The History Project

Just when I thought it was safe to watch a program about archaeology in the Holy Land… This show was on our local PBS station a few nights ago, featuring an exploration of the sites associated with Our Lord. The host made the pronouncement that there is no archaeological evidence that Bethlehem was inhabited at the time of Christ’s birth. He went on to postulate that the Bethlehem where Jesus was born was “Bethlehem of Galilee” because it’s close to Nazareth, and why would a pregnant woman make the 90 mile trip to Bethlehem of Judea when Bethlehem ofGalilee was so much closer? That’s when I turned it off.

What is unreasonable about that? There is no church doctrine one must believe as to where Jesus was born. Many Catholic scripture scholars propose that the story mentioning Bethlehem is a mostly fictional Infancy Narrative, even when writing under the imprimatur and nihil obstat.

Yup, “Catholic Scholars” some of them writing under their own nihil obast judging themselves “free from error” (don’t believe me?–see the New Jerome Biblical Commentary) or scholars submiting to Bishops they know are friendly to Markan Priority, “Q”, etc…because this “scholarship” is just recycled Modernism allowed to flourish once the edict against it was relaxed.

Yup - and thank God for that!

Regardless of one’s opinion on that topic, there is still no dogma on the location of Jesus birth (or on anything else you mentioned).

I thought the question was settled long ago:

“And gathering together all the chief priests and Scribes of the people, he [King Herod] inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. And they said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for thus it is written by the prophet: And thou, Bethlehem, of the land of Juda, art by no means least among the princes of Juda; for from thee shall come forth a leader who shall rule my people Israel.’”

Matthew, 2 vs.3-6

“Thank God” for what???–that liberal scholars influenced (at the least) by a school of New Testament criticism that essentially denies all the historical claims of the Gospels are able to get faith-destroying opinions into print under a veneer of Church approval–even if it means doing so by declaring themselves “free from error”–or submitting to diocese’s for *imprintuer *where they know the reviewing commitee (with or without the Bishop) is already simpatico with liberal “scholarship”–is THAT what you are thanking God for???

The Magesterium, through the Catechism and established Commisions on Scriptural interpretation is starting to turn the tide
against this circle of self-confirming and supporting scholars.

BTW, When Justin Martyr matter of factly refers to Bethlehem near to Jerusalem, I’ll take that over a temporary lack of arceological evidence (remember when the “Pool of Silom” was considered mythical?)

I thank God for modern biblical scholarship, the dogmatic statements which support it (including Divino Afflante Spiritu and Dei Verbum), and the scholars who have taught me (including Raymond Brown, John Meier, Ronald Witherup, Joseph Fitzmyer, and Margaret Ralph).

That is silly. It’s clear that Matthew and Luke are talking about Bethlehem in Judaea. Whether they are historically accurate is of course another matter.


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