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Bible does not uphold alleged facts on Jesus

Alf McCreary (Review, April 7) describes Jesus as a "preacher from Palestine". The Bible says, Jesus was born in Judea and the Angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream during the family's flight into Egypt to escape Herod and instructs him to 'take the young child and his mother and go to the land of Israel'.

These are the two names Jesus and his family would have used to describe the Holy Land - not Palestine. The term 'Palestine' was concocted by the Romans to insult the Jews, with the clear connection to Israel's ancient enemies, the Philistines. It is still used today by those who, by ignorance or political will, prefer not to use the Biblical 'Israel'.

Mr McCreary, in his attempt to recall the story of the Crucifixion through the prism of a journalist, describes Christ's death and his entombment as "being a Friday".

This is common of journalism, whereby a story can be embellished by assumption when, in fact, it is just supposition.

The Gospel accounts of the Crucifixion nowhere state that Jesus died on a Friday. Jesus was taken down from the Cross just before the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was an annual Sabbath, or an 'high day', which, unlike the weekly Saturday Sabbath, could fall on any day of the week.

It is presumed that Jesus dying before the 'Sabbath' meant that he died on a Friday, as the weekly Sabbath falls on a Saturday. This is not the case.

The Crucifixion could have happened on another day. It is only ecclesiastical tradition which upholds Friday as 'Good Friday'; the Bible is silent on the matter.


Bangor, Co Down

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From Belfast Telegraph