Sunday, 10 December 2006
It's XMAS Jim, but not as we know it
James Tabor's book The Jesus Dynasty has attracted the attention of top British Biblical scholar Geza Vermes (pictured). In his latest book, The Nativity: History and Legend, Vermes both lists it in his bibliography and notes that “The possibility that Panthera was the father of Jesus has been revived by James D. Tabor...” (167-168)
Also from the Vermes book, this quotation: “... the chances that Jesus was born on 25th December are 1 in 365 (or 366 in leap years). This date was invented by the Western church – as late as the fourth century under the emperor Constantine – as a way to replace the pagan festival of the Unvanquished Sun, and is first attested, to be precise, in a Roman calendar in AD 334.” (10)
The Nativity is published in the UK by Penguin, but not yet available in the US.
On other matters: A while back AW reported on the unexpected visit by UCG's president to LCG headquarters. The public statements from the two church bodies were, in true COG style, 95% smokescreen, and we've now been advised that the UCG minister whose actions led to the unprecedented meeting - an abortive attempt to take his congregation over into LCG - was Herberth Cisneros of El Salvador. All references to Cisneros now seem to have been wiped from UCG's websites.
Meanwhile, damage control on the Bryce defection seems well underway in LCG, judging from the approach by LCG minister Wally Smith.