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Sermon on the Mount: Proof of Time Travel?

PotomacBob

Many years ago I read a short story, maybe one in a sci-fi collection,that argued that the Biblical story of the Sermon on the Mount proves that there is time travel.
The argument went something like this. Suppose time travel were possible. Where would you like to go? In this fictional story, the top choice of those who take "vacations" in times past is to see the Sermon on the Mount.
The Bible says (I think depending on which of the Gospels you read) there were 5,000 or 10,000 people there who were fed by a couple of loaves of bread and a few fishes. The clincher of the argument: This was in the year a.d. 30 or so, and there's no way you could get 5,000 to 10,000 people together in this backwater of civilization unless it was people from the future coming together to watch the spectacle.
My question: Do the numbers make sense in this argument? Were there so few people living within traveling distance that it would be implausible for that many to get together? (I have no idea how much time people would have needed to get notified of the event and then make the trip.)

Franco

I think the story you are thinking of is Up the Line, by Robert Silverberg (1969). It's a novel and very good, and pretty sexy for a published sf novel.

About the crowd - The bible says there were multitudes. How many people that means is a guess. Most biblical movies show at most a few hundred.

From Wikipedia, Demographic History of Jerusalem: "New Testament scholar Cousland notes that 'recent estimates of the population of Jerusalem (in the first century) suggest something in the neighbourhood of a hundred thousand'". Other estimates are lower. It's doubtful ten percent (or even a larger percentage) of the population of Jerusalem would attend the Sermon on the Mount.

Replies:   PotomacBob
Wheezer

It's doubtful ten percent (or even a larger percentage) of the population of Jerusalem would attend the Sermon on the Mount.


It's even more doubtful they would all show up without lunch, which would get shared with their nearby neighbors in the crowd if the person they came to see made an example of sharing.

PotomacBob

@Franco

Thank you very much. Now that you provided the title, I found my dead-tree version (paperback) in the basement. I'll re-read it.
Thanks again.

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