My biggest question concerns where Joseph and Mary called "home" before and after Jesus was born. We are all familiar with Luke's story, where he says they lived in Galilee, but journeyed to Bethlehem for a census of some sort:
Luke 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David)
But Matthew seems to present the story as if Joseph and Mary were already living in Bethlehem, and continued to do so until being told to go to Egypt. Here, the wise men find Jesus living with Mary and Joseph in a "house" as a "young child":
Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Obviously, if they were already living in Bethlehem, there would be no reason for them to go stay in a stable, so that whole part of the story wouldn't be needed.
Then, according to Matthew, after their sojourn in Egypt (which Luke doesn't mention), Joseph and Mary decide not to return to their home in Bethlehem (Judea) but go and live in Galilee:
Matthew 2:22 But when [Joseph] heard that Archelaus did reign in Judæa in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
Of course, this makes no sense to Luke. He says that when Jesus was 8 days old, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple in Jerusalem for circumcision, then after Mary's "purification" (40 days?), they returned to Nazareth, and lived happily ever after:
Luke 2:39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
So how can the wise men, slaughter of the infants, and trip to Egypt fit into Luke's story?
Are Luke and Matthew really describing the same event? Is there any way to tell to what degree their descriptions based on legends and myths?
Edited by cinepro, 19 December 2011 - 09:20 PM.