The Birth of Jesus According to the Gospels  -     By: Joseph F. Kelly
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The Birth of Jesus According to the Gospels

Liturgical Press / 2008 / Paperback

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Product Description

How should one interpret the infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke? Or make sense of their apparent differences? Kelly delves into their origins, later embellishments, and such cultural trappings as crèches, pageants, trees, cards, and lots more. What does Emmanuel, "God with us," truly mean? 120 pages, softcover. Liturgical Press.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 120
Vendor: Liturgical Press
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 8.30 X 5.40 (inches)
ISBN: 0814629482
ISBN-13: 9780814629482
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Publisher's Description

In his previous book The Origins of Christmas, Joseph F. Kelly answers common questions about the development of Christmas rituals and legends, and explores the history of the holiday. In this book Kelly turns to the infancy narratives to see what the New Testament tells us about the Nativity. Readers will likely discover that their Christmas celebrations, cards, pageants, and creches are often combinations and embellishments of the gospel narratives. Yet each of these narratives is quite distinct, reflecting the author's talents and audience. In this practical book readers will:

Encounter the stories in their gospel contexts and learn about the issues facing the early Christians as the gospels were being written. See the difference between the educator Matthew's approach for an audience of Jewish converts and the great literary artist Luke writing for a primarily Gentile audience. Look beyond the literal level of the stories to what it means that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, who came to live in the family of a carpenter and his wife Mary. Recognize the infancy narratives as an invitation to meet Jesus Christ, king and savior, arrived to fulfill God's plan on earth for all people.

Author Bio

Joseph F. Kelly, PhD, chair of the department of theology and religious studies at John Carroll University, is active in adult religious education in the Greater Cleveland area. The World of the Early Christians (1997), The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition (2002), and History and Heresy (2012) are among his nine previous books published by Liturgical Press.

Author Bio / Endorsements

Joseph F. Kelly, PhD, is professor of religious studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is author of The Origins of Christmas, An Introduction to the New Testament for Catholics, The Collegeville Church History Timeline, and The Ecumenical Councils (forthcoming), all published by Liturgical Press.
"Reading this book is like having Christmas year round! So much that we associate with Christmas—warmth, love, generosity, care for others, joy—comes through the pages of this book. Kelly’s close reading of the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke’s gospels makes links with Old Testament texts and biblical culture that open up the meaning of the nativity narratives in interesting and intriguing ways. This book helps us grasp more deeply that Jesus’ birth is not something we celebrate once a year but is an incarnated, saving presence among us every day."
-Joyce Ann Zimmerman, CPPS, Director, Institute for Liturgical Ministry, Dayton, Ohio
"Dr. Kelly’s book will help the reader to understand the gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth and to answer questions that might indicate confusion or seeming contradiction. The focus of the book is the historical and theological questions with brief pastoral reflections following each gospel passage in chapters three and four. The preface and Chapter One help the reader appreciate the book more by guiding the reader to the Bible citations and recommending helpful suggestions to better appreciate the book. The book is straightforward and colloquial without sacrificing literary accuracy and scholarly content. There is a logical progression of information that makes it easy to understand. Dr. Kelly’s books are an easy read. The book provides a proper context—the risen Christ—for understanding what we believe and why. Dr. Kelly helps us to determine what biographical information each of the evangelists provides about Jesus’ birth and how the evangelists incorporated the infancy narratives into their gospels. Dr. Kelly makes it clear that the gospels are not biographies, they are theological accounts of Jesus’ public career. Evangelists are believing Christians writing for other believing Christians. Each evangelist produced a Christology, a theology of Christ, each complementing the other."
-Margaret Lyons, Secretary for Education/Superintendent, Office of Catholic Education, Cleveland, Ohio
"The accounts of the birth of Jesus are only recorded in two of the four gospels, Matthew and Luke. The Birth of Jesus according to the Gospels examines the religious and political climate from which these texts emerged and in the process transports its readers into the first century where the familiar Christmas narratives are revealed as texts rich in theological meaning. After pondering the significance of these stories to the early Christians, the reader is guided through spiritual reflection on how the message of the nativity affects our world in the twenty first century. Dr. Kelly’s book is an ideal place to begin any Bible study. The journey is thought provoking and faith filled. It leaves the reader wanting more."
-Dianne Alaimo, Saint Leo University

Editorial Reviews

This book . . . will be read and enjoyed by all . . . The reading would be a fine Advent undertaking and will certainly add to our understanding of the Infancy narratives. It is recommended for parish libraries and Scripture study groups.
Catholic Library World

Eminently readable . . .
Crux

In this brief but illuminating introduction Joseph Kelly, who teaches at John Carroll University in Cleveland, helps the more general reader to appreciate the beautiful theology of Matthew’s and Luke’s opening chapters, but also to weigh the weave of history and interpretation that are intrinsic to these texts. . . . This would be a fine resource for parish Bible Study groups.
The Bible Today

Reading this book is like having Christmas year round! So much that we associate with Christmas—warmth, love, generosity, care for others, joy—comes through the pages of this book. Kelly’s close reading of the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke’s gospels makes links with Old Testament texts and biblical culture that open up the meaning of the nativity narratives in interesting and intriguing ways. This book helps us grasp more deeply that Jesus’ birth is not something we celebrate once a year but is an incarnated, saving presence among us every day.
Joyce Ann Zimmerman, CPPS, Director, Institute for Liturgical Ministry, Dayton, Ohio

The accounts of the birth of Jesus are only recorded in two of the four gospels, Matthew and Luke. The Birth of Jesus According to the Gospels examines the religious and political climate from which these texts emerged and in the process transports its readers into the first century where the familiar Christmas narratives are revealed as texts rich in theological meaning. After pondering the significance of these stories to the early Christians, the reader is guided through spiritual reflection on how the message of the nativity affects our world in the twenty first century. Dr. Kelly’s book is an ideal place to begin any Bible study. The journey is thought provoking and faith filled. It leaves the reader wanting more.
Dianne Alaimo, Saint Leo University

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