1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Christian: Is The Perpetual Virginity of Mary a true Christan Doctrine

Discussion in 'Same Faith Debates' started by Joannicius, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Messages:
    5,917
    Ratings:
    +471
    How do you know? There are common forms of the construct, and eos ou is one of those common forms. Most times context tells us quite a bit. After all, we know Christ doesn't abandon his people when He returns. And yes, Greek is far more specific than English, but it is still a language and needs interpreting.


    Hehe. I didn't know it wasn't yours, so just be careful if you do it ;).
     
  2. chris9178

    chris9178 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    130
    Ratings:
    +18
    That's what I'm saying. In the context, "until" would infer that they had sex, or were at least allowed to/able to have sex afterwards.
     
  3. angellous_evangellous

    Ratings:
    +0

    Thanks for the cross reference.
     
  4. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Messages:
    5,917
    Ratings:
    +471
    Welcome Nate
     
  5. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Messages:
    5,917
    Ratings:
    +471
    I'm sorry Chris...I'd overlooked this.

    Context is determined not just by the text, but also by audience. By reading it, I can just as easily see the context within the book as not infering change, but assuring us Mary was a virgin when she gave birth...never having sex: "he did not know her until she brought forth..." The sense works just as well.

    Now, when we add to it these quotations from the Early Church on the matter, we have an understood context or one that will quickly be understood when someone is taught more about the faith.

    When looked at in that perspective, context tells a lot. The mind of those trained to read it from that perspective would consider it pretty self-evident. After all, Joseph was a crusty old man, who didn't marry Mary, only was betrothed, and was acting as her guardian. She even needed to be given to St. John to be cared for, because she didn't have any sons. Of course he didn't have sex. That is the line of thought on the matter.

    What seems based on context going in from your perspective is based on your language (the Greek eos clearly had more meanings than "until") and the doctrinal context you've been raised in. If I'm right, you've never been a Roman Catholic or Orthodox...you've only been a Protestant and have likely taken for granted that Jesus had other sibilings by Mary.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Joannicius

    Joannicius Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Messages:
    280
    Ratings:
    +21
    It is interesting to see the responses to this, now see what the Fathers of Christendom said..........Both Cathlolic and Protestant!!!

     
  7. chris9178

    chris9178 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    130
    Ratings:
    +18
    No*s:
    This is what I'm talking about when I compared Christians to Bill Clinton. We base our beliefs on what we want to believe, and then try and find a way to make the Bible say what we want it to - the definition of "is". An outsider must think this as quite a spectacle.

    You're right. But I'm pretty open in my faith in that I want to know the Truth. In fact, I never believed in transubstantiation before until I read a few posts here, and now I'm willing to change my mind on it.
    But don't consider yourself immune to that stubborness either. Protestant, Catholic, or Protestant turned Catholic, you can still find yourself trapped and delusioned by your dogma.

    Joannicus:

    Let's not forget that Luther himself believed the sun revolved around the earth based on certain scriptures he read. I wouldn't take his (or especially Calvin's) words as gospel......
    Same for the earlier church fathers.
     
  8. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Messages:
    5,917
    Ratings:
    +471
    This is different. We are talking about the sense of a word in a foreign language. It has uses that do not make sense in English, but that's what it does. While we may say on occasion "the Greek word for" and name some English word, that is really not accurate. Greek words have their own sense independant of English, and they aren't the same words. They may only have similar definitions.

    The Greek word here can mean "while," and it carries that sense even outside the NT. It is paired with the relative pronoun in the genetive case. The genetive case is also used to denote "when."

    We have here, a connection of two elements in Greek known to produce "while." It isn't a secret, nor is it some rule made up for translating the NT. So, my question comes to why are we debating "is," then. More precisely, what reason do we have to restrict the sense of words in one language by those in another? The entire argument from Matthew is that "It says until, so it means a change in condition." This argument assumes a one to one correlation between an English word and a Greek word. I ask, now, for justification of the assumption.

    Without such justification, it isn't the Orthodox or Catholics who are latching onto individual words to justify a doctrine, but the other side. Everything we say is perfectly reasonable in Greek. It just doesn't carry that sense in English. If required, I can give a very long list of linguistic differences between the two languages so that the sense of one doesn't easily convey into the other, but I doubt I'll have to do that.

    While this is very true. I don't think the other side has validated its case at all.

    1). It is insisting on restricting the sense of the Greek language by the sense of an English word. There is no justification for this, and without it the argument from Matthew falls apart. The two languages are very different, after all.

    2). Who, in the history of Christianity, has interpreted the Scripture like this? The first we find is Helvidius, likely a Latin-speaking Christian notably (and thus, separated from the sense of the Greek constructions). Eusebius, with context, doesn't contradict it.

    This means that the correct interpretation was overlooked until the time of Helvidius, and then neglected until denial of the virginity of Mary went into vogue with the Reformation, and it is always those who don't speak or read Greek natively who make the case. It's noteworthy that I don't know of this sentiment ever arising among a Greek-speaking people.

    3). As Joannicius has hinted, there are biblical details that strongly hint at the opposite. For instance, Jesus entrusts Mary to the Apostle John to care for as his mother. Where were Jesus' siblings? It would be their job to do this, but they haven't done so.

    Of these points, nobody has tried to justify equating English sense with Greek when it is in dispute, but it is required for the argument. Only angellous_evangellous attempted to demonstrate a patristic disagreement, but Eusebius doesn't demonstrate that. In fact, there seems a patristic agreement in the opposite sense. Joannicius' argument about Christ on the cross has been unanswered. The only context it makes sense in is if Mary didn't have any children.

    I don't think we've failed to substantiate our case or are being stubborn on account of our dogma. I don't think the other side has brought any strong arguments against it. We're still waiting for the above three points to be addressed.
     
  9. Joannicius

    Joannicius Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Messages:
    280
    Ratings:
    +21
    The sun does revolve around the United States, just ask Rumsy :)
    or is that Ramsies?

    The East was wwaayy out in front on that one.

    KEEP GOIN NO*S - You're about six points ahead ;)
     
  10. Chris

    Chris Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Messages:
    40
    Ratings:
    +6
    I just did it twice in a row..... First time because it said I had to log in again, and the second time because the "Back" key on this keyboard is right next to the arrow keys and I accidently hit it...... I HAVE TO REMEMBER TO COPY!!!!!!!!!:banghead3 :banghead3 :banghead3


    Sorry No*s and Joaniccus. I had a nice long reply, but it's lost in cyberspace now. God have mercy on it's soul.... I'll try again tomorrow.


    btw, I'm obviouslt chris9178. I realized that I could just use Chris so I got a new sn.


    :banghead3
     
  11. may

    may Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    Messages:
    3,665
    Ratings:
    +110
    Was​
    Mary always a virgin?













    Matt. 13:53-56, JB: "When Jesus had finished these parables he left the district; and, coming to his home town, he taught the people in their synagogue in such a way that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did the man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? This is the carpenter’s son, surely? Is not his mother the woman called Mary, and his brothers [Greek, a·del·phoi´] James and Joseph and Simon and Jude? His sisters [Greek, a·del·phai´], too, are they not all here with us?’" (On the basis of this text, would you conclude that Jesus was Mary’s only child or that she had other sons as well as daughters?)​


    The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967, Vol. IX, p. 337) admits regarding the Greek words a·del·phoi´ and a·del·phai´, used at Matthew 13:55, 56, that these "have the meaning of full blood brother and sister in the Greek-speaking world of the Evangelist’s time and would naturally be taken by his Greek reader in this sense. Toward the end of the 4th century (c. 380) Helvidius in a work now lost pressed this fact in order to attribute to Mary other children besides Jesus so as to make her a model for mothers of larger families. St. Jerome, motivated by the Church’s traditional faith in Mary’s perpetual virginity, wrote a tract against Helvidius (A.D. 383) in which he developed an explanation . . . that is still in vogue among Catholic scholars."​


    Mark 3:31-35, JB: "His mother and brothers now arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you’. He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’" (Here a clear distinction is drawn between Jesus’ natural brothers and his spiritual brothers, his disciples. No one claims that the reference to Jesus’ mother means anything different from what it says. Is it consistent, then, to reason that his natural brothers were not that but were perhaps cousins? When what is meant is not brothers but relatives, a different Greek word [syg·ge·non´] is used, as at Luke 21:16.)so mary had other children after jesus was born

     
  12. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Messages:
    5,917
    Ratings:
    +471
    May, you'll find that those points have already been addressed, and we have demonstrated that the terms adelphos and adelphi connote step-brothers/sisters, half-siblings, and even cousins. The former isn't unusual, and the latter is attested in Semitic Greek.

    Helvidius is also as much a liability as he is a strength for you. After all, he's the first person we have interpreting the Scripture that way, and it takes place in the fourth century. That's not exactly a glowing endorsement, since the issue had been discussed before and St. Jerome dealt with him by pointing out how many people disagreed and how universal the belief in Perpetual Virginity was. Bringing up those facts cannot do anything but hurt the case of the opposition.
     
  13. Chris

    Chris Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Messages:
    40
    Ratings:
    +6
    No*s you aren't countering anything anybody says. All you're doing is blowing it off. She's saying that
    And the best you have is "Nu-uh! It's not true! Brother means cousin, or uncle in their language!" when the books of reference weren't even written in that language, but to the best of our knowledge, in greek! You're acting completely condescending to peoples adequate rationale, while giving childish responsive with absolutely no substance. You're giving anecdotal evidence at best.

    We have several inferences in the Bible, as well as specific scripture that we can point to and say, Mary had sex. What do you have to prove that she DIDNT? It seems to me that when you argue that a married couple (and I don't want to hear any tripe about them not really being married and blah blah blah...) didn't have sex, the burden of proof is on your shoulders. The Bible certainly has no mention of Mary's perpetual virginity; we have no record of Paul, or Peter, John, James, Jude, or any other apostle speaking of it in his apostleship (which should lead one to question why it would now be considered any sort of dogma at all....). I haven't read much apocrypha, so there may be some mention there, but that certainly wouldn't help your case, because they aren't vald historically. In fact they would probably do more to damage your own case.
    So tell me, why should I believe that Mary never had sex with her husband, and didn't have the children that are mentioned in the Bible???? Because Jerome, Origen, and Luther???? Well, they also believed in many things you would consider heretical today.

    Let's point out that there are many other people that, in their writings, named James as the brother of Jesus, and many of them weren't even Aramaic speakers! Some include: Clement, Leo, Josephus, and a certain roman historian (I believe a contemporary of Josephus') who's name escapes me....

    And as for your
    Helvidius isn't the first. Tertullian was the first. He was second century and prior to any other fathers that had the opposite view. Does that make a glowing endorsement?
    And yes, I know that Tertullian was regarded as a heretic by some, but he still remained a part of the Catholic Church and defended their beliefs. In fact his writings are still used today by the church. Besides, he was in better standings with the church than Origen was at the time.
    besides that, how does it hurt the case of an opposition to bring up Helvidius???? Our friend Joannicus has brought up many names at much later dates, and you yourself began to argue using Jerome's writings that were written after Helvidius'. Should we be holding ouselves to lower standards than what we proclaim for others to use???

    Also, I just re-read some of the old threads, and in response:
    1.) You actually were using apocrypha (the Protoevangalium of James), written in the 2nd century to prove your arguement! And you dare to contend May's use of Helvidius???? No*s, show some consistency!
    2.) I'm not familiar with Justin Martyr's belief in the perpetual virginity. Could you kindly give me a reference?

    Now I don't doubt that you have, or at very least believe to have, a case. You seem to be an intelligent, and knowledgable man. I'd just like for you to present your side suitably. So far all you've done is attack our side.

    Anyways, I really hope this posts....

    note.... it didn't - because it logged me off again - but I copied this time!!!!:woohoo:
     
  14. Pilgrim of this Reality

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Messages:
    81
    Ratings:
    +13
    Why does no one like to question the idea of tradition? It is a tradition that Mary remained a virgin, just as it became tradition to think that she is anything more than a woman. Of course the same can be said about the beliefs that she wasnt. Perhaps instead of arguing against the idea if you believe in it argue for it; if for it argue against it. This way tradition can be discarded and the issue can be truly looked at.
     
  15. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Messages:
    5,917
    Ratings:
    +471
    People living in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. You have very little room to talk about being condescending.

    I'm not the one treating my language as infallibly representing another. Your answer to an argument on the basis of language is "Well, that's like Clinton trying to define the word 'is.'" You don't get more condescending than that, especially when up until this post you DIDN'T offer a counter-argument to it, and the one you have is very shallow, but I documented my sources and arguments.

    The historical argument is hardly anecdotal. There is a near-universal consensus of the Fathers on this matter. So what if I have to expand my number from "one who taught it" to "two who taught it." It still remains that the overwhelming number supported it. It would remain so even if we could find a third Father in the first five hundred years who thought that.

    Then, when I mention Scriptures that make the most sense with the view of the perpetual virginity of Mary, I receive only silence.

    In my view your argument is built around a supremacy of English translation, the unreliability of the Church Fathers, and your own ability to know accurately what most everyone missed in the EC (especially the people who speak the language).

    Don't beg the question. In none of the instnaces is your interpretation the only possible one.

    This post brings up my point well. Views that Mary wasn't married are "tripe." However, you don't have any evidence she was married. However, the arguments that disagree with you don't need to be critiqued, they are simply dismissed as "tripe."

    Then you make a very faulty argument aobut the lack of the reference to the perpetual virginity in the first century. However, you overlook how many arguments you have simply for the virginity of Mary: Matthew. The Virginity of Mary isn't mentioned in I Clement, the Didiche, or the Epistle of Barnabas. In fact, I think Matthew is the sole source of the doctrine in the first century, and hiss view of it is our question in this thread.

    The first extra-biblical reference to it comes in the early second century, and it makes no reference to whether Mary ceased to be a virgin or not. Most of the authors you cited give no clue they even knew about the Virgin Birth (well, Paul has one passage in Galatians that hints at it).

    This argument wholly neglects the fact that we don't have any testimony in the first century about the matter except Matthew.

    Because they were only married and not betrothed. You can't supply any evidence that they were, and you can't appeal to any extra-biblical evidence for it. Mary is never referred to in Scripture as having other children. At the cross, she had no children to talk care of her, despite the fact that we know that Jesus' brother James was at the Council in Jerusalem after that. That's a pretty good case that she didn't have sex, simply from Scripture.

    Why look at Jerome, Origen, Luther, and others? Well, because even amongst such readily different theologies at differing times, almost everyone seems to agree on that. The point isn't their other theological views. It's that they all accepted it, and this is still true in the Early Church. Somehow, the majority, whether Latin-speaking, Greek-speaking, or Aramaic-speaking, seemed to miss what you seem to take as the obvious reading.

    Josephus and Clement (assuming Alexandria) were certainly Aramaic speakers. As for the others, they were Christians, and thus, had more than a little acquaintance with Greek or Latin with a Semitic flavor. Thus, their use of "brothers" certainly includes the tradition from the texts.

    Even more importantly, Greek and Latin both use adelphos and frater respectively for both "step-brother" and "half-brother." I don't think citing their use of "borther" when the argument is about Jesus having "step-brothers" is very strong.

    Further this post is against my post to May as if Joannicius and I hadn't made an argument on the matter and simply cast her argument aside. Here, though, you are arguing against Joannicius' very argument, but in this post you said I was simply "blowing off" May's argument. The arguments against the point she was making were, indeed, already made, and even with examples, and you argue against them here.

    Which is it? Did we make an argument against it already which you were disputing, or were we simply "blowing off" May's post? It would seem your criticism that I'm saying "nuh uh" has just been rendered moot, because you clearly are aware that we made the argument.

    I am willing to concede error here. Please provide a citation, though.

    It still remains, we're still counting the number of people with your view on one hand. We're up to two, because of an oversight on my part. It's hardly flattering, when I demonstrate an agreement to the opposite among so many other authors, though.

    No, he was not in better standing than Origen. Origen never tried to schism away and claim to have it all figured out. Tertullian did. Both were immensly popular, but Tertullian decided to make himself an enemy of everyone else. Origen never took that step.

    It hurts, because we only know about Helvidius, because of Jerome's argument against him. The argument made two prime types of arguments 1). Helvidius is misreading the texts and making grave blunders and 2). The opinion is unknown in the Church, so Jerome asserts Helvidius must be smarter than all those people before him (and names names), despite the fact that his grasp of his own language is poor. Jerome isn't kind about it either.

    We cannot cite Helvidius without acknowledging Jerome's points and the history that goes into it. Jerome only wrote against him because he had a couple of friends insisting on it. He considered the points beneath contempt for the above reasons.

    Those facts come with any discussion of Helvidius. One more is that St. Jerome was the best linguist in fourth century Christianity.

    I am, and I explained above in greater detail.

    It's in the First Apology, similar to the PEoJ.

    I'm still waiting for you to do so. I have attempted it, and you ignored all the arguments, even the recap in post 29.
     
  16. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Messages:
    5,917
    Ratings:
    +471
    You answered your own question. We all work within a tradition which informs our understanding.

    There is also the fact that acknowledging Tradition also aknowledges that we don't know everything and need to be taught.

    However, I have been arguing for the perpetual virginity of Mary and not just against the other side. I have pointed out that the Early Church nearly unanimously believed it, that we see it attested very early, and that it does mesh with the biblical accounts (Joannicius, for instance, pointed out John's receiving Mary to care for where her sons would do normally that).

    The problem is, this is a debate also. We offer arguments and counter-arguments (well, some of us).
     
  17. true blood

    true blood Active Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    848
    Ratings:
    +36
    "Do you not know I should be about my Father's business" Growing up as a kid Jesus was known to have said this alot to his earthly parents. From a perspective yes Mary was a virgin but spiritually God implanted sperm in her ovum which brought forth the birth of Christ. So in the concept of a man laying with a woman and then conception of Christ-no it didn't happen. True doctine knows Mary held the Christ for 9 months, impregnated by God, to speculate beyond the point of birth or about her personal affairs with a man or even claiming "perpetual virginity" borders on the lines of adolatry.
     
  18. may

    may Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    Messages:
    3,665
    Ratings:
    +110
    It seems that Jesus’ brothers did not exercise faith in Jesus until after his death. It likely was no coincidence that they were not present when he died on the torture stake and that he had to entrust his mother to the apostle John. Jesus’ relatives showed that they did not appreciate him, even saying on one occasion that Jesus was "out of his mind." (Mark 3:21)

    After Jesus’ resurrection, however, his brothers apparently began to exercise faith in him. They were in the group who met in Jerusalem before Pentecost of 33 C.E. and fervently prayed together with the apostles. (Acts 1:14) Obviously, their brother’s resurrection moved them to a change of heart, to the point of becoming his disciples.

     
  19. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2004
    Messages:
    28,675
    Ratings:
    +2,658
    7. Ever Virgin

    [font=Times New Roman, Times, serif]The traditional belief of all the Ancient churches is that the Virgin Mary remained a virgin all her life.[/font]

    [font=Times New Roman, Times, serif]"[/font][font=Times New Roman, Times, serif]For neither did Mary, who is to be honoured and praised above all others, marry anyone, nor did she ever become the Mother of anyone else, but even after childbirth she remained always and forever and immaculate virgin.[/font][font=Times New Roman, Times, serif]" (Didimus the Blind, The Trinity. 381 AD) :)[/font]
     
  20. may

    may Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    Messages:
    3,665
    Ratings:
    +110
    The Bible itself several times mentions Jesus’ "brothers" and "sisters." (Matthew 12:46, 47; 13:55, 56; Mark 6:3; Luke 8:19, 20; John 2:12; 7:3, 5) These brothers and sisters are not Jesus’ cousins. Neither are they his disciples, or spiritual brothers and sisters, for John 2:12 makes a clear distinction between the two groups by stating: "He [Jesus] and his mother and brothers and his disciples went down to Capernaum."





    Years later in Jerusalem, the apostle Paul saw Cephas, or Peter, and added: "I did not see any of the other apostles; I only saw James, the brother of the Lord." (Galatians 1:19, The Jerusalem Bible) Moreover, the statement that Joseph "had no intercourse with [Mary] until she gave birth to a son" indicates that Jesus’ adoptive father did have relations with her afterward and fathered her other children. (Matthew 1:25) Accordingly, Luke 2:7 calls Jesus her "firstborn" son.
    When Jesus’ ministry brings him to his hometown of Nazareth, his childhood acquaintances recognize him. "Is this not the carpenter’s son?" they ask. "Is not his mother called Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?" (Matthew 13:55, 56) The Nazarenes are referring to the physical family of Joseph and Mary, including her sons and daughters whom they know as Jesus’ natural brothers and sisters.
    The New American Bible, a Catholic translation, admits in a footnote on Mark 6:1-6, where Jesus’ brothers and sisters are mentioned: "The question of meaning here would not have arisen but for the faith of the church in Mary’s perpetual virginity."​

    The Bible clearly shows that Mary had other children besides Jesus; the Catholic Church’s teaching that she did not is what has created a controversy. The FOUR CANONICAL GOSPELS provide concordant evidence . . . that Jesus had real brothers and sisters in his family. . . . In the face of this coherent block of proof the traditional position [of the Catholic Church] seems vulnerable and fragile
     
Loading...