No Trace of Christmas?: Discovering Advent in the Old Testament  -     Edited By: Linda M. Maloney
    By: Christoph Dohmen
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No Trace of Christmas?: Discovering Advent in the Old Testament

Edited By: Linda M. Maloney
Liturgical Press / 2000 / Paperback

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"Not to know Scripture is not to know Christ." These words of St. Jerome were not an exhortation to Christians of his own time to read the New Testament, but an encouragement to deepen their knowledge of the Old Testament, the Bible of Israel. What was true in the late fourth century is no less valid today. Much of the imagery and many of the biblical texts we associate with Christmas can only be understood in their full depth if we are aware of their Old Testament roots.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 104
Vendor: Liturgical Press
Publication Date: 2000
Dimensions: 0.00 X 0.00 X 0.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0814627153
ISBN-13: 9780814627150
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Publisher's Description

What is the significance of Jesus' genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew? Why do we put and ox and ass at our creches? Why did angels appear to the shepherds? In No Trace of Christmas? Christoph Dohmen explains why the answers to these and other questions regarding our understanding of Christmas are to be found not in the New but in the Old Testament.

For the most part Christians regard the Old (or First) Testament as pre-history, a preparation for, or a promise of the New Testament and its proclamation of Christ. This is especially true during Advent, when the Christian liturgy directs our attention to the promise and its fulfillment. Yet Advent's status as the beginning of the Church year - as a turning point - calls us to look back in order to move forward. We read intensively from Old Testament prophecy texts with a special view toward their future meaning. Hence, Advent is the time of the year when Christians are reminded that they have one sacred Scripture in two parts, one Bible composed of the Old and New Testaments.

Since it was with the aid of the Old Testament that the early Church interpreted the event at Bethlehem, many of the images and biblical texts associated with Christmas can only be understood by following their Old Testament roots. Like the Magi who followed the star, we can, with Dohmen's help, follow in the liturgy of Advent and Christmas the traces that lead us into the Old Testament. Following those traces, we can arrive at a Christmas that appears to us in a new light, that of the Old Testament.

Chapters are In Search of Traces," "It al Began Before Christmas," "Addressed and Claimed," "A Gift from Heaven," "When Shepherds Become Prophets, "You Shall Make No Crib for Yourself!" "Joseph, What Are You Dreaming?" "A New Age Is Beginning," "In Order That Might Be Fulfilled . . . ," "In Our Midst," "Yad Vashem," "You, Bethlehem . . . ," and "Following the Trace."

Christoph Dohmen is professor of Old Testament Exegesis at the University of Osnabruck.

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Editorial Reviews

This work shines Advent light on the traditions and images of ancient Israel. We realize that we cannot understand the Christ of Christmas unless we know the God of Israel. For indeed, in Jesus, God became a Jew. The author follows the trail of the Christmas spirit back to what may seem its unlikely source - the Hebrew Scriptures. We can appreciate the blessings of Christmas when we understand the Advent promises contained in the world of the Old Testament.

Stephen J. Binz, Editor of God's Word Today; Author of Advent of the Savior and The God of Freedom and Life

This is a gem, with fresh insights on every page for all believers. Especially if you are a pastor or are involved in adult ministry, please take a look at Dohmen's book and consider making use of it for Advent in the coming year.
Christianity Today: 10 Best Books of 2000

. . . not only gives a way to reclaim Advent, it draws us into the riches of biblical typology. . . . An excellent resource for preachers, liturgists, and those of us who simply pray in our pews!
Irene Nowell, OSB, Author of Sing a New Song: The Psalms in the Sunday Lectionary and Women in the Old Testament, Mount St. Scholastica, Atchinson, Kansas

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