Sunday, December 25, 2016

Luke's Story of Jesus' Birth

I was delighted to encounter an article this year (HT: Anthony Le Donne) that suggests the following story line in Luke's birth story. [1]
  • Mary becomes pregnant of the Holy Spirit in Nazareth before she and Joseph get married.
  • He returns to his family's home in Bethlehem for a census. He takes her with him.
  • They get married in Bethlehem--he takes her into his house. 
  • Following the normal practice, a small make-shift room, a marital chamber, is added to the family's house, often on the roof as a kind of attic addition. This would perhaps only be big enough for the pregnant Mary and Joseph to sleep in.
  • She gives birth in the main room of the house, since there was not room for birth in the "place" (katalyma) of the marital chamber. 
  • Many "farm houses" of this sort had a manger, with animals on the lower part of what was effectively a split level (with about a one meter height difference). They lay Jesus in this manager.
  • Forty days later, they return to Nazareth.
  • Merry Christmas all!
[1] Stephen Carlson's 2010 article from New Testament Studies: "The Accommodations of Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem: katalyma in Luke 2:7."

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