The Birth of Jesus - Two Gospel Narratives

The Birth of Jesus: Two Gospel Narratives is an online, self-paced tutorial written and narrated by Philip A. Cunningham, former Executive Director of Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College. It is a collaborative project of the Center and STM Online: Crossroads.

Joseph at the Nativity
Mary holding Jesus

By the end of the mini-course, a participant will have explored:

  • the two different Gospel Infancy Narratives by examining a series of scenes in each of the narratives;
  • the unique characteristics of each account;
  • the limits of our historical knowledge about Jesus’s birth;
  • the spiritual message about the birth of Jesus that each Evangelist sought to convey.

The tutorial begins by exploring how the Catholic tradition and recent biblical scholarship understand the origins of the Gospels and their proper interpretation.

These commentaries discuss the unique literary features and religious insights of each Evangelist’s account of Jesus' birth. Special attention is paid to the structure of each narrative, and other elements that the authors used to convey the meaning of Jesus’s birth.

This concluding section considers the two infancy narratives in relation to what is known historically about the late Second Temple period, their similar theological lessons, and some reflections on how they inform the Christian faith in our world today.