Some Q&A for Friends

Recently I was asked by my friend and fellow-blogger Scottie a question about history and historical fables, more specifically comparisons of historical-religious fables. His question was:

About the whole virgin-birth story before Jesus thing. Ark hinted it was an issue. I read online where it is true. But [Pastoral Apologist] claims they have all been debunked. When I first started talking with  [Pastoral Apologist] about it, he made statements that made me think the virgin birth idea was very unknown at the time. Then I find websites saying it was very common. I was wondering if you had any studies this before or had some ideas of where I should concentrate my study of it. I know Aron Ra has said that there are similarities between the Jesus story and other myths, but I didn’t realize he was talking virgin-births. To me that is a total game changer on that story if it was a common god-idea. Hugs

Initially I was planning to address Scottie’s question(s) right there in the comments of Jim’s blog-post “How to Separate the Facts from the Myths?” However, after some discussion Jim and I decided that if we placed it in the comments it would soon be eternally buried within the cyber-sphere’s archiving. We both thought this was too important to be so quickly lost. Hence, he convinced me to post it here where it won’t get as buried. Hahaha. So here we go…
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My Response

Scottie, very often Christian apologists/pastors like to portray their foundational doctrines/theology as incomparable, as dissimilar to any other religious or spiritual constructs. This is unequivocally slight-of-hand. Skeptics are not claiming the virgin stories and legends are identical, or verbatim. Every culture has its own unique twists to trade wind exchanges. As a terrestrial or seafaring example, the Silk Road trade routes (c. 500 BCE until 542 CE with the Bubonic Plague) provided some early means for religious-cultural exchanges well before Jesus’ time and beyond. At the pinnacle of Rome’s influence around the Mediterranean, they were wealthy not only because of their great war-machines, generals, legions, and tactics against other empires and hordes, but also because of their 1.9 million-mile sphere-of-influence in commerce by 117 CE. Over that time the cultural identities and exchanges mixed and transformed into new versions, not unlike the United States is sometimes referred to as The Melting Pot of the World. Christianity, in its current Greco-Roman styled canon, does mimic in numerous forms other older Persian, Arabian, Egyptian, and Greek divinity traditions.

To your question, I will address it in two ways: 1) the popular historical records of virgin-mothers and virgin-born Gods prior to Jesus, and 2) the 4th and 5th century CE Greco-Roman Christian theological one-upping.

Known histories of virgin-mothers and births before Jesus:
It must be remembered that skeptics are not claiming that ancient stories of virgin-mothers and virgin-born Gods are verbatim-identical to the well-known Jesus virgin-mother and virgin-birth story. What most are claiming are the numerous similarities that cannot be denied. Here are several that were known throughout the ancient world BEFORE Jesus. This is not an exhaustive list.

  • Marduk by Damkina/Enki — Sumerian-Mesopotamian mythology c. 4500 – c. 1900 BCE.
  • Horace by Isis/Osiris — Egyptian mythology c. 3150 – c. 2615 BCE.
  • Amenhotep III by Mutemwiya/Amun — Egyptian mythology c. 1388 – c. 1200 BCE.
  • Isaac by Sarah/Abraham — Jewish tradition/mythology c. 2000 – c. 1000 BCE.
  • Melchizedek by Sopanima/Nir — Jewish tradition/mythology c. 500 – C. 400 BCE.
  • Zarathustra by Dughdova/Shaft of light — Persian mythology c. 1375 – c. 330 BCE.
  • Erechtheus by Gaia/Hephaestus — Greek mythology c. 500 – c. 285 BCE.
  • Dionysus by Semele/Zeus — Greek mythology c. 1500 – c. 1100 BCE.
  • Romulus-Remus by Rhea Silvia/Mars — Roman mythology c. 700 BCE – 220 CE.

Ancient fables of divine births and intervention were exchanged by traders and teachers/sages all throughout the vast Roman Empire. Those stories were passed from generation to generation. Due to several sociopolitical (including wars and genocide) and socioeconomic factors, some gained popularity, others faded. Historians not only see this in the archaeological and paleographical evidence, they accept and superimpose this template of evolution on their studies and theories. Christian apologists/pastors prefer not to, at least not cumulatively.

It is worthy to note that according to the College of Pontiffs and Indigitamenta there are no records or evidence from the early 1st-century that a divine god or demigod was newly born of a virgin during Augustus’ reign in the Roman Province of Palestina. However, by the late 2nd century CE the Christian Church Fathers systematically sought to discredit Roman deities and worship.

The Greco-Roman Christian theological one-upping:
The first mention in manuscripts of Jesus’ virgin-birth is about 80 – 90 CE in order to connect him as the Christian Messiah in Isaiah 7:14. Because the Apostle Paul, or Saul of Tarsus, was a Hellenistic educated Jewish Pharisee prior to his paranormal experience on the Road to Damascus (c. 35 CE?), and he was proselytizing to Gentiles unfamiliar with ancient Jewish Messianism, early controversy and confusion about Original Sin and Final Atonement (hereafter called OS/FA) began to pop-up in many Synagogues — official Christian churches didn’t arrive until much later. Many earliest “The Way” followers were Jewish-reformers, later becoming Judeo-Christians. This unpopular history is critical to understand because no matter how hard post-5th century CE Christianity to modern-day Christians want to distinguish themselves away from Jewish Messianism, it is utterly impossible. If they want to have their Messianic Christ, they must embrace (hijack?) true historical Jewish Messianism in its entirety.

The Epistle to the Hebrews, written c. 64 CE, gives us one of the very first indications of the OS/FA controversy among earliest Believers:

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:11-12)

For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (Hebrews 9:19-23)

In other words, if 2nd – 3rd century CE Christianity is going to legitimately lay claim to Jewish Messianism, and Jesus is both an Earthly born Messiah as well as a sinless holy God, how did the Apostolic Fathers reconcile this dilemma? The author of Hebrews explains a Jewish version of a virgin-mother birthing a virgin-son of God and eventual “better sacrifice” — an early attempt laden with Jewish priestly Messianism.

However, as the new religion spread with the fading and literal wiping-out of Sectarian Judaism (Jewish reformers and first Judeo-Christians) around the Roman Empire, e.g. the Great Revolts of Judea, more unknowing Gentiles asked challenging questions reflecting the confusion. The letter to the Hebrews was still not enough. And there is still the gnawing problems presented by deadly revolts and chronology. Did Jesus himself ever teach he was born by a virgin? No. Did the Apostle Paul ever teach Jesus was born by a virgin-mother? No. This strongly suggests that the OS/FA controversy began developing among first Judeo-Christians prior to 64 CE, but not widespread enough by 67 CE when Paul wrote his very last letter 2 Timothy from Rome. The OS/FA obscurity during this time-period can be contributed to the Roman “X-Fretensis” Legion, “V-Macedonica”  Legion, “XII-Fulminata” Legion, and “XV-Apollinarus” Legion wiping-out many sectarian-reformed Jews in the Great Revolts of Judea. This created the void for Gentile-favored Greco-Roman (Hellenistic) theology to be further established by the 1st and 2nd generation Church Fathers.

Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Eusebius of Caesarea
Clement of Alexandria lived between c. 150 – c. 215 in Athens, Asia Minor, Jerusalem, and Alexandria, Egypt. He is considered one of the Church Fathers. In his work called Paedagogus, Clement explains that Christ (the Greek-Hellenistic name) is sinless and born in the impeccable image of God through the virgin Mary.

Tertullian lived between c. 150 – c. 225 in Carthage in the Roman Province of Africa. Tertullian is famous for two reasons:  1) his coining of the word Trinity which made its way into the early Church’s Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed and/or the Athanasian Creed, and 2) his fiery temperament and forceful convictions that eventually radicalized him into Montanist heresy. Both of these Trinitarian theologies were derived from Stoic philosophy and Clement of Alexandria and less so from the author of Hebrews.

Eusebius of Caesarea lived from c. 263 – c. 340 in Caesarea Maritima in Roman Palestine. In his work Historia Ecclesiae, Eusebius points out two types of Jewish sectarian Ebionites. One denied the virgin-birth and virgin-mother, and the other did not. But he labeled both groups of Ebionites as heretical. Because Eusebius draws distinctions between these two Ebionite groups, his knowledge of them clearly comes from Irenaeus, Origen, and Hippolytus using apocryphal sources.

What should be cumulatively noted here is the evolving heavy influence and retro-fitting of Hellenistic, or Greco-Roman philosophy/theology in the roots of the 4th century New Testament canon and 5th century CE Christian Church. It was having to address long-standing conflicting, confusing teachings and questions that were not addressed adequately in the time of Paul’s letters and life, nor answered by the heir apparent Jesus/Christós — at the time, the questions were completely unnecessary and non-existent! Why? If Jesus and Paul never addressed the controversies of the virgin-birth by a virgin-mother in the arena of the later OS/FA debates, does that suggest the Greco-Roman Church — which is the ancestral majority of modern Christian churches and seminaries, many with very contrasting doctrines — did not understand, or did not favor, or intentionally distorted true Jewish Messianism to serve their man-made sociopolitical agenda?

I believe so, for the overwhelming reason that the anti-Semitism motive fits near perfectly into historical Greco-Roman-Hellenistic sociopolitical and religious traditions. The later Christian Church wants to separate itself as much as possible from Judaism.

∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼

Scottie, I hope this post helps despite its very hasty composure. As I mentioned, I also want to give a source for you to better understand the earliest transitions from true Jewish Messianism to sectarian Judeo-reformers and finally into the monster of Greco-Roman Christology. I would start with Robert Eisenman at his website. Be sure to checkout his Articles page. And if you can gain access to two of his books, Dead Sea Scrolls & The First Christians and The New Testament Code: The Cup of the Lord, the Damascus Covenant, and the Blood of Christyou will be well on your way to an extensive, intimate knowledge of exactly when and how Greco-Roman Christology, that is propagandizing and erroneously taught today, went wrong and subsequently setup its minefield of a never-ending fracturing, disunited religion.

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31 thoughts on “Some Q&A for Friends

  1. I would add two books to what you suggest: “God Against the Gods: The History of the War of Monotheism Against Polytheism ” and “Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1500 Years.”

    The early history of the the church is littered with “heresies.” Why is this? Basically there were a great many different versions of what people thought Christianity was. Why the confusion? Different scriptures. Different leaders. A muddled message. All of those contributed.

    Prior to Christianity being adopted as a religion of Rome, the church fathers preached religious tolerance in the form that Christianity shouldn’t be suppressed but tolerated (the Christians exaggerate greatly how much they were “suppressed’). BTW the early Church preached the separation of church and state. (That tune disappeared as soon as Christianity became wedded to state power.) Once the religion became a Roman state religion and even before it became “the” Roman state religion, the Church set about eliminating its competitors. The polytheists were vile and despicable because they didn’t worship the right god, so the Bible is full of lies about them (propaganda). The power struggles between Bishops for empirical favor lead to actual battles, killings, poisonings, beatings, threats, riots, bullying, you name it. Every conclave of Christians “divines” involved violence and political intrigue that had nothing to do with scholarly debate about scripture or tradition. Some emperors were dragged into these “discussions” and some inserted themselves. “Heretics” were purged, violently if necessary. What was “right thinking” and became dogma was determined through force not reason.

    Most Christians think that Christianity swept away the opposition through the force of the ideas, but that is far from true. All of the ideas existed in previous religions. Nothing new was added. (Jesus said not one thing that was new in all of scripture.) The triumph of Christianity was due to the power of the Roman state, using it as a tool.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hello Steve. A certain pastor apologist not named has recently argued with me that there was no idea of love for the other, or love thy enemy, until Jesus. He asserts the idea of loving no family members and loving regardless of relation was not known until the big J introduced it. I am glad to read that Jesus did not introduce a new idea, just repeated and used things known at his time. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Canon, as you so wisely linked, is another important feature of the Bible. These are what founders considered true, important, noteworthy, and authentic. Another important feature of the canon; it withholds other authentic and similar versions that may have some alter-interpretation or damming evidence. So what you have in the Bible is a “readers digest condensed version” of what they decided was important to further their cause. Another aspect of the canon is its ability to muddy the water and cause confusion (often intentionally) to maintain tight control on thought. That has worked as you can see, and after 2000 years there is still no consensus and the endless religious tail chasing continues. What a great response sir. This is a great, biblical self-admitted display of “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
    ‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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    • Thank you Jim. Another aspect of the Historical Method that in all my experience in the ministries very few common Christians utilized in examining the background and 1st century CE context of their New Testament composition (if they bother at all) is/was the process of Source Criticism, or the use of opposing views onto their source(s), or the contrasting and comparing of contradictory viewpoints. This method you might liken to studying your enemy, formulating counter-intelligence, a shedding of further deeper understanding of your source(s). Juries in courtrooms today apply this all the time. What was the opposition’s implied motive and why? For example, the proper context of 1st century Jerusalem and its many various (sectarian) opposing views of the nature of the Messiah CANNOT BE fully or fairly appreciated without an extensive knowledge of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Historical biases must be fairly considered!

      After using the Historical Method on “Christian/Christós” sources — i.e. formulating counter-intelligence — it became extremely evident to me how OVERLY Hellenistic, Greco-Roman, all the venerated Church Fathers, the ones who dictated the final theological doctrines of Christendom, consistently leaned to anti-Semitic interpolations and extrapolations of Jewish Messianism and the Messiah’s relation, nature, and purpose with God. There’s no denying it.

      Thanks again Jim. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Virgin Birth Reblog – The Common Atheist

  4. This is unequivocally slight-of-hand. Skeptics are not claiming the virgin stories and legends are identical, or verbatim.

    Actually when Jim wrote on his last post dealing with this issue:

    “Who am I talking about? He was born to a virgin by immaculate conception through the intervention of a holy spirit. This fulfilled an ancient prophecy. When he was born the ruling tyrant wanted to kill him. His parents had to flee to safety. All male children under the age of two were slain by the ruler as he sought to kill the child. Angels and shepherds were at his birth and he was given gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. He was worshipped as the savior of men and led a moral and humble life.

    He performed miracles which included healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, casting out devils and raising the dead. He was put to death on the cross between two thieves. He descended to hell and rose from the dead to ascend back to heaven. Sounds exactly like Jesus doesn’t it? But it’s not. That is how they described the Eastern savior god known as Virishna 1,200 years before Jesus is claimed to have been born.”

    https://thecommonathiest.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/who-is-this/

    I understand him to be arguing that there are other “virgin birth” stories that are in fact more or less identical. When I tried to get Jim to rethink the issue by asking for his source he shared that the quote came from David Icke a modern day anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist who believes psychics speak to him. When I pointed out that this doesn’t seem like the most reliable of sources he got defensive, put me in moderation, accused me of denying other historical facts, and then eventually deleted my responses to the thread and his own responses.

    Anyway, I think your response is a much more sober reflection of the issue, although it skirts around the main issue a little bit: whether there is a one-to-one story that predates the Jesus one. It’s pretty clear that Christian art borrowed its iconography from Egyptian Art. There are other miraculous births in previous mythologies, but none that are virgin births as far as I can tell. There are other mythological stories about gods going up against authority figures (kings), but it’s hard to tell how much is borrowed and how much is just the background one would expect from these shared cultural features of the time period (i. e. hey, look all these modern stories have cars, even when the writer is from Japan!)

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    • After I posted my comment, I considered maybe I shouldn’t have attacked Jim. I think it’s a distraction from my main points and I wasn’t being as kind as I should be.

      I wouldn’t really read the Semele/Dionysus birth story as a Virgin Birth story (see: Ovid’s Metamorphosis and Euripides’s Bacchae). However, I do think there are some other elements that have some similarities to some elements of the Jesus story and some aspects of Christian religion in general (such as the way Dionysian Mystery Religion and other Mystery Religions influenced Christianity). However, they also have very different contexts and functions in their own cultural setting too that shouldn’t be ignored.

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      • As I was composing my reply to your first comment CR, your second and 3rd comment popped-up, as well as Jim’s responses. Hence, I will modify slightly my comment to your two comments for me.

        Comment #1:

        I think your response is a much more sober reflection of the issue…

        Thank you CR. I will accept that as a gracious and modest compliment. 😉

        There are other miraculous births in previous mythologies, but none that are virgin births as far as I can tell.

        In the Enuma Elish, the Mesopotamian creation epic, composed c. 18th century BCE, the primeval god Apsu represents the upper fresh waters. In some scholarly translations of the epic fresh waters implies holy waters, purified waters which are uncontaminated… virgin. From the Enuma Elish:

        In the deep abyss he was conceived, Marduk was made in the heart of the apsu, Marduk was created in the heart of the holy Apsu. Ea begot him and Damkina bore him, father and mother; he sucked the paps of goddesses, from his nurses he was fed on the terrib leness that filled him.

        Though the Greek word “virgin” and Greek-meaning is not explicitly present, the virgin inference cannot be excluded.

        With Horace and Isis, Egyptian conception of Gods followed their doctrine of parthenogenesis — reproduction without fertilization — and some Egyptologists see many similar characteristics of Isis with those of Mary the mother of Christós. Amenhotep III and Mutemwiya, though on a lesser-significant portrayal of Amenhotep’s divine birth by Mutemwiya, the Temple of Amun pictograph/motif (c. 1390 – c.1352 BCE) shows a nativity scene of annunciation, the divine conception, his birth, and his adoration much the way we find them in the Gospel of Matthew. Personally, I do see the remarkable Egyptian likenesses to centuries later Greek virginity/divine births as well.

        Due to present time constraints, I cannot go into further written details here about the remainder of my earlier virgin-mothers and births list. Apologies CR.

        Comment #2:

        I very much appreciate recognizing your misgiving and then alternate approach to Jim. You’ve shown quality integrity and it is noticed. Thank you.

        …they also have very different contexts and functions in their own cultural setting too that shouldn’t be ignored.

        Agreed CR. And this is why… when studying ancient historical topics across many centuries or millenia, it is wise not to fall into the tricky anachronism trap. Historical context is critical to establish — become a time-traveler immersing yourself as much as possible in that culture and time-period!

        Thank you very much CR for your feedback and valuable well-educated perspective — one I suspect is quite appropriate for this topic and time-period. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think the immediate problem with the Enuma Elish example is that:

          a) Apsu is male.

          b) it’s implied he has slept with Tiamat (his female companion) in which they begot the other gods so not technically a virgin (who at this point of this story they are fighting a war with, which has more similarities to Ancient Greek Mythology war between Kronos and the Titans versus Olympian deities, also similar to Uranus and Gaiea)

          c) At this point of this story, Apsu has been killed by Ea/Enki (originally one of the most important deities from earlier Sumerian Mythology I believe) and Apsu’s body is essentially functioning as their home.

          d) Ea begets Marduk with Damkina. (i. e. they did it inside Apsu’s dead body, so also not virgins.)

          None of that really suggests virgin birth to me.

          In the Creation stories of Osirus, Horus, and Isis, I believe there is one where Isis impregnates herself with Osiris’ cut off member, one where she impregnantes herself with his dead corpse, and one where a lightning from heaven strikes her womb. It’s been awhile since I’ve read Egyptian Mythology so I could be misremembering. The problem again is that there are a lot of variants. None of these are virgin births either in my opinion.

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        • I must apologize CR. I don’t think I made myself or the ancient story of Apsu, Marduk, Enki, and Damkina clear in my previous comment. Through the assistance of the deity Apsu’s purity, mother goddess Damkina (wife of Enki) gave birth to the god/deity Marduk. The similarity comes with the ancient religious traditions of divine conception in purity between gods and goddesses.

          I also think you and I seem to have differing contextual definitions of “virgin birth.” With these ancient myths listed in my post, metaphors describing divine dimensions, like pure divine virgin-births, are more within than without and abstract. Thus, those abstractions must be symbolized… and symbolism incorporates many layered meanings. Virgin-births by virgin-mothers can mean/symbolize MORE THAN conception and birth without Earthly fertilization, the literal definition. Metaphorical symbolism, in my estimation of these ancient myths of deities consorting with other goddesses or chaste mortal women, allows for more liberal interpretations and translations of “virgin-birth.”

          As you have alluded to, these many layered cultural variants of virgin-mothers and births over so many centuries and millenia cause the novice or layperson MUCH confusion, especially when it challenges the veracity of or foundations of Greco-Roman Christology and orthodoxy.

          Have a great week CR and thanks again for your valued input here! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the correction. This was a topic I put in hold to gather correct info which appears more difficult than I first imagined. In later comments to Scottie I actually corrected my stance to an I don’t know status about the reliability of such accounts. I did mean to get back to you sir, but never was able. My apologies, and honest dialog is more important than being right. Thank you

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yeah, I suspect the big problem is the many different sources and variants. For some, like Romulus, Horus, and Remus or Semele/Dionysus, I’ve read most of the main sources (due to my literary interests), but then there are those minor mythographers and historians and archaelogical pieces that don’t appear in standard literary accounts (such as medallions with a line of Greek related to the Dionysian mysteries that suggest some relationship between Dionysus and power in the afterlife).

        It’s also an extremely scholarly-type debate. Interesting, but not overly important in the grand scheme of things. No reason to get angry at people over discussion of whether Batman is exactly like Superman or if they just have a few elements in common.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Sorry for the delay in response. Travel day for me. I left your comments in moderation as I tried to find reliable sources as you so kindly pointed out, was necessary for this topic. I do not know what happened to the comments. My apologies. I am leaving the post up with a prologue statement attached. It as a reminder and an apology. Honest dialog is important, and posting without verification is a mistake and probably every authors worst scenario. Thank you for calling it out as I appreciate fairness and honesty.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Interesting, but not overly important in the grand scheme of things. No reason to get angry at people over discussion of whether Batman is exactly like Superman or if they just have a few elements in common.

          And to borrow your earlier compliment CR, a “more sober reflection,” and less biased approach to these Christian theatrical assertions of singular hyper-uniqueness versus historical consensus ultimately isn’t necessary for life and death. As you correctly conclude, for us more advanced and generally better(?) educated modern beings, these antiquated fables do not apply in any critical ways to our daily activities of progressive civilized lives. Many more urgent pressing needs are too often present.

          That said, blatant distortion or ignorance about historical knowledge and reasonable plausibilities, IMO should be addressed. Claims that Greco-Roman Christology is globally and incomparably unique is unequivocally wrong. That’s why I was obligated to assist Scottie with this and when opportunities otherwise present themselves to me.

          Again CR, thank you kindly for your feedback and perspective! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Superb and informative piece, Prof. I enjoyed the read greatly. Oh, don’t forget about a very modern virgin birth in Western mythology: Anakin Skywalker’s was a virgin birth. I add this because I greatly find the mythological stories of Star Wars to be far more entertaining than those of the bible. 🙂 Comparing virgin birth stories, and other such “miraculous-type” stories surrounding Jesus and his super powers, is, to me, like comparing Spider-man and Superman. Both are very similar in their respective roles as superheroes in their respective universes but, very specifically speaking, there are differences in their origins and powers. Just because there are these differences does not mean both characters aren’t, within their stories and universes, pretty damn similar to each other. Any way, thanks for the read. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hahahaha! Damn! How could I ever forget modern mythology! You are right, just look at the MASS movement/following demigod George Lucas and the Star Wars Empire he has birthed — though I suspect not in virginity. 😛

      I should imagine that classical symbols in Antiquity of Good vs. Evil, Sacrifice and Rebirth, and so on, are told in MANY cultures with different names all the way up to Star Wars. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! Amazing! Professor what a grand and wonderful gift you have given me. I wish I had something to give you to repay this great kindness and serious amount of effort from you. I read the post, reread the post, saved the post to a file, then read the comments. I kept thinking as I read “I want to follow up that” and “I should remember where that link goes”. I will have to devote more time tomorrow to doing more in depth study and reading and lots of thinking. I admit I had to look up a few words here and there. Which is a good thing. I have seen the words used before and just skipped them as I was not sure what they meant. That was being lazy on my part. So I have added new understanding in that department as well. Again a grand post and a wonderful gift. I shall not let it be wasted. Thanks. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Scottie. I’ve already noticed in many of your comments on other blogs that you are really excelling in your knowledge, questions, and responses. Keep up the great work! Please feel free to ask me questions in the future as well. Hugs to you! ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Has this been explored in another context as far as you know? This is common thinking among LDS circles as more literal interpretations mingle in their materialistic view of things. I have an alternative explanation to Mel’s comment to Mary in Separating Fact and Fable. He said,

    “The virgin birth is necessary for Jesus to be fully God and fully man.“

    Why? Why is this the only way Jesus could be god and man? I think another solution is entirely possible. If the “sons of god mingled with the daughters of men, creating mighty men and men of renown” (Genesis 6:4) could have sex with humans and create offspring, I believe the most plausible solution to the problem of explaining the virgin birth without compromising the integrity of Christianity is this; I don’t think it a stretch at all to think God came down and had sex with Mary. He is all powerful. His other creations had done the same. It connects all the connectable dots problematic in the virgin story, and gods “overshadowing” of Mary “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke‬ ‭1:35‬ ‭KJV) could just be a nice and subtle way of saying they were intimate. And god is also above the law, and is able to justify every thing according to his wisdom. I think it works. If they only could get over sex = sin. It’s so dirty. And the trinity doctrine and nature of god is so convoluted, it’s not a stretch at all to consider there might be another alternative. What do you think?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Jim for your patience and understanding in getting back to this comment and questions! 🙂

      Has there been further exploration into this controversy? Yes. I can think of three angles of approach to literal virgin-mothers and births. There’s probably more.

      • The old traditional Catholic/Protestant angle
      • The Jewish Messianic angle (focusing on Isaiah 7:14) and…
      • The scientific angle: Parthenogenesis

      Mel’s explanation appears to address the question in a purely Christological manner; no surprise. His explanation also requires some Jewish theology — once again, Christianity CANNOT totally severe itself from its Jewish ancestry. Of those three angles above, I like the 2nd one the most. It keeps the debate, discussion in the arena of poetic symbolism, metaphor, and fable/mythology where it belongs. Narrating such an event that has historical overtones of past divine, miraculous consorting, and births by chaste mothers in which other familiar pagan cults/religions embraced, attracts recruits a LOT easier than some theology and Leader/Deity that sounds incomprehensible and hard to share with others.

      What do I think about your solution?

      For today I think it gives sexual predators, rapists, and assaulters divine Carte Blanche to do whatever their hyped-up testosterone dictates to them… while giving them the PERFECT explanation or Get-Out-of-Jail-Sorta-Free card of what (actually?) happened with he and the victim. After all, in that/their theological construct (pathology?) “God” being omnipotent and so above all humanity’s laws, working in ways NO PERSON can understand — like so many other things in their Faith and Scriptures! — and He can justify EVERYTHING beyond our best wisdom… sure! And here is the REAL kicker Jim:

      If we cannot expect to ever fully understand “God’s” ways in areas like Trinitarianism and virgin-births, resurrections, etc, then who is to ever say that this same “God” doesn’t consort with MEN in these sexual ways… unleashing them on women and little girls and boys as sexual-Tyrannosaurus Rexes!!!? It does set a precedence; or at least brings it closer.

      My point there is this. If humanity can NEVER question, understand, or second-guess this Abrahamic “God” and His methods, AND He has full jurisdiction to come down and consort with whomever He chooses, think of the Pandora’s Box that is opened up? Seriously, that was exactly what the physicists (with acute moral values) in the Manhatten Project struggled with mightly in what they were building. :/

      Another great comment Jim! Thank you Sir!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh thank you. I won’t ask about a 4th way 🙂 and I guess that’s a lot of time and research that, in the end changes nothing. It is a true observation you made though. Who can justify any action of immoral but a belief in gods?

        Liked by 1 person

    • @Jim on the idea of god manifesting and having sex with teenage girls. As Professor Taboo says I think there would be a rash of teenage boys ( maybe old men ) claiming to be god incarnate to get sex. Hey gives new meaning to having the son of man rise again. 🤔😅😃😋😍Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

    • Truthspew, that is not only an outstanding point, but very telling about MANY of Christendom’s fabled inventions and the canonical Scripture’s unreliability as a valid historical narrative!!! Thank you very much for your comment and stopping by. Please feel free to come again. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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