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Bible Review, February 2000


Special Section

Where Was Jesus Born?


Psst. There’s something you should know about Christmas. The Christmas carols, we’re afraid, might have it wrong: Jesus, many New Testament scholars believe, was not born in Bethlehem but Nazareth. Among scholars this view is no secret. But for some reason, the story is not often recounted...Read more ›

Where Was Jesus Born?

O Little Town of…Nazareth?

By Steve Mason

Where was Jesus born? In Bethlehem, of course, in a manger, because there was no room for Joseph and Mary at the local inn. That’s what all the Christmas carols say. And that’s what the Gospels say, too. Or is it? Once we begin...Read more ›

Where Was Jesus Born?

Bethlehem…Of Course

By Jerome Murphy-O’Connor

Steve Mason has probably made the best case possible that we should adopt an “agnostic” position regarding the birthplace of Jesus. But although Mason has examined the literary data with exemplary care, he has failed to demolish the Gospels’ conviction that Jesus was born...Read more ›

Where Was Jesus Born?

Response and Surresponse

We invited Professor Mason to respond to Professor Murphy-O’Connor’s comments in Bethlehem…Of Course, and he agreed. We then asked Professor Murphy-O’Connor to respond to Professor Mason. He too agreed. Their statements appear below: Steve Mason’s response: Polemicists and apologists attach themselves to conclusions; they either attack them...Read more ›


Van Gogh’s Bible

Finding message of hope in Isaiah

By Cliff Edwards

When his father died unexpectedly in 1885, a somber Vincent van Gogh decided to create a memorial to the Reverend Theodorus van Gogh. He placed his father’s heavy pulpit Bible on a cloth-covered table, set beside it a snuffed-out candle and small book, and...Read more ›

Did Ecclesiastes Copy Gilgamesh?

By Karel van der Toorn

Nearly a century ago, the German scholar Hubert Grimme NOTICED some startling similarities between the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes and the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh. This was indeed strange. Ecclesiastes, most scholars agree, dates to the second half of the third century B.C.E. and was written by...Read more ›