Where was Jesus born?

The New Testament states that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, but not all archaeologists agree: one rogue Israeli archaeologist says it is far more likely the Christian savior was born in Bethlehem of the Galilee, more than 175 kilometers from Jerusalem[1].
Aviram Oshri spent nearly eleven years excavating in Bethlehem of the Galilee — an ancient biblical village near Nazareth — which he believes show that the traditional account of Jesus’s birthplace may be wrong.

The town of Bethlehem of Judea, about six miles south of Jerusalem, has always been considered the birthplace of Jesus. According to the account of the apostle Matthew in the New Testament, Joseph and Mary were living in Bethlehem of Judea at the time of Jesus’ birth and later moved to Nazareth up north.

In the more popular account of the apostle Luke, Joseph and Mary, who was then nine months pregnant, traveled more than 175 kilometers from Nazareth to Bethlehem of Judea, Joseph’s hometown, in order to be counted in a Roman census. Almost two days of continuous travel by donkey, when at that time in the Roman period, people didn’t move from place to place. All of his family is from Nazareth.”

That never made sense to Oshri.

"How would a woman who is nine months pregnant travel 175 kilometers on a donkey all the way to Bethlehem of Judea?" he asked himself. "It makes much more sense that she would have traveled seven kilometers," the distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem of the Galilee.

"How did Mary and Joseph meet?" he asked. "If she’s from Tzippori and he’s from Bethlehem of Judea, and what are the chances that they would meet when they live so far away from each other in the ancient world? Zero. But Bethlehem of the Galilee and Nazareth and Tzippori are very close to each other."

The Israeli Antiquities Authority wasn't at all pleased with Oshri's theory and he ended up working on other digs.

“The story that Jesus was born in Bethlehem [in the West Bank] was to connect him to King David”, says Dr Uzi Dahari, a fellow archaeologist at the Israeli Antiquities Authority. Did Dahari just obliquely say that Jesus must be born in Bethlehem of Judea because religion demands it?

[1] Oshri: Where was Jesus Born? in Archaeology - 2005

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