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toecutter
01-15-2000, 08:31 PM
Let us assume:
1. .. there really was a man called Jesus.
2. .. the timeframe of his existence is roughly correct
3. .. the characters around this central figure are as stated in the bible.
4. .. we suspend purely theological arguments for the moment.

If we assume that a man called Jesus really existed, we can also safely assume that he must have been born. If he was born, he must have been conceived – ergo there must have been a man somewhere – or at least some sperm and the ancient equivalent of a turkey baster.

We know his mother. Do we know who his real biological father was?
Was it Joseph? Did he get the big M in trouble and then had to marry her?
Was it a roman solider?
Was it one of the shepherds?
Another boyfriend?

BobT
01-15-2000, 08:48 PM
I don't think you can answer this question without resorting to theology.

Either you buy into the notion of the virgin birth or you don't. If there wasn't a virgin birth, the father of the historical Jesus is irrelevant.

Ringo
01-15-2000, 09:19 PM
If there wasn't a virgin birth, the father of the historical Jesus is irrelevant.

Not necessarily. Few dispute the existance of Jesus, while many dispute his divine status. I think it is reasonably well accepted even amongst the Jews, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists and what have you that Jesus was a man who lived on this planet ~2000 years ago. So, in the current environment, is it not reasonable to ask, for the sake of the historical record, if Jesus existed and you do not buy the virgin birth, who was his father?

Ringo
01-15-2000, 09:27 PM
I think I need to add that, regardless of your own perception of Jesus' divinity, he remains without question a significant figure in the human record.

Bricker
01-15-2000, 09:28 PM
So, in the current environment, is it not reasonable to ask, for the sake of the historical record, if Jesus existed and you do not buy the virgin birth, who was his father?

The problem with this question is that there is simply no ready answer. Obviously, there is no contemporary record purporting to identify a father.

I would note that in general, when a child is born in wedlock, the presumptive father is the husband. So if you would like to pick a candidate, Joseph is a fairly reasonable one.

I, of course, accept the alternate theory: to wit, that the Holy Spirit was responsible. But if your question excludes that, then (a) we can only speculate, and (b) one speculation is abou as useful as another.

- Rick

toecutter
01-15-2000, 09:29 PM
Thanks Bob, but I disagree. Even if there were no virgin birth, Jesus’ other achievements attributed to him would make him a remarkable man and therefore a significant historic figure – of any age

NanoByte
01-15-2000, 09:35 PM
Well, the whole things seems rather irrelevant. I think this is merely an attempt to reinstate the 'Was Jesus a Jew' thread.

In order to solve all these world-wracking problems, what we need to do is find out whether religious notions arise from genes in the Y chromosome or in whatever that route is that makes something matrilineally inheritable. Then we can determine whether Jewishness is controlled by whether your mother was one, or by whether your father was one, or. . .maybe there was a mutation. ;-)

Of course, this parthenogenesis thing sort of confuses things, but I believe some amphibians are good at it, so maybe JC really didn't have any father. I'm pretty sure his father wasn't Thomas Jefferson though. Do those who regularly communicate with his mother ever ask this question of her? I dunno, maybe if you start running cyberspace on tachyons you can find out. If you did, I'm sure the answer would pop up first on this MB.

Ray (There's one in every shroud.)

Daniel
01-15-2000, 09:38 PM
well, this was definitely the right web site to ask:

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_275.html

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bda
01-15-2000, 09:40 PM
not to encourage probably the hundreth jesus thread . . but . . but if paul hadnt assigned him the attributes and guided the whole "cult" . . . jesus would probably be a historical nobody
anyone who thinks there wasnt "myth creation" involved is an idiot.
uh oh . . am i offending someone by expressing my opinion?

Kamino Neko
01-15-2000, 09:41 PM
Originally posted by toecutter:
Thanks Bob, but I disagree. Even if there were no virgin birth, Jesus’ other achievements attributed to him would make him a remarkable man and therefore a significant historic figure – of any age

Um, yes, but his father isn't. Unless you beleive that said father is none other than God, of course.



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Eschew Obfuscation

capybara
01-15-2000, 10:07 PM
Do you guys remember the turkey parthenogenesis thing Cecil addressed fairly recently? I seem to remember that it can occur (rarely) in humans...

Yue Han
01-15-2000, 10:57 PM
anyone who thinks there wasnt "myth creation" involved is an idiot.

Let's see... A completely off-topic response, calculated to offend. Insults thrown at a large group of people without qualification. Taunting of those who would be offended. No capitalization.

Not that he isn't right in some aspects, of course. Paul is probably responsible for the spread of the religion so far, so powerfully. And I'm sure that there's some embellishment. But the form, the style, the manner of his(?) post all point to one conclusion--

Let me be the first to call bda a troll.

--John

Yue Han
01-15-2000, 11:05 PM
Ugh. I hate to post immediately after myself, but let me qualify. I haven't seen all of bda's posts. I cannot say with certainty that he/she IS a troll. However, the first post by bda in this thread was a troll, and low-class.

--John

Lord Jim
01-15-2000, 11:15 PM
M.K. here the link to the article you were thinking about, but I think Cecil's conclusion was that it didn't happen in mammals.
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/991008.html

thirdwarning
01-15-2000, 11:56 PM
Originally posted by toecutter:
Thanks Bob, but I disagree. Even if there were no virgin birth, Jesus’ other achievements attributed to him would make him a remarkable man and therefore a significant historic figure – of any age

I think that if there were no virgin birh, then Jesus wasn't who he said he was. In which case you have to discount the miracles attributed to him.
And then what do you have? An itinerant preacher, who thought he was God, who claimed that he would come back to life when he was killed, and who said he had the power to give other people eternal life.
He didn't say bring any new ideas about morality or how to live life, he brought himself. So if he wasn't the Son of God, he doesn't matter. And we wouldn't be having this discussion. :)

Shayna
01-16-2000, 12:42 AM
Originally posted by Yue Han:
Let's see... A completely off-topic response, calculated to offend. Insults thrown at a large group of people without qualification. Taunting of those who would be offended. No capitalization.

And it's not the first time, as is evidenced in this thread...
http://www.straightdope.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/004866.html



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"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

TaleraRis
01-16-2000, 12:46 AM
I don't think anyone can really say who Jesus's real father was If Jesus was a real man as we all believe, how do we know his wasn't borrowed from another religion? There's Muhammed, who seems to me to serve roughly the same purpose as Jesus did to the Christians. And there's Siddharta, aka Budda, who did the same. Why couldn't Jesus have been one of those and he was just trascribed into the Christian faith?

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When are you going to realize being normal isn't necessarily a good thing?

RM Mentock
01-16-2000, 04:55 AM
Bricker

I would note that in general, when a child is born in wedlock, the presumptive father is the husband. So if you would like to pick a candidate, Joseph is a fairly reasonable one.

Doesn't the bible record Joseph's reaction--he was upset, and wanted out of the marriage because he knew he wasn't the father? So, that's out.

.

Jophiel
01-16-2000, 06:29 AM
There's Muhammed, who seems to me to serve roughly the same purpose as Jesus did to the Christians. And there's Siddharta, aka Budda, who did the same. Why couldn't Jesus have been one of those and he was just trascribed into the Christian faith?

Well, Jesus was on the proverbial religious scene well before either of the other two, so that kind of wipes out the "Jesus was Budda" theory. Anyway, I dare say that trying to guess at Jesus's biological father is an effort in futility. All that's mentioned is that there was a Mary, she was wed to a Joseph, and that's about it once you strip away the theological aspects (i.e. the Annunciation). Might as well assume it was her husband, unless there's hinting of an affair with a Romman soldier in there that my copy is lacking.

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"I guess one person can make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn't."

bda
01-16-2000, 08:04 AM
excuse me . . "misguided" . . is that better?

Bricker
01-16-2000, 08:31 AM
Doesn't the bible record Joseph's reaction--he was upset, and wanted out of the marriage because he knew he wasn't the father? So, that's out.

So the analysis method will accept the words of the Bible as true, except whem they imply a supernatural solution?

sigh

The Bible does report that well before Mary was pregnant, she was visited by the angel Gabriel. The substance of their conversation was Gabriel's telling Mary she would soon have a child, and Mary asking, bewildered, "How can this be, since I have not been with man?"

Either we discount this incidence entirely, or we discount only Gabriel's being an angel.

Which is it?

If the former, we're back to square zero. No specific person is any more likely than another. We can posit that Mary got pregnant after a wild Nazareth Singles Night dance, and fearing to tell her betrothed, made up a rather unique defense. ("Honey, see, it wasn't like that. This ANGEL came to me! I swear!")

In my view, the problem with this analysis is that it leaves unanswered the rather large coincidence that her Son grew up to have such... fame. In other words, what are the odds that this simple deception of Mary's part would actually bear fruit, so to speak.

Of course, it is possible that all the Nativity events were created after the fact out of whole cloth, in order to bolster the reputation of Jesus.

As should be obvious by now, I don't think that's the case, but the reader is invited to draw his own conclusions.

- Rick

GuanoLad
01-16-2000, 11:00 AM
I read somewhere that the term 'Virgin' when applied to Mary was that she was unmarried, and some kind of holy woman or Nun, so naturally she couldn't possibly be pregnant legitimately! And therefore she was pure. And it all stemmed from there.

Or some such crap.

And if so, then it could have been Joseph as the father.

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The Legend Of PigeonMan (http://www.hotkey.net.au/~guanolad/pigeonman/) - By Popular Demand! Enjoy, enjoy!

Rich Hall
01-16-2000, 11:36 AM
Schlomo the traveling taylor was suspected. he had a "Sing along with Schlomo" show that year in Nazareth, where he would get people to sing popular Jewish folk songs and have a little wine.

Bricker
01-16-2000, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by GuanoLad:
I read somewhere that the term 'Virgin' when applied to Mary was that she was unmarried, and some kind of holy woman or Nun, so naturally she couldn't possibly be pregnant legitimately! And therefore she was pure. And it all stemmed from there.

I don't know where you read that, but I know what you didn't read analyzing the idea: the Gospel of St. Luke. Mary was not a nun. And although I agree she was "some kind of holy woman," she was not known as such by anyone before all these events unfolded.

Moreover, her words to the angel remove any possibility that the interpretation you advance is correct. "Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" (Luke 1:34) This was not "how can this be, since I'm not married?" but rather, "How can this be, since I have never known a man?" And yes, she was using the word 'know' in the Biblical sense! :) See also Matt 1:22, where after discussing Mary's being with child, we find: "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." This is contextually weaker than the Luke reference, but in that he was quoting the Old Testament's prophecy, it's clear he meant 'virgin' in the strict sense, not this meaning you describe above.

Of course, you may debate the angel's appearance, and whether the entire conversation happened. But Mary was not known as a nun or holy woman; she was, as far as her neighbors were concerned, just a simple Jewish chick about to be married. And her words to the angel make it clear that as far as this birth, she was a virgin before it happened.

Was she perpetually a virgin? That's a matter of Catholic dogma, but most others don't buy it, pointing to Matthew 13:55, "Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?"

It would not be unfair to interpret that as suggesting that Jesus had four brothers and an unknown number of sisters. I am told, though, that the words for "cousin" and "brother" in the original Greek were the same, and that the references there were to His cousins, not his brothers and sisters. Again, take it in whatever sense you please.

- Rick

RobRoy
01-16-2000, 12:09 PM
You people need to get out and get some air - and some books from other cultures :)

It is dismaying to me to see throw out Jesus' teachings if he wasn't God incarnate. I see Christians more than any others do this.

The only icon that Muhammed left in the Kaaba stone was an icon of Mary, who Moslems revere as the mother of a great prophet of the line of Abraham, and the one and only god.

Krishnamurti and Ghandi revere Jesus for his teachings.

Even some Jews (and I suspect it might be to a greater degree, if it weren't for Xtianity as an organized religion) see Jesus as a great Rabbi, in the same tradition as Hillel.

They all do this without thinking Jesus was the son of God. Inother words - they read the gospels, not Catholic canon law.

I do as well.

StrTrkr777
01-16-2000, 03:08 PM
The references are of stories told by young girls to their fathers.

Girl: "Dad, I have never had sex with anyone, I swear. It must be a devine miracle."

Jeffery

toecutter
01-16-2000, 04:03 PM
GuanoLad: You may be right. I was thinking along those lines myself. Is there any reference to a virgin other than what we think? I guess, Bricker pretty well answered that one. Thank you.

I must say that I am neither Christian, Moslem nor a Jew and am trying to understand this from pure historical interest. Jesus was an interesting man and his philosophies did have an effect on my life. RobRoy is right. Gandhi and Krishnamurti did revere Jesus although they did not count themselves as Christian.
No matter how you look at things, you cannot ignore the man.

Even if Christ was NOT born through the Immaculate Conception, and even if Mary had other children after Jesus through Jo, it is possible that Jesus being the first could have been conceived outside ‘matrimony’. Is this such a big deal? Why then the hoopla about the VB? Does it matter? Was the VB theory tacked on after his death? Was the VB part of an even more ancient prophecy? Or were the events given a spin to match these events?
If so, is it possible that he had a purely normal childhood with his parents and siblings and everything was tacked on after his death to ‘polish up’ and make interesting his earlier life?

Brooklyn44: I guess that is the question I have been asking myself, ‘did Mary pull a fast one”? Why DID Joseph go along with the whole deal? are there any thoughts?.. and no, I don’t have to buy the whole package. Like I said before, you can buy the man and what he stood for without the trappings.
StrTrkr777 – you’re hilarious.

fLoWeRcHiLdGenerationY
01-16-2000, 05:47 PM
Originally posted by ruadh:
Great! I'm sure you're going to share those references with us, too?

sure, just gimmie a chance to go find the book, and I'll get back to ya (It's hidden up in my mom's bookcase somewhere) (And no, this is not an attempt to duck out on getting info when I don't know what I'm talking about - I do know what I'm talking about)

fLoWeRcHiLdGenerationY
01-16-2000, 05:51 PM
Originally posted by StrTrkr777:
The references are of stories told by young girls to their fathers.

Girl: "Dad, I have never had sex with anyone, I swear. It must be a devine miracle."

Jeffery


nice try StrTrkr777, but this girl was a legit virgin....just let me go get the reference

Bricker
01-16-2000, 06:01 PM
Was the VB part of an even more ancient prophecy?

Indeed it was.

Matthew is actually quoting the Old testament - see Isiash 7:10ff:
Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,
Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.
And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

So one of the prophecies for the coming of the Messiah was a virgin conceiving and giving birth.

- Rick

brooklyn44
01-16-2000, 06:14 PM
Even if Christ was NOT born through the Immaculate Conception, and even if Mary had other children after Jesus through Jo, it is possible that Jesus being the first could have been conceived outside ‘matrimony’. Is this such a big deal? Why then the hoopla about the VB? Does it matter? Was the VB theory tacked on after his death? Was the VB part of an even more ancient prophecy? Or were the events given a spin to match these events?
If so, is it possible that he had a purely normal childhood with his parents and siblings and everything was tacked on after his death to ‘polish up’ and make interesting his earlier life?

Brooklyn44: I guess that is the question I have been asking myself, ‘did Mary pull a fast one”? Why DID Joseph go along with the whole deal? are there any thoughts?.. and no, I don’t have to buy the whole package. Like I said before, you can buy the man and what he stood for without the trappings.
StrTrkr777 – you’re hilarious.[/B][/QUOTE]

We all need to learn more about other people's beliefs.
The doctrine of Immaculate Conception is a fairly recent addition to the dogma. It is not about the virgin birth, but rather about establishing the absolute purity of Mary. It holds that Mary was born without the taint of original sin, so that she could be the mother of god.
renee

brooklyn44
01-16-2000, 06:19 PM
oops,
I don't wanna try anyone's patience and i've observed that others have had this problem.
I clicked on what I thought would enable me to quote toecutter in bold-face.

sorry,
renee

toecutter
01-16-2000, 06:24 PM
Thanks Bricker, I think I am getting somewhere.
So the sequence of events could have been:
1. Ancient Prophecy Sez: There will be a virgin birth – that will be one of the signs of his cumming.
2. Jesus is born to a normal family and leads a perfectly normal childhood
3. Jesus grows up as a wise philosopher and teacher – folk say: Hey what-a-guy!
4. Crucifixion/death
5. Paul and Joseph bicker about future of ministry
6. PR machine Kicks in – Spin doctors called in
7. Life embellished – VB part put in.

Does this sound reasonable?

TaleraRis
01-16-2000, 07:08 PM
Just to throw in a fact, Jesus did have siblings. I know I've heard of him having at least a couple other brothers. So Mary did have other children.

Bricker
01-16-2000, 07:57 PM
Does this sound reasonable?

Well... it is certainly possible. I mean, after 2,000 years, Mary's journal is not likely to surface. ("Dear Diary: Guess what? Today I was visited by an ANGEL!")

In other words, definitively showing what happened first is not likely. If your approach is that Christ was indeed divine, then it makes sense that the announcement preceded the fame; if not, then it might make more sense to posit a retroactive airbrushing of the story.

And, as I've said before, I'm on the divine side of the camp. :)

- Rick

brooklyn44
01-16-2000, 08:04 PM
aha, that's one of the problems.
Just what is a "fact?" So liitle is known about the historical Jesus (ne Joshua). The New Testament sez Jesus, on the cross, says to his mother that she should regard the man accompanying her as her son. Just what does that mean?
Someone higher up on this string sed something about putting aside Catholic dogma. Well, again, if you accept the notion of a virgin birth of the son of god, then why draw the line at her perpetual virginity? After all, if one's faith (and that's the key) preaching a supernatural event, then all improbalilites are along for the ride. That's why it's called faith and not history or science.
renee,

DAVEW0071
01-16-2000, 08:55 PM
Robroy, I understand your point, but I don't quite understand what you mean when you refer to the doctrine of Jesus as the Son of God stemming from "Catholic canon law" rather than a reading of the Gospels.

It's pretty clear (at least to me) from a reading of the Gospels that Jesus referred to himself as the Son of God, and not just a prophet or a more spiritually enlightened being. He had plenty of opportunities to disabuse people of that notion when they said it about him, and was, in fact, the reason he was tried and executed. If he didn't believe he was the Son of God he could have cleared up the whole misunderstanding and lived to a ripe old age.

Therefore, Jesus did believe he was the Son of God. Therefore (as C. S. Lewis has pointed out), we have to conclude one of three things:

1. He was a liar
2. He was crazy
3. He was the Son of God

No other options exist. Those who are content to regard him as nothing more than a prophet are ignoring most of what the Gospels write about what he led his contemporaries to believe about him. This is intellectually unfair.

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The Dave-Guy
"since my daughter's only half-Jewish, can she go in up to her knees?" J.H. Marx

thirdwarning
01-16-2000, 11:19 PM
DaveWoo, thank you for putting that more clearly than I did. I didn't mean to say that Jesus didn't say anything of value about morality. He just didn't come to bring new ideas. The things he said had been said by others before.
BUT, he also said (as you mentioned) that he was God, and that he had power over life and death. I don't think you can separate one from the other. If he was a nut or a liar, then the moral insights he supposedly taught were probably meaningless.

Toecutter,
It's an interesting time line, but the gospels were written too soon after the events for [b]that]/b] much legend to have grown up.

brooklyn44
01-17-2000, 01:12 AM
If we don't "buy" Mary's story about being told by an angel that she will conceive the son of God, what do we make of Joseph going along with the "deception"? One of the Gospels says an angel appeared to Joseph and told him to be cool about this; and Joseph accepted Mary's pregnancy by some supernatural process.
I am not a Christian. But I can't accept the "Mary pulled a fast-one" explanation. Either you buy the whole package, or you don't.
renee

brooklyn44
01-17-2000, 01:17 AM
Originally posted by thirdwarning:
DaveWoo, thank you for putting that more clearly than I did. I didn't mean to say that Jesus didn't say anything of value about morality. He just didn't come to bring new ideas. The things he said had been said by others before.
BUT, he also said (as you mentioned) that he was God, and that he had power over life and death. I don't think you can separate one from the other. If he was a nut or a liar, then the moral insights he supposedly taught were probably meaningless.

Toecutter,
It's an interesting time line, but the gospels were written too soon after the events for [b]that]/b] much legend to have grown up.

Well, you can separate one from the other because the validity of his teachings doesn't depend on his divinity. We were talking about the circumstances of the vigin birth.
So, a looney guy who says he is the son of god may very well be a great preacher who[bold}believes[/bold} he's the son of god and predicts that those who follow him will join him in his father's kingdom. It's called faith and is different from history or religion. I don't know of any religious belief that doesn't involve the supernatural
renee

GuanoLad
01-17-2000, 01:29 AM
1. He was a liar
2. He was crazy
3. He was the Son of God

No other options exist.


Unless the Bible is made up of a lot of half-truths, exaggerations, lies, and frenzied ravings, in which case the fourth possibility is: Jesus was just this guy, you know? And it was others who attributed to him his divinity, his quotes, his life's adventures (his blue eyes, his sandals, his sheep that followed him around).

Sometimes I think his life was much simpler than everyone ever considers:

He's born, he's a regular kid. He observes the world, he figures some stuff out. He watches people and how they work against each other, he feels there is some injustice, he gets to be 20 or so, and starts suggesting to people that if everyone was nicer to each other we'd get along just fine. People view him as a troublemaker, trying to upset the system. Jesus carries on with his life, still being outspoken about his ideas, earns a bit of notoriety. Eventually he catches the notice of some influential Romans who target him, suppress him, and kill him.

All divine, miraculous, omniscient, and otherwise attributes claimed of him are not true. All quotes are extrapolations, or even complete fabrications.

Zealots are everywhere, and they need something to believe in.

I say 'Life of Brian' has some very clever truths within.

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fLoWeRcHiLdGenerationY
01-17-2000, 01:42 AM
just letting you know, virgin births have been documented recently. They may be EXTREMELY rare, but according to the references I found them in (which are factual, not out of those tabloids with Goat Babies, and stuff), it is possible.

but that's just my opinion.

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*fLoWeR cHiLd, 2nd generation...
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ruadh
01-17-2000, 01:46 AM
Great! I'm sure you're going to share those references with us, too?

NanoByte
01-17-2000, 03:29 AM
The whole bit was just disinformation cooked up by an enemy (I'd tell you which one if I weren't so ignorant of history.) of the Romans to make them look bad theologically. . .and also to bolster its own troops through getting across to them that Allah was on their side.

Then people starting writing books about these fictional characters (as authors are wont to do) and the story was soon made into a movie, and well people've been lookin' at the video now for nigh onto 2000 yr. . .'cause their other hero's've never panned out very well. . .and like, how can one live a respectable life without a hero of godlike proportions anyhow? Godzilla didn't come till later, otherwise he coulda filled the role. . .and, being a reptile (I think), it woulda been easier to believe a parthenogenic birth in his case.

Ray (Adam and Eve coulda told ya all that would come to pass, but ya never asked 'em.)

kunilou
01-17-2000, 10:32 AM
So this would be the non-believers' version of the "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" debate?

To quote my father, the agnostic, on miracles in general and the virgin bith in particular:

"IF you believe in God and IF you believe that God made the universe, then how can you NOT believe that God could make a baby?"

And, of course, as has been pointed out before, if you don't believe in God, the whole question is meaningless.

Adam P.
06-13-2002, 04:44 PM
Like most people, I first heard of this idea during adolescence.
I'm pretty sure this whole "Was Jesus the bastard child of a Roman soldier" thing began with Strauss' "Life of Jesus". This was a notorious book produced during the hyper-rationalism of the Victorian era. Victorian-era scientism, the belief that scientific method can explain everything, encouraged Strauss to try to interpret the gospels in a "rational" way.

When Freud came along, pseudo-psychological interpretations were offered on this point. Roughly, that Jesus' break from traditional Judaism was a form of rebellion and outrage at his own
lack of a father: "My real father never loved me so why should I love this stand-in called G-D?". If anything, these theories prove that rationalsim and scientism can produce the same sort of
essentializing crap as theology. Anyway,as biologists are fond of saying, "Nothing is 100% true, even in biology."

Raza
06-13-2002, 05:33 PM
I think it is reasonably well accepted even amongst the Jews, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists and what have you that Jesus was a man who lived on this planet...

I'm a bit late to the party (actually, my first post in about 2 years), but as the token Muslim here I thought I'd mention that the Islamic party line is that, indeed, Jesus was born of the virgin Mary.

shunt
06-13-2002, 05:39 PM
Originally posted by kunilou
So this would be the non-believers' version of the "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" debate?

To quote my father, the agnostic, on miracles in general and the virgin bith in particular:

"IF you believe in God and IF you believe that God made the universe, then how can you NOT believe that God could make a baby?"

And, of course, as has been pointed out before, if you don't believe in God, the whole question is meaningless.

But it's still fun to argue about it!!!:D

astorian
06-13-2002, 05:43 PM
Well, for those determined not to believe that Jesus was, in fact, the Son of God, and want to know the "real" father, read
Matthew 13:54

"And when Jesus came into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue. They were astonished, and said, Where did he get such wisdom and such mighty works? Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not his mother's name Mary? Are not his brothers called James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? Do not his sisters live among us?"

Even if non-Christians don't believe Jesus was God's son, I don't see why they shouldn't accept what his friends and neighbors believed. The people who knew Jesus from his earliest childhood obviously believed that he and his siblings were the children of Mary and Joseph the carpenter. That theory should satisfy any skeptic. There's no to go searching for Roman soldiers, and whatnot!

Incidentally, those who've tried to compare Jesus to Muhammad should know that Muhammad himself, while not accepting Jesus as divine, DID believe in the Virgin Birth.

Orual
06-13-2002, 06:13 PM
Originally posted by DAVEW0071

Therefore, Jesus did believe he was the Son of God. Therefore (as C. S. Lewis has pointed out), we have to conclude one of three things:

1. He was a liar
2. He was crazy
3. He was the Son of God

No other options exist. Those who are content to regard him as nothing more than a prophet are ignoring most of what the Gospels write about what he led his contemporaries to believe about him. This is intellectually unfair.

And this was right where C.S. Lewis lost me when I was reading Mere Christianity. Such a theory doesn't allow for the possibility that the historical Jesus didn't say all the things that the Gospels say he did. Nor does it allow for the possibility that the Gospel writers were working from biased sources, were at least a decade or two removed from the events, and could likely have been adding their own embellishments to further their own purposes.

Anyway, back to the OP, I think it's pretty clear that the most obvious candidate for Jesus' father is Joseph.

Padeye
06-13-2002, 07:54 PM
Originally posted by bda
anyone who thinks there wasnt "myth creation" involved is an idiot.
uh oh . . am i offending someone by expressing my opinion?

No one is offended by your opinions but for being called idiots. Keep it in the BBQ pit please.

Telemark
06-13-2002, 11:58 PM
BTW, the Immaculate Conception was Mary being born without original sin. The Virgin Birth was Jesus being conceived without a father.

(Just another agnostic nit-picking Jew)

Captain Amazing
06-14-2002, 12:29 AM
Originally posted by shunt


But it's still fun to argue about it!!!:D

Not in General Questions.

kaylasdad99
06-14-2002, 12:36 AM
Originally posted by Captain Amazing


Not in General Questions.

Which invites the question: "What is this question doing in GQ in the first place?"
General Questions
Got a factual question for the Teeming Millions (and possibly Cecil) to consider? Post it here.
Seems this is speculative right off the bat.

ice1000
06-14-2002, 12:57 AM
Originally posted by Jophiel


Well, Jesus was on the proverbial religious scene well before either of the other two [Buddha & Mohammed], so that kind of wipes out the "Jesus was Budda" theory

You sure about that? I'm not positive about Mohammed but Buddhism predates Christianity.

According to legend, the Buddha (The Awakened), or Gotama (Sanskrit) lived in northern India in the 6th century BC.
http://www.silk-road.com/artl/buddhism.shtml

Liberal
06-14-2002, 05:42 AM
anyone (sic) who thinks there wasnt (sic) "myth creation" involved is an idiot.Then I am delighted to be an idiot.

Dinsdale
06-14-2002, 09:24 AM
Sorry for the hijack, but I'm a little surprised at how many folk in this thread have simply accepted the existence of Jesus as a given.

I'm no expert, and I'm sure this has been debated numerous times on these boards, but this site says no:
http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm

This one yes:
http://www.tektonics.org/tekton_01_01_01.html

These are only intended to be representative of the many sites weighing in on the issue.

..h
06-14-2002, 09:57 AM
Originally posted by Ringo
I think I need to add that, regardless of your own perception of Jesus' divinity, he remains without question a significant figure in the human record.

I can't resist. What a statement from someone with a nick after one of the Beatles.
:smack:

handy
06-14-2002, 11:05 AM
I had a girlfriend who was still a virgin according to her doctor, even after giving birth twice. Had to have
her hymen cut.

davidw
06-14-2002, 11:18 AM
And this was right where C.S. Lewis lost me when I was reading Mere Christianity. Such a theory doesn't allow for the possibility that the historical Jesus didn't say all the things that the Gospels say he did. Nor does it allow for the possibility that the Gospel writers were working from biased sources, were at least a decade or two removed from the events, and could likely have been adding their own embellishments to further their own purposes.

That's a valid point, but once you go there, then it calls into question everything about Jesus, not just his claims of divinity. Owhat basis can you believe that Jesus really did say all of these wise teachings reported in the Gospels, but didn't say the stuff about being the Son of God reported in the Gospels? What makes one more believeable than the other? Couldn't the Gospel writers have been just as willing to make up the Sermon on the Mount as anything else?

The way I see it, if you accept part of his teachings as being things he actually said, you have to accept the rest of it as having been said, too, unless you have evidence to show he didn't.

Mangetout
06-14-2002, 11:18 AM
Ye..es, Handy, in fact in my Bible, Mary says 'Hey, how can this be, since my hymen is still intact?"

Liberal
06-14-2002, 11:30 AM
These are only intended to be representative of the many sites weighing in on the issue.Cecil has also weighed in. He believes that, upon the sum of the evidence, Jesus existed (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_275.html).

CurtC
06-14-2002, 11:56 AM
kunilou wrote:And, of course, as has been pointed out before, if you don't believe in God, the whole question is meaningless.It seems to me that it's the other way around. If you do believe in the Christian God, the question is meaningless. It's only a valid question if you assume that Jesus's birth was not divinely concieved.

If you buy the whole idea that there was a god (and I don't), and you accept the Bible's account of the birth, what's there to question.

On the other hand, if you take the view that the whole story is a myth, but Jesus likely existed, then you have to wonder who his father was. We don't have much evidence. The Bible says Joseph thought it couldn't be him. That doesn't carry much weight with me, because the Bible says many things that I think are made-up. It's plausible that it could have been Joseph, but it's also plausible that Mary could have had a sexual relationship with someone else. I don't know.

What I'm surprised about is the number of people posting on this thread who accept the divine explanation. Is this still the Straight Dope site?

Captain Amazing
06-14-2002, 12:09 PM
So, to sum up the answer:

If you believe Jesus was the son of G-d, as most Christian denominations were, G-d is.

If you believe Jesus was just a person and there was no divine element in his conception or birth, his father would either be Joseph, or somebody else, but we have no way to be 100% sure, lacking genetic testing and that the people of Nazareth weren't famous or written much about.

If you don't believe Jesus existed, the question is meaningless.

Does that cover every possibility?

Dinsdale
06-14-2002, 12:30 PM
Originally posted by Libertarian
Cecil has also weighed in. He believes that, upon the sum of the evidence, Jesus existed (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_275.html).

Aw, man! Don't tell me you're relying on THAT GUY as authority! :p

DarkVorona
06-14-2002, 01:06 PM
Just wanted to put in my own two cents. (Note: the following is NOT Catholic doctrine -- I'm not Catholic and don't pay attention to it).

1. The Virgin Mary was not a nun but did grow up in the temple, which was quite common for children in those days. Joachim and Anna gave her to the temple when she was 3, as they had promised.

2. When time came for the VM to get married (around age 13), she flat-out refused, saying she was only going to live for God. Her parents were long dead and the temple didn't know what else do to with her. They found Joseph, an old man (not young as Catholics say), who was a distant relative of hers (they both came from the line of David) . He was "betrothed" to her, which was Jewish law at the time -- otherwise she couldn't live with him (remember that at that time, if a woman's husband died, his brother had to marry her).

3. If the VM had not been married, but had been pregnant, she would've been stoned to death. Period. They took that kind of thing very seriously in those days, no exceptions. The angel later appeared to Joseph, telling him he had to marry her; he refused at first but realized the necessity of it.

3. The notion that Christ had brothers and sisters is ridiculous, really. The term "brothers and sisters" has the same meaning as "coworkers", "classmates", "those born the same year as you." etc. (I'm always amazed how people take English translations so literally).

So who was Christ's father? Biologically, the Creator. BY LAW, Joseph the Carpenter.

At any rate, agree or disagree, personally I think the above makes a heck of a lot more sense than most of what I've heard.

kniz
06-14-2002, 01:12 PM
Originally posted by davidw
The way I see it, if you accept part of his teachings as being things he actually said, you have to accept the rest of it as having been said, too, unless you have evidence to show he didn't.

That is a reasonable assumption, however there are many scholars that do not agree. A quick Google search revealed several sources, one of which is The Jesus Seminar (http://www.westarinstitute.org/Jesus_Seminar/jesus_seminar.html)

The goal of the Seminar was to review each of the fifteen hundred items and determine which of them could be ascribed with a high degree of probability to Jesus.
originally posted by Captain Amazing
Does that cover every possibility?
Not even close.

What did Jesus or for that matter Paul have to say about the virgin birth?

I personally believe in God
that Jesus was in some way devine (but not 1/3 of God)
that the virgin birth is a sign of the Hellinistic influence on the Gospels.
that is is fun to argue even if this is CQ and not GD
that no one else necessarily is required to believe any of these things.

Liberal
06-14-2002, 01:15 PM
What I'm surprised about is the number of people posting on this thread who accept the divine explanation. Is this still the Straight Dope site?That is different only in rhetorical form from Bda's offensive remark. Has it occurred to you that we might have good reason, based on our own investigation and experience, to accept the divine explanation? Is there some reason that those of us who don't hold your opinions are ignorant?

DarkVorona
06-14-2002, 02:17 PM
Just wanted to put in my own two cents. (Note: the following is NOT Catholic doctrine -- I'm not Catholic and don't pay attention to it).

1. The Virgin Mary was not a nun but did grow up in the temple, which was not uncommon for children in those days. Joachim and Anna gave her to the temple when she was 3, as they had promised.

2. When time came for the VM to get married (around age 13), she flat-out refused, saying she was only going to live for God. Her parents were long dead and the temple didn't know what else do to with her. They found Joseph, an old man (not young as Catholics say), who was a distant relative of hers (they both came from the line of David) . He was "betrothed" to her, which was Jewish law at the time -- otherwise she couldn't live with him (at that time, if a woman's husband died, his brother had to marry her. The brother would be "betrothed" to his dead brother's wife, not marry her while his own wife was still living). Betrothal did not necessarily lead to marriage.

3. If the VM had not been married, but had been pregnant, she would've been stoned to death. Period. They took that kind of thing very seriously in those days (not like the Sodom & Gomorrah lifestyles we lead now). The angel later appeared to Joseph, telling him he had to marry her; he refused at first but realized the necessity of it.

3. The notion that Christ had brothers and sisters is ridiculous, really. The term "brothers and sisters" has the same meaning as "coworkers", "classmates", "those born the same year as you." etc. (I'm always amazed how people take English translations so literally).

So who was Christ's father? Biologically, the Creator. BY LAW, Joseph the Carpenter.

Just food for thought.

astorian
06-14-2002, 02:43 PM
Uh, Vorona?

Not only is your post NOT Catholic doctrine, it's not ANYONE'S doctrine. It's not Scriptural (Anna and Joachim are never mentioned anywhere in Scripture, incidentally), it's not historical, it's not part of any Christian sect's oral tradition.

So, care to tell me where you got any of it?

davidw
06-14-2002, 02:53 PM
That is a reasonable assumption, however there are many scholars that do not agree. A quick Google search revealed several sources, one of which is The Jesus Seminar

Yeah, I know about the Jesus Seminar, and I have the same problem with them. But I haven't read enough about them to know what they're basing their decisions on.

zev_steinhardt
06-14-2002, 02:57 PM
Originally posted by DarkVorona

1. The Virgin Mary was not a nun but did grow up in the temple, which was not uncommon for children in those days. Joachim and Anna gave her to the temple when she was 3, as they had promised.


Not so. People did not "give their children" to the temple. It is true that Samuel's mother did this sort of thing. However, no where is it recorded that this was a "common" phenomenon. In fact, I can think of no other example.


2. When time came for the VM to get married (around age 13), she flat-out refused, saying she was only going to live for God. Her parents were long dead and the temple didn't know what else do to with her. They found Joseph, an old man (not young as Catholics say), who was a distant relative of hers (they both came from the line of David) . He was "betrothed" to her, which was Jewish law at the time -- otherwise she couldn't live with him (at that time, if a woman's husband died, his brother had to marry her.


OK, time for a quick primer on Jewish marriage law.

There are two stages in a Jewish marriage.
(1) k'dushin ("betrothal"). During this stage, the bride is mostly married. She is forbidden to anyone else under the penalty of adultery. However, she is also forbidden to her husband. If they were "betrothed", Joseph could not live with Mary.

(2) n'suin ("marriage"). At this point, the couple become full-fledged husband and wife. While today these two stages are done together, back in Jesus' time, there was often a wait of a year or more between the two stages.

Lastly, the brother marriage only applied if the decedent had no descendants AND if both parties (the widow and the brother-in-law) wanted the marriage.


The brother would be "betrothed" to his dead brother's wife, not marry her while his own wife was still living). Betrothal did not necessarily lead to marriage.


There is no k'dushin for a levirate marriage. And secondly, polygamy being permitted when Jesus was alive, there was no obligation to wait until his own wife died.



3. If the VM had not been married, but had been pregnant, she would've been stoned to death. Period.


Period NOT. The death penalty only applied to a MARRIED woman. An unmarried woman never merited the death penalty for a sexual affair (unless, of course, it was an incestuous relationship with a forbidden relative). Not only that, there would have been no stigma of mamzerus (bastard) attached to her child. That also only applies to a married woman or a forbidden incestuous relationship.




So who was Christ's father? Biologically, the Creator. BY LAW, Joseph the Carpenter.


Well, on the latter part of your statement, you are on solid ground in Jewish law (not in the former part, obviously). Without evidence to the contrary, a child is assumed to be the mother's husband's.

Zev Steinhardt

tramp
06-14-2002, 02:58 PM
Looks like I'm the only one around here who believes in God's Holy Invisible Schlong. Oh well.

DarkVorona
06-14-2002, 03:17 PM
Astorian: I'm afraid you're wrong on my post not being *any* Christian opinion. It happens to be Eastern Orthodox doctrine.

Zev_steinhardt: I've actually heard different interpretations of Jewish law over the years; I will keep your version in mind (gotta admit I have a hard time with the unmarried woman not being stoned -- rather frisky bunch, then, weren't they?)

zev_steinhardt
06-14-2002, 03:40 PM
Originally posted by DarkVorona

Zev_steinhardt: I've actually heard different interpretations of Jewish law over the years; I will keep your version in mind (gotta admit I have a hard time with the unmarried woman not being stoned -- rather frisky bunch, then, weren't they?)

I'm going to have to ask you for your source on other interpretations.

There is no verse in the Bible, and no law in the Talmud or later writings that indicate that an unmarried woman who has sex is liable to the death penalty (provided, of course, that the affair isn't forbidden for other reasons [incest, etc.]). Trust me on this one DarkVorona; I've been studying Jewish law for over 20 years.

BTW, welcome to the boards. :)

Zev Steinhardt

Walloon
06-16-2002, 03:50 AM
Originally posted by Adam P.
I'm pretty sure this whole "Was Jesus the bastard child of a Roman soldier" thing began with Strauss' "Life of Jesus". This was a notorious book produced during the hyper-rationalism of the Victorian era.

You are about 1,600 years off. The second-century writer Celsus claimed in his work Alethes Logos that Jesus was actually the illegitimate son of a Roman centurion named Panthera.

ianzin
06-16-2002, 07:56 AM
Joseph fathered Jesus. Every reason to think so. No reason to think anything else.

manhattan
06-16-2002, 02:21 PM
Yeepers, a ghost from the past.

Well, I think that there is no shortage of God threads in GD, so I'll just close this one up.