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Old 12-27-2019, 01:10 PM
md2000 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15,662
Having sat through the church readings of the nativity story in the last few days, it is hard not to appreciate the obvious embellishment present in the gospel stories. There was a Syrian census a few years BC, but nobody - especially not day labourers - had to traipse halfway across the country for days to simply register where they did not live. It sounds like something someone else would have added decades later to twist their messiah to be of divine origin. Similarly, Josephus had no problem describing Herod the Great's misdeeds and misfortunes in detail, (Including his rotting genitals) and never thought to mention that he ordered the massacre of all (male) babies in a wide area of his kingdom? So widespread that one would need to travel all the way to Egypt to escape?

As a non-expert, it seems to me the nativity gospels provided several things that advanced the young church's party line - affirmed Jesus' divine lineage, his link to David (wait, through Joseph who actually wasn't his father??), the fact that he was also fully human from birth, not just a divine apparition (to contrast another early "heresy"), and that both the heavens and civil authorities believed his divinity and the prophecies.