Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Virgin Birth

  • Jeffrey B. PettisEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_728

In myth and religion, virgin birth is central to the life and coming into existence of the divine child. The Buddha, for example, descends from the higher realm into the womb of his mother the Great Queen Maya. He appears in the shape of a milk-white elephant. The conception in her womb occurs without defilement, as he is born coming forth from her side under the shining constellation of Pushya. The birth is miraculous, like those of other Hindu heroes such as Aurva and Prithu, for he does not enter the world in the usual manner. Similarly, Jesus is conceived through the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. The conception and birth are acknowledged and celebrated by the cosmos, the Magi from the East, and by Mary herself (Matt. 1.18–2.11; Luke 1.26–58). The virgin as divine bride is set apart from the collective element as a preparation and requirement for divine conception. The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthewtells of Mary who as a child was in constant prayer and that the angels of God spoke...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of TheologyFordham UniversityNew YorkUSA