Andrew W. Mellon Collection/National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
At center, Mary reclines as an ox and an ass gaze at the babe. Angels appear in the heavens. Joseph sits just outside the cave, at lower left. In the foreground midwives bathe Jesus. At lower right an angel informs the shepherds of the recent birth.
In Christian tradition, the prophets are recognized primarily for predicting the life and death of Jesus Christ; to emphasize this, their books are placed at the end of the Old Testament, directly before the Gospels. In Hebrew Bibles, the Prophets appear in the middle, between the Torah (Pentateuch) and the Writings. This shift, author Rendtorff suggests, has led Christians to read the prophets outside their historical context—which is to misread them altogether.