Wednesday, December 09, 2009

NT Pod 19: Was Jesus Born in Bethlehem? Programme Notes

I released the latest episode of the NT Pod last night, NT Pod 19: Was Jesus Born in Bethlehem?. There will be another NT Pod along soon with another Christmas related theme.

I was shocked to see that it is over a month since the last episode of the NT Pod, but this is the reason that I never stated publicly my aspiration to make it a weekly podcast. I knew that sooner or later, I would get too busy to record as regularly as I would like.

The short clip of Tom Wright that you hear at the beginning of the podcast is taken from The Real Jesus Christ, first broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live on Christmas Day 2002, and repeated on Christmas Day 2003. (See NT Gateway: Historical Jesus Audio and Video for more). You can listen to the whole documentary via audio streaming from the BBC. I must admit that I have no memory at all of how my pieces were recorded, so my guess is that I was sitting in the cosy little studio cell at Pebble Mill (now demolished) in Birmingham, but I could be wrong.

This podcast is my reflection on the question of whether or not it is likely that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a question that is difficult given that it is a "with the grain" tradition. See the useful comments already from James McGrath and Doug Chaplin, each of whom comes down on a different side, Nazareth and Bethlehem respectively, though both, like me, are cautious.


Scott F said...

It drives me crazy when grown men say things like, "people knew about where families had come from." Wright is smuggling in all sorts of assumptions with this statement such as an early, Palestinian composition of the gospels. Furthermore, it assumes a level of information penetration that spans not only populations but also the distance from wherever Jesus family members live to whatever location is using Matthew or Luke.

The greatest problem with this line of thinking is that it ignores human nature. Parallels abound through out history of disconfirming information having no affect on believers. Even after the the 17th century Jewish Messiah claimant, Sabbatai Zevi, converted to Islam his followers continued to believe in him! Even today, when birth certificates and newspaper clippings provide firm evidence that Barak Obama was born in Hawaii, the true believers assert that he was actually born in Kenya. Those who have the greatest stake in believing will always cling tenaciously to whatever confirms their beliefs.

It worries me that supposedly serious scholars persist in such statements.

informadordeopiniao said...
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informadordeopiniao said...
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informadordeopiniao said...

The problem with what Scott said there is that if the early Christians were on that level contextual. Bethlehem could be a projection of the disciples apologetics, the defense of messianic faith in Jesus as the One in whom God has visited Israel and humans, however, would be insufficient as such because they have that many considered him to Nazareth, mocking (detail not go unnoticed in this case deserves a review of the evangelists as "yet did not know it was in Bethlehem"). So this argument is unconvincing, since no intelligent thought that would convince others - who says that Obama was born in Kenya just want to quarrel, not hopes to convince those they suspect. If he claims to know the "human nature", paid above the endless discussions of philosophers, economists, sociologists, etc, etc.. He does not know simple logic elements.