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Follow Peter Egan's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Follow Peter Egan

For the debate about whether or not Jesus was historically a real figure, I quite like Christopher Hitchens' point on the areas where the gospels contradict themselves which seems to indicate some historical basis.

It would seem that Jesus "of Nazareth" was born in Nazareth, yet the gospel writers are keen for him to be born in Bethlehem in order to fulfil the rantings of Isaiah. One of them has a pregnant Mary and Joseph trotting off to Bethlehem for a Roman census that never happened and that would have made no sense even if it did. Another has them fleeing persecution and arriving in Bethlehem. Hitchens' point is - why go to all that trouble to create an elaborate fiction to explain away an inconvenient fact if the person never existed in the first place? If it was pure fiction they could start in Bethlehem and be done with it.

I'm happy to believe there was a Jewish prophet living in Roman-occupied Judea in the early First Century CE who may have been called Yeshua. After all, verbose religious prophets were ten a penny at the time - Pontius Pilatus would have been tripping over them.

It's the bit about him having created the universe and coming back to forgive human sins that I find difficult to believe.

I'll go along with fiction for that bit.

Fri, 12 Feb 2010 20:32:00 UTC | #440954