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Thread: "An Uncensored Guide to the Christmas Stories"

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    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    "An Uncensored Guide to the Christmas Stories"

    Hi last year I wrote a short book called "An Uncensored Guide to the Christmas Stories".

    It sold 4 copies online as an ebook and paperback and I have now released it for free.
    http://uncensored-christmas.sky-walker.net/read-it/

    It can also be downloaded as an ebook or PDF:
    http://uncensored-christmas.sky-walker.net/download/

    Almost everyone I know is a Christian and they seem to like it even though after writing it I came to the conclusion that it seems that at least some of the Christmas stories are invented. I handed the book out to people I knew at my church and my parent's church.

    Based on the book I created this resource:
    "The Bible's two Christmas stories told in parallel"

    That was helpful to refer to when I was looking at:
    Answer's in Genesis's "Christmas Timeline of the Biblical Account"
    "Soon After the 41st Day .... The family returned to Bethlehem—not Nazareth, as some have suggested"

    It is the Bible itself (Luke) that says they returned to Nazareth. This is their attempt to harmonise the two stories.

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    If the Bible says they returned to Nazareth then that settles the matter.

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    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
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    Yes, Luke indeed says that Joseph and family "returned to Nazareth."

    On the other hand, Matthew has a different take. Matthew has Joseph living and working in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. After the flight to Egypt, he was heading back home (Chapter 2):

    22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, 23 and came and lived in a city called Nazareth.
    If Joseph already lived in Nazareth, then why fly to Egypt in the first place when he could take the much easier journey back to Nazareth? If he already lived in Nazareth, why go back to Bethlehem at all?

    If we read the Matthew passage alone, without foreknowledge of Luke's version of events (as Christians did for decades before the New Testament was assembled in the fourth century) there's nothing to indicate that Joseph ever lived in Nazareth, thus making it hard to accept that they "returned" there.

    If someone who was not familiar with the old Nativity tales read the words, "[he] came and lived in a city called Nazareth", she would be hard pressed to swallow that Joseph wasactually returning home, where he no doubt had to deal with his house and possessions being reclaimed while he was in Egypt, where his workshop was now occupied by perhaps a wool merchant, where his valuable carpentry tools were who knows where. There's nothing in the Matthew passage to indicate that Joseph was anything but a newcomer to Nazareth seeking to plant roots with his young family.

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    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Brown View Post
    ....If we read the Matthew passage alone, without foreknowledge of Luke's version of events (as Christians did for decades before the New Testament was assembled in the fourth century) there's nothing to indicate that Joseph ever lived in Nazareth, thus making it hard to accept that they "returned" there....
    http://uncensored-christmas.sky-walker.net/two-stories/
    Yes that's why I wrote "...So Joseph, Mary and the child Jesus made their new home in Nazareth...."

    Though the NIV has the section title "The Return to Nazareth"
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage...23&version=NIV

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    Well we don't read the Matthew passage alone. And there is nothing about Luke versus Matthew which is impossible to reconcile. Bible skeptics need ambiguity in the text in order speculate and read contradiction into that text. But that same wiggle room exists to read into the text a plausible and harmonious explanation without contradiction.

    It's funny how internet atheists think they've stumbled across some stunning, never-before-seen (yet supposedly plain for all to see) contradiction as if several hundred decades of scribes and translators and bible scholars never compared Luke and Matthew.

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    Veteran Member Sarpedon's Avatar
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    Never noticed? No.

    Never satisfactorily addressed? Yes.

    All too often, such things are harmonized by making up a story and inserting it, despite it having no independent evidence or attestation. This is not satisfactory.

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    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    ...there is nothing about Luke versus Matthew which is impossible to reconcile....
    What about the genealogies?
    http://uncensored-christmas.sky-walker.net/genealogies/

    They agree with the names that are part of the prophecies, but otherwise they disagree leading me to the conclusion that at least one was invented.

    The most popular explanation is that Luke is about Mary's genealogy. See that link for my response and note that that explanation seemed to originate in the 8th century. No Christian has disputed that. Before that Christians believed that Luke is talking about Joseph's relatives.

    There's also the journeys:
    http://uncensored-christmas.sky-walk...d-it/#journeys

    They also agree with the prophecies but then disagree about other details.

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    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    ...there is nothing about Luke versus Matthew which is impossible to reconcile....
    To re-answer: Answers in Genesis attempted to do this, and as you agreed, their statement "The family returned to Bethlehem—not Nazareth, as some have suggested" seems false. Are you aware of any attempts to reconcile Luke with Matthew that don't have problems? (preferably online, or at least in an ebook) Another one I've seen left out a lot of problematic information.

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    Sorry to disappoint you, I never "agreed" that AIG gets it wrong. (They don't)
    And neither does the bible which is why I said...
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    If the Bible says they returned to Nazareth then that settles the matter.
    There is no contradiction and nothing physically impossible about the following (biblical) itinerary.
    Nazareth to Bethlehem
    Bethlehem to Jerusalem
    Jerusalem to Bethlehem (return to Bethlehem) True
    Bethlehem to Egypt
    Egypt to Nazareth (return to Nazareth) True

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    If the book of Luke said...
    "Robert Menzies was Prime Minister of Australia from 1939 to 1941"

    And the book of Matthew said...
    "Robert Menzies was Prime Minister of Australia from 1949 to 1966"

    ...Bible skeptics would be jumping up and down about the supposed contradiction.

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