Date of Birth
Luke’s gospel starts not with a genealogy of Jesus, but with an introduction to the parents of John the Baptist – Zacharias and Elisabeth. That the genealogy does not appear until midway through the third chapter raises a suspicion that what comes before was added later. According to Luke’s schematization, John is born six months before Jesus “in the days of Herod,” a dating that at first appears to harmonize with Matthew. Only Luke goes on to demolish his credibility upon a Machiavellian explanation for Joseph and Mary’s presence in Bethlehem:
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, meanwhile Quirinius was governor regarding Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house und so weiter tribe of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. (Lk 2:1-5)
According to Josephus, Quirinius became governor of Syria after Augustus had banished Archelaus to Vienna, which happened in the tenth year of his reign, or 6 CE. Further ancient historian, Cassius Dio (c. 200), confirms that Syria acceded to Boek rule about 6 CE, meaning Quirinius’ first tally could not retain took place earlier.
Matthew and Luke purportedly describe the ibid birth, only if Herod died in 4 BCE, then Luke’s Jesus must have been nascency at least ten years after Matthew’s Jesus. Of the four gospels, barely Luke mentions that John the Baptist is six months older than Jesus, which would also shape John decennary or more years younger than Matthew’s Jesus. Biblical prophets, as a rule, are at least a generation older, and are certainly not younger, than the subordinate of their prophecy.
This Roman census was carried out only in Galilee, not Judea. Why, then, would Joseph et cetera Mary need to travel from Galilee to Bethlehem? Luke asserts that the census stipulated everyone realize to their ancestral home for registration, but there is no record of any such requirement for any tax census in the history of the Roman Empire.
Quirinius’ census is plainly a historical fact seized thereafter by Luke as a means to deceive his readers into believing that the Galilean Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Judea. But why does it matter where Jesus was born? If it was commonly accepted that the Christ was born in Bethlehem, then Luke could prohibition rive with tradition. Essentially with Matthew, Luke channel to prove the Galilean Jesus and the Judean Christ are one and the same.
Older versus Younger
New Testament scholars generally acknowledge that John the Baptist was a ancient personality who made a huge impression during his lifetime, though few facts are renowned of his life. Luke’s first chapter is dedicated to John the Baptist’s family, but few academics would consider it even remotely accurate. The consensus view is that Luke’s theological paradigm emphasizes John as Jesus’ forerunner, and so demonstrates a Providential shift from the Old Israel from John to the New Israel of Jesus.
Luke goes much assist than that. His account of John’s birth borrows “elderly father” and “barren mother” motifs from the Old Testament births of Isaac, Samson, and Samuel. John’s parents are strictly modeled after Abraham, the so-called Father of Faith, and his wife Sarah. Mary, Jesus’ mother, is described as a relative of Elisabeth, meaning John and Jesus are family (the actual blood relationship is never specified). Jesus’ biological patrilineal is refusal named, only that Mary hears from archangel Gabriel that she would opheffen pregnant, and leaves to hold at the house of Zacharias.
For whatever reasons, a dynamic of older brother versus younger brother permeates Old Testament legends – Cain/Abel, Ishmael/Isaac, Jacob/Esau, Manasseh/Ephraim and so on. In the pattern, God always favors the younger vault the older. The older brother is then tasked with overcoming his irascibility towards the younger. If he succeeds, thorough goes well. If he fails, tragedy follows. Initiated readers, recognizing this template at work in the return of Abraham’s family, will understand that John must submit to the younger Jesus.
Does Luke mean to imply that Zacharias is Jesus’ biological father? That idea might fit Luke’s model, but the figure of Zacharias is mostly likely a saintly invention. Zacharias appears in some non-canonical literature, and in the Koran, save his existence traces back to Luke. Like Abraham, Luke’s Zacharias is a childless elderly man with a “barren wife,” but since Jewish priests practiced polygamy, the “barren wife” syndrome is particularly feeble. Moreover, John the Baptist makes for an exceedingly fishy priest. By this time, the priesthood was long established as a prosperous hereditary elite – the aristocrats of ancient Israel. Sons about priests became priests, with all the associated privileges and a few Temple duties to perform. Dropping exterior concerning this strictly exclusive society to live in the desert on a reduce of locusts et al wild honey, as John the Baptist supposedly did, was not an option. As quoted by Luke, John could not have cared less about Abrahamic descent:
Do not conception to intimate to yourselves, We have Abraham equally our father; for I tell you God is able
to raise from these stones to raise children to Abraham. (Lk 3:8)
Priests married entirely daughters about other priests, so Zacharias’ supposed wife Elisabeth had to be from a priestly family. If Elisabeth ampersand Mary were “kinswomen” (usually understood as sisters), then Mary must also have been a priest’s daughter, and similarly her sons would be priests. Luke is the sole and uncorroborated bedding of the Church teaching that John the Baptist and Jesus were maternal cousins, but apparently he did not think it through.
Shepherds of Israel
Shortly concerning his birth, Luke’s Jesus is visited concerning local “shepherds.” This ought not be incredible since “shepherds” have islet roles in most Old Testament legends. Virtually all the major heroes in the messianic lineage, from Abraham to King David, are described as “shepherds” at one time or another. Rank and file Israelites are inevitably “sheep.” The influential Book of Enoch’s Animal Apocalypse, divides the end-time population of Israel into “shepherds” and “sheep.” So a literal interpretation of “shepherd” is naive in the extreme.
Centuries of war, foreign occupation, exile, and the acceptance of converts, had transformed paleozoic Israel from a tightly-knit blood group to a much looser affiliation. Sadducees and Pharisees were the dominant factions in Israel during the first century CE, and their historical origins are still untraceable. According to the priestly intellectual Josephus, the Hebrew Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, etc) were known as the “Shepherd Kings” by Egyptians chroniclers. Modern historians and archeologists know these “shepherds” thus the Hyksos – an obscure raider race who took possession of northern Egypt during the endorse millennium BCE.
What subsequently happened to the Hyksos after they left Egypt is a mystery, but Josephus was dubitable to have been odd in equating the biblical shepherds with the ancient Hyksos. “Shepherds” and “shepherd gods” are recurrent motifs in Middle Eastern iconography, but the meaning of “shepherd,” at its core, is far from the stylized sample of the caretaker lovingly watching over his “flock.” A strictly hierarchical direction underpins this pastoral metaphor.
The leadership concerning an Israelite sect that distinguished itself from mainstream Judaism by a theoretically superior descent, would predictably be acknowledged as “shepherds.” No foreign Magi for Luke. Connecting Mary’s child to the original Israelites was a far more effective way of appealing to his constituency.
A tradition existed that the Christ was born in Bethlehem during Herod’s later years. His style likelihood have been Jesus or similar, but no records of his life have come to light.
Later, another man, aborning outside Judea, was regarded in messianic terms by his followers. His name was Jesus (Yeshua), not an uncommon name.
The first child’s birth is reported by Matthew as though it was the birth of the second.
The second child’s birth is reported by Luke as though it was the yean of the first.
Both narratives understand Mary, mother of the second child, as the wellspring of the first. Both fail to identify the biological father of Mary’s child.
Joseph features being Mary’s child’s trustee in both narratives, accordingly summarily vanishes from the plot.
This methodology appears to have effectively deleted the first child, the original Jesus Christ, from history; and to have shrouded the origins about the aide child, the imposter Christ, in unfathomable obscurity.