Might Jesus have been born in a different Bethlehem?

Place of Jesus Birth?

Representation of Cave Grotto, Vatican City, January 2010


An archeologist claims that there is evidence that Jesus was born in a different Bethlehem than the one many believe He was born in.

The Bible says the place of Jesus Christ’s birth was the town of Bethlehem of Judea, but one archaeologist says the Christian savior was more likely born in a different Bethlehem that is farther from Jerusalem.

Aviram Oshri, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), told NPR that he has conducted extensive excavations in Bethlehem of the Galilee, and has found artifacts there which suggest that the traditionally held view of where Jesus was born may be incorrect.

“I think the genuine site of the nativity is here rather than in the other Bethlehem near Jerusalem,” said Oshri.

In Bethlehem of the Galilee, Oshri says he has discovered stone vessels that were used by Jews during the same time period that Jesus lived. Excavators also discovered evidence of what was once a large, ornate church – Oshri says the church suggests that Christians also once believed the site to be the place of Christ’s birth – as well as parts of a wall that may have been built by emperor Justinian to protect the village.

“It makes much more sense that Mary rode on a donkey, while she was at the end of the pregnancy, from Nazareth to Bethlehem of Galilee which is only seven kilometers rather than the other Bethlehem which is 150 kilometers,” he said, according to NPR.   http://www.christianpost.com/news/archaeologist-believes-jesus-was-born-in-a-different-bethlehem-87317/#0MsAwGYHHDvHUxsA.99

Interestingly, when he was asked if he thought that this would change people’s attachment to the other Bethlehem site, he said no.  I, too, have found that once people make up their minds about something, they often will not consider the facts.

And while I do not know which Bethlehem Jesus was born in, my research has convinced me that Jesus was not born in the particular cave in that certain traditions ascribe.  This is covered in the article Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity?

Last month, the latest book from Pope Benedict XVI questioned a couple of Christmas traditions (Pope Benedict Questions Some Christmas Traditions), but since the cave grotto above was in the plaza in Vatican City while he has been pope, I suspect he still believes the cave tradition.

There are many other traditions associated with Christ’s birth, including the fact that it is seems impossible that He could have been born in the Winter. And, of course, symbols that many now associate with His birth, like Santa Claus and Christmas trees were not related to Jesus’ actual birth by any of the early Christians either.

Some people care, most do not.

But all should remember that Jesus taught:

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.  (John 4:23-24)

And the truth is the truth.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include the following:

Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?

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