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Pope's book

(15 Posts)
absentgrana Fri 23-Nov-12 09:37:47

The Pope has written a book about the early life of Jesus. I should have thought that once you've got as far as the flight into Egypt, there isn't much to say until the episode with the elders in the Temple, but then I guess he knows more about that sort of thing than I do.

However, he states definitively that there were no animals – horses, camels, sheep, cattle or donkeys – present at the nativity because they are not mentioned in the gospels. I thought Jesus was said to have been born in a stable; animals in a stable are standard and so surely don't merit a mention. If there was a manger, it would be likely that that there would be a horse or donkey (not necessarily in the same stall). If the inn was full, people would have travelled there – on horses, donkeys and even camels.

What I would be interested to read is his take on a Roman census for which there is no record other than the gospels and which would be a unique and uncharacteristically chaotic event in the history of the Roman Empire.

He also mentions that angels didn't sing the "good news" but spoke it. One wonders if they also danced on the head of a pin.

Well, the Holy Father has certainly made a lot of small children redundant from their school Christmas plays. Bless.

janthea Fri 23-Nov-12 09:44:41


jO5 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:46:31

He also said that they have got the year and the date wrong. But most people knew this already.

I think he is just being a realist. A benign one. smile

jO5 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:47:08

article here

AlieOxon Fri 23-Nov-12 09:52:22

Horses and donkeys - which exist - are out, but angels are in?

jO5 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:59:38

"Some scholars have scoffed at the notion that people in faraway Palestine (such as Joseph and Mary) would have had to travel to their ancestral birth place for a census. But we have evidence to show that such traveling was indeed done with a Roman census, in Egypt at least. A Roman census document, dated 104 A.D., has been discovered in Egypt, in which citizens were specifically commanded to return to their original homes for the census.6 Another census document from 119 A.D. has been found in which an Egyptian man identifies himself by giving (1) his name and the names of his father, mother, and grandfather; (2) his original village; (3) his age and profession; (4) a scar above his left eyebrow; (5) his wife's name and age, his wife's father's name; (6) his son's name and age; (6) the names of other relatives living with him. The document is signed by the village registrar and three official witnesses.7 This latter document is of special interest, because it gives us an idea of the kind of information that Joseph and Mary would have had to provide for the census."

That is taken from this article

jO5 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:00:35

conflicting view

jO5 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:02:39

I'm still getting out my little Nativity set. Wouldn't be the same without it. smile

absentgrana Fri 23-Nov-12 10:24:07

There is no record of a universal census, other than in the gospels, in the time of Augustus. There is a record of a census of Syria and Judaea conducted by Quirinius. However, Quirinius didn't become Governor of Syria until ten years after the death of Herod the Great, who plays a substantial part in the story of the Massacre of the Innocents (not that there is any historical record of this either). Also Roman census practice concerned the town or city of residence not the birthplace or family ancestry.

absentgrana Fri 23-Nov-12 10:26:42

The Pope as a benign realist is an interesting concept. hmm

Greatnan Fri 23-Nov-12 10:29:12

Benign? Try telling that to the women and children of Africa who are going to die of Aids. Or the women of Ireland who cannot get a legal abortion.

jO5 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:45:40

Benign in this instance.

Greatnan Fri 23-Nov-12 10:52:08

I believe Hitler was kind to dogs!

vampirequeen Fri 23-Nov-12 11:00:57

This man is not benign.

He's not said anything new. All this stuff has been said before. What's he doing writing a book? I would have thought that being God's representative on Earth would have been a full time job.

absentgrana Fri 23-Nov-12 11:03:17

I can't say that realist is a term that would instantly spring to mind either.