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Paperback The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach about Jesus's Birth Book

ISBN: 0061430714

ISBN13: 9780061430718

The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach about Jesus's Birth

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Book Overview

"Who could argue with the message the authors draw from the Bible's Christmas stories? Light in the darkest time of the year, hope in a period of creeping despair--these are powerful and universal themes that can give everyone a stake in Christmas."
--USA Today

In The First Christmas Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan--top Jesus scholars and authors of The Last Week--help us see the real Christmas story buried in the familiar...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Fascinating new look about the birth narratives

The birth narratives in Matthew and Luke are so familiar, heard every Christmas in church and on the radio, that I wasn't sure there was much more I could learn about them. How wrong I was! Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan's book started brilliantly; within the first chapter I was hooked on what they unfolded. They approach the birth narratives as parables/metaphors, not particularly addressing modern-day ideas of historicity but instead looking at the narratives and their structure in terms of what the gospel writers might have wanted to say. It becomes clear that Matthew and Luke are very different, with Matthew presenting Jesus as the New Moses, reflecting many images and ideas from Jewish writings, and Luke's emphasis on the stories as an overture to his larger themes of women, the marginalised and the Holy Spirit. The book goes step-by-step through some parts of the nativity stories, explaining the historical context for many of the events, showing the parallels and the differences between the gospels, relating parts to historical or metaphorical events. I found the book began slightly to drag by the end but I was really taken by much of what they said, particularly the links Matthew makes between Jesus, Moses and Caesar. Some more conservative Christians will probably find the liberal tone of the book too much to stomach which is a real shame as there are some real gems in here, but for those with an open mind and an interest in understanding more about the world of the time of Jesus this is an unmissable book.

Christmas Riches

Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan explore Matthew and Luke's Christmas narratives in this provocative-can't-put-down book. They place the stories in historical context and then thoughtfully explore the rich symbolism and meaning of the Gospel accounts of events surrounding the birth of Jesus. The results are new and powerful meanings to the Christmas stories for the modern ear-- stories that for two-thousand years have beckoned humankind away from the pursuit of peace though violence and toward God's call to the pursuit peace though non-violence and justice for all. THIS A GREAT BOOK THAT IS WELL WORTH THE READ!

Christmas - Good News

This book is very significant as we strive to know more about the Christmas stories for that is exactly what they are - Stories. However, what these stories TEACH us make us more aware of the Christ event. I found the book fascinating.

Brilliant Bible Study of Christmas narratives

This is a terrific reading of the Christmas narratives. Background information is very helpful. The "Birth Narratives" are an Overture of themes that will be developed in the rest of the Gospel.

Bor4g and Crossan Publish Another Winner

Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan are famous for taking current biblical scholarship and making it readable for the general public. The First Christmas is an excellent example. It is an easy to read version of current belief about the Birth Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. It is not a devotional book. Few Bible academics even imagine that the Birth Narratives are historical. However, to use the word "myth" has too many connotations. Borg and Crossan use the term "parables" for these accounts. Although there is some similarity, the differences are great. Christmas combines the two accounts, and nobody is aware of it. This book calls the Birth Narratives "parabolic overtures," meaaning that they are intentional parables, intended to tell the general approach to Jesus that is taken in each Gospel, Matthew and Luke. The comparison is excellent reading.
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