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Sadeer Farjo wrote:

Hi guys,

I run a little Catholic blog and someone recently posted a comment. I initially responded to the first part of his comment, but I don't know how to respond to the second part.

  • I was wondering if you guys knew?

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Part of what I said was this:

“The Bible seems to make a point in tracing back Jesus to David's lineage”

Here is what he said:

"The problem with that, is that Jewish parentage is traced back through the Mother.
In any case, that tracing back of Jesus; the blood line, is through Joseph; I'm not sure why, when Christianity teaches that Joseph was NOT the father of Jesus — God was.

The second problem, is that the Messiah was prophesied to be born of the House of David, in Judea. Very conveniently, Jesus of Nazareth was supposedly born in Bethlehem in Judea.

The problem here, is there has never been a single shard of Herodian pottery or any other artifact from that time found in Bethlehem — there is no evidence of any kind of settlement at that time.

However, visit Bet Lehem, in the Jezreel Valley, [Note: the center of Jezreel Valley is located in Afula, in Northern Israel] and you will find hundreds of shards and pieces of evidence of a settlement during the Herodian period. Not only that, there is strong evidence that the largest Church ever uncovered in Israel is at Bet Lehem.

Bet Lehem is a reasonable distance for a pregnant woman to ride on a donkey from Nazareth; Bethlehem in Judea is absolutely too far."

Sadeer

  { Can you help me respond to some comments on the lineage of Jesus and where He was born? }

Mary Ann replied:

Well,

The Jewish Scriptures trace lineage through the male and the very concept of the line of David (rather than Bathsheba) is through the male.

On Sadeer's second comment:

Lack of pottery is not proof of anything. The census is historical, and anyone of the house of David would have gone to Bethlehem of Judea.

Mary Ann

Eric replied:

Hi Sadeer,

Glad to hear from a fellow apologist!

This may be beyond the scope of our competence. You may want to call or contact Catholic Answers who has more resources. Here are the limited comments I can offer.

I don't know anything about archaeology to refute his claim that nothing has been recovered from Bethlehem to prove it was settled at the time. We do know from Scripture that it was a small town so that may be a reason.

More importantly, to say that something got garbled or confused and it was really Bet Lehem and not Bethlehem just does not make sense. The text is trying to prove Jesus is the Messiah by claiming he's from Bethlehem, City of David. To try to prove from the text that it can't be so is absurd; if Jesus was not born in the City of David (because, for example, the distance is too great for a pregnant woman to cover) there is no point in believing the text at all, on any point, in which case, you can no longer prove that he was not born in the city of David, since you are relying on the now-untrustworthy text to do so.

The whole thing to me reminds me of a Monty Python skit when one of Jesus's listeners thinks he hears him say, "Blessed are the cheese makers."

An additional point is that the distance that a pregnant woman can ride on a donkey is, I would think, a subjective matter. I'd challenge him to prove this point and give his assumptions. Maybe you can thereby stall for time. :-)

Sorry I can't do better. If you haven't already, consider googling for bet lehem and bethlehem and see if someone else has already addressed this question.

Otherwise try Catholic Answers.

Eric

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