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Author Topic:   Would Mary Have Been In Bethlehem?
Member (Idle past 4519 days)
Posts: 230
From: Ft Hood, TX
Joined: 03-16-2009

Message 1 of 2 (507790)
05-08-2009 3:04 AM

This topic is mainly a discussion on whether Mary could have realistically been present in Bethlehem for the big occasion Christianity requires.
1) Luke 2:1
Luke 2:1 claims a census was decreed by Caesar. This is not entirely unusual, in that the Romans held a census every 5 years.
The issue comes however with the Book of Luke's unfounded further claim, of every man having to return to their place of birth. This is a HIGHLY unusual requirement with a Roman Census.
This single decree would create a massive drain on the Empire's economy in several forms:
  • Spent resources on travel
  • Lost work time on travel
  • Possibility of death to travelers (which was a real hazard in long journeys)
It is obvious that the reason Luke would create this stipulation within the census is to have Mary in Bethlehem at the time of the Saviors birth.
Not to mention Joseph, being a descendant of David (we are told this, at least), went from Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to a city called Bethlehem.
The problem of the town lies in the author telling us Joseph's ancestry and because of his ancestry he had to leave his home town and travel to Bethlehem in Judea.
The above tells us, and rather plainly, that this tax involved the individuals ancestry and where they were registered.
2) Would Mary have traveled?
Assuming the Census did occur as Luke describes, for Joseph to have brought his wife on such a journey would have been highly unusual. Women were considered property are the time, as such they were incapable of owning property. This fact would have made Mary as necessary for presence as all the rest of Joseph's property, including his land. If such a journey was required, Joseph would have had a local tax collector endorse his property statements as authentic, and merely provided the "paperwork" to the Bethlehem authorities.
3) Mary's Pregnancy
Assuming the Census occurred as stipulated in Luke, and that Joseph wanted to bring Mary along for whatever reason his heart desired, we are still left with two other major issues.
a. Mary being "heavy with child" would have most certainly meant losing her child on such a massive journey. Even if she had rode, the rough roads, and constant jarring would have caused hemorrhaging within her Uterus, as a result of the child being constantly rubbed against it's walls. Also, the child would be enduring traumatic injury with each violent jar.
b. Even if by some miracle, Mary made it to Bethlehem with pregnancy in tact, she would still have the difficulty of the return journey, having just given birth, which would drastically increase her chance of mortality. Not to mention the opportunity it would present the child to expire through sheer exposure, and once again enduring the traumatic episodes of jarring due to rough roads.
These points make it quite clear that the required placement for the claimed birth of Jesus cannot be met with the real conditions that existed at the time. It also cannot be met historically, as not even the Christian champion Josephus mentions a census having occurred.
Are there any other thoughts on this subject? Perhaps any rebuttals?
Edited by Michamus, : minor formatting, no textual changes

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Message 2 of 2 (507815)
05-08-2009 9:01 AM

Thread copied to the Would Mary Have Been In Bethlehem? thread in the The Bible: Accuracy and Inerrancy forum, this copy of the thread has been closed.

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