Jack makes an important point which I should have attempted to draw
regarding the birth narratives. Jack writes of the possible colourings
effecting the understanding of the Matthean account:
>1. The Matthean midrash, 2. the literal interpretation of the midrash
>by Hellenists to support a virginal conception and the later Jewish
>polemic which may be targeted solely to the Hellenist viewpoint.
Steve is restricting his analysis to a Hebrew environment, but I fear he is
unjustified for doing so. There is no evidence that any of the synoptics
were written in Palestine.