When the Magi visited Nazareth...(was Re: [asa] Gospel in the Stars WAS Star of Bethlehem presentation?)

From: Murray Hogg <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>
Date: Tue Nov 24 2009 - 23:15:02 EST

Sorry all for exceeding my post count yet again but you should find this
one good fun! :-[

Dave Wallace wrote:
> I doubt it even contains discussion of whether or not Jesus and his
> parents went to Nazareth and then Egypt or in the other order.
> Scripture is not an exhaustive history by any means and the authors
> had different audiences they were writing for. Frankly I don't think
> the order matters at all. Maybe Pete or Murray have a different opinion.

Hi Dave,

First, I have to say that questions of this sort are not really of that
much interest to me. Frankly, I know the NT scholarship pretty well and
I have to say that the discussion so far hasn't even scratched the
surface of the difficulties. There's lots more "problems" than the
question of chronology and I've already factored most of those into my
understanding of the nature and role of scripture.

But that said, there is one commonly overlooked solution to this
supposed "problem";

Very early in Christian history (c. 160-70 AD) a guy by the name of
Tatian put together a harmony of the Four Gospels known as "The
Diatessaron of Tatian."

In his harmony, Tatian places the return to Nazareth BEFORE the visit of
the Magi. Which seems kinda strange until we realize that - contrary to
the assumption that most people read into the text - Matthew never
actually states that the Magi visit Bethlehem!

What it DOES say is (1) Jesus was born in Bethlehem, (2) Herod's
religious advisers told him Bethlehem would be Christ's birth place; (3)
Herod directs the Magi to Bethlehem; and (4) the Magi follow the star to
where Jesus was.

But it DOESN'T say that Jesus was in Bethlehem OR that the Magi visited

So if we follow Tatian's ordering;

Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem where Christ is born
The Holy Family visits Jerusalem for the rites of purification
They return to Nazareth
The Magi visit the Holy Family *in Nazareth*
The Holy Family flees to Egypt
Herod's henchmen massacre the children of Bethlehem

It turns out that there isn't even a problem to be addressed - unless
you want to read into the Gospel narrative something that isn't actually


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Received on Tue Nov 24 23:15:42 2009

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