These days were called the Saturnalia What precludes the acceptance of this date?
Shepherds did not abide in the field with their flocks at night in mid-winter. Cunningham Geikie, D. Adam Clarke. As to the day and month of the nativity it is certain that they can never be recovered; they were absolutely unknown to the early fathers, and there is scarcely one month of the year which has not been fixed upon as probable by modern critics. Were the story of his miraculous birth and marvelous life true the date of his birth [ 73 ] would have been preserved and would be today, the best authenticated fact in history.
Aside from these stories in Matthew and Luke concerning the nativity, which are clearly of later origin than the remaining documents composing the books and which many Christian scholars reject, there is not a word in the Four Gospels to confirm the claim that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Every statement in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as well as Acts, concerning his nativity, is to the effect that he was born in Nazareth of Galilee. But this usage was unknown to the Jews.
To the foregoing may be added the testimony of Jesus himself. Many of the Jews rejected Christ because he was born in Galilee and not in Bethlehem. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scriptures said, That Christ cometh out of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? We may still see this distinctly enough in our Gospels. Jesus is constantly called the Nazarene, or Jesus of Nazareth. This was certainly the name by which he was known in his own time; and of course such local names were given to men from the place of their birth, and not from the place in which they lived, which might constantly be changing.
That Jesus the man, if such a being existed, was not born at Bethlehem is affirmed by all critics. That he could not have been born at Nazareth is urged by many. Nazareth, it is asserted, did not exist at this time. Christian scholars admit that there is no proof of its existence at the beginning of the Christian era outside of the New Testament. This is a misquotation of Micah v, 2. The passage as it appears in our version of the Old Testament is itself a mistranslation.
Correctly rendered it does not mean that this ruler shall come from Bethlehem, but simply that he shall be a descendant of David whose family belonged to Bethlehem. Concerning this prophecy it may be said, 1. That Jesus never became governor or ruler of Israel; 2. That the ruler referred to was to be [ 76 ] a military leader who should deliver Israel from the Assyrians. Matthew and Luke: Because Joseph, who was not his father, but merely his guardian or foster father, was descended from David. The Jews expected a Messiah. This expectation was realized, it is claimed, in Jesus Christ.
His Messianic marks, however, were not discernible and the Jews, for the most part, rejected him.
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This Messiah must be a son of David. This Matthew and Luke attempt to do.
Each gives what purports to be a genealogy of him. If these genealogies agree they may be false; if they do not agree one must be false.
Debunking Christianity: The Nativity: A Critical Examination
Matthew: Twenty-eight i, 6— Luke: Forty-three iii, 23— Luke makes two more generations from David to Jesus in a period of one thousand years than Matthew does from Abraham to Jesus in a period of two thousand years. Here Matthew contradicts his own record given in the preceding sixteen verses; for, including both Abraham and Jesus, he names but forty-one generations: 1. Abraham, 2. Isaac, 3. Jacob, 4. Judas, 5. Phares, 6.
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Naason, Salmon, Booz, Obed, Jesse, David, Solomon, Roboam, Abia, Asa, Josaphat, Joram, Ozias, Joatham, Achaz, Ezekias, Manasses, Amon, Josias, Jechonias, Salathiel, Zorobabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Sadoc, Achim, Eliud, Eleazer, Matthan, Jacob, Joseph, Jesus Christ. It does not. Luke gives twenty generations from Adam to Abraham, while Genesis v, 3—32 ; xi, 10—26 and Chronicles 1 Ch.
From Abraham to David are not fourteen, but thirteen generations; for David does not belong to this period. The genealogical table of Matthew naturally and logically comprises three divisions which he recognizes.
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The first division comprises the generations preceding the establishment of the Kingdom of David, beginning with Abraham; the second comprises the kings of Judah, beginning with David the first and ending with Jechonias the last; the third comprises the generations following the kings of Judah, from the Captivity to Christ. In order to obtain a uniformity of numbers—three periods of double seven seven was the sacred number of the Jews each—Matthew purposely falsifies the records of the Old Testament.
A reference to the Davidic genealogy 1 Chronicles iii shows that he omits the generations of Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, and Jehoiakim, four Jewish kings, lineal descendants [ 79 ] of David, whose combined reigns amount to over eighty years. As if the exclusion of their names from a genealogical list would expunge their records from history and drain their blood from the veins of their descendants. But aside from the absurdity of this explanation, the premises are false.
Ahaziah reigned but one year. Matthew is again guilty of deception. A reference to his table shows that there were but thirteen generations. In order to carry out his numerical system of fourteen generations to each period he counts the generation of Jechonias in this period which he has already counted in the preceding period; thus performing the mathematical feat of dividing 27 by 2 and obtaining 14 for a quotient.
Name the generations from the Captivity to Christ. According to the accepted chronology, what was the average age of each generation from David to Jesus? According to Chronicles the average age of the [ 83 ] same line for the same period was but twenty-six years. While the average age from David to the Captivity by way of Solomon was but twenty-six years the average age from the Captivity to Jesus by the same line, according to Matthew, was fifty years. Seventy years is said to constitute the natural life of man. Luke: One hundred years. Luke: Twenty iii, 34— Luke makes less than half as many generations from Adam to Abraham in a period of two thousand years as he does from David to Jesus in a period of one thousand years.
Matthew: Three—Booz, Obed and Jesse i, 5, 6. Rachab lived at Jericho when it was taken by the Israelites. Jericho was taken B. David was born B. Assuming the generations following the Captivity in Matthew and Chronicles to run parallel, how many generations were there between the last generation named in Chronicles and Jesus? If by Daniel, the earlier period of from to must be adopted. According to Luke Sala was the grand-son of Arphaxad; according to Genesis he was the son of Arphaxad.
Matthew: Jechonias i, Josias was not the father but the grandfather of Jechonias.
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Josiah became king B. Jechonias was carried to Babylon B. O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. This curse was pronounced upon Jechonias before he was taken to Babylon. By this divine oath Jesus is precluded from becoming an heir to the throne of David. God swears that Jechonias shall be childless, and that no descendant of his shall ever sit upon the throne.
Yet Matthew, in the face of this oath, declares that Jechonias did not remain childless, that he begat a son, Salathiel, the progenitor of Jesus. Matthew says that Salathiel was the son of Jechonias. Who does Luke declare him to be? Here both Evangelists agree—agree to disagree [ 88 ] with Chronicles which says that Zorobabel was the son of Pedaiah, the brother of Salathiel. Each contradicts the other, and both contradict the Old Testament 1 Chron.
Which one? Matthew: Solomon i, 6— Luke: Nathan iii, 23— Many commentators attempt to reconcile these discordant genealogies by assuming that Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph, while Luke gives the genealogy of Mary. What do the Evangelists themselves declare? Regarding this the Rev. Is it not plain that each of them professes to trace the lineal descent of one and the same man, Joseph?
The genealogy of St. That the lineage of Nathan, who is not the recorded possessor of even one wife, survived, while that of Solomon who had seven hundred wives became extinct. That Joseph was legal successor to the throne of David, when Heli, his father, was not.
That the first chapter of Matthew contains more than a score of errors. Matthew declares that Jacob begat Joseph. According to Matthew, the royal line descends from David to Joseph unbroken; each heir begetting the succeeding one, thus precluding the possibility of a collateral branch inheriting the throne. The hypothesis that Jesus was merely the adopted [ 91 ] son and legal heir of Joseph and yet fulfilled the Messianic requirements is untenable. It is assumed by some that a Levirate marriage had taken place between the parents of Joseph, and that the one genealogy belonged to the natural, the others to the legal father of Joseph.
By a Levirate marriage if a man died without heirs his remaining brother married his widow and raised up heirs to him.
But in this case the brothers would have the same father, and the genealogies would differ only in the father of Joseph.