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  • Created by: princejal
  • Created on: 06-04-16 12:49


Incarnation is literally ‘becoming flesh’

The doctrine expresses the belief that Jesus was fully human and fully divine i.e. he was God come to earth as a human being

Divine characteristics – existed from the beginning, defeated death (link to crucifixion and resurrection), ascended and ever-reigning with God

Human characteristics – born of flesh and blood, learned to walk and talk, ate and drank, slept experienced temptation, disappointment, weakness etc.

Human and divine nature is equally important. To emphasise one at the expense of the other is bound to lead to heresy

The Gospels

The gospels all record a story of the earthly life of Jesus while John’s gospel at least hints that he (Jesus) existed prior to his coming to earth e.g. being the Word. The other two gospel writers Matthew and Luke both offer an account of his birth and related events and finally Mark’s gospel doesn’t have a birth narrative, but does indicate that Jesus was the ‘Son of God’

Different purposes for the Gospels

To satisfy curiosity Christians wanted to know more about Jesus, such as his family, ancestors, birthplace etc.

To present a historically accurate picture Conservative Christians would say that the narratives tell what actually happened. However, issues of historicity are a problem, and so many scholars would argue that the purpose of the texts was Christological

Christology to put forward theological claims about whom Jesus was

Apologetics to answer criticisms or to defend Jesus/Christianity in the face of persecution (or to present Jesus as no threat to the Romans for example)

Polemic – to criticise certain views that were seen as heretical or wrong by the Early Church e.g. Docetism – the view that Jesus was not human but only appeared to be so.


Difference between Matthew and Luke’s Birth narrative



Un-named angel appears to Joseph and quotes from Isaiah 7 v14


Angel Gabriel appears to Mary


Joseph marries Mary


Joseph doesn’t marry Mary

None of these take place in Matthews account

Mary visits Elizabeth

Mary’s song – the Magnificat

The birth of John the Baptist

Zechariah’s prophecy – The Benedictus

The census


The wise men came to visit baby Jesus  (Quotes from Micah 5 v1 and 2 Samuel 5 v2)


Only the shepherds visit baby Jesus  


The slaughter of the infants (quote Jer 31v15)

The flight to Egypt (Quote Hosea 11 v1)

Return to Nazareth from Egypt (Possible OT ref to Judges 13 v5,7)


None of these take place in Matthews account

None of these take place in Matthews account

The presentation of Jesus in the Temple

Simeon’s song – the Nunc Dinitis

The return to Nazareth from Jerusalem



Why were they different?

Different sources - e.g. Luke may have had access to a tradition which knew Mary herself and may have used her ‘memoirs’, whereas Matthew’s material may reflect Joseph’s evidence.

Different transmission history – the material in the two




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