“In summary, then, the overall picture from the overall historical evidence is one of reasonably wide affirmation of the virginal conception [virgin birth]. Yet there are some puzzling instances of silence that may indicate ignorance or rejection, along with explicit rejection in certain Jewish circles, raising the possibility (but no more than that) of a contrary historical tradition in favor of human fatherhood. Certainly, therefore, the problem cannot be settled on the basis of the early historical evidence, for that evidence does not drastically erode support for the virginal conception, as some have claimed.”
—Raymond Brown, The Virginal Conception and the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, p. 52
Gary: What I find interesting is that there is evidence that some early Palestinian Jewish Christian communities believed that Jesus had a human father. It wasn’t just non-believing Jews saying this about Jesus. To me, this is strong evidence that the virgin conception/virgin birth story was a later myth added to a bare-boned, core, historical Jesus story that had already been accumulating mythical layers for years!