WDTPRS PSA: Historical-Critical Nativity set

Even before Halloween, ’tis already the season to toss wet blankets.

Yes, folks, we are approaching once again the season of attacking Christian symbols in public.

Nativity scenes are especially prized as objects of anti-Christian bigotry.

With that in mind, here is a gloss on something a reader alerted me to.

You probably have a very nice Nativity for your homes, maybe even your yards.

But shouldn’t you have a Historical-Critical Nativity set?

Here is a nice minimalist version developed in conjunction with German theologians.

I include the English version so that you will not be confused and forget to be immediately shocked at the audacity of making a public display of faith.

Remember… this might not prevent morons from attacking your Nativity set, but it may delay them for a while as they puzzle it all out.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tim Ferguson says:

    The fact that the grain on the Joseph-stick is more dense is clearly a sign of the patriarchal hermeneutic of the individual who put this together; the inclusion of wise men, while failing to include the wise women who were certainly there is patently sexist; putting Mary and Joseph on either side of the Jesus-stick is pure, unadulterated heteronormativity gone amok; lastly, whoever assembled the display, by putting the human person-sticks upright, while laying the animal-person sticks horizontally is displaying an unacceptable speciesist tendency. For shame! I will have none of this backwards-thinking, close mindedness under my eco-friendly, live, midwinter holiday tree!

  2. Kimberly says:

    I love it! It would be a real hoot to watch people’s faces as they try to figure it out. Although, Jesus is the real give away.

  3. Kimberly says:

    Tim – Your blog came on the same time I submitted mine. FUNNY! My favorite – “wise women who were certainly there is patently sexist;. Thanks for the laugh.

  4. tewter says:

    Hilarious. And brilliant.

  5. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Wunderbar, Tim.

  6. Londiniensis says:

    Interesting that the German theologically approved “König” should be rendered in the English as “Wise Man” – those wise men at ICEL obviously thought that references to kingship in these democratic times was inappropriate. As to translating “Esel” as “Donkey”, well, I know, you have a different language and you don’t want 13-year olds sniggering …

    BTW, do American children learn Frances Chesterton’s “How far is it to Bethlehem”?

  7. JohnE says:

    I’m afraid people will still be able to figure it out. The names will have to be removed from the blocks and the blocks themselves rearranged into something like Stonehenge if this display is to remain unchallenged on public property.

  8. Sacristymaiden says:


    Londiniensis: I’m American and I’ve never heard of Frances Chesterton’s “How far is it to Bethlehem.” Is it a poetry or a story of some sort?

  9. stgemma_0411 says:

    One of the funniest things I have ever seen/read. Tim Ferguson….BRAVO!! You made my night.

  10. catholicmidwest says:

    What do you expect from the land of “Ooompah pah” = music?

  11. medievalist says:

    Is it a Catholic Jenga?

  12. pattif says:

    What kind of historical/critical is this? Doesn’t EVERYBODY know that you can’t have shepherds and wise men in the same Nativity scene, because they don’t appear in the same gospel?

  13. Allan S. says:

    Soooo….Can you ACTUALLY buy this? Personally, I think I would. I’d put it out and just tell people I didn’t have time to carve them yet….

  14. TKS says:

    Very “The Far Side” ish. I love it!

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