The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #76121 Message #4083583
Posted By: Joe Offer
15-Dec-20 - 11:51 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: A Carol For Sceptics/Skeptics
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Carol For Sceptics/Skeptics
For ease of searching, I added the alternate spelling, skeptics. No offense is intended.
As for Christmas, the New Testament tells two vastly different stories. Matthew focuses on Joseph and his ancestral home of Bethlehem; and the Matthew story is in five segments, each built around a quote from the Hebrew Scriptures. Interestingly, Joseph, son of Jacob, found out about all this in dreams - just as an earlier dreamer named Joseph was also a song of a Jacob. The Matthew story is also interesting in how the genealogy works out to three sets of fourteen generations: Abraham to David, David to Babylon, and Babylon to Jesus. If you look on this as literature, it's fascinating. If you view is as an attempt to present historical fact, it gets problematic very quickly. The entire Gospel of Matthew is mirrored in literary devices that mirror the Gospel's infancy narrative.
The infancy narrative of Luke is focused on Mary and Nazareth and the Angel Gabriel. It's built around a series of songs or canticles, the Magnificat, the Benedictus of Zechariah, the Gloria of the angels, and the "Nunc Dimittis" of Simeon. Again, very interesting literary forms, but problematic from a historical standpoint.
So, I take the Bible as literature set somewhat within a historical context, but certainly not straight history. It's something meant to inspire people, not teach history or science. And it talks a lot about justice and compassion for the poor and the corruption of people in power and all that good stuff. And I enjoy it.