Abstract

Abstract:

In Luke's conception narratives for John and Jesus, repeated emphasis falls upon Elizabeth's and Mary's uteri and their reproductive functions. Because of this focus on the female side of embryogenesis, Luke's audiences must have also wondered about the male contribution to conception, especially in the case of Mary with her unconventional pregnancy. Although I do not assert that Luke depicts sexual congress, I contend that Luke invites his audience to read Mary's conception seminally and to understand semen to be the male counterpart to female wombs, an unstated desideratum in the scene's internal logic. I substantiate this claim through a close reading of Luke's biblical imagery and language surrounding sperm and paternity and of broader Greek discourse on spermatology and embryology pertaining to the triangle of closely linked terms sperma, pneuma, and dynamis, the latter two words being the named agents of conception in Luke 1:35.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-3876
Print ISSN
0021-9231
Pages
pp. 791-807
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-30
Open Access
No
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