December 28th, 2011
12:34 PM ET

Police storm Church of the Nativity to break up brawling priests

From Enas Muthaffar and Kevin Flower, CNN

Bethlehem, West Bank (CNN) -
Clergy from two Christian sects came to blows in the Church of the Nativity on Wednesday morning, prompting police to storm the Bethlehem holy site.

Several dozen Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests were cleaning the interior of the church Wednesday morning when, according to witnesses, two of them began fighting.

The fight quickly escalated, and soon, 50 to 60 priests were exchanging blows with broomsticks.

Bethlehem police were sent in to quell the fighting, Palestinian police Maj. Ahed Hasayen said.

Police stand guard inside the Church of the Nativity after a fight broke out between priests.

"This is an internal problem related to the Nativity church only. The Palestinian police had to interfere to stop the clashes as soon as possible to avoid devastating consequences," he said.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

According to tour guide Ghassen Tos, the fight, while intense, was short in duration.

“This did not last for long as soon as the Palestinian police interfered and succeeded to halt the clashes immediately,” he said.

There were no reports of any serious injuries.

The Church of the Nativity is built in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on the site where Christian tradition holds Jesus Christ was born, and it is a major attraction for tourists coming to the Holy Land.

Greek Orthodox and Armenian clergy clean the Church of Nativity on December 28, 2011.

The interior of the church is traditionally cleaned by priests in between celebrations of Christmas on December 25 and the Orthodox celebration in the first week of January.

The church is administered jointly by the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian religious authorities, and tension between the sects is not uncommon.

In 2007, clergy from the same sects came to blows in a similar incident.

CNN Photos: Christmas in Bethlehem

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Israel

soundoff (684 Responses)
  1. Arkan

    Orthodox or DIE!

    December 29, 2011 at 3:45 am |
  2. Deepwater805

    Bwahahahahahahahahah....hee hee hee....bwahahahahahahaha......

    December 29, 2011 at 2:42 am |
  3. May-z

    Yup,, love thy neighbour in action. Totally disgraceful behaviour that doesnt help religion at all.

    December 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • Tropical Tim

      Religion doesn't need any help. It needs to be eradicated. Anything that shows how stupid it is works for me!

      December 28, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • jameser35

      TIM. The timster, the timbourine man Tim, timalongadingdong. Dude, my man, you're on to something but you have to dig deeper than your argument.

      December 29, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • jameser35

      I know you guys aren't religious, but you absolutely have to read this! Genesis 19:30-38. I myself am very agnostic but this is within like the first few pages of the bible. Don't eradicate those things. The bible is very interesting. Both Christians and non believers should actually sit down and read the damn thing.

      December 29, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Björn Moøseöncebætmysister

      Most of us atheists HAVE read the thing. That's why we are atheists: our bullsh!t detectors kept going off every line.

      You do know that atheist tend to score higher on religious knowledge tests that religious people, don't you?

      December 29, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • jameser35

      Bjorn Borg. Do you master-hate? Are you a master-hater? How frequently do engage in master-haitian? You need to find the Lloyd! You need jebus!

      December 29, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • jameser35

      Bjorn Borg a moose really once beat your sister? I catch things because I read well. And I read the bible because its full of freaky perverted stuff.

      December 29, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"You do know that atheist tend to score higher on religious knowledge tests that religious people, don't you?"

      The problem is that memorization of Holy Text. That would put many of those types of Atheist on the same level as those Faithful that know scripture up one wall and down the other. For most Faithful, we are not like those. In many ways these types are disliked because to them the ability to recite and memorize the scriptures and text leaves them to believe that they are closer to God or more "faithful" than the rest of us.

      In other words those Atheist, extreme evangelical, Wahhabi types are pretty much the same. If I ask them how God has touched their lives, the Atheist and those Faithful often give the same empty answers. In many ways if they feel that the learning of text brings them closer then its cool but there are folks that can tell you more about boxing than Mike Tyson..... but after 10 seconds into the first round we would see that it takes more than memorization.


      December 29, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • Mønti Pythøn ik den Hølie Gräilen

      Wi nøt trei a høliday in Sweden this yër ?

      See the løveli lakes

      The wøndërful telephøne system

      And mäni interesting furry animals

      Including the majestik møøse

      A Møøse once bit my sister...

      No realli! She was Karving her initials øn the møøse with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush given her by Svenge – her brother-in-law -an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian møvies: "The Høt Hands of an Oslo Dentist", "Fillings of Passion", "The Huge Mølars of Horst Nordfink"...

      Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti...

      Special Møøse Effects OLAF PROT
      Møøse Costumes SIGGI CHURCHILL
      Møøse choreographed by HORST PROT III
      Miss Taylor's Møøses by HENGST DOUGLAS-HOME
      Møøse trained to mix concrete and sign complicated insurance forms by JURGEN WIGG
      Møøses noses wiped by BJØRN IRKESTØM-SLATER WALKER
      Large møøse on the left hand side of the screen in the third scene from the end, given a thorough grounding in Latin, French and "O" Level Geography by BO BENN
      Suggestive poses for the møøse suggested by VIC ROTTER
      Antler-care by LIV THATCHER

      December 29, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Person responsible for the sacking


      Consider yourself sacked.

      December 29, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Mønti Pythøn ik den Hølie Gräilen

      Säckëd? Yës, I hævë bëën in the säck wik mäni interesting furry animals. The Mexican whoopin llamas are prætty thrilling, but be kærful øf thë møøse; møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti

      December 29, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • Person responsible for the sacking

      " møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti"

      I would imagine this is particularly true in the sack.

      December 29, 2011 at 1:55 am |
    • The Maurey Povich Bible Show

      Do you ever plan on learning English ? Have you ever heard of plural verbs, and plural nouns ?
      .....hint....."atheist" is singular ....it's very hard to understand, just like your illogical post.
      2 atheists, are called "atheistS".. get it, when you have more than 1, you add an "s".

      December 29, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • claybigsby

      "the Atheist and those Faithful often give the same empty answers"

      And christians love to quote scripture written by other men and expect critically thinking adults to just accept those answers without proof.

      December 29, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  4. tammie

    satans been called alot of things, dragon, serpent, desalater, devil, death, but iv not read where he was called a snake, can you give me that scripture?

    December 28, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • jameser35

      True. But what language have you yourself thrown at this lucifer whilst thou wast in the throws of temptation.

      December 29, 2011 at 12:21 am |
  5. tammie

    Hey kenites, wheres the love?

    December 28, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Jim

      Kenites, you are kidding, right? Eve had intimate relations with a talking snake and their progeny are here bad mouthing the word of your god. Really?

      December 28, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • tammie

      Thats why i have the key of David,to unlock Gods mystries

      December 28, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • jameser35

      Tammie! Thou hast blasphemed! Yea dost thou not know that those keys thou claimest to hold in thine hand are but the keys bestowed upon Aaron and Melchezidek? David forsook the lord and did lie with Bathsheba. Yet thou claimest some power of god passed through flawed mortals.

      December 29, 2011 at 12:52 am |
  6. Steve Portaro

    fanatical freaks spreading more hate

    December 28, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Jim

      Spreading hate via the end of a broomstick? Or are you referring to the posts?

      December 28, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • jameser35

      Do you master-hate? Are you a master-hater? Have you made master-haitian a way of life?

      December 29, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  7. Reggie

    What a shame! right on the birth place of the messiah... they should have jointly spread the LOVE that Jesus Christ lived and died for. How then can they talk about LOVE if in their heart resides ANGER?

    December 28, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • tammie


      December 28, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • TR6

      Just another example of the love of jesus in action (see also crusades and inquisition)

      December 29, 2011 at 4:28 am |
  8. Hear Ye

    Brawling priests says it all.
    No one gets along in that part of the world. Will never change.
    Bulldoze everything and give the survivours a
    Sharon, Loss and Bram cd.

    December 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Yep..trash the whole place because of the actions of the few. So enlightened.

      December 28, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Ted M.

      That was a truly ignorant thing to say, Uncouth. Did you think only a few people would care? You really are quite stupid.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Guess sarcasm is beyod you...as are many many things.

      December 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  9. .........

    when confronted with reality garbage hit report abuse

    December 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Jim

      Why? A bit long, yes. But where's the abuse?

      December 28, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • get a job, herbie

      herbie, get a job.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      All atheism is abuse. When you consider the millions of people murdered throughout history by atheists it is a shame that atheism has not been a capital offense since the dawn of time.The execution of a few ne'er do well atheists would have spared this old world so much suffering.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Hahahahahah replace the word Atheist with Christian

      That an inconvenient truth.

      December 28, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Without Christ there would not have been a dawn of time sammy

      December 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Doktor Enderhawse

      Without Christ most of us would have to work for a living, suffer, live, maybe experience some joy, and make our own wine.

      Hmm, no big diffie, Christ or not. We just have to actually take responsibility for our own acts instead of pawning them off on a scapegoat dude. Sounds like reality to me, if you take the Christ wooja board stuff out.

      December 28, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • The illogic of "inconvenient (un)truth"

      Millions of people were killed by a man fom the country of Georgia. Therefore, all Georgians are evil mass murderers and should be eradicated.

      Millions of people have been killed by men with moustaches. Therefore all men with moustaches are evil mass murderers who should be executed.

      Of course, like Stalin's atheism, the fact that he had a moustache and the fact that he was Georgian played very little role in his murderous ways. The vast vast VAST majority of Stalin's victims were killed either for political reasons, or because he feared they could somehow create a power base against him. The tiny minority of his victims that were killed because they were religious pales in comparison to the numbers of people that Christians (or Muslims or Jews) have killed in inquisitions, religious wars, crusades, and so on.

      The truth is indeed inconvenient for you, "inconvenient truth." It refutes your arguements completely.

      December 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      And how many people would have been Stalins victims if the world had executed him for the crime of atheism as a young man?

      December 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • Jim

      Death for apostasy, how truly old testament! Should we bring back stoning for working on the sabbath and selling daughters into slavery? Read Leviticus, you'll love all the glory that the old testament can bring back to our lives!

      December 28, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • The illogic of "inconvenient (un)truth"

      Gosh you are really stupid, (un)truth. When Stalin was a young man, he was in religious schools and seminaries, studying to become a Georgian Orthodox priest.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • riddleyouthat

      Hey inco truthy the inconvenience is that your truth, isn't.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Righteo

      Actually, Inconvenient Truth has a good idea going. Since Stalin was religious as a young man, and since a great many atheists grow up as believers in a religious household, then we really should kill off all the religious children if we want to also get the potential atheist mass murderer amonst them.

      I am all for that.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • ATTENTION Inconvenient Dimwit and bigot!

      Unlike religion and political ideologies, atheism isn't a prescriptive means by which to treat people.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • tallulah13

      "Incovenient truth"? You've spelled your name wrong again. Until you can actually provide proof for your as.sertions, you should only call yourself "pointless opinion."

      December 29, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • TR6

      @An inconvenient truth:” it is a shame that atheism has not been a capital offense since the dawn of time.”

      Actually it was (see inquisition)

      December 29, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • TR6

      @An inconvenient truth:”And how many people would have been Stalins victims if the world had executed him for the crime of atheism as a young man?”

      NONE! Stalin was eastern orthodox Christian

      December 29, 2011 at 4:38 am |
    • claybigsby

      "Without Christ there would not have been a dawn of time sammy"

      and without humans there would be no christ.

      December 29, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  10. True Story!

    Repressed sexual urges are a helluva drug!

    December 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Nick

      Greek Orthodox Priests are allowed to marry....

      December 28, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Nick...don't confuse the haters with little things like facts. It'll just frustrate them.

      December 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Lol!

      Lol–you think marriage cures repressed sexual urges...bwahahahahaha!

      December 28, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Milton

      Oy...just because you don't get any in your relationship doesn't mean no else does. Lol.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • derp

      "Greek Orthodox Priests are allowed to marry...."

      They marry 10 year old boys?

      December 29, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      And this is where derp went flying off the tracks.

      December 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  11. Lol!

    Yet this exact type of person, WITHOUT the benefit of a few thousand years of civilisation, wrote the bible, and we're supposed to accept the claim that they WEREN'T just a bunch of harebrained bigoted maniacs, but holy oracles who got the real straight dope from the big man upstairs, and would never EVER tell a tall tale for any reason....bwahahahahaha!

    December 28, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
  12. Sam Yaza

    ahahhahaaahha I love it!

    now even the Christians are fighting with each other.

    December 28, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Jim

      But not very well, I was looking forward to a good old-school holy war.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Wait for it, with Egypt becoming an Islamic state, we will probably see Jerusalem burn to the ground with in 5 years. Although if china has the upcoming revolution in 2015 (I got plains) it might not come to pass, if china meets the people with violence. It will be world war 3.

      Still a holy war would be pretty fun to watch, especially ifs it’s between Christendom

      Your friendly neighborhood fallen angel, leading people to revolution since 1500b.c ♥

      December 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Yup !

      And they need the PALESTINIANS to come in and keep the peace ! ! !

      December 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • Jim

      @Yup! Probably the thickest bowl of irony served up in a while. Gotta love it.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
  13. Cuervo Jones

    doesn't matter, Mary was of the house of David, sometimes you can have it both ways if you're the one telling the story.

    December 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Cuervo Jones

      @ Maurys Bible Show

      December 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • The Maurey Povich Bible Show

      Doesn't matter one iota who Mary's parents descended from, and NOT once in your Babble does the lineage of the mother EVER matter AT ALL. BTW, PROVE it. Anne and Joachim have varying lineages proposed, by various authors. Which one are you saying was right ?

      December 28, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  14. evensteven

    Obviously, these guys don't get enough healthy diversion in their lives . . .

    December 28, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • derp

      or pus sy

      December 29, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  15. Ironicus

    I see they took the article off the front page. Crap! I was hoping for more fundies! And I don't mean "george-clones" either.

    December 28, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Jim

      Now the headline is the Iowa Caucus, they could pass out brooms and settle it quick, film at 11.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      @ Jim – I'd watch the hell out of that.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Ted M.

      Broomsticks with knives taped to the ends would make a nice little bloodbath.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • Jim

      @Ted, it would make for good TV. At least the debates would be interesting.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
  16. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Normally, I'm not a link poster, but this is confirmation of something I think we already intuitively knew

    December 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Oops, I guess the link would help.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Without reading the article you linked to, I already have a good idea of how detrimental religion is to brain usage, thanks.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Oooops

      If you had read it more carefully, you would not have posted it.

      December 28, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  17. Buzzk

    Muslims breaking up Cohristian vs. Christian violence....
    I doubt it none. We've become what we hate.

    December 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Speak for yourself. I haven't become a religious idiot, so you're wrong about that.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Thinker23

      So you identify yourself with the non- religious peaceful Communists under the leadership of Stalin, Castro, Mao ze-Dung and the Kim dynasty of North Korea? Just say so!

      December 28, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • Jim

      Thinker, the problem with the non-religious despot argument is that religious leaders tend to do things because a god told them to. Atheists dictators do things because they alone want to. So an Atheist murderer is a sociopath. And a religious murderer is a schizophrenic sociopath. The only real difference is one has an imaginary boss pulling the strings. I don't know of any Atheist that will argue that without a god all people will behave, I think more people will have a healthy world view without the fog of religion.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • They go by "Thinker" lol...

      How funny is it that a person who makes such stupid assumptions should go by the name of "Thinker23"?

      December 28, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  18. Ted M.

    We need to give these guys some real weapons! And training. They definitely need training.

    December 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      They need beer. Not training.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Oh, and chicks. My GOD they need women. With or without facial hair.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Oh, and drugs. Beer, Girls, Drugs. That is what they need.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Jim

      There is a serious skills gap here. If they were ever over-run by Shaolin Monks the church of the nativity would fall into heathen hands.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Ironicus

      I vote we send a delegation of hairy women and cheap Chinese swords over to these guys. That should liven things up!

      December 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Jim

      Ironicus, you can find both at any flea market, I'm in!

      And hello again Mr. Scrutinizer.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Hi Jim! Hope you are having a nice evening.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Jim

      I am! Brawling priests always brighten my day. And you?

      December 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Is there some way we could actually do that? I'd put five bucks in...

      December 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      ...And this lamp. And that is all they need too. Beer, these hairy girls, drugs, some swords, this lamp and that's it........and this dog. THIS DOG, and this lamp. Beer, these hairy girls, drugs, some swords and, oh they need this table.....and that is all they need too!

      December 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Jim, this is the funniest blog ever. I have been on the dam thing all day neglecting all duties.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Jim

      What are you looking at? What, you think I'm some kind of Jerk or somethin?

      I just got on, I'll probably be neglectin' now too.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Don't forget some tweezers to pluck all those specks and logs from each others eyes! And buckets of turds to fling! And..and..

      December 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Steve Martin "The Jerk"

      December 28, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      I can't believe you guys forgot rock n' roll.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Ted M.

      Rock music would probably give them hives. But just a leeetle training would make a big difference in how these fights play out.
      I laugh when I think of them tending their tiny bruises.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • derp

      "...And this lamp. And that is all they need too. Beer, these hairy girls, drugs, some swords, this lamp and that's it........and this dog. THIS DOG, and this lamp. Beer, these hairy girls, drugs, some swords and, oh they need this table.....and that is all they need too!"

      Just build them a Walmart.

      December 29, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  19. The Central Scrutinizer

    And I say unto you broom swin.gers and blasphemers. Forni.cators and Fudge-Packers. Hear me now and hear me well else your eternity will be but boiling welts in a pit of fire and pain. The third guy on the left with the beard and mask is right. Everyone else is wrong. Pray on this and be well!

    December 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Also, he is the Broomacratic Party's nominee for 2012! Praise God!

      December 28, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  20. Reality

    And all over a non-historic event!!!

    Read on if you want added details:

    As per many contemporary NT exegetes, his parents were Mary and Joseph although some say Jesus was a mamzer, the result of a pre-marital relationship between Mary and a Roman soldier.


    Jesus was not born in Bethlehem at least the one we are familiar with and there were no pretty wingie thingies singing from on high, no slaughter of the innocents by Herod, no visiting wise men and no escape to Egypt.

    "John P. Meier – Professor at Notre Dame

    Meier [Marginal Jew I,216-219] notes that the "affirmation of Jesus' descent from David might easily be placed alongside his birth at Bethlehem as a theologoumenon (a theological insight narrated as a historical event) if it were not for the fact that numerous and diverse streams of NT tradition also affirm Jesus' Davidic lineage."

    "Meier suggests that the belief that Jesus was "son of David" may have been held by Jesus' followers prior to his death, with his resurrection then being understood as a form of enthronement. However, he notes that such messianic views, whatever their provenance, cannot prove Jesus was "literally, biologically of Davidic stock."


    Conclusion: the holyday of Christmas is historically a non-event. Ditto for the Feast of the Magi and the solemnity of Mary aka New Years day.

    Matt 1:18-25: From Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 123-124, "The fathering of Jesus from the Holy Spirit and his birth from the virgin Mary are unhistorical". Ludemann gives a very detailed analysis to support his conclusions. One part being the lack of attestations to these events and the late time strata of said story.

    "Lüdemann [Jesus], (pp. 261-63) discounts Luke's account as a legend deriving from Jewish Hellenistic circles that were concerned to hold together the procreation of the Spirit, the authentic sonship of the Messiah and the virginal conception. "

    Then there are these additional conclusions:

    Bruce Chilton

    "In [Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography] (2000), Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a mamzer; someone whose irregular birth circu-mstances result in their exclusion from full participation in the life of the community. He argues for the natural pa-ternity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous conception. In his subsequent reconstruction of Jesus' life, Chilton suggests that this sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus' self-ident-ity, his concept of God and his spiritual quest.

    John Dominic Crossan

    "In [Historical Jesus] (p. 371) Crossan treats this cluster, like 007 Of Davids Lineage, as an example of the interplay of prophecy and history in the development of the Jesus traditions.

    "In [Birth of Christianity] (pp. 26-29) Crossan uses Luke's account of Jesus' conception and birth to explore ethical issues concerning the public interpretation of the past. He notes the tendency of Christian scholars to disregard "pagan" birth legends while investing great effort in the defence of biblical birth narratives. He concludes:

    I do not accept the divine conception of either Jesus or Augustus as factual history, but I believe that God is incarnate in the Jewish peasant poverty of Jesus and not in the Roman imperial power of Augustus. "

    "The following ancient parallels to Jesus' miraculous conception should be noted:
    Birth of Moses (Exod 2:1-10)
    Birth of Plato (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, 3.45) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 507]
    Birth of Alexander the Great (Plutarch, Parallel Lives, 2.1-3.5) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 502f]
    Birth of Apollonius (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius, I.4) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 505]"

    And some final words from Thomas Jefferson, not a contemporary NT scholar, but indeed a very learned man:

    "And the day will come,
    when the mystical generation of Jesus,
    by the Supreme Being as His Father,
    in the womb of a virgin,
    will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva
    in the brain of Jupiter.

    - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
    Letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823.

    December 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      I don't every really read your entire posts, but keep them up. I appreciate them. I just can't read that much without getting "post-freeze". Dam painful. I even boycott half of my own posts cuz they are too long. Carry on.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Ironicus

      I think this is Reality's attempt at humor.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • The Maurey Povich Bible Show

      After spending the ENTIRE chapter of Matthew 1 establishing that Jeebus was in the Davidic line, through Joseph, at the end of the chapter they say Joseph was NOT the father, (a little birdy did it).

      But actually it makes a belieber out of me. For yeah, verily, thus and fer sure, a prophesy is fulfilled amongst ye, this day.
      "For behold, I shall make a clean sweep of ye, that weareth the wrong colored dress and tassels, and shall wring thy neck unto with them there all thereof, and send thee unto the clink, thereof, and thine abbot shall pay unto me a large bond". Delusions 1:99.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • .........

      do not read hit report abuse on all reality bull sh it

      December 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • riddleyouthat

      Luv me some Reality. Go Reality wup those jeebus freakies.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.