The Virgin Birth Myth Story Was A Mistake.

The virgin birth tale was not in the earliest gospel.  It came along later when an unknown writer wanted the Jesus story ramped up. He wrote in a miracle, Jesus was born to a woman who never had sex.

The earliest gospel written, Mark, has nothing about Jesus’ birth.  It pops up in the third one written, Matthew.

The Old Testament book of Isaiah 7:14 says in most Bibles, “A virgin shall conceive and bear a son and you shall name him Immanual.”  A long time later, 800 years, Matthew repeats this.  There are two problems with what Matthew does.

First, Isaiah was not predicting a future messiah.  He was predicting the end of a war going on at that time.  The war will end, he said, when the child that is born is old enough to know right from wrong.

Second, Matthew was translating from the Hebrew used 800 years earlier into Greek.  Modern scholars now see the word he translated into “virgin” did not refer to a woman who had not had sex.  It referred, instead, to a “young woman”.  Thus, the passage should have read, “A young woman has conceived and will bear a son…”

The author of Isaiah was aiming a specific audience of his time with a specific purpose in mind.  An unknown author 800 years later, eventually assigned the name of Matthew, was aiming at a different audience with a different goal.

Even if the story is a mistake, people love it anyway.

The Bible; A Historical and Literary Introduction. Bart Erhman, Oxford University Press, 2013.

59 Responses

    1. entech

      Does verse 35 mean the holy ghost or the holy sperm?
      Never mind, it is explained in verse 37.

      (Actually verse 17: 37 “For with God nothing shall be impossible”, explains so many things, it is a surprise that it is not used more often).

      As Luke has supposedly learned much from the earlier writings of Mark and Mathew it must be wondered why Mathew has the explaining angel talk to Joseph while the Lukan angel tells Mary direct and Mark seems to have never heard of it.

      A good story though, Moses Mum, “Daddy look what I found in the bulrushes” (Bull something anyway), how about a modern girl “I don’t know how it happened, it must be a miracle”.

      Paul and friends never had a word to say about the conception and birth, or even the life, they needed a resurrected dead person on which to build their new religion.

      Luke was a great story teller, “The Acts” would be worthy of Dan Brown.

      1. Catholic Dad

        Entech – first I’m very happy that you don’t take Dan Brown as non-fiction. You have removed a stero-type for me, I thought all “without God” thought Dan Brown as speaking the truth 🙂

        HPD – wonderful addition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I strongly urge anyone to google it, and read the story. That could create a firestorm of debate.

        Jon – interesting that you should bring this up – I’m going to go with providential – since we celebrate feast of immaculate conception on 12-8.

        Here is a counter point to Jon’s blog. It comes from the website

        “The Hebrew word translated as virgin, almah, can also be translated as “young woman” but as Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon notes “there is no instance where it can be proved that almah designates a young woman who is not a virgin.”

        Additional evidence that the correct translation is “virgin” is supplied by the Septuagint version of the Bible, a Greek translation of the Old Testament made several centuries before Christ. It was translated by Jewish scholars for use by Greek-speaking Jews, mainly in Alexandria.

        The Septuagint translates the Hebrew almah into Greek as parthenos. This Greek term has the precise meaning of “virgin.” So several centuries before the birth of Christ, before there was any reason to attack his Church, the meaning of Isaiah 7:14 was clear: almah = parthenos = virgin.

        And to add some spice to the pot that is brewing,
        May you all goto Jesus through Mary.

        1. C. Dad 4:16 “‘ there is no instance were it can be proven the almah designates a young woman who is not a virgin.'”

          Bart Erhman and like minded scholars agree “almah” makes no reference to having have sexual relations or not. As I’ve said before, the barn door is open to all kinds of conclusions. And, we cover them all here. I like that.

        2. entech

          CD, I guess that is one thing we will almost always agree on, Dan Brown and others like him wouldn’t recognise the truth if they tripped over it, the critics that say such people write well researched stories are only adding to the conspiracy theorists delusions. The only research is into what themes have sold well in the past, what similar things are yet to be exploited – in short, how to write a best seller. They are for entertainment and if you remember that, then be entertained.
          The only book of his that I have read is notorious DaVinci Code, and that only because many years before I had read called Holy Blood, Holy Grail, fascinating book and purported to be genuine research. It was entertaining and also educational any people mentioned in the book were actual and real, the whole thing just did not hang together, possible but not likely and barely plausible. Dan Brown’s version was rubbish, entertaining rubbish – probably written with a film script in mind, but very little truth, the inclusion of secret societies and secret information stored away in secret vaults only have any value when thought of as deliberately controversial to increase the sales potential.

          Bart Ehrman must be taken seriously though, remember he writes books of two types for two audiences, serious academic works, some are used as text books, and, popularizations for a interested general audience.
          I believe he uses some of his own books in his teaching courses, this is a pretty bold move. The harshest critics would be his graduate students, post grads probably join by choice, up to then a good start to an academic career as an evangelical would be to show the professors scholarship was at fault. His academic credentials are impeccable and he is still employed as a professor of religion.

          And not one of your trendy liberal institutions.

          Incidentally the most angry arguments against Ehrman come from the mythical Jesus school, Ehrman being quite scathing about Jesus as myth and comes out strongly on Jesus as historical character.
          You can still accept that Yeshua was an actual person living and preaching at the time, it is just that to connect him to the later teachings of Paul – crucifixion and resurrection etc. is more difficult, to my mind impossible).

          May you all goto Jesus through Mary. even a non-theist can say thank you for your kind thoughts, even to say if they have a basis in reality I hope I come to see it.

  1. H.P.Drifter

    Of course I found out there was no Santa Claus when I was six and I was hopping mad. Then a few months later me and my constituents were leaning up against a school building after a particularly brutal game of tether ball. Over hearing a conversation between two male teachers discussing how old should a child be before he or she was informed there was no Easter Bunny.

    I tell you there was pandemonium on the sand lot after school, those for the bunny and those that were against his existence, needless to say the non believers won, but it was bloody battle, broken noses and black eyes, Good thing everybody was around the same age, if anybody had been any older, they could still be in jail under California law at that time.

    I became a harden skeptic at that time everything an adult had told that I thought was important turned out to be false.

    At twelve my mother told me if I put my hand on a girl’s knee that she could get pregnant, (I would have left the faith at the time except for that explanation was the one put forth as to how the Virgin Mary got pregnant) This was in the 1950’s

    How seductive can you get, that virgin mother would bring forth a child to help right all wrongs. At first I almost forgot all about Santa Claus and the Eastern bunny, alas she went the way of alice, the rabbit and all my other imaginary friends. Unlike Mary all my other friends are still with me to remind not to be taken in so easily.

    Unfortunately there are people out there that are still being taken in.
    The Mexicans tattoo their version “the Virgin of Gaudalupe” on their backs full size. Christianity is taking people in everyday by a child like fantasy, but then again. Acknowledge reality or it automatically works against you. Like lambs to the slaughter hundred of millions still believe, the meek say inherit the earth more compost for another civilization.


        1. entech

          Not sure what you mean by Goes around comes Around. I don’t remember making any personal attacks along the lines of “you should never have been born”, at least that must be the implication of your birth was a mistake that Josh had in mind!
          The little devils face was meant to indicate a joke, a place holder if you like, something to latch my real comment @1:56 onto.

          Main points, do you really consider a personal attack, practically ad hominem, to have any value as an argument for your cause?
          As the people you attack did not exist until birth, and can thus have had no part in the events leading up to that birth, the attack was actually against the entities that permitted such a mistake to happen.
          It is a strange way to attack someone by proxy, it could even be considered blasphemous, how could a perfect being permit such mistakes to happen?

          So as a devastating putdown, going around and coming round type of situation, F for failure.

          It is interesting to note that in this particular thread and your continuation @1:28pm, not one of the people I have respect for and try to have a good, sometimes a little bitter, conversation with have had any interest in the little episode where a few with nothing much to contribute are running around all excited and probably making a mess in their jeans. You claim theological scholarship, if so please remind Josh that he should read the Bible and see how many times the death penalty is required in that book and how in real life Christians have murdered abortion doctors in recent times while some other Christian prevaricate or actually say it is justified.

      1. entech

        A space before a colon but no space between the colon and right parenthesis gives 🙂 a semicolon would indicate a joke, as in a wink 😉 .
        Just trying to be helpful.

    1. RCCforLife

      See, they all like to “think” they have some credible authority in the area of Theology, but really show their naiveness and closedminded attitude towards others views on life. Living in their own imaginary world of “open-mindedness.”

      1. RCCforLife

        As a student of Theology and having a great appreciation for biblical studies I hope you realize their are more biblical scholars other than Bart Ehrman. Then again, select your one biblical scholar that fits your desired argument Jon and attack away—I would be curious to know how often you find a select passage in articles or books and take those out of context?

        1. RCC 1:38 “…I hope you realize there are more biblical scholars other than Bart Erhman…”

          The first person who would tell you that is Bart Erhman. He provides links to those who disagree and links to debates with others who disagree.

          I look at a lot of those. Erhman has been teaching, publishing and debating for over 25 years so it cannot be said he is not in the mix of those prominent people who do this for a living. I use him in my blog because what he says about the variations in manuscripts, mistranslations, contradictions and internal inconsistencies in the Bible continue to have an academic following.

          Obviously, everyone doesn’t agree. The Bible and its language are so uncertain the barn door is wide open for all kinds of conclusions, those of believers like yourself and those who are skeptical.

          I just happen to one of those who does not believe there ever was a virgin birth nor that is was prophesied.

    2. entech

      Oh, I do apologise, that was the sought of knee jerk reaction we complain about when, say, in response to a comment about Christians being responsible for death, the comment in response takes the “others are much worse”.
      On the other hand if you think of a couple of synonyms error, fault, blunder and similar.
      Hey Jon you are a blunder your birth was an error, considering that you are a product of your birth, the result of a birthing process. Of course, Jon qua Jon did not exist prior to his birth, not until his naming if we want to be pedantic. So, to whom do we attribute blame, were Jon’s (or mine or HPD) in error, were they supposed to have been clairvoyant, to have known that the result of any particular event would result in the birth of non-theist offspring. Could it be a gratuitous insult at Jon’s parents, they were actually taking precautions to obviate the possibility of conception but were totally incompetent at birth control and the “mistake’ happened, but you sound like the type of person who equates and form of birth control as abortion in which case are you trying to say that the mistake was permitting the pregnancy to go full term.
      On the other hand (run out of hand soon) if your God is charge of everything, as some people believe, we it be blasphemy to say your God made a blunder allowing the pregnancy to occur in the first place. In view of the women who pray to have a child it must be considered that, at least in the view of some, God decides who gets pregnant and who doesn’t. This is a view with considerable Biblical backing, Abraham and his barren wife becoming parents in advanced age, other wives being denied offspring as a punishment for some act of themselves or their husbands.

      So whether Jon’s birth was fortuitous or fortunate or both free thought in your area has been given a worthy advocate.

      Michael, if you want to repeat your charge of scoffing, I will, this once only, as a special dispensation accept and say, Guilt as charged your honour.

    1. StanB

      RRC, they depend on just that. Now if they were to go comment the same way on most Islamic sites they would be threatened with death for themselves and their families. Go figure…

      1. RCCforLife

        Ahhh, so really all they want to do is argue for the sake of arguing and not really to learn from anothers perspectives?

      2. josh

        That’s because the muslim religion is a false religion. It was a complete scam by a pedophile named muhhamed. He changed the tenants of the religion based upon his needs and whims. The Christian religion is one of Truth and is divine. Christians don’t threaten people with death. God will judge those who are unbelievers.

        1. Wolfy32

          God will judge those who are unbelievers.

          There’s billions of people to be judged then, it would be a long line, simply because, millions die across the globe every year not knowing what a “christ” is, so, having no chance to believe, and billions more have died before Christ was ever alive not ever having a chance to know anything but their own tribal God…

          That doesn’t matter though, because it’s easier to feel superior to others and just imply “God wont’ judge me, but he’ll definately be judging all of you, because I’ve judged you to judged…”

          We wonder why so many Christians act like “we’re better than everyone else.”.

          it is made clear to me…. They actually believe they are better than everyone else.

          1. josh

            Yes. Having come to Jesus we are better people. Spiritually and Morally. Sorry for your mistaken belief but thanks to Christian Missionaries everyone on the planet has been reached and has had their opportunity to come to Jesus. God will judge them.

          1. josh 3:57 “Jon you’ll definitely have the proof one day. But it will be too late by then for you.”

            I’m happy for you that your faith helps you.

            I suppose this identical threat has appeared a couple dozen times. This kind of threat is one of the reasons I keep this blog going. It is to discuss the possibility such threats are groundless.

          2. josh 4:58 “It’s not a threat, Jon. It’s warning. You should heed the words before it’s too late to save your soul.”

            I’m glad to learn it’s not a threat, but a warning. That means I don’t have to issue at counter threat, only a counter warning.

            My warning to you is this. If you spend your life praying to a god that does not exist, preparing for an afterlife where there is none, ignoring rational information and choosing instead myth when rational information is in front of you, you will have lived a wasted life.

            That said, I’m glad to have you and the passion you bring on our board.

          3. josh

            Well since God does exist and I think just as rationally and logically as any. I will not have wasted my life. But you my friend with all of your bitterness and anger who hates god for some unknown reason will have wasted yours.

          4. josh 6:21 “But you my friend with all your bitterness and anger who hate god for some unknown reason will have wasted yours.”

            I’ll spend mine looking for some evidence your view are right. I wish you could help me.

          5. Easy there, Josh, I’m not bitter with anyone’s god and I don’t hate any of them either. They help us understand the nature of our humanity. All of them. They’re pretty groovy beings that way.

          6. Wolfy32

            Josh, I’m not bitter with God. I actually do believe in God. I don’t believe that he fits in a box though…. The box that churches and organized religion puts him in. I believe very strongly there is a God. After all, the universe is infinite, we have no idea the secrets the universe holds. and Quantum physics tell us there may be many universes… To say there’s no other advanced civilizations that haven’t found a way to transcend physical life, or are naturally existing beings that exist outside of space and time, and have an expanded knowledge of all life. Well, it’s hard to believe there isn’t something out there.

            I don’t believe any God as powerful as the bible says it is, fits into a narrow humanistic view, such as the bible. The bible, I believe was written by people with human agendas, and influenced by human culture. (It’s all we can relate to and comprehend). For people to actually believe there’s a physical being out there somewhere that’s possibly quite malevolent, or simply views earth like people view zoos and aquariums. We’re just something to watch and see what happens…. Amuzement…. After all, we have limited ability to jump out of our confines so far (earth).

  2. entech

    I accept all the criticism that came pouring in, almost a deluge, while I was considering and typing my apology for my snappy reply.
    I seem to have got you days of to a good start, get the blood pounding before breakfast.

    And a good start for the topic, topics like this frequently fade away. Topics where the proposition is actually hard to contest.

  3. entech

    RC you speak of theology and speak as a student, I admit I know nothing of theology, I don’t even know about Theo. You could even say that being ignorant of theo I am an igtheist, we even have our own church.

    It has been fun and nice to see all of you chirping up, I have stayed up well past my bed time down under.
    Good night and may your God be with you.

    1. H.P.Drifter

      Entec Wolfy

      I thought I had to be careful not to not stir the pot while the pot boiled this morning. Those shots over the bow keep the bird chatter going for on hours on end this morning, thought I was in tropical waters for a while. I guess we know now who the mommies boys are (I mean Mary’s) Sensitive birds too bad there is not enough meat on the bones for eating. Entec, I did look up your Church link, I am going to save that for further reading seems to be a lot of material there enough for several readings if not more.
      Wolfy you are right about the Catholics they are very adapt at stealing. As a writer your only as good as your ability to hide your source. I wonder how many people they killed to keep their source’s con sealed. Love to get my hands on the Vatican Archives as a Academic of course. The drifter will be patrolling the waters for fair game, hope to here from you guys later.


  4. I am amazed at the number of posters who choose to read a blog dedicated to freethinking but then act put upon when they disagree with the ideas presented. Stop hitting your head against the wall and walk away if all of this is too onerous for you. Nobody is making you read this blog. Just stop. If on the other hand, you enjoy debate, please participate remembering always that logic is the key to the art of debating. It’s really not very persuasive when you say the equivalent of “I disagree with you because God disagrees with you”.

    1. josh

      The manner in which you “debate” is why christians feel put upon. In johns cut and paste daily attacks and your constant insults and attacks upon those who happen to disagree with you.

      1. Wolfy32

        And what have you been doing? Christians purposely set themselves up to be victoms by being in everyone’s face about how much better they are as they sit in their fancy well heated and air conditioned pews, while families in our own community go without food, limited heat, and wish they could afford the gas to get to a warm fancy place like church.

        But, as long as you have your moments of feeling worthless because you’re a corrupt sinner, and then you’re really happy momentous joyous moment of no longer being a corrupt sinner for that day anyways, and your nice warm coffee in service, no one or nothing else matters, because you have it made to heaven… When Christians (like you) actually start showing you care about others wellbeing and not just the emotional high of a church service and having the right to brag about how your narcisstic life is so great while caring about no one but yourself (your self meaning Christians in general, not you specifically), then maybe Christ would have something good to say about his people… Until then, sit in your pews and do nothing as usual.

        While those of us that care try to have a positive impact for our community and don’t have any need to brag about our beliefs to make us feel better about ourselves.

        1. josh

          Boy , oh boy. Where does one start. First of all. the believers of those churches are the one that pay for them and pay to heat them. Secondly, the churches in our community all have missions in Fargo/Moorhead area that serve the poor and destitute. Think new life center, salvation army, and the other homeless shelters et food pantries. Haven’t seen anything from the atheists though. Nope not a thing. Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and take a homeless family in and support them and help them get back on their feet. We christians do. We also help kids over seas who don’t have a chance. Our kids at church are putting shoe box presents together to give to underprivileged kids in Fargo/Moorhead. I could on and on about how selfless and giving the churches in our community are. Why don’t you come join us and do some good instead of harboring all that hate and anger towards people you don’t even understand and accuse of all those evil things like you just did. You’ll always be welcome. We don’t close our doors to anyone. We even have a scalding hot cup of coffee waiting for you.

  5. H.P.Drifter

    Good Night Entec

    Glad to wake and be alive and to you all back bitting Christians. It does figure when you run out of words, you resort to name calling. You sound like a bunch of old women fighting over hand made gifts at a Church Bizarre.
    The back biting does feel good to a point, not hard enough. I like a good massage at 6’4″ two seventy-five (I used to be 6’6″ three fifty in my youth) You need heavy hands to massage this old guy. If you Christians would have mentioned abortion to my late mother, she would bashed in your little thick skulls with the thump of a finger. Smaller minds I have not seen before what kind of species are you? I know you are all emotional midgets, what holes did you crawl out of? You can’t possibly be human to insult the good intelligent people on this blog, Maybe you were not breast feed long enough and grew up on fast food. No matter small minds like yours will past into history, and it probably will only take one flush.

    Hello everybody beautiful day outside for those of you that stand the cold.


  6. Some of you need to take a chill pill and watch Footloose. You’re wound tighter than a eight day clock.

    2000 and some years after a girl did or didn’t have sex with her boyfriend in a story that is or isn’t fiction a bunch of dudes (I think most of us who’s chimed in so far are dudes) are yelling at each other on the internet about a load of crap that even if it ever happened, isn’t any of our business. And worse yet it’s used as an excuse to foist ridiculous and damaging expectations onto girls to this day.

  7. H.P.Drifter


    Good job, read the blog, good tactics fighting off the renegade crusaders . Using reason where they have none, keep up the good work, glad someone was on duty.

    Proud of you


    1. Wolfy32

      Thanks. Sadly, Josh, is of the I’m going to heaven neener neener neeener persuasion. Participating in half truths and playground tactics.

      I, for one, still don’t need someone like him telling me what to think. If he is what christianity is about. I want no part of it!! Thank God, God gave me a brain!!! I have an inkling what makes God weep… Sadly, I think it’s fanatic religious people, be they Christian, muslim, etc. I don’t think we were created to fight, I think we were created to think. And sadly, Christians just shut their brains off and robitcally think what their pastors tell them to think about the world and other people in the world.

  8. H.P.Drifter

    Also fellows never underestimate the intelligence of a women. It could be a fatal mistake, Take what she says into account, you night learn something. Oh by the way I forwarding your remarks on Mohammed to a local Muslim web site.


  9. Wolfy32

    I do like Bart Ehrman’s assessments of the bible. However, I do think additional (reputable) sources would also help substantiate such a controversial claim. There are many denominations of Christianity that depend on Mary being a virgin – Catholics pray to the Holy Mary mother of God, for example, and Pentecostals see praying to and worshipping Mary as blasphemy, yet, they recognize how important Mary being a virgin is to the nativity.

    And the story of the shepherds bringing gifts, which even Christians admit is years after the birth of Christ when they finally arrive, may very well define how we celebrate birthdays… (the giving of bday gifts).

    Also, I’m curious if the shepherds arrived years after Christ’s birth, where did the star guide them to?

    I’m still support that if the bible were partially literally true, that the gospels of Christ’s birth actually document many alien interventions… Impregnating Mary, “Heaven’s host in the sky” praising Christ. The star that guided the shepherds, the angels involved…. etc.. The whole story indicates alien intervention in human affairs.

    Heh. That said, the simplest answer, is the authors took existing stories, and stole ideas from pagen rituals. Why is Christmas around winter solstice and Easter around spring? How do we know Christ was born in December and Crucified in March or April (the date always changes for Easter…. What’s up with that…) Which, winter solstice and spring solstice coincide with many pagen holidays and rituals.

    The simplest answer is ideas were stolen to help make it more believable at the time.

    The age old statement on plageurism is, if you’re going to steal something, improve upon it and make it your own… Much of Christianity has pieces of paganism in it.

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