I know what he’s saying isn’t all that horrific but it sure is spun that way and will confuse many people without further clarification. Hooray for historical-critical…
I read the article in the The Times. It’s not his fault that the Press in this country is very poor at covering such matters.
Most of the issues mentioned have very little to do with the use of HCMs - as he said, St. Matthew says nothing about snow, three kings (or even kings), the time of the Nativity, & so forth. Most of the usual details of the Nativity as depicted on Christmas cards owe far less to the gospel text than to Christian ideas of later centuries. It’s no fault of his if Christians insist on reading these ideas back into the text - to blame him, is to shoot the messenger.
Rather similarly, people who insist on believing in an instantaneous creation are upholding not Genesis 1-2, but Milton’s poetic rendering of its contents in Paradise Lost: which is another case of getting in a flap because the clergy & the scholars have the gall not to mistake the Biblical text for later interpretations of it. The differences between the texts, & the extra-Biblical ideas about them, did not need to wait until the coming of HCMs to be noticed. But people don’t take kindly to having their long-held mental pictures disturbed - so it’s all too easy to chuck out baby & bath-water. :o
We can’t quarrel with anything that he said except the quote “It works well as legend”, which I think may have applied to details like “three kings”, the *** and the ox etc.The media are not very good at reporting on religious subjects. The titles here are very misleading.