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Jesus' idea; a study of the real Jesus online

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from the Old Testament are designed as Jewish supports of
Gentile Fables.

St. Luke's account is also said to be primarily the attempt
of Jewish Christians to glorify the Infancy and the Childhood
of Jesus by poetic fancies, which did not, however, at first esteem
him the child of a Virgin Birth. Verses 34^ to this effect are
said to have been added by some redactor who sought to har-
monize Luke's account with that of Matthew, if possible.
Then the features of the Presentation — the action of Simeon
and Anna — are done away with; also the census of Cyrenius;
also the story of the Shepherds. The words of the angels' song,
indeed, are suggested by some Asiatic proclamations in regard
to the birth of Augustus Caesar; while Mary's journey to
Elizabeth and Jesus' visit to the Temple are disposed of in a
similar manner. All, in fact, become pious legends. That many
of the facts brought forward by these objectors are true, every
candid student will admit. His conclusion from the facts, how-
ever, will be different. That which seems, indeed, to the critic
to disprove the Virgin Birth of Jesus, and its attendant cir-
cumstances, will to spiritual insight be the foregleams of eternal
truths vouchsafed to a humanity in which Deity has ever been
profoundly interested.^

^ For able and elaborate statements of the views cited above, let
the reader consult the Articles "Nativity," by Usener, and "Mary,"
by Schmiedel, in the Encyclopaedia Biblica, and the little brochure,
"The Birth of Jesus Christ," by Wilhelm Soltau, and also "The
Virgin Birth of Christ," by Lobstein. The following objections to
the story of the Virgin Birth have also been carefully considered
by the writer, and although they appear formidable, and no doubt
are convincing to many against the fact, he has been able to meet
them, at least, to his own satisfaction. The first two chapters of
St. Matthew and of St. Luke do not form part of the main body
of the narrative, but are a later addition. The narratives are them-
selves contradictory and inconsistent in the following particulars :



282 Jesus* Idea

(a) the genealogies record a different number of generations, and
agree in only two names, (b) the scene of the Annunciation in St.
Luke is unlike that in St. Matthew; (c) there is a double indication
as to the abode of the parents^ (d) the visit of the Magi, and the
Flight into Egypt cannot be fittied into St. Ltike's narrative either
before or after the Presentation in the Temple. The narratives,
too, wheil taken separately, "raise insuperable difficulties," some
features even pointing to a mythical origin : the star of the Magi ;
the enrolment under Cyrenius; the origin of Matthew's story in
an evident desire to give prophecy a literal fulfilment; the inter-
vention of angels ; the failure of contemporaneous writers to men-
tion the massacre of the Innocents. St. Luke 2:50 is inexplicable
if Mary knew of the supernatural birth ; Mary's general attitude is
also inexplicable (St. Mk. 3:20, 21). Passing from the Synoptic
Gospels, there is no unequivocal reference to the Virgin Birth in the
New Testament. Paul ignores the doctrine, neither using it as a
proof of the sinlessness of Christ, nor of His Divinity. Twice, in
fact, he seems to exclude the idea. (Rom, 1 13; Gal. 4:4.) St. Peter,
in Acts 2:30, coincides with Paul. (See also Acts 13:23.) The
silence of the Fourth Gospel concerning the Virgin Birth shows that
the author "had found in the Logos theory a deeper explanation,
and to his mind a better one, of the Divinity of Christ," The reader
is referred to the able defenses of the Virgin Birth by the late
Doctor James Orr and the Rev. Louis W. Sweet, entitled respec-
tively, "The Virgin Birth of Christ" and "The Birth and Infancy
of Jesus Christ."



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Online LibraryFordyce Hubbard ArgoJesus' idea; a study of the real Jesus → online text (page 27 of 27)