Born in a stable? In addition, Luke doesn’t use the common word for hotel inn (pandeion) that he uses elsewhere, says Frank Viola, co-author of Jesus: A Theography with Leonard Sweet. “Instead, he uses a word that means guest room (kataluma).” It’s the same word that he uses later to describe the place where Jesus took the Last Supper! “It’s far more likely that since Bethlehem was Joseph’s ancestral home, he had relatives there,” says Viola. “And because of the census taking place at the time, none of his relatives had any room in their guest quarters. Guest rooms were typically in the front of houses and the animal shelters were in the back of the house or the lower level (in a cave).
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