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A Complicated Pregnancy: Whether Mary Was a Virgin and Why It Matters

Author: 
Kyle Roberts (Author)
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Description

The virgin birth is a much-loved story in the Christian tradition. It is the standard "origin story" of Jesus, marking the incarnation of the Son of God. Today, however, many theologians dispute the tradition of the virginal conception on both historical and scientific grounds. 

As a progressive Protestant theologian—and a husband and a father—Kyle Roberts was growing unsure of his belief in Mary’s virginity. It contradicted modern science, and it seemed to undermine her feminine power. So he set out to investigate the virgin birth from every angle: the Bible, history, science, and philosophy.

A Complicated Pregnancy records his journey through the evidence and the myth. Did the Holy Spirit form Jesus as a zygote in Mary’s womb? If so, where did Jesus get his male genome? Was Jesus’s birth really bloodless, as the early church believed, and is Mary a "perpetual virgin"?

Roberts’s quest is a fascinating journey through history, biblical interpretation, and church politics. His conclusion surprised him, and it will surprise you, too.

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ISBN: 
9781506406244
Price: 
$16.99
ISBN: 
9781506406251
Price: 
$16.99
Release date: 
December 1, 2017
Pages: 
192
Width: 
6
Height: 
9

Reviews

Religion News Service Q&A with author Kyle Roberts

Endorsements

Brilliant, fun, and fascinating

"Few of us have ever taken the time to ponder the implications and questions surrounding the virgin birth of Jesus. But in this brilliant, fun, and fascinating book, Kyle Roberts pulls on the thread of the virgin birth to unravel some of the deepest issues facing us as Christians and human beings—from sex, to how we read the Bible, to the mystery of the incarnation. Reader be warned: After reading A Complicated Pregnancy you’ll never think of Christmas the same way again."

Richard Beck, speaker, blogger, and author of "Reviving Old Scratch" and "Stranger God"

Kyle Roberts invites readers into honest reflection on important theological and scientific issues of sexuality and gender, empathy and disgust, and embodiment and the sacred.

"In this book, A Complicated Pregnancy, Kyle Roberts invites readers into honest reflection on important theological and scientific issues of sexuality and gender, empathy and disgust, and embodiment and the sacred, among others. As a therapist, I have worked with many, many Christian clients wounded by the patriarchal and sexist theologies that Roberts seeks to counter. Whether or not you agree with Roberts’ conclusions, I am confident you will be stretched by his intelligent and personally transparent probing of the full and authentic meaning of the doctrine of the incarnation—God with us, as one of us. May we see more of this kind of thoughtful, courageous interdisciplinary theology aimed at the unique combination of spiritual formation and social justice."

Steven J. Sandage | Boston University

Sex, sharks, blood, and purity balls—this book has it all.

"Sex, sharks, blood, and purity balls—this book has it all. Roberts writes like a theological investigative journalist, taking his readers on a fantastic and winding journey to discover what this virgin-birth business is all about. In pursuing the question was Jesus born of a virgin?, Roberts gives us a theological work that is challenging and informative but also personal and fun. While the focus of this book is about the beginning of Jesus’s earthly life, Roberts ends with a soulful meditation on the resurrection brimming with hope. You won’t regret taking the time to wonder along with Roberts as you move through this captivating little text."

Stina Busman Jost, Bethel University

Dramatic, sincerely honest, and deeply personal

"In A Complicated Pregnancy, Kyle Roberts offers a dramatic, sincerely honest, and deeply personal exploration of the question of Jesus' virginal conception. While many other books wrestle with this topic primarily from another angle (that of historical uncertainty and Gospel discrepancies, which Roberts does also cover), in Roberts' book a profoundly theological approach dominates, as he surveys a wide array of famous and neglected early Christian authors. He also invites readers to take a long hard look at our aversion to blood and semen, to sex, spit, and excrement, and the way this has motivated us to disconnect Jesus from such mundane yet essential human elements—with troubling results for our view of Jesus' own humanity, and thus also his connection to us. The book’s wrestling with history, science, and the various facts of life are offered not in order to tear down cherished beliefs with no good reason, but precisely in order to counter the devaluation of human existence in general, and of women, reproduction, and the humanity of Jesus in particular, so as to make the case that in Jesus, we encounter God precisely in a human being who was not immune or exempt from those characteristic experiences that make us human."

James F. McGrath, Butler University, author of "The Only True God"

This book has profound implications for how we relate to God, to one another, and to the world around us.

"With passion and integrity, Kyle Roberts deconstructs myths about the virgin birth in order to lead us into the wonder and mystery of the incarnation—that in Jesus ‘God dives deep into creation’ sparking salvation, healing, and reconciliation. Engaging and conversational, A Complicated Pregnancy makes an important theological argument that has profound implications for how we relate to God, to one another, and to the world around us."

Lois Malcolm | Luther Seminary