Talk:Massacre of the Innocents

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historical and textual context[edit]

I added it, as it had been missing. Properly, the massacre is understood in the context of the historical Herod and Matthew's narrative and agenda. Did some reorg, too. Leadwind (talk) 17:56, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Non-neutral, sided to the "fiction"/atheist view.[edit]

This is HEAVILLY weighted and one-sided toward the atheist/"this is fiction" side, as they claim it as Biblical depictions of Holy Men, how it is excluded from biographies of Harod the Great, even saying the Nativity is Biblical fiction.

How is that neutral? Wikipedia is unbiased, and is to show us both sides. Other then reference of "Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius, Saturnalia, book II, chapter IV:11", that's about the only "evidence" that the genocide happened. The article actually dismisses it, over and over again.

How do you call this neutral?

"Most recent biographers of Herod therefore do not regard the massacre as an actual historical event,[3] but rather, like the other nativity stories, as creative hagiography."

Weasel words! Who claims this?

"The gospel of Matthew was written c 80 - 85 by an anonymous Christian appealing to a Jewish audience."

First off, the Gospel of Matthew was written by Matthew, not an "annonymous Christian", according to theology. You failed to bring it up. That is not neutral.

"The story was patterned on the Exodus story of the killing of the Hebrew firstborn by Pharaoh and the birth of Moses."

This is biased toward atheism and "fiction". Not only is it blasphemy, it also contradicts the Bible itself, and though you have the right to type it, this is WAY too one sided. Again, this not a parody of Exodous to Christians! It's history to them! As an un-biased, neutral website devoted to telling ALL sides of the story, I believe you should add some more SUPPORT fro this instead of saying "it's fiction, it's fiction, it's fiction, here's a secular reference. it's fiction, it;'s fiction".....

"The story is not mentioned by the contemporary Jewish historian Josephus, nor in the other gospels, nor in the early apocrypha."

Again, you are dismissing it as FICTION, and provide little backup on evidence that is real!

WIKIPEDIA IS NEUTRAL! What ever happened to neutrral1 This is the most one-sided article I've laid eyes on!

Someone, please fix it!
-- (talk) 12:29, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Actually, virtually no scholars today believe the Gospel of Matthew was written by the Apostle Matthew, so saying it was written by an anonymous Christian is both accurate and neutral. —Angr 12:56, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Please correct me if I am wrong. Neutrality in an encyclopedia is not the politically correct or diplomatic treatment of a topic. It is the unbiased treatment of facts. Unbiased in the language and unbiased in the display of available facts. In other words, no facts are left out. These facts may be supported by the opinions of professionals and scholars. Their opinions must always be qualified by "So-and-so believes...". These become judgment calls and must be weighed as such. However, their judgment holds much more weight than the layman's. Think of it as a fair trial with all of the available evidence and top professionals and scholars. Without the lawyers. Sometimes lawyers bring in biased language and intentional skewing of the facts. Out with them. The judge and jury? The readers of the articles. However, their verdict is not the ultimate say in the truth of the matter. They may draw the wrong verdict. Ever see "The Shawshank Redemption"?
'The story is not mentioned by the contemporary Jewish historian Josephus, nor in the other gospels, nor in the early apocrypha.'
Again, you are dismissing it as FICTION, and provide little backup on evidence that is real!"
The quote from the article is highlighting the scant "evidence that it is real." It is not being dismissed. Rather, the Biblical claim is not being verified. To create an accurate history, historians seek verification through multiple sources, the more the better. In this case, verifying sources have not been found. The account in Matthew is the only one. Historians are very reluctant to put all their cookies in one jar, especially for high profile events. MangyMaestro (talk) 10:30, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree that the article is one-sided, however, I might need to point out that wikipedia is written by many contributors and that you cannot cast out any blame at any author, just say that the article is biased.
Concerning the article itself and its claims, I have read in "The Case for Christ" the interviews, done by Lee Strobel, with thirteen leading evangelical apologists: Craig Blomberg, Bruce Metzger, Edwin Yamauchi, John McRay, Gregory Boyd, Ben Witherington III, Gary Collins, D.A. Carson, Louis Lapides, Alexander Metherell, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, and J. P. Moreland. Then the view that the massacre never took place is countered with the fact that it probably "only" was 25-30 boys that were killed by Herod, which would seem totally irrelevant to the historic scribes (or whatever their proper English names might be) of the day. It also note that the deed was totally in agreement with what is known about Herod's character and I heard at a TV-program during Christmas that virtually all historians considers it to be in his character, even though they doubt it.
Since the interviewees are wellknown scholars (or at least some), their view might be included. --KMA "HF" N (talk) 10:00, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

"This is HEAVILLY weighted and one-sided toward the atheist/"this is fiction" side... How is that neutral?" Editors are just reporting what historians say. That's neutral. When WP discusses evolution, it reports what scientists say because that's neutral, even if some people have supernatural reasons to disagree with it, just like some people have supernatural reasons to disagree with what historians say. Leadwind (talk) 22:40, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia attempts to offer concise reports of the scholarly mainstream. It does not guarantee authenticity of episodes narrated in texts, but describes and reports. This is not Sunday-school: there is no special reverence for "Scripture" afforded in Wikipedia: these are historical texts, with cultural contexts and manuscript traditions to be reported, just the same as Sophocles . Claims that Wikipedia violates NPOV do invariably turn out to be cries of "not my point-of-view".--Wetman (talk) 01:13, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
I do not oppose the sentence itself, I only oppose to the repeating of it in the article. It was in the lead AND the section I removed, which is totally unnecessary. —Preceding signed comment added by MythSearchertalk 06:58, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Roman Syria[edit]

This deletion of sourced material, with an edit summary contradicting what appears to be a reliable source, needs explaining. If Judea was not in Roman Syria at that time, was Herod ordering assassination of infants outside his own jurisdiction? - Fayenatic (talk) 12:31, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

According to Iudaea Province, the province of Iudaea was not created until AD 6 (i.e. after the Massacre of the Innocents), and it implies that the region was part of the province of Syria until then. —Angr 12:52, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Herod was an independent king (however qualified his independence was in practical terms). Bethlehem was part of his kingdom, but his kingdom was not part of any Roman province. PiCo (talk) 03:05, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Also since Herod the Great died in 4 BC how could he order the "Massacre of the Innocents" in 1 AD?! Why has no one added this bit of info so far? (talk) 15:21, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Historians don't credit this as a historical event, so the gospel contradictions are sort of beside the point. Leadwind (talk) 22:35, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Nativity story in the Gospel of Matthew[edit]

POV tag added - as this is a non representative and unduly sceptical view. Springnuts (talk) 20:59, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

I have therefore had a go at simplifying and improving, and rm'd the tag. Springnuts (talk) 21:09, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

I made a small change re Matthew's account of the magi. Original said: "magi from the east follow a star to Judea". But the text doesn't say that the magi **followed** a star to Judea, only that the magi **saw** a star (actually, the "King of the Jews' star") in the east, so went to Jerusalem. GDon (talk) 18:39, 24 November 2010 (UTC)GDon.


Multiple issues in this reversion [[1]] - "Most" recent biographers. On its own this is a bit of a weasel word. Why not "It has been claimed that most ..." - which is a sourced statement and unexceptional. - "recent" ... again, bit weaselly. Is it implied that being recent makes them more likely to be accurate? - "biographers" ... but actually the views of historians in general might give a fairer sample. I don't want to do edit warring: might a third party have a go at a non POV revision? Springnuts (talk) 16:47, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

I removed the section today, since the issues above are not addressed. As currently written it has balance (Some historians ... whilst others ...). I would have no objection to the sceptical historian being restored, if examples of the others are added, and will do that when I have time ! - Springnuts (talk) 18:07, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
It was reinstated by anon editor(s), and I rearranged it again. The historian is now quoted, and the sceptical views are justifiable encyclopedic content; I do not think it is right to remove them while looking for balancing views. It would of course be appropriate to add sourced examples of credible scholars who reach other conclusions. - Fayenatic (talk) 21:35, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks - happy with your edit and will try to add sourced stuff idc. Springnuts (talk) 23:14, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Link to news report saying infanticide in the Roman world of the time was not so shocking as infants below the age of two was not regarded as a person: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:20, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

historicity doubts - body and heading, or body only?[edit]

Hi, there is a bit of ping pong on the horizon re this topic, see this diff [[2]] and check history for others. It would be good to head it off at the pass. We are dealing with a contested argument from silence.

The lead section should 'summarize the most important points—including any notable controversies'. I would suggest two things follow:

1) The ref to numbers is removed - since there seems little controversy that the 'tens of thousands' figure is not believed, see eg the Catholic Encyclopedia: [3]. Given that the lead already calls Bethlehem a village, there is no need to spell out the now generally accepted estimates of numbers, though it could be added in if wished.

2) The section of the lead re historicity is rewritten: "Many modern writers treat the story as fiction." is one sided. Would an editor not involved so far have a go at a non POV summary of this notable controversy please?

Hope this may provide a better way ahead. Springnuts (talk) 09:19, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Have had a go at a non POV summary, changing "Many modern writers" to "Some historians". Springnuts (talk) 11:01, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough. Biographers of Herod are not necessarily representative of all historians writing on the subject. - Fayenatic (talk) 12:57, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
No reason to drop the quote out of the text. The Historicity section has lost well-supported text, which I've restored.--Wetman (talk) 17:01, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
Please read WP:NPOV. The way to write a neutral article is not to treat both sides equally. The way to write a neutral article is to portray both sides the way they're portrayed in mainstream sources. If there is a majority viewpoint (with most historians favoring one view or the other), then it's biased to treat the two views as if they are equal. In this case, we should treat the majority viewpoint as the majority viewpoint and the minority viewpoint as the minority viewpoint. Violating NPOV is not really an option. Please humbly stick with what our best sources say rather than changing the article to suit your personal viewpoint. Leadwind (talk) 14:19, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
Here's one section on WP:NPOV that's relevant to the majority/minority viewpoint: "Accurately indicate the relative prominence of opposing views. Ensure that the reporting of different views on a subject adequately reflects the relative levels of support for those views, and that it does not give a false impression of parity, or give undue weight to a particular view." Historians mostly don't think the massacre really happened because there's no corroborating evidence (such as it being mentioned anywhere else in the Bible). I know it can hurt people's feelings to be in the minority, but on WP it's important to distinguish between majority and minority viewpoints. It's also the honest thing to do. If you can find a source that says most Christians think it's true, then we can talk about that, too, as long as it's separate from what most historians think is true. Leadwind (talk) 14:30, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
I think the difficulty here arises from Maier's quote about "most modern biographers ...". It is quite possible that Maier is overstating the case against historicity in order to justify his journal article, which argues for historicity (and from my reading of Maier's article most of the "biographers of Herod" he speaks of are dependent on secondary rather than primary sources). It is certainly an act of academic rigour to ensure you give full justice to opposing views, which Maier (imo) does. The other part of the trouble is that many of those who comment in the literature have a pre-sharpened axe to grind. Fortunately whether the incident really happened or not is of no interest to Wikipedia - only reflecting what is written by scholars. My conclusion: find more verifiable stuff to balance the Maier's quote. Hope this helps - and suggests positive ways forward! Springnuts (talk) 17:48, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

The lead currently states that "There are historians who view the event as non-historical." This seems to imply that such a view is not the majority view, and that would seem to be false. Are there any sources that claim that 'many' or 'most' scholars accept the story as real? If not, the lead should more accurately present the majority viewpoint.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:44, 29 December 2011 (UTC)


"historicizing"??? Mannanan51 (talk) 19:29, 30 May 2011 (UTC)mannanan51

the verb "to historicize" is derived from "history" and means: "to prove that something has actually happened like it's written in history books". (talk) 18:10, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
Actually, "historicize" means "To make or make appear historical" or "To use historical details or materials." The Oxford online dictionary defines it as "treat or represent as historical"--BruceGrubb (talk) 18:44, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
“When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.” Springnuts (talk) 17:31, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Reversion of heading section.[edit]

I have (here: [4]) changed the article back for four reasons:

1. "Some accounts" suggests that there are a number of accounts of the massacre, varying in their count of the dead. In fact there is one account, Matthew's, which does not give an estimate.

2. "... number them at more than 10,000" - The number in the high thousands (I believe in an orthodox liturgy) is (I understand) of 144,000 - ie it is a symbolic numbering (cf the martrys in the Revelation to John) rather than a mathematical estimate as such.

3. "Most modern historians" - One source (Maier) says "most modern biographers of Herod". This is very different to a consensus of sources that "most modern historians ...."

4. The open-ness of the historicity question should be reflected in the summary.

Springnuts (talk) 15:14, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Do any historians state that it happened, or that it is likely to have happened?? Do any offer any evidence?--Jeffro77 (talk) 15:16, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Massacre or Slaughter?[edit]

It's a very minor point, but is 'Massacre of the Innocents' the standard terminology for this event? In England, at least, I think 'Slaughter of the Innocents' is more common. (talk) 12:33, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

Slaughter is the term with which I too am familiar. Daniel the Monk (talk) 14:53, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
Might be worth checking in some older standard textbooks. Springnuts (talk) 21:34, 18 September 2012 (UTC)


What year did this take place in? -- (talk) 07:20, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Hmmm - there is a lot of "generally assumed" here ... but this:
It is impossible to determine the day or the year of the death of the Holy Innocents, since the chronology of the birth of Christ and the subsequent Biblical events is most uncertain. All we know is that the infants were slaughtered within two years following the apparition of the star to the Wise Men (Belser, in the Tübingen "Quartalschrift", 1890, p. 361).
(Quoted in the Catholic Encyclopedia ( )
is probably a fair exposition of the uncertainty. Springnuts (talk) 22:23, 29 November 2012 (UTC)


The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was not moved. --BDD (talk) 18:13, 10 December 2012 (UTC) (non-admin closure)

Massacre of the InnocentsSlaughtering of the Innocents – I've never heard the biblical event described in this article as the "Massacre of the Innocents", always "Slaughtering". Apart from being PC, is there any reason this title is at "Massacre" and not "Slaughtering"? pbp 03:20, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

  • Oppose. Google books indicates 295 use Slaughtering, 68,600 use Slaughter, and 114,000 use "Massacre". Apteva (talk) 04:45, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I have not heard the incident being referred to as the "Slaughtering of the Innocents". But is anyone aware of any systemic bias? Maybe in other English speaking areas it is so named? Springnuts (talk) 20:31, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Despite the nom's preposterous claims, almost invariably referred to in English as the Massacre of the Innocents. -- Necrothesp (talk) 20:57, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Slaughtering" isn't the same word-phrase as "Slaughter of the Innocents". -- (talk) 10:28, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose per all Johnbod (talk) 10:59, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. "Massacre of the Innocents" is the clear common name. Sometimes it's "Slaughter of the Innocents", but nobody says "Slaughtering of the Innocents". See this ngram. Kauffner (talk) 15:25, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose for now. Would suggest the originator needs to provide reliably sourced verification that Slaughtering (or perhaps Slaughter) is used more commonly at the majority of religious perspectives and denominational groups (eg: Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, etc.). Currently I'm not seeing that majority view. Perhaps it is a POV / syntax or even a biblical translation thing - rather like King James translation and language style, vs the St Joseph, New International, New American, etc., versions of the gospels? If so, would suggest providing the alternate names of the event in the introductory information section, and make sure there are suitable wiki-redirects in place, so folks coming from the "slaughter" POV can find their way home. --T-dot ( Talk/contribs ) 16:28, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Timing of events[edit]

If Herod died in 4 BC, how could he order the execution of infants after Jesus's birth had been announced to him by the Magi? ...Apparently he died BEFORE Jesus was born. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:17, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

"Although not Christians"[edit]

Obviously they were not Christians; this is pre- the ministry of Jesus; the Cross and Christian Baptism ... they could not be Christians! This is appropriately implicitly stated using the words "claimed as". So, mentioning it (and in the lede especially) gives undue weight to a technicality. Would editors please discuss here and gain consensus before re-introducing this point. Friendly regards, Springnuts (talk) 07:48, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

Not everything that seems to be obvious is obvious to everyone. It may make sense from a Christian point of view. But there are other views - 'the ministry of Jesus', for instance, is a Christian framing of events that others would not necessarily accept. We need to give a broader perspective. We are talking here about Jewish children claimed as martyrs by members of a religion they did not belong to. I find it extraordinary that anyone would consider that a technicality. Quite apart from that, there is the issue of how anyone can be a martyr without choosing to. However, I will add details and appropriate citations to show there is more than a 'technicality' at issue here. --Rbreen (talk) 22:43, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
I think Johnbod has found a good turn of phrase. Springnuts (talk) 08:40, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Rbreen asks how anyone can be a martyr without choosing to be. I know this isn't a forum for discussing the topic but Rbreen raised the question. Anyway, St Augustine said that unbaptized children go to Hell. Therefore if the Holy Innocents weren't martyrs they'd go to Hell. So Augustine made the Holy Innocents martyrs in order that they wouldn't go to Hell. Fletcherbrian (talk) 01:26, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

Except the idea long predates St Augustine, whose ideas on where unbaptized children go are far from the only ones in Catholic theology. Johnbod (talk) 04:43, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

On July 23, 1936 ten minim nuns of the Barcelona monastery were executed. I'm pretty sure they didn't volunteer. Mannanan51 (talk) 22:10, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

The vast majority of Christian martyrs don't "volunteer", but they are Christian. But this is 2 years old. Johnbod (talk) 04:51, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

Massacres of Men Category[edit]

The Massacres of men category has been recently removed from this article, the requirements of of Massacres of men category are "For inclusion in this category there must be evidence that demonstrates men and boys were specifically targeted for death based on their gender, and the fact that men were specifically targeted during the event must be WP:DEFINING of the incident." This entire incident is a massacre of infant boys, and only boys. This would mark it as defining, and that only boys were targeted. As such I believe that this category is accurate for this article and should be reinstated. --Kyohyi (talk) 13:40, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

There's no proof this event ever happened. Putting in mythological events into this category is not within the remit of the category description. jps (talk) 13:52, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree. Apart from the fact that in the story they're babies, not grown men - the category itself is problematic (why not 'Massacres of males'?) - and that the category appears to relate to gendercide (Herod has nothing against males as such, he just wants to ensure the death of one particular male), the fact that this is a fictional event excludes it. --Rbreen (talk) 18:15, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
It is not a "fact" that the massacre never happened, but an opinion, if a widely held one (as is its opposite). Categories are not the place to slug this out, and the other categories do not treat the event as fictional. See the extended discussion in the article. I have readded it to the main ungendered category, though the other should perhaps be "Massacres of males", which this would fit. Johnbod (talk) 19:37, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
There are no reliable sources which indicate that this event took place, so it is a fact that it did not happen. jps (talk) 21:22, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
Er, no. There are plenty of RS, some cited in the article, that think it did, or may have done. Treating the New Testament as fiction will not stand, and it is not worth attacking even this soft underbelly. Johnbod (talk) 14:26, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Actually, there are precisely ZERO sources that are not Christian which state that there is independent evidence of this event occurring. Christians seem to want their mythology to be true, but that's not the way we decide whether something is a historical fact. jps (talk) 15:01, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Jps, being a WP:BIASED source does not automatically qualify the source to be automatically unreliable. Though there may be other factors, such as being self published that does, being biased does not disqualify it. Additionally, rollbacking my edits without an edit summary is considering them to be 'vandalism' and that's an abuse of rollback. Once more and I'll be reporting it. Tutelary (talk) 15:13, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
This comment is not about content, and this is the first brush you've had with this page. Following your friends around must be fun, but do you have any sources at all? jps (talk) 18:22, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Jps, you incessantly talking about user conduct rather than talking about the article is not acceptable. Following your friends around must be fun, is an example of what I'm talking about, and you should knock it off. I am allowed to comment on any portion I want, or not at all. I'm not mandated to comment further, or I'm obligated in my own mind to leave a 10 paragraph response. Filibustering rules permitting The sources are mostly book sources which I cannot personally access but that does not disqualify them. Tutelary (talk) 18:28, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Since you can't read the sources, it seems you are basing your opinion on bias and favoritism. I haven't seen any evidence that you actually do anything else here. jps (talk) 17:16, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
@ Rbreen, from the category page of Massacres of men the difference of age is considered irrelevant. Much like the similar category Massacres of Women, the category is intended to categorize instances in which men or boys were killed because they were men/boys. While Herod may have only wanted one particular boy dead, the method used was to kill all boys. As such boys were targeted because they were boys. --Kyohyi (talk) 15:20, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
  • keep in category If this was a purely fictional event, I would agree, and it should not be categorized with real events. Nonetheless, there is a debate in the scholarship over whether such an event happened. We know that some stories in the New Testament are true, and some are more myth, but given this is an extremely well-known story and is referenced in the literature on massacres (e.g. The Massacre in History) and was itself the subject of a huge outpouring of artwork, writing, literature, and so on over the past 1000 years, I think the navigational value provided to the reader by its presence in this category outweighs any concerns about the historicity of this event (which as noted is not an open-shut case, but is rather debated in the literature as covered in the article). For another example, see Rape which starts with an image of Lucretia being raped, a story which is likely somewhat true, and somewhat myth. The rape category contains a whole subcat of Category:Mythological_rape_victims, and the Rape category also contains myths such as Orang Minyak Popobawa. I think readers are clever enough that when they click on the article, they can read the title and see "Ah, ok, this is a biblical story that may or may not have occurred, but it IS a story about massacring all male infants, and is thus topically linked to the other articles in this category". If we had several other examples, we could create a category of Category:Massacres of men in myth and fiction, but for now we don't have enough to merit such a subcategory, so keeping in the main category seems reasonable.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 16:58, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Name one secular historian who thinks this event is likely to have occurred. jps (talk) 17:15, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Remove Evangelical wishful thinking does not mean we pretend there is any sort of controversy amongst historians about this "event". Second Quantization (talk) 15:59, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Remove It's not read as an example of gendered violence. Of course it's within the categories scope to include fictional events that are widely seen as gendered violence, but it seems like the curators of this category are again scraping the barrel for anything even tangentially connected to Violence against men, only a week or two after promising to be more careful with it. Is it even seen as discrimination against men anywhere in the Bible? The aim was to "avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews". Of course they were killed for their gender, but I seriously doubt that the massacre occurred due to Misandry. Are there any bible scholars who assess this topic in tangent with Violence against men or is this another case of independent research related to this category on website? It trivilaises both VAM and VAW to include loosely associated topics like this within their categories -- (talk) 11:37, 18 July 2014 (UTC)


There is no strong evidence that this happened. Therefore it should not be categorized with categories that include verified events. jps (talk) 16:28, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

The cat does not demonstrate the need for it to be real events, and given the particulars of interpreting Biblical narratives and the offset of including sources which I personally cannot access, IE: Book sources. The cat's defining scope is this This category is for articles on the topic of mass murder or massacres of men or boys where the victims are selected to be killed based on their gender. This is true of this article, and I !vote to include the cat in this circumstance, due to the scope of the cat. Tutelary (talk) 16:42, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Name one other article that is included in either of the two categories about an event for which there is no independent verification that it actually happened. jps (talk) 16:45, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
OSE (even in this case), and everything requires context, especially in this situation. It's a complicated scenario which can only be resolved through discussion. In this case, there's an encyclopedic benefit for having the category there for an event which is still debated to have happened. Again, as I stated, the cat's scope does not require it to be fictional/nonfictional/proven to have happened, and even if it were summarily disproved, the cat would still belong. Tutelary (talk) 17:11, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
You haven't named a single source. You have nothing. Your edits don't add anything to this conversation but a lack of demonstrating that the academic research which is required to contribute has occurred. jps (talk) 17:17, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
It appears to me the summary of your argument is that the sources that do state that this event happened do not constitute "strong evidence". In that case what would constitute "strong evidence? --Kyohyi (talk) 17:55, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Any independent source who gave a historiographical explanation for why it was likely that this event actually happened would be a great start. And by "independent", I mean "a source that was not authored by a Christian predisposed to believing the Bible at its face value." jps (talk) 18:38, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
I hope, jps, you will turn your sceptical eye to Lucius Aurunculeius Cotta for whom only one, POV, source is available. There is no strong evidence that he existed, so will you be removing him from the categories of: 1st-century BC Romans / Roman people of the Gallic Wars / 54 BC deaths and adding him to List of Roman mythological figures? But I doubt you will! Springnuts (talk) 15:27, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

NPOV and reporting what the sources say[edit]

There are some problems with the current edits in that there is one attempt to paint the supporters of historicity as "devout Christians" while at the same time making claims which are not found in sources, such as that about a lack of evidence. Neutrality is key here, we must report what the sources say and not embellish them with our own perceptions or agenda. Elizium23 (talk) 21:03, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

I support the removal of such content. Tutelary (talk) 21:12, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
All of the supporters of the historicity of this account are Christians. No one denies this. Do either of you? We have plenty of sources which so identify this. Essentially all of these sources indicate as much for just about everything written in the New Testament: [5]. The whole historicity game is one where conservative Christians engage in apologetics while more scholarly approaches question the poor evidence for historicity of many claims including this one. jps (talk) 22:27, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Do the sources explicitly state Christian Apologetics like you are attempting to portray? We cannot imply or heavily imply connections without the collaboration of what's written in reliable sources. Tutelary (talk) 22:42, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes. Read them. jps (talk) 23:00, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

There is not a lack of evidence for the Christian viewpoint. There is only jps's opinion that that evidence does not count. Even if there were no secular authorities who accepted the Biblical account as true historically (an unproven claim), it is a non-sequitur to state that therefore there is no evidence. It is not required that there be any secular acceptance. The disparate viewpoints can be mentioned and discussed in the article, but they are viewpoints belonging to WP:RS. Insistence on secular views alone would be WP:POVPUSH and cannot be accepted. A Christian viewpoint is admittedly a viewpoint, as is a secular viewpoint, but viewpoints are expressed, neutrally, per WP:NPOV. Calling Christian viewpoints WP:FRINGE is WP:SNOW, and again a POVPUSH. The central point is that while there are disparate views, each held widely, they therefore are governed by NPOV and balanced by rejection of POVPUSH. In my opinion, "slaughter" is a more appropriate term to use to describe the Biblical account, as "massacre" is more subject to shades of meaning not universally agreed on. Evensteven (talk) 08:26, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

?Of course there is a lack of evidence. The word "lack" can mean 'deficient in' or 'not having enough of something', and so far as I can see there is just one source for this. Dougweller (talk) 10:17, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
WP:MAINSTREAM sources that discuss this event question its historicity on the grounds described in the article. We do not give equal time to all viewpoints when one viewpoint (in this case, the religious one) is less supported by the scholars in the field than the other. jps (talk) 12:00, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Dougweller, re your point on the meaning of "lack", I grant that. There is a deficiency of evidence in that there is but one source (the Bible), as I have said at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Christianity/Noticeboard#Attempt to categorize New Testament events as fictional, although I didn't yet say it here. Jps, scholars have neither the freedom to invent ungrounded theories nor to ignore what evidence there is. They recognize the single source, and the lack of confirming sources, and the inability to construct a definitive scholarly statement about the historicity. This differs from your contention that there is no evidence at all (not a "lack", but an absence), and from your contention that scholars "support" either the idea that the event did not occur, or that it did. They may give their own opinion, even a scholarly opinion, but they do not give a scholarly "support" in either direction because they do support the fact that there is a deficiency of evidence. There is a difference between scholarly opinion and that of support. As I have said, this matter cannot be resolved simply on the basis of available information, and that is what the scholars say also. Unresolved does not equate to "proven false". There are at least two viewpoints, Christian and secular, and neither prevails. But they can be presented neutrally in the article and without pushing a viewpoint. Evensteven (talk) 17:06, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The fact that we have confirmatory independent evidence for other massacres that occurred in the same category means we shouldn't lump this story with historically verified accounts. In Wikipedia, secular WP:MAINSTREAM scholarship always trumps the magical thinking that imbues Christian faith in the infallibility of their scriptures. jps (talk) 17:45, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

And I agree with Bermicourt that there is no necessity for restricting the category to confirmed historical massacres. Evensteven (talk) 17:59, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Then Texas Chainsaw Massacre is appropriate? I'm fine with that, just don't think that's the intention of the category. jps (talk) 18:45, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
  • The point of these categories is to help in navigation. We often will split fictional events from real ones, but as pointed out somewhere else, in the Category:Rape category we have several "myths" in the head cat. In this case, the historicity of the event is actually debated, but its overall influence is significant and has inspired art and discussion for at least 1,000 years. Thus, no useful comparisons can be drawn between this and purely fictional massacres for which no serious debate about their having occurred exists. On balance, in spite of the debate about the historicity of the event, it is an excellent example to go in Category:Massacres of men (the scope includes boys) and the reader is the better for it. If one must invoke WP:IAR to do so, that's fine.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 18:53, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Show me a source which indicates there is "serious debate" that this event occurred. The sources in the article right now that are most sympathetic to the case only argue about plausibility, but no one says there is evidence that the event occurred outside of the unreliable cultic Christian account. jps (talk) 21:38, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Obiwankenobi is correct. You make no argument here, but only cast aspersion in the form of "cultic". Your opposition to Christianity is known, but reiteration is unproductive. Evensteven (talk) 21:48, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Most Bible scholars and NT historians (except fundamentalists), readily admit that the massacre does not have historicity (either because it did not happen or because it is unproven). Even favorable scholars claim there were six to twenty infants killed, so that's why other ancient sources do not report it. Other scholars say it is a legend derived from the fact that Herod killed his own sons. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:10, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
As I have said repeatedly, what some say, and what words they use to say it, does not settle the matter. I don't deny your sources, or their proper significance. That does not change what I have said. Evensteven (talk) 17:15, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Who cares what you said. Where are you reliable academic sources for claiming the massacre occured? Second Quantization (talk) 16:01, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Indeed, there are precisely zero reliable sources which attest certainty to the occurrence of the event. The most positively inclined only deal with plausibility. jps (talk) 16:47, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

You don't spend a lot of time looking at ancient history, I take it? Johnbod (talk) 13:11, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
You take it wrong. I am concerned that you are a Wikipedia Ambassador considering how poorly you've conducted yourself in this affair. jps (talk) 14:24, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Yada, yada; I'm not in fact. Johnbod (talk) 14:43, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
That seems like a reach and low blow, jps, seeing as how Johnbod's comments were made in a personal capacity only. I'm surprised at the cheapness of the statement. Ceoil (talk) 16:37, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
jps, just noting: Johnbod, as Wikimedian in residence at Cancer Research UK, is getting them to peer-review (some of, but hopefully lots more later) our cancer articles. I think he's the most effective and beneficial WIR we've ever had. By a mile. Let's focus on the article. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 18:13, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
I wish the user in question wouldn't then do obnoxious things like this: [6]. jps (talk) 03:14, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Problem solved: the article has been categorized with Massacres in the Bible. No longer need we to worry about it being real or fictional. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:43, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Never did need to worry about it. Evensteven (talk) 19:09, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Ldolphin source[edit]

I am familiar with the site It is a WP:SELFPUBLISHed website. We should not be using it in this article. [7]

jps (talk) 12:12, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

I agree that this is a self-published website and that it cannot be accepted per WP:RS. Evensteven (talk) 17:58, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
OP SOFIXIT. Ho hum, not everything needs a cheer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ceoil (talkcontribs) 16:26, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
I did fix it, and was reverted. Which is why we needed to discuss it here. After this, I fixed it again and, so far, the fix has stuck. ~~ [jps]
Exactly. And since we were in considerable disagreement above about what constitutes reliable sources, I thought it appropriate to verify that we were on the same page with this one. Evensteven (talk) 19:17, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Barclay's argument[edit]

Presently, we say:

William Barclay argues Josephus' silence is not relevant, drawing a parallel with the diarist John Evelyn's failure to mention the massacre at Glencoe.

One's a history, the other a diary. An intelligent diarist includes what interests him, an intelligent historian, like Josephus, includes the king murdering all of Bethlehem's infant boys, whether it interests him or not. In a history written by a highly-educated, very well-informed, intelligent reporter, absence of evidence strongly suggests absence.

Has an historian responded to Barclay's argument? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 19:04, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Logically, yes, absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence. We don't need a historian to tell us this. But absence of evidence means absence of historicity, since historicity is something for reasonably proven events. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:40, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Any information from the Bible is filtered through several criteria: it has to be ancient (dated within a century from the narrated events), it is likely if it is dissimilar to (shameful for) the author's agenda, it is more likely if it is independently attested, it has to make sense in the historical context of what we already know about ancient Palestine, it is unlikely if it serves author's agenda. Basically, from applying these criteria it follows that Matthew's claim for the massacre is not very trustworthy. It is of course compatible with Herod's character to have done such thing, and his acceptance of astrology offers an explanation of why he would have ordered such massacre. But the later is of course speculation. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:10, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Barclay isn't even an historian. Why are we citing him? Does anyone mind if I remove that sentence? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 21:07, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

I've deleted it and Rudolf Schnackenburg's opinion - he's not an historian either.[8] --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 02:08, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Lead paragraph, last sentence[edit]

With all due respect to the cited authors, who say the church calls the Innocents "Christian martyrs", I must say that the viewpoint is western, and I have no knowledge of how widely-held it is there. I would ask if anyone knows. I will also say that I do not have a copy of the source, and cannot tell if the editing fairly represents the authors' view. It is certainly off-center as regards Orthodox teaching, so there may be viewpoint differences. We should be very careful about how this matter is stated, particularly in the lead.

For now, please realize that Orthodoxy may (I think it does, but need to check to be sure) identify them as martyrs. I am virtually certain it does not identify them as Christians. They were Jewish. Please be aware that many Jews are identified and celebrated as Orthodox saints, among them: Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, many Prophets such as Isaiah, and foremost, John the Baptist (the Forerunner), and the Virgin Mary (the Theotokos). None of these post-date Christ's time on earth, as acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah would identify them as Christian. But the Orthodox teaching of the harrowing of hell describes the release of the righteous dead and their raising to life in God's heavenly kingdom; hence, as saints. The Holy Innocents would fall into that category. (Please be aware also that the "Holy" in "Holy Innocents", the Orthodox way of referring to them, is a translation of "Agia" (Αγια), meaning "holy", and which is also used for "saint".) Evensteven (talk) 23:49, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

Tag in Historicity section[edit]

@Supersymmetry2: Sorry if I'm being a pain. However, if you know that mention does not occur in the Jewish liturgy, then it's a knowable quantity, and reliable sources can say so. Now, I know that sources are not often going to address a silence, although the wranglings that some do over this issue might spark responses. So I would suggest that we wait a long time for a source to be found before removing the paragraph. The search could be prolonged. On the other hand, just how long is the liturgy you're talking about? The Seder meal only? If so, that's not so long that it can't be reviewed in toto, and the liturgy itself becomes the source. What could be more reliable than that? Evensteven (talk) 18:26, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

No. On second thought, I reverse myself. The tag is making a claim in itself, saying "there is too a Jewish liturgy that is not silent". If so, then let it be found and used as a source. It is a justifiable thing to oppose having to prove a thing like silence, even if it is knowable. Lack of silence is equally knowable, and much more easily provable. If the paragraph is in error, then the lack of silence is the evidence that should be produced. Evensteven (talk) 18:45, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
The tag for a citation is not making any claim that "there is too a Jewish liturgy that is not silent", but rather "who said this?" The difficulty with the first two paragraphs of the Historicity section is not the analysis, but that it is unattributed. Surely someone other than an editor has made these observations. If the source is someone mentioned further down in the discussion, than perhaps the statements should be likewise be placed with the source. Mannanan51 (talk) 17:03, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
Or the source may be used multiple times, once in this location. Evensteven (talk) 19:56, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

I've just cut the para. It's been in question for ages and no-one has found a reference. The period is not one covered in the Hebrew Bible, & I don't think the lack of mention in later ritual demonstrates anything much. Plenty of larger massacres in antiquity are not so remembered. Johnbod (talk) 21:35, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

Thanks. I was tempted, but did not feel certain enough myself. Evensteven (talk) 02:08, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

Revert of original research[edit]

The reverted piece was not original research. It did not have the <ref> tags, but it was not original research. Some of its sources were outdated, so this might be a better reason for removal than claiming original research. Tgeorgescu (talk) 18:33, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

Yes, I've restored it. It was certainly referenced. Johnbod (talk) 21:11, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
It is original research, editor cites Luke & Embassy to Gaius to support his own defense of historicity. Editor cites William F. Albright, who's position was fringe compared to scholarly consensus. This all amounts to undue weight, especially given following paragraph provides better sourced and appropriately weighted counter-points. I'd recommend establishing consensus prior to reverting. (talk) 16:40, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
I'd advise against edit warring. Addition was made yesterday, debate is for its inclusion. "Blanket removal" justified, as consensus existed prior to addition. (talk) 17:08, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
NVM, moot point now that I've recognize the addition as a copyright violation from / apologist website. It should have been clear to anyone reviewing section that "Brown 1993:226, footnote 34" doesn't correspond to this article. I believe this supersedes three revert rule. I apologize for not catching this sooner. (talk) 17:34, 29 December 2015 (UTC)