Thursday, December 09, 2021

Michael Shermer And Bart Ehrman On Christmas And Christianity

Michael Shermer recently had Bart Ehrman on his YouTube channel. There are too many problems with the comments made by both of them for me to interact with everything. They address a wide range of topics: Jesus' existence, the virgin birth, Trinitarianism, the atonement, the resurrection of Jesus, the problem of evil, etc. But Ehrman was on the program primarily to discuss Christmas issues. He had an online seminar on the subject coming up on December 5, and that was Shermer's main interest. What I want to do in the remainder of this post is respond to some of their comments about Christmas and prophecy fulfillment.

Micah 4-5 Fulfilled In Jesus

I want to have a post that links all three parts of my series in one place:

Jesus' Fulfillment Of Micah 4-5

How difficult was it to determine Jesus' birthplace?

Jesus' Birthplace Outside Matthew And Luke

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Jesus' Birthplace Outside Matthew And Luke

Among the earliest sources, the place of Jesus' birth is discussed most explicitly in Matthew and Luke. But his birthplace is implied elsewhere in the New Testament and is discussed in the early patristic literature, and those other sources get much less attention in modern considerations of where Jesus was born. The evidence from ancient non-Christian sources has been neglected as well. What I want to do in this post is address some of those sources outside Matthew and Luke.

For some important background to this post, see my article on Micah 4-5 and my article on how difficult it would have been for people to determine where Jesus was born. You don't need to read those in order to understand what I'm arguing here, but those other posts will help you understand the larger significance of this one.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

How difficult was it to determine Jesus' birthplace?

I've argued that Micah 4-5 is an eschatological, messianic passage that predicts the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem. Issues like whether that prophecy has been fulfilled and whether it's been fulfilled by Jesus in particular are important, but they're rarely discussed in much depth. One of the subjects that doesn't get much attention is what access the relevant historical sources had to information on Jesus' place of birth. How well could they have judged the subject? Were they in a position to pass on reliable information to future generations?

Not enough consideration has been given to how Jesus' birthplace is connected to other issues. His birthplace wasn't an isolated issue about which people either were ignorant or had the most direct, explicit sort of knowledge. Rather, it's a subject with a lot of connections to other topics, so that people could discern Jesus' place of birth and corroborating evidence for it by a large variety of direct and indirect and explicit and implicit means.