This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Three wise men just legend: archbishop

Thanks to Rob Harrand for the link.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/three-wise-men-just-legend-archbishop/2007/12/20/1197740452480.html

Three wise men just legend: archbishop

The leader of the world's Anglicans has described the Christmas story of the three wise men as nothing but a "legend" and says not all followers must believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has picked apart elements of the Christmas story, including how a star rose high in the sky and stood still to guide the wise men to Jesus's birth place.

Stars simply don't behave like that, he told the BBC during an interview.

Dr Williams said there was little evidence that the three wise men had existed at all. Certainly there was nothing to prove they were kings.

The only reference to the wise men from the East was in Matthew's gospel and the details were very vague, he said.

"Matthew's gospel says they are astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire, that's all we're really told. It works quite well as legend," he said.

He went on to say that while he believed in it himself, new Christians need not leap over the "hurdle" of belief in the virgin birth before they could join the church.

He said the virgin birth was "part of what I have inherited".

And on the timing of Jesus's birth, he said the son of God was likely not born in December at all.

"Christmas was when it was because it fitted well with the winter festival," he said.

But Dr Williams said almost everyone agreed on two things - that Jesus's mother was named Mary and his father Joseph.

The archbishop said his approach was to stick strictly to what the Bible says.

TAGGED: RELIGION


RELATED CONTENT

Viewpoints: Why is faith falling in the...

- - BBC News Comments

A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.

Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The...

- - human rights first Comments

Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The Consequences of Criminalizing “Defamation of Religions”

Update - Too crazy even for the...

Ed Kilgore - Political Animal Comments

update - too crazy even for the evangelical right
Barton’s Fall From Grace

David Barton says his documents prove that the Founding Fathers were deeply religious men who built America on Christian ideas - but do his sources check out?

Pussy Riot's closing statement

Cory Doctorow - BoingBoing Comments

Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich has given a tremendous closing statement, which is a masterful summary of Russian oligarchy

Refuting Richard: Dawkins Doesn’t “Get”...

Graham Veale - Saints & Sceptics? Comments

Refuting Richard: Dawkins Doesn’t “Get” God

Witchcraft-based child abuse: Action...

- - BBC News Comments

The government has launched an action plan to tackle child abuse linked to witchcraft or religion in England.

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment