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Jesus at Christmas: Story, Stone, Evolution

Nov 18, Dec 2, Dec 9, and Dec 16, 2021

A four-week virtual lecture series with John Dominic Crossan
Each lecture is from 7:30-9:00pm Eastern Time (US & Canada) via Zoom.

Basic Fee: $125
Fee Plus: $150
Subsided Fee: $100
Single Lecture: $35 ~ registration links for individual lectures can be found within the descriptions below.

If you are seeking financial assistance to participate in this program, please click on the link for our Financial Assistance Application form, below. Do NOT register online.

Our Opening the Bible Today programs are supported by the Bible Association of Friends in America.

Call Us for More Information!

610-566-4507, ext. 137

These lectures will be recorded and shared with participants who register for each session. We hope you will join us live, if you can, as recordings may not be available until the week of Christmas.

Why do you not think of him as the coming one, imminent from all eternity, the future one, the final fruit of a tree whose leaves we are? What keeps you from projecting his birth into times that are in process of becoming, and living your life like a painful and beautiful day in the history of a great gestation?” —Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, Letter 6, for Christmas. Wednesday, December 23, 1903

Sagrada Familia Basilica, Nativity facade

Sagrada Familia Basilica, Nativity facade

A virtual but visual four-session lecture series in dialectic – as with the two sides of a coin – between questioning Christmas in story and celebrating Christmas in stone. Literary interrogation on Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 is counterpointed with visual meditation on Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Basilica where scenes of Jesus’ infancy appear organically within the forms, shapes, flora, and fauna of nature, that is, of evolution. From story and stone combined, therefore: how does Christmas interact with Evolution?

Lecture 1: Comparison: Story, Stone, Evolution
November 18, 2021
Why are there only two infancy stories among the four Gospel-versions? Why are those two infancy stories so divergent in Matthew and Luke? Are those inaugural stories historical accounts in disagreement or parabolic overtures in agreement – but each to its own succeeding Gospel-version? Matrix is the Sagrada Familia’s Nativity façade (pictured above).

Lecture 2: Matthew 1-2: Moses, Jesus, and Law
December 2, 2021
Jesus’ inaugural “sermon on the mount” is a New Law by a New Moses from a New Mount Sinai (new means re-new-ed.) For example, the infant Jesus as the New-infant Moses, is lethally threatened by Herod as New Pharaoh and must escape, now, from Israel to Egypt rather than the reverse. Matrix is the Sagrada Familia’s Nativity façade (west end).
Click here to register for Lecture 2 only.

Lecture 3: Luke 1-2: Augustus, Jesus, and Peace
December 9, 2021
How is Luke 1-2 the parabolic overture to Luke-Acts as a single two-volume book planned, written, and presented as such? Watch how Luke presents the infancies of Jesus over John in parallel structure to imagine the future as Roman Christianity rather than Jewish Christianity. Matrix is the Sagrada Familia’s Nativity façade (west end).
Click here to register for Lecture 3 only.

Lecture 4: Tradition: Virginal Conception and Bethlehem Birth
December 16, 2021
Despite all other differences, there are two points of common tradition presumed by Matthew and Luke—the virginal conception of Jesus and his birth in Bethlehem—although each writer gets Joseph and the pregnant Mary there differently. How do those twin claims operate as general parabolic overtures to the more specific ones just seen in Lectures 2-3?
Click here to register for Lecture 4 only.


"The First Christmas" (Crossan) book coverJohn Dominic Crossan is an Irish-American biblical scholar with two-year post-doctoral diplomas in exegesis from Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute and in archeology from Jerusalem’s École Biblique. He has been a mendicant friar and a catholic priest, a Co-Chair of the Jesus Seminar, and a President of the Society of Biblical Literature. His focus, whether scholarly or popular, whether in books, videos, or lectures, is on the historical Jesus as the norm and criterion for the entire Christian Bible. His reconstructed Jesus incarnates nonviolent resistance to the Romanization of his Jewish homeland and the Herodian commercialization of his Galilean lake as present program and future hope of a transformed world and transfigured earth. Crossan’s method is to situate biblical texts within the reconstructed matrix of their own their own genre and purpose, their own time and place, and to hear them accurately for then before accepting or rejecting them for now.

Financial aid may be available. If you are seeking funds to participate in this program, click to review and complete our Financial Assistance Application and a Pendle Hill staff member will follow-up with you shortly (please do NOT register online). Thank you for your interest.

Travel directions to Pendle Hill.