Away In a Manger But Not In a Barn

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Excerpt We all know the Christmas story…or do we? I would like to suggest a slightly different view on the subject, based on a careful reading of the Biblical text and insights from archaeology. Continue reading

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I admit it makes some people mad, but most folks not only appreciate the new understanding, they even have a greater appreciation for what happened that night in Bethlehem.  So go ahead and read the story for yourself offsite in Bible Study Magazine and you can decide – Away in a Manger, but Not in a Barn.


See Gary Byers present the evidence for this view in this economical DVD. Session #1: The Christmas Story: How Well Do You Know It?






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11/11/2009 2:32 AM #

Gary, I too read Dr. Bailey's article and made it a major part of a Christmas message I preached.  I taught Principles of Biblical Intetrpretation, Preaching, Bible courses, and Biblical Archaeology for over 20 years at Northwst University in Kirkland, WA.  Studying the Scripture in their mid-eastern, cultural context; studying it at Jerusalem University College in Jerusalem; and participateing in 2 excavations in Israel (one at Khirbet el-Maqatir in 1998) profoundly influenced my understanding of Scripture.  I recommend this approach to all students of Scripture; it will impact your preaching and teaching of Scripture like nothing else!

Dr. Dwaine Braddy

Dr. Dwaine Braddy - 11/11/2009 2:32:51 AM

10/22/2012 12:23 PM #

This is a very well-researched article and I absorbed it. I live on a ranch and have animals, large and small everywhere. I have also done some research from a historic and agricultural view and here's my take. Is it likely that the "inn" was a caravansary,and that Joseph was travelling in a band of people. After all, there was no police force or other security and people moved distances in safe sized groups, especially to Jerusalem for the Feasts.
Also, birth involved a purification rite and a separate area was required so as to keep the birth process and the resulting blood from those who wanted to avoid it. There was no "suitable" room (or place). A caravansary would have had a place for the owner's animals and any small draft animals like donkeys (although I've taken care of some substantial donkeys) and the limestone caves and foundation stone of the region make for excellent shelters. This would also remove the birth process from those not necessarily involved (maybe a midwife was in the train and helped).
By the way, a little facts here and there only enhance the "Christmas card" vision we all have. It even makes it more realistic. Good job.

Tom Brennan - 10/22/2012 12:23:07 PM

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