I’m aware that some scholars have suggested that the stories about Jesus were arranged to fit parallels in Scripture (the Old Testament) for the synagogal lectionary cycle; that always seemed too much of a stretch to me. But this morning it occurred to me that the pattern of Jesus’ career might — whether out of a literary theology, or a divine salvation-historical typology — be set out to correspond to the festal year. Certainly the gospels make a great deal of Jesus’ death at the Passover; Luke emphasizes the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost. The eschatological tribulations and renewal of the world cohere with atonement and new year. The cultic language of “first-fruits” resonates with the sacral year.

The gospels don’t seem to associate Jesus’ birth with any distinct holy day (the dating of Christmas near Hannukah is later). Are there additional data that might harmonize other moments in the messianic plot line with holy days from Scripture?

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