From: George Murphy (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Jan 01 2003 - 18:51:40 EST
George Murphy wrote:
2 points concerning the following:
1) In spite of the fact that almost everyone refers to the
accounts of Jesus'
origin in Mt & Lk as being about "virgin birth", let me point out
again that what they
speak of is virginal _conception_. Virgin _birth_, strictly
speaking, is the belief
that Mary retained her virginity in the process of giving birth.
That has also been a
popular belief - & not only among Roman Catholics & Orthodox - but it
is distinct from
virginal conception & does not have explicit biblical support as
2) The natural reading of Genesis 1:26-28 is that _adham_
here means "man" in
the collective (& inclusive) sense or "humankind" (NRSV) rather than
to a single
individual named "Adam" - pace the Zohar, the Gospel of Thomas &
about the androgyny of the first human. The account of the creation
of humanity in
Genesis 2:4b-25 is of course different, but these are two different
> In a message dated 12/30/02 10:29:08 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
> > Was Adam virgin-born? Did he have any chance to live as a sinless being?
> > Just wonderin' - Jim Armstrong
> Virgin births first appear in the rg veda. I think that's the oldest
> religious writings we have. The people of the rg veda created a tripartite
> social system. That tripartite system was appropriated by Zoroaster and was
> then appropriated by Judaism which means there is a thread from the earliest
> religion to current religion. You're going to want to go back to the vedas
> and study the virgin birth of agni who brought the self sacrifice from the
> gods and was called a son of god and then follow that thread to the NT and
> perhaps even the nag hammadi texts. Then you will understand the virgin birth
> and why certain figures are assumed to have been virginally born. Virgin
> births are also a feature of the kabbalah of Jewish mysticism (see Campbell's
> Myths to Live By). If you can make that journey you will come back refreshed.
> As for Spong, when he wrote that the NT writers used the virgin birth because
> they didn't know anything about conception, I had to laugh. Obviously spong
> didn't realize that if the NT writers had not attributed Jesus with a virgin
> birth they would have failed to assign him one of the characteristics of a
> son of god that had been traditionally handed down for at least 2 thousand
> There is much more to religion than you think there is - though God does not
> fashion things for our satisfaction.
> In genesis 1:26 God creates Adam and calls him 'them.' Eve has not yet been
> A clue to this strange language is in the zohar, one of the books of the
> Kabbalah of Jewish mysticism:
> "From divine thought, when it is most completely revealed, proceed two
> opposite principles, one active or male, the other passive or female."
> The soul, in its purest essence has its root in intelligence. We speak here
> of the supreme intelligence, where the forms of being begin to be
> differentiated from each other and which is really the universal soul. From
> there if it is to be a male soul, it passes through the principles of grace
> or expansion, if it is a female soul it impregnates itself with the
> principles of judgment or concentration."
> "Every form in which the male and female principle is not to be found (says
> the zohar) is not a superior or complete form. The Holy One, blessed be He,
> does not establish his abode where these two principles are not perfectly
> united; the blessing comes down only where this union exists, as we learn
> from the following words: He blessed THEM and called THEIR name Adam on the
> day they were created (Gen 5:2) for the name of Man can be given only to a
> man and a woman who are united in one being."
> Let's go back a few thousand years to the vedic hymns:
> Agni is for us the first born of truth in the ancient vigor of life: the bull
> - and also the cow. Veda 10.5
> This is from Josephus' Jewish Antiquities Book 1:
> Moreover, Moses, after the seventh day was over begins to talk
> philosophically; and concerning the formation of man, says thus: That God
> took dust from the ground, and formed man, and inserted in him a spirit and a
> soul. This man was called Adam, which in the Hebrew tongue signifies one that
> is red, because he was formed out of red earth, compounded together; for of
> that kind is *virgin* and true earth.
> Let's move forward to the Gospel of Thomas one of the Nag Hammadi texts:
> Jesus is asked: shall we then as children enter the kingdom? In the answer is
> this line: "...when you make the male and the female one and the same.'
> At the end of the non-canonical gospel, is this exchange:;
> "simon peter said to them, "Let Mary leave us." Jesus says to let her stay
> and says:"I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too
> may become a living spirit resembling you males. FOR EVERY WOMAN WHO WILL
> MAKE HERSELF MALE WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN."
> I know that some of this non-canonical material is unfamiliar but Jim needs
> more before he has eyes to see and ears...
-- George L. Murphy email@example.com http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
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