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Still Waters

Was Jesus born in Israel's 'other Bethlehem'?

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Still Waters

Israel's 'other Bethlehem': have Christians celebrated Jesus's birth in the wrong place all these years?

Some archaeologists believe Jesus was born in the small village of Bethlehem in the Galilee, located in northern Israel, which later became known for its Nazi-sympathiser German Templer community.

http://www.telegraph...hese-years.html

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StarMountainKid

Perhaps, but I think it's more likely Jesus was born in Nazareth. The family had no reason to travel to either Bethlehem's, as the Roman census was not in effect in Nazareth, and anyway, Roman law assessed an individual's property for taxation in the place of their residence, not their birthplace.

The only reason for placing Jesus' birth in Bethlehem was to fulfil the prophesy of Jesus being born in the same city as David, which was Bethlehem.

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danielost

maybe, why they had to travel to Bethlehem is Joseph was a resident of Bethlehem.

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Calibeliever

He went there to get "registered" ,whatever that meant back then.

"1In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child."

Luke 2:1

Edited by Calibeliever

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Davros of Skaro

Were the infants Romulus and Remus thrown in the Tiber River or left along it's Banks?

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Sundew

The prophesy in Micah 5:2 makes it clear which Bethlehem:

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,

Yet out of you shall come forth to Me

The One to be Ruler in Israel,

Whose goings forth are from of old,

From everlasting.”

It is nothing new to note there were two cities called Bethlehem at that time.

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acute

Anyone who has the seen the epic mini-series Jesus Of Nazareth knows that Jesus was British, so he was probably born in Bethlehem, Wales.

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ambelamba

AFAIK Bethlehem of Galilee is within a walking distance from Nazareth...around 1km.

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danielost

AFAIK Bethlehem of Galilee is within a walking distance from Nazareth...around 1km.

he was called a Galilean. hence that is the Bethlehem he was born in. the Christians may have chosen the other one because it was closer to Jerusalem

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ambelamba

he was called a Galilean. hence that is the Bethlehem he was born in. the Christians may have chosen the other one because it was closer to Jerusalem

Uh...

Just check out the map.

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Jor-el

Israel's 'other Bethlehem': have Christians celebrated Jesus's birth in the wrong place all these years?

Some archaeologists believe Jesus was born in the small village of Bethlehem in the Galilee, located in northern Israel, which later became known for its Nazi-sympathiser German Templer community.

http://www.telegraph...hese-years.html

Those people will say anything to make their names stand out.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah, not by choice but because that is where his parents were forced to relocate due to Herods position regarding the line of David. He wanted them where they could be watched, and Bethlehem of Galilee was certainly not the place for that.

We know that the entire nation was forced to make an oath of Allegiance to both Caesar and Herod, Herod decided that this would make an excellent excuse to keep an eye on all the possible “royal claimants” that might threaten his rule. Bethlehem being close to Jerusalem would have been the ideal place, besides being the home town of the Davidic line, for Herod to keep an eye on the line while also using the Roman oath of Allegiance to force all members of that line to reveal who they were.

Edited by Jor-el

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AlienDan

I wonder if a Jesus was ever born at all.

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Davros of Skaro

I wonder if a Jesus was ever born at all.

He does yardwork...So I heard.

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Doug1029

Anyone who has the seen the epic mini-series Jesus Of Nazareth knows that Jesus was British, so he was probably born in Bethlehem, Wales.

According to our local wing-nuts, Jesus was American, so it must have been Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Doug

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Doug1029

Israel's 'other Bethlehem': have Christians celebrated Jesus's birth in the wrong place all these years?

The location of Jesus' birth was decided by Empress (St.) Helena in 326 AD (Christians seem to have forgotten where it was during the first 300 years of the "Christian" era.). The church of the Nativity has been ring-dated using dendrochronology to the early 15th century (That's the date of a major renovation.). There probably aren't any of the original structural timbers still in place.

We don't know what Helena used as a basis for deciding the churches' location, probably "faith."

Doug

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Jor-el

The location of Jesus' birth was decided by Empress (St.) Helena in 326 AD (Christians seem to have forgotten where it was during the first 300 years of the "Christian" era.). The church of the Nativity has been ring-dated using dendrochronology to the early 15th century (That's the date of a major renovation.). There probably aren't any of the original structural timbers still in place.

We don't know what Helena used as a basis for deciding the churches' location, probably "faith."

Doug

Funny that, does that mean Bethlehem had no actual existence before she "arbitrarily" chose the location?

If that is a "yes" then I wonder how Bethlehem is archaeologically proven to exist?

121356148.jpg

Artifact found bearing the name of Bethlehem in ancient Hebrew script. Image courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

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Doug1029

Funny that, does that mean Bethlehem had no actual existence before she "arbitrarily" chose the location?

If that is a "yes" then I wonder how Bethlehem is archaeologically proven to exist?

No. It is Bethlehem's location, not its existence that is in contention. According to legends, St. Helena chose the location for the Church of the Nativity because it was NEAR the cave where Jesus was born. But, the cave was not a good location for building such a large structure, so workers built it some distance away and hollowed out a replica of the cave. That's the story. It was Helena that decided the local legends/myths were right.

BTW: the ultimate irony: at the end of the Crusades, the Emperor Saladin, chose two Muslim families as keepers of the Church of the Nativity. Those two families are still fulfilling that obligation. Christianity's oldest church is kept and maintained by Muslims.

Another great mystery: when the Crusaders were defeated, Saladin captured their standard, the True Cross as a prize of war. What happened to it?

And one last one: Odoacer deemed the Roman standards and the Empire to be more trouble than it was worth. He sent the Roman standards to Constantinople. Where are they now?

Doug

Edited by Doug1029

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Jor-el

No. It is Bethlehem's location, not its existence that is in contention. According to legends, St. Helena chose the location for the Church of the Nativity because it was NEAR the cave where Jesus was born. But, the cave was not a good location for building such a large structure, so workers built it some distance away and hollowed out a replica of the cave. That's the story. It was Helena that decided the local legends/myths were right.

BTW: the ultimate irony: at the end of the Crusades, the Emperor Saladin, chose two Muslim families as keepers of the Church of the Nativity. Those two families are still fulfilling that obligation. Christianity's oldest church is kept and maintained by Muslims.

Another great mystery: when the Crusaders were defeated, Saladin captured their standard, the True Cross as a prize of war. What happened to it?

And one last one: Odoacer deemed the Roman standards and the Empire to be more trouble than it was worth. He sent the Roman standards to Constantinople. Where are they now?

Doug

Legends are not my thing, but locations are...

Regarding Bethlehem, quite a bit is known about it from the bible in regards to location.

It was known as Ephrath, (Genesis 35:19). It is where Rachel, Jacobs wife, died when they were travelling from Sechem, to Hebron. (Genesis 34 and 35).

We also know that Bethlehem was in Judah (Judges 17:9, Ruth 1:1,1 Samuel 17:12 and Micah 5:2 ) which was the traditional family home of the Davidic clan, who belonged to the tribe of Judah. (1 Samuel 20:6 and 1 Samuel 17:12)

Now let's look at some maps....

JacobAndSonsMovements.jpg

Interestingly, a journey from Sechem to Hebron would take us south. Rachel died on the way to Ephrath, but where is that?

It is somewhere below Bethel and before Hebron. We also know that it was once a town close but not exactly the same as Bethlehem. (Genesis 48:7)

And finally we absolutely know that Bethlehem was in land directly controlled and governed by the clan of Judah.

640px-12_Tribes_of_Israel_Map.svg.png

So now that we know a Bethlehem exists and we know its general location, where would you put it?

divided.jpg

In Northen Israel, 10 kilometers from Nazareth?

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Doug1029

Now let's look at some maps....

JacobAndSonsMovements.jpg

640px-12_Tribes_of_Israel_Map.svg.png

So now that we know a Bethlehem exists and we know its general location, where would you put it?

divided.jpg

In Northen Israel, 10 kilometers from Nazareth?

That is all fine and good, but neither site matches the Jesus story. Jesus' family was supposedly from Galilee. They were on their way to Jerusalem to be enumerated in the census in the year 6 AD. But the southern of the two Bethlehems is 10km SOUTH of Jerusalem. If that was the one, they were over 6 miles past their destination. The Church of the Nativity is located there.

The other Bethlehem is located a few miles south of the Sea of Galilee. It is on the direct route between Galilee and Jerusalem. If the story is true, this is the town where Jesus was born. But: it is 63 miles from Galilee to Jerusalem, about 57 miles remained to be traversed. They were half-a-day's travel into what was AT LEAST a four-day journey. The impression left by the Bible is that they had already reached their destination, that there was "no room at the inn" because people were traveling to Jerusalem to be enumerated. Thus, this Bethlehem is not a good fit.

But it is the only fit. If one wants to say that the Bible story may be a bit garbled, then one has a case.

Before somebody gets his drawers in a knot over Nazareth not having existed in Jesus' day. The CITY did not exist until about 275 AD. But there was a spring there. And in the dry climate, water is important. The spring would have been known and named. So Nazareth, as the name of a spring, might have existed in Jesus' day. And there would very likely have been a house or two nearby to make use of that spring, even if the area was a graveyard and therefore, taboo.

Another thought about the site of Nazareth. The Bible describes an angry mob about to throw Jesus off a cliff at Nazareth. But Nazareth doesn't have a cliff. The story is about someplace else. Which leads one to wonder if there wasn't another place, then known as Nazareth that the Bible is talking about. How about it, Jor-el? You're the self-proclaimed map expert. Where was Nazareth?

Doug

Edited by Doug1029

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Jor-el

That is all fine and good, but neither site matches the Jesus story. Jesus' family was supposedly from Galilee. They were on their way to Jerusalem to be enumerated in the census in the year 6 AD. But the southern of the two Bethlehems is 10km SOUTH of Jerusalem. If that was the one, they were over 6 miles past their destination. The Church of the Nativity is located there.

The other Bethlehem is located a few miles south of the Sea of Galilee. It is on the direct route between Galilee and Jerusalem. If the story is true, this is the town where Jesus was born. But: it is 63 miles from Galilee to Jerusalem, about 57 miles remained to be traversed. They were half-a-day's travel into what was AT LEAST a four-day journey. The impression left by the Bible is that they had already reached their destination, that there was "no room at the inn" because people were traveling to Jerusalem to be enumerated. Thus, this Bethlehem is not a good fit.

But it is the only fit. If one wants to say that the Bible story may be a bit garbled, then one has a case.

Before one can say what a good or bad fit is, one needs the details of the story, details that are not readily apparent to the English reader.

Where do you get the information that Joseph and Mary were going to Jerusalem due to the so called census?

The bible specifically says Bethlehem, the Town of David.... and they both went because both of them belonged to the clan of Judah and more specifically to the house of David.

Luke 2:4-7

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

One such detail, is that we are not talking of a census. The term used is enrollment, and it had nothing to do with taxation.

The specific enrollment in question is a nation wide (Empire wide) Oath of Allegiance, attested to in both Roman, Jewish and later Christian historical sources and demonstrated by archaeological finds. It was nation wide because Herod used the Roman Oath of Allegiance to add his own twist, that allegiance was also supposed to be given to him, beside allegiance to Augustus. The counter argument is usually that Judaea was not part of the Roman Empire, but then again neither was Paphlagonia, and it was there that we find an archaeological record of just such an oath to Caesar Augusts. Paphlagonia is part of the region that was called Bithynia et Pontus, and parts of it were part of the Roman Empire, while the rest were considered a client state or ally, just like Judaea.

440px-Anatolia_Ancient_Regions_base.svg.png

Another important point to consider, was that at least a year and a 3 months had passed between the night of Jesus birth and the visit of the Magi. At the visit of the Magi, Jesus was clearly not a newborn... he would already be a toddler, someone who has just recently learned to walk and talk...

Matthew 2:11

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

And the church of the Nativity is not needed as a mark of where Jesus was born, no-one actually knows where that was. Later generations found a cave, that may or may not have been the actual site, but no-one actually knows for sure, I do not confuse tradition as fact, but I do know that facts demonstrate quite well what everyone during the 2nd temple period knew, that there was a Bethlehem and it was located in that exact region, not in the north of Israel.

Another fact that we can add to the collection is a verse in 2 Samuel 2:32:

They took Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and arrived at Hebron by daybreak.

If Bethlehem of Galilee is the place, these men just became supermen of the highest order, which is not the case of a Bethlehem south of Jerusalem. They could make it 21 km, during a night march.

Before somebody gets his drawers in a knot over Nazareth not having existed in Jesus' day. The CITY did not exist until about 275 AD. But there was a spring there. And in the dry climate, water is important. The spring would have been known and named. So Nazareth, as the name of a spring, might have existed in Jesus' day. And there would very likely have been a house or two nearby to make use of that spring, even if the area was a graveyard and therefore, taboo.

Another thought about the site of Nazareth. The Bible describes an angry mob about to throw Jesus off a cliff at Nazareth. But Nazareth doesn't have a cliff. The story is about someplace else. Which leads one to wonder if there wasn't another place, then known as Nazareth that the Bible is talking about. How about it, Jor-el? You're the self-proclaimed map expert. Where was Nazareth?

Doug

Actually Nazareth does have a cliff.... a little time on Google Earth and the internet would have avoided this issue...

yellowline.jpg

measured_cliff.jpg

http://dqhall59.com/measuring_line.htm

And this find tends to cast doubt on the idea that no such place existed at the time of Jesus...

http://www.archaeolo....il/news65.html

Edited by Jor-el

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Doug1029

[/quote name=Jor-el' timestamp='1420210317' post='5406283]

Well, Jor-el, you certainly have studied your Bible. But how well does that square with archeology and geography?

One such detail, is that we are not talking of a census. The term used is enrollment, and it had nothing to do with taxation.

The specific enrollment in question is a nation wide (Empire wide) Oath of Allegiance, attested to in both Roman, Jewish and later Christian historical sources and demonstrated by archaeological finds. It was nation wide because Herod used the Roman Oath of Allegiance to add his own twist, that allegiance was also supposed to be given to him, beside allegiance to Augustus. The counter argument is usually that Judaea was not part of the Roman Empire, but then again neither was Paphlagonia, and it was there that we find an archaeological record of just such an oath to Caesar Augusts. Paphlagonia is part of the region that was called Bithynia et Pontus, and parts of it were part of the Roman Empire, while the rest were considered a client state or ally, just like Judaea.

Herod was a Roman puppet. If Rome told him to conduct a census (or an "enrollment") he would. That he would make a few "edits" in the wording would not be surprising.

The Quirinius census was conducted in 6 AD. Various dates are given for Jesus' birth, usually dependent upon the "Star of Bethlehem" being a conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Earth aligned with Jupiter and Saturn once a year between 6BC and 2 BC, but Mars only entered the conjunction every other year (-6, -4 and -2). Herod died in 4 BC, so that eliminates 2 BC from consideration. So in 6AD, Jesus would have been either ten or twelve years old. IF the "enrollment" in question was the Quirinius census, then Jesus was not the one born in Bethlehem - a younger brother, perhaps? A garbled story?

As I recall, the gospels say Jesus' family visited Jerusalem when he was twelve. That fits perfectly. AND: Jerusalem was en route to the southern Bethlehem. One journey to Jerusalem would require at least four days each way. And TWO journeys would take up at least 16 days - a huge investment.

Do you know of another "enrollment" or census conducted at the time? Could you provide a journal reference for it? I ask for a journal reference because these websites you have referenced so far are not very dependable. They may be right, but then, they may also be wrong.

Another important point to consider, was that at least a year and a 3 months had passed between the night of Jesus birth and the visit of the Magi. At the visit of the Magi, Jesus was clearly not a newborn... he would already be a toddler, someone who has just recently learned to walk and talk...

At least a year and three months, or maybe twelve years, or maybe a year and eight months if one uses Persian astrology to interpret the Star of Bethlehem. So we are all agreed that he was not a newborn, but that's the extent of it.

And the church of the Nativity is not needed as a mark of where Jesus was born, no-one actually knows where that was. Later generations found a cave, that may or may not have been the actual site, but no-one actually knows for sure, I do not confuse tradition as fact, but I do know that facts demonstrate quite well what everyone during the 2nd temple period knew, that there was a Bethlehem and it was located in that exact region, not in the north of Israel.

The cave in question is located at the southern Bethlehem, not far from the Church of the Nativity. As I mentioned above, it was St. Helena in 327 AD who decided that this cave was Jesus' birthplace. Before that, it was believed to have been Mythra's birthplace. That was convenient for Constantine who was a pagan at the time. He simply declared that this was the site of Jesus' birth and if the Emperor says it is, who can disagree? The "cave" under the Church of the Nativity is a replica.

Another fact that we can add to the collection is a verse in 2 Samuel 2:32:

They took Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and arrived at Hebron by daybreak.

If Bethlehem of Galilee is the place, these men just became supermen of the highest order, which is not the case of a Bethlehem south of Jerusalem. They could make it 21 km, during a night march.

The OT is talking about the southern Bethlehem. BUT: is that the same one that the NT is talking about? How do you know?

Actually Nazareth does have a cliff.... a little time on Google Earth and the internet would have avoided this issue...

yellowline.jpg

measured_cliff.jpg

http://dqhall59.com/measuring_line.htm

You have posted some tourist photos by an unnamed photographer. Are they real? Or is somebody trying to prove a story with false evidence? Nazareth today is a small city, yet there are no buildings in the pictures. You really need some better evidence.

And this find tends to cast doubt on the idea that no such place existed at the time of Jesus...

http://www.archaeolo....il/news65.html

Religious groups finding old buildings in Nazareth and claiming that they are evidence that the town existed in Jesus' day is nothing new. Such frauds have been perpetrated before, mostly by true believers who were sure that what they found came from the right time.

The article you cite gives no information on how the date of the building was obtained. Without that, you don't have a case. Also, this is not an archeology journal, but a religious-sponsored publication by what appear to be amateur archeologists. You need better evidence. This is not credible.

And then there's the problem that a house or two probably existed beside the spring from a very early time and could well have been there in Jesus' day. The Bible gives the impression that there were quite a few buildings in town. But now we're splitting hairs.

The surprising thing about Nazareth is that there are ANY houses that haven't been destroyed by amateur archeologists trying to prove that they were where Jesus lived.

About Google Earth: the program uses something called "tins" to model landscapes. A computer program places "tics" at various points in the terrain, then uses them as the corners for triangles. Everything within the triangle is represented as a sloping plane. If the tics fall close to the top and bottom of a cliff, a fairly-accurate representation of the slope results. But if the tics fall farther away, the cliff is simply averaged into the resulting tin. Thus, elevations and landscape features are only rough approximations.

Another issue is the quality of the photography. I tried to use Google Earth to obtain a map of Admiralty Island and vicinity, but the photography was so bad that one twenty-acre island was a nearly-invisible blur. It was useless for mapping. Yet, on another occasion I used it to map some research plots in Arkansas. In that case, I could even distinguish thinned stands from unthinned ones. The photography is highly variable, particularly in militarily-sensitive areas, like Israel.

Also, Google Earth periodically updates its photography so that a picture used for evidence one day might not be there the next. One has to download a copy if one is to preserve it - so let's see that picture of the cliff in Nazareth that you preserved (The lat-longs and date are part of your evidence - don't forget to post them.).

Doug

Edited by Doug1029

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Jor-el

Well, Jor-el, you certainly have studied your Bible. But how well does that square with archeology and geography?

It squares quite well, that's why I have opted for this particular view instead of any other out there. But you'll see that as well as we progress.

Herod was a Roman puppet. If Rome told him to conduct a census (or an "enrollment") he would. That he would make a few "edits" in the wording would not be surprising.

The Quirinius census was conducted in 6 AD. Various dates are given for Jesus' birth, usually dependent upon the "Star of Bethlehem" being a conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Earth aligned with Jupiter and Saturn once a year between 6BC and 2 BC, but Mars only entered the conjunction every other year (-6, -4 and -2). Herod died in 4 BC, so that eliminates 2 BC from consideration. So in 6AD, Jesus would have been either ten or twelve years old. IF the "enrollment" in question was the Quirinius census, then Jesus was not the one born in Bethlehem - a younger brother, perhaps? A garbled story?

Yes Herod was indeed a Roman puppet. He was a friend of Rome and a personal friend of Caesar Augustus, although politically he was classed as an ally of Rome. When the Roman Senate decided to gift Caesar Augustus with the title of Pater Patrie, "The father of the land", they sent out a call for all people whether Roman citizens or not to give an oath of loyalty to Caesar, as a gift to him during the ceremony. How do we know this?

Because it is mentioned in a number of sources...

1. For there was a certain sect of men that were Jews, who valued themselves highly upon the exact skill they had in the law of their fathers, and made men believe they were highly favored by God, by whom this set of women were inveigled. These are those that are called the sect of the Pharisees, who were in a capacity of greatly opposing kings. A cunning sect they were, and soon elevated to a pitch of open fighting and doing mischief. Accordingly, when all the people of the Jews gave assurance of their good-will to Caesar, and to the king's government, these very men did not swear, being above six thousand; and when the king imposed a fine upon them, Pheroras's wife paid their fine for them. In order to requite which kindness of hers, since they were believed to have the foreknowledge of things to come by Divine inspiration, they foretold how God had decreed that Herod's government should cease, and his posterity should be deprived of it; but that the kingdom should come to her and Pheroras, and to their children. These predictions were not concealed from Salome, but were told the king; as also how they had perverted some persons about the palace itself; so the king slew such of the Pharisees as were principally accused, and Bagoas the eunuch, and one Carus, who exceeded all men of that time in comeliness, and one that was his catamite. He slew also all those of his own family who had consented to what the Pharisees foretold; and for Bagoas, he had been puffed up by them, as though he should be named the father and the benefactor of him who, by the prediction, was foretold to be their appointed king; for that this king would have all things in his power, and would enable Bagoas to marry, and to have children of his own body begotten.

Source: Josephus, Antiquities XVII.2.4.

2. Documented archaeological evidence of this is found in Paphlagonia (north central Asia Minor) that is clearly dated to 3 B.C. records an oath of obedience "taken by the inhabitants of Paphlagonia and the Roman businessmen dwelling among them." (Lewis and Reinhold, Roman Civilization, II.Pages 34–35).

In the third year from the twelfth consulship of the Emperor Caesar Augustus, son of a god, March 6, in the … at Gangra, the following Oath was taken by the inhabitants of Paphlagonia and the Roman businessmen dwelling among them:

“I swear by Jupiter, Earth, Sun, by all the gods and goddesses, and by Augustus himself, that I will be loyal to Caesar Augustus and to his children and descendants all my life in word, in deed, and in thought, regarding as friends whomever they so regard, and considering as enemies whomever they so adjudge; that in defense of their interests I will spare neither body, soul, life, not children, but will in every way undergo every danger in defense of their interests; that whenever I perceive or hear anything being said or planned or done against them I will lodge information about this and will be an enemy to whoever says or plans or does any such thing; and that whomever they adjudge to be enemies I will by land and sea, with weapons and sword, pursue and punish. But if I do anything contrary to this oath, or not in conformity with what I swore, I myself call down upon myself, my body, my soul, my life, my children, and all my family and property, utter ruin and utter destruction unto all my issue and all my descendants, and may neither earth nor sea receive the bodies of my family or my descendants, or yield fruits to them.”

The same Oath was sworn by all the people in the land at altars of Augustus in the temples of Augustus in the various districts. In this manner did the people of Phazimon, who inhabit the city now called Neapolis, all together swear the Oath in the temple of Augustus at the altar of Augustus.

3. Caesar Augusts attests to the event himself:

35. When I held my thirteenth consulship, Senate, equestrian order, and the entire Roman people called me "father of country [pater patriae]" and decided that this should be inscribed in the vestibule of my house, in the Julian Senate house, and in the Augustan Forum on the pedestal of the chariot which was set up in my honour by senatus consultum. When I wrote this I was in my seventy-sixth year.

Source: The Accomplishments of Augustus (Res Gestae Divi Augusti)

4. The Armenian historian Moses of Khoren said that the native sources he had available showed that in the second year of Abgar, king of Armenia in 3 B.C., this oath of allegience brought Roman agents to Armenia, bringing the image of Augustus Caesar, which they set up in every temple. Abgar then had a problem with Herod (who is supposed to be dead at this time). He also states categorically that this is the census referred to by Luke.

R.W. Thomson, Moses of Khoren's History of the Armenians, II.26.

38428039.jpg

67058662.jpg

5. Here is another source for this oath of allegiance...

“[Augustus] ordered that a census be taken of each province everywhere and that all men be enrolled. ... This is the earliest and most famous public acknowledgment which marked Caesar as the first of all men and the Romans as lords of the world, a published list of all men entered individually .... This first and greatest census was taken, since in this one name of Caesar all the peoples of the great nations took oath, and at the same time, through the participation in the census, were made apart of one society”

Source: Orosius, A History, against the Pagans VII.2.

This my dear friend is the census of Luke, not some tax event in 6 C.E. as we can see, all the evidence points to the year 3 BC as the year of Jesus birth.

As I recall, the gospels say Jesus' family visited Jerusalem when he was twelve. That fits perfectly. AND: Jerusalem was en route to the southern Bethlehem. One journey to Jerusalem would require at least four days each way. And TWO journeys would take up at least 16 days - a huge investment.

So what? At this time he lived in Nazareth, and people frequently visited family. Mary when pregnant did exactly the same thing when she went to visit her cousin in Jerusalem, AND SHE WAS PREGNANT!!

Do you know of another "enrollment" or census conducted at the time? Could you provide a journal reference for it? I ask for a journal reference because these websites you have referenced so far are not very dependable. They may be right, but then, they may also be wrong.

Yes, I just gave you the historical and archaeological evidence for it above....

And further just what refrences have I given that are not dependable? It is very easy to say such a thing, but you also need to show us the reasoning and evidence for such an accusation.... just because something appears in a religious website does not make it undependable off the bat. If they are lying or claiming falsely, such things are easily disproven....

Yet again, what websites have I mentioned that fit this criteria of yours? (Up until now, not one as far as I know)

At least a year and three months, or maybe twelve years, or maybe a year and eight months if one uses Persian astrology to interpret the Star of Bethlehem. So we are all agreed that he was not a newborn, but that's the extent of it.

We know Jesus was born in September of 3 B.C., the Magi arrived at Bethlehem in December 25th of 1 B.C. and that is according to the very Persian astrology you mentioned earlier. Do the math.

The cave in question is located at the southern Bethlehem, not far from the Church of the Nativity. As I mentioned above, it was St. Helena in 327 AD who decided that this cave was Jesus' birthplace. Before that, it was believed to have been Mythra's birthplace. That was convenient for Constantine who was a pagan at the time. He simply declared that this was the site of Jesus' birth and if the Emperor says it is, who can disagree? The "cave" under the Church of the Nativity is a replica.

And that is important to someone, I'm sure, just not to me. Whether it was that cave or another one is beside the point, the whole region is littered with caves. David hid in them when hiding from King Saul. As a matter of fact the bible never mentions a cave AT ALL!

A manger is a place where livestock feed from. The grain and hay is put on the manger, but where do we typically find mangers? In caves?

manger-524x404.jpg

We find them in stables... and stables are not of necessity found in caves, they are built to house animals during the night. It could very well have been a building adjacent to a house or even adjacent to the very Hostel where they tried to find room and board for the night.

The OT is talking about the southern Bethlehem. BUT: is that the same one that the NT is talking about? How do you know?

Jeez.... how many Jerusalem's are there in the same region, how many Hebrons? We are not talking of distances in the thousands of kilometers, we are talking of a single region, just how many Bethlehem's do you actually think there were in the SAME region?

Logic dictates that there is only one unless you can demonstrate otherwise....

You have posted some tourist photos by an unnamed photographer. Are they real? Or is somebody trying to prove a story with false evidence? Nazareth today is a small city, yet there are no buildings in the pictures. You really need some better evidence.

Yes I did, post some tourist photos, to demonstrate that there are indeed cliffs in the locality. It is a valley for goodness sake, a valley suggests that it is surrounded by terrain that is higher and we call them hills, just like the New testament also does.

We can find tons of photos of the locality, it even has a name.... MT. PRECIPICE, NAZARETH, ISRAEL

Religious groups finding old buildings in Nazareth and claiming that they are evidence that the town existed in Jesus' day is nothing new. Such frauds have been perpetrated before, mostly by true believers who were sure that what they found came from the right time.

The article you cite gives no information on how the date of the building was obtained. Without that, you don't have a case. Also, this is not an archeology journal, but a religious-sponsored publication by what appear to be amateur archeologists. You need better evidence. This is not credible.

And then there's the problem that a house or two probably existed beside the spring from a very early time and could well have been there in Jesus' day. The Bible gives the impression that there were quite a few buildings in town. But now we're splitting hairs.

The surprising thing about Nazareth is that there are ANY houses that haven't been destroyed by amateur archeologists trying to prove that they were where Jesus lived.

About Google Earth: the program uses something called "tins" to model landscapes. A computer program places "tics" at various points in the terrain, then uses them as the corners for triangles. Everything within the triangle is represented as a sloping plane. If the tics fall close to the top and bottom of a cliff, a fairly-accurate representation of the slope results. But if the tics fall farther away, the cliff is simply averaged into the resulting tin. Thus, elevations and landscape features are only rough approximations.

Another issue is the quality of the photography. I tried to use Google Earth to obtain a map of Admiralty Island and vicinity, but the photography was so bad that one twenty-acre island was a nearly-invisible blur. It was useless for mapping. Yet, on another occasion I used it to map some research plots in Arkansas. In that case, I could even distinguish thinned stands from unthinned ones. The photography is highly variable, particularly in militarily-sensitive areas, like Israel.

Also, Google Earth periodically updates its photography so that a picture used for evidence one day might not be there the next. One has to download a copy if one is to preserve it - so let's see that picture of the cliff in Nazareth that you preserved (The lat-longs and date are part of your evidence - don't forget to post them.).

Doug

Again Doug, it doesn't take two minutes to do some homework...

The Site is run by the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority, not a religious organization. It is a well known archaeological site.

Other sources:

22 December 2009: Israeli archaeologists have unveiled what could be the remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth, Israel, that can be dated back to the time of Jesus. The find could shed new light on what the hamlet was like during the period of Jesus's boyhood, according to the New Testament

Israel-Unveils-Jesus-Era--002.jpg

Archaeologist Yardenna Alexandre inspects Roman 1st century AD pottery found in the excavation

http://www.theguardi...ael-archaeology

An archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority recently conducted has revealed new information about ancient Nazareth from the time of Jesus. Remains of a dwelling that date to the Early Roman period were discovered for the first time in an excavation, which was carried out prior to the construction of the "International Marian Center of Nazareth" by the the Association Mary of Nazareth, next to the Church of the Annunciation.

iaa-nazareth.jpg

http://mfa.gov.il/MF...1-Dec-2009.aspx

Edited by Jor-el

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Doug1029

This my dear friend is the census of Luke, not some tax event in 6 C.E. as we can see, all the evidence points to the year 3 BC as the year of Jesus birth.

You have convinced me that there was an "enrollment" in 3 BC that could be the "census" referred to in Luke.

And further just what refrences have I given that are not dependable? It is very easy to say such a thing, but you also need to show us the reasoning and evidence for such an accusation.... just because something appears in a religious website does not make it undependable off the bat. If they are lying or claiming falsely, such things are easily disproven....

Yet again, what websites have I mentioned that fit this criteria of yours? (Up until now, not one as far as I know)

I am looking for peer-reviewed archeological publications. The ones you listed in Post #20 weren't. I want to know that what I am reading is reliable. Maybe the posts you made are reliable, but how do I know that?

We know Jesus was born in September of 3 B.C., the Magi arrived at Bethlehem in December 25th of 1 B.C. and that is according to the very Persian astrology you mentioned earlier. Do the math.

The math I'm doing does not add up to lambs being born either in September or December - April would be more like it. Shepherds have no reason to watch their flocks by night at other times of year. While we're at it, what's your source for the Magi arriving on December 25?

And that is important to someone, I'm sure, just not to me. Whether it was that cave or another one is beside the point, the whole region is littered with caves. David hid in them when hiding from King Saul. As a matter of fact the bible never mentions a cave AT ALL!

I give up. Are you saying the southern Bethlehem is where Jesus was born, or not? As I understand it, the Church of the Nativity is in the right town, even if not in exactly the right spot.

A manger is a place where livestock feed from. The grain and hay is put on the manger, but where do we typically find mangers? In caves?

Yes. When caves are used as dwelling places or to shelter livestock. And people and livestock have lived together in the same buildings for thousands of years. It's still being done in rural Maine. My uncle owns such a house. Built in the 1670s - and it's gigantic.

Jeez.... how many Jerusalem's are there in the same region, how many Hebrons? We are not talking of distances in the thousands of kilometers, we are talking of a single region, just how many Bethlehem's do you actually think there were in the SAME region?

Logic dictates that there is only one unless you can demonstrate otherwise....

You have already admitted that there were two towns named Bethlehem. So which one is being referred to in the New Testament. Can you site a New Testament reference that identifies which Bethlehem the biblical Jesus was born in? I'm sorry, but I am not that familiar with the details of the Jesus story and, frankly, there are more-productive issues to spend research time on.

Yes I did, post some tourist photos, to demonstrate that there are indeed cliffs in the locality. It is a valley for goodness sake, a valley suggests that it is surrounded by terrain that is higher and we call them hills, just like the New testament also does.

If you're trying to demonstrate something, it would make sense to use the best data available.

We can find tons of photos of the locality, it even has a name.... MT. PRECIPICE, NAZARETH, ISRAEL

Again Doug, it doesn't take two minutes to do some homework...

The Site is run by the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority, not a religious organization. It is a well known archaeological site.

Guess I'm used to reading professional papers which are self-contained. One presents his evidence in the paper. If it's not there, it doesn't exist. He does not get a second chance. But I forget that this is UM where one does not have to follow scholastic rules.

I'm not arguing with you. You obviously have something to say that can advance my understanding of the Jesus story. But I will challenge you when I see an inconsistency. I find that explaining these makes the case stronger - or destroys it. In either case, knowledge is advanced.

Other sources:

22 December 2009: Israeli archaeologists have unveiled what could be the remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth, Israel, that can be dated back to the time of Jesus. The find could shed new light on what the hamlet was like during the period of Jesus's boyhood, according to the New Testament

Israel-Unveils-Jesus-Era--002.jpg

Archaeologist Yardenna Alexandre inspects Roman 1st century AD pottery found in the excavation

http://www.theguardi...ael-archaeology

An archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority recently conducted has revealed new information about ancient Nazareth from the time of Jesus. Remains of a dwelling that date to the Early Roman period were discovered for the first time in an excavation, which was carried out prior to the construction of the "International Marian Center of Nazareth" by the the Association Mary of Nazareth, next to the Church of the Annunciation.

iaa-nazareth.jpg

http://mfa.gov.il/MF...1-Dec-2009.aspx

Next time, post your sources. You could wait until somebody asks (lot less work that way), but to get defensive when somebody asks how you know thus-and-such is not very productive.

Doug

For PA: You have done some work on Jesus' birthdate. Could you add a few comments?

Doug

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toyomotor

Before discussing where shouldn't we be discussing if ?

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Jor-el

But is that part of the OP?

The OP is clearly about the where not the if.

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