BIBLE: MATTHEW (Chapter 2)

[NOTE: I present here my interpretation and understanding of some of the religious texts.  I apologize ahead of time if my presentation does not quite agree with the traditional interpretation. I welcome any discussion and consequent correction.]

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BIBLE: MATTHEW (Chapter 2)

Verses 1 to 12 narrate the renown of Jesus right at his birth as the king of Jews. This summoned wise men from the East (by means of a new star) to worship him. It also alarmed King Herod of Judea.

Verses 13 to 18 narrate that Joseph, the father of Jesus, realized that Jesus was in danger. So, he, with his family, moved to Egypt. When King Herod heard of this escape, he ordered all boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity, who were two years old and under, to be killed.

Verses 19 to 21 narrate that when Joseph found out that King Herod had died, he returned to the district of Galilee, and settled in a town called Nazareth.         

A close up of a map

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Judea and the district of Galilee

This account emphasizes magical events, stark portrayal of evil, and fulfilling of earlier prophecies. Believers may take this story to be factual, which in their mind, adds to the mystique and, therefore, divinity of Jesus. Here we are seeing a viewpoint that is operating in mystery. It has a tendency to equate mystery with divinity.

From Wikipedia:

“Most modern biographers of Herod, and probably a majority of biblical scholars, dismiss Matthew’s story as an invention. Contemporary non-biblical sources, including Herod’s friend and personal historian, Nicolas of Damascus, provide no corroboration for Matthew’s account of the massacre, and it is not mentioned in the Gospel of Luke. Classical historian Michael Grant states “[t]he tale is not history but myth or folk-lore”, while Peter Richardson notes that the story’s absence from the Gospel of Luke and the accounts of Josephus “work[s] against the account’s accuracy”. Richardson suggests that the event in Matthew’s gospel was inspired by Herod’s murder of his own sons.”

As an overview, the wisdom taught by Jesus is wonderful and it speaks for itself. The question arises, “Why must such mystique be attached to Jesus?”

In my opinion, it may have been difficult for the Church to convey the wisdom of Jesus to illiterate people. So, mystique was added to attract attention. This seems to be the case with all religions in general.

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