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The Socratic Club A club that Lewis founded at Oxford. A forum devoted to general philosophical and spiritual discussion

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  #1  
Old 10-03-2014, 07:46 PM
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Default Alternatives To Time and Place Of Jesus's Birth

I wanted this thread to be as respectful as possible and by no means to I mean to offend anyone. I've heard things about when Jesus was born things were wrong. Like, it would have been way too cold for him to be born in December and there wouldn't be any sheep during that time (I think that's how it goes) and because it would have been cold they would have more than likely not have been in a stable and the Inn wouldn't have been as full as they made it out to be. Another thing is another word for a manger I believe is also a basement and I heard that a family could have taken Mary, and Joseph to their basement to so Mary could have safely given birth to Jesus. I believe these are things I saw on Discovery or something, people just offering a different perspective. I think they said it would have been more likely that Jesus would have been born around Easter since the weather would have been warmer and there would have been sheep to herd, etc.

I just wanted to know what you guys think, and again I do not mean to offend anyone.
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:05 PM
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Oh, no offense at all. No doctrinal questions hinge on the time of Jesus' birth - in fact, it almost certainly wasn't December 25th. In fact, the custom of carefully recording and celebrating the exact date of a person's birth is a very new cultural phenomenon. Most people throughout history haven't known the precise date of their birth.

December 25th isn't the celebration of "Jesus' birthday" (an explanation suitable for a third grader). It is the celebration of the Incarnation, when the Second Person of the Divine Trinity took on flesh and was born among us. (Actually, the Feast of the Annunciation, celebrated on March 25th, would have better claim to that precise designation, because that's when we celebrate the Angel Gabriel coming to Mary and her assenting to be God's mother. That was when He really took on flesh.) Anyway, Christ's Mass (Dec 25) is the celebration of the Incarnation.

As far as where, we know it was in Bethlehem, and we know animals were there. Ancient tradition and modern scholarship agree that it may have been in some sort of cave, which was an easy lodging spot for animals in that rocky country. They probably didn't have "inns" as we understand them; i.e. establishments that rented rooms to anonymous travelers, but rather had common areas where people lodged their animals and themselves. The fact that Mary and Joseph couldn't find room even there says a lot.
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:44 PM
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Do yourself a favor, first read Lew Wallace's book Ben Hur(Book 1). It will give you a very good idea of Christ's birth. Second don't watch the History channel. And it is a myth that it is too cold to graze sheep in December in Bethlehem. Temperatures are about the same as Georgia here in the USA.
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Old 10-04-2014, 01:18 AM
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Yes, as PotW says, there is plenty of room for speculating on the exact details of the time and place of Jesus' birth. I heard that the most likely time of year was autumn time, but I don't know what the reasoning was. The New testament texts say nothing about a stable, only that there were animals there. It could have been the ground floor area of a house where the family kept their animals. Or it could have been a cave. Or it could have been a stable.

Regarding the year, it almost certainly wasn't 1BC. There is some controversy over the dating of the events. The general wisdom of scholarship says that Herod's death occurred in 4BC, and so Jesus must have been before that (probably about two years before, given that Herod has all the children of that age killed, based on when the wise men saw the star. On the other hand, the census happened in 6AD, so some say Jesus must have been born at that time. Obviously both can't be true. Perhaps one of the sources was wrong about the timing (Josephus, who writes of the census, was writing some 90 years later, after the time that Luke wrote). Or perhaps there could have been another, earlier census that Josephus doesn't record.

There is lots we don't know about historical details like this, because these were not the reason the accounts were being written, and so often weren't recorded.

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Old 10-17-2014, 07:12 PM
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As for the season of the year when Our Lord was born:

The Jewish priests who served the Jerusalem Temple had an organized schedule of duty shifts, directly based on family groupings that existed in Moses' time. Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, belonged to one of these "family teams;" and according to somebody or other, it is possible to look up the particular temple-team he belonged to, find out what month it would have been on duty, then calculate with events described in Luke's Gospel to determine when Jesus was born. If I remember correctly, that teacher concluded that Jesus was born in September.

As Prince explained, no doctrine depends on Jesus' birthdate, but there's no harm in _trying_ to determine it. And there _certainly_ is no harm in an intelligent and sweet-natured girl such as you starting discussion threads involving honest questions!
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Old 10-21-2014, 02:18 AM
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Dear Lucy Fan. I don't think any one here is offended by your thread. I know I'm not. I love Christmas and I am glad that it's about the birth of Jesus. But it doesn't matter the date. For all I know, Christmas could be in August, and I would still love it and celebrate it because it's about Christ! I don't really know about that show you were talking about, but the History Channel and Discovery always have something negative to say about Christianity. I wouldn't pay much attention to those shows.
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Old 10-21-2014, 11:24 PM
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B-King is right. There are several television outlets, and book publishers, which never get tired of attacking the Bible; and when you learn more about their arguments, you will find that many of those anti-Bible arguments WERE ALREADY ANSWERED many years ago. The haters of God just keep on stubbornly making the same accusations EVEN THOUGH they were already answered.

For example, "The Da Vinci Code" claims that the contents of the New Testament weren't even recognized or organized until the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. This is a lie. All of the books of the New Testament really were known, AND recognized as having authority, LONG BEFORE Constantine's time.
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Old 10-22-2014, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Copperfox View Post
B-King is right. There are several television outlets, and book publishers, which never get tired of attacking the Bible; and when you learn more about their arguments, you will find that many of those anti-Bible arguments WERE ALREADY ANSWERED many years ago. The haters of God just keep on stubbornly making the same accusations EVEN THOUGH they were already answered.

For example, "The Da Vinci Code" claims that the contents of the New Testament weren't even recognized or organized until the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. This is a lie. All of the books of the New Testament really were known, AND recognized as having authority, LONG BEFORE Constantine's time.
I'm not sure it's so much they're haters of God. I think they are influenced by a very postmodern suspicion of authority and the idea that any orthodoxy must have been established, not by reasoned argument, but by a powerful elite for political advantage.

The trouble is all the historical evidence indicates that Christian orthodoxy triumphed, not because it gave political advantage to anyone, but because the Church itself recognised, after long and often heated discussion, that this was the most intellectually consistent position.
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Old 10-22-2014, 04:06 PM
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Not to mention the guidance of the Holy Spirit...
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Old 10-22-2014, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermit of Archenland View Post
I'm not sure it's so much they're haters of God. I think they are influenced by a very postmodern suspicion of authority and the idea that any orthodoxy must have been established, not by reasoned argument, but by a powerful elite for political advantage.

The trouble is all the historical evidence indicates that Christian orthodoxy triumphed, not because it gave political advantage to anyone, but because the Church itself recognised, after long and often heated discussion, that this was the most intellectually consistent position.

You're quite right about the way orthodoxy would have prevailed. But there still are many moderns who do qualify as direct haters of God, because even if no earthly church had ever committed evil actions, these haters would hate God for His _correct_ moral requirements. They want to live by and for their own selfish desires, and hate _anything_ which interferes with this plan.

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