The Table Briefing: Was The Virgin Birth Copied From Myths? -- By: Darrell L. Bock

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 175:700 (Oct 2018)
Article: The Table Briefing: Was The Virgin Birth Copied From Myths?
Author: Darrell L. Bock

The Table Briefing: Was The Virgin Birth Copied From Myths?

Darrell L. Bock


Mikel Del Rosario

Darrell L. Bock is Senior Research Professor in New Testament Studies and Executive Director for Cultural Engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. Mikel Del Rosario is a doctoral student in New Testament Studies, Project Manager for Cultural Engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary, and Adjunct Professor of Christian Apologetics and World Religion at William Jessup University, Rocklin, California.

Is the doctrine of the virgin birth based on a true story? Many skeptics challenge the historicity and uniqueness of the virgin birth. For example, some suggest that the story of Jesus’s virginal conception was patterned after pagan myths. This idea first gained popularity a decade ago when millions of viewers saw Peter Joseph’s conspiracy film Zeitgeist.1 Today, these challenges persist online and in the public square. How can Christians begin to engage?

On an episode of The Table called “Was the Virgin Birth Copied from Other Religions?” we discussed the data surrounding this issue with Houston Baptist University Assistant Professor of Apologetics Mary Jo Sharp. In this briefing, we highlight key portions of our discussion surrounding potential parallels and outline Sharp’s three-step approach for engaging them. We survey five potentially parallel narratives from the ancient world that tend to surface in these conversations, and we consider the likelihood that the church invented the story of Jesus’s virginal conception.

Potential Parallels

How should a Christian approach a potential parallel that challenges the historicity of the virgin birth? Bock and Sharp discuss three steps to take.

Bock: When someone says, “The virgin birth of Jesus is just a mirror of something that came long before,” how do you investigate something like that? What is your advice to people?

Sharp: People, at first, don’t think to investigate it. You should want to investigate if you hear a claim like this. . . . When I see this argument made, it’s not really that people have deeply investigated it, it’s more like “That sounds right, I think I’ll go with that.” But they haven’t really looked at both sides. . . .

The first thing I tell people is “You need to get the whole story.” So if . . . you’ve watched Bill Maher . . . saying the story of Jesus is an exact copy of HorusYou must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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