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Fri Dec 14, 2012, 12:26 PM

Hark! The Herald Angels Didn’t Sing

We are in Advent, but over the transom has come the sobering news that Image Books has just published a book written by the pope, “Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives,” in which he observes that there was neither an ox nor a donkey in the stable where Jesus was born. Nor did a host of angels sing. They spoke.

Is “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” doomed?

In fact, the news is not so grim. This is not an encyclical; the pope is writing as Joseph Ratzinger. It turns out that he tolerates, even encourages, the presence of lowing animals in the manger. He writes: “In the Gospel there is no reference to animals at this point. But prayerful reflection, reading Old and New Testaments in the light of one another, filled this lacuna at a very early state by pointing to Isaiah 1:3: ‘The ox knows its owner, and the ass its master’s crib, but Israel does not know.’ ” A few pages later, the pope explains that “Christianity has always understood that the speech of angels is actually song.”

But the clear point of the book — and of the biographical trilogy that this volume completes — is that Roman Catholics should know what the Gospels say about Jesus and stick to it. They should not be distracted by popular myth, or even by historical scholarship.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/14/opinion/what-didnt-happen-in-bethlehem.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121214

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Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 12:46 PM

1. Interesting. The evangelical movement towards a "personal" god is well explained here.

Thanks.

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Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:28 PM

2. "They should not be distracted by popular myth"?

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Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:41 PM

3. The most realistic part of the whole story is the little drummer boy.

Let that go last.

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Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:26 AM

4. I'm so sick of these people.

We could send them back in time and prove that Jesus never existed and they'd still cling to their myths.

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Response to white_wolf (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:10 PM

5. Maybe you could just show them using your magic 8-ball?

That is, unless you are too busy collecting your nobel prize for proving that Jesus never existed.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:33 PM

6. There is 0 evidence for his existence outside the Bible.

And so many of the details in the Bible don't add up. No Roman historians mentioned Herald slaughtering the first born male children for instance. You'd think that would be important enough to write down. The Jewish high priests wouldn't have met on the Passover Sabbath to pass judgement Or my personal favorite the Bible talks about how the dead rose from their graves after Jesus's resurrection and yet no historians thought that was important enough to write down. I don't have to prove Jesus didn't exist, the burden lies on the people making absurd claims. The fact is there is more evidence for the existence of Confucius or Buddha than there is for Jesus. There is plenty of evidence for the existence of Mohammad, but the historical record is silent on Jesus.

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Response to white_wolf (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:39 PM

7. Really? That trophy is going to look swell on your mantle.

You don't have to prove anything at all. But making proclamations about something that is unknowable and something you can neither prove nor disprove may make you look foolish.

It's just like a fundamentalist and no less dogmatic.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:47 PM

8. No I rely on the historical record.

Unlike the fundies who ignore it.

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Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 07:10 PM

9. What didn't happen in Bethlehem

is the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. He was "put there" by the Church since the messiah of Israel was supposed to be born there.

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