The Nativity: a True Christian Myth

Leonardo Boff

A few weeks ago, with pomp and circumstance, the present pope showed himself again as a theologian by publishing a book about the infancy of Jesus. He offers there the classic and traditional version that sees in those idyllic stories a historic narrative. The book was a surprise to theologians, because, for about 50 years, the biblical exegesis on these texts show that they are not historical, but a high and refined theology elaborated by the gospel writers Matthew and Luke (Mark and John do not say anything about Jesus’s infancy), in order to prove that Jesus really was the Messiah, the son of David and the Son of God.

To this end, they resorted to literary genres, that sound like history but in reality are literary devices, such as, for example, the Magi from the East (who represent the pagans), the shepherd (the most poor, considered to be sinners…

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