Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Birth Paperback – October 6, 2009
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“With meticulous scholarship and accessible language, “The first Christmas”... uncover(s) the genuine meaning of...the Birth of Jesus.” (The Progressive Christian)
From the Back Cover
In The First Christmas, two of today's top Jesus scholars, Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan, join forces to show how history has biased our reading of the nativity story as it appears in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. As they did for Easter in their previous book, The Last Week, here they explore the beginning of the life of Christ, peeling away the sentimentalism that has built up over the last two thousand years around this most well known of all stories to reveal the truth of what the gospels actually say. Borg and Crossan help us to see this well-known narrative afresh by answering the question, "What do these stories mean?" in the context of both the first century and the twenty-first century. They successfully show that the Christmas story, read in its original context, is far richer and more challenging than people imagine.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 63%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
For those not familiar with the authors, this book may contain some challenging perspectives. They gently debunk common popular approaches to the story as factual history in favour of pointing to the biblical authors' theological intentions. The writing is clear and concise; it is scholarly but not expressed in deeply academic language.
Why only four stars? While I recognise that this isn't designed to be an academic textbook, the authors are serious scholars; I'd have appreciated an appendix of references so I could explore their conclusions in a bit more depth. There are more than a few times that they make a point that could use some more backup than this book's format allowed for.
I don't always agree with Borg, especially on his opinion on the factual nature of events described in the New Testament. But that is his opinion, and I respect his deep insight into the layers of meaning behind the stories, and he is the best at putting the stories into their historical context. I don't feel like I have to agree with a writer's every theological point in order to learn something, nor do I fear that reading "heresy" is somehow going to banish me to the flames of hell. What I do learn from Borg is insight into what the authors of Matthew and Luke were trying to communicate about Jesus, the Son of God. If you side-step the happened-or-not argument and instead dive into the deeper spiritual truths of the stories, you will come out with a better understanding of not only the New Testament, but also how first century Christians viewed Jesus through their cultural and historical lenses.
At times I wished that Borg would just get to the point, but I think it's because I'm well-acquainted with his approach and reasons behind it, having read several of his books, including the excellent Two Visions of Jesus that he co-wrote with N.T. Wright. Those new to Borg's writings will need to read those passages to understand the foundation of his interpretation.
As you read the vicious reviews here, keep in mind that they are probably written by the inerrant, literal, dictated-word-for-word-by-God crowd. They can't fathom a Bible that might actually contain metaphor and allegory, which was a very common form of communicating spiritual truth in ancient times.