Sunday, February 01, 2009

Of Fertility Gods and Virgins

A fuller version of this can be found at, "Emergen[t]cy"

I am working on a two large papers. One for my Biblical Counseling class, and the other topic spun off this one and I am critiquin (basically page 26) a book by Rob Bell entitled the Velvet Jesus. I will post the quote I am most concerned about... remember, Rob Bell a page later says he believes in the historicity of the thhings he mentioned... however, that doesn't explain how he presents a hypothetical that doesn't exist. In fact, it never will because we know the history of that time period pretty well.

Here is the quote:

What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archaeologists find Larry's tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births? But what if as you study the origin of the word virgin, you discover that the word virgin in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew Lan­guage at that time, the word virgin could mean several things. And what if you discover that in the first century being "born of a virgin" also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first 'time she had intercourse?

And here is a small response to it that is part of my larger paper.

"What about Dionysus, the god of wine and fertil­ity who's also known as Bacchus?" I asked. "He's frequently cited as being the product of a virgin birth."

"No, there's no evidence of a virgin birth for Dionysus," Yamau­chi said. "As the story goes, Zeus, disguised as a human, fell in love with the princess Semele, the daughter of Cadmus, and she became pregnant. Hera, who was Zeus's queen, arranged to have her burned to a crisp, but Zeus rescued the fetus and sewed him into his own thigh until Dionysus was born. So this is not a virgin birth in any sense."[1]

[1] Lee Strobel, The Case for the Real Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2007), 180.