Did early Christians and Jews celebrate Birthdays?

Posted in the Jehovah's Witness Forum

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Topsy Crett

Houston, TX

#1 Apr 5, 2008
Did early Christians and Jews celbrate birthdays? Figured I would start a new thread so we can all chime in our thoughts.

Some links to consider

< http://www.lynxconnect.com/~dawson/armstrong/... ;

< http://www.abcog.org/birthday.htm> ;

< http://www.mashiyach.com/Misc/birthdays.htm&g... ;

< http://www.cogwriter.com/birthdays.htm> ;

A highlight from the last link

"Although many who profess Christ celebrate birthdays, did you know that birthdays were simply not celebrated by those in the early church? Interestingly, there is no hint in the Bible or early writings that Jesus, the apostles, or any true Christians ever celebrated birthdays.

This article will begin with an introduction on the origin of birthdays, discuss some ancient and modern Judaic views of birthdays, discuss the Bible and early Gentile views of birthdays, and discuss how birthdays became to be celebrated amongst those that profess Christianity."

"Jews, Jewish Christians, and Old Testament Birthdays
But what were early Jewish practices?

The first century Jewish historian Josephus noted that Jewish families did not celebrate birthdays:

Nay, indeed, the law does not permit us to make festivals at the birth of our children, and thereby afford occasion of drinking to excess (Josephus. Translated by W. Whiston. Against Apion, Book II, Chapter 26. Extracted from Josephus Complete Works, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids (MI), 14th printing, 1977, p. 632).

Now although there is no specific command against the celebration of birthdays in the Bible, the Jewish custom in those days was apparently based on the negative occurrences in the Bible surrounding birthdays, as well as the astrological implications of the celebration of birthdays (pagan practices, like astrology, were specifically prohibited in the law).

Since nearly all of the first Christians were Jewish, this may partially explain why the celebration of Jesus' birth would not be consistent with that early custom.

In their essay titled "Birthdays, Jewishly," Lisa Farber Miller and Sandra Widener point out that the Encyclopedia Judaica is very blunt on this topic:

"The celebration of birthdays is unknown in traditional Jewish ritual."
Topsy Crett

Houston, TX

#2 Apr 5, 2008
I am now forced to use the other sides tactics to get a response!

Are you guys afraid to consider this subject? Are you scared to answer!

Come on guys enlighten me. Show me where first century Christiand and Jews celebrated birthdays! Educate the misguided JW in me wanting to break free!
Just answer the question

Trenton, NJ

#3 Apr 5, 2008
Hi Topsy how are you doing today? Have you checked out the other topix site there is a cute funny one about pet peeves, its very humerous, & light, you laugh at everyone's pet peeves, my pet peeve is when you visit somone's home and they take a phone call for 45 min or so and leave you sitting there,anyways I thought you might want 2 check out and get some good laughs ,you might get an ulcer on here.
Graham Snide

Houston, TX

#4 Apr 5, 2008
Where do the customs of Bar Mitzah and Bat Mitzah come from? Both are celebrations of the 13th years of children's lives.
Topsy Crett

Houston, TX

#5 Apr 5, 2008
Graham were these customs practiced in the first century? I understand your point, but modern day Judaism is far removed in many ways from the Judaism practiced back in the first century. Since JW claim they are trying to follow the pattern of worship the first century Christians had then shouldnt that time period be the one considered?
Topsy Crett

Houston, TX

#6 Apr 5, 2008
Just answer the question wrote:
Hi Topsy how are you doing today? Have you checked out the other topix site there is a cute funny one about pet peeves, its very humerous, & light, you laugh at everyone's pet peeves, my pet peeve is when you visit somone's home and they take a phone call for 45 min or so and leave you sitting there,anyways I thought you might want 2 check out and get some good laughs ,you might get an ulcer on here.
I had a fantastic day. Had a very long discussion with my BS intstructor, and learned that a Bible study I had started up is going well. It was passed on to a female as I didnt feel it was appropriate for me to continue. This lady was somewhat hesiatnat for months to talk with me and others who came to the door but she was always polite. We kept on knocking, kept on asking, and one day she invited us in, and let many things spill out. It was quite a testament to JW fortitude and proof that circumstances can change, and that teh angels know who is searching for Jehovah.

I was very encouraged by it to say the least.
PropMin

Haysville, KS

#7 Apr 5, 2008
http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/10/125518/1.a ...

Go to the 2nd post, there is a scan, although its not entirely clear. I had read this in a blog as well, but can't find it now. They completely lifted the reference to the preaching work finishing in the 20th century (of course, AFTER it proved NOT to be true...)

Here is some more, you'll have to go through these threads to find them:

http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/10/81129/1.as ...

http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/6/40630/1.ash ...

http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/12/64756/1.as ...

Hey toppers; I don't know if you saw this from another thread, but you asked for proof of the WT changing some things when they issues the bound volumes and/or CD-rom.

Id be interested in your view of these.

Thanks.
Graham Snide

Houston, TX

#8 Apr 5, 2008
I just looked at Wikipedia and [take the source for what it is worth] the entry said that the practice dates to the 1st century AD. It seems that, if true, the Jewish contemporaries of the 1st century Christians were beginning the practice. It may well be that because of the close affiliation (almost a fluid identity) between the early Christians and the Jews of the time, that the practice might have been done in some Christian homes.

Again I am merely speculating. But I do not think we can firmly claim that it was impermissible to celebrate birthdays. Maybe it was just not customary-at least until the 1st century.
Topsy Crett

Houston, TX

#9 Apr 5, 2008
Propmin did you cut and paste this from another post? When you do the links dont work. Your going to have to provide me teh whole link as TOPIX shortens teh original version, and it never links.

Also, perhaps you can start a new thread on this subject so as not to detract from the subject of this thread.

Thanks

“2Blessed 2B Stressed”

Since: Dec 07

Antioch

#10 Apr 5, 2008
What is the Big Deal about a Birthday celebration?

They are private, personal and family/friends, a celebration of a loved ones life,,, there's nothing in Holy Scripture prohibiting rejoicing with someone you love.
Graham Snide

Houston, TX

#11 Apr 5, 2008
Graham Snide wrote:
Where do the customs of Bar Mitzah and Bat Mitzah come from? Both are celebrations of the 13th years of children's lives.
just looked at Wikipedia and [take the source for what it is worth] the entry said that the practice dates to the 1st century AD. It seems that, if true, the Jewish contemporaries of the 1st century Christians were beginning the practice. It may well be that because of the close affiliation (almost a fluid identity) between the early Christians and the Jews of the time, that the practice might have been done in some Christian homes.

Again I am merely speculating. But I do not think we can firmly claim that it was impermissible to celebrate birthdays. Maybe it was just not customary-at least until the 1st century.
Topsy Crett

Houston, TX

#12 Apr 5, 2008
What is teh big deal about a celebration to Jehovah said Aaron!(Read Exodus 32)

It is not the acknolwedgement of the day of birth, as children are gifts from Jehovah. It is the pressure to submit to practices that are rooted in un-christian beleif systems.
unlisted

Whitsett, NC

#13 Apr 5, 2008
thank you to me a birthday is celebrating the birth of my child and not religious..
tell that to JTB

United States

#14 Apr 5, 2008
oh yeah mr p. tell that to John the Baptist. He just loved the birthday party he was at. Same thing in the old testament. Check out what Pharo gave at one of his Bday parties... humm....
Claude Kenneson

United States

#15 Apr 5, 2008
tell that to JTB wrote:
oh yeah mr p. tell that to John the Baptist. He just loved the birthday party he was at. Same thing in the old testament. Check out what Pharo gave at one of his Bday parties... humm....
So bad things happened at two birthday parties that you know of. But, guess what? There have been thousands of birthday parties where nothing bad took place!
Topsy Crett

Houston, TX

#16 Apr 5, 2008
Claude Kenneson wrote:
<quoted text>
So bad things happened at two birthday parties that you know of. But, guess what? There have been thousands of birthday parties where nothing bad took place!
2 Timothy 3:16

16Everything in the Scriptures is God's Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. 17The Scriptures train God's servants to do all kinds of good deeds.

Romans 15:4

Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. The Scriptures give us patience and encouragement so that we can have hope.
CIA

Zebulon, NC

#17 Apr 5, 2008
This discussion on whether early Christians celebrated birthdays is futile. No of us were alive nearly 2000 years ago to know what those folk did exactly. However, the bible is very clear on this:

Romans 4:14 Welcome the [man] having weaknesses in [his] faith, but not to make decisions on inward questionings. 2 One [man] has faith to eat everything, but the [man] who is weak eats vegetables. 3 Let the one eating not look down on the one not eating, and let the one not eating not judge the one eating, for God has welcomed that one. 4 Who are you to judge the house servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for Jehovah can make him stand.

5 One [man] judges one day as above another; another [man] judges one day as all others; let each [man] be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day observes it to Jehovah. Also, he who eats, eats to Jehovah, for he gives thanks to God; and he who does not eat does not eat to Jehovah, and yet gives thanks to God

When will Jehovah's Witnesses learn to leave the these matters up to the individual Christian as Jehovah obviously does. Celebrating a person's birthday does not hamper in anyway a person's hope of everlasting life. Show me where it does? Now!

Since: Mar 08

El Dorado Hills, CA

#18 Apr 5, 2008
Topsy Crett wrote:
<quoted text>
2 Timothy 3:16
16Everything in the Scriptures is God's Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. 17The Scriptures train God's servants to do all kinds of good deeds.
Romans 15:4
Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. The Scriptures give us patience and encouragement so that we can have hope.
What does those scriptures have to do with anything related to a birthday celebration, so Rutherford can make something a law that has no precedent in scriptures and put 2 scriptures like these after them and that is spiritual backing to you guys? Take regular folks who barely had opened their bibles their entire lives, study with them for 6month and they becomes instant scholars....simply amazing?
Claude Kenneson

United States

#19 Apr 5, 2008
Topsy Crett wrote:
<quoted text>
2 Timothy 3:16
16Everything in the Scriptures is God's Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. 17The Scriptures train God's servants to do all kinds of good deeds.
Romans 15:4
Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. The Scriptures give us patience and encouragement so that we can have hope.
You might find Greg Stafford's quotes at the following link of interest.

http://www.spotlightministries.org.uk/birthda...
Claude Kenneson

United States

#20 Apr 5, 2008
Correction. One day they might get an edit icon for this forum. I can only hope.

http://www.spotlightministries.org.uk/birthda...

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