Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Tovia Singer Is Wrong About The Origins Of Belief In The Virgin Birth

His YouTube channel recently put out a video on the virgin birth. He repeats a lot of claims I've addressed before. See here for resources on how much Matthew and Luke agree concerning Jesus' childhood, what they say about the timing of the family's residence in Bethlehem, etc. There are too many false claims in Singer's video for me to interact with all of them here. He refers, for example, to how "many" Evangelical scholars say that the infancy narratives are "hopelessly unreconcilable". He provides no documentation. I've reconciled the narratives, and so have other people. And I can cite non-Evangelicals acknowledging that the material can be reconciled. Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, two very liberal Jesus Seminar scholars, acknowledged, "It is not impossible to harmonize them." (The First Christmas [New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007], 23) But the subject I want to focus on here is what Singer claimed about the origins of the virgin birth belief.

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Does Luke 1:34 suggest that Mary took a vow of perpetual virginity?

Roman Catholics and other advocates of Mary's perpetual virginity often claim that Luke 1:34 implies that Mary had taken a vow of perpetual virginity. Why else would she ask Gabriel how she was to conceive? These same Catholics (and others) often cite the second-century apocryphal work The Protevangelium Of James to support their view that Mary was a perpetual virgin. Go here and do a Ctrl F search for "apocryphal document" to read about some of the problems with that sort of appeal to the document. The Protevangelium has Mary needing to be corrected by Gabriel about becoming pregnant the same way other women do (11). It doesn't seem that the author of the Protevangelium interpreted Luke 1:34 the way these modern Catholics interpret the passage. Here are some other observations on Luke 1:34, which I wrote in correspondence with a friend on Facebook last year:

Sunday, December 03, 2023