The Bible, in addition to being a sacred text, is the closest thing you have to a biography of Jesus Christ, the main figure of Christianity. However, in the biblical canon of the Catholic Church (which recognizes 73 books) there seems to be a contradiction about its origin.
In the New Testament, the Gospels of Matthew and Luke mention that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in the region of Judea, present-day Palestine.
On the other hand, in those of Marcos and Juan the humanized god is referred to as ‘Jesus of Nazareth’, which has led to interpret that he is a native of Nazareth (Galilee), current area of Israel.
Closely examining the details of these four Gospels one finds even more discrepancies.
In Matthew and Luke it is mentioned that Jesus did indeed live in Nazareth, but after he was born.
Furthermore, in the Gospel of Mark it is added that Jesus was baptized right there.
In fact, according to the specialized page ‘Biblical Archeology Society’, in the gospels, Bethlehem is mentioned almost exclusively in the accounts of Jesus’ childhood, while throughout most of the New Testament he is referred to as a Nazarene and Galilean., which have only fueled the confusion.
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To try to shed light on this question, the aforementioned specialized portal mentions an article by Philip J. King, a Biblical studies scholar, called ‘Biblical views: Jesus’ Birthplace and Jesus ‘home’ (2014).
In the text, King explains that the versions of the origin of the messiah are based on the characteristics in the time of Jesus of the two mentioned peoples.
According to this author, Bethlehem is described in the Hebrew Bible and much of the New Testament as the birthplace of “King David and the future messiah,” that is, a place of prestige.
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Nazareth, for its part, was an agricultural town much less known and even with a bad reputation: in the Gospel of John it is mentioned that the apostle Bartholomew does not believe that Jesus was born in Nazareth because “nothing good can come from there” (Jn 1.46).
In addition, Nazareth is not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmun or in the texts of Flavio Josefo, documents that also narrate the origin of the figure of Jesus.
Based on the above, King, the expert, states in his article that Bethlehem would have been the birthplace of Jesus, but Nazareth his home.
The second version
But the truth is that not even among biblical scholars is there a consensus.
Unlike King, the expert Ariel Álvarez Valdéz does not believe that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because Mateo and Lucas, who in their Gospels claim that Jesus was born in that town, have inconsistencies in their two accounts. This was explained in a 2019 article published in the Argentine newspaper ‘Clarín’.
Thus, Álvarez explains, Mateo says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because his parents were from there and they moved to Nazareth only out of fear of the governor of Judea, Archelaus. On the contrary, Luke tells that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because his family had to move because of a census, but that Nazareth was “his city”.
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The same expert argues for ‘Clarín’ that these discrepancies are explained because Mateo and Juan were not telling a fact faithful to reality, but they were hiding their true Nazarene origin, because “it was a shameful fact”, because this would go against the popular belief that the messiah must be related to King David.
In what month was Jesus really born?
The commemoration of the birth of Jesus is institutionalized on December 24 because the Church took the day chosen by the pagans to celebrate the great feast of Rome (the feast of the Sun God), explains the newspaper ‘El País’, from Spain.
However, in the Bible this date or any other is not clarified as the exact day that the Virgin Mary gave birth.
For this reason, biblical scholars have resorted to different strategies to determine, approximately, in which month Jesus could really have been born.
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According to the specialized page ‘Bible Info’, one of those clues is in the Gospel of Luke 2: 8-0, which says about the birth of Jesus Christ: “And there were shepherds in the same land, who watched and kept the vigils of the night on his cattle. And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the light of God shone around them; and they were very afraid ”.
Biblical commentator Adam Clarke explains, for the aforementioned portal, that Jews used to send their cattle to graze from spring to October,
Jesus could not have been born after October
Another relevant piece of information comes from the Gospel of Luke in which it is described that Gabriel visited Mary with the news of her pregnancy in the sixth month after John the Baptist was gestating. This data is relevant because Zacarías, Juan’s father, belonged to the priestly order of Abías, which he left shortly before his wife Elizabeth became pregnant.
It is also known that Jewish priests had 24 ministerial courses during a year, Abijah’s being the eighth (1 Chronicles 24: 6-19), who, according to ‘Bible Info’, “served in the temple during the tenth week of the priestly cycle which, in turn, coincided with the second Saturday of the month of Sivan (Hebrew calendar), which runs approximately from mid-May to mid-June”.
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Taking into account the above, John the Baptist was conceived in June, so Gabriel would have announced to Mary about her pregnancy in December. Thus, adding the nine months that a gestation usually lasts, we would have that Jesus must have been born in September.