In "The Nativity: History and Legend" Geza Vermes penetrates the deeper meanings of the New Testament story that evolved into the festival we call Christmas. The Nativity is at the very heart of the Christian tradition. But what truth lies behind the Christmas story as we know it? Where does history end and legend begin? Here Geza Vermes, the world's most respected Biblical historian, examines what really happened when, according to Church liturgy, Jesus was born on the 25 December. Taking us through the main events surrounding the Nativity: the prophetic star, the virgin and the holy spirit, the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, the miraculous birth in a stable, the arrival of the magi and the murderous decree of King Herod, Vermes puts the story in its real historical context. He sifts through all the evidence - examining the New Testament Infancy Gospels of Matthew and Luke as well as parallel Jewish documents and sources from classical literature and history - to separate morsels of fact from centuries of legendary accretions. "The greatest Jesus scholar of his generation". ("Sunday Telegraph"). Geza Vermes is director of the Forum for Qumran Research at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. His books, published by Penguin, include "The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English", "The Story of the Scrolls" and "The Changing Faces of Jesus" as well as the 'Jesus' trilogy: "Nativity", "Passion" and "Resurrection".
Penguin Books Ltd
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