The Nativity: History and Legend Paperback – 2 Nov 2006
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About the Author
Geza Vermes was born in Hungary in 1924. From 1957 to 1991 he taught in at the Universities of Newcastle and Oxford. Professor Vermes is the editor of The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (1997) and author of The Changing Faces of Jesus (2000), The Authentic Gospel of Jesus (2003) and The Passion (2005). He lives in Oxford.
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Top Customer Reviews
He analyses the evidence through a detailed textual interpretation, then compares the findings to all the relevant information from parallel Jewish documents, literary and historical sources, including the Dead Sea Scrolls. First the genealogies of Jesus in the aforementioned gospels are compared (including a side by side comparison) and Vermes succeeds in making even this subject absorbing in light of the strange discrepancies.
Next he examines the concept of miraculous births in Judaism and Paganism: virginal conception, extraordinary birth stories in the Old Testament and the strange account in Genesis 6 that talks of celestial beings interbreeding with mankind that gave rise to a race of giants. The Hellenistic Jewish birth stories of the writer Philo of Alexandria are also considered.
Chapter Five: Virgin and Holy Spirit, explores the gospel accounts with the prophecy of Isaiah concerning a young woman who would give birth to a son. The earliest extant text of Matthew is in Greek so it is perhaps not surprising that the quote of Isaiah 7:14 comes from the Greek Septuagint, not from the Hebrew Bible. This gospel was influenced by the Septuagint's rendering of "Almah" (young woman) as "Parthenos" (Virgin).Read more ›
In 'The Nativity: History and Legend' the author paints an affectionate portrait of personal Christmases past at the start.
In discussing Jesus' Nativity the author respectfully but dilligently unveils all the apparent anomalies in the development of the Birth Narratives. His analysis makes compelling reading and sent me back to William Barclay and Benedict XVI to find more faith enhancing answers to the painstaking questions he raises. However one needs to read Geza Vermes book to know what are the main questions.
I have to disagree with the previous reviewer's comments. Vermes quite clearly in this book doesn't comment on the teachings of Christ in his adult part of his life at or make any conclusions on these teachings which form a large part of the Christian faith. However it's hard to see after reading this book how to take anyone seriously who takes large parts of the New Testament literally.