Were there three kings of Orient at the manger? Where was the manger, anyway? A cave, a barn or somewhere else? These questions are among the 40 addressed in David A. Croteau’s “Urban Legends of the New Testament,” recently published by B&H Academic Press.
What is an “urban legend” of the New Testament? According to Croteau, it is a “commonly circulated myth, repeated throughout the culture as common knowledge, but which isn’t true.” For the New Testament, this includes misunderstandings about the original culture of first-century Israel, as well as well-intended, but erroneous, explanations of Greek vocabulary. It is Croteau’s assertion that we who take the Bible seriously should also strive to get it right. We need to eliminate the urban legends from our teaching and preaching.