September 30, 2007

By a familiar mythopoeic process

The Virgin Birth and the Earliest Christian Tradition
(By K.D.Sethna; Published by The Integral Life Foundation, U.S.A.; Price: Rs. 85.00, pp.92)
The Virgin-Birth doctrine is a much discussed topic among theologians and comparatists of religions. The Gospel of the Hebrews, the early Christian Apocryphal book informs us: “The saviour himself saith, ‘Even now my mother the Holy Spirit took me!’”
In the fourth century Aphraates of Edessa spoke of a man having god for his father and “The Holy Spirit his mother”. The Odes of Solomon, a Jewish Christian work of the second(?) century associates Mary’s virginity with the thesis of a painless birth and a feminine Holy Spirit. The combination of Mary with the Holy Spirit has triggered off new interpretations of the developing doctrine of the Divine Trinity.
Out of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament, the gospels of Mathew and Luke were the sole documents to narrate the Virgin Birth. And all the rest, as Father Raymond E. Brown in his scholarly work The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus repeatedly grants, are silent.
The Virginity ascribed to Mary, ‘Mother of God’, as the representative of a creative goddess-force would essentially be symbolic. Sri Aurobindo in his Essays on the Gita observes: “In the Buddhist legend the name of the mother of Buddha (Mayadevi, also Mahamaya) makes the symbolism clear; in the Christian the symbol seems to have been attached by a familiar mythopoeic process to the actual human mother of Jesus of Nazareth.” -- P.Raja

No comments:

Post a Comment