(Posted November 3, 2003)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The belief in a virgin birth is a central tenet of Christianity, yet the myths and religions of other cultures often feature this same belief. In the talk ?Was Jesus Born of a Virgin?? Juniata religion professor Robert Miller will discuss whether the belief in virgin birth is literal or symbolic and what meaning the belief has for contemporary Christians at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

Miller?s talk is free and open to the public. His talk is part of the Bookend Lecture Series, which features afternoon lectures each month by Juniata College faculty.

Miller, associate professor of religion, is basing his lecture on his most recently published book: ?Born Divine: The Births of Jesus and Other Sons of God.? In the book, Miller discusses the claims made in ancient times about other ?pagan saviors? and explains what these beliefs meant for early Christians and members of other religions in the ancient world.

The talk also will try to answer whether the story of Jesus? birth was meant to be symbolic or literal and he will discuss what meaning the virgin birth has for Christians today.

Miller joined the faculty at Juniata in 2003. He worked as a professor of religion and philosophy at Midway College in Midway, Ky. from 1988 to 2000. He was promoted to associate professor in 1993. He received the Trustees Award for Faculty Excellence in 1996 and was promoted to full professor in 1999.

He earned a bachelor?s degree in philosophy in 1975 from St. John?s College in Camarillo, Calif. He spent a year pursuing theological studies at St. John?s Seminary in Camarillo from 1975 to 1976. Miller earned a master?s degree in religious studies from the University of California-Santa Barbara in 1978 and went on to earn a master?s degree in philosophy from the Claremont Graduate School in 1980. He earned a doctorate in religion from the Claremont Graduate School in 1986.

Miller?s research and teaching interests are centered on Biblical Studies. He is the author of ?Born Divine: The Births of Jesus and Other Sons of God? (2002) and ?The Jesus Seminar and Its Critics? (1999). He also served as editor and contributor for the books ?The Apocalyptic Jesus: A Debate? (2001) and ?The Complete Gospels? (1992).

Miller is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association and The Jesus Seminar.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.