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Was the virgin Mary a clerical error

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There is a lot of faith in immaculate conception, that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. Not all the gospels however talk about this issue, that seems like a major oversight. It does however appear in both Luke and Matthew. Let's focus on Matthew.

Matthew 1:22-23 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, God with us.

Here Matthew is referring to the prophet Isaiah

Isaiah 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.

That seems fairly clear cut, a fulfilment of a prophecy. The above translation is from the King James Version, which was derived from the Greek translation in 3 B.C. by rabbis and Hebrew scholars. If we go back to the original Hebrew texts however the word used is almah which doesn't mean virgin but young woman. Could it be that Matthew was influenced by reading the prophecies of Isaiah, and to some extent embellished his stories? Could Luke be similarly influenced, it would be fair to assume he also read the ancient books. Neither Mark nor John mention a virgin birth, a strange oversight.

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And unmarried virgin is one of the accepted definitions of the Hebrew "almah". It's used in that context several times throughout the old testament. The greek word used in the new testament is "parthenos" which very specifically means virgin.

Edited by Bryan

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There is a lot of faith in immaculate conception, that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. Not all the gospels however talk about this issue, that seems like a major oversight. It does however appear in both Luke and Matthew. Let's focus on Matthew.

Matthew 1:22-23 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, God with us.

Here Matthew is referring to the prophet Isaiah

Isaiah 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.

That seems fairly clear cut, a fulfilment of a prophecy. The above translation is from the King James Version, which was derived from the Greek translation in 3 B.C. by rabbis and Hebrew scholars. If we go back to the original Hebrew texts however the word used is almah which doesn't mean virgin but young woman. Could it be that Matthew was influenced by reading the prophecies of Isaiah, and to some extent embellished his stories? Could Luke be similarly influenced, it would be fair to assume he also read the ancient books. Neither Mark nor John mention a virgin birth, a strange oversight.

Matthew clearly says she was a virgin.

Matthew 1

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

KJV says:

25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

"Knew her not," meant did not have sex.

The circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus - specifically from the angle of Joseph - does indicate that Mary would've

been a virgin.

Edited by betsy

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And unmarried virgin is one of the accepted definitions of the Hebrew "almah". It's used in that context several times throughout the old testament. The greek word used in the new testament is "parthenos" which very specifically means virgin.

Yes, the term almah is used 8 times in the old testament. Not one of those time however does it mean virgin and not young woman. They are very distinct old words. Yes a young woman can be a virgin, but not necessarily. It is like the terms mother and woman. We generally don't say the woman took the boy when we mean the mother took her son because we are missing significant context.

Matthew clearly says she was a virgin.

I am well aware what Matthew said, I am asking did he say those thing to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah as he understood it? Why did Mark and John overlook this obviously significant issue? Perhaps we need an updated version of Mark to match the prophecies, it is not like that was not done in the past. It is well known that the original versions of Mark were significantly different than many modern versions like the King James Bible. This is just like the church editors decision to reject the gospel of Peter, because they were trying to fit their narrative and not hand down ancient texts.

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Yes, the term almah is used 8 times in the old testament. Not one of those time however does it mean virgin and not young woman. They are very distinct old words. Yes a young woman can be a virgin, but not necessarily. It is like the terms mother and woman. We generally don't say the woman took the boy when we mean the mother took her son because we are missing significant context.

I am well aware what Matthew said, I am asking did he say those thing to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah as he understood it? Why did Mark and John overlook this obviously significant issue? Perhaps we need an updated version of Mark to match the prophecies, it is not like that was not done in the past. It is well known that the original versions of Mark were significantly different than many modern versions like the King James Bible. This is just like the church editors decision to reject the gospel of Peter, because they were trying to fit their narrative and not hand down ancient texts.

You'd have to consider Joseph. Do you think Matthew just made up Joseph, and that Mary was never betrothed to him?

The narrative about Joseph and Mary would have to be considered. Joseph was going to cast Mary aside due to her pregnancy - which means, she was no longer a virgin, and that she was impregnated by another man. That ties with the culture or custom of the time.

Joseph would have to be in cahoots with Matthew, if those were merely said, in order to follow what was prophesied by Isaiah. And that means, all the things that happened to Jesus would've been staged - like being born in Bethlehem, coming out of Egypt, and being called a Nazarene. Herod will have to be in on it too, since he was the cause why Jesus ended up in Egypt (and fulfilled the prophecy of coming out of Egypt).

So the question is, why would Matthew have to lie about Mary being a virgin? If he lied, then that makes Mary the false mother of the Messiah....and Jesus was not the Messiah as prophesied. Either that, or.......

......... Isaiah was never a real prophet.

If Matthew had to lie just to make Isaiah's prophecy come true, that means Matthew doubted Isaiah as a prophet.

Why would Matthew lie?

Matthew and Luke, both mentioned the virgin birth. So, why didn't John and Mark mention it?

Have you noticed that the Gospels seem to focus on certain, specific themes? Each seems to give specific messages.

Perhaps the other two who didn't mention the details of Jesus' birth didn't feel that they're relevant to the message they want to focus on. Maybe they knew that the other two Apostles were already going to talk about the details in their books.

Though they didn't talk about it......John and Mark never wrote anything that contradicts or denies the virgin birth.

Furthermore, Instead of saying "the son of Joseph," Mark referred to Jesus as, "the son of Mary," which is compatible

with the virgin birth.

Mark 6

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

6 Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.

Edited by betsy

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Joseph was a cuckold?

Joseph would have to be thinking that.....that's why he was going to privately cast Mary aside.

Of course, the angel explained it to him and he raised Jesus as his own son. Being a descendant of David, that firmly solidified the fulfillment of another prophecy: the Messiah would come from the house of David.

I said firmly solidified, because Mary can also be traced from the lineage of David.

Mary was of the house of David, and she was of the royal lineage through David's son Solomon, which gave Jesus based on his descend "according to the flesh" the full rights to the throne of his father David (Mat 1:6). Joseph, the husband of Mary, was also of the house of David, but of a different line through David's son Nathan (Luk 3:31).

http://www.biblecenter.de/bibel/widerspruch/e-wds08.php

Therefore, how can all these be staged.....just to accommodate the prophesy of Isaiah?

Edited by betsy

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You'd have to consider Joseph. Do you think Matthew just made up Joseph, and that Mary was never betrothed to him?

...

Have you noticed that the Gospels seem to focus on certain, specific themes? Each seems to give specific messages.

...

Mark referred to Jesus as, "the son of Mary," which is compatible with the virgin birth.

Other than all the begetting, Matthew 1 is only 8 short verses (what we would call a paragraph in modern English) that fulfil the misunderstood prophecy. I am not claiming Matthew made up Joseph, just had to explain why Joseph accepted Jesus.

...

Yes, the Gospels focus on certain themes, unless of course the Church wants to rewrite them like they did to Mark.

...

I'll give you that the wording in Mark of Jesus as son of Mary is indeed puzzling. Of course why does he not say son of Mary and the Holy Ghost? If the 'male' linage was so important at the time, then why was it omitted?

Edited by ?Impact

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I'll give you that the wording in Mark of Jesus as son of Mary is indeed puzzling. Of course why does he not say son of Mary and the Holy Ghost? If the 'male' linage was so important at the time, then why was it omitted?

At the time, do the Apostles truly understood who Jesus was?

Did they know and understand about His prophecy of coming death and about the vague referral to His Resurrection?

That understanding came only after Jesus had appeared to them after death. Remember, this account is prior to Jesus' death.

They cannot possibly say Jesus is the Son of the Holy Ghost, or the Son of God....I don't think they truly understood who

Jesus was at the time. And they probably refrained from making that claim since it would've been blasphemous.

Did they really believe all that Jesus said about being the Son of God? Maybe not.....because they were all afraid when Jesus died. They hid, fearing that they'd be rounded up.

It was only after they witnessed the risen Jesus....that's when the transformation of the Apostles happened. From fearful disciples of a dead leader, they suddenly emerged fearless, confident, and gungho in spreading the Gospel. They welcomed persecution - and Christianity suddenly exploded in the region.

The only logical conclusion to that transformation is that they'd witnessed the risen Christ. Any doubt they may have had, was gone.

Therefore, prior to Jesus' Resurrection - they were most likely unsure abut His claim as being the Son of God.

If the 'male' linage was so important at the time, then why was it omitted?

It wasn't omitted.

John 6

41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

Edited by betsy

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Remember, this account is prior to Jesus' death.

Say what? The gospels were not written prior to Jesus' death, but several decades after. Mark is not an eyewitness, but a disciple of Peter.

Yes, as you point out other Gospel writers mention Joseph as the father. John as you point out, and Matthew if not by name but by occupation. I'm not sure what you are trying to get at here. In one case you say 'son of Mary' to infer that there is no relationship to Joseph yet now you are saying there is.

Matthew 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brothers, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

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Say what? The gospels were not written prior to Jesus' death, but several decades after. Mark is not an eyewitness, but a disciple of Peter.

Yes, as you point out other Gospel writers mention Joseph as the father. John as you point out, and Matthew if not by name but by occupation. I'm not sure what you are trying to get at here. In one case you say 'son of Mary' to infer that there is no relationship to Joseph yet now you are saying there is.

Matthew 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brothers, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

They were written after Jesus' death - but the account that's being relayed happened before Jesus' death!

No, Mark was not an eye witness but being a disciple of Peter, he would've learned of the events from Peter!

You wondered why Joseph was omitted if male lineage is so important, remember? I simply explained that he was not omitted.

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account that's being relayed happened before Jesus' death!

If they were written in the first person, like the gospel of Peter, then I would see the point of that context. They are not however, they are written as historical accounts. Only when they are quoting (eg. John 6:42 you gave above) would the context of the time be necessary. I am making the assumption that Mark did not become Peter's disciple until after the resurrection so even the telling of events to Mark would be in the context after Jesus' death, otherwise that opens up a whole new can of worms.

This also brings up the entire issue of the credibility of the books of the new Testament. Are they the word of God, or are they accounts of disciples of disciples (in the case of Mark) or even further removed? How do we hold credible the work of men? What makes the book of John (and the epistles of John and book of Revelation) any more credible than the Book of Moses from the Mormons? Their authorship appears to be far removed from God, Jesus, and even his direct apostles.

Is it not more likely that the [emerging] Church commissioned much of these works to follow their narrative? As I pointed out before, we have clear evidence this was done in the case of Mark and those discrepancies still appear in many main stream Christian Bibles. Why do we think the new Church(s) of 2000 years ago would behave any differently than those of today. How can we discredit the Church of Scientology and at the same time support the Christian Church(s)?

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I guess it's interesting to analyze how the bible was written/translated and what it means, but until someone shows evidence for any god to actually exist, the bible simply remains literature.

Maybe the most important piece of literature in the "western world", but still just literature.

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There is a serious lack of evidence for the existence of a human Jesus, let alone a supernatural god or gods.

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I guess it's interesting to analyze how the bible was written/translated and what it means, but until someone shows evidence for any god to actually exist, the bible simply remains literature.

Yup, that is essentially the point here; to demonstrate that the Bible could not be the work of God because of the many inconsistencies. Instead of debating if Jesus existed, I am trying to show that he could be no different than Joseph Smith or L. Ron Hubbard. Nobody denies the existence of either of these men, and I wasn't around 2000 years ago so who am I to deny the existence of Jesus. It is the embellishment of the story, both from him directly and from those who wrote his biography. Even if he was the son of God, why should we accept the new Testament as fact and not fiction based on some fact like a modern day movie. If someone wants to accept a God based on faith, then fine, just don't try and sell us on 'evidence' that is clearly full of holes.

I have no problem accepting that someone named Jesus, born of Mary and Joseph 2000 years ago, walked the middle east in his sandals and spread a message of love. I don't however accept any supernatural capability, regardless if he originated the story or it was simply an embellishment of his followers. I see no concrete evidence that he did or did not live. Certainly some of the characteristics attributed to him help fulfil older prophecies, but that doesn't mean he was not a person rather than just not a person with supernatural abilities. Many of those that say he did not exist point to other evidences like his similarities to Krishna, Horus, Mithras, Dionysus except their stories end up having just as many holes in them as those of the believers.

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There is a serious lack of evidence for the existence of a human Jesus, let alone a supernatural god or gods.

There is a serious lack of evidence for the existence of any specific human from that time frame.

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There is a serious lack of evidence for the existence of any specific human from that time frame.

Actually, that's not true. Writers diligently covered the events of the era write down to the minute and mundane. Oddly, enough a loving hippie, working miracles and attracting large crowds was never mentioned.

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Writers diligently covered the events of the era write down to the minute and mundane.

I'm not sure where you get that from. Tiberius Caesar, the Roman Emperor at the time of Jesus is only mentioned 10 times in the literature from the period up to A.D. 150. Jesus is mentioned in 43 different sources, 10 of which are non-Christian. The non-Christian sources are: Thallus (as quoted by Julius Africanus), Josephus, Celsus, Lucian, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Seutonius, Plegon, Mara Bar-Serapion, and the Talmud. Perhaps you are referring to the lack of first-person eyewitness accounts, but that is not surprising as the literacy rate at the time was less than 1%. A lot may have to do with the company Jesus kept, he didn't socialize with the upper class where the literate were but walked among the poor. We didn't have CBC at the time, sent out on assignment to cover the hippy in sandals breaking bread with the peasants. It is interesting to note that Thallus predates even the earliest Christian gospel of Mark by many years.

Edited by ?Impact

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Actually, that's not true. Writers diligently covered the events of the era write down to the minute and mundane. Oddly, enough a loving hippie, working miracles and attracting large crowds was never mentioned.

That's really not the case. There are more written accounts (both secular and religious) of Jesus than there are of most of his contempararies. That he existed is absolutely not in question whatsoever. The discrepancies are only over WHO he was.

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If they were written in the first person, like the gospel of Peter, then I would see the point of that context. They are not however, they are written as historical accounts.

Yes, they're written as historical accounts. How do we know of all historical events and details that happened centuries ago, if not for witnesses' account, or evidences that were around?

Apostles who were witnesses most likely shared what they'd witnessed, wouldn't they? In fact, that's 99% that they did!

If you witnessed something incredible yourself - which is in the life-transforming magnitude scale - wouldn't you be talking about it to everyone and anyone who would listen? What more when it's fellow-disciples?

Disciples who hadn't witnessed Jesus would also be surely hounding the Apostles that did witness Him!

They'd naturally want details!

Jesus Christ was a very popular and controversial figure.

Think of a controversial figure or a popular person today - why do we have tabloids and they're selling so well?

Edited by betsy

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Only when they are quoting (eg. John 6:42 you gave above) would the context of the time be necessary. I am making the assumption that Mark did not become Peter's disciple until after the resurrection so even the telling of events to Mark would be in the context after Jesus' death, otherwise that opens up a whole new can of worms.

Anyone who writes a biography will surely have interviewed people who associated with that person.

The context of the time would be very much necessary if you're relating something that happened at that particular time....whether he's there as awitness or whther he has second-hand information. You'd want to get in as close to the context, or subject, as possible. Context is crucial in every literary work!

Edited by betsy

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I'm not sure where you get that from. Tiberius Caesar, the Roman Emperor at the time of Jesus is only mentioned 10 times in the literature from the period up to A.D. 150. Jesus is mentioned in 43 different sources, 10 of which are non-Christian. The non-Christian sources are: Thallus (as quoted by Julius Africanus), Josephus, Celsus, Lucian, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Seutonius, Plegon, Mara Bar-Serapion, and the Talmud. Perhaps you are referring to the lack of first-person eyewitness accounts, but that is not surprising as the literacy rate at the time was less than 1%. A lot may have to do with the company Jesus kept, he didn't socialize with the upper class where the literate were but walked among the poor. We didn't have CBC at the time, sent out on assignment to cover the hippy in sandals breaking bread with the peasants. It is interesting to note that Thallus predates even the earliest Christian gospel of Mark by many years.

Actually, it appears that Thallus never mentioned Jesus and we just have a much later (2nd-3rd century) paraphrased reference to his work by Julius Africanus (JA). Thallus refers to a solar eclipse in his writing. JA then states that Thallus was mistaken and the event he was referring to was the darkness spoken of in the Gospels, thus it was JA that made a connection to Jesus not Thallus.

Like Thallus, Phlegon did not mention Jesus. He wrote about an earthquake and the link to Judea and the crucifixion was added by the Christians who later paraphrase his writing.

Josephus - mentioned Jesus twice, but it has been shown that there were added later. One an intentional forgery, one a scribal error. The forged passage was actually using the Luke gospel as the source.
Tacitus - Didn't write until 116 AD. His source was Pliny who simply interviewed and recorded the statements of Christians. This was after the Gospels and were not accounts of Jesus at the time, despite many popular appearances, sermons, miracles, large crowds, etc.
The Talmud tells quite a different tale about Jesus than the New Testament. Stoned by Jews, not crucified by Romans, after being in custody for 40 days, not 1, for sorcery and enticing people to believe in other gods, not blasphemy. Plus, it was written after the time of the Gospels when the Christian myths were widely known. If there is any truth to the Gospels or Talmud then the opposite is full of crap. Though it is likely that the gospel of Mark is allegorical and the Talmud just a version of the many stories flying around at the time.
The 7 authentic epistles of Paul, the rest are known to be forgeries, precede the Gospels but never refer to an Earthly Jesus, just a celestial being who only communicated through revelation. In 2 Peter, known to be a forgery, appears to have been created to combat the argument of the time that Jesus was a "cleverly devised forgery".

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