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 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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In both, Joseph is of Davidic de­ scent (Matt. r:r6, 20; Luke 1:27, 32; 2 :4). Though the details differ graph­ ically, both contain an angelic announcement about the child who is com­ ing (Matt. 1:20-23; Luke 1:30-35) . Both assert that the conception of this child is not through sexual intercourse with Mary's husband (Matt. 1:20, 23, 25; Luke 1:34) but rather is accomplished by an action that in some way involves God's Spirit (Matt. r:r8, 20; Luke 1:35) . Although directed to a different person in each, an angelic decree that the child's name is to be Jesus is found in both Gospels (Matt.

Elijah needed a chariot. Jesus seemed to have ascended on his own power. Luke said that Jesusl disciples, like Elisha, witnessed the ascension so they were eligible to receive the Spirit of their master. Elijah bestowed a double portion of his enormous but still-human spirit on his single disciple, Elisha. Jesus, the new and greater Elijah, poured the infi­ nite power of God's Holy Spirit upon the entire gathered Christian community (Acts 2:1ff) . It came as a mighty rushing wind because the Hebrew word for spirit, ruach, is also the name for wind, which was thought to be nothing less than the breath of God.

Rs:r3) to describe that moment. Paul's clear assumption was that the birth of Jesus was completely normal and completely human. One does not need a supernatural birth to be declared Son of God in a Jewish context. Indeed, delving into or speculating about the origins of a life that was vindicated by God was of no great import to Paul or, presumably, to the early Christian church. ) stood as a witness to a normal human birth process for Jesus. It must be noted that despite his presumption of a natural birth, he none­ theless developed a profound Christology.

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