A recent comment I left on Theology Web:
What do we have so far in this thread:
1. We have zero evidence that any Christian believed in a virgin birth until the 80’s or 90’s AD.
2. the scholarly consensus is that the four Gospels were NOT written by eyewitnesses. Notice that Stein has agreed that Matthew and John were probably not written by eyewitnesses. This is a telling admission because even if John Mark and Luke the physician authored Mark and Luke, even Christians admit that these two men were not eyewitnesses. Therefore, Stein supports my position, which is the scholarly consensus, that the Gospels are NOT eyewitness accounts. But it gets worse.
Even if John Mark authored the Gospel of Mark, the statements of Papias indicate that John Mark wrote them down by memory. We have no evidence that Peter dictated and edited the stories. How accurate are John Mark’s recollection of what Peter had said years previously? And note these important points: The original Gospel of Mark contains no birth narrative, no post-resurrection appearances, and no Ascension! Are we really to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, appeared in a super-hero body to over 500 people, and then levitated into outer space in front of his disciples very eyes…but John Mark didn’t bother to write down these details from Peter’s preaching??!!!
The excuse that John Mark didn’t find these details as important to his “theme” is pathetically lame.
Now, to get even worse…we come to the Gospel of Luke:
The author of Luke specifically says in the opening passages of the Gospel that he is not an eyewitness. But he promises his readers that he is going to present eyewitness testimony in an “orderly” fashion. Then…he goes on to incorporate (plagiarize?) approximately 55% of the Gospel of Mark into his “eye witness-based” account!!! What???
I will bet that most Christians believe that Luke traveled around the Mediterranean interviewing actual eyewitnesses, in person, for his Gospel. Really, folks?? Why would Luke need to plagiarize Mark’s Gospel—a gospel written by someone who was NOT an eyewitness—so heavily, if Luke had multiple eyewitness testimonies himself? And if you say that Luke received his information from Paul—Paul was NOT an eyewitness to any of the events in Luke’s gospel. Isn’t it obvious, folks? Luke gathered together several written and oral traditions that he BELIEVED to be accurate eyewitness testimony! The fact that Luke borrowed so heavily from a non-eyewitness, Mark, is proof that the “eye-witness” accounts in Luke are highly dubious.
3. Lastly, the issue of Jesus’ divinity was not settled until the Council of Nicea and even beyond.
Conclusion: To any neutral observer, it is obvious that the virgin birth and the belief that Jesus was Yahweh incarnate were not originally part of the Jesus story. These beliefs were later embellishments.