An American priest is under fire this week after he made controversial claims about Jesus Christ that totally change the nativity story.
Reverend Ian Paul, who is also an Honorary Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham, says that Jesus was born not in a stable, but in a comfortable and crowded family home. He claims the misconception came from the poor translation of a greek writing of the story.
Reverend Paul says that the Greek word “kataluma” was wrongly translated as “inn,” when it actually means “private room” or “lodging.” He says this mistake meant that people thought Mary and Joseph were turned away from the inn, when actually they were set up in a communal room in their family home, as there was no specific room available for them.
“What does it mean for the kataluma to have ‘no space?’ Reverend Paul wrote on his blog. “It means that many, like Joseph and Mary, have travelled to Bethlehem, and the family guest room is already full, probably with other relatives who arrived earlier. So Joseph and Mary must stay with the family itself, in the main room of the house, and there Mary gives birth.”
The minister went on to say that homes were laid out back then so that animals were fed in manger type arrangements at one end of the family room.
“The most natural place to lay the baby is in the straw-filled depressions at the lower end of the house where the animals are fed,” Reverend Paul added. “The idea that they were in a stable, away from others, alone and outcast, is grammatically and culturally implausible. In fact, it is hard to be alone at all in such contexts.”
Reverend Paul says that his findings will change the interpretation of the Christmas story entirely, but in a positive way.
“In the Christmas story, Jesus is not sad and lonely, some distance away in the stable, needing our sympathy,” he wrote. “He is in the midst of the family, and all the visiting relations, right in the thick of it and demanding our attention. This should fundamentally change our approach to enacting and preaching on the nativity.”
What do you think about Reverend Paul’s claims? Are they outrageous, or could he be on to something? Sound off in the comments below!
H/T: Daily Mail