Friday, November 29, 2013

Christmas Apologetic Resources

I write a post each year about resources for the Christmas season. Here are links to the posts from previous years:


The 2008 post is foundational to the others, so you should start there. Often, however, we addressed the issues in the 2008 post in more depth in later years. The 2008 post will give you a broader and more organized overview of the issues involved, but sometimes there will be better material in the later posts.

We've written a lot on Christmas issues over the past several months. Here's a post in which I recommended another web site with some good Christmas material. I reviewed Pope Benedict XVI's book on the infancy narratives. And here's a post about the history of the December 25 date for Christmas. I put together an index linking to Triablogue material on Jesus' Bethlehem birthplace. Steve Hays addressed how parents (and others involved) should handle the Santa Claus issue. He's responding to some comments by Edward Feser. Here, here, and here are posts where Steve discussed the subject again. Here's something I wrote about the failure of skeptics to address the implications of their claims about the events surrounding Jesus' birth. I also wrote a post responding to Mark Goodacre on the subject of Jesus' birthplace. It's primarily about whether Luke just carelessly repeated what he read about Jesus' birthplace in Matthew's gospel. Here's something Steve wrote about the nature and historicity of the star of Bethlehem. And here he linked an article he wrote for Reformation21 on the alleged pagan roots of Christmas. I wrote a post about the Christmas-related significance of John 8:12. Since issues of Biblical authorship are relevant to what we make of the infancy narratives and other Biblical material on Jesus' childhood, I linked to an index of Triablogue posts on the subject. Here's my response to an article on the infancy narratives in Newsweek, written by Bart Ehrman. I posted some links to resources on Luke's census account. And here's a post where I linked to some articles by Frank Turk on the subject of how we should view Christmas in the context of loss and sin. John Bugay posted an excerpt of a letter Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote during the Christmas season of 1944. And I posted an excerpt from a Christmas homily by John Chrysostom. Steve wrote a post about what the Christmas section of a unitarian hymnal would look like. And I wrote a post on ancient non-Christian corroboration of the traditional gospel authorship attributions. I also wrote about evidence for Matthew's authorship of the gospel attributed to him here and here. I wrote a review of a book by Jonathan Pearce on the infancy narratives. Steve wrote about Matthew 2:13 and Arminianism. And here's a post he wrote about how the magi discerned that the star of Bethlehem was associated with the birth of a ruler in Israel. He also discussed the alleged contradictions between the genealogies of Jesus. Earlier this month, I wrote a response to a book by Andrew Lincoln that argues against the virgin birth. And here's a post about some comments on the book made by Larry Hurtado and Richard Bauckham. Steve commented on Lincoln's book here and here. I posted some comments Richard Bauckham made about Luke's genealogy and the quality of Raymond Brown's work on the infancy narratives. And here's a post linking to the text of a lecture by Bauckham on Luke's infancy material in general, especially the census account and Luke 2:22-24.

I should be posting tomorrow on the issue of how much Matthew and Luke agree about Jesus' childhood. Critics often allege that the two authors have little in common on that subject, sometimes even claiming that they only agree on something like three or four points. Even conservative Christians often mention something like only eight or twelve agreements between the two gospels. I'm going to argue that there's more agreement between Matthew and Luke than is usually suggested.

Then I'll be doing a series of posts on Jesus' childhood outside the infancy narratives. Critics often suggest that there's little continuity between those narratives and other ancient sources, including the remainder of Matthew and Luke. It's often claimed that the gospel accounts of Jesus' adulthood contradict the accounts of his childhood, that Paul and other early sources knew little of the accounts in the infancy narratives, etc. I'll be addressing those issues in several posts, starting next week.

1 comment:

  1. It is very, very difficult to understand the thinking of these scholars like Andrew Lincoln, and others like James D. G. Dunn and E. P. Sanders, and Raymond Brown, who cast doubt on some parts of the Bible (like the Virgin Birth and history of the infancy narratives), but also want to say that they are orthodox and believe in the Deity of Christ and the Trinity, etc.

    James Dunn spent a lot of time casting doubt on the Virgin conception of Jesus, see here:

    My questions are:

    How can Raymond Brown claimed to be faithful Roman Catholic and holding to de fide doctrines, and yet deny the historicity of the infancy narratives in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2?

    How do we analize and categorize the thinking behind scholars like James D. G. Dunn, who seen to deny essential doctrines, without saying it directly and explicity, and yet seem to be honored as the top NT scholars - but not as honest as someone like Bart Ehrman, who carries out his doubts and skepticism consistently to agnosticism and possibly atheism.

    These guys are so boring to read, that I gave up after spending a lot of time in Dunn and some in Brown and some in Geza Vermes.

    At lease Geza Vermes was more honest and said that Brown "wants to have his cake and eat it too". (The Nativity: History and Legends, page 21)