Drawing on the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and the Character Development of Joseph and Mary in the Nativity Story

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The 2006 film The Nativity Story, is a retelling of the birth of Jesus and the events surrounding it. The film takes pieces both from the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke in order to create its narrative. The film takes some of its key scenes as well as aspects of both Mary and Joseph from the Bible. The advantage of using both gospels as a basis for the film is that it allows for the dual perspective of Mary and Joseph instead of being limited to one or the other, and allows for a more complete feeling narrative. It then builds upon how the characters of Mary and Joseph are described in both gospels by giving the audience the chance to connect with them at a human level.

One of the key scenes that is taken from Luke is Mary’s visit from Gabriel (Holy Bible: King James Version, Luke 1: 26 -37) Mary is sitting under a tree when Gabriel appears to her as a man dressed in white. Gabriel begins to speak telling her that she has “found favour with God” and that she “will give birth to a son and will call his name Jesus.” As in Luke Mary asks how this is possible as she has been with no man. Gabriel then explains to her that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and that the child will be the son of God. He also tells her of her cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy, and then states “For nothing said by God is impossible.” Mary then proceeds to kneel before Gabriel and says “Let it be done to me according to your word.”

The film of course does not use the dialogue spoken between Gabriel and Mary word for word. It instead chooses to keep a few key parts of what is spoken as its basis. The dialogue is kept shorter likely for the sake of the audience as the film; even by focusing on key pieces of dialogue from the gospels has a run time...

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...ty Story. Dir.Catherine Hardwicke. Perf. Keisha Castle-Hughes, Oscar Isaac, Hiam Abbass, Shaun Toub, and Alexander Siddig. MMVI New Line Productions, 2006. Film.

Secondary Sources:

Derrett, J. Duncan M.“Oracles, Myth and Luke’s Nativity Story.” Novum testamentumVol.54 No.3 (2012): 258-268. Atla Religion Database. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.

Nefe, David. “Stepping Out of the Wings.” Christianity Today Vol.50 No. 12 (2006): 32-33. Atla Religion Database. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.

Moring, Mark. “A Human Retelling: What screen writer Mark Rich was trying to accomplish in The Nativity Story.” Christianity Today Vol. 50 No. 12 (2006): 34. . Atla Religion Database. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.

Weaver, Dorothy Jean. “‘Wherever This Good News Is Proclaimed’: Women and God in the Gospel of Matthew.” Interpretation Vol.64 No.3 (2010): 390-401. Atla Religion Database. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.
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