By John Shelby Spong
John Shelby Spong, bestselling writer and Episcopal bishop of Newark, NJ, demanding situations the doctrine of the virgin start, tracing its improvement within the early Christian church and revealing its legacy in our modern attitudes towards girls and feminine sexuality.
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Extra resources for Born of a Woman
Yet every human experience has to be processed. The only means we have to do this is by and through the use of words and symbols. Even the word God was, and is, a culturally conditioned construct. The first-century world, and ancient people generally, thought of God after the analogy of a superhuman person. The human image of the highest rank was a king. The king was male, sovereign over a single nation, and the most powerful person in the land. God was pictured as a superking, very much male, with sovereignty over the whole world, with power beyond human comprehension.
They are akin to the suggestion that the boy George Washington never told a lie, even when he cut down the cherry tree, or to the fasci nation with the early life of a boy named Abraham Lincoln, who grew up, it was said, in a log cabin on the American frontier. Perhaps birth stories about figures of history are inevitable. When those figures of history are also religious persons of great import to living faith systems, it is almost inevitable that in time a literalizing process will engulf the legendary birth narratives, and adherents of the faith system will begin to suggest that the interpretive birth stories were in fact actual events that took place in history.
Prior to whatever Easter was, there was no talk of Jesus' divinity, of incarnational concepts, or of trini tarian formulas. Jesus was a Jew who, after his death, was in some way believed to have been included in the very life of God. The mythological way of saying that was called the exaltation. God had exalted Jesus to God's right hand. It was this understanding of Jesus that produced the story of the exaltation. The ecstatic cry "Jesus is Lord," elicited by the experience of Easter, became the first creed of the Christian church.
Born of a Woman by John Shelby Spong