Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Questions about the Nativity

This one alerted in Bible and Interpretation, an article by James Carroll in News:

Questions about the Nativity

It aims to set out some of the facts on the Birth Narratives in Matthew and Luke and is a useful introduction to the issues. It's interesting that even in this kind of article, though, the author imports elements from our oral tradition of the birth narratives, ". . . . that the three Wise Men traveled from the East". He also begins with "Our calendar assumes that Jesus was born in the year 0". No it does not -- it assumes he was born in the year 1. I still find it very common for people not to realise that there was no year 0. I sometimes ask students why it was that some people were making a fuss about 2000 not really being the millennium and it is very rare for people to know. (As for me, I had a party in both 2000 and 2001!).

The article ends with quite an interesting challenge:
Most Christians are effectively fundamentalist in their beliefs, with little capacity for critical thought about sources, doctrines, and theology. Church leaders and scholars have kept it this way for the sake of their own power, but in a new era of inflamed religious conflict, childish passivity by a broad population in matters of faith is irresponsible.

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