Bible Review 16:3, June 2000

Readers Reply

Bible Review

In our February 2000 issue, we asked, “Where Was Jesus born?” BR 16:01. Steve Mason made the case for the city championed by many scholars but ultimately determined that we couldn’t know where Jesus was born because the earliest Christians to leave a record didn’t know (“O Little Town of…Nazareth?”). The traditional site was defended by Jerome Murphy-O’Connor (“Bethlehem…Of Course,” BR 16:01). But our query was not aimed at scholars alone; we also wanted to know what our readers thought. The result was the largest response since we asked whether we had acted properly when we cropped a work of art showing frontal nudity (the responses appeared in December 1999, see Readers Reply, BR 15:06). On the question of Jesus’ birthplace, readers clearly favored Nazareth over Bethlehem, though not by a wide margin: 31 percent to 24 percent. But even more readers (37 percent) did not express a direct opinion, did not know or did not think it mattered. Another 8 percent suggested other sites as the birthplace, including one vote for Buffalo, New York. Our in-house theologians are still pondering that one.—Ed.

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