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The virgin birth of Jesus is a tenet of Christianity and Islam which holds that Mary miraculously conceived Jesus while remaining a virgin. While the term "virgin birth" is common, "virgin conception" would be more accurate. This doctrine was a universally held belief in the Christian church by the second century,[1] and is upheld by the Anglican Communion, the Church of the East, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. It is included in the two most widely used Christian creeds, which state that Jesus "was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary" (the Nicene Creed in what is now its familiar form)[2] and was "born of the Virgin Mary" (Apostles' Creed),[3] and was not seriously challenged, except by some minor sects, before the Enlightenment theology of the eighteenth century.[1]

The gospels of Matthew ( 1:18) and Luke ( 1:26-35) say that Mary was a virgin and that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. These gospels, later tradition and current doctrine present Jesus' conception as a miracle involving no natural father, no sexual intercourse, and no male seed in any form, but instead brought about by the Holy Spirit.[4][5][6][7]

In Roman Catholic and Eastern and Oriental Orthodox usage, the term "virgin birth" means not only that Mary was a virgin when she conceived, but also that she gave birth as a virgin (remaining a virgo intacta), a belief attested since the second century.[8] (See Perpetual virginity of Mary).

The general Christian doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus (i.e., Mary's virginal conception of Jesus) is not to be confused with the Roman Catholic doctrine of her Immaculate Conception, which concerns instead her mother's conception of Mary. This is thought to have occurred in the normal way, not miraculously. What the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception holds is that, when Mary herself was conceived, she came into existence without the "stain" (Latin, macula) of original sin.

Mary's virginity at the conception of Jesus is also a tenet of Islam.[9] Muslims refer to Jesus with the matronymic Jesus son of Mary (Isa bin Maryam), a term repeatedly used in the Qur'an.[10]

New TestamentEdit

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GospelsEdit

The New Testament has four accounts of Jesus' life, commonly known as gospels. While they have much in common, there are also differences of coverage and focus. The Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John essentially begin with Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist and hence contain no birth narrative. The Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke begin with Jesus' birth and genealogy. It is these two gospels which give the only canonical accounts of the birth of Jesus and both clearly report the view that Jesus was conceived without a human father. [1:25][1:34]

MatthewEdit

The Gospel of Matthew (c 80-85) begins with a genealogy leading from Abraham to Joseph, but then calls Joseph "the husband of Mary, of whom (Mary) was born Jesus, who is called Christ."[1:16] The original Greek text, which has "ἐξ ἧς" (feminine singular), shows that the phrase "of whom" refers to Mary, not to Joseph or to Mary and Joseph together.[1:16] It then states that, when Mary was found to be pregnant, she had not lived with Joseph, to whom she was engaged,[1:18] and that he did not have marital relations with her before the child was born.[1:25] It declares: "That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit",[1:20] in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, which Matthew refers to as: "A virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."[Mt. 1:22-23] On the actual text of Isaiah, see the Old Testament section below.

The Gospel of Matthew presents the virgin birth of Jesus as fulfilling a prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, which Matthew adapts to his purpose.[11]

Hebrew has a specific word, betulah, for a virgin, and a more general word, `almah, for a young woman. Since `almah is the word used in the Hebrew text of Isaiah, some commentators have believed it at least possible that Isaiah had in mind only a normal conception by a young mother and that Matthew applied this text of Scripture to the birth of the one he believed to be Messiah, as John seems to have applied to his death another text of Scripture that in its original context referred to the Passover lamb.[12] Others believe that Isaiah was directly prophesying the future virgin birth of the Messiah.

The author of Matthew may have recounted the virgin birth story to answer contemporary Jewish slanders about Jesus' origin.[13]

Miraculous but not virginal births appear in Jesus' own Hebrew tradition, as well as in other traditions. Hindu and Zoroastrian accounts of virgin births still involve male seed, while Christian and Muslim accounts of Jesus' virgin birth do not.

Fra Angelico 095

The Annunciation, by Fra Angelico

LukeEdit

Like Matthew, Luke (c 85-90) includes infancy narratives and a genealogy.

In Luke 1:30-35 Mary asks how she is to conceive and bear a son, since she is a virgin; and she is told it will happen by the power of God. Luke 3:23-38 gives a genealogy, different from that given by Matthew. It traces the ancestry of Joseph, whose son, Luke says, Jesus was thought to be, back beyond King David and Abraham, to the origin of the human race.

When the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a son conceived by the Holy Spirit,[Lk. 1:26-38] she responds with the Magnificat,[Lk. 1:46-55] a prayer of joy, probably from an early Christian liturgy.[13] The Magnificat is one of several formal set pieces the author incorporates into the gospel.[13]

HistoricityEdit

Some writers have taken it as significant that two separate gospels attest to the virgin birth, although their details vary.[14] In this view, the virgin conception and birth constitute a tradition that fits within the criterion of multiple attestation. The accounts of Matthew and Luke are taken as independent testimonies of the tradition, thus adding significantly to the evidence for the historical reality of the event of the birth. That the conception itself was indeed miraculous appears to rest on a "single attestation", that of Mary. The attestation of the angel to Joseph on the miraculous nature of the conception would not be accepted by many scholars as historiographically valid.

Some critics of the double attestation argument point to differences between the accounts of Matthew and Luke regarding Jesus' birth.[15][16] According to Matthew, an unnamed angel informs Joseph of the virginal conception; in Luke the angel Gabriel informs Mary before the conception occurs. Matthew says that Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem when Jesus was born[Mt. 2:1] and that they moved first to Egypt, to avoid Herod the Great,[Mt. 2:13-14] and later, to avoid living under Herod's son Archelaus, they moved to Nazareth;[Mt. 2:22] according to Luke, the couple lived in Nazareth and only traveled to Bethlehem in order to comply with a Roman census.[Lk. 2:4] Luke mentions that Mary was a relative of Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, has the new-born Jesus visited by shepherds, and attributes two long hymns (the Magnificat and the Benedictus) and one short one (the Nunc dimittis) to various characters. None of this is mentioned by Matthew, and Matthew's account of the visit of the Magi, the massacre of the innocents by Herod, and the flight into Egypt is not mentioned by Luke.

Two rival explanations are put forward for the "double attestation" of Matthew and Luke regarding the virgin birth of Jesus:[17][18][19]

  1. The virgin birth was a historical event, and the narratives of Matthew and Luke are based on different aspects of the event according to witnesses' reports of it.
  2. Matthew and Luke both wanted to present Jesus as fulfilling prophecies from Hebrew scripture. Both were aware of prophecies concerning a virgin birth and Bethlehem, and therefore these elements of their stories match. But each author wove these prophecies into an overall narrative in a different way. For example, both authors had to explain how Jesus was born in Bethlehem when he was known to be from Nazareth (as mentioned in all four gospels)—and each came up with an independent explanation.

Among other theories that have been proposed as explanations of the origin of the accounts in Matthew and Luke of the birth of Jesus from a virgin is that of Stephen L Harris, who proposed that these were written to answer Jewish slanders about Jesus' illegitimate birth,[13] of which there is evidence from the second century.[20]

AllegoryEdit

According to Uta Ranke-Heinemann, the virgin birth of Jesus was meant—and should be understood—as an allegory of a special initiative of God, comparable to God's creation of Adam, and in line with legends and allegories of antiquity according to which famous people originated from gods (as Augustus as the son of Apollo or Alexander the Great as the son of Zeus).[21] However, it must be noted that Heinemann was excommunicated for expressing these views, which are not accepted by the Roman Catholic Church.

IllegitimacyEdit

Charges of illegitimacy against Jesus can be traced back at least to about 177-180 with the writings of the anti-Christian Greek philosopher Celsus. Drawing on Jewish sources he made specific, though un-sourced, allegations about Jesus' illegitimacy and even accounts that he was of Roman parentage.[22]

Epistles of PaulEdit

The letters of Paul of Tarsus, considered to be the earliest texts in the New Testament, do not state that Jesus' mother was a virgin. Some passages in them have received special attention.

In Galatians 4:4 Paul wrote:

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born[23] of a woman, born under the law ...

This phrase speaks of Jesus as born "of a woman", not "of a virgin". Some see this as evidence that Paul knew of no account of the virgin birth of Jesus. Others see the phrase "born of a woman, born under the law" significant enough to imply that Jesus had no human father, especially since the emphasis on the mother and the omission of any mention of both parents is the opposite of that in Hebrew genealogy, where the father is often the only parent mentioned.[24] And some point to the curse upon Jeconiah[Jeremiah 22:30] as evidence of God's miraculous working,[25] saying that only by a virgin birth could Jesus have Joseph as a legal father, inheriting the promises through David, while avoiding the curse through Jeconiah that none of his descendants would prosper and sit on the throne of David [26]

The Epistle to the Romans opens with the words:

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord ….—Romans 1:1-4

Some take "descended from David according to the flesh" to mean that Joseph, a descendant of David, was the physical father of Jesus, thus denying the virgin birth of Jesus.[27][28][29][30] Others take it as indicating that Mary too was a descendant of David[31][32][33] and that the reference in this same passage to Jesus as "son of God" shows that the claim that Paul knew nothing of the virgin birth of Jesus is unfounded.[34]

Romans 8:3-4 has:

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

While some see "in the likeness of sinful flesh" as meaning merely that Jesus was externally just like any other human being. This view is perhaps supported by Paul's remark elsewhere that Christ "knew no sin."[2 Cor 5:21] Others suggest a contradiction between Paul's notion of being "in the likeness of sinful flesh" and his having been born of a virgin.

Some scholars have noted 1Timothy 1:4, where Paul urges people not to "occupy themselves with myths and endless genealogies which promote speculations...". This could indicate Paul had a negative view of developing virgin birth stories and their variant genealogies, considering them fanciful and harmful to faith.[35]

As has been remarked by students of the New Testament,[36] the order of writing of the books shows that the oldest Christian preaching about Jesus concerned his death and resurrection.[37] They turned their attention also to the deeds and words that came to them from the traditions of Jesus' ministry, which were formed into collections arranged in logical rather than chronological order, and which formed a basis for the four canonical Gospels, of which Mark is the earliest. Acts 10:37-41 gives an outline similar to Mark's, beginning with the baptism and ending with the resurrection, with no mention of the birth. Only later, for reasons not only of curiosity but also of apologetics and theology, attention was given to the birth and infancy, as in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

The absence of reference in Paul's writings to the infancy and even the ministry of Jesus may be seen as fitting this pattern. It should also be pointed out, however, that Paul was not one of Jesus' original disciples. His only encounter with Jesus, apparently, was with the resurrected Jesus. Also, his epistles are focused primarily on ecclesiastical matters, not the life of Jesus.

Old TestamentEdit

Stories of miraculous or unexpected births occur throughout the Bible. Early in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, Sarah gives birth to Isaac when she is 90 years old. In Genesis and later books, other women also give birth after years of infertility. There is something of a pattern of waiting for a son promised to the father or mother, a son who goes on to rescue the nation, often by leading it.[38] This is considered by certain scholars to be distinctive of the Hebrew theology of a divine right of kings.[39]

Jesus' birth narrative is, therefore, interpreted as knowingly based on this particular archetype of a divine mandate to rescue, rule or both. A Christian is, literally, one who believes Jesus is the Christ, a divinely appointed saviour and king. Difference of opinion mainly concerns the historicity of New Testament accounts, rather than interpretation of their intention.

Unlike the account that Matthew and Luke give of the miraculous conception of Jesus, all the miraculous births in Old Testament times, and that of John the Baptist in the New Testament, are presented as the result of sexual intercourse between a married couple.

Jesaja (Michelangelo)

Isaiah by Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel

Matthew, writing in Greek about the virgin birth of Jesus, quotes the Septuagint text of Isaiah 7:14-16, which uses the Greek word "παρθένος" (parthenos, virgin), while the original Hebrew text has "עלמה" (almah), which has the wider meaning of a young woman.

In the King James Version of the Bible, a traditional Protestant translation, the verses of Isaiah appear as follows:

7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

However, several notable modern translations do not use virgin for `almah in this passage.

One explanation of the purpose of the passage in Isaiah is that the original prophecy was spoken in 734 BCE, when, before a soon-to-be-born child knows the difference between good and evil, Syria (which threatened Israel at the time) would be conquered. This prophecy would be fulfilled two years later, when Syria was defeated by the Assyrians in 732 BCE. This child also appears in chapter 8, where it is said that, before he comes of age, the northern kingdom of Israel would be destroyed, which occurred also at the hands of Assyria in 722 BCE.

Some say that the passage is a double reference[40]—a sign both to Ahaz that the alliance against him would be destroyed, and to the house of David as a whole that was threatened with extinction.[40] The Hebrew text uses "singular you" for the former and "plural you' for the latter. With the former, Isaiah reassures Ahaz that the alliance would be destroyed before his own son Shear Jashub, who was present (v. 3), would "learn to refuse the evil and choose the good".

Some Jewish perspectives argue that Jesus was not in fact named "Immanuel" and point to other problems such as:

  • If Christians claim that the virgin birth of Isaiah 7:14 was fulfilled twice, who then was the first virgin having a baby boy in 732 BCE? If they insist that the word ha'almah can only mean virgin, are they claiming that Mary was not the first and only virgin to conceive and give birth to a child?
  • What does the "butter and honey" refer to?
  • Why is Jesus, who was sinless from birth in the traditional Christian understanding, described as having to learn to refuse the evil and choose the good?[Isa. 7:15-16]
  • What age did the baby Jesus mature?
  • Which were the two kingdoms during Jesus' lifetime that were abandoned?[Isa. 7:16]
  • Who dreaded the Kingdom of Israel during the first century CE when there had not been a Kingdom of Israel in existence since the seventh century BCE?
  • When did Jesus eat cream and honey? [41][42]

A more common view among Christian commentators is that Matthew applied this text to the conception of Jesus in much the same way that John applied[Exodus 12:46] to the crucified Jesus' legs not being broken like those of the two who were crucified with him.[John 19:36]

Messianic JewsEdit

Some adherents of Messianic Judaism (people who, while believing like all Christians that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, propose a synthesis of Judaism and Christianity) have written extensive apologetic commentaries explaining the virgin birth as they see taught from the Torah. The arguments are made on the basis that neither the Prophets nor the disciples of Jesus could add to the Torah concerning prophesies about the Messiah, and therefore emphasize the need to use Jewish hermeneutics in order to understand from the Torah what the Torah teaches concerning about the Messiah, and thus understand what the Prophets and later the disciples of Jesus meant, when they wrote what they wrote concerning the topics they present.

On the topic of the virgin birth, the approach begins with examining Genesis 3:15 in how it is written "her seed" זרעה (zarah) and not "his seed".

Further arguments are made concerning the first usage for the term "almah" in the Torah as referring to Rebecca who is also called "betulah" which is also that word's first use in the Torah - both being in the very same passage, describing the very same person. The Hebrew word "betulah" (virgin) being the narrative's first description of the woman in the actual account of Genesis 24:16, and then the Hebrew word "almah" (young woman) being the narrative's second description in Eliezar's recollection of the event in Genesis 24:43, being a contrasting teaching that assumes the second is simply more detail about the first. They present that Eliezar does not use the word "betulah" but "almah," in describing what the Torah first narrates as "betulah" not "almah." And they present that this comes to teach the reader that the expectation of "ha almah" "the young woman" who will give birth to Messiah is also called a "betulah" (virgin) - just like Rebecca.[43]

Christianity and similar traditionsEdit

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The argument that Old Testament prophecies of the virgin birth of Jesus were what inspired seemingly similar pagan myths was made by Justin Martyr in The First Apology of Justin, written in the second century. He made this argument also in his Dialog with Trypho, in which he debates with a Jew called Trypho:

"Be well assured, then, Trypho," I continued, "that I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the Scriptures by those counterfeits which he who is called the Devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were wrought by the Magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in Elijah's days. For when they tell that Bacchus, son of Jupiter, was begotten by Jupiter's intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, and having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not perceive that the Devil has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses?"[44]

Some writers point out that if in fact the writer of Isaiah intended to borrow the idea of a virgin birth from an older pagan tradition, we might expect to find Isaiah using more explicit language to indicate that a virgin was meant. Others says that, if Isaiah had borrowed the story from pagans, he might be expected to speak in the same way as the pagans. This is the view of "the scholar quoted", who notes a "remarkable" similarity of the Ugaritic and theHebrew. It is also said that Isaiah may speak the same way as the pagans simply because he came from a similar sociological and semantic context, and that, if Isaiah's prophecy came directly from God, he had no tradition to conform to, and could have expanded the meaning to make it completely unambiguous, and accordingly it could be argued that his not making it unambiguous is a difficulty for certain interpretations of the text, though the ambiguity could be seen as being intended, if one supposes that God had a dual purpose for the text: to serve one function in Isaiah's time and another function later. Isaiah's prophecy departs from the Ugaritic version of the predicted birth by having the female human, whereas in the Ugaritic culture, the virgin was another deity, on par with the male, a departure that would in any case be necessary, since Judaism has only one deity, spoken of as male. Isaiah departs much further still from the Ugaritic story by not attributing the forthcoming birth to sexual union on the part of any deity, male or female.

PseudepigraphaEdit

The Christian pseudepigraphon Ascension of Isaiah (probably of the first half of second century) has a narrative of the virgin birth of Jesus (AI 11:8). The narrative of the virgin nativity of Jesus can be found also in many Infancy Gospels, for instance the Gospel of James (probably about 150). A somewhat similar story concerning Melchizedek can be found in the Exaltation of Melchizedek, the last section of the Second Book of Enoch considered by some an addition, see also Melchizedek in the Second Book of Enoch.

Other miraculous birthsEdit

Outside the Bible, legendary heroes and even actual kings are frequently portrayed as offspring of gods. Both Pharaohs and Roman emperors were considered gods, the latter being considered in Rome itself as divinized only after death. Extra-biblical birth narratives typically involve sexual intercourse, sometimes involving rape or deceit, by a god in human or animal form—for example, the stories of Leda, Europa or the birth of Hercules. However, an example of a story where the woman's physical virginity is explicitly maintained by the god who impregnates her by artificial insemination is found in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, the largest epic in the world. "The sun-god said: O beautiful Pṛthā, your meeting with the demigods cannot be fruitless. Therefore, let me place my seed in your womb so that you may bear a son. I shall arrange to keep your virginity intact, since you are still an unmarried girl."[45] Zoroastrianism also holds that the end-of-time Saoshyant (literally, "saviour") will be miraculously conceived by a virgin who has swum in a lake where Zoroaster's seed is preserved.[46]

The birth narrative of Jesus is distinctive in that it speaks of the Holy Spirit, not of male seed, as the active agent in his conception.[Mt. 1:20] [Lk. 1:35]

Some have tried to demonstrate Christian dependence on a Roman mystery cult called Mithraism, which was established prior to Christianity. Early reconstructions of the Mithras legend proposed, from Persian sources, that he might have been born of the union of Mother Earth and Ahuramazda, however the theory has not endured. Carvings illustrating the legend reinforce documentary sources that focus on Mithras being born purely from rock (saxigenus),[47] as Athena, the daughter of Zeus and Metis,[48] sprang from the forehead of Zeus.

CelebrationEdit

Christians celebrate the conception of Jesus on 25 March[49] (Lady Day) and his birth at Christmas (25 December) or Epiphany (6 January). Among the many traditions associated with Christmas are the construction of cribs and the performance of re-enactments of elements of the story in the Gospels of the birth of Jesus.

There has been debate about the reason why Christians came to choose the 25 December date to celebrate the birth of Jesus. One theory is that they did so in order to oppose the existing winter-solstice feast of the Natalis Solis Invicti (Birthday of the Unconquered Sun) by celebrating on that date the birth of the "Sun of Righteousness".[50] Another tradition derived the date of Christmas from that of the Annunciation, the virginal conception of Jesus.[50] Since this was supposed to have taken place on 14 Nisan in the Jewish calendar, calculated to have been either 25 March or 6 April, it was believed that the date of Christ's birth will have been nine months later.[51] A tractate falsely attributed to John Chrysostom argued that Jesus was conceived and crucified on the same day of the year and calculated this as 25 March, a computation also mentioned by Saint Augustine of Hippo.[50]

Giotto - Scrovegni - -06- - Meeting at the Golden Gate

The future parents of Mary, Joachim and Anne meet, after being miraculously informed that they are to have a child. Painting by Giotto di Bondone.

Immaculate Conception distinct from virginal conceptionEdit

The virginal conception of Jesus by Mary is often mistakenly confused with the Roman Catholic Church teaching of her "Immaculate Conception", namely Mary's conception by her mother in the normal way, but free from original sin. The Roman Catholic doctrine of Mary's Immaculate Conception has been defined as follows: "The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin."[52]

Parthenogenesis vs. virgin birthEdit

In Christian belief, the virgin birth of Jesus was not a case of parthogenesis (the scientific name for virgin birth), such as occurs naturally in some species, and has been artificially induced even in mammals, but generally produces only female offspring.[53] Like the story of Jesus' resurrection, the conception of Jesus is seen as a strictly miraculous occurrence, not explainable as a natural process, no matter how exceptional, or as a scientific achievement.[54][55] In fact, scientists believe that not even the most advanced techniques could induce parthenogenesis in humans, especially for producing male offspring.[56][57][58][59] On the other hand, it is perfectly possible for a virgin (a woman with no sexual experience) to give birth, either by artificial insemination, or by embryo transfer. Human cloning could also potentially allow a woman to have a child without any need for a sperm cell. None of these processes corresponds to Christian belief about Mary's virginal conception of Jesus.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Virgin Birth" britannica.com Retrieved October 22, 2007.
  2. Translation by the ecumenical English Language Liturgical Consultation, given on page 17 of Praying Together, a literal translation of the original, "σαρκωθέντα ἐκ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου καὶ Μαρίας τῆς Παρθένου"
  3. Translation by the English Language Liturgical Consultation, given on page 22 of Praying Together
  4. Lateran Council of 649, canon 3, quoted in Denzinger, 256
  5. Cathechism of the Catholic Church, 484-486 and 496-498
  6. Confused Christology: Is Jesus the Son of the Holy Spirit?
  7. John Paul II, 10 July 1996, 3
  8. Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-10-280290-3), article Virgin Birth of Christ
  9. Qur'an 3:45, 3:47, 3:59, 66:12.
  10. Qur'an 2:87, 2:253, 4:157, 4:171, 5:46, 5:72, 5:75, 5:112, 5:114, 5:116, 9:31, 43:57, 61:6, 61:14.
  11. "In three details he departs from the LXX form of Isa. 7:14 ... (1) the use of hexei rather than lēpsetai; (2) the third person plural 'they will call', rather than 'you [sing.] will call'; (3) the supplied interpretation of Emmanuel as 'God with us'" (Raymond E. Brown: The Birth of the Messiah [ISBN 0-385-05405-X], p. 150)
  12. John 19:36, referring to Numbers 9:12 and perhaps also, in the Septuagint translation, Exodus 12:46
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
  14. Geoffrey Bromiley, 1995, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Eerdmans Publishing ISBN 9780802837844 page 991
  15. Samuel Lachs, 1987, A rabbinic commentary on the New TestamentKTAV Press, ISBN 9780881250893 page 5
  16. Geoffrey Ashe, 1988 The Virgin Routledge Press ISBN 9781850631002 page 49
  17. Eugene Laverdiere, 2006, The Annunciation to Mary Liturgy Training Press ISBN 9781568545578 page 48
  18. Gresham Machen, 1987, Virgin Birth of Christ Ingram Press ISBN 9780227676301 page 252
  19. Robert Gromacki, 2002, The Virgin Birth Kragel ISBN 9780825427466 page 202
  20. Brown, Raymond E., The Birth of the Messiah. Doubleday & Company. 1977, Appendix V: The Charge of Illegitimacy
  21. Ranke-Heinemann, Uta. Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven. Garden City: Doubleday, 1990. ISBN 0385265271.
  22. Raymond E. Brown, The Birth of the Messiah 1977 ISBN 0-385-05405-X, p. 535
  23. Older English translations used "made" as a translation of "γενόμενον" (having become, having come to be). This is probably due to the influence of Latin, which, having no word for "to become" uses "to be made" (fieri, passive of facere) in its place, as in John 1:14, where "ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο" (the Word became flesh) appears in Latin as "verbum caro factum est" (the Word was made flesh).
  24. Bible Studies at the Moorings; Forerunner Commentary
  25. Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  26. Foreunner Commentary
  27. Stevens, George Barker (1899), The Theology of the New Testament, T&T Clark, pp. 391 
  28. Brunner, Emil; Wyon, Olive (2003), The Mediator: A Study of the Central Doctrine of the Christian Faith, Lutterworth Press, pp. 361, ISBN 0718890493 
  29. Adamson, Joseph J. (2004), What Is the World Coming To?: A Candid Look at Past, Present and Future Through the Lens of Real Prophecy and Common Sense, iUniverse.com, pp. 6, ISBN 059531998X 
  30. Sullivan, Clayton (2002), Rescuing Jesus from the Christians, Trinity Press International, pp. 40, ISBN B001S308LY 
  31. Geneva Study Bible
  32. John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
  33. Mary's Davidic Ancestry
  34. Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments, Luke 1
  35. Barrett, J. Edward (1988). "Can Scholars Take the Virgin Birth Seriously?" Bible Review, October, pp. 10-15, 29.
  36. For instance, Raymond E. Brown, in The Birth of the Messiah, pages 26-28
  37. Acts 2:23, 2:32, 3:14-15, 4:10, 10:39-40, 15:3-4
  38. R. H. Jarrell, 'The Birth Narrative as Female Counterpart to Covenant', Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 26 (2002): 3–18.
  39. Mark G. Brett, 'Nationalism and the Hebrew Bible', in John William Rogerson and others (eds), The Bible in Ethics: The Second Sheffield Colloquium, (Sheffield: Continuum International Publishing Group, 1995), p. 137.
  40. 40.0 40.1 http://en.allexperts.com/q/Catholics-955/Jesus-vs-Isaiah-Chapter-1.htm retrieved 30 Jan 2009
  41. Outreach Judaism
  42. Messiah Truth – Counter-Missionary Education
  43. [1]
  44. "Chapter LXIX.—The devil, since he emulates the truth, has invented fables about Bacchus, Hercules, and Æsculapius". http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.iv.lxix.html. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  45. Bhāgavata Purāṇa, 9.24.34, trans. by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda.
  46. World Mythology Dictionary; Britannica Concise Encyclopedia.
  47. MJ Vermaseren, Mithras, the Secret God, (London, 1963). See also Farvardyn.com.
  48. The Birth of Athena; Greek Goddess Athena
  49. The Julian Calendar 25 March corresponds at present to 8 April in the Gregorian Calendar.
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article Christmas
  51. Procter and Frere's New History of the Book of Common Prayer (see The Date of Christmas and Epiphany)
  52. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 491.
  53. Parthenogenic Komodo dragons produce only male offspring (National Geographic News: Virgin Birth Expected at Christmas -- By Komodo Dragon).
  54. God's Way of Acting
  55. The Virgin Birth of Our Lord (Anglican)
  56. Virgin Birth Expected at Christmas - By Komodo Dragon
  57. Female sharks capable of virgin birth - Science - MSNBC.com
  58. American Bioethics Advisory Commission
  59. A human parthenogenetic chimaera. [Nat Genet. 1995] - PubMed Result

Further readingEdit

  • Spong, John Shelby. Born of a Woman: A Bishop Rethinks the Virgin Birth. San Francisco : Harper, 1994.
  • Ralph Brown. The Life of Mary As Seen By The Mystics. : Rockford, IL: Tan Books & Publishers, 1994.
  • [T. Bosse [2] A Biblical Account of the Mystery Revealed : Erlanger, KY : Tuvott Publishing, 2003.

External linksEdit

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