Joseph Ratzinger and the Nativity Legends

Etienne Vermeersch

While conceiving Siddhartha (the young Buddha), his mother Maya saw in a dream that he entered her womb in the shape of a little white elephant. All of nature rejoiced: trees and plants blossomed, rivers stopped flowing, and musical instruments played without being touched. At the end of the pregnancy the child came forth painlessly from her right side; he could walk immediately and at each step a lotus flower appeared on the ground.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem [!] in Judea, as a child of a virgin from Nazareth [!], in the time of King Herod, Wise Men [magoi] from the East came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the new born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East and we have come to worship him.” Herod sent them to Bethlehem and then the star that had disappeared for a while [to render the visit to Herod inevitable, and so enable his murderous decree?] reappeared and guided them until it stood still above the place where the child was.

—Paraphrases of Buddhist and Christian scripture

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