• Created by: moranm
  • Created on: 12-04-21 22:20


  • Focus is on Joseph, genealogy of Jesus through Joseph,
  • Mary’s pregnancy announced by an unnamed Angel, 
  • Jesus is born in Bethlehem, Magi visit with gold, frankincense and myrrh, after following a start from the East (Babylonia, Egypt or Arabia)  (Doesn’t say how many magi either.)
  • Herod, after being tricked by the Magi, reacts by massacring all males under age of 2, Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt, (Joseph has been warned in a dream) and return after Herod’s death

SPECIFIC TO MATTHEW - great reference to the prophets;

                                            Interest in the link of Jesus to King David

                                            Links Jesus to Moses - similar events

Written By a JEW - FOR JEWS

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  • Luke focuses on Mary. Gabriel announces the pregnancy, Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth – also pregnant.
  • Mary expresses her joy in the ‘Magnificat.’ Elizabeth gives birth to John the Baptist, Zechariah (her husband) makes a famous prophecy –the Benedictus. A census is called by Caesar Augustus – Mary and Joe travel to Bethlehem to register-
  • Jesus is born in a manger as there is ‘no room at the inn’.  Shepherds are informed by angels of Jesus’ birth, go to Bethlehem to visit him.
  • 8 days after birth Jesus presented in Temple – circumcision. Simeon and Anna recognise him as the Messiah, Simeon says hymn known as Nunc Dimittis. Mary and Joseph return to Nazareth

Specific to LUKE:  Gentile writing for Gentiles; uses prophets but explains them.

                                Includes circumcision - Gentiles needed to know Jesus' Jewishness

                                Interested in showing a humble Messiah, includes the marginalised (women) and lowely poor (shepherds)

KEY TO LUKE: How God can also be human (Kenosis- self emptying/limiting)

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For some the inclusion of supernatural events make the narratives unreliable.

Post enlightenment - scientific era - we should abandon these ideas; they make no sense in our world today. Some argue that this (accompanied by historical inaccuracies and inconsistences in the narratives) prove they are unreliable

Bultmann argues for seeing supernatural events as myth (and the need to demythologise) cf with Resurrection .  Thus, once we understand the myth we uncover the true meaning of the stories.

NT Wright - Supernatural evants may have been genuine - should not automatically dismiss them  (see also Resurrection) simply because they are unusual. 

Main stream Christianity accepts them either as real events which prove the incarnation or attempts of the writers to express the doctrine of the incarnation - either way they are essential to the idea of incarnation

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In Matthew – Angel appears to Joseph on 3 occasions; Star miraculously guides Magi to Jesus.  

In Luke- Angel Gabriel appears to Mary when Pregnant, Mary visits Elizabeth – and Elizabeth’s unborn child leaps in her womb as he recognises the unborn Jesus. Shepherds visited by choirs of angels, Anna and Simeon mysteriously recognise Jesus when presented at the Temple.  

BOTH claim Jesus was miraculously conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Thus, Jesus is human (by mother) and Divine (By God) His birth itself is a miraculous

KEY QUESTIONS - Do supernatural events pose problems today?  Do they invalidate the narratives?  

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Matthew – Herod’s massacre of children – but not supported by any other contemporary  historian.  Although Herod’s ‘characteristics are represented (he having murdered 3 of his own sons.) Maybe Mt invented story to make links Bt. Jesus and Moses (OT hero existence also threatened by Pharaoh.) 

Luke insists on historical accuracy of his account but Quirinius wasn’t governor of Syria during Herod’s reign. (Maybe miscopied by a Scribe and should read Saturnius)   Quirinius did hold a census but at a later date than Luke’s Gospel states. 

Also the ‘hymns’ included in Luke’s – may not have been spoken by those he states and were hymns already in us in the church.

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A method of Biblical scholarly study which holds the theory that NT writers altered their existing material about Jesus to suit their own needs, agenda and audience – thus providing reasons for the differences in the accounts.

Thus Luke has circumcison and Matthew omits it - becasue Luke's audience didn't know and Matthew's did.

Matthew quotes prolifically from the prophets without any/much explanation as his audience would understand completely and Luke quotes occassionally and explains them.

Matthew's Herod is a link to Moses showing the Jews that Jesus is the new law-maker and covenant.

Luke's humble shepherds and women appeal to the Gentiles who are outside of the Jewish community.


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Substantial presence is the idea that, although unseen, God is fully present, really present - in substance.

Matthew has this theme running throughout this Gospel - Jesus is present with his people - and God is present through Jesus

Evidence: Behole the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall call him Immanuel - a name which means God is with us.'

Even though God 'emptied himself' (Kenosis) by being born in human form and God is fully human - he still maintains his 'substance' as fully divine.  This belief is formualted in the doctrine of the incarnation and Matthew explores how a human being can hold completely this divine presence.

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Paul (with whom Luke travaled scholars believe) talked about Jesus on terms of 'KENOSIS-'

'though he was in the form of God he emptied himself and became a slave, being born in human likeness'

Kenosis is NOT that God left behind his divinity whislt on earth NO!  

It IS the idea that God chose to self limit and embrace the human experience - (Preincarnation- God made the decision)  Links here to topic on Trinity.  

Jesus submitted to the will od God and emptied himself of his own will as a human being.

INCARNATION - How can the fully divine be fully human.

This theme is strong in Luke.  Jesus is born of a woman, Luke tracks his story through Mary, has shepherds visit - all poor, marginalised, humble.

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