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Old 03-21-2015, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
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Virgin birth of Jesus

This one appears to have been an early perception intended originally to increase the "stature" of the man as opposed to the message, and is clearly a part of the transformation of "the Way," or the relationship with God and man taught by Jesus, into a religion that could be administered by self-appointed "priests."

It stems from a transformation of "young woman" into "virgin" and seems to have been at least in part a nod to the "goddess" religions of the time (See Graves The White Goddess).

A later use of the idea appears to have been to strengthen the perception of Jesus as "the perfect sacrifice" in the barbaric "substitution atonement" theory that will be covered in later threads.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nateswift View Post
Virgin birth of Jesus

This one appears to have been an early perception intended originally to increase the "stature" of the man as opposed to the message, and is clearly a part of the transformation of "the Way," or the relationship with God and man taught by Jesus, into a religion that could be administered by self-appointed "priests."

It stems from a transformation of "young woman" into "virgin" and seems to have been at least in part a nod to the "goddess" religions of the time (See Graves The White Goddess).

A later use of the idea appears to have been to strengthen the perception of Jesus as "the perfect sacrifice" in the barbaric "substitution atonement" theory that will be covered in later threads.
So you're saying that Mary lied when she said she was a virgin?
Luke 1:34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"
And that the angel lied?
Luke 1:35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:55 AM
Status: "Even better than okay" (set 7 days ago)
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike555 View Post
So you're saying that Mary lied when she said she was a virgin?
Luke 1:34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"
And that the angel lied?
Luke 1:35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
Of course he's not saying that Mary lied.

This is an illustration of how so many threads that COULD be interesting on this forum crash and burn into petty arguments. If you don't agree that it's possible or likely that the story of the virgin birth could have been concocted, just say so. A smarmy response is unnecessary.
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
Of course he's not saying that Mary lied.

This is an illustration of how so many threads that COULD be interesting on this forum crash and burn into petty arguments. If you don't agree that it's possible or likely that the story of the virgin birth could have been concocted, just say so. A smarmy response is unnecessary.
I will reply as I see fit. I asked him a question and he can answer for himself. Your approval is not required.
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:12 PM
 
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Actually, virgin births were pretty common currency back in the day, used by chroniclers to speak to the subject's remarkable life. Caesar Augustus purportedly had one, as well as a half-dozen Egyptian pharaohs, Alexander the Great, Zoroaster, Buddha, and even Plato. The mythology of the ancient world, in particular the Greeks, had virgin births, too. Given the influence of the Hellenistic world on early Christianity, it could have been borrowed.

And the challenge that Mary lied is not a very good one, because Matthew, Mark, and Luke were all written after Mary had likely died. After all, historians of the period were usually less interested in reporting absolute fact and more about creating a framework around whatever subject they had. In other words, more like Herodotus and less like Thucididyes.
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Old 03-21-2015, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Actually, virgin births were pretty common currency back in the day, used by chroniclers to speak to the subject's remarkable life. Caesar Augustus purportedly had one, as well as a half-dozen Egyptian pharaohs, Alexander the Great, Zoroaster, Buddha, and even Plato. The mythology of the ancient world, in particular the Greeks, had virgin births, too. Given the influence of the Hellenistic world on early Christianity, it could have been borrowed.

And the challenge that Mary lied is not a very good one, because Matthew, Mark, and Luke were all written after Mary had likely died. After all, historians of the period were usually less interested in reporting absolute fact and more about creating a framework around whatever subject they had. In other words, more like Herodotus and less like Thucididyes.
Excellent points! Too soon to rep.

But there are textual problems with Isaiah anyway.

Quote:
First, the Septuagint translated around 250 B.C. was originally just the Torah. The book of Isaiah wasn't in it. The translation of Isaiah into Greek was added to the Septuagint a century or so later (as with other OT books, including several that were not accepted into the Christian OT canon).[5] So Mikulski is wrong to assert that the translation to parthenos predates Matthew by three centuries (it probably predates Matthew by no more than one or two centuries, possibly less). Nor can Mikulski know that all Jewish scholars agreed on how Isaiah should be translated. We don't know who added the extant translation of Isaiah to the Septuagint, or when, or where, or for what Jewish sect.

We also can't be sure parthenos was the original reading. We have other pieces of the Septuagint among the Dead Sea Scrolls with variant readings not found in extant manuscripts of those same books. Since these are only small pieces, the fact that they contain otherwise unknown variants means there were probably variant readings for numerous other verses that are no longer attested in surviving manuscripts of the Septuagint. In other words, when Matthew wrote, not all copies of the Septuagint said the same thing. So alterations for sectarian reasons could have taken place between the first translation of Isaiah and Matthew's reading of it. Since we don't have any pre-Christian manuscripts with this verse in Greek, we can't know for certain how common a reading parthenos was.


So, for example, if Matthew was relying on copies of Isaiah produced by Essenes, the Essenes could have altered the text for their own stylistic or sectarian reasons. Since Christians essentially chose which versions of the Septuagint would be preserved to the present day, we may have lost others that had different readings, and therefore we can't be sure all Jewish scholars before Matthew were in agreement on whether parthenos was the most appropriate term.[6] We already know that Matthew took his verb from one of two variant readings for this verse.[7] So how many other variants were there that are now lost?


Of course, we can't even be sure of the underlying Hebrew or Aramaic for the same reason. We know numerous variants existed in the Hebrew and Aramaic already in Matthew's time, and many more remain today. So the argument cuts both ways. But the overall point remains: discussion of what words were where is always an uncertain business.
The Problem of the Virgin Birth Prophecy

The Virgin Birth may or may not have been a "fact," as we know facts. But there is simply no reason to place it among tenets "required" to be a Christian.

But fundamentalists solve that problem by saying "if its in our English Bible, God said it and that's good enough for me." Illustrating the problems of translation, previous usage (almost all other uses of parthenos in the OT fit better with "young woman of marriageable age), and simply ignorance of how many variants have been destroyed by Christians over the centuries.

Quote:
----that even ancient Jews didn't believe almah meant only virgin, for Christians had to defend their reading of 'virgin' against Jewish critics, from the very earliest times (cf. Larue, above, for more on this point). Brown also relates some of the colorful history of the debate, like that fundamentalists once burned copies of the RSV translation of the OT because it had "young woman" in Isaiah, and Catholic bishops compelled Catholic translators of the NAB translation to go against their better judgment and put 'virgin' there. Thus Brown observes that many modern translations are the victim of ideological censorship (a common problem, and a main reason why if you haven't read the Bible in the original languages, then you haven't really read it) [14].
[14] footnote: For the curious: most Bible translations simply have "virgin" in Isaiah 7:14. But there are exceptions: e.g. The Message Bible has "a girl who is presently a virgin will get pregnant," which implies Brown's interpretation; the NLT offers "young woman" as a variant reading in a note; and the CEV translates it as "virgin" but then explains in a note the whole story of why this does "not imply a virgin birth."
same source

The idea of burning copies of a Bible because it didn't provide the "preferred" translation of a single word is illustrative of the lengths that groups will go to in order to preserve their preconceived notions.

Here is a scholar pointing out that if you want your prophet to be better accepted, he/she should be born of a virgin. He lists a good number of the historical religious literature showing the pure "number" of virgin births.

the secular web on the virgin birth - Bing Videos
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:18 PM
 
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funny, regardless of Isaiah, Joseph apparently expected his wife to really BE a virgin and when he found out otherwise was prepared to divorce for not being so (but quietly as he didn't want to get her in trouble--which in those days could mean not just a "bad reputation" around town but apparently stoning to death). instead, apparently by the advice of an angel he decided not to--because he was told the baby to be born was very special because----well, you know the rest, I think

folks can go on disputing and doubting until the cows come home (believe it's called "reductionism") but IF it's a lie and a fraud---how interesting (and maybe how sad) that the devious folks who apparently started those lies and frauds about that guy from Galilee who either went around "doing his father's business" or was deep into a crazy "god trip/martyr complex" by speaking and writing about it to get more followers didn't get much out of their chicanery---neither money or power but instead hatred and death for Him (if he really existed at all) and most all his principal followers and for a whole lot of their followers for a very long time thereafter (and even now, sometimes). wow, a perfect crime indeed---so perfect that even the perps believed in their criminal deception enough to die for it rather than say, "just foolin', you guys, seriously---so you don't need to bring in any lions at all!!!".

again, what then can be believed about this whole thing if one casts doubt (reasonable or otherwise) on most everything contained in the Christian scriptures (or for that matter, probably any other kind of "theist" or "spiritual" worldview---except that nothing is apparently certain in such a philosophy except DOUBT (and likely also death AND taxes, LOL) but likely no objective certainty either pro or con on anything else--except maybe that Christians trust too much--- but maybe also that skeptics trust too little.

peace to you on your journey and may whatever you find help you to do the right thing for whatever reason to help all those who also share the great search for truth.

Last edited by georgeinbandonoregon; 03-21-2015 at 02:35 PM.. Reason: more info.
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
15,540 posts, read 6,992,023 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike555 View Post
So you're saying that Mary lied when she said she was a virgin?
Mighty Queen is correct about the nature of your question. We are discussing the validity of all elements of scripture elsewhere, but I am saying that this particular line has all the earmarks of being added to the original history for purposes other than promoting the Way that Jesus taught.
It looks to me like one of the earlier Pharisaical departures.

Emotion stirring is not going to help in an examination of the subject.
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
15,540 posts, read 6,992,023 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wardendresden View Post

The Virgin Birth may or may not have been a "fact," as we know facts. But there is simply no reason to place it among tenets "required" to be a Christian.
nail and all like that.
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgeinbandonoregon View Post

again, what then can be believed about this whole thing if one casts doubt (reasonable or otherwise) on most everything contained in the Christian scriptures (or for that matter, probably any other kind of "theist" or "spiritual" worldview---except that nothing is apparently certain in such a philosophy except DOUBT (and likely also death AND taxes, LOL) but likely no objective certainty either pro or con on anything else--except maybe that Christians trust too much--- but maybe also that skeptics trust too little.
The point of the question, of course, is that we really don't know what was said and done at the time of the events or even of their recording within the next century. What we know is that the versions accepted by the establishment clergy was crystalized some time later and what happened to variants?

What is gained by casting doubt is hopefully a focus on what really is essential to faith in Christ. Virgin birth is not.

Last edited by nateswift; 03-21-2015 at 04:15 PM..
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