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The nativity of Jesus
Jesus
or birth of Jesus
Jesus
is described in the gospels of Luke and Matthew. The two accounts agree that Jesus
Jesus
was born in Bethlehem
Bethlehem
in the time of Herod the Great
Herod the Great
to a betrothed virgin whose name was Mary.[1] They also differ slightly in content, because they are two separate accounts, given by two individuals, thus each includes some details that the other chose to omit; however, this fact does not strongly evidence contradiction (as some believe) and the differences are not major. Matthew does not mention the census, annunciation to the shepherds or presentation in the Temple, does not give the name of the angel that appeared to Joseph to foretell the birth. In Luke there is no mention of Magi, no flight into Egypt, or Massacre of the Innocents, and the angel who announces the coming birth to Mary is named (as Gabriel) .[1] While it is possible that Matthew's account might be based on Luke, or Luke's on Matthew, the majority of scholars conclude that the two are independent of each other, and therefore offer independently opted details, much the way no two individuals today would give an identically worded account of a past event, at separate times to separate audiences (a statistical improbability) [1] In Christian theology
Christian theology
the nativity marks the birth of Jesus
Jesus
in fulfillment of the divine will of God, to save the world from sin. The artistic depiction of the nativity has been an important subject for Christian artists since the 4th century. Since the 13th century, the nativity scene has emphasized the humility of Jesus
Jesus
and promoted a more tender image of him, as a major turning point from the early "Lord and Master" image, mirroring changes in the common approaches taken by Christian pastoral ministry.[2][3][4] The nativity plays a major role in the Christian liturgical year. Christian congregations of the Western tradition (including the Catholic Church, the Western Rite Orthodox, the Anglican Communion, and many Protestants) begin observing the season of Advent
Advent
four Sundays before Christmas, the traditional feast-day of his birth, which falls on December 25. Christians of the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
and Oriental Orthodox Church observe a similar season, sometimes called Advent
Advent
but also called the "Nativity Fast", which begins forty days before Christmas. Some Eastern Orthodox Christians (e.g. Greeks and Syrians) celebrate Christmas
Christmas
on December 25. Other Orthodox (e.g. Copts, Ethiopians, Georgians, and Russians) celebrate Christmas
Christmas
on (the Gregorian) January 7 ( Koiak 29 on coptic calendar)[5] as a result of their churches continuing to follow the Julian calendar, rather than the modern day Gregorian calendar.[6]

Contents

1 Date of birth 2 Place of birth 3 New Testament
New Testament
narratives

3.1 Gospel
Gospel
of Matthew 3.2 Gospel
Gospel
of Luke

4 Themes and analogies

4.1 Thematic analysis 4.2 Old Testament
Old Testament
parallels

5 Christian theology

5.1 Birth of the new man 5.2 Christology

6 Impact on Christianity

6.1 Feasts and liturgical elements 6.2 Transforming the image of Jesus

7 Hymns, art and music

7.1 Canticles appearing in Luke 7.2 Visual arts 7.3 Hymns, music and performances

8 Historical analysis

8.1 Traditional views

8.1.1 Harmonization

8.2 Critical analysis 8.3 Massacre of the Innocents

9 See also 10 References

10.1 Citations 10.2 Bibliography

11 External links

Date of birth[edit] See also: Date of birth of Jesus
Jesus
and Chronology of Jesus § Historical birth date of Jesus The date of birth for Jesus
Jesus
of Nazareth
Nazareth
is not stated in the gospels or in any secular text, but a majority of scholars assume a date of birth between 6 BC and 4 BC.[7] The historical evidence is too ambiguous to allow a definitive dating,[8] but the date is estimated through two different approaches — one by analyzing references to known historical events mentioned in the Nativity accounts in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, and the second by working backwards from the estimation of the start of the ministry of Jesus.[9][10] Place of birth[edit]

Altar in the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

The Gospels of both Matthew and Luke place the birth of Jesus
Jesus
in Bethlehem.[11][12] Although Matthew does not explicitly state Joseph's place of origin or where he lived prior to the birth of Jesus,[13][14] the account implies that the family lived in Bethlehem, and explains that they later settled in Nazareth.[15] However, Luke 1:26–27 clearly states that Mary lived in Nazareth
Nazareth
before the birth of Jesus, at the time of the Annunciation.[14] The Gospel
Gospel
of Luke states that Mary gave birth to Jesus
Jesus
and placed him in a manger “because there was no place for them in the inn", but does not say exactly where Jesus
Jesus
was born.[16] The Greek word kataluma may be translated as either “inn” or “guestroom”, and some scholars have speculated that Joseph and Mary may have sought to stay with relatives, rather than at an inn, only to find the house full, whereupon they resorted to the shelter of a room with a manger. This could be a place to keep the sheep within the Bethlehem
Bethlehem
area, called "Migdal Eder" ("tower of flock") as prophesied by prophet Micah in Micah 4:8.[17] In the 2nd century, Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr
stated that Jesus
Jesus
had been born in a cave outside the town, while the Protoevangelium of James described a legendary birth in a cave nearby.[18][19] The Church of the Nativity inside the town, built by St. Helena, contains the cave-manger site traditionally venerated as the birthplace of Jesus, which may have originally been a site of the cult of the god Tammuz.[20] In Contra Celsum 1.51, Origen, who from around 215 travelled throughout Palestine, wrote of the "manger of Jesus".[21] The Quranic birth of Jesus, like the Gospels, places the virgin birth of Jesus
Jesus
in Bethlehem.[22][23][24] New Testament
New Testament
narratives[edit]

Nativity of Jesus, by Botticelli

Gospel
Gospel
of Matthew[edit]

A page from an 11th-century Gospel
Gospel
of Matthew showing Matthew 1:21

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was betrothed to Joseph, but was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Joseph intended to divorce her quietly, but an angel told him in a dream that he should take Mary as his wife and name the child Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins. Joseph awoke and did all that the angel commanded. Chapter 1 of Matthew's Gospel
Gospel
recounts Jesus' birth and naming[25] and the beginning of chapter 2 reveals that Jesus
Jesus
was born in Bethlehem during the time of Herod the Great. Magi from the east came to Herod and asked him where they would find the King of the Jews, because they had seen his star. Advised by the chief priests and teachers, Herod sent the Magi to Bethlehem, where they worshiped the child and gave him gifts. When they had departed an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and warned him to take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, for Herod intended to kill him. The Holy Family
Holy Family
remained in Egypt until Herod died, when Joseph took them to Nazareth
Nazareth
in Galilee for fear of Herod's son who now ruled in Jerusalem. Gospel
Gospel
of Luke[edit] See also: Visitation of Mary

Angel Gabriel's Annunciation
Annunciation
to Mary, by Murillo, c. 1655

In the days when Herod was king of Judea, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth
Nazareth
in Galilee to announce to a virgin named Mary, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, that a child would be born to her and she was to name him Jesus, for he would be the son of God and rule over Israel forever. When the time of the birth drew near the Roman Emperor commanded a census of all the world, and Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem, the city of David, as he was of the House of David. So it came to pass that Jesus
Jesus
was born in Bethlehem, and as there was no room in the town the infant was laid in a manger while angels announced his birth and shepherds worshiped him as Messiah
Messiah
and Lord. In accordance with the Jewish law his parents presented the infant Jesus
Jesus
at the Temple in Jerusalem, where the righteous Simeon and Anna the Prophetess gave thanks to God who had sent his salvation. Joseph and Mary then returned to Nazareth. There "the child grew and became strong, and was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him." Each year his parents went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, and when Jesus
Jesus
was twelve years old they found him in the Temple listening to the teachers and asking questions so that all who heard him were amazed. His mother rebuked him for causing them anxiety, because they had not known where he was, but he answered that he was in his Father's house. "Then he went down to Nazareth
Nazareth
with them and was obedient to them, but his mother treasured all these things in her heart, and Jesus
Jesus
grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." Themes and analogies[edit] Thematic analysis[edit]

Gospel
Gospel
of Matthew, 1700.

Helmut Koester writes that while Matthew's narrative was formed in a Jewish environment, Luke's was modeled to appeal to the Greco-Roman world.[26] In particular, according to Koester, while shepherds were regarded negatively by Jews in Jesus' time, they were seen in Greco-Roman culture as "symbols of a golden age when gods and humans lived in peace and nature was at harmony".[26] C. T. Ruddick, Jr. writes that Luke's birth narratives of Jesus
Jesus
and John were modeled on passages from Genesis: 27–43.[27] Regardless, Luke's nativity depicts Jesus
Jesus
as a savior for all people. His genealogy goes back to Adam, demonstrating his common humanity, as do the lowly circumstances of his birth. Luke, writing for a gentile audience, portrays the infant Jesus
Jesus
as a savior for gentiles as well as Jews.[28] Matthew uses quotations from Jewish scripture, scenes reminiscent of Moses' life, and a numerical pattern in his genealogy to identify Jesus
Jesus
as a son of David, of God, and of Abraham. Luke's prelude is much longer, emphasizing the age of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
and the arrival of a savior for all people, Jew and Gentile.[29] Mainstream scholars interpret Matthew's nativity as depicting Jesus
Jesus
as a new Moses
Moses
with a genealogy going back to Abraham,[30][31] while Ulrich
Ulrich
Luz views Matthew's depiction of Jesus
Jesus
at once as the new Moses and the inverse of Moses, and not simply a retelling of the Moses story.[32] Luz also points out that in the massacre narrative, once again, a fulfilment quotation is given – Rachel, the ancestral mother of Israel, weeping for her dead children (2:18)[33] Scholars who see Matthew as casting Jesus
Jesus
in the role of being a second Moses
Moses
argue that, like Moses, the infant Jesus
Jesus
is saved from a murderous tyrant; and he flees the country of his birth until his persecutor is dead and it is safe to return as the savior of his people.[34] In this view, the account in Matthew is based on an earlier narrative patterned on traditions about the birth of Moses. Moses' birth is announced to Pharaoh
Pharaoh
by Magi; the child is threatened and rescued; the male Israelite children are similarly put to death by an evil king.[30][34] According to Ulrich
Ulrich
Luz, the beginning of the narrative of Matthew is similar to earlier biblical stories, e.g., the Annunciation
Annunciation
of Jesus' birth (1:18–25) is reminiscent of the biblical accounts of the births of Ishmael, Isaac
Isaac
and Samson
Samson
(Genesis 16:11, 17;19; Judges 13:3,5), and it recalls the Haggadic
Haggadic
traditions of the birth of Moses. Yet in Luz's view the contours appear, in part, strangely overlapped and inverted: "Egypt, formerly the land of suppression becomes a place of refuge and it is the King of Israel who now takes on the role of Pharaoh...[yet] Matthew is not simply retelling the Moses story...Instead, the story of Jesus
Jesus
really is a new story: Jesus
Jesus
is at once the new Moses
Moses
and the inverse of Moses."[32] Old Testament
Old Testament
parallels[edit]

A page from the Codex Sinaiticus.

See also: Nazarene (title)
Nazarene (title)
and Nazarene (sect) Scholars have debated whether Matthew 1:22 and Matthew 2:23 refer to specific Old Testament
Old Testament
passages. Fourth century documents such as the Codex Sinaiticus
Codex Sinaiticus
do not mention the prophet Isaiah
Isaiah
in the statement in Matthew 1:22: "All this happened to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet" but some 5–6th-century manuscripts of Matthew, such as Codex Bezae, read " Isaiah
Isaiah
the prophet".[35] The statement in Matthew 1:23 "Behold the virgin shall be with child" uses the Greek term parthenos ("virgin") as in the Septuagint
Septuagint
Isaiah, while the Book
Book
of Isaiah
Isaiah
uses the Hebrew almah, which may mean "maiden," "young woman," or "virgin."[36] Raymond E. Brown states that the 3rd century BCE translators of the Septuagint
Septuagint
may have understood the Hebrew word "almah" to mean virgin in this context.[36] The statement in Matthew 2:23 "he will be called a Nazorean" does not mention a specific passage in the Old Testament, and there are multiple scholarly interpretations as to what it may refer to.[37] Barbara Aland
Barbara Aland
and other scholars consider the Greek Ναζωραιος used for Nazorean of uncertain etymology and meaning,[38] but M. J. J. Menken states that it is a demonym that refers to an "inhabitant of Nazareth".[39] Menken also states that it may be referring to Judges 13:5, 7.[40] Gary Smith states that Nazirite may mean one consecrated to God, i.e. an ascetic; or may refer to Isaiah
Isaiah
11:1.[41] The Oxford Bible Commentary states that it may be word-play on the use of "nazirite," "Holy One of God," in Isaiah
Isaiah
4:3, meant to identify Jesus with the Nazoreans, a Jewish sect who differed from the Pharisees
Pharisees
only in regarding Jesus
Jesus
as the Messiah.[34][42] The Swiss theologian Ulrich Luz, who locates the Matthean community in Syria, has noted that Syrian Christians also called themselves Nazarenes.[43] Christian theology[edit] The theological significance of the Nativity of Jesus
Jesus
has been a key element in Christian teachings, from the early Church Fathers
Church Fathers
to 20th century theologians.[44][45][46] The theological issues were addressed as early as Apostle Paul, but continued to be debated and eventually lead to both Christological and Mariological differences among Christians that resulted in early schisms within the Church by the 5th century. Birth of the new man[edit]

Nativity at Night, by Geertgen tot Sint Jans, c. 1490.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. — Colossians 1:15–16 regards the birth of Jesus
Jesus
as the model for all creation.[47][48][49][50]

Paul the Apostle
Paul the Apostle
viewed the birth of Jesus
Jesus
as an event of cosmic significance which brought forth a "new man" who undid the damage caused by the fall of the first man, Adam. Just as the Johannine view of Jesus
Jesus
as the incarnate Logos
Logos
proclaims the universal relevance of his birth, the Pauline perspective emphasizes the birth of a new man and a new world in the birth of Jesus.[51] Paul's eschatological view of Jesus
Jesus
counter-positions him as a new man of morality and obedience, in contrast to Adam. Unlike Adam, the new man born in Jesus
Jesus
obeys God and ushers in a world of morality and salvation.[51] In the Pauline view, Adam
Adam
is positioned as the first man and Jesus
Jesus
as the second: Adam, having corrupted himself by his disobedience, also infected humanity and left it with a curse as inheritance. The birth of Jesus, on the other hand, counterbalanced the fall of Adam, bringing forth redemption and repairing the damage done by Adam.[52] In patristic theology, Paul's contrasting of Jesus
Jesus
as the new man versus Adam
Adam
provided a framework for discussing the uniqueness of the birth of Jesus
Jesus
and the ensuing events of his life. The Nativity of Jesus
Jesus
thus began to serve as the starting point for "cosmic Christology" in which the birth, life and Resurrection of Jesus
Jesus
have universal implications.[51][53][54] The concept of Jesus
Jesus
as the "new man" repeats in the cycle of birth and rebirth of Jesus
Jesus
from his Nativity to his Resurrection: following his birth, through his morality and obedience to the Father, Jesus
Jesus
began a new harmony in the relationship between God the Father and man. The Nativity and Resurrection of Jesus
Jesus
thus created the author and exemplar of a new humanity.[55] In the 2nd century Church Father
Church Father
Irenaeus
Irenaeus
writes:

"When He became incarnate and was made man, He commenced afresh the long line of human beings, and furnished us, in a brief, comprehensive manner, with salvation; so that what we had lost in Adam
Adam
– namely to be according to the image and likeness of God- that we might recover in Christ Jesus."[45][46]

Irenaeus
Irenaeus
was also one of the early theologians to use the analogy of "second Adam
Adam
and second Eve". He suggested the Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
as the "second eve" and wrote that the Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
had "untied the knot of sin bound up by the virgin Eve" and that just as Eve had tempted Adam to disobey God, Mary had set a path of obedience for the second Adam (i.e. Jesus) from the Annunciation
Annunciation
to Calvary
Calvary
so that Jesus
Jesus
could bring about salvation, undoing the damage of Adam.[56] In the 4th century, this uniqueness of the circumstances related to the Nativity of Jesus, and their interplay with the mystery of the incarnation became a central element in both the theology and hymnody of Saint Ephrem the Syrian. For him, the uniqueness of the Nativity of Jesus
Jesus
was supplemented with the sign of the Majesty of the Creator through the ability of a powerful God to enter the world as a small newborn.[57] In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
the birth of Jesus
Jesus
as the second Adam
Adam
came to be seen in the context of Saint Augustine's Felix culpa (i.e. happy fall) and was intertwined with the popular teachings on the fall from grace of Adam
Adam
and Eve.[58] Augustine was fond of a statement on Nativity by Saint Gregory of Nyssa
Gregory of Nyssa
and he quoted in five times: "Venerate the Nativity, through which you are freed from the bonds of an earthly nativity".[59] And he liked to quote: "Just as in Adam
Adam
all of us died, so too in Christ all of us will be brought to life".[59][60] The theology persisted into the Protestant Reformation, and second Adam
Adam
was one of the six modes of atonement discussed by John Calvin.[61] In the 20th century, leading theologian Karl Barth continued the same line of reasoning and viewed the Nativity of Jesus as the birth of a new man who succeeded Adam. In Barth's theology, in contrast to Adam, Jesus
Jesus
acted as an obedient Son in the fulfilment of the divine will and was therefore free from sin and could hence reveal the righteousness of God the Father and bring about salvation.[44] Christology[edit]

In Summa Theologiæ, (1471 copy shown here) Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
addressed many of the open Christological questions regarding the Nativity of Jesus.

The nativity of Jesus
Jesus
impacted the Christological issues about the Person of Christ
Person of Christ
from the earliest days of Christianity. Luke's Christology
Christology
centers on the dialectics of the dual natures of the earthly and heavenly manifestations of existence of the Christ, while Matthew's Christology
Christology
focuses on the mission of Jesus
Jesus
and his role as the savior.[62][63] The belief in the divinity of Jesus
Jesus
leads to the question: "was Jesus a man to be born of a woman or was he God born of a woman?" A wide range of hypotheses and beliefs regarding the nature of the nativity of Jesus
Jesus
were presented in the first four centuries of Christianity. Some of the debates involved the title Theotokos
Theotokos
(God bearer) for the Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
and began to illustrate the impact of Mariology
Mariology
on Christology. Some of these viewpoints were eventually declared as heresies, others led to schisms and the formation of new branches of the Church.[64][65][66][67] The salvific emphasis of Matthew 1:21 later impacted the theological issues and the devotions to Holy Name of Jesus.[68][69][70] Matthew 1:23 provides the only key to the Emmanuel Christology
Christology
in the New Testament. Beginning with 1:23, Matthew shows a clear interest in identifying Jesus
Jesus
as "God with us" and in later developing the Emmanuel characterization of Jesus
Jesus
at key points throughout the rest of his Gospel.[71] The name Emmanuel does not appear elsewhere in the New Testament, but Matthew builds on it in Matthew 28:20 ("I am with you always, even unto the end of the world") to indicate that Jesus will be with the faithful to the end of the age.[71][72] According to Ulrich
Ulrich
Luz, the Emmanuel motif brackets the entire Gospel
Gospel
of Matthew between 1:23 and 28:20, appearing explicitly and implicitly in several other passages.[73] A number of ecumenical councils were convened in the 4th and 5th centuries to deal with these issues. The Council of Ephesus debated hypostasis (co-existing natures) versus Monophysitism
Monophysitism
(only one nature) versus Miaphysitism
Miaphysitism
(two natures united as one) versus Nestorianism
Nestorianism
(disunion of two natures).[74][75] The 451 Council of Chalcedon was highly influential and marked a key turning point in the Christological debates that broke apart the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 5th century. In Chalcedon the hypostatic union was decreed, namely that Jesus
Jesus
is both fully divine and fully human, making this part of the creed of Orthodox Christianity.[76][77][78][79] In the 5th century, leading Church Father
Church Father
Pope Leo I
Pope Leo I
used the nativity as a key element of his theology. Leo gave 10 sermons on the nativity and 7 have survived, the one on December 25, 451 demonstrates his concern to increase the importance of the feast of nativity and along with it emphasize the two natures of Christ in defense of the Christological doctrine of hypostatic union.[80] Leo often used his nativity sermons as an occasion to attack opposing viewpoints, without naming the opposition. Thus Leo used the occasion of the Nativity feast to establish boundaries for what could be considered a heresy regarding the birth and nature of Christ.[64] In the 13th century Saint Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
addressed the Christologocal attribution of the nativity: Should it be attributed to the person (the Word) or only to the assumed human nature of that person. Aquinas treated nativity in 8 separate articles in Summa Theologica
Summa Theologica
each posing a separate question, e.g.: "Does Nativity regard the nature rather than the Person?", "Should a temporal Nativity be attributed to Christ?" "Should the Blessed Virgin be called Christ's Mother?", "Should the Blessed Virgin be called the Mother of God?", "Are there two filiations in Christ?", etc.[81] To deal with this issue, Aquinas distinguishes between the person born and the nature in which the birth takes place.[82] Aquinas thus resolved the question by arguing that in the hypostatic union Christ has two natures, one received from the Father from eternity, the other from his mother in time. This approach also resolved the Mariological problem of Mary receiving the title of Theotokos
Theotokos
for under this scenario she is the "Mother of God".[82] During the Reformation, John Calvin
John Calvin
argued that Jesus
Jesus
was not sanctified to be "God manifested as Incarnate" (Deus manifestatus in carne) only due to his Virgin Birth, but through the action of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
at the instant of his birth. Thus Calvin argued that Jesus was exempt from original sin because he was sanctified at the moment of birth so that his generation was without blemish; as generation has been blemishless before the fall of Adam.[83] Impact on Christianity[edit] Feasts and liturgical elements[edit]

Nativity scene
Nativity scene
in Baumkirchen, Austria.

In the 1st and 2nd centuries, the Lord's Day
Lord's Day
(Sunday) was the earliest Christian celebration and included a number of theological themes. In the 2nd century, the Resurrection of Jesus
Jesus
became a separate feast as Easter
Easter
and in the same century Epiphany began to be celebrated in the Churches of the East on January 6.[84] The celebration of the feast of the Magi on January 6 may relate to a pre-Christian celebration for the blessing of the Nile
Nile
in Egypt on January 5, but this is not historically certain.[85] The festival of the Nativity which later turned into Christmas
Christmas
was a 4th-century feast in the Western Church notably in Rome and North Africa, although it is uncertain exactly where and when it was first celebrated.[86] The earliest source stating December 25 as the date of birth of Jesus was Hippolytus of Rome
Hippolytus of Rome
(170–236), written very early in the 3rd century, based on the assumption that the conception of Jesus
Jesus
took place at the Spring equinox
Spring equinox
which he placed on March 25, and then added nine months.[87] There is historical evidence that by the middle of the 4th century the Christian churches of the East celebrated the birth and Baptism of Jesus
Jesus
on the same day, on January 6 while those in the West celebrated a Nativity feast on December 25 (perhaps influenced by the Winter solstice); and that by the last quarter of the 4th century, the calendars of both churches included both feasts.[88] The earliest suggestions of a fast of Baptism of Jesus
Jesus
on January 6 during the 2nd century comes from Clement of Alexandria, but there is no further mention of such a feast until 361 when Emperor Julian attended a feast on January 6 in the year 361.[88]

Christmas
Christmas
Eve Nativity at Resurrection Lutheran Church, Fredericksburg, Virginia

The Chronography of 354
Chronography of 354
illuminated manuscript compiled in Rome includes an early reference to the celebration of a Nativity feast. In a sermon delivered in Antioch
Antioch
on December 25, c. 386, Saint John Chrysostom provides specific information about the feast there, stating that the feast had existed for about 10 years.[88] By around 385 the feast for the birth of Jesus
Jesus
was distinct from that of the Baptism and was held on December 25 in Constantinople, Nyssa and Amaseia. In a sermon in 386, Gregory of Nyssa
Gregory of Nyssa
specifically related the feast of Nativity with that of the martyrdom of Saint Stephen, celebrated a day later. By 390 the feast was also held in Iconium
Iconium
on that day.[88] Pope Leo I
Pope Leo I
established a feast of the "Mystery of Incarnation" in the 5th century, in effect as the first formal feast for the Nativity of Jesus. Pope Sixtus III
Sixtus III
then instituted the practice of Midnight Mass just before that feast.[89] In the 6th century, Emperor Justinian declared Christmas
Christmas
to be a legal holiday.[90] In the 14th and 15th centuries, the theological importance of the Nativity of Jesus, was coupled with an emphasis on the loving nature of Child Jesus
Jesus
in sermons by figures such as Jean Gerson. In his sermons Gerson emphasized the loving nature of Jesus
Jesus
at his Nativity, as well as his cosmic plan for the salvation of mankind.[91] By the early part of the 20th century, Christmas
Christmas
had become a "cultural signature" of Christianity
Christianity
and indeed of the Western culture even in countries such as the United States which are officially non-religious. By the beginning of the 21st century these countries began to pay more attention to the sensitivities of non-Christians during the festivities at the end of the calendar year.[92] Transforming the image of Jesus[edit]

Paper on wood Nativity scene
Nativity scene
from 1750, Milan, presenting a tender image of Jesus.

Early Christians viewed Jesus
Jesus
as "the Lord" and the word Kyrios appears over 700 times in the New Testament, referring to him.[93] The use of the word Kyrios
Kyrios
in the Septuagint
Septuagint
Bible also assigned to Jesus the Old Testament
Old Testament
attributes of an omnipotent God.[93] The use of the term Kyrios, and hence the Lordship of Jesus, pre-dated the Pauline epistles, but Saint Paul
Saint Paul
expanded and elaborated on that topic.[93] Pauline writings established among early Christians the Kyrios
Kyrios
image, and attributes of Jesus
Jesus
as not only referring to his eschatological victory, but to him as the "divine image" (Greek εἰκών eikōn) in whose face the glory of God shines forth. This image persisted among Christians as the predominant perception of Jesus
Jesus
for a number of centuries.[94] More than any other title, Kyrios
Kyrios
defined the relationship between Jesus
Jesus
and those who believed in him as Christ: Jesus
Jesus
was their Lord and Master who was to be served with all their hearts and who would one day judge their actions throughout their lives.[95] The lordship attributes associated with the Kyrios
Kyrios
image of Jesus
Jesus
also implied his power over all creation.[96][97] Paul then looked back and reasoned that the final lordship of Jesus
Jesus
was prepared from the very beginning, starting with pre-existence and the Nativity, based on his obedience as the image of God.[98] Over time, based on the influence of Anselm of Canterbury, Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Clairvaux
and others, the Kyrios image of Jesus
Jesus
began to be supplemented with a more "tender image of Jesus", and the Franciscan
Franciscan
approach to popular piety was instrumental in establishing this image.[97]

Nativity scene
Nativity scene
at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral.

The 13th century witnessed a major turning point in the development of a new "tender image of Jesus" within Christianity, as the Franciscans began to emphasize the humility of Jesus
Jesus
both at his birth and his death. The construction of the Nativity scene
Nativity scene
by Saint Francis of Assisi was instrumental in portraying a softer image of Jesus
Jesus
that contrasted with the powerful and radiant image at the Transfiguration, and emphasized how God had taken a humble path to his own birth.[2] As the Black Death
Black Death
raged in Medieval Europe, two mendicant orders of Franciscans
Franciscans
and Dominicans helped the faithful cope with tragedies. One element of the Franciscan
Franciscan
approach was the emphasis on the humility of Jesus
Jesus
and the poverty of his birth: the image of God was the image of Jesus, not a severe and punishing God, but himself humble at birth and sacrificed at death.[3] The concept that the omnipotent Creator would set aside all power in order to conquer the hearts of men by love and that he would have been helplessly placed in a manger was as marvelous and as touching to the believers as the sacrifice of dying on the cross in Calvary.[4] Thus by the 13th century the tender joys of the Nativity of Jesus
Jesus
were added to the agony of his Crucifixion and a whole new range of approved religious emotions were ushered in, with wide ranging cultural impacts for centuries thereafter.[4] The Franciscans approached both ends of this spectrum of emotions. On one hand the introduction of the Nativity scene
Nativity scene
encouraged the tender image of Jesus, while on the other hand Francis of Assisi
Francis of Assisi
himself had a deep attachment to the sufferings of Jesus
Jesus
on the Cross and was said to have received the Stigmata
Stigmata
as an expression of that love. The dual nature of Franciscan
Franciscan
piety based both on joy of Nativity and the sacrifice at Calvary
Calvary
had a deep appeal among city dwellers and as the Franciscan
Franciscan
Friars travelled, these emotions spread across the world, transforming the Kyrios
Kyrios
image of Jesus
Jesus
to a more tender, loving, and compassionate image.[4] These traditions did not remain limited to Europe and soon spread to the other parts of the world such as Latin America, the Philippines
Philippines
and the United States.[99][100] According to Archbishop Rowan Williams
Rowan Williams
this transformation, accompanied by the proliferation of the tender image of Jesus
Jesus
in Madonna and Child
Madonna and Child
paintings made an important impact within the Christian Ministry by allowing Christians to feel the living presence of Jesus
Jesus
as a loving figure "who is always there to harbor and nurture those who turn to him for help.[101][102] Hymns, art and music[edit] Canticles appearing in Luke[edit] Luke's Nativity text has given rise to four well known canticles: the Benedictus and the Magnificat
Magnificat
in the first chapter, and the Gloria in Excelsis and the Nunc dimittis
Nunc dimittis
in the second chapter.[103] These " Gospel
Gospel
canticles" are now an integral part of the Christian liturgical tradition.[104] The parallel structure in Luke regarding the births of John the Baptist
John the Baptist
and Jesus, extends to the three canticles Benedictus (Song of Zechariah), the Nunc dimittis
Nunc dimittis
and the Magnificat.[105] The Magnificat, in Luke 1:46–55, is spoken by Mary and is one of the 8 most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn.[106] The Benedictus, in Luke 1:68–79, is spoken by Zechariah, while the Nunc dimittis, in Luke 2:29–32 is spoken by Simeon.[107] The traditional Gloria in Excelsis
Gloria in Excelsis
is longer than the opening line presented in Luke 2:14, and is often called the "Song of the Angels" given that it was uttered by the angels in the Annunciation
Annunciation
to the Shepherds.[108] The three canticles Benedictus, Nuc Dimittis and the Magnificat, if not originating with Luke himself, may have their roots in the earliest Christian liturgical services in Jerusalem, but their exact origins remain unknown.[109] Visual arts[edit] Main article: Nativity of Jesus
Jesus
in art

Annunciation
Annunciation
by Nesterov, 19th century, Russia.

The earliest artistic depictions of Nativity of Jesus
Jesus
were in the catacombs and on sarcophagi in Rome. As Gentile visitors, the Magi were popular in these scenes, representing the significance of the arrival of the Messiah
Messiah
to all peoples. The ox and ass were also taken to symbolize the Jews and the Gentiles, and have remained a constant since the earliest depictions. Mary was soon seated on a throne as the Magi visited.[110] Depictions of the Nativity soon became a normal component of cycles in art illustrating both the Life of Christ and the Life of the Virgin. Nativity images also carry the message of redemption: God's unification with matter forms the mystery of the Incarnation, a turning point in the Christian perspective on Salvation.[111] In the Eastern Church
Eastern Church
icons of Nativity often correspond to specific hymns to Mary, e.g. to the Kontakion: "The Virgin today bringeth forth the Transubstantial, and the eart offereth a cave to the Unapproachable...."[112] In many Eastern icons of Nativity (often accompanied by matching hymnody) two basic elements are emphasized. First the event portrays the mystery of incarnation as a foundation for the Christian faith, and the combined nature of Christ as Divine and human. Secondly, it relates the event to the natural life of the world, and its consequences for humanity.[112] Hymns, music and performances[edit] See also: Christmas
Christmas
music and Nativity play

A Christmas
Christmas
carol card, Boston, 1880.

The Nativity depicted in an English liturgical manuscript, c.1310-1320

Like 1st century Jews, early Christians rejected the use of musical instruments in religious ceremonies and instead relied on chants and plainsong leading to the use of the term a cappella (in the chapel) for these chants. One of the earliest Nativity hymns was Veni redemptor gentium
Veni redemptor gentium
composed by Saint Ambrose
Ambrose
in Milan
Milan
in the 4th century. By the beginning of the 5th century, the Spanish poet Prudentius
Prudentius
had written "From the Heart of the Father" where the ninth stanza focused on the Nativity and portrayed Jesus
Jesus
as the creator of the universe. In the 5th century the Gallic poet Sedulius composed "From the lands that see the Sun arise" in which the humility of the birth of Jesus
Jesus
was portrayed.[110] The Magnificat, one of the 8 most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn
Marian hymn
is based on the Annunciation.[106][107] Saint Romanus the Melodist
Romanus the Melodist
had a dream of the Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
the night before the feast of the Nativity, and when he woke up the next morning, composed his first hymn "On the Nativity" and continued composing hymns (perhaps several hundred) to the end of his life.[113] Re-enactments of Nativity which are now called Nativity plays were part of the troparion hymns in the liturgy of Byzantine Rite
Byzantine Rite
Churches, from St. Sophronius in the 7th century.[114] By the 13th century, the Franciscans
Franciscans
had encouraged a strong tradition of popular Christmas songs in the native languages.[115] Christmas
Christmas
carols in English first appear in a 1426 work of John Awdlay, a Shropshire
Shropshire
chaplain, who lists twenty-five "caroles of Cristemas".[116] The largest body of musical works about Christ in which he does not speak are about the Nativity. A large body of liturgical music, as well as a great deal of para-liturgical texts, Carols and folk music exist about the Nativity of Jesus. The Christmas
Christmas
Carols have come to be viewed as a cultural-signature of the Nativity of Jesus.[117] Most musical Nativity narrations are not biblical and did not come about until church music assimilated opera in the 17th century. But thereafter there was a torrent of new music, e.g. Heinrich Schutz's 1660 The Christmas
Christmas
Story and Bach's Christmas
Christmas
Oratorio in the 18th century. And Lisz's Christus, etc.[117] John Milton's classic 1629 poem Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity was used by John McEwan in 1901.[117] Historical analysis[edit] See also: Genealogy of Jesus, Massacre of the Innocents, and Historicity of Jesus Traditional views[edit]

Beginning of a Byzantine
Byzantine
copy of the Gospel
Gospel
of Luke, 1020.

Many historical scholars maintain the traditional view that the two accounts are historically accurate and do not contradict each other, pointing to the similarities between the two accounts,[118] such as the birthplace of Bethlehem
Bethlehem
and the virgin birth. George Kilpatrick and, separately, Michael Patella state that a comparison of the nativity accounts of Luke and Matthew show common elements in terms of the virgin birth, the birth at Bethlehem, and the upbringing at Nazareth, and that although there are differences in the accounts of the nativity in Luke and Matthew, a general narrative may be constructed by combining the two.[119][120] Neither Luke nor Matthew claims their birth narratives are based on direct testimony.[121] James Hastings
James Hastings
and, separately, Thomas Neufeld have expressed the view that the circumstances of Jesus' birth were deliberately kept restricted to a small group of early Christians, and were kept as a secret for many years after his death, thus explaining the variations in the accounts in Luke and Matthew.[122][123] Daniel J. Harrington expresses the view that due to the scarcity of ancient records, a number of issues regarding the historicity of some nativity episodes can never be fully determined, and that the more important task is deciding what the nativity narratives meant to the early Christian communities.[124] Harmonization[edit] A number of biblical scholars, such as Bernard Orchard, have attempted to show how the text from both narratives can be interwoven as a gospel harmony to create one account that begins with a trip from Nazareth
Nazareth
to Bethlehem, where Jesus
Jesus
is born, followed by the flight to Egypt, and ending with a return to Nazareth.[125][126][127][128][129] Critical analysis[edit]

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Many modern scholars consider the birth narratives unhistorical because they are laced with theology and present two different accounts.[130][131] For instance, they point to Matthew's account of the appearance of an angel to Joseph in a dream; the wise men from the East; the massacre of the innocents; and the flight to Egypt, which do not appear in Luke, which instead describes the appearance of an angel to Mary; the Roman census; the birth in a manger; and the choir of angels.[132] Most modern scholars accept the Marcan priority
Marcan priority
hypothesis, that the Luke and Matthew accounts are based on the Gospel
Gospel
of Mark, but that the birth narratives come from the evangelists' independent sources, known as M source for Matthew and L source
L source
for Luke, which were added later.[133] Scholars consider the accounts in Luke and Matthew as explaining the birth in Bethlehem
Bethlehem
in different ways, giving separate genealogies of Jesus
Jesus
and probably not historical.[130][134][135][136][137] While Géza Vermes
Géza Vermes
and E. P. Sanders dismiss the accounts as pious fiction, Raymond E. Brown sees them as having been constructed from historical traditions which predate the Gospels.[138][139][140] According to Brown, there is no uniform agreement among scholars on the historicity of the accounts, e.g., most of those scholars who reject the historicity of the birth at Bethlehem
Bethlehem
argue for a birth at Nazareth, a few suggest Capernaum, and other have hypothesized locations as far away as Chorazin.[141] Bruce Chilton and archaeologist Aviram Oshri have proposed a birth at Bethlehem
Bethlehem
of Galilee, a site located seven miles from Nazareth
Nazareth
at which remains dating to the time of Herod the Great have been excavated.[142][143] Armand P. Tarrech states that Chilton's hypothesis has no support in either the Jewish or Christian sources, although Chilton seems to take seriously the statement in Luke 2:4 that Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem.[144] Sanders considers Luke's census, for which everyone returned to their ancestral home, not historically credible, as this was contrary to Roman practice; they would not have uprooted everyone from their homes and farms in the Empire by forcing them to return to their ancestral cities. Moreover, people were not able to trace their own lineages back 42 generations.[135] Many scholars do not see the Luke and Matthew nativity stories as historically factual.[134][135][145] Many view the discussion of historicity as secondary, given that gospels were primarily written as theological documents rather than chronological timelines.[146][147][148][149] For instance, Matthew pays far more attention to the name of the child and its theological implications than the actual birth event itself.[150] According to Karl Rahner
Karl Rahner
the evangelists show little interest in synchronizing the episodes of the birth or subsequent life of Jesus
Jesus
with the secular history of the age.[151] As a result, modern scholars do not use much of the birth narratives for historical information.[130][136] Nevertheless, they are considered to contain some useful biographical information: Jesus
Jesus
being born near the end of Herod's reign and his father being named Joseph are considered historically plausible.[130][152] Massacre of the Innocents[edit] Main article: Massacre of the Innocents According to Paul L Maier, most modern biographies of Herod do not believe the massacre took place.[153] Steve Mason argues that if the massacre had taken place as described in Matthew, it would have been strange for Josephus
Josephus
not to mention it, and that the massacre may hence be non-historical.[154] E. P. Sanders characterizes Josephus' writing as dwelling on Herod's cruelty, thus suggesting that Josephus would probably have included the event if it had occurred.[135] Sanders states that faced with little historical information, Matthew's account is apparently based on the story in which an infant Moses
Moses
is endangered by the Pharaoh
Pharaoh
in order to kill infant Hebrews and that such use of scripture for telling the story of Jesus' birth was considered legitimate by contemporary standards.[135] Dunn seconds this theory and sees the episode as an attempt to present Jesus
Jesus
as the new Moses
Moses
by refreshing the Jewish memories of the slaughter of Hebrew newborns in Egypt.[155] There are writers who defend the historicity of the massacre. R. T. France states that the massacre was a low magnitude event of a nature that would not have demanded the attention of Josephus
Josephus
but was in line with Herod's character.[156] Paul L. Maier argues that Bethlehem
Bethlehem
was small, and the massacre would have been too small for Josephus
Josephus
to have heard of it given that it allegedly took place over 40 years before his own birth.[157] Paul Barnett and, separately, Craig L. Blomberg also state that Bethlehem
Bethlehem
was a very small village with few inhabitants, and the massacre would have involved too few children to have been recorded by historians in general.[158][159] See also[edit]

Bible portal

Adoration of the shepherds Jesus
Jesus
in Christianity Life of Jesus
Jesus
in the New Testament Roman Catholic Marian art Nativity of Mary Nativity of John the Baptist

References[edit] Citations[edit]

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Jesus
Remembered". Eerdmans Publishing: 324.  ^ Doggett 1992, p579: "Although scholars generally believe that Christ was born some years before AD 1, the historical evidence is too sketchy to allow a definitive dating". ^ Paul L. Maier "The Date of the Nativity and Chronology of Jesus" in Chronos, kairos, Christos: nativity and chronological studies by Jerry Vardaman, Edwin M. Yamauchi 1989 ISBN 0-931464-50-1 pp. 113–129 ^ New Testament
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History by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 IBN 0-310-31201-9 pp. 121–124 ^ Matthew 2:1. ^ Luke 2:4. ^ Virgin Birth of Chris by J Gresham Machen 1987 ISBN 0-227-67630-0 p. 193 ^ a b Matthew by David L. Turner (Apr 15, 2008) ISBN 0801026849 page 98 ^ Joseph F. Kelly (2008). The Birth of Jesus
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According to the Gospels. Liturgical Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-8146-2948-2.  ^ Brown, Raymond Edward (1977). The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. p. 401. ISBN 0-385-05907-8.  ^ Migdal Eder and the Lord's first coming in the Book
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of Micah. This teaching by Rabbi Mike L Short. ^ Taylor, Joan E. (1993). Christians and the Holy Places: The Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 99–102. ISBN 0-19-814785-6.  ^ Protoevangelium 18; Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho; cf. Origen, Contra Celsum 1.2. ^ Taylor, Joan E. (1993). Christians and the Holy Places: The Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 99–100. ISBN 0-19-814785-6.  ^ Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible 2000 ISBN 90-5356-503-5 p. 173 ^ The Everything Jesus
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by Jon Kennedy 2006 ISBN 1-59337-712-6 p. 20 ^ What You Need to Know about Islam and Muslims by George W. Braswell 2000 ISBN 0-8054-1829-6 p. 108 ^ Islam and the destiny of man by Gai Eaton 1986 ISBN 0-88706-163-X p. 108 ^ Matthew 1:18-24 ^ a b Helmut Köster, "Ancient Christian gospels: their history and development", Continuum International Publishing Group, (2004). pp. 307–308 ^ C. T. Ruddick, Jr. (1970) "Birth Narratives in Genesis and Luke" Novum Testamentum 12(4):343–348. ^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. "Luke" pp. 297–301 ^ " Jesus
Jesus
Christ." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005 ^ a b Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. "Matthew" pp. 272–285 ^ Brown, Raymond Edward (1977). The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. pp. 104–121. ISBN 0-385-05907-8.  ^ a b Ulrich
Ulrich
Luz, The Theology of the Gospel
Gospel
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Ulrich
Luz, Theology of the Gospel
Gospel
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text of the evangelist by M. J. J. Menken 2004 ISBN 90-429-1419-X p. 161 ^ Aland, Barbara; Aland, Kurt; Martini, Carlo M.; Karavidopoulos, Johannes; Metzger, Bruce M. (December 1983). Novum Testamentum Graece Et Latine—Greek/Latin New Testament. American Bible Society. p. 5. ISBN 3-438-05401-9.  ^ Matthew's Bible: the Old Testament
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text of the evangelist by M. J. J. Menken 2004 ISBN 90-429-1419-X p. 164 ^ Menken, Maarten J. J. "The Sources of the Old Testament
Old Testament
Quotation in Matthew 2:23" Journal of Biblical Literature120:3 (451–68), 467–8. ^ Smith, Gary (2007-08-30). The New American Commentary: Isaiah 1–33, Vol. 15A (New American Commentary). B&H Publishing Group. p. 268. ISBN 0-8054-0115-6.  ^ Oxford Biblical Studies ONline: Nazoreans ^ Ulrich
Ulrich
Luz, the Theology of the Gospel
Gospel
of Matthew, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-43576-5 p. 18 ^ a b Church dogmatics, Volume 4, Part 1 by Karl Barth, Geoffrey William Bromiley, Thomas Forsyth Torrance 2004 ISBN 0-567-05129-3 pp. 256–259 ^ a b An introduction to the early history of Christian doctrine by James Franklin Bethune-Baker 2005 ISBN 1-4021-5770-3 p. 334 ^ a b A History of the Christian Church by Williston Walker 2010 ISBN 1-4400-4446-5 pp. 65–66 ^ The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1988 ISBN 0-8028-3785-9 page 308 ^ An introductory dictionary of theology and religious studies by Orlando O. Espín, James B. Nickoloff 2007 ISBN 0-8146-5856-3 p. 238 ^ Mercer dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard 1998 ISBN 0-86554-373-9 p. 712 ^ Basic Theology: by Charles Caldwell Ryrie 1999 ISBN 0-8024-2734-0 p. 275 ^ a b c Systematic Theology, Volume 2 by Wolfhart Pannenberg 2004 ISBN 0567084663, pp. 297–303 ^ An exposition of the epistle of Saint Paul
Saint Paul
to the Philippians by Jean Daille 1995 ISBN 0-8028-2511-7 pp. 194–195 ^ Christ in Christian Tradition: From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon by Aloys Grillmeier, John Bowden 1975 ISBN 0-664-22301-X pp. 15–19 ^ The Witness of Jesus, Paul and John: An Exploration in Biblical Theology by Larry R. Helyer 2008 ISBN 0-8308-2888-5 p. 282 ^ Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi by Karl Rahner 2004 ISBN 0-86012-006-6 pp. 474 and 1434 ^ Burke, Raymond L.; et al. (2008). Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons ISBN 978-1-57918-355-4 pp. 613–614 ^ The Early Christian World, Volumes 1–2 by Philip Francis Esler 2004 ISBN 0-415-33312-1 p. 452 ^ Handbook to life in the medieval world, Volume 1 by Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Linda Gale Jones 2008 ISBN 0-8160-4887-8 p. 329 ^ a b Orthodox readings of Augustine by George E. Demacopoulos, Aristotle Papanikolaou 2008 ISBN 0-88141-327-5 pp. 92–96 ^ 1Corinthians 15:22 ^ The theology of John Calvin
John Calvin
by Charles Partee 2008 ISBN 0-664-23119-5 p. 159 ^ Theology of the New Testament
New Testament
by Georg Strecker 2000 ISBN 0-664-22336-2 pp. 401–403 ^ Matthew by Grant R. Osborne
Grant R. Osborne
2010 ISBN 0-310-32370-3 lxxix ^ a b Toward the origins of Christmas
Christmas
by Susan K. Roll 1995 ISBN 90-390-0531-1 pp. 208–211 ^ McGrath, Alister E. (2007), Christian theology: an introduction, Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, p. 282, ISBN 1-4051-5360-1  ^ Ehrman, Bart D. (1993), The Orthodox corruption of scripture: the effect of early Christological controversies on the text of the New Testament, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-510279-6  ^ Mary and the Saints by James P. Campbell 2005 0829417257 pp. 17–20 ^ All the Doctrines of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer 1988 ISBN 0-310-28051-6 p. 159 ^ Matthew 1–13 by Manlio Simonetti 2001 ISBN 0-8308-1486-8 p. 17 ^ Matthew 1-2/ Luke 1–2 by Louise Perrotta 2004 ISBN 0-8294-1541-6 p. 19 ^ a b Matthew's Emmanuel by David D. Kupp 1997 ISBN 0-521-57007-7 pp. 220–224 ^ Who do you say that I am?: essays on Christology
Christology
by Jack Dean Kingsbury, Mark Allan Powell, David R. Bauer 1999 ISBN 0-664-25752-6 p. 17 ^ The theology of the Gospel
Gospel
of Matthew by Ulrich
Ulrich
Luz 1995 ISBN 0-521-43576-5 p. 31 ^ Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd series, Vol XIV p. 207, translated edition by H.R. Percival. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/ephesus.html ^ The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church, trans H. R. Percival, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series, ed. P. Schaff and H. Wace, (repr. Grand Rapids MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1955), XIV, pp. 192–242 ^ The acts of the Council of Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon
by Council of Chalcedon, Richard Price, Michael Gaddis 2006 ISBN 0-85323-039-0 pp. 1–5 ^ The creed: the apostolic faith in contemporary theology by Berard L. Marthaler 2007 ISBN 0-89622-537-2 p. 114 ^ Essential theological terms by Justo L. González 2005 ISBN 0-664-22810-0 p. 120 ^ Doctrine and practice in the early church by Stuart George Hall 1992 ISBN 0-8028-0629-5 pp. 211–218 ^ Leo the Great by Pope Leo I, Bronwen Neil 2009 ISBN 0-415-39480-5 pp. 61–62 ^ Summa Theologica, Volume 4 (Part III, First Section) by St. Thomas Aquinas 207 Cosimo Classics ISBN 1-60206-560-8 pp. 2197–2211 ^ a b Aquinas on doctrine: a critical introduction by Thomas Gerard Weinandy, John Yocum 2004 ISBN 0-567-08411-6 p. 98 ^ Calvin's Catholic Christology
Christology
by E. David Willis 1966 Published by E.J. Brill, Netherlands, p. 83 ^ An introductory dictionary of theology and religious studies by Orlando O. Espín, James B. Nickoloff 2007 ISBN 0-8146-5856-3 p. 237 ^ The journey of the Magi: meanings in history of a Christian story by Richard C. Trexler 1997 ISBN 0-691-01126-5 p. 9 ^ Christian worship in Reformed Churches past and present by Lukas Vischer 2002 ISBN 0-8028-0520-5 pp. 400–401 ^ Mills, Watson E.; Edgar V. McKnight; Roger Aubrey Bullard (1990). Mercer Dictionary of the Bible. Mercer University Press. p. 142. ISBN 0-86554-373-9. Retrieved July 10, 2012.  ^ a b c d Aspects of the liturgical year in Cappadocia (325–430) by Jill Burnett Comings 2005 ISBN 0-8204-7464-9 pp. 61–71 ^ Sacred Christmas
Christmas
Music by Ronald M. Clancy 2008 ISBN 1-4027-5811-1 pp. 15–19 ^ The Feast of Christmas
Christmas
by Joseph F. Kelly 2010 ISBN 0-8146-3325-0 pp. 331–391 ^ Pastor and laity in the theology of Jean Gerson
Jean Gerson
by Dorothy Catherine Brown 1987 ISBN 0-521-33029-7 p. 32 ^ The Feast of Christmas
Christmas
by Joseph F. Kelly 2010 ISBN 0-8146-3325-0 pp. 112–114 ^ a b c Mercer dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard 1998 ISBN 0-86554-373-9 pp. 520–525 ^ Lord Jesus
Jesus
Christ: Devotion to Jesus
Jesus
in Earliest Christianity
Christianity
by Larry W. Hurtado 2005 ISBN 0-8028-3167-2 pp. 113 and 179 ^ II Corinthians: a commentary by Frank J. Matera 2003 ISBN 0-664-22117-3 pp. 11–13 ^ Philippians 2:10 ^ a b Christology: Biblical And Historical by Mini S. Johnson, 2005 ISBN 81-8324-007-0 pp. 74–76 ^ Christology: Biblical And Historical by Mini S. Johnson ISBN p. 211 ^ La vida sacra: contemporary Hispanic sacramental theology by James L. Empereur, Eduardo Fernández 2006 ISBN 0-7425-5157-1 pp. 3–5 ^ Philippines
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by Lily Rose R. Tope, Detch P. Nonan-Mercado 2005 ISBN 0-7614-1475-4 p. 109 ^ Christology: Key Readings in Christian Thought by Jeff Astley, David Brown, Ann Loades 2009 ISBN 0-664-23269-8 p. 106 ^ Williams, Rowan Ponder these things 2002 ISBN 1-85311-362-X p. 7 ^ An Introduction to the Bible by Robert Kugler, Patrick Hartin ISBN 0-8028-4636-X p. 394 ^ Mercer dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard 1998 ISBN 0-86554-373-9 p. 396 ^ Sanctity of time and space in tradition and modernity by Alberdina Houtman, Marcel Poorthuis, Joshua Schwartz 1998 ISBN 90-04-11233-2 pp. 61–62 ^ a b The History and Use of Hymns and Hymn-Tunes by David R Breed 2009 ISBN 1-110-47186-6 p. 17 ^ a b Favourite Hymns by Marjorie Reeves 2006 ISBN 0-8264-8097-7 pp. 3–5 ^ All the music of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer 2004 ISBN 1-56563-531-0 p. 120 ^ Music of the Middle Ages, Volume 1 by Giulio Cattin, F. Alberto Gallo 1985 ISBN 0-521-28489-9 p. 2 ^ a b The Feast of Christmas
Christmas
by Joseph F. Kelly 2010 ISBN 0-8146-3325-0 pp. 22–31 ^ The mystical language of icons by Solrunn Nes 2005 ISBN 0-8028-2916-3 p. 43 ^ a b The meaning of icons by Leonide Ouspensky, Vladimir Lossky 1999 ISBN 0-913836-77-X p. 157 ^ Church Fathers
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and Teachers: From Saint Leo the Great to Peter Lombard by Pope Benedict XVI 2010 ISBN 1-58617-317-0 p. 32 ^ Wellesz, Egon (1947). "The Nativity Drama of the Byzantine
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Church". Journal of Roman Studies. Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. 37: 145–151. doi:10.2307/298465. JSTOR 298465.  ^ Miles, Clement, Christmas
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customs and traditions, Dover 1976, ISBN 0-486-23354-5, pp. 31–37 ^ Miles, Clement, Christmas
Christmas
customs and traditions, Dover 1976, ISBN 0-486-23354-5, pp. 47–48 ^ a b c Jesus
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in history, thought, and culture: an encyclopedia, Volume 1 by James Leslie Houlden 2003 ISBN 1-57607-856-6 pp. 631–635 ^ Mark D. Roberts Can We Trust the Gospels?: Investigating the Reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John Good News Publishers, 2007 p. 102 ^ The Origins of the Gospel
Gospel
According to St. Matthew by George Dunbar Kilpatrick 2007 ISBN 0-86516-667-6 p. 54 ^ The Gospel
Gospel
according to Luke by Michael Patella 2005 ISBN 0-8146-2862-1 pp. 9–10 ^ Lord Jesus
Jesus
Christ by Larry W. Hurtado 2005 ISBN 0-8028-3167-2 p. 322 ^ A Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels: Volume II by James Hastings 2004 ISBN 1-4102-1788-4 p. 805 ^ Recovering Jesus: the witness of the New Testament
New Testament
Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld 2007 ISBN 1-58743-202-1 pp. 116–123 ^ Daniel J. Harrington 1991 The Gospel
Gospel
of Matthew ISBN 0-8146-5803-2 pp. 45–49 ^ The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1988 ISBN 0-8028-3785-9 p. 685 ^ John Bernard Orchard, 1983 Synopsis of the Four GospelsISBN 0-567-09331-X pp. 4–12 ^ The horizontal line synopsis of the Gospels by Reuben J. Swanson 1984 ISBN 0-87808-744-3 page xix ^ Gospel
Gospel
Parallels by Burton H. Throckmorton 1992 ISBN 0-8407-7484-2 pp. 2–7 ^ Steven L. Cox, Kendell H. Easley, 2007 Harmony of the Gospels ISBN 0-8054-9444-8 pp. 289–290 ^ a b c d The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible: Volume 3 Abingdon Press, 2008. pp. 42, 269–70. ^ Brown, Raymond Edward (1999-05-18). The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library). Yale University Press. p. 36. ISBN 0-300-14008-8.  ^ Crossan, John Dominic; Watts, Richard J. (October 1999). Who Is Jesus?: Answers to Your Questions About the Historical Jesus. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 11–12. ISBN 0-664-25842-5.  ^ Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus
Jesus
Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998. "Birth & Infancy Stories" pp. 497–526. ^ a b Vermes, Géza (2006-11-02). The Nativity: History and Legend. Penguin Books Ltd. p. 64. ISBN 0-14-102446-1.  ^ a b c d e Sanders, E. P. The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993. Sanders discusses both birth narratives in detail, contrasts them, and judges them not historical on pp. 85–88. ^ a b Jeremy Corley New Perspectives on the Nativity Continuum International Publishing Group, 2009 p. 22. ^ Wright, Tom (March 2004). Luke for Everyone. London: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 39. ISBN 0-664-22784-8.  ^ Vermes, Géza (2006-11-02). The Nativity: History and Legend. Penguin Books Ltd. p. 22. ISBN 0-14-102446-1.  ^ Sanders, Ed Parish (1993). The Historical Figure of Jesus. London: Allen Lane. p. 85. ISBN 0-7139-9059-7.  ^ Hurtado, Larry W. (June 2003). Lord Jesus
Jesus
Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans. pp. 319–320. ISBN 0-8028-6070-2.  ^ The birth of the Messiah
Messiah
by Raymond Brown 1993 ISBN 0-385-47202-1 p. 513 ^ Oshri, Aviram (November–December 2005). "Where was Jesus
Jesus
Born?". Archaeology. Archaeological Institute of America. 58 (6). Retrieved 24 November 2012.  ^ Chilton, Bruce (2006), "Recovering Jesus' Mamzerut", in Charlesworth, James H., Jesus
Jesus
and Archaeology, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, pp. 95–96, ISBN 9780802848802  ^ Handbook for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Jesus
edited by Tom Holmen and Stanley E. Porter (Jan 12, 2011) ISBN 9004163727 pages 3411–3412 ^ Marcus Borg, 'The Meaning of the Birth Stories' in Marcus Borg, N T Wright, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (Harper One, 1999) page 179: "I (and most mainline scholars) do not see these stories as historically factual." ^ Interpreting Gospel
Gospel
Narratives: Scenes, People, and Theology by Timothy Wiarda 2010 ISBN 0-8054-4843-8 pp. 75–78 ^ Jesus, the Christ: Contemporary Perspectives by Brennan R. Hill 2004 ISBN 1-58595-303-2 p. 89 ^ The Gospel
Gospel
of Luke by Timothy Johnson 1992 ISBN 0-8146-5805-9 p. 72 ^ Recovering Jesus: the witness of the New Testament
New Testament
Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld 2007 ISBN 1-58743-202-1 p. 111 ^ Matthew by Thomas G. Long 1997 ISBN 0-664-25257-5 pp. 14–15 ^ Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi by Karl Rahner 2004 ISBN 0-86012-006-6 p. 731 ^ Bruce M. Metzger, Michael D. Coogan, The Oxford Guide to People & Places of the Bible. Oxford University Press US, 2004. p. 137 ^ "most recent biographies of Herod the Great
Herod the Great
deny it entirely." Paul L. Maier, "Herod and the Infants of Bethlehem", in Chronos, Kairos, Christos II, Mercer University Press (1998), p. 170 ^ Josephus
Josephus
and the New Testament
New Testament
by Steve Mason 2003 ISBN 1-56563-795-X p. 160 ^ Robert B. Stewart; Gary R. Habermas (1 July 2010). Memories of Jesus. B&H Publishing Group. pp. 181–. ISBN 978-1-4336-7219-4.  ^ The Gospel
Gospel
of Matthew by R. T. France
R. T. France
2007 ISBN 0-8028-2501-X pp. 43 and 83 ^ Paul L. Maier, Herod and the Infants of Bethlehem
Bethlehem
in "Chronos, Kairos, Christos 2" by Ray Summers, Jerry Vardaman ISBN 0-86554-582-0 pp. 169–179 ^ Jesus
Jesus
& the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times by Paul Barnett 2002 ISBN 0-8308-2699-8 p. 85 ^ Jesus
Jesus
and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 p. 244

Bibliography[edit]

Allen, O. Wesley, Jr. (2009). "Luke". In Petersen, David L.; O'Day, Gail R. Theological Bible Commentary. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 9781611640304.  Aune, David E., ed. (2001). The Gospel
Gospel
of Matthew in current study. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-4673-0.  Aune, David E. (1988). The New Testament
New Testament
in its literary environment. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-25018-8.  Balch, David L. (2003). "Luke". In Dunn, James D. G.; Rogerson, John William. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Eerdmans. ISBN 9780802837110.  Beaton, Richard C. (2005). "How Matthew Writes". In Bockmuehl, Markus; Hagner, Donald A. The Written Gospel. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-83285-4.  Boring, M. Eugene (2012). An Introduction to the New Testament: History, Literature, Theology. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 9780664255923.  Buckwalter, Douglas (1996). The Character and Purpose of Luke's Christology. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521561808.  Burkett, Delbert (2002). An introduction to the New Testament
New Testament
and the origins of Christianity. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-00720-7.  Carroll, John T. (2012). Luke: A Commentary. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 9780664221065.  Casey, Maurice (2010). Jesus
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New Testament
Theology. Zondervan. ISBN 978-0-310-45571-4.  Morris, Leon (1992). The Gospel
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according to Matthew. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-85111-338-8.  Nolland, John (2005). The Gospel
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of Matthew: A Commentary on the Greek Text. Eerdmans. ISBN 0802823890.  Peppard, Michael (2011). The Son of God
Son of God
in the Roman World: Divine Sonship in Its Social and Political Context. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199753703.  Perkins, Pheme (1998). "The Synoptic Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles: Telling the Christian Story". In Barton, John. The Cambridge companion to biblical interpretation. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-521-48593-7.  Perkins, Pheme (2009). Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-6553-3.  Powell, Mark Allan (1998). Jesus
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as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-664-25703-3.  Powell, Mark Allan (1989). What Are They Saying About Luke?. Paulist Press.  Robinson, Bernard P. (2009). "Matthew's Nativity Stories: Historical and Theological Questions for Today's Readers". In Corley, Jeremy. New Perspectives on the Nativity. Bloomsbury.  Ryken, Leland; Wilhoit, James C.; Longman, Tremper (2010). "Birth stories". Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. InterVarsity Press.  Strelan, Rick (2013). Luke the Priest - the Authority of the Author of the Third Gospel. Ashgate Publishing.  Theissen, Gerd; Merz, Annette (1998). The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Eerdmans.  Thompson, Richard P. (2010). "Luke-Acts: The Gospel
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of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles". In Aune, David E. The Blackwell Companion to The New Testament. Wiley–Blackwell. p. 319.  Tremmel, Robert (2011). The Four Gospels. Xlibris.  Saldarini, Anthony (2003). "Matthew". Eerdmans commentary on the Bible. ISBN 0802837115. , in Dunn, James D.G.; Rogerson, John William (2003). Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-3711-0.  Saldarini, Anthony (1994). Matthew's Christian-Jewish Community. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-73421-7.  Sanford, Christopher B. (2005). Matthew: Christian Rabbi. Author House.  Scholtz, Donald (2009). Jesus
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in the Gospels and Acts: Introducing the New Testament. Saint Mary's Press.  Senior, Donald (2001). "Directions in Matthean Studies". The Gospel
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of Matthew in Current Study: Studies in Memory of William G. Thompson, S.J. ISBN 0802846734. , in Aune, David E., ed. (2001). The Gospel
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of Matthew in current study. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-4673-0.  Senior, Donald (1996). What are they saying about Matthew?. PaulistPress. ISBN 978-0-8091-3624-7.  Stanton, Graham (1993). A gospel for a new people: studies in Matthew. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-25499-5.  Strecker, Georg (2000). Theology of the New Testament. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-0-664-22336-6.  Tuckett, Christopher Mark (2001). Christology
Christology
and the New Testament: Jesus
Jesus
and His Earliest Followers. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 9780664224318.  Turner, David L. (2008). Matthew. Baker. ISBN 978-0-8010-2684-3.  Twelftree, Graham H. (1999). Jesus
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the miracle worker: a historical & theological study. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-1596-8.  Van de Sandt, H.W.M. (2005). "Introduction". Matthew and the Didache: Two Documents from the Same Jewish-Christian Milieu ?. ISBN 9023240774. , in Van de Sandt, H.W.M, ed. (2005). Matthew and the Didache. Royal Van Gorcum&Fortress Press. ISBN 978-90-232-4077-8.  Vermes, Geza (2006). The meaning of the Dead Sea scrolls: Their significance for understanding the Bible, Judaism, Jesus, and Christianity. Penguin UK. ISBN 9780141912615.  Wansbrough, Henry (2009). "The Infancy Stories of the Gospels Since Raymond E. Brown". In Corley, Jeremy. New Perspectives on the Nativity. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9780567613790.  Weren, Wim (2005). "The History and Social Setting of the Matthean Community". Matthew and the Didache: Two Documents from the Same Jewish-Christian Milieu ?. ISBN 9789023240778. , in Van de Sandt, H.W.M., ed. (2005). Matthew and the Didache. Royal Van Gorcum&Fortress Press. ISBN 978-90-232-4077-8.  Brown, Raymond E. The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke. London: G. Chapman, 1977. Calkins, Robert G. Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1983. Carter, Warren. Matthew and Empire. Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 2001. France, R.T. The Gospel
Gospel
According to Matthew: an Introduction and Commentary. Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 1985. Ghose, Tia (December 22, 2014). "A Christmas
Christmas
Tale: How Much of the Nativity Story is True?". LiveScience.  Gundry, Robert H. Matthew a Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982. Gundry, Robert H. "Salvation in Matthew." Society of Biblical Literature – 2000 Seminar Papers. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2000. Hill, David. The Gospel
Gospel
of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981 Jones, Alexander. The Gospel
Gospel
According to St. Matthew. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1965. Levine, Amy-Jill. "Matthew." Women's Bible Commentary. Carol A. Newsom and Sharon H. Ringe, eds. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998. Schaberg, Jane. Illegitimacy of Jesus: A Feminist Theological Interpretation of the Infancy Narratives (Biblical Seminar Series, No 28) Sheffield Academic Press (March 1995) ISBN 1-85075-533-7 Schweizer, Eduard. The Good News According to Matthew. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975 Vermes, Geza The Nativity: History and Legend. Penguin (2006) ISBN 0-14-102446-1

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