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Closer to the Real Christmas Story: Insights into the biblical text, history, culture, and geography
by Jared Burkholder; Illustrated by Heather Marx
Closer to The Real Christmas Story explores an alternate telling of the popular Christmas narrative. Much more than a childrens Christmas story book, readers of all ages will be challenged to take a closer look at what the biblical text does and does not say, what historically we do and do not know with relative certainty, and culturally what we should and should not expect logically. Read and studied individually, as a family or in a small group, this discipleship tool will promote healthy dialogue, sharpen critical thinking skills and develop principles of Bible interpretation.
About the Author
Jared Burkholder was a youth pastor for six years, missionary in the Dominican Republic for seven years, egg truck driver for two and a half years, lead pastor for nine years, and college professor and administrator for twenty years. Throughout his years of ministry, Burkholder earned three Master Degrees (Guidance and Counseling, Pastoral Ministry, and Theology) and recently completed a Doctor of Ministry. Jared and his wife, Charlene, have four children and nine grandchildren. Life experience inspires his writing.
Burkholder has long been a skeptic of many aspects of the traditional Christmas story. Amazed at how readily some ignore or abandon details that are explicitly reflected in the text and perplexed by parts of the traditional narrative that defy common sense, some thing or things seemed to be missing. A providential reading of an article by Kenneth Bailey inspired Burkholder to take a closer look.
Through Middle Eastern Eyes
Dr. Rami Arav, Jewish scholar who grew up some 15 miles from Nazareth is a professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Director of the Bethsaida Excavations Project on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Rami observes:
"Closer to The Real Christmas Story is indeed what the title implies. It is a successful approach to reconcile the biblical narrative with what is known from wide scholarly researches in the fields of archaeology, geography, culture, history and above all a serious common sense. All these are artfully entwined into a story that speaks to all the members of the family. The Illustrations render to the minute details real landscapes and sites and are of great contribution. No doubt this book is a big step forward that brings us closer to the real Christmas story."
Dr. Hanna Massad, Palestinian pastor and educator, pastored the Gaza Baptist Church in the Gaza Strip for 12 years. Massad is presently a Professor at Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem, West Bank, and adjunct professor at JETS (Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary. Massad comments:
"Dr. Jared Burkholder unveils for us a unique version of the Christmas story, one that I had not seen before. His depth of understanding is evident as he helps us to see the background and the story behind the Christmas story. He paints before our eyes the beautiful culture of the Middle East in the time of Christ. This great work will inspire you and teach you something new about the Christmas story you probably never before considered."
(2012, paperback, 124 pages)