Eerdman’s has recently posted this interview with Andrew T. Lincoln on his new book Born of a Virgin? Reconceiving Jesus in the Bible, Tradition, and Theology. Here’s the video:
Here’s the description from the publisher’s website:
This engaging book enables ordinary Christians to understand and give honest expression to the problems surrounding the virgin birth — a concept that many Christians are not sure how to handle.
Andrew Lincoln’s Born of a Virgin? begins by discussing why the virgin birth is such a difficult and divisive topic. The book then deals with a whole range of issues — literary, historical, and hermeneutical — from a critical yet positive perspective that takes seriously creedal confessions and theological concerns.
As part of his exegetical investigation of the New Testament texts, Lincoln considers the literary genre and distinctive characteristics of the birth narratives as ancient biography. Further, he delineates how changes in our views of history and biography decisively affect any traditional understanding of the significance of an actual virgin birth. He also explores what that means for the authority of Scripture and creed, along with implications for Christology and for preaching and teaching from the birth narratives.
Whether or not you agree with the arguments and conclusions, it’s important to remember that Lincoln is not simply running the old line that “miracles don’t really happen; so we can’t believe in a virgin birth.” The book does not grow out of anti-supernatural presuppositions but is an effort to hear the New Testament on its own terms. I find particularly interesting the argument that “seed of David” language refers specifically to patrilineal descent and indicates that the writer thought Jesus to have been conceived in the normal means. Also, the question of whether Jesus can be said to stand in solidarity with human beings if he doesn’t have a human father is intriguing. I’ll be curious to see how scholarly reviewers handle these issues and others.