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The Christmas stories are pious fairy-tales

Press Release December 16, 2006

The biblical accounts of the birth of the Jesus, the supposed Son of God, are mere inventions and have little relation to what really happened. Historical research has demonstrated this once and for all. Ten unquestionable facts argue against their historical credibility:

  1. Written centuries earlier, the quoted words of Old Testament prophets did not predict the coming of Jesus, but referred to events and persons in their past or immediate future. They would have been shocked by the notion that Jesus' birth was the fulfillment of their prophecies.
  2. The New Testament authors derived most events of the Christmas story from prophecies of the Old Testament and misrepresented their original intent in order to make them seem to point to Jesus.
  3. The notion that Mary's pregnancy did not result from intercourse with a male is a canard. The claim of a virgin birth has two sources: the mistranslation of "young woman" by "virgin" (in a passage that clearly did not refer to Jesus!), and the desire of Christians to place their revered leader on the same level as other ancient "sons of God" who were likewise born without participation of a male.
  4. The reported worldwide census ordered by Caesar Augustus did not occur.
  5. The reported murder of children in Bethlehem ordered by Herod the Great did not occur.
  6. Jesus was born in Nazareth, not in Bethlehem.
  7. The angels in the Christmas story derive from primitive mythology.
  8. The shepherds who kept watch over their flocks are idealized representatives of the poor and outcast, persons emphasized by Luke. They do not appear in Matthew's story.
  9. The magicians from the East are idealized representatives of the Gentiles and of eternal wisdom. They do not appear in Luke's story.
  10. The story of the star of Bethlehem is a fiction intended to emphasize the importance of Jesus - and, of course, to provide an entrance cue for the magicians from the East.

The logical conclusion is unavoidable: the Christmas stories recounted by the Bible and those Christian churches that present them as actual events have lost all historical credibility. Surely Jesus of Nazareth would not wish Christians to spread lies about him!

Göttingen, December 16, 2005

Prof. Dr. Gerd Lüdemann.

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