See BR articles: Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis, “Different Ways of Looking at the Birth of Jesus,” BR 01:01; J. Edward Barrett, “Can Scholars Take the Virgin Birth Seriously?” BR 04:05; and James E. Crouch, “How Early Christians Viewed the Birth of Jesus,” BR 04:05. The most comprehensive recent work in English is Raymond Brown, The Birth of the Messiah (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977); see also his article “Infancy Narratives” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday, 1992), vol. 3, pp. 410–415. See also John Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus (New York: Doubleday, 1991), pp. 208–252; and, for the sociopolitical history behind the narratives, Richard Horsely, The Liberation of Christmas: The Infancy Narratives in Social Context (New York: Crossroad, 1989). Brown and Meier leave the historical question unresolved, arguing that the historicity of the virginal conception is beyond the scope of historical-critical study. See Meier, A Marginal Jew, p. 222: “Taken by itself, historical-critical research simply does not have the sources and tools available to reach a final decision on the historicity of the virginal conception.”