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In early Christian times, Mary herself was believed to have been born of a virgin, which, if taken literally, would represent a virgin [or miraculous] birth prior to Christ, rendering his own nativity unoriginal and mundane, rather than miraculous and divine.One source of Mary's immaculate conception was Christian writer and saint John of Damascus (c. 754-787), who asserted that Mary's parents were "filled and purified by the Holy Ghost, and freed from sexual concupiscence." Concerning this matter, the Catholic Encyclopedia ("Immaculate Conception") states that "even the human element" of Mary's origin, "the material of which she was formed, was pure and holy." In other words, Roman Catholic doctrine dictates that, like Jesus, "the Blessed Virgin Mary" was "conceived without sin." (Hackwood, 17) In order to maintain the "uniqueness" of Christ's virgin birth, however, this contention regarding Mary is not taken seriously.My name, my divinity, is adored throughout the world, in divers manners, in variable customs and in many names, for the Phrygians call me the mother of the gods; the Athenians, Minerva; the Cyprians, Venus; the Candians, Diana; the Sicilians, Proserpina; the Eleusinians, Ceres; some Juno, others Bellona, others Hecate; and principally the Ethiopians who dwell in the Orient, and the Egyptians…do call me Queen Isis." (Siculus, 31fn) As can be seen, Isis was fervently revered as the epitome of Divinity, long before Mary achieved that rank.The virgin-goddess "Queen of Heaven" is prevalent in the ancient world for the reason that she is astrological or astrotheological, symbolizing the moon, the earth, Venus, Virgo and the dawn.Quetzalcoatl, the (crucified) saviour of the Aztecs, was the son of Chimalman, the Virgin Queen of Heaven.Even the Chinese had a mother-goddess and virgin with child in her arms; and the ancient Etruscans the same…John Jackson states: "He was said to have been born of the Virgin Maya, or Mary.His incarnation was accomplished by the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Virgin Maya.
Concerning this development, in its article the "Virgin Birth of Christ" the Catholic Encyclopedia ("CE") remarks: "A first class of writers have recourse to pagan mythology in order to account for the early Christian tradition concerning the virgin birth of Jesus.
In her aspect as the mother of Horus, Isis was represented in tens of thousands of statuettes and paintings, holding the divine child in her arms; and when Christianity triumphed these paintings and figures became those of the Madonna and Child without any break in continuity: no archaeologist, in fact, can now tell whether some of these objects represent the one or the other." Like the Christian Mary and Egyptian Isis, the Canaanite goddess Astarte, mentioned in the Old Testament, was the "Virgin of the Sea," as well as the "blessed Mother and Lady of the Waters." (Baring, 459) Another virgin goddess was the mother of the Phrygian god Attis, whose widespread worship "must have influenced the early Christians." As Weigall (115-116) recounts: Attis was the Good Shepherd, the son of Cybele, the Great Mother, or alternatively, of the Virgin Nana, who conceived him without union with mortal man, as in the story of the Virgin Mary…