The Virgin Birth of Christ

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2007 pp. 301. New book. Previously published by Scribner's, 1907.

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Overview

This Is A New Release Of The Original 1918 Edition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556357107
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/28/2007
  • Pages: 316

Table of Contents

Synopsis of Lectures
Statement of the Case-Issues and Preliminary Objections
Recent attacks on article of Virgin Birth
Scope of lectures
History of controversy
Grounds on which Virgin Birth assailed
Usually connected with denial of the supernatural in Christ's life generally
Statement of the case for faith
Limits of the argument: 1. Not primarily with those who reject all miracles
Fallacy of this position; 2. Not primarily with those who reject the Incarnation
Main question: Is the Virgin Birth unessential to those who accept the higher view of Christ's Person?
Denial of a connection between fact and doctrine
Presumptions in an opposite direction
Zeal of opponents suggests such connection
Belief in the Incarnation usually goes along with belief in the Virgin Birth
Impugners of the latter generally reject the former
Survey of scholarship on this point
This nearly invariable concomitance points to an inner connection
Question primarily one of fact
If a fact, then a connection to be presumed, whether seen at first or not
Virgin Birth may not be foundation of our faith in the Incarnation, yet may be part of foundation of the fact of the Incarnation
Narratives of Infancy needed to complete our view of the supernatural Person
They incorporate Christ into history
The Gospel Witnesses-Genuineness and Integrity of the Records
Narratives in Matthew and Luke
The only accounts of Christ's birth which we have attest His Virgin Birth
If these rejected, nothing certainly known of Christ's earthly origin
The two narratives independent
So-called discrepancies a proof of this
Difference in point of view, yet basal facts thesame
The two accounts are complementary
From different standpoints
Genuineness of narratives
Indubitably genuine parts of their respective Gospels
Testimony of MSS. unanimous
Comparison with Mark xiv. 9-20, etc.
Testimony of Versions unanimous
Special recensions
The Gospel according to the Hebrews contained these narratives
The Ebionitic Gospel omitted Matt. i., ii., but this a mutilation
Marcion's Gospel of Luke omitted chaps. i., ii., etc.
All grant that this not original
Well-hausen's treatment of the testimony
Insufficiency of internal reasons for rejection
Integrity of text of narratives
Attempts to show that Luke i., ii., not a narrative of Virgin Birth
Question of chap. i. 34, 35
Attestation of these verses
Value of records
The Third Gospel the work of Luke
Relation of Greek Matthew to the Apostle
General result
Sources of the Narratives-Historical and Internal Credibility
Birth narratives have an historical setting
External and internal evidence
Assumption of honesty of narrators
Alternative is deliberate fiction
The historical relations
"In days of Herod"
The enrolment under Quirinius
Difficulties on this subject
Probable solution indicated by discoveries
The genealogies
In form both genealogies of Joseph
Their divergencies
Probable explanation
Mary's genealogy involved
Massacre of the infants
Internal credibility of narratives
Narratives in both Gospels go together as wholes
Aramaic basis of Luke's narrative
Primitive and Hebraic in cast
Dr. Briggs on poetic form
Both narratives from early Jewish circles
Idea of Virgin Birth foreign to Jewish mind
If true, only two sources possible: Joseph and Mary
Character of narratives agree with this
Matthew's narrative concerned with Joseph
Luke's concerned with Mary
Responsibility on these of providing such narratives
Objection from miraculous character not valid
Angelic appearances
Objections from Mary's later conduct
Contrast with Apocryphal Gospels
Marks of simple, severe truthfulness
The Birth Narratives and the Remaining Literature of the New Testament-Alleged Silence of the New Testament
Alleged isolation of birth narratives
Silence of Mark, John, Paul, etc.
Alleged contradictory facts
"son of Joseph," etc.
Preliminary question: Assuming narratives true, what have we a right to expect?
Facts at first known to few (Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, etc.), yet some knowledge of divine wonders at birth (shepherds, etc.)
Mystery of Christ's birth undivulged in Nazareth
No part of Christ's preaching
Probably early known in Church that Christ's birth embraced a divine mystery, but full facts undisclosed
Reserve of Mary combined with sense of responsibility for providing authentic narrative
Possible channels of communication
Agreement with character of narratives in Gospels
Unchallenged reception of Gospels proof that these believed to rest on reliable information
Examination of objections
Alleged birth in Nazareth
Baseless assertions on this head
Joseph popularly spoken of as father of Jesus
Luke himself so speaks
This natural and inevitable in the circumstances
Genealogies declared to attest Joseph's paternity
Sinaitic reading of Matt. i. 16
Genealogies carefully avoid conveying this idea
"Son of David" legally through Joseph, but probably also naturally through Mary
Evangelists felt no contradiction
Limits of argument from silence
Silence of Mark proves nothing
He begins with public ministry
Jesus "the Son of God"
John's Gospel presupposes earlier narratives
He supplements by higher view, but does not contradict
His opposition to Cerinthus, who denied the Virgin Birth
John must have assumed a miraculous birth
John i. 13
Mary in John's Gospel
Bethlehem
Alleged silence of Paul
Luke Paul's companion
The Virgin Birth (if known) not the ground of Paul's faith
But his doctrine implies a supernatural birth
Peculiarity in his references to Christ's earthly origin
Probable allusion to birth narratives in Rev. xii.
Relation to old Testament Prophecy-Witness of Early Church History
Proposed derivation of narratives of Virgin Birth from Old Testament prophecy
Strauss's mythical theory
Its failure
View that story derived from Is. vii. 14 ("Behold a virgin," etc.)
Cleft here in opposing camp
Newer school deny possibility of such derivation
Jews did not apply this prophecy to Messiah
Ambiguity of Hebrew term
Idea foreign to O. T.
No application of prophecy in Luke
Yet true fulfilment of prophecy in Christ
Matthew's use of prophecy in chaps. i., ii.
"Nazarene"
"Out of Egypt," etc.
"Rachel weeping"
Ruler from Bethlehem
Isaiah's oracle
Historical setting and meaning
The word 'almah
"Immanuel"
Fulfilled only in Christ
Transition through prophecy to early Church
From Apostolic times the Virgin Birth an integral part of Church's faith
Early reception of Gospels
Virgin Birth challenged only by (1) Ebionites (Anti-Pauline), not by Nazarenes; (2) Certain Gnostic sects (Cerinthus, etc.), not by all
Reasons for denial
Affirmed constantly by main body of Church
Evidence of old Roman creed
Witness of other Churches (Irenaeus, Tertullian, etc.)
Virgin Birth in Ignatius, Aristides, Justin Martyr, Tatian, etc.
Gospels in ecclesiastical use
Jewish slanders based on this belief (Celsus, Talmud)
Doctrinal value set by Fathers on Virgin Birth (Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, etc.)
Immovable from Church testimony
Mythical Theories of Origin of Narratives of the Virgin Birth-Alleged Heathen Analogies
Mythical explanations of story of Virgin Birth
Number and conflicting character
Two main classes: 1. Alleged origin of myth on Jewish soil (Keim, Lobstein, Harnack, etc.)
This decisively rejected by newer writers (Schmiedel, Soltau, Usener, etc.); 2. Origin from Gentile sources
Impossibility of this shown by Harnack, etc.
Recapitulation of objections to derivation from Is. vii. 14
Examination of special theories of Jewish Origin
Supposed stages of development
If belief primitive, no time for rise of myth
If arose concurrently with Paul's doctrine, must have been known by him
Less than thirty years from founding of Church
Lobstein's theory of "explanatory formula" to solve Christological problem
Inconsistency of this with idea of its being "poetry"
If put (with others) later than Paul and John, we leave Jewish soil
This breaks on date of Gospels
Theories of Gentile Origin
Mingling of divine and human in heathenism
Deification, myths of sons of gods, etc.
Absence of historical element in paganism
Nowhere true analogy to Virgin Birth of Gospels
Lustful tales of popular Greek and Roman mythology
Attitude of Plato to these
Of Church Fathers
Divine origin ascribed by flattery to Alexander, Augustus, etc.
Not virgin births, and deceived nobody
Buddhism out of the question
No God, Holy Spirit, or true virgin birth in Buddhism
Egyptian parallels baseless and not known
Soltau's theory of second century origin
Its artificial and impossible character
New theory of Gunkel, Cheyne, etc., of Babylonian origin
Admission of untenableness of previous views
A supposed "Pre-Christian Jewish Sketch," including virgin birth of Messiah
No proof of this
Cheyne on "virgin goddesses"
Absolute contrast to Gospel idea
Gospel ideas of Virgin Birth and Incarnation are unique
Doctrinal Bearings of the Virgin Birth-Person of Christ as Involving Miracle: Sinlessness and Uniqueness
Allegation that no doctrinal interest involved in denial of the Virgin Birth
General consideration: we are poor judges of what is essential or unessential in so transcendent a fact as the Incarnation
Reasons already shown for presuming a connection
Others flow from previous argument: 1. Evangelists plainly believed there was a connection with the supernatural Personality whose life they depict; 2. The early Fathers found important doctrinal aid in this article of belief; 3. Opponents themselves (as before shown) trace the origin of the so-called myth to a doctrinal interest
Grounds of denial of such connection: 1. No a priori reason why Incarnation should not take place under conditions of ordinary marriage; 2. Virgin Birth alone does not secure sinlessness
Hereditary taint will be conveyed by one parent as effectually as by two
The opposite, however, is certainly true, that perfect sinlessness, still more Incarnation, imply miracle in the constitution of the Person; 3. Apostles did not include Virgin Birth in their teaching
Positive statement
Subject viewed under three aspects: I. Christ's Sinlessness
New Testament postulates Christ's sinlessness
This borne out by his image
Miracle implied in a sinless Personality
Involved in Scriptural teaching of radically sinful condition of humanity (Paul, John)
Such miracle not simply spiritual
Physical and spiritual closely correlated
A perfect soul implies a perfect organism to correspond; II. Jesus a New Creative Beginning in humanity
The Second Adam
Dignity of Christ in Synoptic narratives
This again compels the assumption of miracle in Christ's origin
Theory of a purely spiritual miracle (Schleiermacher, Keim, etc.) has never been able to maintain itself
Doctrinal Bearings of the Virgin Birth: The Incarnation-Summary and Conclusion
Height of argument only reached when Jesus is regarded as
III. The Incarnate Son
Pre-existence and Incarnation not incompatible, as alleged, with Virgin Birth
Full mystery of Christ's Person not unlocked at beginning
All there, indeed, as Gospel intimations show, in germ
But Christ had to be manifested before Incarnation could be fully apprehended
On other hand, the Apostolic doctrine does not exclude, but requires, a miraculous birth
The pre-existent Son truly entered humanity
Even if Apostles did not reflect on this question, the problem was there to be solved
But every reason to believe that they did reflect on it
Incarnation to Paul a deep "mystery of godliness"
John knew narratives of Gospels, and doubtless accepted them as solution of his problem of how "the Word became flesh"
View of Paul and John not a "metaphysical" explanation
John rose to his view of Christ from his personal knowledge of Christ
What he had seen, heard, handled, of the Word of life
Their view of Christ held by the Church generally
And it involved stupendous miracle
Was this miracle necessarily a Virgin Birth?
This God in His wisdom alone could determine
Considerations which show in part the congruity of this form of miracle
Already shown that a physical miracle involved
It went down to depths of Mary's life in her motherhood
"Parthenogenesis" affords interesting analogies, but does not dispense with the miracle
With such a miracle human paternity becomes superfluous
The Virgin Birth signalises the unique character of the fact as another form of birth could not
A double miracle involved on other hypothesis in counteracting two heredities
Summary of whole argument and conclusion
Appendix
Introductory Note   Prof. Orr     233
Authors of Papers     236
The Rev. Prof. William Sanday, D.D., LL.D., Oxford     239
Sir William M. Ramsay, D.C.L., D.D., Aberdeen, Scotland     243
The Rev. George Box, M.A., Vicar of Linton, Herefordshire, England     248
The Rev. Prof. W. E. Addis, M.A., Oxford     253
The Rev. Canon R. J. Knowling, D.D., Durham, England     258
The Rev. Principal A. E. Garvie, D.D., New College, London     260
The Rev. H. Wheeler Robinson, M.A., Rawdon, by Leeds, England     267
The Rev. Prof. Theod. Zahn, D.D., Erlangen, Germany     269
The Rev. Prof. R. Seeberg, D.D., Berlin, Germany     273
The Rev. Prof. H. Bavinck, D.D., Amsterdam, Holland     275
The Rev. Prof. E. Doumergue, D.D., Montauban, France     279
The Rev. H. C. G. Moule, D.D., Bishop of Durham     282
The Rev. W. H. Griffith-Thomas, D.D., Oxford     284
The Rev. Prof. Henry Cowan, D.D., Aberdeen, Scotland     286
Mr. Joseph Jacobs, Litt.D., Yonkers, N. Y.     288
Prof. Ismar J. Peritz, Ph.D., Syracuse, N. Y.     291
Pasteur Hirsch, Paris     292
The Rev. Prof. Gabriel Oussani, D.D., Dunwoodie, N. Y.     293
Index     297
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