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Jesus the Man

There is doubt that Jesus was a real person

The birth of Jesus marks the start of Christianity and the Christian calendar which is used globally today, but the actual date of his birth and the substance of his life is a great mystery, so what is known of Jesus the man?

There are many unanswered questions about his existence and In this podcast, Seth Andrews speaks to three historians who have dedicated much of their lives and writings to the subject of Christ and Christianity: Dr. Richard Carrier, David Fitzgerald and Dr. Robert M. Price.

Birth Date

The Gospel Matthew states that Jesus was born while Herod the Great was still alive and that Herod (maybe, but most scholars consider this a fiction) ordered the slaughter of infants two years old and younger (Matt. 2:16), so based on the date of Herod's death in 4 BC, chronologists conclude that Jesus was more likely born between the year 6BC and 4BC and consequently, Jesus would have been about four to six years old in the year AD 1.

In the New Testament, the Gospel of Luke connects the birth of Jesus with a historical census taken in 6 or 7AD during the reign of Caesar Augustus, but by Matthew's account this may have been 10 or 11 years after Jesus was born.

The only other evidence to support a birth date was the star reported in the bible which was most likely Halley's comet which was visible for 70 days during 6BC and this event is well documented and verified by astronomers.

Birth Place

"The Question of Christ" conversation
begins 8:30 mins into the podcast negating
that Jesus ever existed.

Jesus is thought to have been born in or near to the village of Bethlehem in Roman occupied Judea (modern day Israel) which is about 10 kilometres south of modern day Jerusalem. But this is controversial and many scholars disagree as to the actual birth place especially as Mary was a citizen of Nazereth.

Bethlehem at the time of Christ and as evidenced by Israeli archaeologist Aviram Oshri who studied the site and found solid evidence of a Jewish community existing before the year 1AD. However at the time, the village was small and if Jesus was born there or in the cave nearby, there may have only been a total population of 30-40 families with a small number of children under the age of two years.

While it is written that the apostles agree that both Jesus and king David were born in Bethlehem in Judea, there is no archaeological evidence to support this theory although archaeology supports that King David was a real person and that Bethlehem became a more significant town during the Byzantine era.

A Virgin Birth

This is a very controversial point which from my perspective seems unlikely in a physical sense, rather Mary was a virgin as in 'virgin bride' or innocent and uncorrupted as described and alluded to many times in the gospel of Philip and other gospels.

A less likely but plausible story of the virgin birth may have been made up as an explanation to Jesus' unusual intelligence which in a small boy must have amazed and even frightened those who met him.

At the time of the birth of Christ, the only sexual constraints were that women could not sexually engage as freely as men as they were the property of men, and as girls went into marriage soon after the onset of puberty, the bride price was more when the girl was a virgin and this is still prevalent in some societies today.

"If Mary is the Mother of Jesus, and Jesus is the Lamb of God... Did Mary have a Little Lamb?"

The Three Magi
The Magi would have been Zoroastrian priests/holy men who had already been practising a monotheistic religion 600 years prior to the birth of Christ and it is likely that they were advised of Christ's birth through divine communion, ESP, or the report of the slaughter of the innocents and the bright star (Halley's comet).

All that is known is that Three Magi or Wise Men from the East as mentioned only in the Gospel of Matthew, which says that they came "from the east" to worship the Christ, "born King of the Jews".

There is no date for this visit and scholars suspect this visit may have been up to a year or 18 months after the birth. They reportedly left valuable gifts but there is no record of what happened to the gifts which may have set the family up for a lifetime?

Escape to Egypt

In Matthew  2:14, we are told that Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Egypt, but in Yet in Luke 2:39, they went to Nazareth after Jesus' birth; who is right? But the Arabic scholar Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi suspects that after presenting the baby Jesus at the temple, they went to Nazareth and perhaps after hearing of the execution of children in Bethlehem, then they went to Egypt until after Herod's death.

Family

By all accounts his father Joseph is said to have been a carpenter which is perhaps equivalent to today's handyman. Almost nothing is known of his mother Mary other than that she was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee although some writings say both Mary and Joseph were descendants of King David however this claim seems very unsubstantial.

Jesus had brothers, James, Joses, Simon and Judas, and sisters Mary and Salome.

Jesus’ brothers are mentioned in several Bible verses. Matthew 12:46, Luke 8:19, and Mark 3:31 say that Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see Him. The Bible tells us that Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). The Bible also tells us that Jesus had sisters, but they are not named or numbered (Matthew 13:56). In John 7:1-10, His brothers go on to the festival while Jesus stays behind. In Acts 1:14, His brothers and mother are described as praying with the disciples. Galatians 1:19 mentions that James was Jesus’ brother.

There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.

Language

Jesus was born a Jew, and his language was Aramaic which was the popular language of Palestine in that era and it is still used in some places today. The official language would have been Latin and Greek was also commonly used.

References
Dates for the birth and death of Jesus
Disputing Jesus
David & Goliath
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A9914268
Birth of Jesus
http://www.bethlehem-of-galilee.org/artical_2.htm
http://www.answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/egypt.htm
The family of Jesus
http://www.mountainretreatorg.net/faq/sisters.html
http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-siblings.html
http://www.keyway.ca/htm2001/20010328.htm
http://home.sprynet.com/~pabco/djhbas.htm
Sexual Ethics
http://www.libchrist.com/bible/history.html
http://www.libchrist.com/bible/premaritalsex.html

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