Pope Benedict’s third book on Jesus reaffirms doctrine of his virgin birth

November 20, 2012

(Italian-language copies of Pope Benedict XVI’s book “The Childhood of Jesus” are seen during a presentation in the Vatican November 20, 2012.  REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

Pope Benedict published the last part of his trilogy on the life of Jesus on Tuesday, delivering an early childhood narrative which strongly reaffirms the doctrine of the virgin birth as an “unequivocal” truth of faith.

The book, 137 pages in its English version, is titled “The Infancy Narratives – Jesus of Nazareth” and will be published around the world in some 20 languages. It goes on sale on Wednesday.

It is bound to be another international bestseller like the previous volumes. The Vatican said a million copies had already been printed and more runs were expected soon.

Divided into a forward, four chapters and an epilogue, it traces and analyses the gospel narratives from the birth of Jesus to his presentation in the temple at the age of 12.

The previous two volumes dealt with the adult life of Jesus and his public ministry.

One section of the book is called “Virgin Birth – Myth or Historical Truth?”

The Church teaches that Jesus is the son of God and was not conceived through sexual intercourse but by the power of the Holy Spirit, one part of the divine trinity.

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Virgin birth – Myth or Historical Truth?

This question falls over from the start if the virgin birth story doesn’t appear in the New Testament. And it doesn’t.

With the missionary activities of Paul and others, the passing of the original followers of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem, the NT soon fell into the hands of the Greeks and Latins.

They interpreted the Hebrew Scriptures through the prism of their own culture, and gave meanings to words and phrases never intended by the NT authors.

For example the Holy Spirit coming “upon” Mary is read as a virginal conception. However there are dozens of instances in the Bible where the Holy Spirit came “upon” individuals, usually men, but only in Mary’s case is it read as God impregnating someone.

Also a ridiculous interpretation was given to Mary’s question to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” It interprets these words as Mary saying that she does not know how she could get pregnant in the future because currently she is a virgin!

I could go on, but to cut a long story short, the NT says nothing about a virgin birth. What it does say is that Joseph was not Jesus’ father. Luke 3:23, when properly translated, names Heli as the father of Jesus.

The few passages about the birth of Jesus in the NT are analysed on – http://www.wallsofjericho.info/index.php  ?option=com_content&task=view&id=14&Ite mid=26

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