAZERETH

      .

      .

      .

      .

      .

      .

      .

      .

      .

      .

      v

      JUDEA

      .JERUSALEM

      .

      .BETHLEMHEM

      lukes version

      quote :
      39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
      The Boy Jesus in the Temple 41 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival.

      anything in the greek text says that the child was not brought to jerusalem from birth onward? any scholars ?

      dr avalos said :

      First, the language of Luke 2:41 certainly indicates that Mary and
      Joseph went to Jerusalem EVERY YEAR because the Greek has KAT’ ETOS, which means annually or every year. This is a well-attested expression, on which you can see other examples in Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon (1957 edition), p. 317. Luke 2:41 indicates that they made this annual trip from the birth onward, and so that would have included the entire reign of Archelaus.

      verse 40 seems to be about the child , doesn’t seem to be ABOUT when he was making his travels.

      it is like parenthetical information focusing on what happen to the child, nothing about his travels.

      from reading luke alone, one would assume that child is doing yearly trips from NAZARETH

      and when he was 12 years OLD they went up as USUAL, so between 12 and 0 it seems like they were doing yearly trips

      your “alternatively” implies that the FAMILY were staying in NAZARETH till the child grew, right?

      after they finished the jewish rituals, luke said they went BACK to nazareth .


      An alternative that is that Luke 2:41 is starting the count of “every year” from some point after “the child grew and became strong” in verse 40 (i.e. they stayed away until the boy got bigger, and then they made it a practice to visit Jerusalem every Nissan).”

      where is the evidence for this?
      evidence please for your ALTERNATIVE explanation

      /////////////////////////////////////
      Mr. Heathcliff quoted Richard Carrier thusly:
      «Luke says they were publicly announced there (Lk 2:21-39) so couldn’t have been hiding in the crowds, and this was not at Passover.»

      Notice how this quote from Carrier seems willing to concede that they could have hid in the crowds during Passover (which buttress the answer to a previous objection, above).
      ////////////////////////////////////////

      the full response :

      > DOES THE TEXT ACTUALLY SAY JOSEPH AND MARY NEVER WENT TO JERUSALEM
      > FOR THE 10 YEARS OF THE REIGN OF ARCHELAUS?

      It certainly means that.

      2: 22* But when he heard that Archelaus reigned over Judea in place
      of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a
      dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23* And he went and
      dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets
      might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

      Archelaus was in Jerusalem. If they weren’t afraid to go to
      Jerusalem, why would they go to Nazareth at all? The only
      intelligible meaning of these verses is that they only went to
      Nazareth because they were afraid of the threat to them in Jerusalem.
      Going to Jerusalem every year (much less, as Luke says, having their
      presence publicly announced) would be just as dangerous as living
      anywhere in Judea. Thus, Matthew clearly means they didn’t go where
      they feared to go–which is exactly why he says they didn’t go where
      they feared to go.

      > Maybe I have misunderstood you but you seem to imply that the 2
      > situations are almost MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. In LUKE 2:41 it says
      > Joseph and Mary every year went to the Passover held in Jerusalem.
      > It is not so when you realize that during the PASSOVER pilgrimage,
      > the city of Jerusalem received 100 HUNDRED THOUSANDS pilgrams every
      > year during the festival. With such a vast number of people it was
      > easy for Joseph and Mary not to be noticed.

      Luke says they were publicly announced there (Lk 2:21-39) so couldn’t
      have been hiding in the crowds, and this was not at Passover. But for
      every subsequent year, there were hundreds of thousands of
      inhabitants of Judea (and hundreds of towns), so if they could hide
      in Passover crowds, they could hide in the general populace. Matthew
      doesn’t say they could hide in crowds. He says they feared *even to
      go there* and thus *went somewhere else*. Only by fabricating meaning
      that isn’t there and twisting the obvious meaning of the text can you
      invent any harmonization, and that strains against credulity in the
      face of all the other contradictions.

      “As for them being publicly announced (better put: celebrated and talked about by Anna [there’s no indication how many people witnessed the parents interaction with Shimon])”

      they must have been whispering .


      , see my objection to Burhanuddin/Ehrman, above: there is no indication that they were in danger at the time of the purification. Herod may not have resorted to violence until well after.”

      doesn’t matter, the child was doing yearly trips to jerusalem .

      even if they were in danger, according to you there is no POINT to go to egypt because :
      “their sense of religious obligation overrided sense of danger”

      Mr. Heathcliff quoted Richard Carrier thusly:
      «if they could hide in Passover crowds, they could hide in the general populace»

      “Indeed, but they also could have assessed/wagered that hiding briefly in a city packed with pilgrims is a bit less dangerous than hiding in the general populace when the pilgrims are not there.”

      there is absolutely nothing in lukes version which indicates that the child was in any type of danger.

      when they went to hiding in egypt wouldn’t they have to be in general populace?

      so there is no need to go to egypt, just go and hide in gernal populace in judea which is bigger than jerusalem

      Like

    • herod kills children upto 2 years and under. fully god and fully baby is RESCUED and taken to egypt. i assume your god was 2 -3 years old.

      they had JUDEA to go to but they didn’t put on their christian apologist brains, right?

      quote :

      9 And they, having heard the king, departed, and lo, the star, that
      they did see in the east, did go before them, till, having come, it
      stood over where the child was. 10 And having seen the star, they
      rejoiced with exceeding great joy, 11 and having come to the house,
      they found the child with Mary his mother, and having fallen down they
      bowed to him, and having opened their treasures, they presented to him
      gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh, 12 and having been divinely
      warned in a dream not to turn back unto Herod, through another way
      they withdrew to their own region.

      13 And on their having withdrawn, lo, a messenger of the Lord doth
      appear in a dream to Joseph, saying, `Having risen, take the child and
      his mother, and flee to Egypt, and be thou there till I may speak to
      thee, for Herod is about to seek the child to destroy him.’ 14 And he,
      having risen, took the child and his mother by night, and withdrew to
      Egypt, 15 and he was there till the death of Herod, that it might be
      fulfilled that was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,
      `Out of Egypt I did call My Son.’

      16 Then Herod, having seen that he was deceived by the mages, was very
      wroth, and having sent forth, he slew all the male children in Beth-
      Lehem, and in all its borders, from two years and under, according to
      the time that he inquired exactly from the mages. 17 Then was
      fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 18 `A
      voice in Ramah was heard — lamentation and weeping and much mourning
      — Rachel weeping [for] her children, and she would not be comforted
      because they are not.’

      19 And Herod having died, lo, a messenger of the Lord in a dream doth
      appear to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, `Having risen, take the child
      and his mother, and be going to the land of Israel, for they have died
      — those seeking the life of the child.’ 21 And he, having risen, took
      the child and his mother, and came to the land of Israel, 22 and
      having heard that Archelaus doth reign over Judea instead of Herod his
      father, he was afraid to go thither, and having been divinely warned
      in a dream, he withdrew to the parts of Galilee, 23 and coming, he
      dwelt in a city named Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled that was
      spoken through the prophets, that `A Nazarene he shall be called.’

      WHERE IS THERE EVEN ONE INDICATION that they were RISKING the fully god and fully baby LIFE by going to jerusalem yearly ?

      Like

    • and he was there till the death of Herod, that it might be
      fulfilled that was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,
      `Out of Egypt I did call My Son.’

      except that he was doing yearly trips, so did matthew lie when he said “till the death of herod…”

      Like

    • Mr. Heathcliff asked:
      «what the heck was the POINT OF going to egypt?»

      Greater safety, perhaps?

      You go on to say there could have been other alternatives. That does not mean they therefore did not settle on going to Egypt.

      Mr. Heathcliff quoted from me…
      «slipping back out»

      …and then asked:
      «how did they do it?»

      In a scenario where they slip into Jerusalem and then slip back out, they could go the way they came (in with the crowds and back out with the crowds).

      Mr. Heathcliff asked:
      «anything in the greek text says that the child was not brought to jerusalem from birth onward?»

      The Greek text seems to leave open the question as to when we start the count (e.g. do we start it from Christ’s birth? from well before Christ’s birth? from when the child grew?). While the conjunction at the start of Luke 2:41 does not necessitate consecutive chronology, it can be read that way, i.e. the child grew strong, and then every year his parents went to Jerusalem. Of course Luke 2:41 can also be read as a sort of parenthetical thought, but the text does not require such a reading.

      Mr. Heathcliff argued:
      «when he was 12 years OLD they went up as USUAL, so between 12 and 0 it seems like they were doing yearly trips»

      But of course, the text does not necessitate such. Nowhere does the text state that the count begins at “0”. For all we know, it could begin at 7, or some other age.

      Mr. Heathcliff asked:
      «your “alternatively” implies that the FAMILY were staying in NAZARETH till the child grew, right?»

      No, not at all. It does not logically imply such.

      Mr. Heathcliff observed:
      «after they finished the jewish rituals, luke said they went BACK to nazareth»

      Yes, that is where they were before Jesus was born.

      Mr. Heathcliff apparently quoted someone else (Carrier?) asking:
      «If they weren’t afraid to go to Jerusalem, why would they go to Nazareth at all?»

      As was alluded to previously, there is a difference between being in a city filled with pilgrims for a brief time and being in a place not filled with pilgrims for a more extended period of time.

      Mr. Heathcliff quoted someone else(?) thusly:
      «Going to Jerusalem every year (much less, as Luke says, having their presence publicly announced) would be just as dangerous as living anywhere in Judea.»

      Two alternative explanations have been given for Luke 2:41. As for being “publicly announced” (i.e. during the purification of Mary) why should we believe they were in danger at that time?

      Mr. Heathcliff quoted me (Denis) thusly:
      «there is no indication that they were in danger at the time of the purification. Herod may not have resorted to violence until well after.»

      Then Mr. Heathcliff declared:
      «doesn’t matter»

      It does matter as far as the polemic about the purification is concerned. If the text does not require that they were in danger a mere forty days after Christ’s birth, there is no problem with them being in Jerusalem on that particular day.

      Mr. Heathcliff reiterated:
      «there is no POINT to go to egypt because : “their sense of religious obligation overrided sense of danger”»

      As was stated previously, while…

      (a) briefly visiting an area packed with pilgrims
      and
      (b) staying for long stretches in a place not packed with pilgrims

      …can both be dangerous, (a) is less dangerous than (b).

      Mr. Heathcliff argued:
      «there is absolutely nothing in lukes version which indicates that the child was in any type of danger»

      The text of Luke not stating X does not mean X therefore contradicts Luke. Recall that what we are discussing here are alleged contradictions between the infancy narratives.

      Mr. Heathcliff asked:
      «when they went to hiding in egypt wouldn’t they have to be in general populace?»

      Yes, but one outside the direct control of the Herodian dynasty.

      Mr. Heathcliff wroted:
      «fully god and fully baby is RESCUED and taken to egypt. i assume your god was 2 -3 years old.»

      If you assume that Jesus was forty years old when they fled to Egypt, why did you bother arguing that Jesus would have been in danger in Jerusalem at 40/41 days old. Is there not an inconsistency there? Or has your position evolved?

      Like

    • 1. when did the child leave for egypt ACCORDING TO matthew ?

      when he was an INFANT, right?

      Like

    • Mr. Heathcliff asked:
      «when did the child leave for egypt ACCORDING TO matthew? when he was an INFANT, right?»

      The text of Matthew does not say precisely when they fled to Egypt. It only states that such happened after the Magi visited. It is not clear how long after, and it is not even clear when the Magi visited (I’m tempted to place it right at the beginning of Christ’s life, but we see others it could have been more than a year later).

      And here’s another interesting point: Matthew does not say how long they were in Egypt, except that it was until after Herod died. For all we know, Herod could have died before the first Passover after they fled, right?

      But I wish to ask you, again, Mr. Heathcliff: you stated that you believe they fled around the time Jesus was two. If so, why did you bother raising an objection to them being in Jerusalem for Mary’s purification, a mere forty days after His birth?

      Like

    • “But I wish to ask you, again, Mr. Heathcliff: you stated that you believe they fled around the time Jesus was two. If so, why did you bother raising an objection to them being in Jerusalem for Mary’s purification, a mere forty days after His birth?”

      i was talking about matthews version

      did i say anywhere in my comment that LUKE said that the family went to egypt?
      i believe that luke has the family travelling to jerusalem and then after the rituals back to nazareth again and then from thereon yearly trips to jerusalem. i don’t believe that luke thinks there was any trip to egypt.

      Like

    • “Matthew does not say how long they were in Egypt, except that it was until after Herod died. For all we know, Herod could have died before the first Passover after they fled, right?”

      but matthew has him AVOID judea when he has the family return to israel. why didn’t they initially flee to galilee when they already had a home there(or did they ?)?

      what is the distance between egypt and bethlehem and bethlehem and galilee?

      Like

    • Regarding the purification of Mary vis a vis the fleeing to Egypt…

      Mr. Heathcliff wrote:
      «i was talking about matthews version did i say anywhere in my comment that LUKE said that the family went to egypt?»

      We are discussing whether there are alleged contradictions between Matthew and Luke. Recall that you shared the objection that “they were publicly announced there (Lk 2:21-39) so couldn’t have been hiding in the crowds”.

      This begs the question, why would they need to be hiding at all during the purification? If it is your position that they fled into Egypt when the child was two, presumably they were not in danger until the child was two, right? If so, why would their time in the Temple when the child was 40/41 days old be a problem? Why would there be a need to hide?

      Mr. Heathcliff wrote:
      «matthew has him AVOID judea when he has the family return to israel. why didn’t they initially flee to galilee when they already had a home there(or did they ?)?»

      Because Joseph was told by the angel specifically to go to Egypt (Matt 2:13). Perhaps different men posed different levels of danger (e.g. under Herod the father of Archelaus, perhaps Nazareth was not safe, while under Archelaus it was?).

      Whatever the case, there is no contradiction (and that was the question, which itself was a bit of a segue from the subject of the date of Christ’s birth).

      Like

    • I read the text again carefully

      Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. 13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the

      It seems like Matthew is saying that the family lived in Bethlehem. It says nothing about the family going to Jerusalem, maybe they avoided it since the child was born.

      Like

    • Nuff said

      Like

    • Greetings Burhanuddin

      Permit me to share the observation that, with all due respect, many of your responses are to simply post videos or share quotes from something someone else wrote, and you don’t spend a lot of time engaging the responses received. Moreover, the topics seem to switch abruptly (e.g. originally you posted a video posing a contradiction between the text placing the birth in the time of Herod [father of Archelaus] and seemingly the governorship of Quirinius, so I touched on the relevance of the semantic range of the Greek word πρωτος in Luke 2:2, at which point, rather than engage me on that subject, you switched gears to the plausibility of an Ecumene-wide registry; when I engaged the subject of how plausible a registering of the Ecumene might be, you did not really engage the nuances of my argument, and turned your focus instead on alleged contradictions regarding whether the family was in Bethlehem, Nazareth or Egypt at certain times; when I engaged the relevant claims there, what I wrote about that is also not grappled with, and we’re back to discussing the semantic range of πρωτος). So I want to make a request: being that I am showing you respect by actually trying to engage what you are presenting, can you show me the same respect by engaging my arguments directly in your own words, rather than just putting forth stuff which you mined from the internet?

      Having said that, regarding the video you shared, what it has to say on πρωτος (technically, in this case, the feminine, πρωτη) is threefold:

      (1) πρωτος is rarely translated “before” in the NT,
      (2) it may relate to εγενετο, and
      (3) there was no such census.

      Regarding the number of times it is translated such, that tells us nothing about whether it can be translated such in Luke 2:2. For example, suppose we turned to one of the verses in John where the narrator of the video agrees it can be rendered “before”. Would some how noting there is only one other case where it is typically rendered such negate his own position on the verse in question? Of course not.

      Regarding εγενετο, the text can be read as meaning the census took place before the governorship of Quirinius (i.e. such takes into account εγενετο). To buttress both these points, here are some sources which agree such is a possibility:

      (a) N.T. Wright’s “Who Was Jesus” (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1993), p. 89, which I referenced previously, above,
      (b) the entry for προτερος in Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English lexicon, a scan of the relevant portion of which I already shared above, and
      (c) an interesting footnote in the Loeb Classical Library translation of Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities, book XVIII, i, 1 [i.e. Louis H. Feldman (ed./trans.), “Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, Volume VIII: Books 18-19,” (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965), p. 3, fn. a].

      I would say each of these sources are more authoritative than the narrator in the video. Ergo, there is no reason to doubt it is possible to understand Luke 2:2 as saying such happened before Quirinius. Once that possibility is conceded, the charge of contradiction falls away.

      Regarding his third objection of the three mentioned above, it has already been covered in detail in this thread. We do not have a record of it outside of Luke, but that says nothing about the plausibility of such a registry.

      Like

  4. giron, can you show me some commentaries from scholars which say that the child was not taken to jerusalem from birth onwards

    i was kind enough to provide dr avalos’ commentary

    which i quote again

    quote:

    the language of Luke 2:41 certainly indicates that Mary and
    Joseph went to Jerusalem EVERY YEAR because the Greek has KAT’ ETOS, which means annually or every year. This is a well-attested expression, on which you can see other examples in Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon (1957 edition), p. 317. Luke 2:41 indicates that they made this annual trip from the birth onward, and so that would have included the entire reign of Archelaus

    Like

    • giron,

      Bart wrote :

      Yes, that’s obvoiusly a problem — but Luke doesn’t have that business with Archelaus. That’s in Matthew. If Matthew is right about Archelaus then it’s hard to see how Luke can be right about an annual pilgrimage.

      giron, one confusion i have is, how did the family bypass judea if archelaus was in power? did they use el al airlines to fly past judea?

      if they were coming from egypt, they would have to pass judea, right?

      Like

    • οἰκία
      is this greek word in matthew ever used in the sense of not implying permanent residency?

      Like

    • Greetings Mr. Heathcliff

      Honestly, you are repeating points that have already been addressed, thus if I am to respond to them, I am going to wind up repeating points I have already raised.

      You again appeal to Luke 2:41. Again, that verse starts with a conjunction. Of course we /can/ read such parenthetically, but the text does not require us to do so. A conjunction can also be read chronologically (i.e. the tending to the feast each year could have begun chronologically after the text in verse 40, which mentions the child growing a bit).

      Here’s another point: Luke 2:41 states that His parents went each year. Even if we start the count at or before His birth, that does not require that He went with them every year. He could have been with them some of those years, but the text in verse 41 neither explicitly states nor requires such. For all we know, He could have been left with family for the brief trips taken to Jerusalem by His parents, and verse 42 could be read as meaning when He was twelve, He took part in the custom of going to the feast.

      And the above addresses what you shared from Ehrman. Now, right after posting that text about Archelaus, you go on to ask a question which begins “if they were coming from egypt…” But stop right there. Why would they be coming from Egypt during the reign of Archelaus? Neither Gospel requires such, and this was already explained to you previously.

      Moreover, while Joseph was initially scared of Archelaus, the text does not require he (i.e. Archelaus) kept up the search forever. For all we know, the danger could have dissipated very quickly.

      Finally, you asked this question:

      «οἰκία is this greek word in matthew ever used in the sense of not implying permanent residency?»

      I’m not sure what you mean, but is that not the word employed in Matthew 2:11? That verse requires that the dwelling in question be the “permanent residency” of neither the Magi nor Joseph. Could you elaborate on what you’re getting at? In the meantime, I would say the word simply means house or dwelling.

      Like

    • One quick addendum. I read your question about coming from Egypt in the context of your question about the annual trips to Jerusalem.

      However, if you meant the departure from Egypt upon Herod’s death, I would say the family was entering into Judah, with the plan of settling in Bethlehem, but upon becoming afraid, returned or withdrew to Nazareth.

      If you wish to ask how they could enter into Judah if it was dangerous, there’s a difference between briefly passing through a general area and settling for a longer stretch within that area. The latter is more dangerous than the former.

      Like

    • here is my understanding of the text

      in the gospel of luke, it is written

      39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

      41 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover.

      can you tell me if verse 40 is an after thought or does it mean that the child could have been any age between 0-12 when he was travelling to the jerusalem festival

      i guess you believe he could have been any age between 0-12

      according to matthew,

      the child LIVES in bethlehem.

      there is no mention of him going to jerusalem SINCE birth

      matthew says that the family departs from bethlehem, judea
      to egypt

      lets assume that the child was any age between 0-12 and lets reconcile with the gospel of matthew, this would mean that when the child is returned to israel, he is departed to palestine up north.

      this would clash with lukes account which says that the child was making yearly visits to jerusalem anytime between 0-12

      Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you

      When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20 “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” 21 Then Joseph[k] got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee.

      so jesus is returned to israel when he is still a child. now the new danger is archelaus. . judea would include jerusalem and bethlehem and the text says “he was afraid to go there”

      if he was doing yearly trips to jerusalem with a child who was any age between 0-12, how is it possible he was “afraid to go there”

      ?

      Like

    • quote :
      You again appeal to Luke 2:41. Again, that verse starts with a conjunction. Of course we /can/ read such parenthetically, but the text does not require us to do so. A conjunction can also be read chronologically (i.e. the tending to the feast each year could have begun chronologically after the text in verse 40, which mentions the child growing a bit).

      can i see some scholarly evidence please. i provided to you professor avalo’s thought on this, can you provide some scholarly evidence.

      the more scholarly commentary the better .

      Like

    • Mr. Heathcliff wrote:
      «can you tell me if verse 40 is an after thought or does it mean that the child could have been any age between 0-12 when he was travelling to the jerusalem festival»

      Verse 40 does not mention traveling to Jerusalem. That would be verse 41. We have already noted that it (i.e. the latter) can be read parenthetically or chronologically. Verse 40 mentions the child growing, then verse 41 begins with a conjunction and mentions the child’s parents going to Jerusalem each year. As has already been shown, that can be read in a variety of ways.

      Mr. Heathcliff wrote:
      «lets assume that the child was any age between 0-12 and lets reconcile with the gospel of matthew, this would mean that when the child is returned to israel, he is departed to palestine up north. this would clash with lukes account which says that the child was making yearly visits to jerusalem anytime between 0-12»

      This is not an example of the text clashing, but rather your interpretations of the text clashing. Nothing in Matthew precludes the possibility of the parents visiting Jerusalem. Nothing in Luke necessitates the child visiting Jerusalem every year between “0” and 12. Nor does either text preclude even all three persons doing such (note that you yourself previously shared text from Carrier conceding the possibility of hiding in the crowds).

      Mr. Heathcliff asked:
      «if he was doing yearly trips to jerusalem with a child who was any age between 0-12, how is it possible he was “afraid to go there”»

      This has been covered several times, but here are the previously repeated possibilities: (a) the text does not necessitate that the child was always with Joseph on such trips, (b) it is not clear from the text when the count of “each year” begins [more on this below], (c) if he was bringing the child, the danger posed by Archelaus may have dissipated very quickly, and, even when the danger was present, he may have figured he could hide among the many pilgrims during a brief visit, with his sense of religious duty counteracting his fear.

      Mr. Heathcliff wrote:
      «i provided to you professor avalo’s thought on this»

      By the way, could you provide a source for that statement from Avalos? Was it something in a book or something you lifted off the internet?

      Regarding the statement, we’re not disputing the meaning of “every year,” but rather when the count starts. He asserts it means the count starts at the child’s birth, but what is the textual indicator for that assertion?

      Consider an analogy: could Luke 2:41 include a tacit allusion to the souls of Joseph and Mary existing before their own births, or an allusion to reincarnation? I ask because “every year” literally means every year, and has to include even years before their own births, right? If they were going to Jerusalem even before they themselves were born, then that entails an existence before their births, right?

      I’m confident you’ll answer no. But that would mean the count for “every year” has to begin somewhere. That begs the question: where does the count start, and what are the textual indicators for the counting starting where you wish it to begin?

      Like

  5. “Even if we start the count at or before His birth, that does not require that He went with them every year. He could have been with them some of those years, but the text in verse 41 neither explicitly states nor requires such. For all we know, He could have been left with family for the brief trips taken to Jerusalem by His parents, and verse 42 could be read as meaning when He was twelve, He took part in the custom of going to the feast.”

    luke says that the child is taken to nazareth after everything was completed

    quote :
    39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.

    yes, it is possible that the child was left in galilee and the 3 wise men knocked on the door and found mary and jo without baby.

    quote :
    41 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival.

    can i see some expert commentary on this which says that “as usual” does not include all 3 persons?

    Like

    • i meant “as usual” for this part of the verse

      41 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover.

      does not include all 3 persons.

      Like

    • Mr. Heathcliff wrote:
      «luke says that the child is taken to nazareth after everything was completed»

      That was after the purification of Mary. It is not referring to a Passover trip. So what is the point of bringing this up in response to my point that Luke 2:41 does not necessitate that the child was with them during every trip to Jerusalem?

      Mr. Heathcliff wrote:
      «it is possible that the child was left in galilee and the 3 wise men knocked on the door and found mary and jo without baby.»

      Do you assume the Magi visited during Passover? If so, on what grounds? If not, what is the point of raising such a remark?

      Mr. Heathcliff wrote:
      «can i see some expert commentary on this which says that “as usual” does not include all 3 persons?»

      Which translation reads “as usual”? The NLT? Is there such a thing as “expert commentary” on specifically the NLT? If so, could you tell me about some of the “expert commentary” on that translation? Or the ISV?

      Luke 2:42 reads κατα το εθος, which can mean according to custom, accortding to the ethos of the culture.

      While women and children could attend the Passover, it was men who were required to go (see Deuteronomy 16:16, but also note Bavli PesaHim 93A, which includes the statement that (תניא גר שנתגייר בין שני פסחים וכן קטן שהגדיל בין שני פסחים הייב לעשות פסח שני) “it was taught that if a proselyte completes his conversion between the two Passovers, and so too a child who reaches maturity between two Passovers, he is required to observe the second Passover”). So when is a boy considered a man according to the Rabbinic customs of the day? Thirteen (hence the custom of “bar mitsvah” among Jews to this day). But the early Rabbinic sources also have a concept of the “qatan she-higī`a le-Hīnūkh” (קטן שהגיע לחינוך), a child that is approaching training/education. In the Babylonian Talmūd, tractate Rosh ha-Shanah 33A-33B refers to rules about blowing the shofar which apply to a “qatan she-higī`a le-Hīnūkh” which do not apply a child otherwise. Similarly, Bavlī Sūkah 28B refers to an obligation which can be taken up by a “qatan she-higī`a le-Hīnūkh” that does not fall upon a younger minor, vis a vis the feast of Sūkot (and interestingly, in a footnote to Soncino translation of the latter of the two Talmudic texts just referenced, it is stated that the phrase refers to “the age at which a child has to be trained for his future responsibilities on attaining his majority” and adds that it is “normally eleven or twelve years of age”.

      With all that before us, “according to the custom/ethos” in Luke 2:42 could mean that, as a twelve year old, Jesus was considered nearly an adult, and thus He was invited to take part more fully in the feasts, as it was a custom to train twelve year olds for adulthood (which began the next year).

      Like

  6. quote :

    I would say the family was entering into Judah, with the plan of settling in Bethlehem, but upon becoming afraid, returned or withdrew to Nazareth.

    If you wish to ask how they could enter into Judah if it was dangerous, there’s a difference between briefly passing through a general area and settling for a longer stretch within that area. The latter is more dangerous than the former.

    quote :
    When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20 “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” 21 Then Joseph[k] got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee.

    joseph was afraid , but he still did yearly trips with mary minus child ? so they would be travelling by foot or on horse or would they try to swim or walk through the shore?

    child is brought to judea , right?
    they would have to camp somewhere or maybe find another barn, how did they escape being found out?

    Like

    • Mr. Heathcliff wrote:
      «joseph was afraid , but he still did yearly trips with mary minus child ?»

      He was afraid specifically for the child. He himself was not in danger.

      Mr. Heathcliff wrote:
      «child is brought to judea , right? they would have to camp somewhere or maybe find another barn, how did they escape being found out?»

      You’ll have to be more clear when you are referring to, here. You mean for Mary’s purification? During the return from Egypt? For Passover? If it is the first, yes but it is not clear there was any danger then. If it is the second, presumably yes, but they would be passing through en route to Nazareth (i.e. they’d only be there a short period of time). If it is the third, perhaps yes but perhaps no (the text leaves the question open, and even if the child was with them, they’d only be there briefly, among crowds).

      Like

  7. just out of curiosity is the “he” in the following verses referring to a single person ?

    quote :
    And he, having risen, took the child and his mother, and came to the land of Israel, 22 and having heard that Archelaus doth reign over Judea instead of Herod his father, he was afraid to go thither, and having been divinely warned in a dream, he withdrew to the parts of Galilee, 23 and coming, he dwelt in a city named Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled that was spoken through the prophets, that `A Nazarene he shall be called.’

    maybe joseph left the family somewhere in judea and feared for his own life?

    Like

    • Quick question: why do you keep creating new subthreads? Wouldn’t it be easier for readers if we kept our exchanges within a single continuous subthread?

      Whatever the case, regarding your question here, the context reveals his fear is for the child, not himself, so presumably he would take the child with him to Nazareth (and the Nazarene text at the end over verse 23 seems to obviously be about Jesus, not Joseph, thus entailing Jesus went with Joseph).

      Like

    • so miraculously the path to go to palestine became safe from danger from judea in order for your apologetic to work? but before, it was not safe because then your apologetic cannot have joseph travel to egypt, right?

      Like

    • I am not saying the passage through Palestine was safe immediately after the death of Herod (father of Archelaus). On the contrary, Joseph opted to return to Nazareth rather than Bethlehem precisely because of a fear of Archelaus. But as has been discussed before, passing through Judea is not the same as settling in Judea for an extended stay (on the contrary, the latter would be more dangerous than the former).

      Like

  8. “The text of Matthew does not say precisely when they fled to Egypt. It only states that such happened after the Magi visited. It is not clear how long after, and it is not even clear when the Magi visited (I’m tempted to place it right at the beginning of Christ’s life, but we see others it could have been more than a year later).

    And here’s another interesting point: Matthew does not say how long they were in Egypt, except that it was until after Herod died. For all we know, Herod could have died before the first Passover after they fled, right?”

    quote :
    Bob Garringer says:
    September 2, 2015 at 8:11 pm
    Herod asked when the star appeared. Then he had children who were up to two years old executed — based on the time of the star’s appearing. If the star appeared as an omen, then Jesus was born two years before. This is not hard

    https://adversusapologetica.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/ancient-historical-writing-compared-to-the-gospels-of-the-new-testament/

    to which ferguson replied :

    Alright, after checking some mainstream biblical commentaries (e.g. Ehrman and Plese, The Other Gospels, pg. 53), I’ll grant your interpretation of Mt. 2:7, 16. If I was obstinate on that point, it was because I think the rest of the scenario you posit above is speculative. But, I can concede that the 2 year designation seems to more of a chronological marker than I had originally considered, so thanks for that point

    ///////////

    so between 40 day old jesus and 2 year old jesus , joseph , when he was in bethelehem , did not once visit jerusalem for passover?

    Like

    • Mr. Heathcliff quoted:
      «Herod asked when the star appeared. Then he had children who were up to two years old executed — based on the time of the star’s appearing. If the star appeared as an omen, then Jesus was born two years before. This is not hard»

      Herod sent the Magi to search for the child (Matt 2:8). There is no indication how long he waited. It is only stated that, sometime after (a) the Magi had visited the child and departed, and (b) Joseph had departed for Egypt, Herod realized the Magi had betrayed him (cf. Matt 2:16), and it is then that he resorts to violence. For all we know, Herod could have waited for nearly two years before concluding that Magi would not be coming back. Yes, Herod chose the age of 2 based on when the Magi claimed to have seen the star, but the amount of time between (a) when they said they saw the star and (b) when he finally gave up waiting for them is open to speculation.

      Mr. Heathcliff asked:
      «so between 40 day old jesus and 2 year old jesus , joseph , when he was in bethelehem , did not once visit jerusalem for passover?»

      The text of Luke does not require such either way. However, I am fine with believing that Joseph visited Jerusalem during the Passovers which occurred within the first two years of the child’s life.

      Like

  9. hello denis

    ehrman replied :

    Bart January 17, 2017
    Yes, “as usual” means that it was their custom prior to the event mentioned when Jesus was twelve. What it doesn’t indicate is when they started the custom. And yes, that is hard to reconcile with what Matthew says about wanting to stay out of the jurisdiction of Archilaus.

    you wrote :

    However, I am fine with believing that Joseph visited Jerusalem during the Passovers which occurred within the first two years of the child’s life.

    ////

    my question

    so do you believe the custom of visiting the festival started very early ?
    bethlehem is 7 km away from jerusalem.

    Like

    • Mr. Heathcliff quoted:
      «Bart January 17, 2017»

      Wait, you’re quoting something Ehrman wrote just today? Could you provide a link to where Ehrman wrote such?

      Mr. Heathcliff quoted:
      «Yes, “as usual” means that it was their custom prior to the event mentioned when Jesus was twelve.»

      With all due respect to Ehrman, I do not think this position becomes true simply because he says so. In a previous reply I got into what the Talmūd says about a “qatan she-higī`a le-Hīnūkh” (קטן שהגיע לחינוך), a child entering into training [for adulthood], including the fact that the Soncino translation stating that this was typically an eleven or twelve year old. I would say that is the context in which we can understand “according to the custom/ethos” in Luke 2:42.

      Mr. Heathcliff quoted:
      «What it doesn’t indicate is when they started the custom.»

      Do you agree with Ehrman on this point?

      Mr. Heathcliff asked:
      «do you believe the custom of visiting the festival started very early ? bethlehem is 7 km away from jerusalem.»

      I don’t have a firm position on when it began. I’m fine with reading the text as meaning Joseph visited Jerusalem for Passover every year of Jesus’ life (i.e. that he, Joseph, was alive), but I do not believe such is required by the text. Nor does the text require that Joseph always brought the child with him, nor does the text preclude them being able to slip in with the crowds, nor does the text tell us how long the danger from Archelaus lasted (all points which have been brought up several times).

      Like

  10. “The woman did not ask for a home visit. She asked that her daughter be healed. That was restricted for the children”

    jesus made her beg for a distant healing ? does it say that she didn’t expect a home visit? i forgot , jesus didn’t go into gentile territory because he explicitly says ” i only came for the lost sheep”
    glenna jackson who has written, “have mercy on me” says that it is likely that by the use of the titles she used for jesus, she(the gentile woman) embraced judaism (laws against lawless pagans) before she received her help . all the legalism the christians have a problem with in judaism today, the woman probably had to perform.

    i am not making any of this up

    http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/have-mercy-on-me-9780826461483/

    Like

    • «does it say that she didn’t expect a home visit?»

      No, nor does it say that she did. She did not ask for one. She got precisely what she asked for. [By the way, I would like to reiterate that this event should be understood together with the story of the centurion, which I read as happening prior.]

      «glenna jackson who has written, “have mercy on me” says that it is likely that by the use of the titles she used for jesus, she(the gentile woman) embraced judaism (laws against lawless pagans) before she received her help»

      This comes close to my own position, argued above. I don’t think her conversion would have been recognized by Pharisaical authorities, but this is nonetheless understood by me to be a sort of conversion to the fulfilled or proper faith of Israel (I understand it in light of the cryptic reference in Matthew 3:9, and the more explicit statements in Romans 2:28-29 [read together with Revelation 2:9], Romans 9:6, Romans 11, Galatians 3:29, Ephesians 2:12-19, and Revelation 12:17). That is to say, she got what was for the children precisely because she was elevated to that status.

      Like

  11. The Lord will have compassion on Jacob;
    once again he will choose Israel
    and will settle them in their own land.
    Foreigners will join them
    and unite with the descendants of Jacob.
    2 Nations will take them
    and bring them to their own place.
    And Israel will take possession of the nations
    and make them male and female servants in the Lord’s land.
    They will make captives of their captors
    and rule over their oppressors.

    do empires help as long as one acknowledges its sovereignty ?

    Like

  12. “I would like to reiterate that this event should be understood together with the story of the centurion”

    i think there are some very weird things going on with these texts. the woman had to beg for healing ,while the jesus acts promptly upon the centurions request .

    “for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagouge.”

    really ?

    Like

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