New Perspectives on the Nativity

Front Cover
Jeremy Corley
Bloomsbury Publishing, Sep 17, 2009 - Religion - 232 pages
The infancy narratives represent some of the most beautiful and intriguing passages in the Gospels. The stories they relate are also arguably the most well-known in the Christian tradition, from the child in the manger to the Magi paying homage to the infant Jesus. However there have been relatively few attempts to consider the stories of the Nativity from modern academic perspectives, examining them from feminist perspectives, poltical standpoints, in cinematic representations as well as more standard but up-to-date academic approaches. New Perspectives on the Nativity attempts to redress this providing a fresh insights on these crucial Christian texts from a cast of distinguished contributors.

At the outset, Henry Wansbrough surveys scholarship on the infancy narratives since Raymond Brown's landmark study, The Birth of the Messiah (2nd edition, 1993). Thereafter, four chapters deal with Luke's infancy story. Ian Boxall demonstrates how the narrative offers subtle foreshadowings of the passion and resurrection. Barbara Reid surveys Luke's portrayal of three female prophets (Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna), who prepare for the later presentation of Jesus as a prophet. Leonard Maluf suggests a new understanding of Zechariah's canticle (the Benedictus), by situating it firmly in its Jewish background. Finally, Nicholas King indicates how the "inn" of the nativity prefigures the later journey of the gospel message.

The next four contributions are concerned with Matthew's narrative. Warren Carter shows how the conflict between the infant Jesus and the ruling powers is repeated more dramatically in the life and death of the adult Christ. Benedict Viviano proposes that the three stages in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus belong within a grand scheme of seven ages of salvation history. Bernard Robinson investigates Matthew's nativity story within the context of biblical and Greco-Roman history-writing. Christopher Fuller highlights the carnivalesque approach to the Magi story in Pasolini's classic film, The Gospel According to St Matthew. Three final essays focus on the religious value of the infancy stories. Ann Loades reflects on late-20th-century poems dealing with the nativity. John Kaltner explores the references to Jesus' birth found in Islamic tradition. Finally, Thomas O'Loughlin argues that contemporary preoccupations with historical investigation can blind us to the mystery presented in the nativity stories.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Infancy Stories of the Gospels since Raymond E Brown
4
Lukes Nativity Story A Narrative Reading
23
Prophetic Voices of Elizabeth Mary and Anna in Luke 12
37
Zechariahs Benedictus Luke 16879 A New Look at a Familiar Text
47
The Significance of the Inn for Lukes Infancy Narrative
67
Matthew 12 and Roman Political Power
77
Making Sense of the Matthean Genealogy Matthew 117 and the Theology of History
91
The Magi Story through the Eyes of Pasolini A Bakhtinian Reading
132
The Nativity in Recent British Poetry
148
The Muslim Mary
165
Losing Mystery in History The Challenge of Recalling the Nativity
180
Resemblances between Matthew 12 and Luke 12
200
Dictionary of Technical Terms Significant Persons and Ancient Texts
202
Bibliography of Studies on the Nativity 19902009
205
Subject Index
213

Matthews Nativity Stories Historical and Theological Questions for Todays Readers
110

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About the author (2009)



Dr Jeremy Corley teaches Biblical Studies at Ushaw College, Durham, UK. He is author of Ben Sira's Teaching on Friendship (Brown Judaic Studies, 2002) and more than twenty articles on the New Testament and Second Temple Judaism.

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