‘Christ in the Temple’ Heinrich Hofmann (1824-1911)

Course Description

Of the four canonical Gospels there are only two which have a narrative of Jesus’ birth and infancy: Matthew and Luke. John begins his Gospel with Jesus’ eternal pre-existence with the Father, who existed “In the beginning,” whereas Mark starts his Gospel by immediately launching into Jesus’ public ministry.

In this course you will see the similarities and differences between Matthew and Luke’s accounts of Jesus’ birth and infancy. You will see how Matthew’s account portrays Jesus being greeted by the Magi from the East in a house. On the other hand, Luke narrates Jesus being greeted soon after his birth by shepherds, who visit him while in the manger in a Bethlehem stable. These differences and many more, demarcate the diversity in theological outlook for both gospel writers.

Before looking at the different theological aspects of Matthew and Luke, as conveyed through their infancy narratives, this exciting course will begin with a short exposé of the nature of the infancy narratives in common. We will look at the issues surrounding the narrative’s historicity, with a specific emphasis on the problems of corroborating witnesses and apparently conflicting details. After which we will look at how the gospel writers use their narratives as vehicles for their theology, beginning with a specific investigation into Matthew, followed by an investigation into Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth and infancy.

This course will definitely give you an opportunity to see the birth of Jesus and the accounts of his infancy in a whole new light. So join us for this enlightening course on Matthew and Luke’s infancy narratives of Jesus!

Course Objectives

  1. To understand the similarities and differences between the accounts of Matthew and Luke of Jesus’ birth and infancy.
  2. To see how these accounts are used by Matthew and Luke as vehicles for the theological outlook for the rest of their respective Gospels.
  3. To learn how Matthew sets the stage for his Gospel with his opening account of Jesus’ genealogy.
  4. To discover Luke’s intent in relating the annunciation, the shepherds, Elizabeth and Zachariah, and John the Baptist’s birth in relation to the rest of his Gospel.
  5. To understand Jesus’ mission in relation to the accounts of his birth and infancy.

Course Duration

6 Weeks: 12 Hours (i.e., two hours, one night a week).

Recommended Reading

Texts Recommended for Purchase by Course Participants:

Sri, Edward. Dawn of the Messiah: The Coming of Christ in Scripture. Cincinnati, OH: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2005.

Popular Level Reading:

Byrne, Brendan. Lifting the Burden: Reading Matthew’s Gospel in the Church Today. Collegeville, MI: The Liturgical Press, 2004.

_________. The Hospitality of God: A Reading of Luke’s Gospel. Collegeville, MI: The Liturgical Press, 2000

Gray, Timothy C. Mission of the Messiah: On the Gospel of Luke. Steubenville, Ohio: Emmaus Road Publishing, 1998.

Hahn, Scott and Curtis Mitch. The Ignatius Catholic Bible Study: The New Testament. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010.

_________. The Ignatius Catholic Bible Study: Matthew. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000, 2nd ed. 2010.

_________. The Ignatius Catholic Bible Study: Luke. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2001, 2nd ed. 2011.

Mitch, Curtis and Edward Sri. The Gospel of Matthew: Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2010.

Sri, Edward. Mystery of the Kingdom: On the Gospel of Matthew. Steubenville, Ohio: Emmaus Road Publishers, 1999.

Thematic Works for this Course:

Achtemeier, Paul J. Inspiration and Authority: Nature and Function of Christian Scripture. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 1999.

Béchard, Dean P. ed. and trans. The Scripture Documents: An Anthology of Official Catholic Teachings. Collegeville, MI: The Liturgical Press, 2002.

Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Homebush: St Pauls, 1994.

_________. The Historicity of the Gospels: Instruction of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 1964.

_________. The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church: Address of His Holiness John Paul II and Document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Boston: St Paul Books and Media, 1993.

_________. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, New Revised Edition, vol. 1. Edited by Austin Flannery. New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1996.

Dauphinais, Michael and Matthew Levering. Holy People, Holy Land: A Theological Introduction to the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2005.

Farkasfalvy, Denis. Inspiration and Interpretation: A Theological Introduction to Sacred Scripture. Washington DC. The Catholic University of America Press, 2010.

Geisler, Norman L. and William C. Roach. Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2011.

Hahn, Scott. A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture. Michigan: Servant Publications, 1998.

_________. A Pocket Guide to the Bible. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Division, 2008.

_________. Scripture Matters: Essays on Reading the Bible From the Heart of the Church. Steubenville, Ohio: Emmaus Road, 2003.

Shea, Mark P. Making Senses out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did. San Diego: Basilica Press, 1999.

Sri, Edward. The Bible Compass: A Catholic’s Guide to Navigating the Scriptures. West Chester, PA: Ascension Press, 2009.

Stravinskas, Peter M.J. The Catholic Church and the Bible. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996.

Vanhoozer, Kevin J. (ed.) Theological Interpretation of the New Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2005, 2008.

_________. (ed.) Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2005, 2008.

Scholarly Level Reading:

Allison, Dale C. The New Moses: A Matthean Typology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993.

Allison, Dale C. and W. D. Davies. Matthew 1-7. Great Britain: T&T Clark, 1988.

Brown, Raymond E. The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke. New York: Image Books, 1979.

Evans, Craig A. Matthew. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Fitzmyer, Joseph. The Gospel According to Luke: I-IX. (Anchor Bible Commentary Series, vol. 28). Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday, 1982.

France, R. T. The Gospel of Matthew (NICNT). Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007.

Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke (NICNT). Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997.

Harrington, Daniel J. The Gospel of Matthew (Sacra Pagina Series, vol.1). Collegeville, MI: The Liturgical Press, 2007.

Johnson, Luke T. and Daniel J. Harrington. The Gospel of Luke. (Sacra Pagina Series, vol.3). Collegeville, MI: The Liturgical Press, 2006.

Keener, Craig S. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999.

_________. Matthew. Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 1997.

LaVerdiere, Eugene. Luke. Dublin: Veritas Publications, 1980.

Marshall, Howard I. Commentary on Luke (NIGTC). Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1978.

Nolland, John. The Gospel of Matthew (NIGTC). Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2005.