"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."—Isaiah 7:14
The author of Matthew's quote of this Isaiah passage raised an uproar among the Jewish Christian community: "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."—Matthew 1:23. Isaiah used the Hebrew word almah meaning a young girl would give birth. In Hebrew, an almah is a young woman of marriageable age. If Isiaiah had meant a virgin, he would have used the word bethulah. The creators of the Greek translation, the Septuagint, mistranslated the Hebrew almah into the Greek parthenos, meaning virgin. The author of Luke then expounded on the controversy by stating: "...the angel Gabriel was sent...To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary...behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS...The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."—Luke 1:26-35. Reading Isaiah 7:1-25 and 8:1-4 reveals that this passage could not refer to Jesus by the fact that it states that while the child is an infant the riches of Damascus and Samaria shall be carried away by the king of Assyria: events which actually happened in 742 and 721 BCE. These passages are indicative of both Gnostic and Hellenic influences on the scriptures during the second century, during a time when contrary to Church claims, the Catholic Church was no more significant than any of the other early Christian sects. 80643
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These passages stand in stark contrast to other verses particularly in the Synoptics which depict Jesus only as a real flesh and blood person. The idea of a virgin birth was a common theme among the many pagan mystery religions and was an anathema to the Jews. It is clear that sometimes after the earliest versions of the gospels were made public, certain people wanting to depict Jesus as the long awaited Jewish Messiah had already added the genealogies to Matthew and Luke. So, these Hellenized pagan prophesies could not have been part of the original text. It is also clear, since both genealogies are different, that they were written by different authors. The Matthew genealogy refers to 41 generations while Luke only offer 28. These conflicting accounts have always created great angst among the Church hierarchy. There are those who have claimed that the genealogies refer to the pedigree of Mary and not Joseph, but this could not be true as Jewish lineage pertaining to kingly or priestly eligibility always runs through the father and not the mother.

These claims that the baby Jesus was the 'Son of God' also stand in stark contrast to the baptism accounts. It seems that the original was quite different than what you read today in your scriptures. In the baptism ceremony from both Mark and Luke, we read: "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." However, from Epiphanius we learn that the Ebionites had a different rendition which read: Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased; This day I begotten thee." When the text "This day I have begotten thee" was removed, the gospels were made to conform to a Hellenized pagan myth of the virgin birth. The original texts indicates that the child born 30 years earlier was not the 'Son of God.' Paul never mentions the virgin birth. The virgin birth narrative was added to make the Jewish Messiah more appealing to the pagan world which had been raised on such ideas. Having both the genealogies and the virgin birth would prove a difficult probem to resolve for the Church. It was particularly a problem among the Jewish Christians who denied it vehemently.

The main narrative of the gospels do not support the idea of the virgin birth being an original part of the gospel accounts. We find on numerous ocassions that Jesus is treated as an ordinary person. This is particularly true of the Synoptics. Since Matthew describes the brothers of Jesus, nowhere is there any indication that these are anything, but his flesh and blood brothers, or that Joseph is not his father. "Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?"–Matthew 13:55. They are not described as half brothers or cousins or anything other than Jesus' full brothers. So, it is highly unlikely that the virgin birth narrative was a part of the original text.

Apollonius of Tyana was the one, like many of the pagan mystery religion soters, who was reportedly born of a virgin. Since there are no extant first or second century versions of the gospels, it is impossible to know who was considered the soter figure at that time.

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