Examining the Historical Context in the New Testament
The narrative of the virgin birth of Jsus is a significant aspect of Chr’istian theology, but its historical origins raise intriguing questions. By delving into the earliest New Testament writings, we can trace the absence of references to the virgin birth and analyze how this concept emerged over time. Join us on a journey to unravel the historical context surrounding this pivotal aspect of Chr’istian belief.”
“There is a notable absence of references to the virgin birth of J’sus in the earliest New Testament writings. The first document to mention it is the Gospel of Luke, dated around the year 63. In the earlier letters of Paul, such as those to the Thessalonians (52-53), Corinthians/Galatians (57), Romans (58), Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon (62), there is no indication of a miraculous conception of J’sus. Paul even appears to disapprove of the development of virgin birth stories and various genealogies, considering them imaginative and detrimental to faith (1 Timothy 1:4). This suggests that the idea of J’sus being miraculously conceived was a later addition to Chr’istian theology.
The Gospel of Matthew, written around 57, also lacks a story of a virgin birth, presenting J’sus as an adult man.
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the L-rd appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name J’sus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, G-d with us.
When Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14 to support the virgin birth.
לָ֠כֵן יִתֵּ֨ן אֲדֹנָ֥י ה֛וּא לָכֶ֖ם א֑וֹת הִנֵּ֣ה הָעַלְמָ֗ה הָרָה֙ וְיֹלֶ֣דֶת בֵּ֔ן וְקָרָ֥את שְׁמ֖וֹ עִמָּ֥נוּ אֵֽל׃
Assuredly, my L-rd will give you a sign of His own accord! Look, the young woman is with child and about to give birth to a son. Let her name him Emmanuel.
It appears to be a misinterpretation or deliberate manipulation. The original Hebrew text of Isaiah refers to a young woman giving birth, not a virgin. The name Emmanuel, which means ‘G-d with us,’ is not applied to J’sus in any other context except in Matthew’s attempt to link it to the prophecy.
The virgin birth narrative associated with J’sus lacks support in the earliest New Testament writings, and its introduction in later texts raises questions about its historical authenticity. This exploration sheds light on the evolving nature of a key tenet in Ch’ristian theology.
By Angelique Sijbolts
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