Miraculous births

Miraculous births

Miraculous births are a common motif in historical literature and religious texts. Stories of miracle births often include miraculous conceptions and features such as intervention by a deity, supernatural elements, astronomical signs, hardship or in the case of some mythologies complex plots related to creation.


Dharmic Religions


In the story of Krishna “the divine Vishnu himself descended into the womb of Devaki and was born as her son, Vasudeva (i.e., Krishna). Also, before the birth of Krishna, no one “could bear to gaze upon Devaki, from the light that invested her, and those who contemplated her radiance felt their minds disturbed.”[1]

It is widely believed that the Avatars taken by Vishnu on earth were virgin "births". In the Mahabharata epic, Karna was born to Queen Kunti by the god Surya, before her marriage to King Pandu.[8] Because she called him, the god of the Sun gave her a child, but restored her virginity, as she was as yet unmarried. After marriage, Kunti's husband, King Pandu, was cursed by a childless Brahmin, who declared that if the King were to embrace either of his two wives, then he would die. Kunti called upon the charm she had used to bear Karna in order to call other gods to her and her co-wife. In this way, the Pandavas were bestowed upon them by the gods. The implication, then, is that all six of these heroes (the five Pandavas and their brother Karna, the tragic antihero) were the results of pure, virgin births.

Many centuries later, the poet Kabir was also said to have been born of a virgin widow (a Brahmin), through the palm of her hand. Like Karna, Kabir was sent down the river in a basket; he was found and adopted by a family of Muslim weavers, downstream.[9] [10] This (presumably posthumous) account—which depicts Kabir as secretly descended from Brahmins—was intended to legitimise Kabir's religious authority in the eyes of the Hindu population who venerated his works. This story is absent from Muslim and Sikh accounts of Kabir's work.

In Hinduism, Kalki, an avatar of Vishnu, is expected to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the time period in which we currently exist. (see Vishnu)


Birth of Buddha

The stories of Buddha’s unusual birth developed through the centuries. In Buddhism, unusual birth traditions were connected with the concept of "avatar." Some accounts tell of the descent of the future Bodhisatta from the "Tusita Body" into the mother’s womb, the appearance of the Buddha in the mother as a shining gem, and the accompanying wonders in the natural world…In the Mahapadana-sutta, Digha ii. 12, is the description of the incarnation of the Vipassi Buddha.

"Now Vipassi, brethren, when, as Bodhisat, he ceased to belong to the hosts of the heaven of Delight, descended into his mother’s womb mindful and self-possessed."

According to this text, the Vapassi Buddha was the first of six incarnations to precede Gautama. The others listed are Sikhi, Vessabhu, Kakusandha, Konagamana, and Kassapa. In the early tradition it was believed that conception took place with the combined contributions of the father, the mother and the "genius," which is to say, the being to be born, Gandhabbo. "It is obvious that ancient pre-Christian Buddhism knows nothing of the virginity of the mother of Buddha." In the avatar tradition, according to Edward J. Jurji, "Nine avataras of Vishnu have 'descended' from time to time, and a tenth, the Kalki-avatara (see, Dashavatara) has long been expected." (as quoted by Boslooper)

The most popular legendary account of the birth of Buddha is in the Nidanakatha Jataka (see, Jataka tales) which accounted for the lives of Buddha in previous incarnations. In this account, the “Great Being” chose the time and place of his birth, the tribe into which he would be born, and who his mother would be. In the time chosen by him, Maya, his mother, fell asleep and dreamed that four archangels carried her to the Himalayan Mountains where their queens bathed and dressed her. In her dream the Great Being soon entered her womb from her side, in the form of a white elephant. When she woke, she told her dream to the Raja, who summoned sixty-four eminent Brahmans to interpret it.

“The Brahmans said, ‘Be not anxious, O king! Your queen has conceived: and the fruit of her womb will be a man-child; it will not be a woman-child. You will have a son. And he, if he adopts a householder’s life, will become a king, a Universal Monarch; but if, leaving his home, he adopt the religious life, he will become a Buddha, who will remove from the world the veils of ignorance and sin.'"

It is told that the mother and son were watched over by four angels, and of the necessity of the mother's early death, of how a "Bodisat leaves his mother's womb erect and unsoiled, like a preacher descending from a pulpit or a man from a ladder, erect, stretching out his hands and feet, unsoiled by any impurities from contact with his mother's womb, pure and fair, and shining like a gem placed on fne muslin of Benares." Also we read, "Buddha's mother was the "very best of women."

"Then is described how at his birth he took seven great steps and at the seventh he shouted, 'I am the chief of the world,' how he at birth held in his hand some medicine that became for him the drug by which he later healed the sick and blind and deaf, how at birth he wished to give a gift but was presented one himself by his mother, and how lastly he sang the song of victory.'

Mithra and Mithras

In Indian mythology, Mithra is known as Mitra. He was originally a god of contracts and friendship and was a forerunner of the Graeco-Roman god Mithras. In Iran, he developed into the protector of truth. Before the time of Zoroaster, he was associated with Ahura Mazda, the principle of good. As a consequence of Zoroaster's reforms to Iranian religion, Mithra was ousted from power and Ahura Mazda became supreme.[2] In the more ancient Indian Vedas Mithra was the god of light, invoked under the name of Varuna, and was called "the Light of the World." He was the mediator between heaven and Earth.

"The light bursting from the heavens, which were conceived as a solid vault, became, in the mythology of the Magi, Mithra born from the rock." [3]

Mithraism "learned" astrology from the Chaldeans after the Chaldean conquest, and continued as an astronomical religion. In the Hellenistic period it took on its final form. Mithra was assimilated into Graeco-Roman beliefs in the 1st century BC as Mithras. He was an ancient and highly honored god of Roman Paganism, where he was worshipped for more than 300 years as "the soldier's god." [4]

Abrahamic religions


In the Hebrew Bible, and in later Jewish tradition there are stories of matriarchs giving birth where the God of Israel miraculously intervenes. For example, within the Rabbinic literature expansions were made on the birth of Moses and the matriarch Sarah on the earlier Old Testament traditions.

Birth of Moses

The birth of Moses as the liberator of the people of Israel was foretold to Pharaoh by his soothsayers, in consequence of which he issued the cruel command to cast all the male children into the river.[5] The account of the creation of the water on the second day, therefore, does not close with the usual formula, "And God saw that it was good," because God foresaw that Moses would suffer through water.[5] Later on, Miriam also foretold to her father, Amram, that a son would be born to him who would liberate Israel from the yoke of Egypt.[5]

Moses was born on Adar 7 (Talmud Megillah 13b) in the year 2377 after the creation of the world.[5] He was born circumcised, and was able to walk immediately after his birth; but according to another story he was circumcised on the eighth day after birth.[5] A peculiar and glorious light filled the entire house at his birth, indicating that he was worthy of the gift of prophecy.[5] He spoke with his father and mother on the day of his birth, and prophesied at the age of three.[5] His mother kept his birth secret for three months, when Pharaoh was informed that she had borne a son.[5] The mother put the child into a casket, which she hid among the reeds of the sea before the king's officers came to her.[5] For seven days his mother went to him at night to nurse him, his sister Miriam protecting him from the birds by day.[5]

Birth of Isaac

Banishment of Hagar, Etching. À Paris chez Fr. Fanet, Éditeur, Rue des Saints Pères n° 10. XVIIIth century. Sarah is seen on the left side, looking

Sarai was originally destined to reach the age of 175 years, but forty-eight years of this span of life were taken away from her because she complained of Abraham, blaming him as though the cause that Hagar no longer respected her (R. H. 16b; Genesis Rabbah xlv. 7). Due to her old age, Sarai was sterile; but a miracle was vouchsafed to her (Genesis Rabbah xlvii. 3) after her name was changed from "Sarai" to "Sarah" (R. H. 16b). When her youth had been restored and she had given birth to Isaac, the people would not believe in the miracle, saying that the patriarch and his wife had adopted a foundling and pretended that it was their own son. Abraham thereupon invited all the notables to a banquet on the day when Isaac was to be weaned. Sarah invited the women, also, who brought their infants with them; and on this occasion she gave milk from her breasts to all the strange children, thus convincing the guests of the miracle (B. M. 87a; comp. Gen. R. liii. 13).


As recorded in Isaiah 7:14, around 735 B.C. King Ahaz of Judah received this message from the prophet Isaiah during the Syro-Ephraimite War with Aram (Syria) and Israel, "Therefore, the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign; behold, the young woman is with child, and she shall bear a son, and she shall call his name Immanuel."[6] This is generally taken by commentators to be, in the original context, a reference to the non-miraculous birth of Hezekiah or another contemporary child, as indicated in Isaiah's following indication of the timing. The the Greek Septuagint and some later Christian translations, following the application of Isaiah 7 in Matthew 1), use the word "virgin," the Hebrew word alma actually translates as "young woman," whereas arguably the Hebrew betulah - used elsewhere in Isaiah - is the word that means "virgin."[7] If the referent is to Ahaz's betrothed, Abi, daughter of the High Priest, no miraculous birth is implied, merely chastity.


There is a considerable overlap between Christian and Jewish traditions on miraculous births as Christianity evolved as a sect of 1st century Judaism. In addition, both share the Hebrew scripture (Old Testament). Scholars have argued that the nativity of Jesus if not taken as historically accurate, should be interpreted within terms of the gospels 1st century Jewish context with which it draws parallels and not foreign mythologies.[8][9]

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

In certain Christian traditions, particularly Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox, the birth of the Virgin Mary is seen as miraculous. According to Sacred Tradition the Virgin Mary's parents, St. Anne and St. Joachim, were without child, when an Angel came to them and told them they would give birth to a girl. During the conception of Mary, she was preserved from the stain of original sin.

Nativity and birth of Jesus

Romanian icon of the Nativity.

Both the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew record the birth of Jesus. In the account of the Gospel of Luke, Mary learns from the angel Gabriel that she will conceive and bear a child called Jesus. When she asks how this can be, since she is a virgin, he tells her that the Holy Spirit would "come upon her" and that "nothing will be impossible with God". She responds: "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word".[10] At the time that Mary is due to give birth, she and her husband Joseph travel from their home in Nazareth about 150 kilometres (93 mi) south to Joseph's ancestral home in Bethlehem to register in the census of Quirinius. Having found no place for themselves in the inn, they meet a man who gives the couple a place in his stable. Mary gives birth to Jesus she places the newborn in a manger (feeding trough).[11] An angel of the Lord visits the shepherds guarding their flocks in nearby fields and brings them "good news of great joy": "to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord." The angel tells them they will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger. The angel is joined by a "heavenly host" who say "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!".[12] The shepherds hurry to the manger in Bethlehem where they find Jesus with Mary and Joseph. They repeat what they have been told by the angel, and then return to their flocks.[13] Mary and Joseph take Jesus to Jerusalem to be circumcised,[14] before returning to their home in Nazareth.[15]

In the Gospel of Matthew, the impending birth is announced to Joseph in a dream, in which he is instructed to name the child Jesus.[16] A star reveals the birth of Jesus to a number (traditionally three) of magoi (magi, Greek μάγος, commonly translated as "wise man" but in this context probably meaning "astronomer" or "astrologer")[17][18] who travel to Jerusalem from an unspecified country "in the east".[19]

Herod understands the phrase "King of the Jews" as a reference to the Messiah, since he asked his advisers where the Messiah was to be born. They answer Bethlehem, the birthplace of King David, and quote the prophet Micah:[20][21] "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage," a deceitful Herod tells the magi.

As the magi travel to Bethlehem, the star "goes before" them and leads them to a house where they find and adore Jesus. They present Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.[22] In a dream, the magi receive a divine warning of Herod's intent to kill the child, whom he sees as a rival. Consequently, they return to their own country without telling Herod the result of their mission. An angel tells Joseph to flee with his family to Egypt. Meanwhile, Herod orders that all male children of Bethlehem under the age of two be killed,[23] the so-called "Massacre of the Innocents".

After Herod's death, the family return from Egypt, but, instead of going back to live in Bethlehem, fears concerning Herod's Judean successor Archelaus cause them to move to Galilee and settle in Nazareth, fulfilling, according to the author, a prophecy: "He will be called a Nazorean".[24] The Greek for this last word is Ναζωραιος.[25]

Birth of John the Baptist

John the Baptist (right) with child Jesus, painting by Bartolomé Esteban Perez Murillo

The Gospel of Luke includes an account of John's infancy, introducing him as the son of Zachariah, an old man, and his wife Elizabeth, who was sterile.[26] According to this account the birth of John was foretold by the angel Gabriel to Zachariah, while Zachariah was performing his functions as a priest in the temple of Jerusalem; since Zachariah is described as a priest of the course of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, as one of the daughters of Aaron[27] this would make John a descendant of Aaron on both his father's and mother's side.[28]

The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was conceived when Elizabeth was about six months pregnant; when her cousin, the Virgin Mary, came to tell her about her news, Elizabeth's unborn child 'jumped for joy' in her womb.[29] Zachariah had lost his speech at the behest and prophecy of the angel Gabriel,[30] and it was restored on the occasion of Zachariah naming John.[31] On the basis of Luke's account, the Catholic calendar placed the feast of John the Baptist on June 24, six months before Christmas.[32] According to Luke, Jesus and John the Baptist were related, their mothers being cousins.[33]

The many similarities between the accounts of the birth of Samuel in the Old Testament have led some scholars to suggest that this is the model for the Gospel of Luke story of the birth of John and of the annunciation and birth of Jesus.[34]

The pseudepigraphal and apocryphal traditions

After the 1st century, traditions flourished that represented the thinking of that time, and also preserved source material for many of the ideas in the "theological writings of the church fathers." In their present form the pseudepigraphal writings contained in the Sibylline Oracles include literature written from the 2nd century B.C. through the 6th century of the Christian era. They contain some material relevant to the birth and infancy of Jesus. But this passage in the Oracles, Book III, probably represents the hopes of pre-Christian Alexandrian Jews.[1]

"Be of good cheer, O maiden, and exult; for the Eternal, who made heaven and earth has given thee joy, and he will dwell in thee, and for thee shall be an immortal light. And wolves and lambs promiscuously shall eat grass in the mountains, and among the kids shall leopards graze, And wandering bears shall lodge among the calves, and the carnivorous lion shall eat straw in the manger like the ox, and little children lead them with a band. For tame will be on earth the beasts he made, And with young babes will dragons fall asleep, and no harm, for God’s hand will be on them." [35]

Later, the church fathers refer to subsequent books in the Oracles that are clear allusions to Christ, and probably dated from the close of the second or beginning of the 3rd century A.D. The first Christian theologians demonstrated in their writings their knowledge of such non-canonical sources.

The Apocryphal Gospels contain much that is pertinent. The Apocryphal literature departs from the Christian canon and its legends have many elements similar to Pagan stories representing popular beliefs of the church from the second Christian century on through the Middle Ages.[1]


Mary and Jesus in old Persian Shi'a miniature.

The Qur'an and other Islamic literature contain reports of a number of miraculous births of biblical characters. The Qur'an describes virginal conception of Jesus by Mary (Arabic: Maryam), which is recounted throughout several passages in the Qur'an. The narrative goes that Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel that she will give birth to a holy son, named Isa' (Jesus), the Messiah and that he will be a great prophet, to whom God will give the Injil (Gospel) and he will speak in infancy and maturity and will be a companion to the most righteous. When this news was given to Mary, she asked the angel how she can have a baby as she was a virgin.[36] To this, the angel replied "Even though when God wants to create a matter, he merely wills (Kun-fa-yakun) it and the things come into being".[37]

After giving birth, while resting near the trunk of a palm tree Jesus spoke to Mary from the cradle instructing her to shake the tree and obtain its fruits. After showing Jesus as a new-born to her family Jesus again spoke "Lo, I am God's servant; God has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet. Blessed he has made me, wherever I may be; and He has enjoined me to pray, and to give alms, so long as I live and likewise to cherish my mother" in order to and in order to dispel rumours of conception.[38][39] This birth narrative draws strong parallels to the apocryphal tradition of Jesus' birth within the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and Arabic Infancy Gospel.

Assyrian and Babylonian mythology

The Assyrian and Babylonian concept of origins expressed procreation first in “relationships between gods and goddesses resulting in other gods and goddesses," such as Ea and Damkina assisted by Apsu giving birth to Marduk. The Akkadian “Creation Epic”, the most likely parallel to the Biblical virgin birth, describes the birth of Marduk in this way: “Ea, having overheard the plan of the primordial deities to destroy the other gods, deceived Apsu and Mummu and put them to death. ‘Ea, his triumph over his enemies secured, in his sacred chamber in profound peace he rested.’ (ANET, p. 61, lines 74—75.) Then he took over the place which Apsu had used for his cult.” It was here that Marduk, the “most potent and wisest of gods” was created in the heart of Apsu and “He who begot him was Ea, his father...”

According to Norman Lockyer, Ea, Ia, or Oannes was the primal god of Babylon. He was a ‘Great God, Maker of Men, Potter, Artist and Workman.’ He formed a Triad with Anu and Bil—the two poles of heaven and the equator.[40] Oannes first appeared from the sea to teach the Babylonians the art of writing, sciences and crafts, the building of cities, the surveying of land, the observation of the stars, and the sowing and harvesting of all kinds of grains and plants. He was believed to have been "reincarnated" several times. Berossos, priest of the Temple of Bel, in Babylon, knew of as many as six such reincarnations.[41]

In addition, “procreative deities, either male or female, played a part in the birth of other deities or great personages, such as the Ugaritic tradition of Lady Asherah, ‘the Progenitress of the gods’; Mami, 'the Mother-womb, the one who creates mankind'; Father Nanna, the 'begetter of gods and men'; the Assyrian traditions that Tukulti-Urta was created by the gods in the womb of his mother and that Sennacherib's birth was assisted by Ea, who provided a 'spacious womb', and Assur, 'the god, my begetter'; and the North Arabian myth of the mother goddess who was responsible for Dusares." [1]

Egyptian mythology

The belief in the conception of Horus by Isis is traced to the beginning of Egyptian history. Horus' conception and birth were understood in terms of the Egyptian doctrine of parthenogenesis, which was connected with the goddess Neith of Sais. (page 220) [42] In Upper Egypt, Net was worshipped at Seni and represented with the head of a lioness painted green, with the titles: "Father of fathers and Mother of mothers," and "net-Menhit, the great lady, lady of the south, the great cow who gave birth to the sun, who made the germ of gods and men, the mother of Ra, who raised up Tem in primeval time, who existed when nothing else had being, and who created that which exists after she had come into being."(page 150)[43]

Many of the attributes of Isis, the God-mother, the mother of Horus; and of Neith, the goddess of Sais are identical with those of Mary the Mother of Christ." (page 161) [1] Early Christian stories in the Apocryphal Gospels, which record the wanderings of the Virgin and Child in Egypt are similar to stories found on the Metternich Stela texts about the life of Isis. (page 161)[1] Also, the pictures and sculptures of Isis suckling her child Horus are the foundation for Christian figurines and paintings of the Madonna and Child. Of course, the legend of the birth of Horus has many elements not found even in the Apocryphal Gospels. Egyptian texts mention numerous forms of Horus. In one he is "Heru-sa Ast, sa-Asar, or Horus, son of Isis, son of Osiris." Isis is described in the Hymn to Osiris, as finding and restoring the body of her dead husband, and using magical words given her by Thoth to restore him to life. Then, by uniting with Osiris she conceives Horus. Horus represented the rising sun and in this respect was comparable to the Greek Apollo. [44]

There were at least fifteen other Horuses in the Egyptian pantheon,[45] so in the story of Isis and Osiris Horus is "sometimes known as Harsiesis, to distinguish him from the others. He is depicted as a falcon, or with a falcon's head. He eventually avenged Osiris' death and reclaimed the throne, ruling peacefully...Herakhty, or 'Horus of the Horizon', was a sun god who rose each morning on the eastern horizon. He was often identified with the sun god, Ra, and was eventually absorbed by him, forming Ra-Herakhty." [45]

Lineal descent from Ra, whether by birth or by marriage, was claimed by all kings of Egypt at least since User-ka-f, first king of the Vth Dynasty, who was high priest of Re at Heliopolis. An important part of this tradition was the legend of the God Re generating with the wife of a priest. "The newborn child was regarded as a god incarnate, and later with appropriate ceremonies he was presented to Re or Amen-Re, in his temple, where the god accepted it and acknowledged it to be his child." This tradition was later inscribed in a stereotyped form in temple reliefs.[1]

Many texts mention different attributes of Isis. These were combined into a single narrative by Plutarch in the 1st century AD. In her aspect of protector of Egypt and its people, Isis is depicted with huge outspread wings. She taught women to grind corn, to spin and to weave, and she taught the people how to cure illnesses. She instituted the rite of marriage. When her consort, Osiris, left Egypt to travel the world, Isis ruled the country in his absence. "The hieroglyph for her name is the image of a throne, and her lap came to be seen as the throne of Egypt. Because of her fame Isis eventually absorbed the qualities of almost all the other goddesses; "she was a great mother goddess, a bird goddess, a goddess of the underworld who brought life to the dead, and a goddess of the primeval waters...Her following spread beyond Egypt to Greece and throughout the Roman Empire...(lasting) from before 3000 BC until well into Christian times.[46]

Greco-Roman mythology


Perseus: Perseus was the son of Danaë. She was locked away while a young girl, to prevent her having children, but Zeus came to her in the form of a shower of gold and impregnated her. The golden shower has from ancient times been interpreted as a reference to bribery of those in charge of keeping her.[citation needed] The Greek Anthology has the following: ZEUS, turned to gold, piercing the brazen chamber of Danae, cut the knot of intact virginity.

Greco-Roman and Hellenistic literature is rich in the tradition of birth among the gods. The legend of Perseus, whose mother conceived him by Jupiter in the form of a golden shower seems to be the basic legend, but there are many others. Stories of the creation of gods and goddesses by other gods and goddesses include the traditions of generation of Apollo by Zeus and Leto, of Theseus by Zeus and Maia, of Dionysus by Zeus and Semele, of Dionysus Zagreus by Zeus and Persephone, and of Persephone by Zeus and Demeter. The birth of gods by generation of a god with a mortal woman include the birth of Hercules by the union of Zeus and Alcmena and that of Pan by Hermes with a shepherdess. Finally, heroes created by generation of a god with a mortal include Ion by Apollo and Creusa, Romulus by Mars and Aemila, Asclepius by Apollo and Coronis, and Helen by Zeus and Leda.

Heroes and historical figures

Included in the legends of heroes would be Alexander the Great, "who journeyed to the Oasis of Amen in order that he might be recognized as the god’s son and thus become a legitimate and recognized king of Egypt. Inscriptions show that he and the Ptolemies after him had the incidents of their birth regularly depicted in temple reliefs.”

For the Greeks, divine and human parentage were not mutually exclusive, and according to Norden, the miraculous stories of the origin of the Caesars belong to "the Hellenistic virgin motif." (as cited by Boslooper--where (?)) Augustus was said to have had a miraculous birth and a childhood filled with many portents and signs (?).

“The Emperor Augustus was praised as the Savior of the world…(but) the idea of Savior was not unique or original with Augustus himself. Before him the same title was given Seleucid and other Hellenistic kings. Throughout this period there were frequent longings for a savior from the present troubles.”

The hope for a savior was expressed in Virgil’s “Fourth Eclogue,” which the Church fathers later claimed was a reference to Jesus Christ. Antiquarians De Santillana and von Dechend have argued that Virgil was no prophet; that many others looked forward to the coming of Pisces, the return of Kronos-Saturn, the Golden Age. But particularly relevant in the context of the miraculous birth of Jesus is the fact that "(Pisces) was introduced by the thrice-repeated Great conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Pisces in the year 6 B.C., the star of Bethlehem." [47] Basically, a new era was expected, in fulfillment of an older oracle.

"...Now the last age by Cumae's Sibyl sung Has come and gone, and the majestic roll Of circling centuries begins anew: Justice returns, returns old Saturn's reign, With a new breed of men sent down from heaven. Only do thou, at the boy's birth in whom The iron shall cease, the golden race arise, Befriend him, chaste Lucina; 'tis thine own Apollo reigns... "For thee, O boy, First shall the earth, untilled, pour freely forth Her childish gifts, the gadding ivy-spray With foxglove and Egyptian bean-flower mixed, And laughing-eyed acanthus. Of themselves, Untended, will the she-goats then bring home Their udders swollen with milk, while flocks afield Shall of the monstrous lion have no fear..." [48]


Zoroaster’s name has been adopted from the Greek and Latin Zoroastres. The ancient form of his name in the Avesta is Zarathustra. His native country was probably Media in Western Iran, (possibly in modern Azerbaijan), but his ministry took place in eastern Iran, especially in the region of Bactria, about 1200 BC. Zoroaster was originally a Magian priest, and under the reforms he instituted, Mithra became one of the Yazatas (Worshipful Ones), the angels or lesser divine beings.

Zoroaster, whose faith was a type of monotheism, taught that a conflict between the opposing forces of light and darkness would last for 12,000 years, divided into eons of 3000 years each. His birth marked the beginning of the final eon, which was to be presided over by Zoroaster himself and his three sons who would be born after his death. The last of these would be the Messiah, or Saoshyant. The purpose of Zoroaster’s coming was to guide man, a free agent, to chose the right so that the world may become perfect. He taught that there would be a final battle between good and evil; the good would be victorious and the Messiah (Saoshyant) would rule. His reign would be accompanied by the resurrection of the dead and the judgment of the world.[49]

"It was said that (Zoroaster's) birth was foretold from the beginning of time, and that the moment he was born, he burst out laughing and the whole universe rejoiced with him." After his birth evil demons tried to destroy him, but with Ahura Mazda's protection, he survived all attempts on his life.[2] The Zoroastrian tradition differs from the Christian one because the divine only assists in the preservation of Zoroaster’s seed. "The central scripture, the Avesta and also the Pahlavi texts include the tradition that the 'kingly glory' is handed onward from ruler to ruler and from saint to saint for the purpose of illuminating ultimately the soul of the Zarathushtra." Also the scriptures clearly allude to conjugal relations between his parents, during which evil spirits try to prevent his conception.[1] But according to later tradition, Zoroaster's mother, Dughdova, was a virgin when she conceived Zoroaster by a shaft of light.[2]

Zoroaster performed numerous miracles, winning over a king to his religion, who then tried to convert others. "Tradition says that he was murdered at the age of 77 while at his prayers."[2]

Other traditions


  • According to some traditions,[vague] Laozi, an ancient Chinese philosopher and the founder of Daoism, was born an old man. This may be because the characters for Lao Tzu (老子) which are usually read "old master" can also be read "old child".


  • The myth of Huitzilopochtli is uniquely Aztec. Huitzilopochtli is therefore considered to be the cult god or the patron god of the Aztec. As a solar deity, Huitzilopochtli is closely related to and overlaps with Tonatiuh. Huitzilopochtli’s mother was Coatlicue, or She of the Serpent Skirt. Coatlicue, known for her devout nature and virtuous qualities, was at Mt. Coatepec one day, sweeping and tending to her penance, when she discovered a bundle of feathers on the ground. She decided to save them and placed them in her bosom. Without her realizing, the feathers impregnated her.[50]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Boslooper, Thomas, The Virgin Birth, The Westminster Press, Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 62-7941.
  2. ^ a b c d Egyptian mythology, Lorenz, London, 2000
  3. ^ "[1]",The Philosophies and Religions of the Roman Empire: Mithraism
  4. ^ [2]",Mithraism: newadvent.org
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j JewishEncyclopedia.com - MOSES
  6. ^ Isaiah 7:14.
  7. ^ Does the Hebrew Word Alma Really Mean "Virgin"?
  8. ^ James D.G. Dunn, "Myth" in Dictionary of Jesus and Gospels ed. Joel B. Green, et al.
  9. ^ R.D. Aus, Matthew 1-2 and the Virginal Conception in Light of Palestinian and Hellenistic Judaic Traditions on the Birth of Israel's First Redeemer Moses (Studies in Judaism, Landham: University Press of America, 2004).
  10. ^ Luke 1:31-38.
  11. ^ Luke 2:1-7.
  12. ^ Luke 2:10-14.
  13. ^ Luke 2:16-20.
  14. ^ Luke 2:22.
  15. ^ Luke 2:39.
  16. ^ Matthew 2:21.
  17. ^ Brown, Raymond Edward (November 1988). An Adult Christ at Christmas: Essays on the Three Biblical Christmas Stories. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press. p. 11. ISBN 0-8146-0997-X. 
  18. ^ Freedman, David; Myers, Allen C.; Beck, Astrid B. (November 2000). Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI.: Eerdmans. p. 844. ISBN 0-8028-2400-5. 
  19. ^ Matthew 2:1-4.
  20. ^ Matthew 2:4-6.
  21. ^ Micah 5:2-4.
  22. ^ Matthew 2:9-11.
  23. ^ Matthew 2:12–16.
  24. ^ Matthew 2:23.
  25. ^ Aland, Barbara; Aland, Kurt; Martini, Carlo M.; Karavidopoulos, Johannes; Metzger, Bruce M. (December 1983). Novum Testamentum Graece Et Latine—Greek/Latin New Testament. American Bible Society. p. 5. ISBN 3-438-05401-9. 
  26. ^ Just, Arthur A.; Oden, Thomas C. (2003), Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture - Luke: New Testament III, InterVarsity Press; p. 10. Luke 1:7
  27. ^ Luke 1:5
  28. ^ 'Aaron', In: Mills, Watson E. (ed.) (1998) Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 5, Macon GA: Mercer University Press, ISBN 0865542996; page 1
  29. ^ Luke 1:44
  30. ^ Luke 1:20"And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words...."
  31. ^ Luke 1:64"And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke...."
  32. ^ Englebert, Omer (1951). The Lives of the Saints. New York: Barnes & Noble. p. 529. ISBN 978-1566195164. 
  33. ^ Luke 1:36
  34. ^ Freed, Edwin D. (2001), The Stories of Jesus' Birth: a Critical Introduction Continuum International, pp. 87-90.
  35. ^ Terry, Milton Spenser, Aloisius Rzach, The Sibylline Oracles, Eaton & Mains, Cincinnati:: Curtis & Jennings, 1899 (page 93, lines 975-984).
  36. ^ Holy Qur'an, Chapter 3, Verse 43
  37. ^ Qur'an, Chapter 3, verse 47.
  38. ^ "Isa", Encyclopedia of Islam
  39. ^ Quran 19:30–31
  40. ^ Lockyer, Norman, The dawn of astronomy : a study of temple worship and mythology of the ancient Egyptians. With a preface by Giorgio de Santillana, Mineola, NY. : Dover Publications, Inc., 2006.
  41. ^ Orpheus the fisher; comparative studies in Orphic and early Christian cult symbolism, J. M. Watkins, London, 1921
  42. ^ Budge, E. A. Wallis, The Gods of the Egyptians, II, Dover Publications, New York, 1904
  43. ^ Erman, Adolf, The Literature of the Ancient Egyptians, B. Blom, New York, 1971, 1927
  44. ^ "[3]"Apollo: hammerwood.mistral.com.uk
  45. ^ a b "[4]"
  46. ^ "[5]",Isis: crystalinks.com
  47. ^ de Santillana, Giorgio and Hertha von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill: an essay investigating the origins of human knowledge and its transmission through myth, David R. Godine, Publisher, inc. New Hampshire, 1977
  48. ^ "[6]", Virgil's 4th eclogue: Classics.mit.edu
  49. ^ "[7]", Jewishencyclopedia.com: Zoroastrianism
  50. ^ http://aztecgods.blogspot.com/2008/06/birth-of-huitzilopochtli.html

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