HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Religion & Spirituality » Atheists & Agnostics (Group) » GOSPEL OFF! Matthew vs. ...

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 03:34 PM

GOSPEL OFF! Matthew vs. Luke: Nativity Edition.

8 replies, 2582 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply GOSPEL OFF! Matthew vs. Luke: Nativity Edition. (Original post)
cleanhippie Dec 2011 OP
Curmudgeoness Dec 2011 #1
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2011 #2
mr blur Jan 2012 #6
onager Jan 2012 #7
Riktor Jan 2012 #3
AlbertCat Jan 2012 #4
Riktor Jan 2012 #8
frogmarch Jan 2012 #5

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 08:46 PM

1. Why does Mary have a tail?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 07:46 PM

2. Not to mention a small disagreement of 10 or more years for when he was born

Matthew puts it in Herod's reign; he was succeeded by his son Archelaus, but he was so bad the Romans chucked him out after 9 years and installed Quirinius as governor. But Luke insists this 'journey to Bethlehem' took place in a census under Quirinius.

Not to mention that censuses do not tell people to go to where the head of the household came from. That would be pointless; the whole idea of a census is to count where people are now.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 6, 2012, 05:43 PM

6. And of course the existence of Nazareth itself.


The gospels do not tell us much about this 'city' – it has a synagogue, it can scare up a hostile crowd (prompting JC's famous "prophet rejected in his own land" quote), and it has a precipice – but the city status of Nazareth is clearly established, at least according to that source of nonsense called the Bible.

However when we look for historical confirmation of this hometown of a god – surprise, surprise! – no other source confirms that the place even existed in the 1st century AD.

• Nazareth is not mentioned even once in the entire Old Testament. The Book of Joshua (19.10,16) – in what it claims is the process of settlement by the tribe of Zebulon in the area – records twelve towns and six villages and yet omits any 'Nazareth' from its list.

• The Talmud, although it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of Nazareth, nor does early rabbinic literature.

• St Paul knows nothing of 'Nazareth'. Rabbi Solly's epistles (real and fake) mention Jesus 221 times, Nazareth not at all.

• No ancient historian or geographer mentions Nazareth. It is first noted at the beginning of the 4th century.
'Never heard of the place' – Josephus

In his histories, Josephus has a lot to say about Galilee (an area of barely 900 square miles). During the first Jewish war, in the 60s AD, Josephus led a military campaign back and forth across the tiny province. Josephus mentions 45 cities and villages of Galilee – yet Nazareth not at all.

Josephus does, however, have something to say about Japha (Yafa, Japhia), a village just one mile to the southwest of Nazareth where he himself lived for a time (Life 52).

A glance at a topographical map of the region shows that Nazareth is located at one end of a valley, bounded on three sides by hills. Natural access to this valley is from the southwest.

Before the first Jewish war, Japha was of a reasonable size. We know it had an early synagogue, destroyed by the Romans in 67 AD (Revue Biblique 1921, 434f). In that war, it's inhabitants were massacred (Wars 3, 7.31). Josephus reports that 15,000 were killed by Trajan's troops. The survivors – 2,130 woman and children – were carried away into captivity. A one-time active city was completely and decisively wiped out.

Now where on earth did the 1st century inhabitants of Japha bury their dead? In the tombs further up the valley!

With Japha's complete destruction, tomb use at the Nazareth site would have ended. The unnamed necropolis today lies under the modern city of Nazareth.

At a later time – as pottery and other finds indicate(see below) – the Nazareth site was re-occupied. This was after the Bar Kochba revolt of 135 AD and the general Jewish exodus from Judea to Galilee. The new hamlet was based on subsistence farming and was quite unrelated to the previous tomb usage by the people of Japha.

None of this would matter of course if, rather like at the nearby 'pagan' city of Sepphoris, we could stroll through the ruins of 1st century bath houses, villas, theatres etc. Yet no such ruins exist.



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 6, 2012, 10:43 PM

7. Why Archelaus was chucked out is also interesting...

According to Isaac Asimov's "Guide to the Bible," a bi-partisan committee of Jews and Samaritans complained about him to the Roman governor in Syria.

Which is interesting for a couple of reasons:

1. The Jews and Samaritans NEVER got together on anything. They hated each other, mostly because the Samaritans worshipped their own off-brand god, not Y*h-whoever. The Bible story about the "good Samaritan?" It probably started out as an ethnic joke about the self-righteousness of the Jews.

Archelaus must have been one really piss-poor ruler to unite those two factions. The Romans sure didn't mess around with him. They not only fired Archelaus, they deported him about as far away from Judea as they possibly could. He ended up in the vicinity of modern Vienna, Austria.

2. According to Xian mytho-history, the Roman occupation of Judea was just one long grind of oppression, near-slavery, etc. etc. So it's interesting that the Romans booted out their own hand-picked ruler at the request of those oppressed people.

Going by Xian accounts, you'd expect the Romans to just say: "Tough Santorum. Deal with it."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Jan 6, 2012, 12:13 PM

3. But wait, there's more...

Both Matthew and Luke offer contrivances to reconcile Jesus' home town of Nazareth with the Messiah's prophesied place of birth: Bethlehem.

Matthew assumes Joseph and Mary were already living in Bethlehem, but creates a ridiculous story in which the kings from afar approach King Herod and ask of him, "Where is the king of the Jews" (d'oh! So much for "wise" men). Herod then plots a killing spree, but Joseph is warned by an angel in a dream and he takes Mary and baby Jesus to Egypt without so much as warning anyone of Herod's plotted mass infanticide. This would be worth being upset about if the Massacre of the Innocents had actually happened, but most Herod biographers have concluded it was a complete fabrication. If anything, this tale is merely a literary mechanism used by Matthew to explain why Jesus would have moved from Bethlehem to Nazareth in a time when most people - particularly poor people - never moved far from their birthplace.

Luke does the same with the Census of Quirinius. He places Mary and Joseph in Nazareth, but invents a fictitious addendum to the census which stipulates all Roman subjects were to return to the city of their ancestors to register with the census. Lo and behold, Joseph and Mary were descended from folk native to Bethlehem and thus had a reason to be there when Jesus was born. What a miraculous coincidence!

The contradictions and absurdities of the Bible are as plain as day to anyone who takes the time to read it. Either most Christians don't know their Bible, or they are too deluded to see the forest through the trees.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Riktor (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 6, 2012, 12:39 PM

4. But wait, there's more...


And then there's Joseph's lineage...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to AlbertCat (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 7, 2012, 01:20 AM

8. Which is doubly amusing...

... considering Jesus isn't supposed to be related to Joseph anyway.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Jan 6, 2012, 04:23 PM

5. Love it. :-D

I like Matthew’s version best. I'll go with that one.

After all, Matthew alone had the courage to reveal that zombies walked the streets of Jerusalem after the crucifiction.

Matthew 27:52-53:

The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Because Matthew obviously wasn't prone to making shit up, I believe that Matthew’s account of the nativity is probably the right one, and that Luke was delusional.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread