Truth and the nativity

January 9, 1998

YOUR article on the nativity stories (Perspective, THES, December 19) suffered from its attempt to interpret the views of theologians in terms of the modern/postmodern debate. There is nothing postmodern about regarding the nativity stories as literary constructions whose purpose is to draw attention symbolically to theological truths.

If postmodernism has contributed anything, it is not renewed openness to mystery but that critical scholars who insist on asking questions about the historicity, credibility and desirability of Christian affirmations are treated as spoil-sports. This just harms theology. The failure of any of the theologians you quoted to respond directly to the question of whether the nativity stories could be damaging to the faith is a clear indication of the trend.

Graham Gould Lecturer in theology King's College London

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