Was It A Supernova?
by Frank Kermode for London Review of Books (Jan. 7, 2007)
“Very few schoolboys know that of the four Gospels only two offer any account of the conception and birth of Jesus, and even those schoolboys probably care little that Matthew and Luke, the two which do provide Nativity narratives, fail to agree about many important details. Moreover, there are received ideas about the Nativity narrative that have no warrant in either version. So, it may be asked, who cares? Yet to look into these matters is to come on problems both interesting and intractable and, to some people, important. The trickiest, the best known and perhaps the most important of these is the Virgin Conception, of which more later; but some of the others are not much easier.”