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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Linacre College, Oxford
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