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.

Full Story

- CNN Belief Blog

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

soundoff (577 Responses)
  1. Priest

    Oh ye of little faith.

    November 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • End Religion

      Oh ye of even littler brain.

      November 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • rick

      one can have faith in a personal god and still dismiss religion as ancient mythology

      November 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  2. Cary lacayo

    One day we will die and I believe the first person you will see is Jesus. You will see the nail prints in His hands for what He did for all of us. He paid the price on the cross for our sins for everyone. Someone had to be the sacrifice that was acceptable for God and it had to a perfect sinless human being. It doesn't matter when His bday was – thank God He was born. His mission was to save us, to make us right in the sight of almighty God and He accomplished that mission. His last words while on the cross – "It is finished"

    Believe and trust in Him from this moment on! Ask Him to reveal Himself to you personally. God wants a relationship with you not a religious experience. He is against religion because its mans way to reach God to be acceptable to Him based on their own efforts. It's impossible to complete that task because we aren't perfect, our hearts are evil, maybe not all the time, but never always good. Like I mentioned before Jesus made it possible, Jesus made it personal between us and God, so that's it, that's enough. Jesus + nothing = eternal life in heaven

    November 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Splishkid

      So- if u commit the most atrocious crime imaginable but u believe in Jesus and his resurrection u are automatically saved ?
      That is cool. I think I believe now.........thank you for your profound insight

      November 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • rick

      cary: what makes you think you have authority to speak for god?

      November 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • exma

      So..... What about good people of Buddhist, Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, and other non Christian religions? They will not be "saved" and have eternal life? Last time I checked everybody's feet is touching the ground. No religion is more "righteous" than the other. So please stop your rhetorical preaching.

      November 24, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  3. lou

    jesus is the latest in a long line of sun gods

    November 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  4. Ted

    There was a Jewish guy, names Yoshua, son of a carpenter, who did not want to work the trade and be a rabbi. Somehow he became the King of Jews, then the messiah, then the son of God, then God, then the King of Aliens, then ...

    November 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  5. heywaitaminit

    Sorry, all I read was the headline.
    So the Pope is copping to it all being a myth? Well, um, good for him I guess.

    November 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  6. Rusty

    Wow. Some people on this forum must have got brainfood poisoning this christmas.....though I am amused by the sole Anglican getting up in everyone's face.

    November 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  7. hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

    my female goats are glued to their male goats, filthy desire to produce more goats, SEE, SEE THEY NOT, HEAR HEAR THEY NOT, THEY JUST DO NOT UNDERSTAND, MATHEW 13: 13, GOATS ARE DUMB, DEAF AND BLIND, AL QURAN. bunch of Is lamb's, ignorant s, spewing their terror ism, absurdities as some thing of a holy nature.

    November 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  8. Natrldiver

    It has been accepted for many decades that Christmas was probably not the real birthday of Jesus Christ. It was a way for Christians to participate or meld the pagan celebration with their own beliefs. many celebrations have pagan beginnings but religion has found a way to share in the celebrations with their own faith. The only real frustration with all of this is the amount of hatred towards Christianity, Yes there are zealots out there but s does every other religion or non-religion.

    An atheist hates the thought of Christmas because of its religious inflection but will celebrate the holiday with its Pagan purpose. Very ironic. In reality, most Christians are tolerant of all the intertwining of holidays. In reality it is only what ones belief/faith is not what some elected man who is the perceived leader of Christianity says. In my belief, the pope has no power and cannot convince me that he is better or knows more just because he is "the pope"

    November 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "An atheist hates the thought of Christmas because of its religious inflection but will celebrate the holiday with its Pagan purpose."
      Very few atheists hate the thought of christmas. Most will see it for what it is, and how it came about. What they may dislike is the effort by some christians to claim the holiday as exclusively their own, because they know how it came about.

      November 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  9. T

    I love how non-believers need blogs like this to make their existence seem more meaningful.

    November 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "I love how non-believers need blogs like this to make their existence seem more meaningful."
      Let me guess, you're a believer? Judging by the ignorance displayed in your comment it is obvious that you would be easily taken in by religion.

      November 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Snickers409

      And I love how believers use blogs like this to spread their particular form of lies and hate, all in the name of what they hold so dear, "religion". Of course, most religious people think it's perfectly fine to hate or hurt other people if they do it in the name of religion. As far as I'm concerned, believers in religions are the largest group of mentally deranged/deluded people on earth.

      November 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • rick

      as opposed to believers who need to think that the creator of the universe desires a personal relationship with them?

      November 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • End Religion

      OP, I'm here for the entertainment value of your stupidity.

      November 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  10. fred

    Bravo, the church is going down the slippery slope. Which will be the next BLUNDER?

    November 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • fidelajames

      How about the Gospels don't indicate that Jesus was presented the gifts from the wise men on his birthday (most likely around 1-2yrs old). Among many other issues with the birth narrative that we know now....

      November 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  11. Bishop Hairy Palms

    The Catholic Church is a criminal enterprise that exists for the purpose of robbing the gullible and molesting the innocent.

    November 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Bishop Harry Dix

      Have we met?

      November 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  12. Bishop Hairy Palms

    Jesus was a mere mortal man who was born and died like every mortal man before and after him.

    November 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms

      ......if he ever existed.

      November 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  13. Snickers409

    These aren't "myths". These stories may have started out as errors, but then they turned into lies. Lies perpetuated by all Christian religions for the last 2000+ years, along with all the other lies told in the name of religion. Any minister who has an IQ above 90 knows most of what they preach are untruths, but they do it to keep the money flowing and the flocks terrified of the outcome if they don't keep giving.

    November 24, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Splishkid

      Yep- Jesus existed. He preached to the lower classes that they did not have to give offerings, and taxes to the ruling elite and abide by the numerous behavioral rules . They rally dug this and followed him. Romans and upper class elite saw him as a threat and killed him. Then the followers to get the last word told the Romans that he is still alive- we win- you lose. 330 yr later Constantine made the Christ Follower moment the official religion so all the power, money and pilgrimages would funnel thu Rome. This is a fact, many scholarly papers etc back this up. But many of the masses follow the crowd and do not question authority. Similar to the masses that feed off one another on Black Friday.

      November 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • End Religion

      mankind's entire pantheon never existed

      November 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  14. LibertyQueen

    The pope is a dope who leads the world's largest ped o phile factory in the world

    November 24, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms


      November 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  15. LibertyQueen

    Adam was a rough draft, Eve was the real deal.

    November 24, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  16. LibertyQueen

    When God created Adam, She was only joking.

    November 24, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Lilith

      I hear ya sista.

      November 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  17. Bill

    He debunks Christmas myths...isn't that an oxymoron?

    November 24, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Jack Alternatov

      Haha thats a good point. But if you do believe it, anyone who has experienced the Israeli winter nights around Nazareth and Bethlehem knows the date must be a blunder. It gets way too cold out there for Mary and John to make that trip in the middle of the night.

      November 24, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  18. Don

    The whole story is a myth–and not even an original.

    November 24, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  19. everett66


    November 24, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  20. M Pennington


    November 24, 2012 at 11:20 am |
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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.