Criticism Interpretation

Born of a Woman by John Shelby Spong

By John Shelby Spong

John Shelby Spong, bestselling writer and Episcopal bishop of Newark, NJ, demanding situations the doctrine of the virgin delivery, tracing its improvement within the early Christian church and revealing its legacy in our modern attitudes towards ladies and feminine sexuality.

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Sample text

The maximum conclusion is that neither version is historic. This lat­ ter conclusion is the overwhelming consensus of biblical scholars today. Indeed, it is an almost uncontested conclusion, and to that conclusion I subscribe. To buttress this conclusion I enter that exciting and revealing period of history between the death of our Lord and the first written records. There I look for hints, clues, fears, threats, myths, legends, assumptions, worldviews that will illumine the process that will finally produce a full­ blown written explanation of the origins of Jesus.

Luke, aware of this Hebrew legend, had Jesus, in Elijah fashion, be­ gin a journey with his disciples to his final destiny. As part of this final journey, Jesus sent his disciples ahead to prepare his way. When the Samaritan villages did not receive these disciples appropriately, they re­ turned to Jesus angry and requested that fire from heaven be called down to destroy these Samaritans (Luke 9:54) . Jewish readers familiar with their traditions would recognize this as a request for the use of the Elijah power.

He was not a nobody, he was of the royal house of David. We can trace his genealogy. He was not alienated from his family. His earthly father acknowledged him by conferring a name upon him. His mother kept all these wonders in her heart and pondered them. His birth was not unnoticed. Angels sang of him, shepherds journeyed to his manger, Eastern sages brought gifts that foretold his greatness. So the battle to save the startling and scandalous insight that God could be seen and experienced in the self-giving love emerging from the life and heart of a betrayed, denied, forsaken, executed man began to shift from the events at the end of Jesus' life to the events at the begin­ ning of Jesus' life.

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