Was Mary a Virgin

Matthew 1:22-23
And this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin is with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel-which means ‘God is with us'”.

Matthew is quoting the book of Isaiah (7:14) from the Septuagint. The word for virgin is rendered in the Greek Bible as parthenos. This word carries the explicit meaning of virgin. However, if we are to look at the Bible in its original Hebrew, from the Masoretic text, the word used there is almah. The nearest English translation for “almah” is a young woman and does not carry with it any suggestion of virginity.

The Nazarenes, who were likely followers of Peter and James (the brother of Jesus), never accepted the story of the virgin birth. We know this from references of their beliefs by the early church fathers such as Justin Martyr, Jerome, Irenaeus, and Origen. It is this group of Christians; more than any other, that can have claim to be direct eyewitnesses to the events in Jesus’ life.

Mark reveals that when Jesus started preaching, his whole family, including his mother Mary, went to call him back because they thought he was “out of his mind” (Mark 3:21). Now why on earth would Mary, of all people, think her son “out of his mind” when he started preaching, because-we are told-that an angel told her what was going on

The earliest sources on Jesus are silent on the issue of the virgin birth; Paul writes nothing of it, and the Gospel of Mark is silent about Jesus’ divine conception.  Both Paul and Mark were convinced believers and had it occurred or had they heard about it, they would surely have written something about it.  A natural reading without any theological preconceptions of Paul’s letter to the Galatians show that the “apostle to the gentiles” believed Jesus entered this world like anyone else:

Galatians 4:4
But when the time had fully come, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

The message that Paul seems to convey here is that Jesus was a normal Jewish child called upon by God.

Did Matthew or Luke invent the Virgin Birth?

Horus–Egypt–Born of a virgin
Mithra–Persia — Born of a Virgin
Krishna–India–Born of a Virgin
Dionysus–Greece–Born of a Virgin
Perseus–Greece—Born of a Virgin
Adonis–Phoenician—Born of a Virgin

In almost all the popular mystery religions around the Mediterranean at the time of Jesus, the belief was that the divine personalities were born of virgins. The emerging new faith would want to show signs that Jesus and Christianity was divine and what better way than to claim virgin birth such as the other cults of the time.

I kinda wonder if any of the above myths have anything to do with the final birth story of Jesus as we know it now.

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About the word of me
Interested in family and friends,grandchildren, photography, darkrooms, history, archaeology, scuba diving, computers, software, fast cars, journalism, writing, travel, ecology, news, science, and probably most other subjects you could think of. Did I mention family and friends?? I require iced tea or cold brewed coffee and a internet connection to be fully functional. Sometimes there are just so many words in my head they spill out.

5 Responses to Was Mary a Virgin

  1. That is an interesting perspective on Mary the Virgin… but involves a lot of speculation.

  2. mennoking says:

    I would dissagree, it does not involve a lot of speculation. These are all pertinent questions to be asking. THough I would rule out the comparisons to Greek mythology, but stress the Egyptian and Persian comparisons, as well as other Ancient Near Eastern cultures. Though I would view the Persian comparison with some hesitation because of the relatively late arrival of the Persians in comparison to the production of the Torah.

    However, there are a few things I take issue with, even though I am, at best, skeptical of the Virgin Bith. First, the Septuagint (LXX) predates the standard MT text (which is based primarily on the Leningrad Codex (approx 1000 CE, with corrections from an incomplete manuscript which is a few decades older) by about 1000 years and the earliest texts of the LXX that we have predate it by about 700 years.

    One cannot down play the use of the LXX in the Hellenized world. After Alexander the Great conquered much of the world known to him Greek became the standard language of his empire and those empires that rose from its fraction following his death. What is quite unique about the Greek of ancient Hellene world (Koine Greek) is that it was fairly standardized across the whole of the Hellenized world. It is very likely that the LXX became the standard text of much of the Jewish population in the Mediterranean world.

    This is likely because following the Babylonian exile in 586/587 (it was in two stages) there were more Jews living the Diaspora (for whom Greek would become a first language) than in Palestine.

  3. Marianne says:

    Mary was not married when Jesus was conceived. The story of Joseph wanting to put her away deals with this stress on him.

    The passage from Isaiah either refers to a young righteous woman ( virgin) or an unrighteous one ( fooling around on Joseph).

    Hopefully one would see that Mary, unmarried, became pregnant by a miracle of God.

    This should not be so hard to believe, since God, as a creator, can make something out of nothing. Not even Darwin can do that. 🙂

    The myths that pre-date the birth of jesus can be explained as well. This was a small world.

    Everyone alive was a descendant of Noah, and all carried the promise and tradition of a Messiah who would be virgin born.

    Each culture therefore had its own version, which really was a myth, and not the real event.

    Also, the myth versions were contaminated with a strange negative element, which I think was a counterfeit Messiah, introduced by Satan, who wanted his own kingdom.

    None of these mythical Messiahs amounted to anything.

    Only when the real one came along, did the world get radically changed.

  4. thewordofme says:

    Hi Marianne thanks for your reply.

    Mary was probably not a virgin, and was pregnant, and solved the problem quite nicely. I really doubt that there has *ever* been a virgin birth…you see that would involve magic. You know like turning a stick into a snake, or making water flow from a rock.

    There is no God or Devil following the script that men made up. Jesus, if he really existed, was not divine.

    All of the stories in the Bible are Jewish myths…so much real evidence backs this up.

    Christianity has been pwnd.

  5. nasthuy says:

    One of Jesus’ brother’s name is James (Mark 6:2-3;15:40;16:1), Paul confirm that news (Galatians 1:19) then a clear distinction is made between what is a brother and what is a disciple (John 7:3 and Acts 1:13-14) it is not the other disciple James, because the other James is being killed (Acts 12:2) many times before Saint Paul mentions the brother of the christ. Mary and Joseph had sex after the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:25). Then, Jesus is the first of his family (Luc 2:7).

    The Words cannot contradict themselves

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