British Palestine also denoted a huge area, including present day Jordan. Instead, if Jesus comes to us, rather than us coming to him, if he visits in our very homes and comes as a surprising, disruptive, but ultimately welcome presence, one who will turn our world upside-down and change it forever, then that makes all the difference. This objection also assumes that the events in Matthew’s Gospel take place immediately after Jesus was born. Can you? While the Bible doesn’t use the word “stable,” it does say that the baby Jesus was laid in a manger—in other words, a feeding trough, which tells us they were in an area where animals were fed (Luke 2:7). There is a hint of this in John’s gospel, where Jesus is called Mary’s son (rather than Joseph’s), but I am not sure I can find much hint of the shame motif in Luke’s narrative. Really enjoyable, always informative (annual) read – thanks! He has just been born in a stable. Tradition! Born in a Stable: Advent / Simple Nativity Song for Kids. We have often used the ideas in our Carol Services over the years to get people thinking about how accurate the ‘birth’ story really is or isn’t! I also think it is clear that discussions in comment all too quickly engage each other in a combative debate between commentators, rather than commenting on the content of the article. Or was Jesus the only baby lying in hay? (Let the reader understand. ) Paul argues that the Greek word, kataluma, usually translated as “Inn” was in fact used for a reception room in a private house – the same term is used to describe the “upper room” where Jesus and his disciples ate the last supper. After all – there cannot be many people pulling a night shift in such a culture? I am afraid I do not know enough to be able to say whether Luke’s primary reader (Theophilus as he is described) was, given his Greek name, actually unlikely to be someone who was culturally Middle Eastern. Perhaps as contrition you’d donate?! 8) Shepherds visit However, the Bible does not tell us that there were animals or that His birth took place in a stable. But is there any ancient evidence of this? But no man including Ian looked at the behavior pattern that ensued after Katie on December 3rd posted a very provocative question challenging the premise of the ‘shame’ position of this post. Dec 16, 2020 | Hope. In the OT shepherd also seems to have a range of meanings, even if the metaphor becomes a positive one for a Ruler. Mary is laying Jesus in the manger, which is the place that holds the food for donkeys and other animals to eat. An entirely different word, pandocheion, is used to describe an “Inn” or any other place where strangers are welcomed. B. Jesus was born too quickly for Mary to make it back to her room in the inn. Watch out for snipers. But Matthew 2:1 says, “[W]hen Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem.” In other words, Matthew never says that the magi were present at Jesus’ birth. You are quite right that the areas under Roman jurisdiction were known as Judea and Samaria along with the other regions, as shown on the map here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judea_(Roman_province). On the contrary, the term was used by Ovid in the fifth century BC with reference to the region as a whole, so it is not anachronistic to use it. [12] Later Greek writers such as Polemon and Pausanias also used the term to refer to the same region, which was followed by Roman writers such as Ovid, Tibullus, Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder, Dio Chrysostom, Statius, Plutarch as well as Roman Judean writers Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. And given Arab mobility, some ask serious questions as to whether ‘Palestinian Arab’ can really be a national, political designation. Dick France explores this issue alongside other aspects of preaching on the infancy narratives in in his excellent chapter in We Proclaim the Word of Life. We say “British” or “Romano-British”. I try to write little stories out of conjectures like yours. The strangeness of this is again emphasised by its repetition in vv. [3][4][13][18] The term is rarely used in the Septuagint, which used a transliteration Land of Phylistieim (Γῆ τῶν Φυλιστιείμ) different from the contemporary Greek place name Palaistínē (Παλαιστίνη).[17]’. I am sorry to spoil your preparations for Christmas before the Christmas lights have even gone up—though perhaps it is better to do this now than the week before Christmas, when everything has been carefully prepared. Happy to be pointed to it and change my mind. The earliest scholar to put it forward was the Spaniard Francisco Sánchez de las Brozas, in 1584. I think you are right about the massive changes post-70. Why is this so obvious and yet still so unconvincing to so many people? And the etymology of the word is quite general. I’m so very glad I found this! He looks in detail at the phrase often translated ‘there was no room for them in the kataluma‘ and argues that the Greek phrase ouch en autois topos does not mean ‘there was no room for them’ but ‘they had no room.’ In other words, he thinks that they did stay in the kataluma, but that it was not big enough for Mary to give birth to Jesus in, so she moved to the main room for the birth, assisted by relatives. The answer is “both.” He was born in a cave that was a stable. “Most families would live in a single-room house, with a lower compartment for animals to be brought in at night, and either a room at the back for visitors, or space on the roof. I am glad you spoke up for shepherds (or at least sought to correct the historical record). But can I ask a question regarding your understanding of ‘manger’ – When the angels appear to the shepherds they are told, “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” If the ‘manger’ was a common feature at the time, why would that be a ‘sign’? One reason is because God wanted to show us that Jesus Christ came to bring salvation to everyone — not just the rich and powerful, but the poor and downtrodden. 7) M & J live peacefully in Bethlehem until the baby is born. More specifically, Christ was born in a stable, possibly a stable inside a cave. 12,16. 1) Mary’s family regularly stay with Zechariah & Elizabeth during their regular visits to Jerusalem for the major festivals. The lack of room sounds negative on the face of it, perhaps in contrast to the reception from the shepherds. It is the term for the private ‘upper’ room where Jesus and the disciples eat the ‘last supper’ (Mark 14.14 and Luke 22.11; Matthew does not mention the room). Ian nor the rest of the men on this blog don’t even see the pattern. No-one knows where the person on whom the biblical character of Jesus, was born. See my other comment! This fact has led some to believe that Jesus may not have been born in a stable or barn, but in a house with a lower floor serving as a nighttime shelter for the families’ animals. He was born in Bethlehem, at the birthing place of the sacrificial lambs that were offered in the Temple in Jerusalem which Micah 4:8 calls the "tower of the flock." It blew my mind, and I wanted to see if this was something more people knew. If so, Luke does not let his readers in on this information! Older versions translate this as ‘inn’: And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. David is usually quite careful in his writing, so I am a little surprised at this. So where has the idea come from? People generally want to cling to what they they find comforting (familiar), especially during this difficult time we have been through over the past several months. 6) During Mary’s stay something is indeed sorted out with Joseph (with the help of the angel) and it is decided that Mary (then 3 months pregnant) should return to Nazareth before it is obvious she is pregnant and that Joseph will come and take his bride complete the marriage, I have been convinced of this way of looking at the Christmas story since I first read Kenneth Bailey’s book around 10 years ago. I myself often fled into the open country simply in order to be able to think. Jesus) was born. God’s love extends to the whole human race! This has caused some controversy as to whether or not Jesus was actually born in a house with an area serving as a nighttime shelter, or a stable as many suppose (taken from the fact that Jesus was laid in a manger). I am grateful to Mark Goodacre for drawing my attention to an excellent paper on this by Stephen Carlson, one of his colleagues at Duke. However, there are a number of alternate possibilities of the location of Yeshua's birth: Perhaps your experience makes the case for involving children’s group leaders, and parents, in sermon planning…?! You are quite right to highlight the scarcity of wood, which we easily forget. If you enjoyed this, do share it on social media (Facebook or Twitter) using the buttons on the left. So perhaps they were not allowed to use the upper room in spite of her imminent delivery, and consigned to the main downstairs room, at least in part as a consequence of the distaste the hosts may have felt for Mary’s supposed lack of chastity. Paul himself first wrote about the misinterpretation of the word in 2013, and re-posted his theory this year “because I have been struck again how often the message of Christmas is summed up as ‘Jesus was born in a stable’, both within and beyond the church.”. December 9, 2016 by Ian Paul. Quite probably another member of her family would have been present, if, as has been pointed out earlier it is virtually impossible to be alone in that culture. The actual name that Herodotus used for the region was “Suria he Palaestinè” or ” Palestinian Syria” and this was Romanised in AD 135 as “Syria Palaestina”. Study Questions. What, then, does it mean for the kataluma to have ‘no space’? Luke 2:1-20. Alpar NAGY Ian’s response was a mere ‘That’s an interesting question…’ But when Brian posted on December 4th, Ian responded in an engaging way that drew out the conversation. It is comforting to me to learn new things (even though I have been hearing bout this since I was in seminalry about 10 years ago). So that is where Jesus must have been—despite the experience of many who live in rural settings. Nolland thinks it was added to Sinaiticus to conform Luke to Mark. Were they getting it wrong that long ago? But evangelical scholar Rev Ian Paul has argued that the entire story may be based on a misreading of the New Testament, reviving an ancient theory that Jesus was not, in fact, born in a stable. Matthew : “she was found to be pregnant..”. First, let’s address the place of Christ’s birth. The shame that Matthew records is the shame that Joseph would have felt, but Matthew tells us Joseph accepted Mary and presumably therefore protected Mary – I think I am right that after betrothal sexual relations were permitted (though I can’t find the source for this). Why make a big issue of this? Hope that makes sense and helps a little. Attitudes towards covid mitigation may reflect this as well. I find this disappointing but understandable. (rock baby Jesus) His Mother was Mary, (hands together in prayer) And the Angels did sing, (hand together in prayer) “Glory to God!” (hold up arms in praise) This should fundamentally change our approach to enacting and preaching on the nativity. Thanks for this. This has nothing to do with the major teachings of the Bible. I think your argument is pretty convincing. It added a real depth and understanding to the story. 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