Sorry, this post isn’t about the pessimism and critical irony that can sometimes mark how we engage in this time of year. When I use the phrase “biblical criticism”, I’m referring to (as Wikipedia says) the “[scholarly] study and investigation of biblical writings that seeks to make discerning judgments about these writings”.
Last year, I wrote about how the story of the Wise Men can inform our doctrine of the Bible. This Advent, I want to do a brief series where we use the tools of scholarly observation to look at each of the two Nativity compositions (yeah, only two out of four gospels have them) and see each of them on their own terms.
For millennia, the birth narratives of Jesus Christ in the Gospels have captivated readers both within and without the Christian faith. Their reading and meditation form the beginning of the Christian Church calendar, and their theological implications of Incarnation form the foundation of nearly all of the distinctives of the Christian faith.