Miraculous births
Miraculous births are a common motif in historical literature and religious texts. Stories of miracle
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

 births often include miraculous conceptions and features such as intervention by a deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 elements, astronomical
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

 signs, hardship or in the case of some mythologies complex plots related to creation.


In the story of Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 “the divine Vishnu himself descended into the womb of Devaki
In Hinduism, Devaki is the wife of Vasudeva and biological mother of Krishna.She was the daughter of Devaka, the younger brother of King Ugrasena of Mathura. She was a partial incarnation of Aditi, the mother of the Devas.-Imprisonment :...

 and was born as her son, Vasudeva
In Hindu itihasa , Vasudeva is the father of Krishna, the son of Shoorsen, of the Yadu and Vrishni dynasties. His sister Kunti was married to Pandu. He was a partial incarnation of Rishi Kashyap....

 (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.”

It is widely believed that the Avatar
In Hinduism, an avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation"....

s taken by Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

 on earth were virgin "births". In the Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 epic, Karna
Karna or Radheya is one of the central characters in the epic Mahābhārata, from ancient India. He was the King of Anga...

 was born to Queen Kunti by the god Surya
Surya Suraya or Phra Athit is the chief solar deity in Hinduism, one of the Adityas, son of Kasyapa and one of his wives, Aditi; of Indra; or of Dyaus Pitar . The term Surya also refers to the Sun, in general. Surya has hair and arms of gold...

, before her marriage to King Pandu
In the Mahābhārata epic, King Pandu is the son of Ambalika and Rishi Ved Vyasa. He is more popularly known as the father of the Pandavas and ruled Hastinapur.-Birth:...

.http://www.boloji.com/hinduism/117.htm 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
Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

, 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
Kabīr was a mystic poet and saint of India, whose writings have greatly influenced the Bhakti movement...

 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.http://www.newsfinder.org/site/more/kabir/ http://www.scribd.com/doc/8319260/Images-of-Kabir 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
Kali Yuga
Kali Yuga is the last of the four stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures. The other ages are Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga...

, the time period in which we currently exist. (see Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....


Birth of Buddha

The stories of Buddha’s unusual birth developed through the centuries. In Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, 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 Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

 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
In Buddhist tradition, Kakusandha is the name of the twenty-fifth Buddha, the first of the five Buddhas of the present kalpa, and the fourth of the seven ancient Buddhas. In the Buddhist texts in Sanskrit, this Buddha is known as Krakucchanda. In Tibetan, he is known as Khorvadjig...

, Konagamana, and Kassapa
Kassapa may refer to:*Kassapa Buddha, also known as Kāśyapa Buddha, an ancient buddha*Mahākāśyapa, also known as Mahakassapa, a disciple of Śakyamuni Buddha...

. 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 Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

s 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
Mithra is the Zoroastrian divinity of covenant and oath. In addition to being the divinity of contracts, Mithra is also a judicial figure, an all-seeing protector of Truth, and the guardian of cattle, the harvest and of The Waters....

 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
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, he developed into the protector of truth. Before the time of Zoroaster, he was associated with Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazdā is the Avestan name for a divinity of the Old Iranian religion who was proclaimed the uncreated God by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism...

, the principle of good. As a consequence of Zoroaster's reforms to Iranian religion, Mithra was ousted from power and Ahura Mazda became supreme. In the more ancient Indian Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

 Mithra was the god of light, invoked under the name of Varuna
In Vedic religion, Varuna is a god of the sky, of water and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law and of the underworld...

, 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
Magi is a term, used since at least the 4th century BC, to denote a follower of Zoroaster, or rather, a follower of what the Hellenistic world associated Zoroaster with, which...

, Mithra born from the rock."

Mithraism "learned" astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

 from the Chaldeans
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 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
Roman mythology
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans...

 Paganism, where he was worshipped for more than 300 years as "the soldier's god."


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
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 and the matriarch Sarah
Sarah or Sara was the wife of Abraham and the mother of Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran. Her name was originally Sarai...

 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
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 by his soothsayers, in consequence of which he issued the cruel command to cast all the male children into the river. 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. Later on, Miriam also foretold to her father, Amram
In the Book of Exodus, Amram Arabic عمران Imran, is the father of Aaron, Moses, and Miriam and the husband of Jochebed.-In the Bible:In addition to being married to Jochebed, Amram is also described in the Bible as having been related to Jochebed prior to the marriage, although the exact...

, that a son would be born to him who would liberate Israel from the yoke of Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...


Moses was born on Adar
Adar is the sixth month of the civil year and the twelfth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a winter month of 29 days...

 7 (Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

Megillah (Talmud)
Megillah is the tenth Tractate of Mishnah in the Order Moed. It and its Gemara deal with the laws of Purim and offers exegetical understandings to the Book of Esther. It also includes laws concerning the public reading of the Torah and other communal synagogue practices...

 13b) in the year 2377 after the creation of the world. He was born circumcised
Brit milah
The brit milah is a Jewish religious circumcision ceremony performed on 8-day old male infants by a mohel. The brit milah is followed by a celebratory meal .-Biblical references:...

, and was able to walk immediately after his birth; but according to another story he was circumcised on the eighth day after birth. A peculiar and glorious light filled the entire house at his birth, indicating that he was worthy of the gift of prophecy. He spoke with his father and mother on the day of his birth, and prophesied at the age of three. His mother kept his birth secret for three months, when Pharaoh was informed that she had borne a son. 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. For seven days his mother went to him at night to nurse him, his sister Miriam protecting him from the birds by day.

Birth of Isaac

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
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

, 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
Isaiah 7:14
Isaiah 7:14 is a verse of the Book of Isaiah in which the prophet Isaiah, addressing king Ahaz of Judah , promises the king a sign that his oracle is a true one...

, around 735 B.C. King Ahaz
Ahaz was king of Judah, and the son and successor of Jotham. He is one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew....

 of Judah received this message from the prophet Isaiah
Isaiah ; Greek: ', Ēsaïās ; "Yahu is salvation") was a prophet in the 8th-century BC Kingdom of Judah.Jews and Christians consider the Book of Isaiah a part of their Biblical canon; he is the first listed of the neviim akharonim, the later prophets. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus...

 during the Syro-Ephraimite War
Syro-Ephraimite War
The Syro-Ephraimite War took place in the 8th century BC, when Assyria was a great regional power. The smaller nations of Syria and the northern Kingdom of Israel formed a coalition in defense against the oncoming threat. They had previously been tributary nations to Assyria, and they finally...

 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." This is generally taken by commentators to be, in the original context, a reference to the non-miraculous birth of Hezekiah
Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele has concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible....

 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." If the referent is to Ahaz's betrothed, Abi
ABI is an acronym or abbreviation that may refer to:* Abilene Regional Airport , in Abilene, Texas, United States* Abitur* AbiWord* Acquired brain injury* Agencia Boliviana de Información, a Bolivian press agency...

, daughter of the High Priest
High priest
The term "high priest" usually refers either to an individual who holds the office of ruler-priest, or to one who is the head of a religious caste.-Ancient Egypt:...

, 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
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 (Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

). Scholars have argued that the nativity of Jesus
Nativity of Jesus
The Nativity of Jesus, or simply The Nativity, refers to the accounts of the birth of Jesus in two of the Canonical gospels and in various apocryphal texts....

 if not taken as historically accurate
Historical Jesus
The term historical Jesus refers to scholarly reconstructions of the 1st-century figure Jesus of Nazareth. These reconstructions are based upon historical methods including critical analysis of gospel texts as the primary source for his biography, along with consideration of the historical and...

, should be interpreted within terms of the gospels 1st century Jewish context with which it draws parallels and not foreign mythologies.

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
Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition or Holy Tradition is a theological term used in some Christian traditions, primarily in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions, to refer to the fundamental basis of church authority....

 the Virgin Mary's parents, St. Anne and St. Joachim, were without child, when an Angel came to them and told them
Joachim and Anne Meeting at the Golden Gate
Joachim and Anne Meeting at the Golden Gate is a 1504 woodcut by the German artist Albrecht Dürer that depicts the standard scene of the parents of the Virgin Mary, Joachim and Anne meeting at the Golden Gate of Jerusalem after Anne discovers she is unexpectedly pregnant...

 they would give birth to a girl. During the conception of Mary
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

, she was preserved from the stain of original sin
Original sin
Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...


Nativity and birth of Jesus

Both the Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 and the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

 record the birth of Jesus.
In the account of the Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

, Mary
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

 learns from the angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 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
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

 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". At the time that Mary is due to give birth
Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring. The offspring is brought forth from the mother. The time of human birth is defined as the time at which the fetus comes out of the mother's womb into the world...

, she and her husband Joseph
Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph is a figure in the Gospels, the husband of the Virgin Mary and the earthly father of Jesus Christ ....

 travel from their home in Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

 about 150 kilometres (93.2 mi) south to Joseph's ancestral home in Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

 to register in the census of Quirinius
Census of Quirinius
The Census of Quirinius refers to the enrollment of the Roman Provinces of Syria and Iudaea for tax purposes taken in the year 6/7 during the reign of Emperor Augustus , when Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was appointed governor of Syria, after the banishment of Herod Archelaus from the Tetrarchy of...

. 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
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 she places the newborn in a manger
A manger is a trough or box of carved stone or wood construction used to hold food for animals . Mangers are mostly used in livestock raising. They are also used to feed wild animals, e.g., in nature reserves...

 (feeding trough). An angel of the Lord visits the shepherds
Annunciation to the shepherds
The Annunciation to the shepherds is an episode in the Nativity of Jesus described in the Bible in Luke 2, in which angels tell a group of shepherds about the birth of Jesus...

 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!". 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. Mary and Joseph take Jesus to Jerusalem to be circumcised, before returning to their home in Nazareth.

In the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

, the impending birth is announced to Joseph in a dream, in which he is instructed to name the child Jesus. A star
Star of Bethlehem
In Christian tradition, the Star of Bethlehem, also called the Christmas Star, revealed the birth of Jesus to the magi, or "wise men", and later led them to Bethlehem. The star appears in the nativity story of the Gospel of Matthew, where magi "from the east" are inspired by the star to travel to...

 reveals the birth of Jesus to a number (traditionally three) of magoi (magi
Biblical Magi
The Magi Greek: μάγοι, magoi), also referred to as the Wise Men, Kings, Astrologers, or Kings from the East, were a group of distinguished foreigners who were said to have visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh...

, Greek μάγος, commonly translated as "wise man" but in this context probably meaning "astronomer" or "astrologer") who travel to Jerusalem from an unspecified country "in the east".

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
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

, and quote the prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

Book of Micah
The Book of Micah is one of fifteen prophetic books in the Hebrew bible/Old Testament, and the sixth of the twelve minor prophets. It records the sayings of Mikayahu, meaning "Who is like Yahweh?", an 8th century prophet from the village of Moresheth in Judah...

: "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
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, frankincense
Frankincense, also called olibanum , is an aromatic resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia, particularly Boswellia sacra, B. carteri, B. thurifera, B. frereana, and B. bhaw-dajiana...

, and myrrh
Myrrh is the aromatic oleoresin of a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora, which grow in dry, stony soil. An oleoresin is a natural blend of an essential oil and a resin. Myrrh resin is a natural gum....

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
Flight into Egypt
The flight into Egypt is a biblical event described in the Gospel of Matthew , in which Joseph fled to Egypt with his wife Mary and infant son Jesus after a visit by Magi because they learn that King Herod intends to kill the infants of that area...

. Meanwhile, Herod orders that all male children of Bethlehem under the age of two be killed, the so-called "Massacre of the Innocents
Massacre of the Innocents
The Massacre of the Innocents is an episode of infanticide by the King of Judea, Herod the Great. According to the Gospel of Matthew Herod orders the execution of all young male children in the village of Bethlehem, so as to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews whose birth...


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
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 and settle in Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

, fulfilling, according to the author, a prophecy: "He will be called a Nazorean". The Greek for this last word is Ναζωραιος.

Birth of John the Baptist

The Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 includes an account of John's infancy, introducing him as the son of Zachariah
Zechariah (priest)
In the Bible, Zechariah , is the father of John the Baptist, a priest of the sons of Aaron, a prophet in , and the husband of Elisabeth who is the cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus.In the Qur'an, Zechariah plays a similar role as the father of John the Baptist and ranks him as a prophet alongside...

, an old man, and his wife Elizabeth
Elizabeth (Biblical person)
Elizabeth is also spelled Elisabeth or Elisheva...

, who was sterile. According to this account the birth of John was foretold by the angel Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 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
Abijah or Abiah or Abia is a Biblical unisex name that means Aviya or "my Father is Yahweh" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament the name Abijah was borne by several characters:Women...

, and his wife, Elizabeth, as one of the daughters of Aaron this would make John a descendant of Aaron
In the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, Aaron : Ααρών ), who is often called "'Aaron the Priest"' and once Aaron the Levite , was the older brother of Moses, and a prophet of God. He represented the priestly functions of his tribe, becoming the first High Priest of the Israelites...

 on both his father's and mother's side.

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. Zachariah had lost his speech at the behest and prophecy of the angel Gabriel, and it was restored on the occasion of Zachariah naming John. On the basis of Luke's account, the Catholic calendar placed the feast of John the Baptist on June 24, six months before Christmas. According to Luke, Jesus and John the Baptist were related, their mothers being cousins.

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.

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
Sibylline oracles
The Sibylline Oracles are a collection of oracular utterances written in Greek hexameters ascribed to the Sibyls, prophetesses who uttered divine revelations in a frenzied state. Fourteen books and eight fragments of Sibylline Oracles survive...

 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.

"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."

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
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...



The Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 and other Islamic literature contain reports of a number of miraculous births of biblical characters. The Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 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. 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".

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. This birth narrative draws strong parallels to the apocryphal tradition of Jesus' birth within the Infancy Gospel of Thomas
Infancy Gospel of Thomas
The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is a pseudepigraphical gospel about the childhood of Jesus that dates to the 2nd and 3rd centuries. It was part of a popular genre of biblical work, written to satisfy a hunger among early Christians for more miraculous and anecdotal stories of the childhood of Jesus...

and Arabic Infancy Gospel
Arabic Infancy Gospel
The Syriac Infancy Gospel is one of the texts found in the New Testament apocrypha concerning the infancy of Jesus. It may have been compiled as early as the sixth century, and was based on the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, and Protevangelium of James.-Contents:...


Assyrian and Babylonian mythology

The Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n 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
Marduk was the Babylonian name of a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon, who, when Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi , started to...

 in this way: “Ea, having overheard the plan of the primordial deities to destroy the other gods, deceived Apsu and Mummu
Mummu vizier of primeval gods Apsu, the fresh water, and Tiamat, the salt water.An ancient Sumero-Babylonian craftsman-god, and personification of technical skill...

 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
In Sumerian mythology, Anu was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, Consort of Antu, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as...

 and Bil—the two poles of heaven and the equator. 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
Bel can mean:* bel , a unit of ratio used in acoustics, electronics, etc. A derived unit of 1 decibel = 0.1 B is often used.* Bel , a Semitic deity * Belenus aka Bel; a Celtic deity...

, in Babylon, knew of as many as six such reincarnations.

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
Asherah , in Semitic mythology, is a Semitic mother goddess, who appears in a number of ancient sources including Akkadian writings by the name of Ashratum/Ashratu and in Hittite as Asherdu or Ashertu or Aserdu or Asertu...

, ‘the Progenitress of the gods’; Mami
Mami may refer to:*Mami , a goddess in the Babylonian epic Atra-Hasis*Mami , a Japanese feminine given name* Mami, alias of the Algerian raï singer Cheb Mami*Mami, a type of noodle soup found in the Philippines...

, 'the Mother-womb, the one who creates mankind'; Father Nanna
-Mythology:* Nanna or Sin , god of the moon in Sumerian mythology, also called Suen* Nanna , goddess and wife of the god Baldr in Norse mythology-People:* Nanna , a Scandinavian female name...

, 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
Sennacherib |Sîn]] has replaced brothers for me"; Aramaic: ) was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria .-Rise to power:...

's birth was assisted by Ea, who provided a 'spacious womb', and Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

, 'the god, my begetter'; and the North Arabian myth of the mother goddess who was responsible for Dusares."

Egyptian mythology

The belief in the conception of Horus
Horus is one of the oldest and most significant deities in the Ancient Egyptian religion, who was worshipped from at least the late Predynastic period through to Greco-Roman times. Different forms of Horus are recorded in history and these are treated as distinct gods by Egyptologists...

 by Isis
Isis or in original more likely Aset is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic...

 is traced to the beginning of Egyptian history. Horus' conception and birth were understood in terms of the Egyptian doctrine of parthenogenesis
Parthenogenesis is a form of asexual reproduction found in females, where growth and development of embryos occur without fertilization by a male...

, which was connected with the goddess Neith of Sais. (page 220) 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
Ra is the ancient Egyptian sun god. By the Fifth Dynasty he had become a major deity in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the mid-day sun...

, 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)
There were at least fifteen other Horuses in the Egyptian pantheon, 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."

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
Heliopolis (ancient)
Heliopolis was one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt, the capital of the 13th Lower Egyptian nome that was located five miles east of the Nile to the north of the apex of the Nile Delta...

. 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
Re, bre, moré is an interjection common to Cypriot Greek, the languages of the Balkans, Turkish, and Venetian, with its "locus... more in the Greek world than elsewhere". It is used in colloquial speech to gain someone's attention, add emphasis, insult, or express surprise or astonishment, like...

 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.

Many texts mention different attributes of Isis. These were combined into a single narrative by Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

 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.


Perseus ,Perseos and Perseas are not used in English. the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty of Danaans there, was the first of the mythic heroes of Greek mythology whose exploits in defeating various archaic monsters provided the founding myths of the Twelve Olympians...

: Perseus was the son of Danaë
In Greek mythology, Danaë was a daughter of King Acrisius of Argos and Eurydice of Argos. She was the mother of Perseus by Zeus. She was sometimes credited with founding the city of Ardea in Latium....

. 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. The Greek Anthology
Greek Anthology
The Greek Anthology is a collection of poems, mostly epigrams, that span the classical and Byzantine periods of Greek literature...

 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
Jupiter (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon....

 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
In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe. The island of Kos is claimed as her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus...

, of Theseus
For other uses, see Theseus Theseus was the mythical founder-king of Athens, son of Aethra, and fathered by Aegeus and Poseidon, both of whom Aethra had slept with in one night. Theseus was a founder-hero, like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, all of whom battled and overcame foes that were...

 by Zeus and Maia, of Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

 by Zeus and Semele
Semele , in Greek mythology, daughter of the Boeotian hero Cadmus and Harmonia, was the mortal mother of Dionysus by Zeus in one of his many origin myths. In another version of his mythic origin, he is the son of Persephone...

, of Dionysus Zagreus by Zeus and Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

, and of Persephone by Zeus and Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

. The birth of gods by generation of a god with a mortal woman include the birth of Hercules
Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles, son of Zeus , and the mortal Alcmene...

 by the union of Zeus and Alcmena and that of Pan by Hermes
Hermes is the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology and a guide to the Underworld. Hermes was born on Mount Kyllini in Arcadia. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of the cunning of thieves, of orators and...

 with a shepherdess. Finally, heroes created by generation of a god with a mortal include Ion
An ion is an atom or molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge. The name was given by physicist Michael Faraday for the substances that allow a current to pass between electrodes in a...

 by Apollo and Creusa
In Greek mythology, four people had the name Creusa ; the name simply means "princess".-Naiad:According to Pindar's 9th Pythian Ode, Creusa was a naiad and daughter of Gaia who bore Hypseus, King of the Lapiths to the river god Peneus. Hypseus had one daughter, Cyrene. When a lion attacked her...

, Romulus
- People:* Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome* Romulus Augustulus, the last Western Roman Emperor* Valerius Romulus , deified son of the Roman emperor Maxentius* Romulus , son of the Western Roman emperor Anthemius...

 by Mars and Aemila, Asclepius
Asclepius is the God of Medicine and Healing in ancient Greek religion. Asclepius represents the healing aspect of the medical arts; his daughters are Hygieia , Iaso , Aceso , Aglæa/Ægle , and Panacea...

 by Apollo and Coronis
Coronis may refer to:*Coronis *Coronis *Coronis *USS Coronis , a repair ship that served in World War II...

, and Helen by Zeus and Leda
Leda (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Leda was daughter of the Aetolian king Thestius, and wife of the king Tyndareus , of Sparta. Her myth gave rise to the popular motif in Renaissance and later art of Leda and the Swan...


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
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

’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." 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..."


Zoroaster’s name has been adopted from the Greek and Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 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
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

), but his ministry took place in eastern Iran, especially in the region of Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

, about 1200 BC. Zoroaster
Zoroaster , also known as Zarathustra , was a prophet and the founder of Zoroastrianism who was either born in North Western or Eastern Iran. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism...

 was originally a Magian priest, and under the reforms he instituted, Mithra became one of the Yazata
Yazata is the Avestan language word for a Zoroastrian concept. The word has a wide range of meanings but generally signifies a divinity...

s (Worshipful Ones), the angels or lesser divine beings.

Zoroaster, whose faith was a type of monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

, 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
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

, or Saoshyant
Saoshyant is a figure of Zoroastrian eschatology who brings about the final renovation of the world, the Frashokereti. The Avestan language name literally means "one who brings benefit," and is also used as common noun.-In scripture:...

. 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.

"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. The Zoroastrian tradition differs from the Christian one because the divine only assists in the preservation of Zoroaster
Zoroaster , also known as Zarathustra , was a prophet and the founder of Zoroastrianism who was either born in North Western or Eastern Iran. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism...

’s seed. "The central scripture, the Avesta
The Avesta is the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the Avestan language.-Early transmission:The texts of the Avesta — which are all in the Avestan language — were composed over the course of several hundred years. The most important portion, the Gathas,...

 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. But according to later tradition, Zoroaster's mother, Dughdova, was a virgin when she conceived Zoroaster by a shaft of light.

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."


  • According to some traditions, Laozi
    Laozi was a mystic philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching . His association with the Tao Te Ching has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of Taoism...

    , 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
    In Aztec mythology, Huitzilopochtli, also spelled Uitzilopochtli , was a god of war, a sun god, and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. He was also the national god of the Mexicas of Tenochtitlan.- Genealogy :...

     is uniquely Aztec
    The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

    . Huitzilopochtli is therefore considered to be the cult god or the patron god of the Aztec
    The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

    . As a solar deity, Huitzilopochtli is closely related to and overlaps with Tonatiuh
    In Aztec mythology, Tonatiuh was the sun god. The Aztec people considered him the leader of Tollan, heaven. He was also known as the fifth sun, because the Aztecs believed that he was the sun that took over when the fourth sun was expelled from the sky...

    . Huitzilopochtli’s mother was Coatlicue
    Coatlicue, also known as Teteoinan , "The Mother of Gods" , is the Aztec goddess who gave birth to the moon, stars, and Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war...

    , or She of the Serpent Skirt. Coatlicue, known for her devout nature and virtuous qualities, was at Mt. Coatepec
    The municipality of Coatepec is found in the central region of the Mexican state of Veracruz. Its north latitude is 19° 27', west longitude is 96° 58', altitude of 1200.00 m, and surface of 255.81 km². It represents the 0.338% of the current state. The municipal seat and largest community of the...

    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.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.