Skip to content

A Journalist's Research on the Child Jesus

Vatican-Observer Andrea Tornielli Writes a Book

ROME, DEC. 12, 2005 (Zenit) - Who was Jesus, really? Did he really exist or is his story a pious invention?

Journalist Andrea Tornielli, who covers the Vatican for the Italian newspaper Il Giornale, tries to answer these questions in a new book, "Inchiesta su Gesů Bambino" (Research on the Child Jesus).

We interviewed the author about the book, which will be presented at the Catholic University in Rome on Tuesday.

Q: How did this book come about?

Tornielli: The book is journalistic research which instead of having as its object a current event, tries to follow with the same criteria a news item -- better still, "good news," which occurred 2,000 years ago: Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, the event that has divided humanity in two.

Q: What conclusions did you come to at the end of your research?

Tornielli: I have tried to answer the classic questions contained in the journalism manuals: who, what, where, when and why.

Sadly, also in the field of Christian exegesis, there is a tendency to consider the Gospels, specifically the Gospels of the Infancy, written by Matthew and Luke, as later "theological" constructions, full of symbols that have little to do with reality.

With my research, I have tried to demonstrate instead that the Gospels of the Infancy also have important connections with history, and that the events narrated in those pages are very well inscribed in the historical, geographical and cultural context of the time.

Q: Can you give a concrete example?

Tornielli: Whoever holds that the Gospels are an intellectual construction of the "inventors" of the Christian religion, of the "creators" of the myth of Christ, should explain why these inventors have given their mythical founder, identified as the Son of God, a name such as Jesus, that is, one of the most common names in Palestine.

It would be as if today some one in Italy founded a new religion calling its God "Mario Rossi." If the Gospels were really an invention, those who wrote them would have looked for a more unusual and original name for the Messiah.

Another example is that of the shepherds. Luke presents them to us as the first worshippers of the Child in Bethlehem. For the society of the time, the nomadic shepherds who lived on the outskirts of cities were not a very laudable class. They were considered thieves who lived day and night with their animals and didn't wash. Their word had no value in court.

Something similar occurred at the moment of the Resurrection, an event first witnessed by women. Neither could they testify in court because, for ancient Jewish culture, their word had no value.

What "inventors" would have chosen such untrustworthy witnesses as the first witnesses of the birth of the Son of God and of his Resurrection?

Q: Can we say therefore that the historicity of the figure of Jesus of Nazareth emerges also in the Gospels of the Infancy?

Tornielli: Despite the fact that there are those who hold the opposite, the two evangelical accounts of the Infancy show serious and concrete connections with the history of the time.

Suffice it to think of Matthew's account, older than Luke's, and probably coming from Joseph's family tradition. The evangelist does not hide at all the confusion caused by the Mary's pregnancy, before her marriage to Joseph took place and they lived under the same roof.

If the Gospels really were an invention of the first Christian community, why not censor this detail or, more simply, anticipate by a few days the angel's announcement to Joseph, avoiding the worrisome time of that pregnancy borne by the carpenter, [with the possibility of] having to reject his bride-to-be in secret?


Catholic Online CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Jesus, Tornielli, Vatican, Christmas

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.