The Historicity of the Bible

The Massacre of the Innocents

Massacre of the Innocents

By

Jose de Carvalho

I was watching a program on the History channel called “Cities of the underworld” that made reference to the “Massacre of the Innocents” (Matt 2:16). The narrator interviewed Prof C. Shemmaly, prime expert on the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the site where Christ was born, displayed the remains of children that were collected from several tombs around the city, providing archaeological evidence for this Biblical account.

 The interesting thing is that in a similar program previously shown on the same channel called “Jesus, the man behind the myth”, a Biblical historian questioned the validity of the nativity account, implying that it is not an historical fact, and that the martyrdom of the children was a metaphor akin to Pharaoh’s attempt to kill Mosses when he was a baby (Ex. 1:12).

Programs also differ on the birth site of Jesus.  The “Jesus, the man behind the myth” states that the census that took place at the time was not a good reason for Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem, while in another National Geographic program called “Jesus the man from Nazareth”, L. Schiffman, a professor in Hebrew and Judaic studies at NYC, states that there was no census that he knows about at that time.

 I have dealt with the issue pertaining to the census in a previous post – see “Jesus, the man behind the myth” in” His life pilgrimage”.

 Regarding the Massacre of the innocents, which one is correct?

 Macrobius, a Roman Historian of the time in his penses mentions a quote from Augustus Caesar (Roman emperor 30 B.C. – 12 A. D.) that attested to the slaughter of the babes.

 It is high time that Bible scholars accept the fact that the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ is an attested historical fact by secular, Jewish, Christian and hostile authoritive sources and that the Bible is an historical reliable Book.

 Josh McDowell in his attempts to refute Christianity made the following observation: Before my research I had never realized there was so much positive historical, literary and legal testimony supporting its validity (1993:216). In a following work containing evidence from all of the above, he mentioned all the sources validating the life of Christ.  He concludes by concurring with the words of Otto Betz, “No serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus.” McDowell (1999:120).