The Gospel of Matthew says only that they came from the East and refers to them as "Magi. Biblical scholars say this element was incorporated into the Nativity tale to reflect the Christian tradition that all peoples recognized Christ's divinity.
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In it, a dozen religious mystics travel, probably from China, to Bethlehem to witness the event. Where was Jesus born? Most scholars agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem — but not in a stable. The Gospel of Luke says that Mary laid Jesus in a manger because there was no room in the inn. So Jesus was most likely born, according to historian R. France, in "the main living room of a peasant house, where animals are brought in at night.
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Should these discrepancies bother Christians? The pope says no. The accounts of Jesus' life are not intended as histories, said Bart D. Ehrman, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, but as gospels — "proclamations of the good news. What did Jesus look like?
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The Gospels say nothing about Jesus' ethnicity other than that he was Jewish. But scholars have painted him in many colors.
As early as , the English historian Godfrey Higgins suggested that Jesus was a dark-skinned Indian. An anthropological study in concluded that it was most likely Jesus had olive skin; short, dark curly hair; and a swarthy appearance. The West's inaccurate impression, said theologian Charles D.
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Religious Studies KS1: The Buddhist Story of Siddhartha and the Swan and The Monkey King
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Read the Complete Christmas Story of the Birth of Jesus
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