The barnacles that have accumulated on the Christmas story

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As part of an on-line Advent study group with Missional Commons, I have today been introduced to theologian Kenneth Bailey. As someone who is not a biblical or history scholar, I found his explanations in his "A Clear View of the Birth of Jesus" video (the first of four) to be very interesting. I'm looking forward to listening to the others. Thought some of you here might also be intrigued. The phrase about 'barnacles' is his, not mine - a metaphor for all the myths and interpretations we humans have attached to the story over time. Interested in your thoughts ...

 

Mendalla

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Will give that a view, but at first blush, I would say that "barnacles accumulating" is a good metaphor for the development of any cycle of myth, including the various Bible stories. The ancient Greek myths are full of stories and story elements that were later additions or embellishments that "stuck to" the original stories. Some stories in Hesiod, our oldest source for the Greek myths, are quite different when we encounter them later in the hands of someone like the Roman poet Ovid.
 
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Carolla

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I found Bailey's description of the homes of the time particularly caught my interest. My husband was born in house in northern Italy where the extended family all lived together on the upper floor and the animals were all kept below on the main level of the building - a somewhat similar concept to what Bailey describes. So, was my mate born in a stable?
 

Lastpointe

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I had cousins in Denmark that lived in a similar situation. The house and barn were built in a square. Two walks of the square were barns, two were house, the open courtyard in the middle
 

KayTheCurler

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I saw homes with the people upstairs and the animals below wnen in rural Brittany in my youth.
 

Mendalla

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It is always amazing how conservative domestic architecture can be. I mean, compare a Roman domus (upper and middle class house) to more modern Mediterranean homes and you see definite affinities. And Roman insulae (tenement apartment blocks) would not be totally alien to modern downtown apartment dwellers, right down to having shops on the ground floors.
 

Lastpointe

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Gotta love those ancient romans. Architecture that lasts. In Portugal there is a aqueduct from 2000 years ago still transporting water. Amazing
 

KayTheCurler

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Those barnacles are what drives me away from participating in organised Christianity. So many people think the barnacles are a necessary part of the faith tradition. I had a conversation recently with three self professed Christians who insisted that there were three Kings at the birth scene. Of course, they would also argue that God is a white male.
 

Mendalla

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three Kings at the birth scene
That's the one that always gets me. I know it is based on the fact that there are three gifts mentioned, but nowhere does it actually say how big the Magi retinue was. I suppose they also really called them "Kings", when in fact Magi were Zoroastrian astrologers/priests from Persia (which was ruled by the Parthian Empire at the time), not rulers.
 

Carolla

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That's the one that always gets me. I know it is based on the fact that there are three gifts mentioned, but nowhere does it actually say how big the Magi retinue was. I suppose they also really called them "Kings", when in fact Magi were Zoroastrian astrologers/priests from Persia (which was ruled by the Parthian Empire at the time), not rulers.
Kenneth Bailey posits that the 'wise men' may well have been Bedouin tribes-people - well travelled nomads of the deserts of Persia and area surrounding the 'holy land'. Being nomadic, they naturally paid attention to the stars - often travelling by night & using the stars for navigation - they would certainly notice a sudden appearance of a brighter star and likely wonder about it. (Curious if it was that convergence of Saturn & Jupiter that appeared this year?) They would have carried all the of gifts with them as a matter of course - gold for trade, frankincense for perfume in the possibly stinky tents, and myrrh which was used for dealing with the dead.
 

Mendalla

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Kenneth Bailey posits that the 'wise men' may well have been Bedouin tribes-people - well travelled nomads of the deserts of Persia and area surrounding the 'holy land'. Being nomadic, they naturally paid attention to the stars - often travelling by night & using the stars for navigation - they would certainly notice a sudden appearance of a brighter star and likely wonder about it. (Curious if it was that convergence of Saturn & Jupiter that appeared this year?) They would have carried all the of gifts with them as a matter of course - gold for trade, frankincense for perfume in the possibly stinky tents, and myrrh which was used for dealing with the dead.
Hadn't heard that hypothesis yet. Makes sense if one views it as an historical event. Of course, if one take the view, as I do, that the whole birth narrative is mythmaking, then Magi are more likely. I can't really see them including Bedouins in a piece of mythology. Persian priests/astrologers would carry more weight.
 

unsafe

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Great Video Carolla---thanks for posting ------

This man was definitely Holy Spirit Filled ---The Holy Spirit is the only one who can and does Illuminate the truth of the scriptures and will lead us to the rightly divide God's word and direct us in our perseverance to find the true meaning of what the Scripture is saying to us ------ Knowing the history of the places is one thing but being able to discern Scripture is another ------that is a gift from the Holy Spirit - -----

God says clearly this in His word ----

1 Corinthians 2:14 (AMP)​

14 But the natural [unbelieving] man does not accept the things [the teachings and revelations] of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness [absurd and illogical] to him; and he is incapable of understanding them, because they are spiritually discerned and appreciated, [and he is unqualified to judge spiritual matters].


I say ------My only sad thing to say is that he never mentions the Holy Spirit ---he makes it seem like he wanted all the Glory for himself ----instead of giving God the Glory for his Illumination of the scripture ------He understood the culture of where he was but that could not give him the discernment of the Scripture as he described in this video in OP----

This man also stood up for the integrity of the truth of the Scripture that says it was God inspired -----this is taken from his obituary piece -----again proof his was indwelled by the Holy Spirit -----



Rev. Bailey defended the accuracy of the Bible narratives against those who said Jesus’ words and deeds were distorted by the time they were written down.


His Profile -----from The Berkley Center

Kenneth Bailey, who died in 2016, was a New Testament scholar and Canon Theologian of the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church. From 1955 to 1995 Bailey lived and taught in seminaries and institutes in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem, and Cyprus. During this time he spent 20 years as a professor of the New Testament at the Near East School of Theology, Beirut, and 10 years as a research professor of Middle Eastern New Testament studies at Tantur Ecumenical Institute for Theological Research. His publications include, among others, Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes (2008), Jacob & the Prodigal: How Jesus Retold Israel's Story (2003), and The Cross & the Prodigal: Luke 15 Through the Eyes of Middle Eastern Peasants (1973/2005). Bailey was also a member of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (the Society for New Testament Studies).


I say ----This with sit very well with all you Folks who say the Bible doesn't address Women enough -----He does a series on this -----Probably worth listening to ------

KENNETH BAILEY ON WOMEN IN THE NEW TESTAMENT (VIDEOS)​


 

Luce NDs

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An essence with a hole in it ... like Yosemite Sam when shot full of canon ... oh balls !
 

unsafe

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So I say ----I agree with this man as far as people filtering Scripture with their own barnacles as they flounder to understand the meaning and put their own spin on what is really being said ------and he does a good job of describing this with Mary and Joseph and the birth ------how people put their own ideas into it -------when the scripture tells you rightly when you do a little research guided by the Holy Spirit -----looking up the words in Greek to get the real meaning of the word like he did with the word -----Inn -----

This word is used several times in scripture with different spelling and meanings in scripture --that is why it is important to look up the words pertaining to that piece of Scripture ------just as Kenneth did with the INN used in where Mary was staying ------

below -----Malon is the Hebrew word for INN ---the other 2 are Greek words ----so unless you look them up you will assume they mean the one thing and you have then created your own Barnacle in your assumption of what the scripture is saying -----

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
INN
(malon; pandocheion, kataluma):

I say ---------Also knowing the Culture of the people enlightens the meaning as Jesus uses metaphors etc that the people are familiar with and can relate to -------for instance ----farming was a staple at that time so the Parable of the Sower using seed and ground would mean something to the people at that time ------ So I also agree that knowing the Culture at that time is important in understanding why Jesus used metaphors ---allorgies etc at that time -----
 

Luce NDs

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So I say ----I agree with this man as far as people filtering Scripture with their own barnacles as they flounder to understand the meaning and put their own spin on what is really being said ------and he does a good job of describing this with Mary and Joseph and the birth ------how people put their own ideas into it -------when the scripture tells you rightly when you do a little research guided by the Holy Spirit -----looking up the words in Greek to get the real meaning of the word like he did with the word -----Inn -----

This word is used several times in scripture with different spelling and meanings in scripture --that is why it is important to look up the words pertaining to that piece of Scripture ------just as Kenneth did with the INN used in where Mary was staying ------

below -----Malon is the Hebrew word for INN ---the other 2 are Greek words ----so unless you look them up you will assume they mean the one thing and you have then created your own Barnacle in your assumption of what the scripture is saying -----

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
INN
(malon; pandocheion, kataluma):

I say ---------Also knowing the Culture of the people enlightens the meaning as Jesus uses metaphors etc that the people are familiar with and can relate to -------for instance ----farming was a staple at that time so the Parable of the Sower using seed and ground would mean something to the people at that time ------ So I also agree that knowing the Culture at that time is important in understanding why Jesus used metaphors ---allorgies etc at that time -----

You seem very fixated on the urge to remain as you are regarding the stranger of Galilee! Thus learning and knowledge ceases ... although the book say teach my children ... thus the letter people grow and the myth extends ... unknown to those Caes'd by the gods of Rome! C'est the way it is ...

Niche stated that it was all chaos ... and it still stirs ... yet evangels despise Nietzsche for his sense of nick of time ... complete at the close ... and the door was opened to the other side ... convicts for life? Loched up for reason indeterminate ... the great unknown ... it is feared ... don't go there!
 
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