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Gerd Lüdemann On Christmas
Gepubliceerd op 17-12-2005

Jim West plaatste op zijn blog Biblical Theology een brief van Prof. Dr. Gerd Lüdemann welke verschillende vraagtekens stelt rondom de gebeurtenissen bij Christus' geboorte. Voor het volledige artikel verwijs ik naar Gerd Lüdemann's homepage: The Christmas stories are pious fairy-tales, verdere informatie is te vinden op de blog van Mark Goodacre.

Tegen mijn gewoonte in geef ik hieronder in het Engels en niet in het Nederlands een paar kanttekeningen bij deze brief:

5. The reported murder of children in Bethlehem ordered by Herod the Great did not occur.

It is not written down in other sources, but in the Roman world not uncommon. According to Julius Marathus, a personal confidant of Augustus Caesar, the Roman Senate in the year 63 BC ordered all boy babies to be killed who were born in that year because prophetic dreams and astrological signs suggested that a "King of the Romans" was to be born (Jack Lindsay, Origins of Astrology, p.246; Ernest L. Martin, The Star that Astonished the World, p.6) So why not in this case, Herod has done more worse things. And besides that, Bethlehem was a small town, so we are not talking about hundreds of babies but only a few.

8. The shepherds who kept watch over their flocks are idealized representatives of the poor and outcast, persons emphasized by Luke. They do not appear in Matthew's story.

"poor and outcast"? I should suppose they where important, because these flocks where used for the temple. (Bab. Talmud, Tract Shekalim, VII.4; Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book 2, Ch. VI)

9. The magicians from the East are idealized representatives of the Gentiles and of eternal wisdom. They do not appear in Luke's story.

See Plinius, Natural History, XXX.6, it was quite normal for the Magi to have audience with Herod and for him to have members of the Sanhedrin to hear the interpretations of these Magi. And it was normal these Magi went to new kings. Tiridates of the order of the Magi did the same thing when he visited the emperor Nero. For further information about the Magi see my blog:
http://www.bijbelaantekeningen.nl/blog/2005/11/30/ster-van-bethlehem-de-magoi-2/ where I give a detailed bibliography about these Magi

10. The story of the star of Bethlehem is a fiction intended to emphasize the importance of Jesus - and, of course, to provide an entrance cue for the magicians from the East.

There were seriousbeliefs even among the Romans that somewhere in this period (5 BC - 1 AC) a mighty ruler was destined to come out of the eastern parts of the Roman Empire (Suetonius, Vespian IV; Tacitus, Histories, V.13)

The logical conclusion is unavoidable: the Christmas stories recounted by the Bible and those Christian churches that present them as actual events have lost all historical credibility.

There is no complete overview of this historical period, but there are too many resources to say "have lost all historical credibility"

Tags: Kerst, Ster van Bethlehem
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