The myth of the divine child is ubiquitous in religious traditions. The child is a potential savior for a society in need. He or she represents radical change, the possibility of a new beginning. As such, he is a threat to the status quo, and the representatives of the status quo – wicked kings and demonic monsters – therefore fight the child.
To represent the idea that the child is associated with divine intentions, his father is often divine. To emphasize that he is also of this world, he must be born of a human female. But the conception of the child is often miraculous – out of the ordinary – to signify his divine nature and to suggest that he belongs to the whole society rather than to any one family.
In ancient Egypt, the so-called Delta cycle of the Osiris myth contains the story of Isis conceiving a son, Horus, by her dead husband, the god-king, Osiris. Isis flees the usurper king, Seth, the brother and killer of Osiris, and gives birth to Horus in the hidden swamps of the...
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