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Mary Was a Virgin

CHURCH POSITION

“All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’…” (Matthew 1:22)

SCHOLARS

"What escapes them [rationalists] is that the virginity of Mary is a religious belief, not a historical fact..." (Craveri, 1967, p. 25)

"There was nothing peculiar about the birth of Jesus. He was not God incarnate and no Virgin Mother bore him. The Church in its ancient zeal fathered a myth and became bound to it." (Schonfield, 1965, p. 50)

"One of the strongest arguments against the authenticity of the virgin birth is that apart from Matthew and Luke the New Testament never refers to it." (Porter, 2004, p. 69)

“According to the faith of the Church, the Sonship of Jesus does not rest on the fact that Jesus had no human father: the doctrine of Jesus’ divinity would not be affected if Jesus had been the product of a normal human marriage…” (Pope Benedict, 1969, 274-275)

THE REALITY

Everyone is familiar with the story of the “virgin birth”, but what is not so familiar is the fact that only in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew is the virgin birth postulated. Neither Mark nor John makes any mention of it at all, nor is it referenced in the rest of the New Testament. In addition, apart from its mention at the start of Luke and Matthew, Jesus’ virgin birth plays no part in his subsequent life. It is never mentioned by anyone, even though one can imagine that it would have enhanced his image and added support to the theory that he was a Messiah. Indeed, the story of the virgin birth appears as an isolated entry in both Gospels, important unto itself, but then neglected and forgotten.

 

There are several issues related to Mary. Was Jesus’ birth a “virgin” birth? Or is it his conception that is virginal? Was Mary a “perpetual” virgin? Let’s look at all these issues.

The so-called “virgin birth” is best described as a “virginal conception”, for It’s the conception that supposedly occurs without sexual contact, not the actual birth [1]. In any event, virgin conceptions or births are not common today, but in ancient times, especially among the famous, they were not unknown. Famous children born of a virgin include: Buddha (China), Krishna (India), Zoroaster (Persia), Adonis (Babylon), and Mithra (Syria). Among the Greeks it was even more common. For example, Alexander the Great was believed to have been conceived from a celestial thunderbolt, or to have been the result of a union between Philip’s wife Olympias and the God Jupiter who took the form of a serpent. Perseus, the Greek hero who decapitated Medusa, was born of a virgin named Danae, by the God Zeus who came to her in a golden shower [2].  Even Plato was said to be born of the union of a virgin (Amphictione) and a God (Apollo), and only after his birth did Ariston, Amphictione’s husband, have sex with her. More relevant to Jesus’ time, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were born of a Vestal Virgin whose father was the God of War, Mars. The Roman emperor Octavian was born from the union of his mother, Atia, and the God Apollo. The Egyptian goddess Isis gave birth to Horus despite the fact that her husband, Osiris had his phallus cut off by his brother Seth[3]. Thus, virgin conceptions were quite popular at the time, although this was only in “pagan” worlds, not in the Jewish world. 

The choice to give Jesus a “virgin birth” like many of the rich and famous of his time appears to be more of a marketing ploy than a historical fact. Not only did it serve the purpose of competing with contemporaneous cults, but also the virgin birth was another in the line of prophesies (e.g., born in Bethlehem, descended from David) which Jesus was said to fulfill. In this case, the prophecy was from Isaiah (7:14) – “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel.” [4] Unfortunately there was a mis-translation here (as in so many other places) and the original Hebrew word almah [5] ( young girl or young woman) had been mistakenly translated into the Greek parthenos (virgin) [6], so that the original prophesy did not, in fact, call for a virgin to conceive, but simply for a young woman to conceive [7]. Moreover, Isaiah was talking about an Eighth Century B.C. sign that would appear to King Ahaz during his reign. Thus, the prophecy was not only the result of an error in translation, it was also 800 years too late.

Even if the translation were correct, which it wasn’t, the use of the word “virgin” within the context of Essene marriages had a different meaning than it does today. In those days, the elite of the Essene who were allowed to procreate (this included descendants of the King David and the High Priest Zadok) went through an elaborate procedure to insure that they kept to strict purity laws even while fulfilling their marital obligations. Gardner (2001) describes it as follows:

“Three months after a betrothal ceremony, a ‘First’ Marriage’ was formalized to begin in the espousal month of September. Physical relations were allowed after that, but only in the first half of December. This was to ensure that any resultant Messianic birth occurred in the Atonement month of September. If the bride did not conceive, intimate relations were suspended until the next December [8], and so on. Once a probationary wife had conceived, a ‘Second Marriage’ was performed to legalize the wedlock. However, the bride was still regarded as an almah (young woman) until the completion of the Second Marriage which, as qualified by Flavius Josephus, was never celebrated until she was three months pregnant.” (pp. 30-31)

The exact quote from Josephus (Wars 2), on which Gardner (and Theiring) base their assessment is:

"Moreover, there is another order of Essenes, who agree with the rest as to their way of living, and customs, and laws, but differ from them in the point of marriage, as thinking that by not marrying they cut off the principal part of human life, which is the prospect of succession; nay, rather, that if all men should be of the same opinion, the whole race of mankind would fail. However, they try their spouses for three years; and if they find that they have their natural purgations thrice, as trials that they are likely to be fruitful, they then actually marry them. But they do not use to accompany with their wives when they are with child, as a demonstration that they do not many out of regard to pleasure, but for the sake of posterity."

In the event that a woman became pregnant before the first marriage, it was said that “a Virgin had conceived”, meant as a play on words since the young woman was still legally (if not biologically) a virgin. This early pregnancy may account for the rumors, reflected in The Gospel of the Hebrews, that Jesus was in Mary’s womb for only seven [9] months. In other words, instead of being born in September as would be expected (9 months after impregnation in December), Jesus was born around July, meaning that Joseph and Mary had sex in October, when she was technically a virgin [10].

Joseph was an elite member of the Essene and Mary, chosen as his wife, was similarly highly esteemed and had been the equivalent of a nun [11] within the Essene circles [12]. These women were referred to as “virgins” in much the same way as the Greeks and Romans referred to “vestal virgins”. Thus, for Mary to conceive during this engagement period would mean that, Mary, a virgin (aka a nun) had conceived which she was still a virgin (aka during the engagement period). There was nothing supernatural about this at all. But there was a danger that the future husband could avoid the marriage, and the child, as a result, would be considered illegitimate. For a future king of the New Israel, the status as an illegitimate child could be problematic, hence the advice to Joseph from a senior member of the Essene (hence an “angel” which along with “saint” was a synonym) to go through with the first marriage as if it were the second marriage (the second marriage being one in which the woman was already pregnant) [13]. Years later, after Jesus’ death, the ascension of Jacob (aka James), Jesus’ brother and the unquestionably legitimate son of Joseph and Mary, was unchallenged.

The fact that the “virgin” birth as described above was not supernatural at all explains why there is no mention of Jesus’ birth throughout the Gospels (except the start of Luke and Matthew). Had it been supernatural or divine, the story would have followed Jesus around and been repeated. The fact that we don’t find it in the Gospels or anywhere else in the New Testament confirms that we are not dealing with anything out of the ordinary.

As indicated earlier, only Matthew and Luke postulated a virgin conception. The Gospel of John has the disciple Philip say that Jesus is the “son of Joseph” (1:45).  Paul, describing Jesus’ birth, says that “God sent his Son, born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4), using the word gune (woman) rather than parthenos (virgin).  In Romans, Paul specifically states that Jesus came “from the seed of David, according to the flesh.” (1:3) Surely Paul, the Christian master of marketing, writing before even Mark, would have promoted Jesus’ virgin birth if it had been the case.

Jesus’ natural conception is not only supported by the Gospel of John and Paul’s letters, but also the works of Cerinthus (c 100 A.D.) and Marcion (c 160 A.D.).  In addition, Jesus’ natural conception is a basic tenet of the Ebionites (“poor ones”), who were the Jerusalem based Jewish sect that emerged following Jesus’ death. James the Just, Jesus’ brother, was the head of this sect until his death, and leadership was then passed on to his brothers and then nephews. If anyone should know the true story of Jesus’ conception and birth, it would be these people. Though little survives of their texts, since they valued the oral tradition over the written one, we have extensive quotations from early Christian leaders (Irenaeus of Lyon, Eusebius of Caesarea) who complained about the Ebionites failure to believe in the virgin birth:

“Their interpretation is false, who dare to explain the Scripture thus: Behold a girl (instead of a virgin) shall conceive and bear a son. This is how the Ebionites say that Jesus is Joseph’s natural son. In saying this they destroy God’s tremendous plan for salvation…” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III 21.1)

“Those who belong to the heresy of the Ebionites affirm that Christ was born of Joseph and Mary and suppose him to be a mere man.” (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, XI, 17)

Thus, the sect that was founded by and led by Jesus and his family specifically argued against the virgin conception.

There is another problem with the idea of a virginal conception, and this problem occupied tens of thousands of hours of debate among Christian theologians, even to this date. If the Messiah was to be of the line of David – and Joseph was said to be of David’s line – but if Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost, ipso facto, Jesus would not be of the line of David, and hence, not a true Messiah. Proponents of the orthodox view claim that by marrying Mary, Joseph “adopted” Jesus and thus the child was entitled, by law, to be considered Joseph’s son. While this is true in the strict sense, It’s obvious that for the purposes of the Old Testament, the kinship was meant to be biological, not legal.

A final problem with the idea of the virgin birth/conception is that following the birth, as described in Luke (2:22), Mary undergoes the ritual purification ceremony. Had Jesus’ birth been virginal, there would be no need for Mary to be purified. Indeed, as the virgin bride of God, the thought of purification would be anathema.

In summary, the original idea of the “virgin birth” came from a mistranslation of an Old Testament prophecy, and all the supporting evidence (e.g., Mary’s ritual purification following the birth, Jesus’ descent from David through Joseph, the testimony of the Ebionites, etc.) point to a normal birth. Lest the extremely orthodox take offence at this conclusion, we can note the following comment by Pope Benedict XVI:

“According to the faith of the Church, the Sonship of Jesus does not rest on the fact that Jesus had no human father: the doctrine of Jesus’ divinity would not be affected if Jesus had been the product of a normal human marriage…” (1969, 274-275)


[1] In the Protoevangelium of James, Mary is said to have an actual virgin birth, in which the baby Jesus is born without any change to Mary’s body. This miracle is tested by a friend of the midwife, Salome, who reaches in and certifies that Mary’s hymen is still intact, whereupon God withers her hand for having doubted.

[2] Curiously enough, the Rabbi Trypho writing in 155 to St. Justin in Rome in the 2nd Century, said: You should blush at telling the same stories as [the Greeks]…If you do not want people to say you are as mad as the Greeks, you must stop speaking [about the virgin birth].”

[3] One can easily see that the images of Isis suckling Horus are the prototypes for the Mary/Jesus art that followed.

[4] If we continue to the next verse we can see that this quote has nothing to do with Jesus. It reads – “Butter and honey shall he eat…” As far as we know, this was not Jesus’ diet, although it does resemble the diet of John the Baptist.

[5] The Hebrew word for virgin was bethula, not almah.

[6] The word originates from Parthenis, a Greek virgin who had sex with the God Apollo, giving birth to Pythagoras (ca 569 – 475 B.C.). Some authors believe that the use of the word here is a play on the word “Panthera” which was one of the names of the Roman soldier believed to been the biological father of Jesus (Yeshu, 2006)

[7] Of course, looking at that quote from Isaiah, one has to wonder why they called him Jesus and not Emmanuel, which was required to fulfill the prophecy?

[8] The December mating was meant to mimic the planting of the wheat in December, wheat being the main crop in Israel.

[9] Dionysus was also said to have been born after 7 months. The number 7 was sacred not only to the Jews, but even earlier, to the Pythagoreans, who considered 7 the number of the virgin, because it was the only one of the prime numbers (1 – 10) which could not be divided evenly into 360 (the number of degrees in a circle). Thus, the rumor that Jesus was born at 7 months may not be entirely accurate, and may be another example of the symbolism replete in the Bible. It may be true, however, that he was born earlier than expected (i.e., prior to September).

[10] Having sex prior to the specific time “…was not regarded as a serious sin in Jewish society.” (Harvey, 1970, p.19). In fact, it was commonplace among the Jews (Craveri, 1967, p. 17); more so in Judea; less common in Galilee (Spoto, 1998, p. 20)

[11] The name Mary was synonymous with “Sister”. This practice is continued even today among various sects.

[12] Note the comment in Josephus about Essene couples not having sex after the woman was pregnant matches the passage in Matthew (1:25) that Joseph and Mary refrained from sex until after Jesus was born.

[13] Thiering, 1992, pp. 44-46.

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Date:     2006-05-23 Username:   drj Helpful:   5 of 7
I don't believe that Mary was an adulteress. I believe the evidence shows that she had sex prior to the accepted time with the man who became her husband. Nowadays everybody does it, but in those days, in Galilee, it was frowned upon. As far as Mary being "the mother of God", this rank was not given to her until 431 AD at the Council of Ephesus. In 649 AD they decided she was a "perpetual virgin"
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Date:     2006-09-21 Username:   jimfoxy Helpful:   1 of 2
Hi DRJ, You said that the Aramaic version of Matthew, the so-called "Gospel of the Nazarenes" makes no mention of the Virgin Birth, and Jerome considered it to be the original form of the canonical gospel. The fact is that we have only fragments of this "gospel". The Old Syriac Aramaic version is extant, and it clearly mentions the Virgin Birth. Despite Jerome (who was more of an Old Testament scholar), based on the fragments that we have, the "Gospel of the Nazarenes" seems to have been back-translated from Greek to Aramaic, and so is not an independent witness at all. Blessings..... Jim
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Date:     2006-09-22 Username:   drj Helpful:   2 of 3
Hi Jim. Good point. Most of what we know about the Gospel of the Nazarenes in Aramaic comes from quotes in other documents, and it's very limited, so it's probably not fair to refer to a lack of mention when lots of things aren't mentioned. I'm going to pull the footnote that includes this information. It was an incidental comment and doesn't change the tone of the overall evidence, but we want this to be as clean as possible. Thanks
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Date:     2006-11-03 Username:   puglia Helpful:   0 of 7
"It’s obvious that for the purposes of the Old Testament, the kinship was meant to be biological, not legal". Thats what you said. But thats not true! The Law your refering to was the religious law. Which was changed by Jesus himself. Its funny you mention Pauls writings. You remind me of him. Paul persecuted christians not because they were bad people. But because he felt they were mocking the Law. Jesus did not change Saul of Tarsus's mind it was God the Father who claimed Jesus to Saul. Taking his sight and revealing who would give it back to him. He changed his name to Paul to avoid being killed himself now being a believer and a christian himself. The fact that the virgin birth is not in his wrightings is insignificant. Because it is insignificant, as far as Mary giving birth to Jesus, as a virgin. Jesus rewrote the Law taking the sins of our lives upon himself. So from his death on there was no reason for Religious Law. It didnt apply anymore. So why would his birth have to be legal? Thats why Paul was so good at what he did. Because he had been on the other side of the Law you speak of. So he reached out knowing the Law and knowing what God revealed to him to be true. Jesus is the Son of God!
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Date:     2006-11-18 Username:   puglia Helpful:   0 of 4
Just so we're clear. i believe the Bible states that when a man and a woman are married they become one. And what God joins no man can undo. Thats why I believe it was described in the prophacy that Jesus would be a decendant of David.
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Date:     2007-04-04 Username:   FatherSilence Helpful:   1 of 2
Is a woman who has had sex with Zeus or Apollo still a virgin?
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Date:     2007-09-13 Username:   rambux Helpful:   2 of 3
The idea perpetuated by certain sections of the Church, that Mary was a perpetual virgin, is absurd. The comment about the Septuagint translation error (young maid being confused with virgin) is correct, as indeed is the comment about significant people of the time (emperors, great leaders) being claimed to have a virgin birth.
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Date:     2007-10-11 Username:   anorak Helpful:   3 of 4
There was no "Virgin Mary". On December 25th, the sun rises in the constellation of Virgo "The Virgin" So, Jesus The sUn was "born" of a virgin. The ancient glyph for Virgo looks like the lower case "m" with a sort of tail on the right. This is why saviours are born of virgins and their "mothers" name starts with an "m" Look up Buddah and Horus for starters.
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Date:     2008-02-03 Username:   Pantera Helpful:   3 of 3
Puglia: You wrote on 11-03-2006: "Jesus rewrote the Law taking the sins of our lives upon himself." The author of Matthew says the opposite is true. Jesus says, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Nevi'im: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you until heaven and earth pass away, not one yodh or one serif will pass from the Torah." (Matt: 5:17-18) Jesus and his early followers were all Torah observant Jews.
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Date:     2008-12-22 Username:   exegesis66 Helpful:   0 of 1
I thought the mission of this site was to correct misinformation. Why are you spreading your own misinformation under the guise of scholarly research? There are so many logical problems (like conclusions that don't follow from the given evidence, arguments from silence, begging the question, etc.) that my brain goes into overload attempting to separate fact from fiction. For example, the Biblical evidence both contextual and lexicographical indicate that "Almah" does in fact mean "virgin" in the real sense (not just the made up sense you quote from the most liberal and biased scholars). This word is used seven times in the Old Testament — Gen. 24:43; Exod. 2:8; Psalm 68:25; Prov. 30:19; Song of Solomon 1:3; 6:8; Isa. 7:14. Sometimes it is translated “maiden” or “damsel” where the virgin nature of the woman (or women) is implied, but not stated. The first time it is used, however, there is no question about the virgin status of the ALMAH woman. Abraham’s servant is explaining to Laban how he had prayed to the Lord saying “…and may it be that the maiden [“almah”] who comes out to draw (water)…” would be the right woman to become Isaac’s bride (Gen. 24:43). Earlier in the chapter, however, a description of Rebekah is given in verse 16 which says, “And the girl was very beautiful, a virgin, and no man had had relations with her…” It is very clear in this text, therefore, that “almah” is referring to a virgin woman. In addition to the use of the word in the Old Testament, there are two other factors that are conclusive in their proof that “almah” in Isaiah 7:14 should indeed be translated as “a virgin”. The first is to notice how the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) reflects this verse. It uses the Greek word “parthenos” as the translation for the Hebrew word “almah”. You say this is a "mistake" but it is widely recognized that the LXX was written by people who knew and understood both the Hebrew and their own Greek language (only bias and liberal presuppositions dictate that it's a mistake). In Greek, the word “parthenos” specifically means “a virgin”. These Hebrew scholars, seeking to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, understood “almah” in Isaiah 7:14 to be referring to a virgin woman. The second conclusive factor, is to observe how the Holy Spirit led Matthew to translate Isaiah 7:14 in his Gospel. In Matthew 1:23, he actually quotes from Isaiah 7:14 and, just as the Septuagint translators had done, he chose the word “parthenos” (a virgin) to render the meaning of “almah”. Furthermore, he used descriptive phrases like — “…before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit” (v. 18), and “and kept her a virgin [parthenos] until she gave birth to a Son” (vs. 25) — so there could be no misunderstanding about what he was saying.
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Date:     2009-08-26 Username:   Veronica Helpful:   1 of 1
Many things attributed to Mary later on down the line was taken from things that worshippers had said about Astarte. She was worshipped far and wide for a very long time. The Jews degraded her to become a demon creature which was male called Ashteroth. She went by other names in other cultures but even Solomon worshipped her and many of the things said about her became descriptive of Mary, word for word. She was known also as Inanna and Ishtar. As Ishtar it was said: "Ishtar’s reign did not depend on her having a male consort. She reigned in her own right and majesty. She was the sister of Ereshkigal and Marduk. She was the “Virgin Mother” and the “Queen of Heaven”. She was the Mother of all mankind." Each religious movement assimilated some of these descriptions and many of them later being ascribed to Mary. Scholars know this so I take much of what was said with a grain of salt. Believers will stick with what is said to them from the pulpit right or wrong. Has anyone checked into what the Syriac church believes...they are the oldest and still speak in Aramaic?
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Date:     2009-10-06 Username:   drj Helpful:   1 of 1
Hi Apolo. All scientific and medical research we have indicates that virgin births are not possible (Legends and myths, however, almost always have virgin births). So, generally speaking, the proof is on the people who posit an impossible event to prove it happened, rather than the reserve. We assume anyone who gives birth is not a virgin. If you want to say otherwise, the burden on you is to offer the proof. The proof you offer, rather than the boardly named "gospels" that you promote, are 2 passages from Matthew. This of course raises the question that if Jesus truly was a virgin conception, why it was not more widely acknowledged. In any event, the answers to your questions are more than adequately listed above.
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Date:     2009-10-06 Username:   video3 Helpful:   1 of 1
In response to Apolo the onus is not on rational thinkers to prove she was not a virgin but on the gullible like yourself to prove she was. After all how many virgins have you met that have had chilidren? Only Matthew & Luke mention the virgin birth, there is no mention of it whatsover in Paul, John or Mark. You'd think something as impoertant as this would have caught their attention. The virgin birth, being born in Bethlehem and all the other myths are simply there to prove a theological point.
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Date:     2009-10-08 Username:   DavidGibbs Helpful:   1 of 1
Mary had to be depicted as a virgin because the newly formed Church considered sex to be sinful and of the devil. If Mary had had sex in the normal way she would have been a sinner and would have passed on her sin to her offspring, Jesus. It was believed that the woman was just a vessel in which a fetus grew, and did not contribute anything to the unborn child. But along came the 20th century, in which Science discovered that half of an offspring's genes are contributed by the mother of the unborn child. This meant that Mary was passing on Original Sin with which all of mankind had been cursed by God because of the sins of Adam and Eve, and which Mary had inherited from her mother. This discovery presented quite a dilemma to the Church who had to fabricate some solution in order to overcome this problem. Pope Pius XII decreed that not only was Mary a virgin, but so was her mother, Saint Anne. Apparently, for some obscure reason, if one is born of a virgin one is exempt from original sin. It may not be long before some new discovery is made which proves once and for all that the whole Jesus story is a myth.
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Date:     2009-10-14 Username:   sandman Helpful:   1 of 1
Mary had to be turned into a virgin so that her son could be in a position to compete with all the other demigods who littered the surrounding countryside. Her competition were goddesses who were able to restore their virginity once a year. Mary didn't become a "virgin wife" [how's that for an oxymoron?] until the Protevangelium of James, and her virginity was not officially recognised for a couple of hundred years after that.
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Date:     2009-10-15 Username:   DavidGibbs Helpful:   2 of 4
The claim that Mary was a virgin has its origin in Greek, Babylonian and Persian Mythology. There is no Jewish precedence for this concept. All the mythological Kings and Prophets of Pagan religions were said to be born of virgin mothers, which was considered to be an indication of Divinity. Even some historical persons such as Alexander the Great was latter mythologized as having been born of a virgin mother. The author of Mathew used a mistranslated passage from the Old Testament, the Septuagint Bible, as a prophesy of Mary's virginity, and it was necessary even to change the wording of the mistranslation to make it appear to be a prophesy of a forthcoming event. The Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, was translated into Greek for the benefit of the Hellenized people of the Middle East, and this Bible, the Septuagint, was notorious for its numerous translation errors. The mother of Jesus in the New Testament story makes no claims of virginity and it is interesting to speculate just how people would have been made aware of her virginity even if the story was historical.
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Date:     2009-10-17 Username:   Sandman Helpful:   2 of 2
As I've said elsewhere, neither Luke nor Matthew could possibly know unless both had been present in the bridal chamber on her wedding night.
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Date:     2009-10-23 Username:   Sandman Helpful:   1 of 1
FatherSilence: "Is a woman who has had sex with Zeus or Apollo still a virgin? " Obviously not. But a goddess who has had sex can restore Her virginity. Most of them did so, once year. DavidGibbs, One compelling reason for the virginity complex is that it precludes any taint from an earthly husband, ensuring that the paternity is exclusively divine. In those days obstetrics was non-existent. The knowledge that men actually contributed to the conception of children was still a relatively novel idea. The general assumption may quite possibly have been that a woman could conceive from multiple fathers, just as cats and dogs can do. A thousand or more years earlier, Herakles had been conceived by a virgin mother who was the wife of a mortal king. Her husband, Amphytrion, was a king in his own right, not the descendant of a previous king. But Alkmene had intercourse again on the same night with her husband, and Herakles had a twin [but mortal] brother. He waas called Iphikles, not Thomas. Both stories prefigure the conception of King Arthur, whose father was a king and not a god, but the paradigm is there all the same.
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