Ac­cord­ing to schol­arly re­ports

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - NEWS -

If one ap­plies even the ba­sics of crit­i­cal thought to their let­ters, it is ob­vi­ous that both Dr. Castle­man (Let­ter to the Ed­i­tor Dec. 19) and Mr. Lit­tle­john (Dec. 26) care­fully avoided try­ing to rec­on­cile any of the dif­fi­cul­ties I iden­ti­fied in my let­ter on Dec. 12. How­ever, I will but­tress my claims with schol­arly re­ports to show that I am not the one “pro­cess­ing the texts from within the prison of a tiny cul­tural bub­ble.”

His­tory Driv­ing The­ol­ogy an on­line PDF prod­uct of South­east­ern Bap­tist The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary states, “The nine­teenth cen­tury brought a wave of skep­ti­cism in re­gards to the birth nar­ra­tives of Matthew and

Luke.” The ar­ti­cle pro­vides a long list of noted bi­b­li­cal schol­ars, along with their works, who dis­missed much of the na­tiv­ity gospels, es­pe­cially that of Matthew, as “non-his­tor­i­cal,” “ar­ti­fi­cial,” “not orig­i­nal to Matthew, but later ad­di­tions,” “the story was mythol­o­gized as su­per­nat­u­ral,” “grossly lit­er­alised,” etc.

Ac­cord­ing to Paul L. Maier (Herod and the In­fants of Beth­le­hem), “Most Herod bi­og­ra­phers dis­miss the episode as “leg­end.” “The tale is not his­tory but myth or folk­lore” and “A ma­jor­ity of cur­rent bi­b­li­cal schol­ars have joined in this opin­ion.”

Most agree that Luke’s clear dec­la­ra­tion that, upon com­ple­tion of the re­quire­ments of the law, Joseph took the mother and child to Nazareth is the far more likely sce­nario.

It doesn’t re­ally mat­ter how the prim­i­tive, un­e­d­u­cated gullible, and su­per­sti­tious peo­ple of an­cient times un­der­stood these texts. It only mat­ters how mod­ern ed­u­cated ra­tio­nal peo­ple un­der­stand these texts and ap­ply their im­por­tance to how their lives are af­fected.

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