12 OCTOBER 1934, Page 17


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.]

SIR,—Dr. Major disbelieves in the Virgin Birth. Writing as a scholar, he maintains that the first generation of Christians had never heard of it. But the vast numbers of scholars today, examining the same historical evidence and having brains not inferior to those of Dr. Major, come to the opposite conclusion. It is not the object of this letter to continue a theological discussion, uninteresting to the majority of your readers who have no training in theology and ecclesiastical history, but to put a simple question to Dr. Major. Assuming his opinions are correct, what right has he to remain in a Church which puts the doctrine of the Virgin Birth into its prayers and into the creeds which he is bound to recite publicly or privately every day ? I am not a professional moralist or casuist, but it seems odd to me as a *than that Dr. Major should repeat the creeds, and even odder that he should think himself justified in pre- paring candidates for ordination who Will be condemned all their lives to this repulsive task.

One other point. The Mother of Our Lord is commonly called the "Virgin Mary." Clearly Dr. Major can no longer use this expression. It would be absu,rd to call Queen Victoria the "Virgin Queen,” and not only absurd but shocking to the moral sense to speak of the "Virgin Mary," for, according to Dr. Major, in this case it would be per- petuating and condoning what he regards as a hoary fraud. He concedes that Mary was "chaste." Surely he must be

content with that epithet ? ATHELSTAN RILEY. The Athenaeum, Pall Mall, LW. 1.