Jesus H. Christ

As every good Catholic knows, it was Mary’s conception which was immaculate, not our Lord and haploid Savior’s.

Cecil’s phone line to God must have had a bad connection when he wrote that column!

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Board, popeman, glad to have you with us. A

I just point out that Cecil’s exact words were:

So, he specifically did NOT say “immaculate” in ref to Jesus.

(He also once said:


Modern researchers point out that during the time Jesus would have been conceived Roman soldiers were occupying the area. Not only were they occupying but there there is significant information indicating these soldiers were given free rein to dish out discipline. Many areas of the cities became “unsafe” and soldiers were staffed there to help render discipline. However, new research indicates that many of these soldiers acted as hired thugs for certain merchants and peoples. Basically, if you had the funds you could have the fun.

Modern research indicates that Mary may have been raped by one of these so called hired thugs. Thereby ruining the Catholic notion that God impregnated her with his holy spirit.

I on the other hand feel that Mary simply was engaging in activities reserved for a married union and caught herself in the family way. I also believe that Joseph was a truly stand up guy to not only marry her but support and give credit to the ludicrous idea that some spirit in a far off galaxy snapped his finger to impregnate her.

Care to Link to some of this Modern research. I was not aware we turned up diaries, logs or other clues to whom the Roman soldiers were raping.
Considering there is not even any definite documentation of the crucifixion, this is quite the strange bombshell you are trying to drop.
I don’t even believe in the Immaculate Conception, but making up your own stories in opposition to the bibles stories does help anyone.

It’s a period about which we know seemingly lots, and yet very little. There are very few records of any kind. All documents that have survived have been copied and recopied, and were only preserved by the Christian monks &c during the dark ages if they seemed compatible with Christian faith. Even contemporary writers like Josephus were pretty obviously tampered with in transmission. The biblical accounts are obviously biased: their purpose is to convert people to the new religion, not to record objective history.

Don’t worry about the crucifixion, jrfranchi, we have no real outside evidence for the existence of Jesus or Mary or any of that crowd. We have actually little or no outside evidence that Pontius Pilate was governor , and that would have been a matter of government record!

Thus, with only the biblical accounts to go on, speculation is rife. Various scholars try to make a reputation for themselves by positing some rational “explanation,” which range from “Mary was raped by Roman soldiers” to “Jesus and his friends staged a fake crucifixion and death so that he could return ‘resurrected.’” So, your request for a link to the “research” is certainly justified, but there won’t be any evidence at that cite. It’s all pure speculation, and there are dozens of theories. Each scholar wants to make his/her name by proposing some explanation, however outlandish.

BTW, the most common (and believable) scholarly (non-religious) explanation of the “virgin birth” is that the biblical writers were trying to preach to the Jews, and so wanted Jesus to fulfill every prophecy they could find. A misinterpretation of a verse from Isaiah (the Hebrew says a “young woman” will bear a child, and doubtless referred to the princess at that time) led to the notion that a “virgin” will bear a child, and so Mary had to have been a virgin to validate the prophecy.

The Immaculate Conception refers to Mary being born free of original sin.

It has nothing to do with the conception of Jesus.

Well yeah, but that was the OP’s point.

But not akinney’s and jrfranchi’s.

Hey, I am guilty of a bit of a highjack, but I didn’t post anything about Immaculate Conception = Jesus.
I was just challenging what appeared to be a completely empty post.
Sorry for the HiJack. I just can’t seem to let statements like akinney’s go by.

Well, this started with a comment on a parenthetical note by Cecil… and has pretty much diverged since. (I’m as guilty of the detour/hijack as any.)

So, I call your attention to Did Jesus have siblings? to further waylay the woebegotten.

So far as I am aware, no one has suggested that the H in “Jesus H Christ” is the Hebrew H’ meaning “the,” so that if we mix the Hebrew and Greek we would get Jesus The Christ.

But leaving untouched the Protestant notion that God impregnated Mary with his Holy Spirit? Neat trick.

Wow. Three cheers for modern research. We don’t need rapist Roman soldiers to ruin the Catholic notion of the Virgin Birth…all it takes is Mary having sex with Joseph the good old-fashioned way and producing a kid named Jesus. Mary might have been raped by Roman soldiers… sure, why not? Jesus may have been raped by Roman soldiers, too (an icky idea, but if we’re just throwing out possibilities without any evidence…). Simply because something is not impossible doesn’t mean that something is probable, or adds to our understanding of history or scripture in any way.

(I’ll be happy to eat my words here if you can furnish some proof that there’s anything to this “modern research” that you mention above.)

There was, of course, the clay tablet recently unearthed, containing a fragment of text:

The “IHS” you refer to is the latin abbreviation for “In Hoc Signo” which means “In this Sign.” According to Catholic legend, in the 6th century, before a great battle, the pagan King Constantine had a dream and vision of the cross. He heard a voice that told him “In this sign thou shalt conquer” or in Latin “In hoc signo vinces” pronounced:“in hoc seenyo vinchez”
Constantine won the battle, converted to Christianity and made it the new state religion. From that time, a banner with that Latin phrase was sometimes displayed on large crosses. The phrase was sometimes abbreviated “IHS” and remains to this day. I went to Catholic schools in the 1950’s and 60’s and was an altar boy when the mass was still in Latin. I also had took four years of Latin in my Catholic High School.


IHS is universally agreed to be Iota Eta Sigma (short for Iota Eta Sigma Omicron Upsilon Sigma – “Jesus” in Greek), transliterated into Latin letters by someone with enough knowledge to know that Sigma is S, but not enough to know that Eta is long E, not H.

By the way, the ancient accounts do not say that Constantine saw a cross before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, but rather a Chi-Rho, the monogram made up of those two Greek letters, which begin “Christ” in Greek.

Jesus H Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse
The H might be horn section.

That would be great! Then we could ask “What do Jesus H Christ, Winnie the Pooh and Billy the Kid all have in common?” :slight_smile:

So back to the OP, Cecil didn’t state that The Immaculate Conception refers to Jesus’s conception, he just off-handedly used the word “immaculate” when referring to it, in a joking sort of way. OK, got it.

I’m not up on my Catholic dogma, and didn’t know that The Immaculate Conception referred to Mary’s. Do you mean when her sperm and egg reached each other inside Mary’s mother, that this was “immaculate”? What does that word mean in this context? The phrase “free of original sin” doesn’t do much for me either.

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is peculiar to Roman Catholicism, and only about 150 years old (officially) is that, unlike all other descendants of Adam and Eve (excepting Jesus Himself), the Blessed Virgin Mary was free of the taint of Original Sin from the very moment she was conceived in the womb of St. Anne.

So the “taint of Original Sin” means what exactly? I think that “original sin” was the sin of Adam & Eve, of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, did I get that right? And because of that, God kicked them out of Eden, and cursed them and their descendants in certain ways, such as pain in childbirth. So are you saying that Mary was not cursed like this? Did Jesus’s birth not cause Mary physical pain?