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tv   The Birth of Jesus  FOX News  December 25, 2013 1:00am-2:01am PST

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your king ♪ good tidings for christmas and a happy new year ♪ we wish you a merry christmas ♪ we wish you a merry christmas ♪ we wish you a merry christmas >> very critical that we believe in the virgin birth. because it is the virgin birth that preserves the sinlessness of christ. the message of the birth is a celebration of peace. of reconciliation in christ. >> jesus is born in a stable when caesar was in a palatine palace ruling the world. the contrast, in other words, is set up immediately. >> the birth of jesus is next. live from america's news headquarters i'm kelry wright. a federal appeals court has rejected a request by state officials to put a hold on gay marriages in utah. the appeals court decision means
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same-sex marriages can continue. nearly 700 licenses have been granted since friday. the appeals court said in its ruling that a decision to put gay marriages on hold was not warranted. and the case will be fast-tracked for a full appeal of the ruling. the utah attorney general's office says it is planning to take the case for a temporary halt to gay marriages to the supreme court. spacewalking american astronauts spent part of their christmas eve replacing a damaged cooling pump on the international space station. astronauts rick mastracchio and michael hopkins were working outside the station for more than 7 1/2 hours. it was the second spacewalk in four days. the critical pump has now been activated. all systems are expected to be running normally by the end of the weekend. and there is an out-of-this world event talking about christmas morning 48 years ago today. just hours earlier, on christmas eve, the crew of apollo eight,
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frank boreman, bill anderson, jim lovell, took turns reading from the book of genesis. the view as they circled the moon, lending itself beautifully to the words coming from the bible. >> created dry land first, and the gathering of the waters called the seas, and god saw that it was good. and from the crew of apollo 8, good night, good luck, a merry christmas and god bless all of you. all of you on this good earth. >> and god saw that it was good. i'm kelly wright. we take you back to "birth of jesus." ♪
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>> for 2,000 years, christians r all over the world have celebrated the birth of jesus christ with thankful prayer and joyful song.raye peace on earth, good will to pe all, is a very simple christmas message. and it's at the heart of jesus' teachings.us hello, i'm jon scott. welcome to this fox news channeh special presentation. behind me is bethlehem.ti where jesus was born. >> coming up on this program, a very special guide will take us on a tour of the church of the nativity. travel to nazareth village to see a recreation of life at the time of jesus. then, to jerusalem, archaeologists will show us how they tell aa fake from a find. and we'll find out why many m religious leaders are angry n about a best-selling book. they're calling it an assault on christianity's basic beliefs.rit but first, faith and facts.fa what we know about the birth of jesus, and how do we know it?
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♪ the books of the old testament n or hebrew bible had been in circulation as oral history for 1,000 years before the birth of jesus. they were told to the as a whole in the second century before the christian era. in the same way, the sayings and stories of jesus were first s passed down and preserved by word of mouth. pf >> it's one of the great mysteries of church history, that we don't always know ly exactly how they spread. >> archaeologist jonathan reed and biblical scholar john dawson are co-authors of excavating jesus, and in search of paul. >> we do not know who actually wrote matthew, mark, luke and john. those are names attributed to those writings in the second century. but very, very early were written down and the sources foe the gospels can be around the at 50s, so that's more than 20 rly years. >> there are no first editions o of the gospel. t the originals were lost, worn out or destroyed. hat does survive are just scrapi
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of papyrus written in greek anda coptic. >> i wase surprised when i went to study theas beginning of the christian movement in graduate school and my professors had file cabinets full of gospels which i'd never heard. >> elaine pagle, professor of s religion, author of a book on oo the gnostic gospels. >> this texts belonged in a monetary library. they were copied and read and lovered by the monks. but in the year 367 the archbishop of the great city oft alexandria sent a letter out to the monks and he said, you can s keep 27 of them. the other books, he told them te destroy, were hidden. >> reporter: the gnostic gospels and their stories about jesus, remained hidden for nearly 1600 years.600 they were accidentally discovered by an egyptian farmeg digging for fertilizer. over the centuries, other c stories were written about jesus. they were known as the y apocryphal gospels. and surprising to many there is another book that tells about jesus. >> the story of jesus and his
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virgin birth. >> reporter: amir hussein, professor of religious studies, california state university. >> and muslims believe, just y like christians do, that jesus was born to mary, who is a virgin. and mary, interestingly enough, is the only woman who's o mentioned by name is the koran. actually is mentioned more by name in the corinthian in the new testament. >> of the four new testament gospels only two feature the nativity story. the gospeluk according to luke tells of the roman emperor augustus caesar's census and thu journey from nazareth to bethlehem and jesus' birth where he's wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger because there's no room in the inn. but in the gospel according to matthew there is no mention of a seine susz, a journey, an inn or a manger.ef joseph and mary are already living in bethlehem. and some details in matthew, the star, the magi, the massacre of
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the innocents are not mentionedt in luke. t for many the details and differences in gospels just don't matter. the questions are resolved by faith. >> we are evangelical protestants and here we really c do believe that christian stories, i believe that the angel came to mary, and that angels celebrated christ's birth outside of bethlehem. >> dr. irwin lutzor is the senior pastor of the church in chicago. a poll of christian adults find 75% agree with pastor lutzor an believe the christmas story is historically accurate. >> the point is if jesus is who he claims to be j, namely the s of god, and if he came to prove that he was the son of god, and to die for us, then these miracles become very believable. >> in nativity stories are parables. and the function of a nativity story is to give you in summary
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form the child. >> john dominic crossing believes the motives were nots document of jesus' life and worw as history but to make him ake meaningful in the world of competing theology..>> >> when matthew is going to have jesus give his sermon on the mount he's going to model him on moses even as he is being born, so as moses is almost killed by the evil pharaoh, jesus is going to be almost killed by the evil herod. >> the number one message from roman imperial theology was that the emperor was divine, and that the emperor had a divine life to rule. note of the ses symbols caesar used throughout his empire and how they were seized by the new christian religion. >> after julius caesar died, halley's comet flew over the skies in rome and his adopted s son augustus proclaimed that iss in fact, my father, julius cae
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caesar, ascending into heaven, and caesar augustus used that st star on all of his coins. and so when you say in the nativity story that the real star is, in fact, over a manger in bethlehem, and a little peasant jewish boy is a savior and lord of the universe, that a dramatic counterclaim to the message of roman imperial theolo theology. >> i think theseeo details beco food for thought. ag i also agree with the expression that the devil is in the details. >> reverend bernard is the pastor and founder of the christian cultural center in new york city. >> to m me the birth of jesus i the miracle and mystery of the incarnation of god. we're taught to question this, but to think things through. but we're taught to never allown the discussion to take away from the basic faith.
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because that's what it is. it's a matter of faith. >> next, we travel to what was once a humble peasant village, jesus' hometown of nazareth. h we'll visit an authentic recreation of a first century village. see how the carpenter's family lived day-to-day. but first, after this break, to stories that were banned from the bible. fascinating and even shocking tales about jesus, mary, and joseph. about jesus, mary and jo.
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the church of the annunciation here in nazareth is the traditional site of the virgin mary's home and the
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virgin cave. the gospel according to luke tells us it was here that the miracle of jesus' birth began. luke writes that the archangel gabriel appeared to mary and told her that she had been chosen to be the virgin mother of the son of god. but there is nothing else written in the gospels about the lives jesus and his family led here in nazareth. it's the little information about jesus' boyhood, early christians were curious, and in response, ancient authors invented stories to fill the gaps. together, these became known as the apocryphal gospels, discounted long ago, but still read today. >> the apocryphal had that wonderful story about how the suitors for mary were asked to come to the temple with their staff, and then they left them there overnight and the staff were the rods that would flower then that man would be the husband of mary. and, of course, the only staff that flowered was joseph's. >> father joseph corepenny of
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the saint joseph university in philadelphia is a leading historian in the catholic church. >> one of the purposes of the apocryphal gospels was to provide the details that writtens wondered about the lives of jesus, mary and joseph. >> the stories in the apocryphal, particularly about a young jesus, proved to be very popular and were treated like dimestore novels. >> one very, very interesting book, actually, is the story of thomas, and it's a marvelous story because it starts to imagine what must it be like for god to be a child, as it were. and one sentence starts off like dennis the menace, he was a divine brat. you can see, he starts off awful. >> other stories depicted joseph as a 90-year-old widower with several children. or an incompetent carpenter whose mistakes in woodworking were miraculously repaired by the power of jesus. >> it's like the education of god as a child growing up.
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by the end of the story, and the end of the gospel of thomas, he's got his wisdom under control and he's ready to use it only for good. >> so why are the everyday lives of mary and joseph shrouded in mist try? joseph virtually disappears after the christmas story leaving early christians free to depict him as they please. >> in christian art, joseph is invarianly portrayed as an elderly gentleman. >> frank peters teaches religion at new york university to christians, muslims and jews. >> joseph is written out of the story to preserve this virginity. not only is there a virgin conception of jesus but then mary continued to be a virgin after the birth of jesus. which means you can't have brothers and sisters. right? >> yet the gospels, according to matthew and mark, clearly mention jesus as having brothers and sisters. some church bodies, this is not an issue. after the virgin birth, mary and joseph had a conventional
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family. professor peters, a former priest, says roman catholics have wrestled with the question. >> that word, brothers, is sort of problematic in the life that is the question of dogma driving interpretation again. so what we have is a greek word, which the primary meaning is brother. anybody looking at that text and seeing are these not the aboyfoy of jesus would say are these not the brothers of jesus? >> the apocryphal gospels tried to clear up the mystery by presenting the brothers and sisters of jesus as children of joseph from a first marriage. but the apock rafa and the church don't always agree. >> it is the belief of the church that mary remained a virgin after the birth of jesus. the doctrine of mary's perpetual virginity. the brothers and sisters of jesus referred to in the gospel were his cousins. >> but that's piety driving the interpretation, so that it is translated for example in
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traditional catholic circles as understood as cousins rather than brothers. >> questions about joseph's age and the brothers versus cousins debate have created a dilemma for some believers, over the virgin birth. >> i think it's very critical that we believe in the virgin birth. because it is the virgin birth that preserved the sinlessness of christ. >> in the early church the primary concern was really on jesus' divine origin and on the virginal conception and birth. >> when you look at the gospel story, especially the christmas story, you can see that there's a concerted effort to make jesus competitive with the other deities. >> jonathan reed sees parallels in the stories of jesus' virgin birth and that of caesar augustus. >> you have a whole set of stories about caesar augustus, who was proclaimed divine, because his mother, attia, slept with apollo. and so in the gospel stories you have the virgin birth that
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competes with that. >> there's some scholars who want to deny the virgin birth. and they say that we can go in to paganism, and find accounts of miraculous births. for example you often have the gods having sex with a woman. that's reprehensible. >> jesus was born in a stable when caesar was in a palatine palace running the world. the contrast, in other words, is set up immediately. >> when you read the gospels it's very clear that the gospels are not written to record history. they're trying to tell a story in such a way that's believable, that's accessible, that's enticing. >> when we come to the new testament we have a decision to make. are we going to accept it as it is written? or are we going to look for some clues to disbelieve the miracles that are on its pages? >> stay with us for more on the birth of jesus.ff
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when jesus began his ministry and first met those who would become his disciples one of them asked, can anything good come out of nazareth? the bad reputation was attached to jesus' hometown because it was a backward peasant village at the time known for its lack of culture.
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turns out this little town would have much more importance in world history than anyone might have thought. here now, a look at a day in the life of nazareth at the time of jesus. modern-day nazareth is predominantly an arab city. today you'd hardly know this is the place jesus grew up. but right in the center of town stands a small village built to show what life was like at the time of christ. >> this is how really the majority of the people lived in palestine in the first century. there was no middle class. you either lived very, very well like the people, or else you lived like most of the people here, simple, peasant existence. >> anthropologist josiah for the israel antiquities authority spent the last 40 years investigating ancient life in the holy land. >> these peasants, which most of the people were, made their living off the things you see before us, sheep, the goats, the olive trees, the vineyards. >> growing up in nazareth, jesus
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probably had daily chores to help his parents. >> kids didn't go to school then. i mean for a young boy, you got up at the crack of dawn, you probably went out there with the sheep and goats, you were working in the harvest. people worked from sun up to sundown. >> in the first century the closest thing to a modern convenience was this -- >> here we see an olive press. olives in antiquity, even today, are a very important part of the economy here. of the peasants. >> wow. so this had to be pretty high tech. >> this is probably about as high tech as you could find in these peasant villages. >> as high tech as the olive press was in the first century, low tech easily describes another important enterprise. >> so this was the wine press? >> yes. up above us is where the vineyards were. once the grapes were picked they were brought down here to this treading vat. they were simply tread upon. >> as we know from reading the
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new testament, wine was a popular beverage. >> you got the whole family out here. the extended family. people took turns. what happened was the juice, by gravity, flowed down into this pit. it then was put into storage jars and then it was stored, made into wine. >> these towns were very self-sufficient. >> that's pretty much the state of affairs for peasants. they make their own pottery, they make their own carpentry. >> as a carpenter by trade, joseph and his apprentice jesus would have worked with tools like these. >> these are some of the items which are being manufactured. here this is something which was used for -- >> to crush? >> exactly, exactly. and a lot of things, for example, the olives, the chick peas have to be crushed. another thing which we find here, this is a sandpaper of antiquity. this is simply basalt and what they will do is take something like this here, and when you want to give this a nice, smooth edge to it, it's the process which was used. these are the drills of
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antiquity. >> the cordless drill. >> exactly. >> well it does have a cord, i guess. >> and that was how hoes were made for the carpenter back in antiquity. here we see some of the instruments that were probably manufactured in the carpenter's shop. you see a ladle here. a nice, heavy wooden bowl. and these things here. probably would last forever, certainly would last a family for a generation. >> for mary housekeeping and cooking must have been a real challenge back then. >> the places had to be swept all the time because you don't want vermin running around here. and just simply, this is a palm frond. >> what do we have here? >> this is how cheese, butter was made. this could be an animal skin. what happens is the milk is placed in here. what it is, it's a butter churn. very, very effective. you have a kid here and his job is simply to swing the thing back and forth and in an hour or so you have butter. >> inside this dwelling is a first century version of this
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old house. >> so this was sort of a living room/dining room? >> yes, this was the room where, first of all, the food was prepared outside there in the kitchen and the floors here just simply beaten earth. maybe a little bit of plaster. small, wooden table. something to sit on. you know it doesn't rain here for nine months and during those three months when it rains, december, january, february, you have to collect as much water as you possibly can. so what this is, this is are simply collecting the runoff so water is coming down on the hillside here. this is a catchment system. all the water now filters down to the bottom here. and now the clean water simply overflows and goes into the house. water is taken from this well here, and then it's placed in these receptacles around here, the areas which are used for cleaning the fruits and vegetables prior to food preparation. these are the type of lamps which jesus would have used. this is what these houses were lit by. these things are made out of ceramics. >> and for basic refrigeration,
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they went underground. >> what they've done here is it's -- they've taken the soft lime stone, they've carved it out, subterranean storage facility. very soft here, easy to work. and it's very, invest practical, particularly during the summer months here when it's so hot. these places are very, very cool. >> so in jesus' day this would have been a typical road? >> these were the typical paths which connected village to village and house to house. muddy during the winter. very difficult. stony. on the other hand, you know, the romans had over 80,000 miles of paved roads in the roman empire. >> but nazareth didn't get one of those? >> nazareth never had one probably until centuries and centuries later. >> life in the first century obviously wasn't easy. today the trip from nazareth to bethlehem takes just a few hours by car. mary and joseph would have needed a week or more on the road. coming up, a very special tour
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of bethlehem. plus you'll be amazed at some of the archaeological finds and faiths we dig up and why a best-selling book has religious leaders worried. but first the latest headlines from the fox news desk. more shopping. more dining out. and alo with it, more identity theft. by the time this holiday season is over, more than a million identities may be stolen. every time you pull out your wallet, shop online, or hit the road, you give thieves a chance to ruin your holiday. by the time you're done watching this, as many as 35 more identities may be stolen. you can't be on the lookout 24/7 but lifelock can. they're relentless about protecting your identity every mute of every day. when someone steals your identity and tries to take over your bank accounts, drain the equity in your home, or even tries to buy a car in your name, lifelock is on the job 24/7.
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♪ because during the holidays, keeping your identity protected means keeping your family protected. live from america's news headquarters i'm kelly wright. a california judge ruling on christmas eve that a brain-dead teenager can be taken off life support. 13-year-old was bleeding profusely and went into cardiac arrest after a tonsillectomy. two doctors testified the girl cannot breathe on her own. the judge is giving the family until december 30th to file an appeal. she will remain on life support in an open hospital until then. the family says it is hoping for a miracle. for just a few hours from now, pope francis will be delivering his first traditional christmas day message. to thousands of the faithful gathered in st. peter's square. last night, the 77-year-old
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pontiff placed a statue of the baby jesus in a replica of a manger in st. peter's basilica. his focus was on the humble beginnings and the vulnerability of the christ child. the ceremony coming as he celebrated his first christmas eve mass as leader of the catholic church. and there is an out-of-this world event many people were talking about christmas morning 48 years ago today. just hours earlier, on christmas eve, the crew of apollo 8 astronauts frank foreman, bill anders and jim lovell took turns reading from the book of gene sis. the view as they circled the moon blending itself beautifully to the words coming from the bible. >> and god called this dry land earth, and the gathering to the of the waters called it sea and god saw that it was good. and from the crew of apollo 8, to good night, good luck, a
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merry christmas and god bless all of you. all of you on this good earth. >> and we wish you a merry christmas. i'm kelly wright. now back to birth of jesus. ♪ welcome back to our special presentation, i'm jon scott. archaeologists did and sift the earth, looking for artifacts that will teach them about life in the past. here in the holy land they have yet to find something inscribed, this was jesus' cup. or jesus slept here. now there have been significant finds. the problem is, there have also been incredible fakes. a cave belonging to john the baptive. ant ossuary or burial box that once held the bones of jesus' brother. recent news of these discoveries startled archaeological and religious communities. but are they real? today the cave, and the ossuary
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are viewed with more skepticism than confidence. in part, because there's a long history of forging artifacts in the holy land. deep in the basement of the israeli antiquities authority, a storeroom right out of raiders of the lost ark, josiah took me to see priceless archaeological treasures and bogus archaeological trash. >> you see the decanter with inscriptions going all the way around it. but what it is, it's just simply a jumble of letters. it means nothing. nothing whatsoever. >> these fakes were made to be sold to unsuspecting tourists. other, more elaborate techniques are used to fool professionals. >> take for example this decanter here. which is from what's called the iron age. it goes back approximately 3,000 years. this is authentic, okay? now what will a forger do? a forger will put an inscription on this. and that's where you get fooled. >> inscriptions add great value to an artifact. especially when the name can be tied to a biblical character.
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>> they'll take an object which maybe costs $200 and add a name or two to it, and the value will increase to $2 million. >> he then took me to the israel museum to see inscriptions on some of their most prized finds. >> this is one of the remarkable finds. what we see here is the actual inscription mentioned in not only pontius pilate but mentioning the emperor tiberius. >> this inscription was found purely by chance. archaeologists turned over a large slab being reused as a seat in this grand outdoor theater and there it was. >> the irony here is that the guy who presided over the trial of jesus, the only inscription bearing his name, winds up as a theater seat. i mean people were sitting on it for hundreds of years. >> that's one of the ironies of history. it's the vanity of vanities. >> so what's this? >> this is the ossuary of the high priest whose name was joseph caifhus.
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he said it was better one man should die than a whole nation should suffer. >> so his bones ended up in this box? >> correct. >> the pontius pilate and caifhus inscriptions are authentic. but names alone don't prove a thing. what do we have here? >> two ossuaries. the first one here says jude today, son of jesus. the one there in back says jesus, son of joseph. >> nothing relating, though, to the jesus of nazareth? of the new testament? >> no. no way whatsoever. these are just simply very common names which you'd find recurring again and again on ossuaries. >> not long ago an ossuary was found inscribed james son of joseph the brother of jesus. with those three new testament names on it, some experts first thought it had to be authentic. >> i think that there was no doubt that the ossuary by itself is authentic. the inscription is the main question. >> he was part of the forensic team called in to authenticate the ossuary.
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close examination showed the inscription was forged. so you think the inscription is a fake? >> we found out that the inscription was freshry cut. there is, of course, a full investigation. >> other inscriptions were found in a cave outside jerusalem. the archaeologists who excavated the site claims it was used by john the baptist. >> i don't believe that there is any connection between this cave, which is a water system with john the baptist. >> uzi de hari is executive director of the israeli antiquities authorities. there's a face on the wall, there are crosses on the wall. does that suggest? >> no, this kind of drawing which can be found everywhere in israel, and everywhere in the world. >> josiah also took me to a
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well-known site in jerusalem absalom's tomb. he was a son of king david and is infamous for, among other sins, trying to overthrow his father. this is amazing. so how did they build this? >> you know, as you can see, this was built out of solid bedrock about 2,000 years ago. >> so jesus would have seen this? >> yes, jesus would have seen this prior to his crucifixion. so hundreds of years now, people believe this was absalom's tomb, what do they do? they stone it. muslims, christians and jews, for hundreds of years this has been a tradition. >> but he is sure the stone throwers had it wrong. his proof? inscriptions that suggest it's not absalom's but people close to jesus' life who are buried here. what does the inscription say? >> above the door where it should have been we found an inscription that says this is the tomb of the pious martyr the father of john. now who is the john in this context? john the baptist. the inscription is in greek. and dated probably no later than
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350 a.d. >> next to that is the oldest new testament inscription ever found. part of a verse from the nativity story of luke, about simian the old man who held the baby jesus. you've seen the inscriptions. in fact you discovered them. how do're authentic? >> well it's a good question because unfortunately we're living in an age of forgeries. there's so much of it on the market. but here are inscriptions which were there almost 30 feet in the air. it's impossible to go and forge something like that today. >> a forger would want to forge something that he could sell, and you cannot sell something this big. >> that's a good point, yeah. there's no way, again, this is up there. it's been up there for the last almost 1700 years. and it will always be there. >> like absalom's tomb, christianity has survived a variety of assaults over the centuries. these days, it's a best-selling book that has many christian leaders angry, and upset. that story next.
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under those golden domes, the russian orthodox church dedicated to a woman whose name has been venerated and vilified for centuries. mary magdalene. today her role in the life of jesus is at the center of debate more than ever. the heart of the book, "the da vinci code" is the idea that leonardo da vinci was a member of the priory of scion. this group that knew that jesus was actually married to mary magdalene. but because of the pressure of the church, they had to communicate it in code, because no one could come out and actually say that this was the case. >> pastor irwin lutzor is author of the book "the da vinci deception." >> i believe that dan brown's book is a very direct assault
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against the christian faith. and the reason is, because it attacks the two doctrines that are most important to christianity. first of all, the reliability of the new testament. and the deity of jesus christ. and as a result of what he has done, people are reading it, and believing it. >> one way dan brown hooked his readers is by weaving in historical facts. he points out how the catholic church, more accurately pope gregory in 591 a.d. smeared mary magdalene by labeling her a prostitute. >> he said she was a prostitute. all of these were putdowns. the modern contemporary putdown -- >> dan brown in his novel says no she wasn't a prostitute, she was jesus' lover and wife. in each case they're sexual roles. i'm not a theologian so i don't get upset in the way that a theologian might. it's a fiction thriller. what is the problem with that? >> dan brown says that everything within it is accurate.
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and so this has caused a tremendous amount of confusion. the book says that when leonardo painted his last supper, sitting to the right of jesus is not john the apostle, as art historians have believed for centuries, but rather, sitting to the right of jesus is actually mary magdalene. and then, there is no cup on the table. there's no chalice. >> according to the novel, these are major clues in da vinci's painting that mary magdalene was not only an apostle but the head of the church. elaine pagle disagrees. >> i happen to see john through leonardo's eyes and not mary's in that painting. for example look at his painting of john the baptist. you see that the painting of john the baptist has a face that you would take as a woman's face. a body which is partly naked, is clearly a man's body. it seems to me that's the kind of man that leonardo liked. >> dan brown also bases his
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carnal theory about jesus and mary magdalene on what was written in the ancient text known as the gnostic gospels. >> i was told, as we all were, that these were heretic. they couldn't be the real gospel. they had to be -- they had gospels, heretical gospels, fake gospels. >> it's one of those books, the gospel of philip, which is at the heart of the controversy. >> the gospel of philip has the following words. the companion of the savior was mary magdalene and the lord loved her more than the other disciples and kissed her often on her -- and then the text breaks and you never know. and the text goes on to say that the other disciples were somewhat jealous and said why do you love her more than all of us. >> is this account reliable? the gnostic gospel of philip was actually written in syria in 250 a.d. that is 200 years after the time of jesus. dan brown fills it in and says he kissed her often on the face.
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>> the gospel of philip does not suggest an actual sexual relationship. it suggests a symbolic relationship between jesus and his church or jesus and the holy spirit. i don't have a conspiracy theory view of why the text is broken. it's just that this papyrus is very old and when you touch it, it just fragments. so, there are many breaks in the text. this is only one. it's one of the most provocative. >> the important thing for me is that mary magdalene was a major apostle in the first century. she was on a level with peter and thomas. >> the idea that jesus tried to have children with mary and they became part of the french royal line, that is based on legends that go back to france, back to the ninth century. so it's not a new idea, but it has virtually no historical basis whatever. >> there's good food and there's junk food.
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and there's good fiction and there's juk fiction. the da vinci is junk fiction. >> now let's join correspondent greg palkot in paris for a look at how "the da vinci code" popularity has created a industry. >> thanks to "the da vinci code" tourist capital paris just got more visited. much of the book is set here. the action begins at the louvre museum with the murder of its curator. and a painting that hints at, among other things, mary magdalene's more prominent role. >> it's more interesting about mary magdalene is her role as sort of an early leader. >> one of several da vinci code tours conducted here as led by art expert ellen mcbreen. >> history is something that's based on original documentation, something that dan brown played a little fast and loose with in the book. >> in fact, she does find a lot of inconsistencies in the da vinci code novel, as do others. claims in the book the pyramid behind me contains a satinically
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sinister 666 plates of glass. according to the louvre museum that should read 673. but that's nothing like the unholy uproar at paris church, featuring religious artifacts plus a meridian line, backdrops for more of author dan brown's tail. michel rouge spent much of the day correcting what he calls the falsehoods, including a less than divine image of jesus christ. >> if you believe what is in the book, and are quite surprised to discover that at least what it says about this church is not true. >> up next, bethlehem. we'll take you on a very special tour of the town, and the church of the nativity.the wn and the of the nativity. this is the quicksilver cash back card from capital one. it's not the "fumbling around with rotating categories" card. it's not the etting blindsided by limits" card. it's the no-game-playing, no-earning-limit-having, deep-bomb-throwing,
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test test on his
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midnight ride to jerusalem to visit the birthplace of jesus. ♪ and, of course, for christians, bethlehem, the city of king david, is the birthplace of jesus christ. >> you can see how it attracts people from all over the world, because this is the birth of the savior. not just of an important historical figure. >> father jerome murphy o'connor has served in israel for 40 years. armed with great knowledge of this place he took us on a tour of the church of the nativity alongside manger square. he has seen many changes in this
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town. >> where have all the christians gone? >> they're afraid to come. >> they're afraid of all the turmoil and fighting that has plagued this area. >> this bethlehem used to be 100% christian. now, it's only about 35%. >> i talk to people who used to wait in line for hours to get into the church of the nativity, and now it looks like you can walk right in. >> absolutely. as you can see, the tiny little door that we'll be going through. ♪ >> so this is -- this is the 2r5d igsal birthplace of jesus? >> this is the traditional birthplace. and i think there's very, very little doubt about the city, and perhaps the probability, about 85%, that the church is actually built over the right place. you see we have two very different versions. one in luke, where mary and joseph start from nazareth, and matthew, where mary and joseph are natives of bethlehem. that's why jesus was born here.
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and i think, like most scholars, that matthew's account is preferable. >> but doesn't luke give the more detailed account? >> more detailed, more vivid, more dramatic. but the linchpin of his account is the census which forces a man and his very pregnant wife to move the length of the country. i don't accept that census, because this was not part of the roman empire. and the census was for the empire. >> well, the new testament talks about a stable. that's not to say that it couldn't have been a cave, right? >> many stables are, in fact, caves. and i think the representation of a cave is much more accurate. now jesus was born here, because the bible says there was no room for them in the inn. >> what you should imagine is a small, humble house, a one-room house. >> the question of where the birth occurs centers around the greek word originally translated as inn. some scholars also translate it as family home. as in a large extended family
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where space was tight. either way mary would have gone out to the cave or stable. local tradition held this as jesus' birthplace until in 326 a.d. helena, the mother of the emperor constantine built the first church of the nativity here. it was restored by the emperor justinian in 529 a.d., and enhanced later on by the crusaders. >> well, i've also heard that the idea behind the door was to make people bow down and to be humble. >> yes. it's not entirely -- it's not impossible by any means. >> once inside this ancient building visitors see a sight drastically different from the humble stable of the bible. the greek orthodox main altar. very ornate. >> it's extremely ornate. you have the altar, and then you see the choir stalls for the monks. on either side. and this is where the liturgy is sung every sunday, every day, in fact. >> the original church was an
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octagon built over the venerated cave. it's now below the altar in the grotto of the nativity. father murray o'connor took us there. >> now we're in the grotto. there are two altars. this is the grotto of the nativity. and if you put your hand through that hole you can touch. and on this side, this is the altar of the manger. >> even in this peaceful place, there are long running disputes. the altar of the manger belongs to the franciscan monks. the altar of the nativity or birth belongs to the greek orthodox. their rights are defined in a treaty. the other christian group with rights over the site is the armenian orthodox. >> there's just splits everywhere it seems. >> exactly. and that is the tragedy of improvements to the holy land. >> so the belief is that this is where jesus was born. >> yes. >> and then he was -- >> and then this carries over
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here to the manger. >> exactly. >> and then you see this is the cave, which of course has been shaped. but this wall is artificial. next door is called the cave of the holy innocents. >> father murray o'connor took us there for a look. so there's very little evidence of the original cave left here. >> whatever there is left of the cave is down below us here. >> so tradition has it that christ would have been born over there on the other side cave but this is part of the same cave system? >> it's all part of the same cave system. you can see that that's an entirely artificial wall. it goes up to the roof of the cave. you can see the bed box all above us and this is the area that has been excavated. >> the excavation in the early 1960s turned up evidence that this cave was occupied during the time of king david, right up through the time of jesus. >> there were traces of dung and broken pottery and coins. so it was used for stabling, and for storage.
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♪ >> so this would be a wonderful place to go for a flock or to store grain after the summer, perfectly no risk of damp, and for a young woman giving birth, no draft. >> a trip to the holy land is as much a journey of emotion as it is distance. 2,000 years after the birth of christ, there is so much sadness here. the little town where the baby was wrapped in swaddling clothes is now itself wrapped in barbed wire. where the shepherds stood guard over there sheep there are guard towers now. and gun-toting soldiers. yet it is possible to look past today's troubles, just seeing the historic sites of the bible inspires all, to walk the streets where jesus walked, to gaze on the landscape we saw, to
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touch the stones that were standing when he passed by, brings on a profound sense of wonder, and, yes, even peace. from the holy land, and all of us at fox news, i'm jon scott. have a blessed christmas.
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♪ ♪ >> christmas eve in >> christmas eve in bethlehem. the birth of jesus christ has been celebrated for 2,000 years. the tradition continues today with a procession joyful music and thoughtful prayer. for christians around the world this is the god that became man and the mt. seessage of love ch the world forever. >>

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