Archbishop says nativity 'a legend'
The Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday that the Christmas story of the Three Wise Men was nothing but a 'legend'.The Christmas celebration is the creation of the early Roman church to inject the state religion, Christianity, into the various celebrations of the winter solstice. What few details that are actually documented come from Matthew, the Gospel written eighty plus years after the death of Jesus. In fact the entire Roman church and modern Christianity is based largely on Matthew. It contains facts and details not found in any of the earlier gospels and the source is the authors imagination not historical fact. In fact Matthew was probably written to make Christianity a politically acceptable state religion. The source of most Christmas traditions are the pagan customs that preceded Christianity. The Christmas tree dates back to pre-Christian winter solstice celebrations and the thing that makes Christmas politically acceptable to the consumer driven modern world, the buying of gifts, has it's origin in the Roman celebration, Saturnalia, at which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn. Enjoy the holidays but don't think you can keep Christ in Christmas because he was never there.
Dr Rowan Williams has claimed there was little evidence that the Magi even existed and there was certainly nothing to prove there were three of them or that they were kings.
He said the only reference to the wise men from the East was in Matthew's gospel and the details were very vague.
Dr Williams 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."
The Archbishop went on to dispel other details of the Christmas story, adding that there were probably no asses or oxen in the stable.
He argued that Christmas cards which showed the Virgin Mary cradling the baby Jesus, flanked by shepherds and wise men, were misleading. As for the scenes that depicted snow falling in Bethlehem, the Archbishop said the chance of this was "very unlikely".
In a final blow to the traditional nativity story, Dr Williams concluded that Jesus was probably not born in December at all. He said: "Christmas was when it was because it fitted well with the winter festival."