Pope's book on Jesus debunks Christmas myths
November 22nd, 2012
02:25 PM ET

Pope's book on Jesus debunks Christmas myths

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

(CNN) - It's Christmas, but not as you know it: a new book by released this week by Pope Benedict VI looks at the early life of Jesus - and debunks several myths about how the Nativity really unfolded.

In "Jesus of Nazareth - The Infancy Narratives," the pope says the Christian calendar is actually based on a blunder by a 6th century monk, who Benedict says was several years off in his calculation of Jesus' birth date.

According to the pope's research, there is also no evidence in the Gospels that the cattle and other animals traditionally pictured gathered around the manger were actually present.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (577 Responses)
  1. Agapatos

    The Bible is makes complete sense, once you take it in context. For example, Genesis' "7 days" of creation isn't 7 days, or 7 ages, but an allegory about human nature as rational (Days 1 & 4 symbolized by the sun, moon, & stars ), sensate (Days 2 & 5, symbolized by birds & fish), and physical (symbolized by plants and land). There are MANY other allegories within it . . . for example the "Tree of Life" is "the cross," . . . But you won't discover any of this unless you read and TRUST that, at some level, it is true.

    November 24, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you would have people simply pretend that what the bible says is factually believable? How? Sorry, I don't believe it.

      November 24, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • rick

      so, you have to believe in order to believe?

      November 24, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • End Religion

      Imagine how the time could've been spent elsewhere helping people in the here and now. Instead it is wasted on countless hours devising some way for a book of absurd fiction to "make sense."

      November 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  2. Agapatos

    You can see CNN's hypocritical bias in the fact that they've been pasting this 'News' all over their page for a week, when it was a widely-held opinion among scholars, decades ago.

    November 24, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Tell it to the pope & his minions... they're the ones who are publishing it - THIS WEEK!

      November 24, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  3. Mac

    All about THE G FACTOR ( GREED) ! The church marketing, free press to promote HIS FAIRY FABLE !
    THE BIBLE IS A FABLE FIND YOUR TRUE FAMILY with the National Geographic DNA family tree test OK

    November 24, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Agapatos

      Glad to hear you're not greedy.

      November 24, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  4. martin


    November 24, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  5. martin

    the whole jesus tale is a myth...the greatest enemy of the bible is the bible (66 inane writings and plagarisms by 40 bronze age chauvenist pigs)

    November 24, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  6. Truth

    Do a little more research...you'll find there's no god either.

    November 24, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Agapatos

      Do a little research. You'll find that God's existence as a NECESSARY, FIRST MOVER, FIRST CAUSE, & GOOD GOVERNOR of the universe can be PROVED. http://www.scholastic-philosophy.com/blog/?p=73

      November 24, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Truth

      Agapatos, I went to the link you sent. I don't know what is more sad: that this ridiculous theory is passed off as "proof" or that you are taken in by it so wholeheartedly. If believing in imaginary friends helps you sleep at night, god bless you. As far as the "proof" goes? Why must there be an embodiment of the "infinitely truthful, infinitely holy, and infinitely just?" Because the bible tells you there is? Using the bible as proof of anything written in the bible is sorry circular logic.

      November 24, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • End Religion

      @IgotaPotato: I wouldn't be encouraging anyone to research biblical history: it creates more atheists.

      November 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  7. McGuffin

    "According to the pope's research, there is also no evidence in the Gospels that the cattle ... were actually present."

    "Research," as in, he can read?

    November 24, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  8. moe smith

    "blunder" – translate as "we the church got caught yet again manipulating the people for our own selfish agendas."

    November 24, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  9. PevanB

    Here is a fable for you – 4 more years of Obummer ( D 4$$) will bring a better tomorrow to the USA . This m0r0n you people call president (I just call him "the Dumb 4$$) will do anything for this country but bring it lower. CNN write about something with substance.

    November 24, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • McGuffin

      "will do anything for this country but bring it lower"

      You should be pleased then... or perhaps before you go calling people "m0r0ns" - without actually presenting any evidence or reasoning, mind you - you'll learn about the word "not."

      November 24, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • rick

      so, your guy lost and you are having a hissyfit?

      November 24, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • End Religion

      Poor Pevan, Egyptian King of De Nile.

      November 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  10. Apotropoxy

    The deification of Jesus was an understandable mistake. But it was a mistake nonetheless.

    November 24, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  11. Kindness

    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    I Accepted Jesus christ as my lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners. Even once we are saved by christs merciful grace we will still experience adversity to mold us to adhering to the truth.
    We will slip... But not fall of the ship ...carrying us onward to perfection in christs grace.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from some other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith ....above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read romans or corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are by faith above reason in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
    And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
    The, looking in, I saw upon the floor
    Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
    “How many anvils have you had,” said I,
    “To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
    “Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
    “The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
    And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
    For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
    Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
    The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.

    Truth is..exclusive

    November 24, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • sybaris

      "The world denounces truth...."

      Actually religion and the worship of god(s) requires ignorance to perpetuate so yes, you have it right but not in the way you have imagined.

      November 24, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  12. Jesus Christ

    RIght. Has anybody decided yet, to finally call the Pope what he really is? CRAZY! I mean, he doesn't care about anything modern in the world. He won't progress so that his members aren't living in the dark ages, but dam*ed if he isn't going to rewrite Christianity and start a new religion of his own! WOW. Impeach or do whatever they do with crazy Popes!

    November 24, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  13. SWG

    Pope debunks Jesud Christmas myths...whoopsy...there was none..Quick to the Fable maker Batman

    November 24, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • PevanB

      Sorry there zippy it's Jesus not jesud

      November 24, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  14. Frances French

    I never liked this Pope. Really, there are many more important spiritual concerns to investigate than as to whether Jesus was born in a stable with animals around him. There are no photos, so...one can believe that animals were there at his birth or not. Go away BenedictJerk! And while I'm at it, please ignorant people, leave your arguments about Hindu, Allah, The Great White Spirit, etc. out of this. We are all children of ONE GOD revealed to us as each culture would understand Him. Just respect each other GEEZ!!! If you happen to be an atheists. Just disregard this post as it has no interest to you.

    November 24, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Joe T

      "go away BenedictJerk" followed by "Just respect each other". Look in the mirror when you say the latter next time.

      November 24, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  15. Reality

    "And the day will come,
    when the mystical generation of Jesus,
    by the Supreme Being as His Father,
    in the womb of a virgin,
    will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva
    in the brain of Jupiter.

    – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
    Letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823.

    November 24, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • JLMZEN

      That day cannot come too soon.

      November 24, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    November 24, 2012 at 4:40 am |
    • Apotropoxy

      Religion is the ritualization of denial. No good comes of avoiding reality.

      November 24, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • ROLF @ U

      Science changes things, prayer does nothing

      November 24, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • M Pennington


      November 24, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  17. Earl

    Good day

    Re: Jesus' birth based on blunder

    May you read the following link to know the real Jesus in the Bible:


    May you also make the best of the said news tip

    Thank you

    November 23, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  18. hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

    birth date of profat Mohammad is razor thin, I did Google research too, but I found nothing, seculr s, denier of truth absolute GAWD, not Thin Allah, ignorant goons.

    November 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  19. Mohammad A Dar

    "According to the pope's research, there is also no evidence in the Gospels that the cattle and other animals traditionally pictured gathered around the manger were actually present."

    get him a doctor, he is loosing his mind.

    November 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Adelina the Carnal Dentist out looking for Bippy to pull his molars, and other assorted things.

      "Pope's research" my a'ss. If this is the sort of nonsense he used to teach in Germany, no wonder the Roman Church is such deep do-do.

      November 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Yup, the old man is not Anderson Cooper looking for some stories, he is appointed as head of the house, may be he should do research on scientifically proven things, but they are still being denied or accepted by the churches, like Big Bang theory etc.

      November 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • sybaris

      and the evidence for a Hallmark manger scene is?

      November 24, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  20. hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

    He sees the pope as using "both faith and reason" in his efforts to bring the life of Jesus closer.


    November 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • /0\

      filthy iam nutjob is to posted self demented rant writng self happening of flagelation of butt is filthy, lick same happy joy joy coming i am pants wet.

      November 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      @ Hindu-bot, senseless rant by a fanatic goon, truth absolute is.....you're a stupid person, beyond cure.

      November 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Akira

      Nothing is more criminal than what you do to the English language.

      November 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      hinduism, absurdities of hindu's, stupid's, borne in hind, darkness of hinduism, ignorance and spewing their hinduism, absurdities by their faith in hinduism, illegality. Way of hindu's criminals to hide their hinduism, illegality. Shame to be called human.

      November 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      lol! I hit the target, goon of Thin Allah, corruption of English, incurable stupid, still using punch card computer, no wonder why goon is so insanely incoherent.

      November 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.