Tuesday, December 06, 2022

A Premarital Pregnancy In Nazareth

In a post last year, I referred to how even people who have been highly critical of Christianity, like Christopher Hitchens and Bart Ehrman, have taken Jesus' background in Nazareth seriously. Ehrman even refers to Jesus' being raised in Nazareth as "certain" (The New Testament [New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2012], 269). A good way to start a case for a traditional Christian view of Jesus' childhood is to combine a couple of aspects of that view that even critics have acknowledged to be unlikely to have been fabricated: Mary's residence in Nazareth and the premarital timing of the pregnancy. The best way to have aligned Christianity with traditional Jewish expectations and to have avoided potential problems with departing from those expectations would have been to put forward a marital pregnancy in Bethlehem. The fact that the traditional Christian view of Jesus has his life beginning with a premarital pregnancy in Nazareth suggests that the traditional view is rooted in history as far back as the time of Jesus' conception.

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