The historicity of the nativity stories


Retired preachers get to preach on Sundays that full time pastors take off–like the Sunday after Christmas. The gospel reading for this week is from Matthew 2 about the massacre of the innocents and the flight into Egypt. After Herod the Great has been tipped off about the location of the child Jesus, he sends a death squad to exterminate the small children of Bethlehem. But Joseph dreams that he should flee. So he goes to Egypt with his family. The flight into Egypt was depicted in the Postal Service’s 2012 Christmas stamp:


I have always spent time on some of the historical issues of the Bible that would be too complex and boring to fit into a sermon. But I need the background for myself.

A lot of scholars do not think the nativity events behind our Christmas stories are historical at all. One reason for this is that…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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