Live-blogging Datelines "The Greatest Story Never Told?"
November 11, 2005
I'm live-blogging Dateline's The Greatest Story Never Told. I'm impressed, so far. It seems like producers are trying to present both sides of the question of whether the birth of Jesus as the son of God really happened. MSNBC has some good info about the show. Commercial is just about over.
Next: What scholars say about the trip of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem--is the journey real? Why were they going to Bethlehem? Problem with story--Luke says Augustus there was census of whole earth. One scholar says it never happened. Another says not so. Was it invented story? Lesley Hazleton says Herod taxed so much it was oppressive. Only Luke tells us about census. What did they do in Bethlehem. One scholar says they probably had to swear allegiance to king.
Place and date of birth: church of nativity. Who determined location? Date was determined by . . .commercial now. . .was there really no room at the inn?
Back: Retracing the Christmas story. It reshaped the world. How much of the story is actual history? Keith Morrison is the reporter.
Mary and Joseph turned away from inn. Go to manger. Much of that story comes from post-biblical traditions. There was probably no inn in Bethlehem. There was no electricity, running water. Giving birth back then; maternal mortality back then was very high. Immense number of kids died in birth. Would have been normal for female relatives to be at birth to give her herbal infusions.
Would anybody in the room have known the signficance of that event?
The shepherds; Luke tells about them; do we take story literally or metaphorically? Regardless, what meaning do we take from it? Who were the eyewitnesses that Luke took story from? Shepherds? Did Luke meet Mary or the relatives?
In Matthew, bristles with death...break...three kings, who were they? Jesus' birth probably took place in the spring; back--Luke doesn't talk about kings; Matthew talks about magi; they were outcasts and not kings; they could have been jesters; the visit was a direct challenge to the Roman Empire; what about the star; sign that Jesus was no mere mortal; Herod's brutality not usually portrayed in Christmas plays; what was the meaning of the gifts to Jesus; gold--anybody with new child needs additional money; Herod is ticked and starts slaughter of the innocents; Jesus could have been perceived as the new Moses--birth and deliverance; Herod killing the first born--was that a parable?
Most Americans believe that birth of Jesus is real history; break--is the story a matter of faith?
Back: From Egypt to Nazareth; recent generations there has been heated debate about the story among historians; Jesus birth was revolutionary political message; story shows our Lord is fully-engaged;
One said it's question of faith and not history; another miracle pure and simple; will scholars agree on question whether it's literal history; conclusion--one young woman gave birth to baby boy and changed the world.
Next, Three Wishes, good show, a real upper. I really like it.