“The Nativity: Facts, Fiction and Faith”

Special program featuring popular BAS authors and speakers to air Christmas Day

the-nativity-screenshotThis year on Christmas Day, Fox News will air “The Nativity: Facts, Fictions and Faith,” a program that examines one of the most well-known and enduring New Testament stories through an analysis of both scripture and archaeology. The program takes viewers on a journey to the Holy Land with Fox’s religion correspondent Lauren Green, who interviews experts in Biblical scripture and archaeology to reveal the facts, fictions and faith surrounding the birth of Jesus.

Popular Biblical Archaeology Society speakers and authors Jodi Magness, James Charlesworth, N.T. Wright and Aaron Gale are among the interviewed experts on the program, as well as BAS’s own Sarah Yeomans, an archaeologist and director of our educational programs. Join them as they travel to Israel and explore the cities and archaeological sites such as Bethlehem, Nazareth and Herodium that are so central to the lives of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Join us on an exploration of the Nativity story on Christmas Day at 4:00 PM EST on Fox News Channel. Click here for a sneak peak of “The Nativity: Facts, Fictions and Faith”!

20 Responses

  1. noel kurniawan says:

    “Discrepancies” born from failure in understanding Bible.

  2. Pam Moncel says:

    There are no discrepancies in the Bible… old testimony or new testiment. When reading the Bible, you must see it through the culture and time it was presented. If you pull scripture out of context, just like anything else, you will not get the intended message. That doesn’t mean there are discrepancies with the authors

  3. Steven Sims says:

    First, there are numerous irreconcilable discrepancies in both the Old and New Testaments.

    Second, a historical narrative exists apart from the stories. Archaeology seeks the physical evidence of the narrative, rather than the stories. To paraphrase a famous physicist “If the narrative does not agree with archaeology than the narrative is wrong”. And in most cases so far, the narrative described by the NT IS WRONG.

  4. Ruth Nichols says:

    Why is it such an absolute “truth” that Joseph and Mary didn’t marry? True, Jesus was born of a virgin, but if God spoke to Joseph about her conception wouldn’t one assume that Joseph was to be a part of his upbringing to be his earthly father? Would God have wanted His Son to be raised in a home without a father and siblings? And if Mary and Joseph were betrothed and God found favor in it, then it’s unnatural for them to never marry and thereby consummate their union? The Bible speaks of Jesus’ brothers. Why are they not recognized as being so? How many young women, having been engaged to a man with whom God was also pleased, remain a virgin the rest of her life? Keeping her a virgin is unrealistic. She was a virgin when Jesus was born, but to rob her of family life is not Scriptural. Who said “Be fruitful and multiply.”?

  5. Sandra says:

    The wise men and shepherds were not there at the same time in spite of all depictions we have seen. It says wise men came from the east (Persia, Mesopotamia, Turkey?). It doesn’t say how FAR they came. We must remember that travel then was waaay slower than today. They had to organize their caravan with all supplies (no hotels, no restaurants) any inns would be few and far between. There would be numerous obstacles they faced along the way (weather, terrain, to name a few) that by the time they all got to Jesus he would have been a young child, hence Herod wanting boys 2 and younger killed. The Bible is God’s Word and it reflects the times and culture of when the books of the Bible were written so we must keep this in mind when we look at it through the lens of our 21st century understanding.

  6. Nanabedokw'Môlsem says:

    It is well to remember that the Bible respecting Jesus’ birth and earliest life is literature from two thousand years ago, from a Greek-influenced, Roman-occupied Jewish culture of the earliest years of A.D. It was not written by someone inculturated into American society of the 21st century, educated in American schools, fluent in English, and conversant with science.

    That one book has wise men visiting a house, and another book has wise men visiting a stable, or one has shepherds and another not, or that John essentially ignores all such things, does not indicate disagreement, but rather indicates only that context is a literary device for conveying a message. The authors of the Bible were neither idiots, nor remotely familiar with modern literary styles. Fully aware of non-material context, they wrote on and published. They, and their then audience, accepted context as but-of-course device.

  7. Victor says:

    I am always in awe of how is it that God is willing to place the divine’s mysteries on the hands of humanity in spite of our limitations and tendencies to mishandle things for the sake of our own interests at any given time in history. Then, I have come to realize that there is no other way in which God would communicate with human beings but to become entangled in our struggles and imperfections, becoming like us, to illuminate the path to where we could realize the fullness of who we were intended to become. In essence, the message traveled through centuries by means of many different cultural and religious interpretations and traditions, to get to us. It is, in my experience, a very enriching experience to research and read the work from those who study, explores, and interpret Scripture, archeology included, for the sake of a more mature understanding.
    However, in my understanding, at the heart of the nativity story is the message; that God placed its tent in the middle of our human’s struggles to show us a way to find meaning and fullness of who we were meant to be. In the words of Isaiah 11: 6-9; to learn to relate to everyone and everything in such a way that no one or anything be abused, exploited, or harmed in any way; but, be value and respected as integral part of a healthy world.

  8. alo2 says:

    The creation of the Nativity scene was the work of St. Francis of Assisi in 1223 in order to teach people about Jesus Christ. He combined several events told in the Bible to bring the teachings of Jesus to the people. They may not have occurred at the same time but by combining them he created a story to help introduce the life of Jesus to so many people and what better way than with the birth of Jesus which was a subject of interest for several centuries. God Bless all in this most wonderful season.

  9. Michael says:

    If we consider the Bible as inspired by the Holy Spirit, then we should start with its description of Jesus’ birth. Shepherds were abiding in the field. December is much too cold for shepherds to be staying in the field. Time considerations would put His birth somewhere at the end of September to mid-October. Space would prohibit a full dissertation. As mentioned, Dec. 25 was recognized by the pagan culture as the birth of the sun. Also after the church formalized and began celebrating “mass”, the Dec. 25th was adopted by the Catholic Church to attempt to recruit the pagans into the church by utilizing their holidays and incorporate their dates and rituals into the Christian holidays to ease their transition from paganism to Christianity. The term “Christmas” was a contraction of the term “Christ Mass”, so it was obviously a Catholic term and was adopted as a “Christian” holiday. It was never celebrated by the early Christians, and through the centuries many more pagan rituals have been added which have nothing to do with Christ’s birth. We are warned in Deut. 12:29-32 to not adopt heathen practices they use to serve false gods and try to adopt them in serving and worshipping the true God.

  10. paul SOMMER says:

    to Avi. There are not so many discrepancies in Scripture. There are things that appear to us in our translations as such but this is because we are so far removed from the original texts and context and culture of the day. In other words, if you were to transport back in time 2000 years, you would be totally culturally lost. You would not understand the idioms, the culture, the language, etc. As i have studied the bible in the original languages for certain passages, plus studied multiple translations, studied archaeology, the idioms, etc. then i find that on each occasion there is no problem with truth. It is me that does not understand. The Word of God in its original could have no mistakes because it was guided by the Holy Spirit and the Tanakh is the Word of God and Yeshua is the living Word of God, so there can be no errors. God bless and keep studying.

  11. Kenneth says:

    The Romans were already celebrating 25 Dec. as the birthday of one of their gods. They would dress in their best clothes, have a feast and give gifts.

  12. Sharon Norris says:

    The point made that archaeology cannot prove or disprove the gospel stories is correct, as is the point that the wise men came later. Archaeology can tell us all about Bethlehem. What it cannot tell us is historical sources. Historical sources tell us that there was no Roman census requiring Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem. The gospels disagree on whether it was Mary or Joseph who was descended from David. This story was written because early Christians wanted to establish that he was descended from David to tie him in with Messianic prophesies. Most Biblical scholars think he was born in Nazareth where he was raised and where Mary and Joseph lived. Re; the wise men would indeed have come later, but why would Mary and Joseph have still been in Bethlehem so much later? Finally, history tells us all about the murders and misdeeds of Herod, who was a bloodthirsty tyrant. But it says nothing about a slaughter of baby boys. It didn’t happen.

  13. Robert Yaro says:

    There is a common misconception that the purpose of biblical archeology is to “prove” the bible, this is not the case. Archeology illustrates the bible, it does not prove the bible. On rare occasions, such as the discovery of bee hives at Tel Rehov, a verse is illustrated, in this case that Israel is the land of milk and honey. This is the first evidence of an organized honey industry in biblical Israel. The bible is a work of theology. Archeology in the modern sense, is not intended to explain discrepencies in the stories, that is the task of theologians.

  14. Russell J Agao says:

    Del, that’s not much of a problem there. The shepherds arrived the night of the birth. Their part of the story is found in Luke. Luke starts out talking about how Jesus birth was foretold and introduces the first witnesses invited by the host of heaven.
    Matthew is primarily addressing Jesus as heir to the throne of King David. Chapter 2 begins by saying “Now after Jesus was born…, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who is born king of the Jews?”
    Well this was news to then king, Herod. And not good news either. Foreign emissaries arrive asking to see the newborn king of the Jews?
    They all consulted the scriptures to find that the birth was prophesied to occur in Bethlehem so Herod sent the wise men there and told them to let him know when they found him so he could “worship him too.”
    When they did not come back Herod ordered the killing of every male child in Bethlehem that was two years old or younger, based on the information he had learned from the wise men regarding the time frame of the birth.
    So the text in Matthew suggests that Jesus may have been as much as two years. Mary and Joseph plenty of time to find a house before the wise men got there.

  15. Bobby Ray says:

    Where are the letters Jesus wrote? If he studied in the temple he would have written or transscribed some things. He would have written or possibly kept a journal. He could write as he was educated. Did he write to his mother, disciples, lazarus, anyone? I find it hard to think that Jesus didnt write or have anything dictated…Please check the Vatican lower vaults….

  16. Lynn Besm says:

    Wasn’t it years after Jesus’ death that anything was recorded? He emerged into a world of many who preached away from the established beliefs. What is the real story and why the folk lore?

  17. Danny says:

    Del it is easy in Matt he is older he is called a child. In Luke he is called a babe. Wise men come later on. For reason people put the wise men in the nativy it did not happen they came much later

  18. Loree lilygreen says:

    I think if 2 people hear a story. They will both have a different way of telling the story. These things are not that important. The fact remains there was a baby called Jesus. Who came to earth to die. And because of this we are reconciled back to God.

  19. Avi says:

    Why are there so many discrepancies in the Bible old
    and new? ??

  20. Del cain says:

    Archaeologists are fine…but they can’t solve factual discrepencies in the New Testament.
    Example of one: Luke have shepherds at the manger,no Wise men present. Matt. has no shepherds, and has wise men visiting a HOUSE in Bethlehem. TheWise men go in the House to give their gifts to Jesus. There is no stable or manger . Should we go by Matt.,which was written earlier than Luke? Both can’t be true. No expert can solve this or other factual discrepencies,but they should at least be mentioned ,and rarely are,by experts or archeaologists.

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