Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh on Jesus’ birthplace

Posted on Apr 29, 2019

by Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh

In response to my Easter message, a student said that Jesus was not born in Palestine but in Israel and that he was Jewish.

1) Palestine (geographic name used for nearly 4000 years*) was used at the time of Jesus’ birth under Roman rule. There was no “Israel” then. There was Judea and Philistia (geographic parts of Palestine) . But Jesus was not Judaic, He was Nazarene (GALILEE). Geography is why even the Israel Academy of Sciences publishes the book series Fauna Palestina and Flora Palestina (not Israeliana!).

2) Jesus was a follower of the Mosaic law (law of Moses and Abraham at the time). That is not being “Jewish” since that designation as a religious one only came in the fourth century AD (after the writing of the Talmud). Samaritans who lived in Samaria (now Nablus), for example, even today would be insulted if you call them Jewish (even though they follow/ed the Torah). But even if you assume a religion, why are Christians not called Jews if Jesus is called a Jew by religion. Jesus was neither Judaic by geography (he was Nazarene) nor Jew or Samaritan by religion (though he was a follower of the Mosaic law).

* If you want more info I suggest this book “Palestine: A four thousand year history