If you are a Christian, you should know who this guy was. Remember that guy who was so paranoid he was going to be overthrown that he wanted to kill baby Jesus by ordering the killing of every male child two years of age or younger (but really didn’t)? Yeah, that guy.
A work by the Jewish historian Josephus entitled the “Antiquities of the Jews” makes no mention of this slaughtering ever taking place. Josephus wrote many times about King Herod’s misdeeds including the murders of three of his sons. Why leave this one out? Because it never happened, that’s why.
We can actually trace the slaughtering of the innocents all the way back to Moses and Exodus:
Pharaoh’s attempt to kill the Israelite children (Exodus 1:22), and more specifically on various elaborations of the original story that had become current in the 1st century. In that expanded story, Pharaoh kills the Hebrew children after his scribes warn him of the impending birth of the threat to his crown (i.e., Moses), but Moses’s father and mother are warned in a dream that the child’s life is in danger and act to save him. Later in life, after Moses has to flee, like Jesus, he returns only when those who sought his death are themselves dead.
Um, that sounds familiar; too familiar.
The fact of the matter is that the Jewish religion was failing, with all of its temple and dietary requirements, and needed an upgrade to be able to compete with the cargo cults in Rome and surrounding areas. Hence a new Messiah, Jesus, is remade to fit in with the current religious culture of the time. That’s it in a nutshell, but if you want to dig into all of it, I would recommend Dr. Carrier’s peer-reviewed book “On the Historicity of Jesus“.
The Gospel of Matthew says that Jesus was born about a year before King Herod died. Herod died 4 BCE/BC. That’s right, Herod died before Jesus was “born”……meaning that the events surrounding Jesus’ “birth” in the Gospel of Matthew are completely and totally false. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was born when the first-ever census of Judea was taking place under orders of the Roman senator Quirinius, which took place during 6 CE/AD. That’s a ten-year discrepancy that proves that the New Testament has major issues with the dating of their savior’s birth. Isn’t Jesus’ birth supposed to be 1 CE/AD? You would think that if you were creating a religion based on a mythical figure you would get it right. Geesh…
When Christian apologists hear this well-documented information about King Herod, they launch into damage control and spew out all kinds of ignorance about actual history, like the following:
“Well, see, Quirinius must have been governor of Syria twice somehow, and there must have been some other, earlier census of Judea, conducted by Herod, and since the evidence says other guys were governing Syria at the time, not only was Quirinius twice governor, but he must have been co-governor with someone else.”
To start with, no one ever was a governor of the same province twice, and we have absolutely no evidence to the contrary. As far as an earlier census conducted by Herod, that argument is illogical and impossible on every known fact of the matter. Quirinius being a “twice governor” or “co-governor” is another illogical argument, especially since that never existed in the Roman administrative system. Governors had lieutenants but no record exists of a “co-governor” or a “twice governor”.
The Gospels were never meant to be taken literally initially, but as extended parables. Not until the reign of Emporer Constantine were the Gospels proclaimed to be an actual account of history. The beginning of the Dark Ages when you were ordered to believe a certain way and never ever question what the church said.
So there you have it, people. One more nail in the coffin of fundamental Christianity.