Galatians is arguably the most important letter that we have from Paul. The letter to the Galatians exposes corroborative issues with Acts, as well as exhibits some of the most controversial and difficult passages to interpret. In particular, this writing will attempt to examine Galatians 4, and the use of the Greek word Genomenos in Gal 4.4 as the vocabulary used in the representation of Paul’s description of how Jesus was “born”. For those who are ignorant of the foundational facts required I will be brief in overview: Paul never displays a knowledge of a historic Jesus, nor does he attempt to place Jesus in an earthly manner of history. This passage is one of only two possible historical attributions Paul could give Christ, assuming that “born of a woman” is to be interpreted as a literal event; however, this explanation is rather problematic when faced with the alternative explanation that has far more evidence to back it. So how does Paul describe Jesus being born? Rom 1:3 says Jesus was made from the “seed of David” according to the flesh in contradistinction to Jesus being “declared the Son of God in power, according to the spirit”, in the one case referencing his incarnation (Phil 2:5), in the other his resurrection (Phil 2:9). Phil 2:6-11 portrays the act as a divine construction, not human procreation; no mention on childhood, birth, parents. Paul uses the word Genomenos (from ginomai), meaning “to happen, become” – Paul never uses that word when discussing human birth despite using it hundreds of other times typically to mean “becoming” – Paul’s preferred word for being born is gennao. Another notable reason to assert the reference means to become is found in 1 Cor 15:45 where Paul says Adam “was made”, using ginomai, when in reference to our heavenly bodies that have been made by God. It is also insightful to note the reference of Job 14:1 for exegesis on humanity represented by Gal 4:4 rather than what most literalists will reference as a proclamation of Mary or a historical birth event.
So that is the reason this passage matters in regards to establishing the historicity of Christ. As I am often accused by default as having radical interpretations because I’m an Atheist, I will be starting with scholarly exegesis on the passage:
https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Gal/Scriptural-Appeal from IVP New Testament Commentaries
Paul’s application of the law to their situation is taken from the story of Abraham’s two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. When we read through Paul’s use of Scripture in this section, we encounter a strange allegorical interpretation. In all of the New Testament, there is perhaps not a more difficult passage to interpret. This passage has often been used to accuse Paul of twisting and distorting Scripture. Betz says that this passage “has strained the credulity of the readers beyond what many people can bear” (1979:244). Paul explicitly calls attention to his method of interpretation in verse 24: these things may be taken figuratively. A more accurate translation of this phrase than the NIV would be “these things are now being interpreted allegorically.” Paul must have inserted this reference to his method of interpretation because he knew that his use of this method of interpreting the biblical text would cause difficulty for his readers. In order to appreciate what Paul is doing here, we need to get an overview of the passage, to look at the whole before looking at the parts. Let’s consider Paul’s purpose for his allegorical interpretation, the false teachers’ interpretation and Paul’s method of interpretation.
You can often tell the purpose of a book by simply reading its introduction and conclusion. Paul introduces his interpretation of the Old Testament text by pointing out the difference between the two sons of Abraham: one was born of the slave woman in the ordinary way, while the other was born by the free woman as the result of a promise (vv. 22-23). Paul concludes his interpretation with these words: Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman (v. 31). His introduction and conclusion make it clear that his primary purpose is to identify the Galatian Christians as the true children of Abraham, the children of the free woman, the children of promise. As we have seen already, the primary point of Paul’s argument in chapter 3 was also to answer this question of the identity of the Galatian Christians: “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (3:29). So when we examine the details of Paul’s allegorical interpretation, we need to keep in mind this central point to understand where Paul is headed.
When we consider the context for the allegory in the broader setting of the entire letter, we can also see that Paul constructed the allegory to call for decisive resistance to the false teachers. Paul began the body of his letter by rebuking the Galatians for giving in to the pressure of troublemakers who were leading them to accept a false gospel (1:6-7). In his autobiography Paul illustrated how he decisively resisted pressures from Jewish Christians at Jerusalem (2:3-5) and at Antioch (2:11-14) similar to those faced by the Galatian churches. The request section of the letter begins with the initial request of the letter in 4:12, “become like me,” which calls for the Galatians to resist the false teachers just as Paul had resisted the false brothers. His own stand against those “Ishmaels” is now supported by the command of Scripture (Gen 21:10 in Gal 4:30), and Paul asks his converts to follow this command as well. To those who want to be under the law (v. 21) Paul gives a specific command to follow: Get rid of the slave woman and her son (v. 30). In 5:1 Paul paraphrases the call for decisive resistance expressed by the command of Genesis 21:10 in his own words: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
So Paul’s purpose for his allegorical interpretation of Genesis 21 is to identify the Galatian Christians as the children of freedom and to instruct them to resist those who would lead them into slavery under the law. Paul, of course, is not using the text as Philo did, to expound Platonic philosophical principles. Nevertheless, he is giving a meaning to the various terms of the text in an allegorical fashion. The theological framework for Paul’s allegorical interpretation comes from his Abraham argument in chapter 3. In that argument Gentile converts were identified as true children and heirs of Abraham on the basis of the promise given to Abraham and the fulfillment of that promise in their experience of the Spirit. The Abraham argument also set out a contrast between the Abrahamic covenant as the means of life and righteousness and the Sinaitic covenant as the means of slavery.
Thus when the Genesis account is interpreted allegorically, it is not surprising that Sarah and her counterpart–the Jerusalem above, our true mother–should be identified as the mother of the Galatian believers in Christ. It follows naturally enough that Sarah can also be equated with the covenant of promise–a promise that included Abrahamic blessings for Gentiles as the seed of Abraham. All these equations are built on the exposition of the gospel in the light of Old Testament texts in Galatians 3. In other words, Paul’s allegorical definitions in Galatians 4 do not determine or form the basis of his theology but are derived from his theology, which has already been developed in the previous chapter.
A natural consequence of Paul’s definitions of these terms in the allegorical equation is that Hagar becomes a symbol of the covenant at Mount Sinai. At this point in his interpretation, however, the basis for Paul’s definitions becomes more problematic. How can Paul make the “Hagar Mount Sinai” and “Sinai present Jerusalem” equations in the face of the fundamental Jewish conviction that the Mosaic law was given to the descendants of Isaac at Mount Sinai and had nothing to do with Hagar?
The most satisfactory explanation of Paul’s allegorical equations is simply stated in verse 25: because she is in slavery with her children. In Paul’s allegorization of the text, slavery is the common feature that links Hagar (the slave woman), the covenant given at Mount Sinai, and the present Jerusalem. Paul has already attributed this feature of slavery to the Mosaic law (3:22-24; 4:1-10) and to a certain faction of “false brothers” at Jerusalem (2:4). His allegorization therefore must be seen as a counterattack on that Jewish-Christian faction within the church at Jerusalem which had tried to rob Gentile believers of their freedom by requiring them to be circumcised (2:3-6) and which was now attempting to do the same thing at Galatia. This actual experience of “false brothers” in the church gave rise to Paul’s allegorical treatment of the text and is the key to its interpretation.
Paul’s basic typological interpretation is supplemented by an allegorical treatment in order to relate the people in the story to the specific issues in the Galatian church and so to counterattack the false teachers’ use of the same text.
http://biblehub.com/galatians/4-4.htm by the Pulpit Commentary
Indeed, it should seem that this conception of his person is just that which forms the basis for the subsequent statement that the object of his coming into the world was to procure the adoption of sons for us. Made of a woman (γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός); made to be of a woman. This, indeed, was probably the sense intended by King James’s translators, when they followed Wicklife and the Geneva Bible in rendering “made of a woman;” whilst Tyndale and Cranmer, followed by the Revisers of 1881, give “born of a woman.” Just the same divergency of renderings appears in the same English translations in Romans 1:3, “made of the seed of David (γενομένον ἐκ σπέρματος Δαβίδ),” except that Tyndale has “begotten” instead of “born.” The difference in sense is appreciable and important: “made” implies a previous state of existence, which “born” does not. So far as the present writer can find, wherever in the New Testament the Authorized Version has “born,” we have in the Greek either τεχθῆναι or γεννηθῆναι:γενέσθαι never having this sense at all. As in Galatians 3:13(γενόμενος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν κατάρα), “Being made a curse for us,” and in John 1:14 (ὁ Λόγος σάρξ ἐγένετο), “The Word was made flesh;” so here God’s Son is described as “made to be of a woman,” the phrase, “of a woman,” being nearly identical in import with the word “flesh” in St. John, distinctly implying the fact of the Incarnation. The preposition “of” (ἐκ) denotes derivation of being, as when it is found after the verb “to be” in John 8:47, “He that is of God;” “Ye are not of God,” pointing back to the claim which (ver. 41) the Jews had made that they had God for their Father. The construction of γίγνομαι, to come to be, with a preposition occurs frequently, as in Luke 22:44; Acts 22:17; Romans 16:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:7. There can be no doubt thatγενόμενον must be taken in the next clause with the same meaning as here. Made under the Law (γενόμενον ὑπὸ νόμον); that is, made to be under the Law. The “Law” here, as in the clause immediately after “those under the Law,” indicates, not Law in general, but that particular law of tutorship and of domination over one as yet in the depressed condition of a minor, which the apostle has just before spoken of; that is, a law of ceremonies and of external cult.
In four verses, Paul describes in succinct prose the salvific design of the Christ event. A paraphrase of these verses, incorporating other elements of Galatians and 2 Corinthians might go something like this:
“The transcendent God, in complete freedom, chose to change the very fabric of all life in order to liberate it from the power of Sin and Death to which it had subjected itself. God’s pre-existent Son — God’s own righteousness and glory — was commissioned with the task. This Son — the very wisdom of God — entered the sphere of the cosmos as in the form of a vulnerable human, ‘born of a woman.’ He was constrained by the elemental enslaving powers (Galatians 4:3) as were all living things. The man Jesus — a Jew faithful to the Word of God — took on upon himself the curse that came with this bondage to Sin on the cross (Deuteronomy 21:22-23; Galatians 3:13), so that humanity might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Through sacramental baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ (Galatians 3:27; cf Romans 6:1-11), one receives the very spirit of the exalted Christ and so becomes the adopted children of God, incorporated into the new humanity of God’s creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is a humanity in which there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female (Galatians 3:27-28) — distinctions that Sin worked to its own advantage. As adopted heirs gifted by the Spirit of Christ, that Body, brought from death to new life, rightfully might call God, ‘Abba’ — ‘Father.’”
Elisabeth Johnson, Professor @ Lutheran Institute of Theology, Meiganga, Cameroon
Paul makes the astonishing claim that for the Galatians to adopt the Jewish law is the equivalent of returning to their former pagan practices. Being “imprisoned and guarded under the law” (3:23), or being minors, means being “no better than slaves” (4:1). It is the same as being “enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world” (4:3). But there is no need for that, because the “date set by the father” has arrived!
“But when the fullness of time had come” (4:4) — at the end of one age and the beginning of another, at the time God deemed just right — “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children” (4:4-5).
God’s sending of his Son ends the reign of the law and inaugurates a new age (cf. 3:25). The Son is “born of a woman,” fully human, and “born under the law.” The latter phrase might be seen to emphasize Jesus’ Jewish lineage, but in context it seems rather to identify him with all of humanity. Paul suggests that all that are born under the law in one form or another — whether the law of Moses or the law of the “elemental spirits.” Jesus is born under the law in order to redeem us who are under the law (cf. 3:13), “so that we might receive adoption as children.”
Here Paul shifts metaphors, from a child growing to maturity and receiving the inheritance at the time set by the father, to a child being adopted. Under Roman law, adopted children had the same legal status and inheritance rights as biological children. It is significant that Paul does not identify Jews with biological children and Gentiles with adopted children. Rather, he suggests that we are all adopted children. None of us have any prior claim on the father. Our adoption as God’s children is pure gift. Jesus alone is Son of God from birth, but he deigns to share his kinship and inheritance with us.
Paul continues: “And because you are children (huioi = sons), God sent has sent the Spirit of his Son (huios) into our hearts, crying ‘Abba! Father!'” (4:6). The Spirit links us with God’s Son as fellow children of God, and enables us to call upon God with the same intimate language Jesus used (Mark 14:36; cf. Romans 8:15-17).
Our adoption as God’s children means that there is absolutely no reason to return to a life of slavery. In Christ we are children of God and full heirs with him to all that God has promised (4:7; cf. 3:18, 29).
Professor Hans Wiersma, Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN
For those who may have missed Mary’s feast day or any who are inclined to take this lesson as an opportunity for a meditation on Mary, feel free. After all, a church council meeting in Ephesus in 431 A.D. considered this passage (and others) in its theological deliberations regarding Mary. The consensus reached by this Third Ecumenical Council was that Mary is properly called theotokos (Greek for “God-bearer”) rather than “merely” chrisotokos (“Christ-bearer”). In fact, you might offer a spell-binding sermon on the intricacies of the early Christological debates and how, in the fourth century, a bishop named Nestorius taught that Mary gave birth to the human Jesus but not to the divine logos, and how another bishop, Cyril, led the charge to keep the human and divine natures united within Mary’s womb. You could do that.
On the other hand, it is likely that the Apostle Paul did not have the fight against Nestorianism and the consensus regarding Christ’s “hypostatic union” in mind when he wrote “born of a woman.” In fact, when the entire passage is considered, we see that it is less about the relationship of Christ’s humanity and divinity, and more about the believer’s relationship with God through Christ.
In the previous chapter, Paul, preaching to those Galatian believers and explained that those “under the law” (that is, everyone) cannot receive the divine inheritance through obedience to the law. Instead, the law is like a task master or disciplinarian (Greek: paidagôgos). Under the law, we have no rights before God and, therefore, we are as slaves in God’s household (3:19-24). Then Paul begins to announce the promise. Now, that faith has come, we are no longer slaves serving a tough taskmaster (the law). Instead, we are God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus.
In chapter four, Paul is simply underscoring his main point. Christ has come in the flesh to free us from that old master (the law), making possible our adoption as members of God’s household–with all the benefits that go with it. It is no longer our relationship to the taskmaster (the law) that determines our situation in the divine household. Instead, it is our relationship to Christ (the rightful Son and heir) that determines our new status in the family. Consequently, as adopted sons and daughters, we do what children do (call their father Abba–“Daddy” for instance) and receive what children receive: blessing and inheritance.
The Galatians Problem & The Early Church
The church has long had problems with variant teachings, so many it makes tracing the beliefs rather difficult. It is only assumption that the Gospels were always orthodox teaching, as we do not have access to what the original doctrines/teachings may have been. In fact, from the earliest times we have recorded there is always a struggle with those who teach Jesus as a myth, even from the beginning, and what I would attest is the original teaching that was later perverted by Gentile rationalization. The excerpts below are from the earliest church fathers that are insistent that this passage MUST tie to the Virgin birth, largely because the birth event was such a large question; Paul doesn’t ever bother with it, nor does his Gospel emphasize an importance to a birth event. So what is important to understand is that all of the Early Church Fathers are using scriptures to back this Galatians passage that are not even circulating at the time of Paul’s writing. Assumed evidence is not evidence.
The Apostolic Father’s
1. Those, therefore, who allege that He took nothing from the Virgin do greatly err, [since,] in order that they may cast away the inheritance of the flesh, they also reject the analogy [between Him and Adam]. For if the one [who sprang] from the earth had indeed formation and substance from both the hand and workmanship of God, but the other not from the hand and workmanship of God, then He who was made after the image and likeness of the former did not, in that case, preserve the analogy of man, and He must seem an inconsistent piece of work, not having wherewith He may show His wisdom. But this is to say, that He also appeared putatively as man when He was not man, and that He was made man while taking nothing from man. For if He did not receive the substance of flesh from a human being, He neither was made man nor the Son of man; and if He was not made what we were, He did no great thing in what He suffered and endured.
– Chapter XXII.—Christ assumed actual flesh, conceived and born of the Virgin. – Iraneus Adversus Haereses
This was written CE 180 – a little over a century later from Paul– and we still have this big polemic against rival sects that are still teaching he was not born of a woman in that sense. Iraneus errs in his argument and overlooks the fact that Mary is not even needed to account for the humanity of Jesus & he is citing the gospels, not Pauline letters. It is still accounted for in Paul’s letters by being “made” from the seed of David as seen in passages (Rom 1.3, 15.12, 9.5, 15.8) in probable reference to popular Jewish thought.
2nd Samuel 7.12-14 “When your days are done, and you sleep with your fathers, I will raise up your sperm after you, which shall come from your belly, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build for me a house in my name, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son”
It is also worth noting again, that in the Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic, and Mysticism G.W. Dennis notes on pg 126 of the Jewish legend of the demoness Igrath whom was believed to have collected semen from sleeping men, notably from David himself, and used it to beget rival kings. So even in Jewish legends previous using this idea to “make” other people is a known ideology.
The idea of Jesus being the “son of man” is not seen in Paul either. It is seen in Matthew 24 as a reference to Daniel 9.
2. But3569there are some who say that Jesus was merely a receptacle of Christ, upon whom the Christ, as a dove, descended from above, and that when He had declared the unnameable Father He entered into the Pleroma in an incomprehensible and invisible manner: for that He was not comprehended, not only by men, but not even by those powers and virtues which are in heaven, and that Jesus was the Son, but that3570 Christ was the Father, and the Father of Christ, God; while others say that He merely suffered in outward appearance, being naturally impassible. The Valentinians, again, maintain that the dispensational Jesus was the same who passed through Mary, upon whom that Saviour from the more exalted [region] descended, who was also termed Pan,3571 because He possessed the names (vocabula) of all those who had produced Him. – Iraneus
3. But to what shifts you resort, in your attempt to rob the syllable ex (of)7211 of its proper force as a preposition, and to substitute another for it in a sense not found throughout the Holy Scriptures! You say that He was born through7212 a virgin, notof7213 a virgin, and in a womb, not of a womb, because the angel in the dream said to Joseph, “That which is born in her” (not of her) “is of the Holy Ghost.”7214 But the fact is, if he had meant “of her,” he must have said “in her;” for that which was of her, was also in her. The angel’s expression, therefore, “in her,” has precisely the same meaning as the phrase “of her.” It is, however, a fortunate circumstance that Matthew also, when tracing down the Lord’s descent from Abraham to Mary, says, “Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Christ.”7215 But Paul, too, silences these critics7216 when he says, “God sent forth His Son, made of a woman.”7217 Does he mean through a woman, or in a woman? Nay more, for the sake of greater emphasis, he uses the word “made” rather than born, although the use of the latter expression would have been simpler. But by saying “made,” he not only confirmed the statement, “The Word was made flesh,”7218 but he also asserted the reality of the flesh which was made of a virgin. We shall have also the support of the Psalms on this point, not the “Psalms” indeed of Valentinus the apostate, and heretic, and Platonist, but the Psalms of David, the most illustrious saint and well-known prophet. He sings to us of Christ, and through his voice Christ indeed also sang concerning Himself. Hear, then, Christ the Lord speaking to God the Father: “Thou art He that didst draw7219 me out of my mother’s womb.”7220 Tertullian CE 211 “On the Flesh of Christ”
This particular passage from Tertullian shows us how they are grappling with the grammar of the sentence, but more importantly is how he defends the passage to refer to a virgin birth – mainly because this passage had spurred a lot of debate even amongst the “orthodox” fathers by CE 200. Numerous sects had risen that had different views of this debate. Tertullian first uses Matthew 1.20 & 1.16 as the foundations for his exegesis on Gal 4 passage, referring to the encounter with the angel & forming an argument that relies on the idea that to be “of” something contends you must be from them – which again doesn’t have to be the case. He uses John 1:14 to assert the humanity aspect Psalms 22:9 as a defense to the birth of Christ – which relies on pure pesher to interpret to that defense, not that is fallacious, for it is logically consistent, but is not a used passage for prophecy (that I have found) & is being used to fit the argument at hand. For example, Psalms 71:6 says the same thing, but these references are from the author which is why he states “I” or “my” in the passage. It is also seen by how he calls out Valentinus for using a different Psalms for his own “heretical” pesher. He has to go outside of Pauline epistles because Paul creates the problem because of his epistles by his use of Greek here & the fight over what this verse actually means.
4. Let us now see whether the apostle withal observes the norm of this name in accordance with Genesis, attributing it to the sex; calling the virgin Mary a woman, just as Genesis (does) Eve. For, writing to the Galatians, “God,” he says, “sent His own Son, made of a woman,”296 who, of course, is admitted to have been a virgin, albeit Hebion297297 [i.e., Ebion, founder of the Ebionites.] resist (that doctrine). I recognize, too, the angel Gabriel as having been sent to “a virgin.”298 But when he is blessing her, it is “among women,” not among virgins, that he ranks her: “Blessed (be) thou among women.” The angel withal knew that even a virgin is called a woman. – Tertullian CE 205 “On the Veiling of Virgins”
Again Tertullian discussing the verse, and actually makes the reference to Eve that quite a few other scholars make & assert; however, again to get Mary into this he has to infer from Luke 1.26-27 to support his exegesis on the passage. The passage is problematic to a historical Jesus as the Greek & the argument Paul forms throughout the chapters renders a literal exegesis weak, as his intention is not even to relay information about the “birth” of Jesus from a literal standpoint or he would have included at least some additional information rather than 3 words to describe an event that in itself does not depict a human birth, but a divine manufacture. Relying on an argument that the Holy Spirit is conceiving still requires passages that are later added – and given how highly problematic this passage was in the early church, up until the 5th century, I find it reasonable speculation, with probably cause, that later writers would definitely want to clarify ambiguous passages such as these that were a focus for theological debate. Although again, this is highly speculative, although probable given the sequence of evidence & the appearance of characters/events in that sequence.
If Paul wasn’t actually trying to discuss a birth event here in Gal 4, assuming Paul did know of such an event, then he would expand on that event later in other passages when sharing his gospel account of Christ right? One would think so, yet he is remarkably quiet on this account. In 1 Cor we see what Paul establishes as a focus for his gospel message
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures”
“For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.”
This passage indicates the first revelation of Christ that Paul had was the death/resurrection of Christ & that it was done according to the scriptures – although Paul never specifically defines the scriptures he is referring to – not a birth event nor does he reference a womanly birth event in other passages even when he does discuss Jesus being “made in human likeness” & “taking the form of a slave” as we see in Phil 2.6-11. Paul clearly places no emphasis of the birth event of Christ, to Paul, it seems that the death/resurrection is the only important message in accordance with scriptures. We can’t say that Paul knew of the event from his council with Jerusalem either for Paul specifically states in Gal 2:6 that after his Damascus experience that he learned “nothing” from the 12 – and also oddly acts as if he only knows apostles, not disciples or a method of discipleship. Paul instead insists he relies upon the revelatory Jesus that appeared to him outside Damascus. The importance of the birth event doesn’t become a theological debate until after the writing of Paul when rival teachings need to be dealt with & the need to answer the onslaught of theological questions that will arise over the next few centuries.
Job 14:1 is also a good point to see this at work, if one is not willing to accept the use of “according to the flesh” in 4.23&4.29 as enough evidence: “A mortal man, born of a woman, few of days and full of trouble, comes up like a flower and withers, flees like a shadow and does not last.” – The phrasing “born of a woman” is simply emphasizing humanity; Mt 11.11 can also be noted here. The important difference here though is the use of how Christ was “born” with the use of Genomenos (Phil 2.6-11 & Rom 1.3) instead of Paul’s preferred word for an actual human birth when he uses Gennao.
Galatians 4 is simply not a verse that attests to the historicity of Jesus. Not only does this fall in line with scholarly opinion on the verse, but when accounting for the different use of Greek it is clear that Paul is not depicting a birth event as the rhetoric may lead one to assume. More importantly, the Greek used more specifically confirms the idea of a mythical Jesus being “made” from the seed of David, and there not being a birth event. This is corroborated by alternative stories of Jesus’ death & resurrection that leave out birth events (in the earliest redactions at any rate – which is also a sign that the text had to be modified to fit later standards) in the Ascension of Isaiah.
 That’s how long it took before official Orthodoxy was established. Although the comparison to conflict between the 5th & 1st – 2nd centuries are night & day with the 1st century having much more prevalent opponents.