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 2,000 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 21st century. They successfully show that the Christmas story, read in its original context, is far richer and more challenging than people imagine.
©2011 Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan (P)2011 HarperCollinsPublishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Joseph on 11-12-15

Fantastic - a real gem

As you would expect with Marcus Borg this is a really good book. Clear and accurate analysis of the text and story, opening windows on the real meaning behind the story we all know so well.
I love that Borg's faith was living and passionate, that he longed to see God's Kingdom come alive within people and society at large.
I wish I could get this book into the hands of every Church and certainly every member of the Churches I look after.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jacobus on 02-02-12

Christmas... Something interesting for everyone

Following their book "The Last Week" the "The First Christmas" is a collaboration between two liberal yet main stream New Testament scholars, Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan, on the two nativity accounts in the Bible, that of Matthew and Luke. The writers take each account and discuss it in its own right, therefore moving away from the classic harmonisation of how Matthew and Luke relate Jesus' birth. With their background knowledge of the era in which Jesus live, they are able to illuminate both stories with very interesting facts, that puts Christmas in a new light. In the light of Roman Imperial theology they also bring out the political message for Christians.

The way that they respected and used Christian tradition while discussing the two Christmas narratives stood out. I think this is one of the highlights of this book. The book is also written in a very accessible manner. What I found a bit challenging was the references to Biblical texts that were difficult to remember especially when the content of an Old Testament passage was not discussed. Some information might also be common knowledge, especially for ministers of religion.

The book is guaranteed to provoke further discussion about Christmas and its meaning. While written by liberal theologians, this book will also be of value to Evangelical Christians and may even interest atheists. The narration is fair and easy to follow.

The book comes highly recommended.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Harold on 09-01-12

Renews the Christmas spirit

If you could sum up The First Christmas in three words, what would they be?

Critical, Renews, Reaffirms.

What about John Pruden’s performance did you like?

Clear and he brings the authors' to mind as you listen.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Borg and Crosson are leaders in the Jesus Movement. Their focus on the Infancy Narratives has the strength of reason and thereby puts them in a new light; a light that makes it possible for thinking people to revisit them without

Any additional comments?

People don't have to leave their brains at the door when they enter these mysteries.

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