An archaeologist believes he has discovered the true birthplace of Jesus Christ, and it isn’t located in the traditional Bethlehem most associate with his birth. Archaeologist Dr. Aviram Oshri believes that Christ was born in this Bethlehem of Galilee, nine miles west of Nazareth, and not in the West Bank town of the same name, which has been celebrated as the Lord’s birthplace for ages, as reported by the International Business Times.
The Inquisitr has previously reported Israeli archaeologists have unearthed relics in the traditional Bethlehem where Jesus was reportedly born.
The myriad of worshippers who sing carols in Manger Square each Christmas are in the wrong place, according to Dr Oshri, who says that during more than a decade of excavations, he has found the remains of a large church from the Byzantine-era in the second Bethlehem.
“Underneath the church, where the holiest of holies usually is, there was a natural cave,” he adds. Many early Christian texts refer to Jesus being born in a manger in a cave.
Dr. Oshri is not the first to champion this idea. In 1906, a religious sect called the Templers (not to be confused with the Knights Templar) set up a colony in Bethlehem of Galilee regarded as a special place to await the Second Coming of Christ. The Mirror reports the Templers had been expelled from Germany’s Lutheran Evangelical Church in the 19th century. They thought living in the Holy Land would save them from sin and it would be theirs to inherit, not the Jewish people.
Many openly supported Hitler’s Nazi Party as it rose to power in the 1930s, setting up their own branches and flying the swastika over their Bethlehem. They boycotted Jewish businesses, saluted the Fuhrer, and sent their children to join the Hitler Youth.
David Kroyanker, author of a specialist book on the German colony, says: “Many of the young were easily influenced by Nazism. There were many young Templers who studied in Germany at the time and when they came back they were very excited about Nazism.”
The Templers presence in Bethlehem of Galilee was significant, when Hitler was trying to write his own version of Christianity. There have been claims that he and Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, believed that, far from being king of the hated Jews, Jesus was born to Aryan tribes never driven out of Israelite settlements in Galilee, according to the Mirror.
During World War II, Bethlehem of Galilee was turned into a prison camp where Templers were interred. In 1941, more than 500 Templers were deported to Australia. Another 400 residents were deported before 1944, while others were sent to Germany in an exchange for Jews being persecuted in ghettos and concentration camps. By 1950, the last Templers, mainly old and frail, had left Bethlehem of Galilee.
It’s unlikely that Christian pilgrims will ever descend on Bethlehem of Galilee to hail the village as Christ’s true birthplace, as not everyone accepts Dr Oshri’s theory. The Israel Antiquities Authority dismiss his claim as “worse than a joke.”
Oshri, however, believes he is right and says, “As I dig deeper and deeper, I am more convinced.”
[Image via Wikipedia]