The Birth Narratives

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    Chilton, Bruce

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    The Mamzer Jesus and His Birth

    "So why did some people accuse Jesus of being born of fornication (porneia, John 8:41)? Was it for the same reason he was called “son of Mary” in his own town (Mark 6:3) rather than “son of Joseph”? What emerges from both Rabbinic literature (supplemented by Origen) and the New Testament is that Jesus’ mother was clearly known and that the identity of his father was contested."
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    Humphreys, Colin

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    The Star of Bethlehem

    "Evidence from the Bible and astronomy suggests that the Star of Bethlehem was a comet which was visible in 5 BC, and described in ancient Chinese records. A comet uniquely fits the description in Matthew of a star which newly appeared, which travelled slowly through the sky against the star background and which 'stood over' Bethlehem. The evidence points to Jesus being bom in the period 9 March-4 May, 5 BC, probably around Passover time: 13-27 April, 5 BC. Birth in the spring is consistent with the account in Luke that there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby keeping watch over their flock by night. Birth in 5 BC also throws light upon the problem of the census of Caesar Augustus. A new chronology of the life of Christ is given which is consistent with the available evidence. This chronology suggests that Christ died close to his 37th birthday."
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    Wright, N.T.

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    God's Way of Acting

    "No one can prove, historically, that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived. No one can prove, historically, that she wasn't. Science studies the repeatable; history bumps its nose against the unrepeatable. If the first two chapters of Matthew and the first two of Luke had never existed, I do not suppose that my own Christian faith, or that of the church to which I belong, would have been very different. But since they do, and since for quite other reasons I have come to believe that the God of Israel, the world's creator, was personally and fully revealed in and as Jesus of Nazareth, I hold open my historical judgment and say: If that's what God deemed appropriate, who am I to object?"
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    Young, Brad H.

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    "The Birth of the Messiah and the Song of Angels", Chapter 1 of Jesus the Jewish Theologian

    "The story of Jesus' birth in the gospels resonates with Jewish beliefs concerning God's plan of salvation and the promised coming of the messianic deliverer. The birth of the Messiah is by no means an ordinary affair. The event is marked by prophecy and angelic visitations. The song of the angels as told in Luke 2:14 expresses the inward yearnings of the Jewish people concerning the Messiah. These words of praise and adoration which define the messianic task have a rich Jewish background."