The reasons include the following: The stories of Jesus’ birth are found only in two relatively late sources, Matthew and Luke, both written near the end of the first century. Jesus’ birth is not mentioned in earlier sources (Mark and the letters of Paul), nor anywhere else in the New Testament. Minimally, one may infer that it was not of central importance to the early Church. Moreover, in Matthew and Luke, the stories are quite different; though some of the differences can be reconciled, not all can. Yet each narrative is strikingly harmonious with the Gospel of which it is a part, suggesting that each has been composed as a prologue. Finally, according to Mark, the family of Jesus seems not to have known about the virginal conception and his being the “Son of God” from birth. See Mark 3:21–35 and the comment on it in Meier, A Marginal Jew, p. 221: “Jesus’ brothers did not believe in him during the public ministry—which hardly seems likely if they had known about his virginal conception.” It should be noted that the passage in Mark also includes his mother.