Friday, 21 December 2012

The Christmas Story

The malls are buzzing, and in terms of shopping, the earlier in the day you get out and about the more likely you are to get a parking spot.  Yup, must be Xmas.

But putting aside the crass commercialism, what about the biblical and other traditional stories surrounding Jesus' birth, you know, the true meaning of Christmas?   Is it grounded in real history - or something else?  Bart Ehrman is up to the bat at Newsweek with an incisive piece (What Do We Really Know About Jesus?) that treats the issues both sensitively and honestly, and is well worth taking the time to read. 


  1. "Paul" was hanging around Jerusalem back then,
    and was an insider with the group that had "Jesus" killed...
    But, alas, "he" has no recollection of this?!?

    Worse, So was historian Philo who didn't notice "Jesus" or "Paul"!?!

    1. There's a good reason why "Paul" didn't remember Jesus walking around on the earth. Paul was also very careful not to date anything in his letters except the famine - which was in 44 CE. Since this is about the time that Paul wrote all his letters, subtract 3 years (Gal. 1:18) and then 14 years (Gal. 2:1) you will get a date of 27 CE for Paul's conversion. If Paul, as Bart Ehrman says, converted to Xianity only 2 or three years after the death of Jesus - we have 24 or 25 CE as the date for Jesus' ministry and death - a year or two before Pontius Pilate was even there to crucify him. And, all that is not taking into consideration how long Paul was in Arabia (Gal. 1:17) which would have been at least a year, maybe more. So, now we have a date for Jesus' death in about 23 CE - three years before Pontius Pilate could have crucified him. But, what if Paul was in Arabia for 10 or 20 years before he returned to Damascus?

    2. Interesting stuff. Couple this with the embarrassing anachronisms of John the Baptist
      [] and the Christians have, again,
      generously supplied us with the Rope with which to Hang them. So magnanimous of them.

    3. Yes. And, if the gospels and Acts are taken into Paul's account in the letter to the Galatians, Paul converts to Christianity at least a decade before Jesus even began his ministry!

  2. Mark apparently never met Jesus and wrote what Peter told him.

    Luke may or may not have ever met Jesus and isn't about to give us a hint in his gospel.

    Of course, this all ignores the theory that the Catholic Church wrote the New Testament some time around the Fourth Century A. D. and was based on a variety of rather, shall we say, suspect oral "tradition", in which case -- if true, the Apostle Paul never existed and the whole thing is an amalgam of illiterates transcribed by Catholic "scribes".

    Not certain whether or not I exist -- maybe I've been invented by inventive hackers on the Internet.

  3. Douglas, I don't believe you exist...