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Andrew T. Lincoln, “Contested Paternity and Contested Readings: Jesus’ Conception in Matthew 1:18-25”

In Andrew T. LINCOLN, Dan Batovici, Matthew, SEMINAR REPORTS, St Andrews on October 30, 2010 at 1:22 am

This is a report on a paper presented by Andrew T. Lincoln, Portland Chair in New Testament Studies, University of Gloucestershire, in the Biblical Studies Seminar at the School of Divinity, St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews, 28 Oct 2010.

The article is now published in JSNT, here.

Andrew T. Lincoln’s paper revisited the arguments of two opposing readings of Matthew’s account of the conception of Jesus. The traditional view (exemplified in the paper by Brown, Davies/Allison, Luz) is to read in Mt 1:18-28 that Jesus’ conception is a virginal one, while the “revised” reading (Schaberg, Catchpole, Miller) sets out to argue that, at least in Matthew, a virginal conception is not necessarily implied.

Three indicators were presented in support of the traditional reading of the conception in Matthew: the conception by Holly Spirit in 1:18 and 20, the citation from LXX Isa. 7:14 in 1:23 where the παρθένος is mentioned, and, in 1:25, the lack of marital relations before Jesus’ birth. Jesus is then the “adopted” son of Joseph, and was conceived through the agency of the Holy Spirit. This happened not in a sexual manner, detail confirmed in 1:25 – no marital relations before the birth. Read the rest of this entry »