In The Nativity: History and Legend Geza Vermes penetrates the deeper meanings of the New Testament story that evolved into the festival we call Christmas. The Nativity is at the very heart of the Christian tradition. But what truth lies behind the Christmas story as we know it? Where does history end and legend begin? Here Geza Vermes, the world's most respected Biblical historian, examines what really happened when, according to Church liturgy, Jesus was born on the 25 December. Taking us through the main events surrounding the Nativity: the prophetic star, the virgin and the holy spirit, the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, the miraculous birth in a stable, the arrival of the magi and the murderous decree of King Herod, Vermes puts the story in its real historical context. He sifts through all the evidence - examining the New Testament Infancy Gospels of Matthew and Luke as well as parallel Jewish documents and sources from classical literature and history - to separate morsels of fact from centuries of legendary accretions. 'The greatest Jesus scholar of his generation' Sunday Telegraph Geza Vermes is director of the Forum for Qumran Research at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. His books, published by Penguin, include The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, The Story of the Scrolls and The Changing Faces of Jesus as well as the 'Jesus' trilogy: Nativity, Passion and Resurrection.
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Geza Vermes was born in Hungary in 1924. From 1957 to 1991 he taught in at the Universities of Newcastle and Oxford. Professor Vermes is the editor of The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (1997) and author of The Changing Faces of Jesus (2000), The Authentic Gospel of Jesus (2003) and The Passion (2005). He lives in Oxford.
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