If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone



Nobody doubts that the gospel writers had to be influenced by supernaturalist biographies from Greece and Rome.  Plutarch for example in his life story of Romulus and Alexander the Great felt he should glorify these heroes with two conceptions.  They had a magical supernatural one and also a natural one. Or to be clearer, the natural conception was told but then there was a mythological retelling.  Some think that with Jesus who may have been fathered by Joseph, we are only getting the supernatural story.  The natural version could be lost.  It is not clear that Joseph was the father. 

James Tabor has made many good points about Pantera, the alleged father of Jesus.

The context is that Mary had loose sexual morals and Pantera fathered Jesus.  There is no indication in the story that she was raped.

The Gospel of Matthew gives a genealogy of Jesus.  Only men should be in the list - that was how such lists were done in those days.   Matthew lists women.  What is worse he lists only “bad” women.  There is Tamar and Rahab.  There is Ruth and Bathsheba.  Tamar is the lady from Genesis 38 who pretended to be a prostitute to get pregnant.  Rahab was a working girl.  Ruth was a seductress.  Bathsheba was into adultery.   

 Why just them?  They all had sex outside marriage - that was the one thing they had in common.  Putting it all together makes us wonder is he hinting that a girl was having sex with men even married men for money and tricking somebody to get “miraculously” pregnant? The Bible seems to be hinting that God did good things despite their sin which makes them important. But why list the women at all? Why Tamar of all people? 

The list deals with the ancestry of Joseph who is Jesus' legal father.  Joseph was Mary's husband. Is Matthew hinting that there is no problem with Joseph getting together with a bad girl in order to be Jesus' father for his ancestors did it anyway?  That Matthew seeks to establish a Jewish pedigree for Jesus and draws attention to them is trying to say something about Mary.  The genealogy is Joseph's so Joseph like his ancestors married a bad woman.  That is what he has to be driving at.  Remember this is a royal bloodline we are talking about.  The list of ancestors is an attempt to prove that Jesus was the rightful king of Israel.  Nobody mentions bad women for that could defeat the purpose UNLESS THEY HAVE TO MENTION THEM!  Mary's bad morals explains it.  It explains why Tamar who had a "miraculous" conception that God used to give Jesus an ancestor is mentioned first!!   She should be the last one getting a mention at all! 

Just for the record, Tamar and Rahab were Canaanites.  Ruth was Moabite.  It seems Bathsheba was a Hittite.  They were not even Jews! 
Celsus in 178 AD provides us with the earliest written version of the Pantera story. He says that Mary had Jesus by a Roman soldier called Pantera and was driven away by her husband for adultery.
Tabor observes that Celsus got the story from Jewish circles.
Tabor tells us the following. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus who lived at the end of the first century AD spoke of what he learned from a man who followed Jesus. The man was Jacob of Sikhnin from Sepphoris. Jacob passed on Jesus' teaching in the name of Jesus the son of Panteri. There was a dispute mentioned among rabbis if it was allowed to try and miraculously heal snake bites in the name of Jesus the son of Panter. They don't say why Jesus was called the Son of Panteri. It is clear then that the Jews were not using this designation in a nasty way. Tabor says Panteri is not a play on the Greek word for virgin which is parthenos for the words are too different. Adolf Deissmanns research in 1906 verified that the name was used at the alleged time of Jesus and was favoured by Roman soldiers . . .
In Germany, there is a tombstone of a Roman soldier who went to Germany from Palestine. It goes Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera of Sidon aged 62 - a soldier of 60 years service of the first cohort of archers lies here. This man died in the middle of the first century AD and could well have been Jesus' father.
Tabor states that Abdes is a given name. It was given in honour. It is a latinized version of ebed an Aramaic word meaning servant of God. Thus Pantera could have been a Jew by religion and race.

Jewish tradition said that Jesus was born of unlawful sex between Mary and a Roman soldier called Pantera. It is said this could have been made up in response to the Christian doctrine of the virgin birth. There were sex-mad Christian sects complained about in the New Testament who we might blame. It is wrong to say that it implies that there was something odd as in supernatural about the way Jesus entered the world.  It implies nothing except what it says - Jesus was the son of a soldier.