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 Post subject: The Virgin Birth
PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:45 am 
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The Virgin Birth

There are many people on the net today professing to be experts on the virgin birth, generally regurgitating encyclopedia knowledge and apologist material.

In this regard, I am posting the following quotes regarding the various non-Christian and/or pre-Christian deities and dignitaries who were considered to be "virgin born" at some point or another. Please feel free to post this material wherever you see misinformation concerning these gods, etc.

Dionysus & Semele

Quote:
Dionysus, son of Zeus, is born of a mortal virgin, Semele, who later became immortalised through the intervention of her divine son; Jesus, son of God, is born of a mortal virgin, Mary, who...; such stories can be duplicated over and over again.

--Cambridge professor and anthropologist Sir Dr. Edmund Ronald Leach, "The Essential Edmund Leach," p. 108.

Horus & Isis

Quote:
...[Osiris's] parts were collected by Isis, and his body was duly resurrected by her, although the phallus was missing. This obliged the goddess to resort to parthenogenesis in order to conceive and bring forth Horus.

--Dr. James S. Curl, "The Egyptian Revival," p. 15.

"Parthenogenesis" means "virgin birth."

Quote:
PARTHENOGENESIS. The myth that certain divine beings or culture-heroes have owed their birth to a mother without the co-operation of a father has been found to be widespread. For example, Isis, Cybele, Leto, Demeter, and Venus are all represented as "virgin" mothers. The Chinese culture-hero Hon Chi was born of a mother who conceived by treading in the footprint of God. The principal deity of the Uapes Indians of Brazil, Jurupari, was born of a virgin who conceived after drinking a draught of native beer....

--Maurice Arthur Canney, An Encyclopaedia of Religions, 278.

Krishna & Devaki

Quote:
...During the Golden Age and the greater portion of the Silver Age all men and women are, what Christians call, virgin-born. The fuss that is made about this immaculate conception succeeds only to excite a smile of pity in the Shastra-enlightened Hindoo - a smile of pity for the ignorance of the facts in the past history of the human race of which they seem to know so little and care less to know more. This fact about the Golden and Silver Ages, this generally prevailing immaculate conception, ought to open their eyes. If they require any authority for this statement, I refer them to the study of the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata.

--Baba Premanand Bharati, "Sree Krishna: The Lord of Love," p. 136

Also see "Was Krishna's Mother a Virgin?"

Buddha & Maya

Quote:
To come to the Gymnosophists of India, the opinion is authoratively handed down that Budda, the founder of their religion, had his birth through the side of a virgin.

--Jerome, Adversus Jovinianum (1, 42)

Various Ancient Virgins

The following is an excerpt from Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection.
Quote:
In his essay on the zodiacal sign of Virgo (ch. 9), under the heading of "Parthenos," the author includes the goddess Isis, among others, such as Demeter, Atagartis and Tyche, as identified with and as the constellation of the Virgin. In Star Myths of the Greeks and Romans, Dr. Theony Condos of the American University of Armenia translates the pertinent passage from the chapter "Virgo" by Pseudo-Eratosthenes thus:

Hesiod in the Theogony says this figure is Dike, the daughter of Zeus [Dios] and Themis… Some say it is Demeter because of the sheaf of grain she holds, others say it is Isis, others Atagartis, others Tyche…and for that reason they represent her as headless.

--Pseudo-Eratosthenes, The Katasterismoi, tr. Dr. Theony Condos, Star Myths of the Greeks and Romans, p. 205.

Lao Tzu and the Shooting Star
In an entry for the Chinese sage Lao Tzu or Laozi, David Leeming, a former professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut, specializing in myth, writes:

Quote:
...He was said to have been conceived by a shooting star and to have been born from his mother's side (see Virgin Birth).

--Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut, Dr. David Leeming, A Dictionary of Asian Mythology, 106.

The Virgin-Mother Goddess Pattini as Archetype

Quote:
...The mother goddess was often viewed as both mother and virgin, like her Indian counterpart, Aphrodite, for example, was both mother and virgin...and Hera renewed her virginity every year by bathing... The cult of the goddess was associated with complex mystery religions whose secrets were accessible only to initiates....

--Dr. Gananath Obeyesekere, professor emeritus of Anthropology at Princeton University, The Cult of the Goddess Pattini, 474.

Another very famous Indian god is deemed the product of a virgin birth:

Quote:
Sometimes Ganesa [Ganesha] is considered to be a parthenogenetic child of just Siva or of just Devi.

--Daniel Henry Holmes Ingalls, Sanskrit Poetry from Vidyakara's Treasury, 68.

For more information, see "The Virgin Birth" chapter of my book Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled.

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 Post subject: Isaiah mistranslation
PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 6:27 am 
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I do not profess to be an expert but I have heard that the virgin birth was inspired by a passage in Isaiah in the Septuagint (Greek) translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. However the Septuagint mistranslated the Hebrew word for 'young woman' which was 'almah' by the Greek word for 'virgin' which was 'parthenos'.

I am not sure how the evangelists could have been influenced by myths if they got the idea of a virgin birth from Isaiah (Septuagint version). Unless the Septuagint translator was influenced by these myths.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:55 am 
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Even Alexander the Great was said to have been born of a virgin. It would seem that if someone wanted to attain a larger than life status, he would devise mehods to have been born of a virginandm, and voila...instant high standing

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 Post subject: Buddha, too
PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:01 am 
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I believe that even Siddhartha was said to be fathered by Ganesha upon his mortal mother.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:04 am 
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But when a person suggests these things to a Christian and presents these passages from a book, written by a man in recent history, then it could just be said that the author of the book has no basis for such a claim and that no other reputable source will support it. How can these claims be traced back to their original sources and proven to be true?

Forgive me if I am just missing something here. I have no experience in this.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:20 am 
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qwistrod wrote:
I do not profess to be an expert but I have heard that the virgin birth was inspired by a passage in Isaiah in the Septuagint (Greek) translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. However the Septuagint mistranslated the Hebrew word for 'young woman' which was 'almah' by the Greek word for 'virgin' which was 'parthenos'.

I am not sure how the evangelists could have been influenced by myths if they got the idea of a virgin birth from Isaiah (Septuagint version). Unless the Septuagint translator was influenced by these myths.


But the deeper issue here is the question of what a 'young woman' means?

Does 'young woman' mean sexually active female or young virgin girl waiting to be married?

In the Jewish culture, of course, a young unmarried female is supposed to be a VIRGIN by law. An older woman, of course, is generally considered a sexually experience female. :lol:

So it would seem that the use of the term 'young woman' was a specific reference to a virgin, since, maiden and virgin are basically the same thing. What is a maiden voyage? Is it the virgin journey of a ship? Of course it is.

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The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:46 am 
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If you read the gosples though, the idea that Jesus was concieved by the Holy Spirit is pretty well established though

In Luke it says:
But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

34"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

35The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God.


Also, it says that she "never lived" with Joeseph, and that they were unmarried when she became pregnant. So I"m sure the gosples were NOT trying to insinuate that the "fornicated it", even though the term in that particular passage was "young woman".


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:00 pm 
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Aaron wrote:
34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"


And if we plug in the term 'young woman' it looks like this:

"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a young woman?"

Either way we're dealing with a virgin reference no matter which route we take. The reason being that the Sun God is associated with Virgo, which is usually symbolized by a 'young woman' holding a sheath of wheat...

It all appears to be interconnected in the grand scheme.

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The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:09 pm 
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I've been following Acharya's work for many years, and I've seen a lot of what she goes through. Right now, she's being viciously attacked on YouTube by Hare Krishna fanatics who are just insulting her left and right. That's the best they can do, apparently. And it goes to show that Hare Krishna is another human-hating cult that puts its MYTHS above real people.

Anyway, Acharya's been doing this a long time, and she's addressed pretty much every question and objection, so I'll answer for her here.

In the first place, Acharya's been called all kinds of names and had her honesty and integrity attacked - while others get the "Jesus mythicist glory," Acharya gets all the attacks - on a regular basis. What these quotes show is that ACHARYA IS NOT MAKING ANYTHING UP.

In fact, over the years now, Acharya's been meticulous in citing her sources, over and over again. I have never found anything "made up" in her work - it's all cited. And I think she's showing that again here, in this post. Here are modern scholars or believers themselves making definite claims about the virgin birth being found in the myths of other religious figures. Now, having watched what Acharya goes through, no scholar is going to make comments like these without seriously believing they're true.

The first thing, then, is that Acharya obviously didn't - and doesn't - make these things up. Here are these parallels - and these books were written BEFORE Acharya. Nothing made up - that's really important. The parallels are "real" in that they exist. But the question is then what came first?

That's the real debate, and it always has been. Not whether or not these parallels really existed - that was a false debate, but it's still being brought out, so it's a good thing to have a thread like this one for people to direct others to when they read this false claim.

We can logically assume that the writers Acharya quotes here did not make anything up either and that they had some data in front of them. So, that's where the digging comes in - and Acharya has written THOUSANDS of pages on these subjects, because she's gone and dug up all the data she could find.

I'm not going to reproduce the thousands of pages here she's already written. A lot of them are already online. Acharya has already written about Buddha's mother - and that St. Jerome talked about her as a virgin. I see she's just added Jerome's Buddha quote in her first post above.

In fact, Acharya talks a lot about the virgin birth in her book Suns of God. If you're interested in all the comparative religion in Zeitgeist, you really should read that book!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:39 pm 
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Thanks, guys. As you may have guessed, this post was just scratching the surface. FTL perfectly sums up its purpose.

I have just also included a new section with a quote from an ancient writer from the 1st to 2nd centuries AD/CE.

As FTL says, I discuss the virgin birth pretty thoroughly in Suns of God, including the debate about Isaiah, almah and the Septuagint or Greek Old Testament. I also discuss that particular issue in my book Who Was Jesus?

I'm covering the virgin birth anew in my forthcoming book Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection. I've put together some amazing information, like that great quote from Eratosthenes/Pseudo-Eratosthenes, but I don't want to give it all away! :shock:

And...there may be a separate book about this subject sometime down the line - if human civilization is still around by the time I can get to i! :twisted:

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:01 pm 
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Tat Tvam Asi wrote:

But the deeper issue here is the question of what a 'young woman' means?

Does 'young woman' mean sexually active female or young virgin girl waiting to be married?

In the Jewish culture, of course, a young unmarried female is supposed to be a VIRGIN by law. An older woman, of course, is generally considered a sexually experience female. :lol:


I understand that the Hebrew language has the word 'bethulah' which is used exclusively for a virgin yet in Isaiah the word 'almah' was used. On page 219 of Acharya's 'Suns of God' there seems to be the suggestion that almah in Isaiah 7:14 referred to Isaiah's wife who presumably would not be a virgin. However the Septuagint writers translated almah as parthenos (virgin) which raises the question why. In turn the evangelists based their story of the virgin birth on Isaiah 7:14 (the Septuagint version) as I understand it. What puzzles me is how could the evangelists have been influenced by virgin birth stories if they got the idea from the Septuagint (Isaiah 7:14).


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:43 pm 
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I'm thinking that it has to do with the evangelist's looking back into the scriptures for bits and pieces of information while they were constructing a mythology for the Piscean Age.

Almah - Young Woman

Bethulah - Virgin

Both seem like good ways of symbolizing Virgo. I'm just guessing here in anycase.

They were creating a new solar personification mythology by combining highlights from most of the popular ancient mythic motif's. That's why it appears to all fit together in the grand scheme.

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The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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 Post subject: Almah & Septuagint
PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:15 pm 
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Almah & Septuagint

The word almah at Isaiah 7:14 does indeed refer not only to a virgin but also to a "young woman" or "maiden." The argument is that an almah isn't necessarily a virgin, and the word bethulah in Hebrew would have been a better choice, if the original writers had truly meant "virgin."

Therefore, the translators of the Greek Old Testament or Septuagint got it wrong, and the passage does not truly represent "prophecy" predicting Jesus at all, a contention made by early Christians beginning in the second century.

Now, the translation of almah as parthenos would represent the natural outcome of a Hellenizing Jewish priesthood who wanted to compete with the divine, virginal and miraculous births of other deities and dignitaries around the Mediterranean. The slanting of the text to appear to apply to a future Messiah and the subsequent glomming onto this scripture for the creation of the New Testament virgin-birth motif would be the result of the commonly known divine births of these other important, competing characters, who included Alexander the Great, founder of the extremely important city of Alexandria, Egypt, whose father was said to be Zeus/Amun.

It is at Alexandria that the Septuagint was translated. It is at Alexandria that much Christian doctrine was created. Indeed, it is claimed by another school of thought that not all of the Septuagint was translated prior to the common era, with only the Torah or first five books of the OT appearing. Until the Christians wanted to point to scripture as "prophesying" Jesus, at which time the OT books of the prophets were rendered into Greek. Because they had already determined Jesus was virgin-born - to compete with all the divine-birth stories of the other important figures around the Roman Empire - they rendered almah as parthenos. It would undoubtedly be at Alexandria that this endeavor took place.

Christianity constitutes the synthesis of Judaism and Paganism, with various characteristics of both plucked out and rolled into one.

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 Post subject: Virgin mother motif
PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:30 am 
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OK That clears that up. It also seems to depend on whether the relevant section of the Septuagint was produced before or in the Common Era.

'Suns of God' shows the virgin mother motif to be universal. I wonder if the argument is that all these legends are interconnected in a family tree of influence in the way that languages are interconnected or whether human consciousness is such that the notion of a virgin mother tends to arise independently in different cultures (or a mixture of both).

I noticed that one virgin mother listed (p224) is Coatlicue, mother of the Mexican god Huitzilopochtli. Now I can imagine how all the legends in Europe, Africa and Asia could be interconnected but in the case of Mexico there is the barrier of the Atlantic Ocean. The last time that the 'Mexicans' would have had contact with the rest of humanity would be about 12000 years ago (if I remember right) when humans spread into the Americas via Alaska. That would seem to suggest that this virgin mother motif goes back thousands of years.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:31 am 
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Joseph Campbell wrote:
Thou Art That: transforming religious metaphor

"A Mythology may be understood as an organization of metaphorical figures connotative of states of mind that are not finally of this or that location or historical period, even though the figures themselves seem on their surface to suggest such a concrete localization. The metaphorical languages of both mythology and metaphysics are not denotative of actual worlds or gods, but rather connote levels and entities within the person touched by them. Metaphors only seem to describe the outer world of time and place. Their real universe is the spiritual realm of the inner life. The Kingdom of God is within you.

The problem, as have noted many times, is that these metaphors, which concern that which cannot in any other way be told, are misread prosaically as referring to tangible facts and historical occurrences. The denotation - that is, the reference in time and space: a particular Virgin Birth, the End of the World - is taken as the message, and the connotation, the rich aura of the metaphor in which its spiritual significance may be detected, is ignored altogether. The result is that we are left with the particular "ethnic" inflection of the metaphor, the historical vesture, rather than the living spiritual core.

Inevitably, therefore, the popular understanding is focused on the rituals and legends of the local system, and the sense of the symbols is reduced to the concrete goals of a particular political system of socialization. When the language of metaphor is misunderstood and its surface structures become brittle, it evokes merely the current time-and-place-bound order of things and its spiritual signal, if transmitted at all, becomes ever fainter.

It has puzzled me greatly that the emphasis in the professional exegesis of the entire Judeo-Christian-Islamic mythology has been on the denotative rather than on the connotative meaning of the metaphoric imagery that it is active language. The Virgin Birth, as I have mentioned, has been presented as an historical fact, fashioned into a concrete article of faith over which theologians have argued for hundreds of years, often with grave and disruptive consequences. Practically every mythology in the world has used the "elementary" or co-natural idea of a virgin birth to refer to a spiritual rather than historical reality. The same, as I have suggested, is true of the metaphor of the promised land, which in its denotation plots nothing but a piece of geography to be taken by force. Its connotation - that is, its real meaning - however, is of a spiritual place in the heart that can only be entered by contemplation.

There can be no real progress in understanding how myths function until we understand and allow metaphoric symbols to address, in their own unmodified way, the inner levels of our consciousness. The continuing confusion about the nature and function of metaphor is one of the major obstacles - often placed in our path by ORGANIZED RELIGIONS that focus shortsightedly on concrete times and places - to our capacity to experience mystery. A system of mythological symbols only works if it operates in the field of a community of people who have essentially analogous experiences, or to put it another way, if they share the same realm of life experience.

How in the contemporary period, can we evoke the imagery that communicates the most profound and most richly developed sense of experiencing life? These images must point past themselves to that ultimate truth which must be told: that life does not have any one absolutely fixed meaning. These images must point past all meanings given, beyond all definitions and relationships, to the really ineffable mystery that is just the EXISTENCE, the being of ourselves and of our world. If we give that mystery an exact meaning we diminish the experience of its real 'depth'. But when a poet carries the mind into a context of meanings and then pitches it past those, one knows that marvelous rapture that comes from going past all categories of definition. Here we sense the function of metaphor that allows us to make a journey we could not otherwise make, past all categories of definition." (Joseph Campbell)

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The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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