Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Virgin Births" in history

To many that grew up in western culture; the story of the "immaculate conception" or the virgin birth may seem unique. I must say that we are not here to convert,convince, or connive; but merely to inform the reader that there are many "Virgin Birth" stories throughout history.It is a high possibility that this theme was borrowed from surrounding cultures.The following is a short list of "asexual" births.
  1. Mithra-born of a Rock
  2. Buddah-born of the virgin Maya
  3. Romulus and Remus-born of Silvia (vestal Virgin)
  4. Krishna-born of the virgin Devaki
  5. Horus-born from the "Virgin of the World" Isis
  6. Jesus- born of Virgin Mary
  7. Dionysus-one version of 3! has him being born of the "Virgin" Semele
Here are a few quotes from early church fathers; who often had to deal with this issue a lot.
From the Christian apologist Origen (185-254A.D)
"We [Christians] are not the only persons who have recourse to miraculous narratives of this kind." [Origen, Against Celsus 1, 37
 Justin Martyr (103-165A.D)  speaking of Jesus
"He was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you believe of Perseus." [Justin Martyr, First Apology, 22] 
 In his book "The 12 Caesars; Suetonius describes the "Virgin birth" of the emperor Augustus. In the "myth" Augustus mother is laying on the floor of the temple of Apollo, when the God impregnates her." 
Other "Virgin" births stories include Plato!,Scipio Africanus and many others.  What is important to understand here; is that in ancient times men who lived great lives were "deified" after death. That is to say that their lives were embellished with super natural occurrences; as a way of honor and respect. Today we eulogize; at funerals. The word means "good words" in Greek . Someone who may have been a fast runner may have been said to "fly;" or a strong man may have said to accomplish superhuman feats. Such as moving large rocks or killing large numbers of enemy troops single handed in battle. Today we exaggerate, but not as much as they did back then (or do we??).

Suggested reading:
Justin Martyr;Origen any of the early church fathers and the Greek classics.Many of these writings are free online. Also a study of world mythology, and world religions would do well. then you start to see the influences of one on the other.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...