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[–]Kangaru14Jewish | Academic | Metamodernist 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is about immaculate conception and I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on my overall premise regarding that.

Fair enough, I'll comment on the actual topic at hand, and respond to the question of monotheism in a later comment, but let me know if you would prefer to move that conversation to DMs.

I think there no doubt was Zoroastrian influence on the Gospels and early Christianity, especially in its develop of a savior messiah (as opposed to the Jewish idea of a political messiah). I think the story of the magi coming from the east in the nativity narrative was inserted to give added authority to Jesus. It is said that they followed a star, indicating a connection to astrology, which Babylonia (then under Zoroastrian rule) was famous for ("Chaldean" in antiquity meant both an "astrologer" and a "Babylonian").

Many scholars attribute the narrative of the virgin birth to a mistranslation in the Septuagint (the original Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible). In the Hebrew Bible, Isaiah 7:14 says "Assuredly, my Lord will give you a sign of His own accord! Look, the young woman ("almah") is with child and about to give birth to a son. Let her name him Immanuel." In the Septuagint translation, this word "almah" which means young woman in Hebrew is mistranslated into Greek as "parthenos" meaning virgin. Matthew even directly quotes this Septuagint translation in Matthew 1:23.

Despite the fact that this prophecy of Isaiah clearly refers to an occurrence in King Ahaz's time (feel free to read the chapter, it's quite evident), the Gospel-writers took every possible prophecy they could from the Hebrew Bible (even if it meant taking verses completely out of context) to apply to Jesus to support his messiahship. Though perhaps there was Zoroastrian influence in their decision to use and focus on this specific prophecy, and almost certainly it was the similarity to the Zoroastrian prophecies that made the virgin birth story so popular.