Two Views on the Baby Christ. The Story of the Nativity told by H. Schütz and J. S. Bach. Essay II. «Wie soll ich dich empfangen?» (final part)


This publication completes the examination of the first three parts of J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, written on the basis of St. Luke’s Gospel (Lk. 2:1–20). According to the interpretation suggested here these three parts form integral unity and their chief subject is acquiring of strong and conscious Christian faith through the participation in universal joy and Christmas exultation together with the Heavenly host and the whole Church. Though the authors of the oratorio rested upon the Holy Scripture, the characterization of certain personages and depiction of events were not their principal aims. They present the Bible in the light of the centuries-old experience of Christian faith, embodied in Church’s doctrine. And this is the main difference between their method and Schütz’s one: Christmas History helps to acquire the Christian faith as if through the immediate experience of the first Christmas night, sharing feelings and thoughts of persons involved in its events.