Somewhat belatedly, here are some resources for reading about the Nativity stories, the Roman Empire and Christmas. This is by no means a complete list. It is based on my personal library and the public and college libraries near me. Please add your own favorite books and resources to my list. That way we can all learn.
Want to Read More about Nativity stories?
Barton, John, ed. The Oxford Bible Commentary, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001
Brown, Raymond E. The Birth of the Messiah A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke. Garden City, NY: Doubleday& Company, Inc., 1977
Stanton, Graham N. The Gospels and Jesus. Oxford Bible Series, eds. Peter R. Ackroyd, Graham N. Stanton, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Want to read more about the Gospel of Luke ?
Bock, Darrell L. Luke: NIV Application Commentary. ed. Verlyn D. Verbrugge, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.
Culpepper, R. Allen. “The Gospel of Luke” in New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol IX Luke, John. Ed. Leander E. Keck, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995.
Evans, Craig A., Luke, New International Biblical Commentary, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishing, 1990.
Fitzmeyer, Joseph A. The Gospel According to Luke I-IX A new translation with Introduction and commentary The Anchor Bible Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1981
Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke The New International Commentary on the New Testament, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997
Marshall, I. Howard. New International Greek New Testament Commentary Commentary on Luke A Commentary on the Greek Text. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1978
Tannehill, Robert C. Luke, Abingdon New Testament Commentaries, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996.
Walker, Thomas. Luke, Interpretation Bible Studies, Louisville: Geneva Press, 2001.
Wright, N.T. Luke for Everyone, London: SPCK, Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.
Want to read more about The Gospel of Matthew?
Boring, M. Eugene, “Matthew” in New Interpreter’s Bible:Matthew, Mark Vol VIII, ed. Leander Keck, Nashville:Abingdon Press, 1995.
Carter, Warren, Matthew and the Margins A Sociopolitical and Religious Reading Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2001
Wright, Tom, Matthew for Everyone:Chapters 1-15, London:SPCK, Westminster John Knox Press,2004.
Want to read more about the Ancient World ?
Boatwright, Mary T., Daniel J. Gargola, Richard J.A. Talbert. The Romans From Village to Empire A History of Ancient Rome form Earliest times to Constantine, New York, Oxford:Oxford University Press, 2004
Cantor, Norman F. Antiquity: The Civilization of the Ancient World, HarperCollins Publishers, 2003
Casson, Lionel. Everyday Life in Ancient Rome. Revised and Expanded Edition The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London1998
Partner, Peter, Two Thousand Years The First Millennium: The Birth of Christianity to the Crusades, London:Granada Media, 1999
PBS NOVA www.pbs.org Multiple programs about ancient Israel, Rome, Egypt
Shanks, Hershel, ed. Ancient Israel From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple Revised and expanded edition Prentice Hall Biblical Archaeology Society,1999
Want to read more about Biblical Interpretation and Christmas ?
Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Narrative, New York: Basic Books, 1981.
Horsley, Richard and James Tracy, eds. Christmas Unwrapped Consumerism, Christ, and Culture. Harrisburg, Penn.: Trinity Press International, 2001
Peterson. Eugene H. Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading, Grand Rapids, Mich: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006.
Wright, N.T. The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture, New York: HarperSanFransisco, 2005.