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5 things about Jesus aren’t true, author says

If you think Jesus was born in Bethlehem or that he had only 12 disciples, the author of a recent book has some news for you.

Reza Aslan, whose interview on Fox News about his book “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” attracted national attention, writes in the Washington Post that “there’s enough biblical scholarship about the historical Jesus to raise questions about some of the myths that have formed around Him over the past 2,000 years.”

Aslan says:

  1. Nazareth, not Bethlehem, is the city where most scholars believe Jesus was born. 
  2. Jesus wasn’t an only child. He probably came from a big family “with at least four brothers who are named in the Gospels — James, Joseph, Simon and Judas — and an unknown number of sisters. That Jesus had brothers and sisters is attested to repeatedly by the Gospels and the letters of Paul.”
  3. Jesus did not have 12 disciples. The followers of Jesus who went with him from town to town are “called disciples, and according to the Gospel of Luke, there were 70 or 72 of them.” Jesus had 12 apostles.
  4. Jesus probably didn’t get special treatment from Pontius Pilate. The Roman governor was unlikely to have spent “a moment of his time pondering the fate of yet another Jewish rabble-rouser, let alone (granting) him a personal audience.”
  5. No tomb. Crucifixions were meant to be a public spectacle, and Romans left the bodies of criminals, rebels and Jews hanging on crosses long after they were dead. So it is unlikely that Jesus’ body would have been brought down from the cross and placed in a tomb.
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