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Born of a Virgin? Reconceiving Jesus in the Bible, Tradition, and Theology

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2013 / Paperback

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Product Description

This engaging book enables ordinary Christians to understand and give honest expression to the problems surrounding the virgin birth - a concept that many Christians are not sure how to handle.

Andrew Lincoln's Born of a Virgin? begins by discussing why the virgin birth is such a difficult and divisive topic. The book then deals with a whole range of issues - literary, historical, and hermeneutical - from a critical yet positive perspective that takes seriously creedal confessions and theological concerns.

As part of his exegetical investigation of the New Testament texts, Lincoln considers the literary genre and distinctive characteristics of the birth narratives as ancient biography. Further, he delineates how changes in our views of history and biography decisively affect any traditional understanding of the significance of an actual virgin birth. He also explores what that means for the authority of Scripture and creed, along with implications for Christology and for preaching and teaching from the birth narratives.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN-13: 9780802869258
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

This book will appeal to those many Christians who struggle with the concept of the virgin birth. Andrew Lincoln's Born of a Virgin? begins by discussing why the virgin birth is such a difficult and divisive topic for Christians. The book then deals with a whole range of literary, historical, and hermeneutical issues from a perspective that takes seriously creedal confessions and theological concerns.

As part of his exegetical investigation of the New Testament texts, Lincoln considers the literary genre and distinctive characteristics of the birth narratives as ancient biography. Further, he delineates how changes in our views of history and biology decisively affect any traditional understanding of the significance of an actual virgin birth, and he explores what that means for the authority of Scripture and creed, along with implications for Christology and for preaching and teaching from the birth narratives.

Author Bio

Andrew T. Lincoln is Portland Professor of New Testament Studies at the University of Gloucestershire, England. His previous books include Truth on Trial: The Lawsuit Motif in the Fourth Gospel and commentaries on Ephesians, Colossians,

Endorsements

A thorough and far-reaching investigation of the topic of Jesus' conception. Andrew Lincoln, one of the finest New Testament exegetes of our time, challenges the view that the New Testament offers a single perspective on Jesus' birth, and he makes a strong case for disentangling the doctrine of the incarnation from the tradition of the 'virgin birth.' This book offers the most important contribution to the subject of Jesus' earthly origins in many years.
-Edward Adams,
King's College London

Certain topics are such a focus of controversy and attention that eventually we come to feel that all has been said that can or should be said. Then along comes a groundbreaking book that arrives like a breath of fresh air and allows us to see the familiar with new eyes. Andrew Lincoln's volume on the virginal conception is such a work. Not only does it offer insightful explanation of what the infancy stories in Matthew and Luke say, but it also identifies and explores the contrasting perspectives on the topic from other New Testament authors. . . . Lincoln's excellent, clear, and comprehensive treatment is sure to be considered the volume to turn to on this topic for many years to come.
-James McGrath,
Butler University

With an engaging blend of sensitivity and erudition, Lincoln charts the rise to dominance of the 'virgin birth' -- despite other New Testament accounts of Jesus' origins -- and shows how recent biblical scholarship, biology, and worldviews demand a reappraisal of the tradition for the modern church. This masterly study is essential reading for confessing Christians who struggle with accepting the historicity of the virginal conception. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
-Helen Bond,
University of Edinburgh

Lincoln's masterly literary and historical analyses of the traditions relating to Jesus' birth in the New Testament and beyond offer theological and hermeneutical reflection at its best and a model for maintaining a responsible conversation between opposing views. On a subject where some think there is little more to say, this book provides a theological education in miniature.
-Robert Morgan,
Linacre College, Oxford

Editorial Reviews

Review of Biblical Literature
"A thought-provoking and welcome study of the critical and theological issues surrounding the virgin birth of Jesus. . . . One hopes that Lincoln's findings will make their way into seminary classrooms and from there into the church."

Edward Adams
-- King's College London
"A thorough and far-reaching investigation of the topic of Jesus' conception. Andrew Lincoln, one of the finest New Testament exegetes of our time, challenges the view that the New Testament offers a single perspective on Jesus' birth, and he makes a strong case for disentangling the doctrine of the incarnation from the tradition of the 'virgin birth.' This book offers the most important contribution to the subject of Jesus' earthly origins in many years."

James McGrath
-- Butler University
"Certain topics are such a focus of controversy and attention that eventually we come to feel that all has been said that can or should be said. Then along comes a groundbreaking book that arrives like a breath of fresh air and allows us to see the familiar with new eyes. Andrew Lincoln's volume on the virginal conception is such a work. Not only does it offer insightful explanation of what the infancy stories in Matthew and Luke say, but it also identifies and explores the contrasting perspectives on the topic from other New Testament authors. . . . Lincoln's excellent, clear, and comprehensive treatment is sure to be considered the volume to turn to on this topic for many years to come."

Helen Bond
-- University of Edinburgh
"With an engaging blend of sensitivity and erudition, Lincoln charts the rise to dominance of the 'virgin birth' -- despite other New Testament accounts of Jesus' origins -- and shows how recent biblical scholarship, biology, and worldviews demand a reappraisal of the tradition for the modern church. This masterly study is essential reading for confessing Christians who struggle with accepting the historicity of the virginal conception. I cannot recommend it highly enough."

Robert Morgan
-- Linacre College, Oxford
"Lincoln's masterly literary and historical analyses of the traditions relating to Jesus' birth in the New Testament and beyond offer theological and hermeneutical reflection at its best and a model for maintaining a responsible conversation between opposing views. On a subject where some think there is little more to say, this book provides a theological education in miniature."

The Bible Today
"In this thoughtful and serious study, Lincoln provides a thorough examination of the diverse biblical traditions about the conception and birth of Jesus as well as its interpretation in subsequent church teachings about the Incarnation. . . . Lincoln's treatment of this issue is most respectful of the church's tradition, even as he attempts to make a case for understanding the doctrine of the virginal conception in a non-literal way."

New Horizons
"In this volume, seasoned New Testament scholar Andrew Lincoln is sympathetic to Christian creedal tradition, but reevaluates the traditional view of the virgin birth of Jesus. His approach leads him to conclude that Jesus is the physical son of Mary and Joseph, and that to focus on the means of the Incarnation is to miss the glory of the Incarnation."

Regent's Reviews
"Lincoln's final chapter is masterly in its exploration of this issue, making the key point that it is the whole life and work of Jesus that makes him savior, not just a miraculous conception (and, virginal or not, the incarnation is still miraculous). Everyone in ministry should try to read at least the first and last chapters of this book. It is reverent and respectful of the tradition while challenging the centuries-old view that Mary was a virgin when she conceived. The Jesus who emerges is, in my view, even more worthy of our worship and even more evidently the Son of God."

Catholic Biblical Quarterly
"A fine example of the application of biblical scholarship and theological hermeneutics to a part of tradition too often sentimentalized or passed over with averted eyes. If tradition is not to become fossilized and thereby to deserve the ridicule it garners from skeptics, it needs, and is worthy of, critical examination and the application of interpretive lenses that will make it glow with truth for our time. Congratulations to Andrew Lincoln for having done just that."

Religious Studies Review
"Persons who want a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer to questions about the historicity of the virgin birth should not read this book, but persons who want to think in a careful and nuanced fashion about the traditions and doctrinal developments surrounding the virgin birth definitely should. . . . The volume has far more to offer than a simple pro and con analysis of the historical realities behind Jesus's birth; it offers an excellent model of engaging in Biblical theology in the modern world."

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