Tiberius Iulius Abdes Pantera (Latin for "panther"), ca. 22 BCE – CE 40, was a Roman soldier, an alleged rapist and/or adulterer, and possibly the Baby Daddy of Jesus. A rumor existed around the second century of the Christian era that a Roman soldier may have raped Mary or had consensual sex with her. He could have been the father of Jesus. Certainly Roman soldiers would have been tempted to have sexual relations with local women with, or without, consent. They were men in the prime of life and were forbidden to marry until they were forty. The story of the virgin birth originated earlier, but is less plausible.
 Effects on the child
If the rumour was true, it could have affected the unfortunate boy born from this act of violence, or from consensual adultery, which would have shamed his mother. Perhaps his mother told him a story about an Angel and an Annunciation to cover up the truth. Perhaps his mother told him the truth. Either way the boy might have known or sensed that by existing he caused his mother great suffering (and, perhaps, his mother's husband some jealous conflicts). He could have grown up to be self destructive. He could have grown up to be the type of man who takes unnecessary risks and gets himself crucified. Pantera's tombstone suggests that he served as a Roman soldier bravely and with distinction. If Jesus was his son, he seems to have inherited courage and loyalty from his biological father.
 Wild speculation
Since Roman soldiers were tried by other soldiers, they may have been able to get away with serious crimes if those who tried them were sympathetic. This increases the likelihood that Pantera could have done it. If criminal behaviour by Roman soldiers was notorious this also increases the odds that the story could have been made up. Most information about the conception, birth and life of Jesus is nebulous. The rumor cannot be proved or disproved. It may have been a slanderous joke --- a pun on parthenos, the Greek word for virgin. Even if false, the rumor shows one fact clearly: right from the start, non-Christians made fun of Jesus and of Christianity.
When Mary became pregnant with Jesus, she was engaged to Joseph, but not officially married to him. Matthew 1:19-24 says that Joseph wanted to call off the marriage after he found out about the pregnancy, strongly suggesting that he was suspicious of her. And Luke 1:36-56 says that Mary spent three months of her pregnancy at the house of a relative named Elizabeth. It has been suggested that she made this visit to avoid the disgrace she would have faced in her own community.
Paul Verhoeven published a biography of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, suggesting that a Roman soldier raped Mary.
 Alien abduction
Mary could also have been abducted by a UFO and impregnated aboard the ship. Some people take this suggestion seriously: whole web sites deal with the topic. Joseph probably wouldn't have appreciated this. See Raëlism
This hypothesis opens up a series of interesting implications. Are the offspring of Jesus and his brothers and sisters half-alien? Have we alien blood in us? Are these the same aliens who brought the first life (see abiogenesis)? The basic idea is not less sensible than the Christian doctrine of the virgin birth—applying Occam's razor, alien abduction is more probable than traditional Christian theories, since the alien abduction theory assumes only natural causes. Christian theories assume supernatural causes as well. However, both theories are quite improbable.
 Life of Brian
In the movie Monty Python's the Life of Brian, which parodies Jesus' life, Brian was the son of a Jewish woman and a Roman soldier named Naughtius Maximus.
 Car and band
Pantera is also a sports car manufactured in the 1970s. It was also the name of a band, which took its name from the car. Awesome car, awesome band.
 Another band
The Rumor is also a band. Although it might be The Rumour. Or even both.
- See the Wikipedia article on Tiberius Iulius Abdes Pantera.
- Celsus on Jesus
- Was Mary raped? Was Jesus conceived with great sin?
- Jesus' Alien Ancestors?