Refutational Literary Historical Evidence of the Virgin Conception of Jesus Christ
I was going to respond to your previous thread but as this is your more revised thinking I am doing it here. Also, I can also say that I was brought to to believe in the virgin birth as a concrete fact. I don't believe it now, but I am aware that if was to say that to some people they would be deeply offended or angry as if I was committing blasphemy. I would be perceived as extremely sinful.
But going back to the whole question of research on early Christianity, it is so difficult to find the most reliable thinking as so much has been written. For some Christians, the Gospels are taken as the main source. I see that as problematic, because of the factors within the Church contribution to that. Also, there are so many people from the last century and this one coming up with certain ideas which may not based on that much evidence. Personally, I try to look at texts and their sources, and even the background of the author. When information is on the internet, I am not sure that can be done so well. I have read a fair amount but don't have access to various books I have read because libraries are not open and, I had books which I don't have any longer because I have moved a few times.
Saying that, I have read on the topic of early Christianity mainly in connection with research on Carl Jung, who was extremely interested in Gnostic ideas. I was familiar with the name of Valentinus you referred to. I was also familiar with the idea of Sophia, representing wisdom.One particular aspect arising within Christianity is the whole way in which the writer known as 'Paul' seems to have played a key role in the development of Christianity. In Paul's writings there was a whole emphasis on the idea of striving for perfection. This is important in connection with Gnostic beliefs, because the Gnostics were world rejecting. They had negative beliefs about the body and sexuality.
The idea of the virgin birth probably needs to be seen in connection with a worldview which sees sexuality and the body in a negative way. Apart from that, when you look at symbolism in the Bible, it does seem that so much of this may be derived from other traditions, especially Egyptian ideas.