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Thread: The sources of the Christmas story

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    The sources of the Christmas story

    In another forum there was a question about the sources of the story of the birth of Christ. There are, of course, the narratives of the Evangelia of Matheus and Luke but there also seem to be apocrypha narratives.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    In another forum there was a question about the sources of the story of the birth of Christ. There are, of course, the narratives of the Evangelia of Matheus and Luke but there also seem to be apocrypha narratives.
    Even more interesting than the appearance of the story in apocrypha is the question by which older ideas it was inspired. To think that the story really happened in the way it is told in the gospels would be rather naive. Basically it is an allegory which pictures the gnostic idea of the divine logos being inseminated in the human soul, combined with the old Jewish idea of a more political Messiah who saves the Jewish people from suppression by alien powers. In addition, some pre-Christian traditions played an important part in inspiring the allegory. The German historian Eduard Norden writes in his study "The Birth of the Child: The History of an Idea" about a custom in Egypt in pre-Christian times (my translation from German):

    In the night of December 24/25 (other sources: in the night of January 6th) the faithful assembled in a subterraneous chamber. Here, at midnight, the inauguration ceremonies took place. At daybreak the procession of the worshippers left the Adyton (= the chamber). The statuette of a child was carried forward as a symbol of the newly born sun god. As soon as the sun rays fell on the congregation, they erupted with the call "The virgin has born, the light is growing".

    Nordenīs description is based on several reports of Egyptian customs by early Christian churchmen.
    Last edited by Tammuz; 12-26-2017 at 05:10 PM.

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    This is an interesting theory, Tammuz. I havenīt studied theological texts myself but I guess there are groups who take the story as literal and other ones like Norden who prefer the symbolical approach.
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    It looks like there are at least two apocryphal "infancy gospels" one by Thomas https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infancy_Gospel_of_Thomas and one by James https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_James There may be more for all I know.

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Thanks, Yes/No. I came upon the Gospel of James, that contains a lot of information on Mary.
    But I had never heard about the Gospel of Thomas. The question came up in my German Forum because of Christmas.
    According to your links there are a few other "Infancy Gospels", but they derived there main information from the both books your mentioned.
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 12-28-2017 at 09:32 AM.
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    Thanks for sharing the links.
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    The birth of Jesus is clearly tied to the winter solstice. There is a ton of relevant information through searching "astrotheology." solarmythology.com is a good one. And Alvin Boyd Kuhn is one of my heros of freethinking.
    Last edited by Ekimhtims; 04-07-2019 at 07:10 PM. Reason: stupidity

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