Getting the Pope Wrong on Christmas

A lot could be said about Pope Benedict's new book, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, but one thing that should not be said is that it undermines confidence in the general historicity of the infancy narratives. Yet you might well get a different idea from some of the media accounts. The impression some of those accounts leave is that for Pope Benedict much that the Gospels say about the things leading up to Jesus' birth and infancy aren't historically reliable.

The problem of the media misreading has become noticable enough that Spanish theologian Jose Maria Gil Tamayo, writing in L’Osservatore Romano, has criticized the media for missing the point of the Pope's book and focusing instead on whether the Pope says a donkey and an ass were present at Jesus' birth. The Washington Post, in turn, has reported on the theologian's criticisms. The Post piece tries to present the theologian's criticisms and winds up itself misrepresenting Benedict's position in the process. For instance: "Benedict also writes that the angels who announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds probably didn’t actually sing, and that the three wise men could have been inspired by a 'theological idea' rather than by a 'historical event'.”

Read Full Article »
Show commentsHide Comments

Related Articles