The Science & History Of The Christmas Story

The myths and realities of the birth of Jesus and the evolution of Christmas.

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Elizabeth Normen, Publisher, Connecticut Explored
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Dr. Frank Kirkpatrick, Ellsworth Morton Tracy Lecturer and Professor of Religion
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The Science & History Of The Christmas Story
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The Science & History Of The Christmas Story

How much of the Christmas story is true?

Most scholars will tell you the December 25th date has much more to do with pagan festivals of the early Christian era. If you want people to celebrate something, pick a date when they're already celebrating.

Many scholars have come to doubt the element of the story known as the Slaughter of the Innocents. That's the part where King Herod orders all male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem to be killed if they are under age two. There's no record of this actually happening, even though there is a contemporary historian, Josephus, who has his eye on Herod and doesn't think much of him. Probably, if he had done something like this, Josephus would have been on the case.

Today on the show, we look at the history and science of the Nativity and, while we're at it, how the modern holiday came to be.

You can join the conversation. E-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.