Posted inHistory

Debating Quirinius with a Christian

Reading Time: 6 minutes I had the dubious pleasure of debating a number of different aspects of the Nativity with a Christian apologist (a Cambridge astrophysics graduate and vicar) whom I had been linked to on Facebook after he had posted this: Time for my annual Christmas challenge. Skeptics say that there are contradictions in and amongst the Gospels […]

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My Nativity Debate with Lydia McGrew: Post-Match Analysis

Reading Time: 8 minutes I had a debate over whether the Nativity in Luke and Mark was fact or fairytale on Friday night for the Unbelievable? show on Premier Christian radio. I was warned that McGrew might try the Gish-gallup approach so I should get it in myself. I ended up being indeed fairly scattergun, though not out of […]

Posted inHistory

The Nativity Census Challenge: Update

Reading Time: 3 minutes For any of you who haven’t been reading the threads on the census, a challenge that I set to See Noevo to answer, I would like to update you on what he has delivered by way of riposte: For longtime readers here, you might be surprised to learn that JohnM has returned to the fray. […]

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When Your Everyday Catholic Doesn’t Get It

Reading Time: 4 minutes See Noevo is no doubt a committed Catholic, but what he said recently really illustrated much of the problem in debating laymen. I don’t mean this to be a personal attack on him and to use “laymen” pejoratively, but my point is important. My piece in question was about the ten-year gap between the death […]

Posted inHistory

Responding to Criticism on the Herod/Census Problem

Reading Time: 4 minutes This is my second rebuttal to the efforts Dave Armstrong is putting in to trying to debunk my claims of contradictions in the Bible. The first rebuttal, completed yesterday, looked at his criticisms of my case that there are contradictions involved in the accounts of Jesus alighting on the shore of the Sea of Galilee […]

Posted inBooks

Herod Has Problems

Reading Time: 9 minutes Over on a previous post and thread from a long time ago, one (Christian) commenter declared that the likes of JP Holding and Jason Engwer had basically dealt with all of the harmonisation issues within the context of the historical problems in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew and their infancy accounts. I will now, as Randal […]

Posted inHistory

Quote of the Day, epicurus on Herod

Reading Time: 2 minutes In my post on Herod, epicurus brought up a great point with regard to the news of the Messianic prophecy which shook Jerusalem at the arrival of the MAgi:

In the same way that the resurrection story tosses out a verse that should cause a revolution, then moves on as if no big deal (the dead coming out of their graves and walking around the city -Matt 27:52-3), the assertion that Herod and all of Jerusalem being “troubled” at the wise men following a star to come worship the new King of The Jews (Matt 2:3) doesn’t seem to mean much for a fair size city.

Posted inUncategorized

The Star of Bethlehem Documentary – Textual Criticism and Josephus

Reading Time: 7 minutes This is Part 2 of a critical examination of the MMEL hypothesis of the Star of Bethlehem. Go to the index here.

In Part 1 of this critical overview of the Star of Bethlehem film and its version of history (which I have called the MMEL hypothesis), I looked at the reasons scholars can say we know Herod died no later than 4 BCE given the information we have from Josephus as well as what we can connect with other accounts. The information from Josephus seemed to be overwhelmingly in favor of a 5/4 BCE date for Herod’s death, which would then contradict the time frame needed for the conjunctions of Jupiter and Venus as the MMEL hypothesis requires. However, there is another argument that is focused on, though not detailed, in the documentary, and it concerns the text that we have of Josephus.

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