I have pointed out that our earliest Gospel, Mark, not only is lacking a story of the virgin birth but also tells a story that seems to run precisely counter to the idea that Jesus’ mother knew that his birth was miraculous, unlike the later Gospels of Matthew and Luke. It is striking to note that even though these two later Gospels know about a virgin birth, our latest canonical Gospel, John, does not know about it. This was not a doctrine that everyone knew about – even toward the end of the first century.
Casual readers of John often assume that it presupposes the virgin birth (it never says anything about it, one way or the other) because they themselves are familiar with the idea, and think that John must be as well. So they typically read the virgin birth into an account that in fact completely lacks it.
As is well known, John’s Gospel begins …
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