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The Ever Virginity of Mary

Discussion in 'Christianity in General DIR' started by James the Persian, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. Steve

    Steve Active Member

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    Hi James,
    The following makes more sense to me. taken from http://www.carm.org/catholic/brothers.htm

    Matthew 12:46-47, "While He was still speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. And someone said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Yourbrothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You."

    Matthew 13:55 - "Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?"

    In both of these verses, if the brothers of Jesus are not brothers, but His cousins, then who is His mother and who is the carpenter’s father? In other words, ‘mother’ here refers to Mary. The carpenter in Matt. 13:55, refers to Joseph. These are literal. Yet, the Catholic theologian will then stop there and say, "Though ‘carpenter’s son’ refers to Joseph, and ‘mother’ refers to Mary, ‘brothers’ does not mean brothers, but "cousins." This does not seem to be a legitimate assertion. You cannot simply switch contextual meanings in the middle of a sentence unless it is obviously required. The context is clear. This verse is speaking of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus’ brothers. The whole context is of familial relationship: father, mother, and brothers.
    Also
    When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:24-25
    tells us he didnt have sex with her until the birth Christ.


    Also the point about Psalm 69 described in more detail at that same link makes more sense too if Mary did have more children.
    Psalm 69, A Messianic Psalm
    There are many arguments pro and con concerning Jesus’ siblings. But the issue cannot be settled without examining Psalm 69, a Messianic Psalm. Jesus quotes Psalm 69:4 in John 15:25, "But they have done this in order that the word may be fulfilled that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’"
    He also quotes
    Psalm 69:9 in John 2:16-17, "and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise." His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Thy house will consume me."
    Clearly,
    Psalm 69 is a Messianic Psalm since Jesus quoted it in reference to Himself two times. The reason this is important is because of what is written between the verses that Jesus quoted.
    To get the whole context, here is
    Psalm 69:4-9, "Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; Those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully my enemies, What I did not steal, I then have to restore. 5O God, it is Thou who dost know my folly, And my wrongs are not hidden from Thee. 6May those who wait for Thee not be ashamed through me, O Lord God of hosts; May those who seek Thee not be dishonored through me, O God of Israel, 7Because for Thy sake I have borne reproach; Dishonor has covered my face. 8I have become estranged from my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s sons. 9For zeal for Thy house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me."


     
  2. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    Well, I think you'll find that most Catholics, both Orthodox and Roman, will argue that James was Christ's brother, being the child of Joseph by a previous marriage. Once you realise this you'll see that all of the criticisms made above fall down. Half-brothers and step-brothers are still brothers, sharing two parents (or even no biological but only legal parents) does not prevent people from being considered siblings. As the people present also clearly refer to Christ as Joseph's son (being presumably unaware of His actual origins) it is obvious that they would consider any other of Joseph's children His siblings. The cousins argument is only one that I brought up to show that the Scripture can be read in several ways and is not at all clear on this issue.

    This has to be my all time favourite linguistic misinterpretation. You're quite right that this tells us that Joseph did not sleep with Mary before Christ's birth, but that is all it tells us. It does not, in any way, imply that he slept with her afterwards. Koine, unlike English, does not have a word for 'until' that presupposes that after the time mentioned the opposite did occur. It is by no means unique in this. Modern Romanian, for instance, is the same. If you say in English, 'X did not happen until Y', this implies that it did happen after Y. In Koine it implies absolutely nothing, but rather is completely silent, about what happened after Y. These are the sorts of problems one comes across when one relies entirely on imperfect translations rather than the original language when reading a Biblical text.
    As, as I have already shown, we do believe that Christ had siblings but that He did not share a mother with any of them, I fail to see how this is of any relevance at all. These arguments a predicated on the idea that we defend the ever virginity of Mary by saying that Christ's 'siblings' were cousins but as we do not do tis all such arguments fail. Franklly, I find the arguments you have raised to be badly researched because they are arguing against a view that we (or certainly most of us) simply do not hold.

    James
     
  3. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    Are you talking about Joseph Smith?:D Just kidding!

    To be perfectly honest, belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary is really only something that I believe in out of my trust in the Church. I doubt that anyone can be "convinced" by the available evidence... Marian references are extremely rare before the year 150 and are difficult to interpret in works written between 150 and 200.

    The idea of perpetual virginity (post partum) was actively resisited in the early Church by such writers as Tertullian, lest the Church yield ground to the Docetists and the Gnostics (both of whom denied the humanity of Christ)... but over time as these heresies were defeated, the Marian dimension of our faith helped strengthen our devotion to Christ.
     
  4. glasgowchick

    glasgowchick Gives Glory to God !!!

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    Hi Victor thankyou, Yes I know that there were at times married people refrained from sexual intercourse for a time as it says in 1 Cor 7:5 stop depriving one another except by agreement for a time so that you may devote yourselves to prayer and come together again so that satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self control..Joseph was human after all and had sexual needs. In Mathew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows, when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph Before they came together she was found to be with Child by the Holy Spirit..I see this as saying " before" Joseph had sexual relations with Mary, Mary was found to be pregnant..verse 25 says Joseph Kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a son and he called his name Jesus..In Luke1 :34 " How can this be since I am a virgin" I read that as saying, How can I possibly be pregnant, I have never had sexual intercourse..
     
  5. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    Good point... and perfectly reasonable. I hope a (rather long, sorry) quote from St. Jerome (to a man named Helvidius) about this might help:

    In short, what I want to know is why Joseph refrained until the day of her delivery? Helvidius will of course reply, because he heard the angel say, "that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." And in turn we rejoin that he had certainly heard him say, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife." The reason why he was forbidden to forsake his wife was that he might not think her an adulteress. Is it true then, that he was ordered not to have intercourse with his wife? Is it not plain that the warning was given him that he might not be separated from her? And could the just man dare, he says, to think of approaching her, when he heard that the Son of God was in her womb? Excellent ! We are to believe then that the same man who gave so much credit to a dream that he did not dare to touch his wife, yet afterwards, when he had learnt from the shepherds that the angel of the Lord had come from heaven and said to them, "Be not afraid: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people, for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord;" and when the heavenly host had joined with him in the chorus "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of good will ;" and when he had seen just Simeon embrace the infant and exclaim, "Now lettest thou thy servant depart, O Lord, according to thy word in peace: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation;" and when he had seen Anna the prophetess, the Magi, the Star, Herod, the angels; Helvidius, I say, would have us believe that Joseph, though well acquainted with such surprising wonders, dared to touch the temple of God, the abode of the Holy Ghost, the mother of his Lord? Mary at all events "kept all these sayings in her heart." You cannot for shame say Joseph did not know of them, for Luke tells us, "His father and mother were marvelling at the things which were spoken concerning Him."
    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3007.htm

    Hope that helps.
     
  6. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Nope, I'm talking about Origen! :bounce We LDS believe in modern-day revelation, remember. You folks don't. So Origin couldn't possibly have been given his information through revelation.
     
  7. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    You just can't seem to grasp this.... oh well.
     
  8. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I apologize. My stupidity must be terribly frustrating to you. ;)
     
  9. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    Nah... I don't think you are stupid at all... I think it must be "selective reading".:bounce
     
  10. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Okay, here's how I see it... pertaining to the Marian dogmas or any other dogmas for which there appear to be traditions but limited (if any) scriptural support:

    It's the year 2005 and I tell my 25-year old son a true story about something that happened to me this afternoon. Twenty-five years from now, he repeats that story to his son. Twenty-five years after that his son repeats that story to his son. And so on and so on.

    It's now the year 2505. My great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandson writes down the story. People believe him because he's a pretty smart guy and he has studied a lot about "ancient history" all the way back to the year 2005.

    It's now the year 4005. It has been 80 generations since I told my son this story, and 60 generations since it was first recorded. But my descendents in the year 4005 accept the version of the story as it was written down for the first time 20 generations since I first told it. The story has its basis in "tradition," and traditions are valuable. It has to be accurate because the year 2505 is a long time ago. It's almost as long ago as 2005. There are a mere 500 years between when the event transpired and when it was recorded, and everybody knows that oral tradition is almost guaranteed accurate. The chances that somewhere in between 2005 and 2505 there were changes, misinterpretations or embellishments is remote at best. Right. :D

    And that is the best reason I've heard yet for believing it. :bounce There are some things you accept on faith and there are other things I accept on faith. And that's really the bottom line.

    Kathryn
     
  11. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    What if instead of telling your son, you just write the story on Platinum dinnerware?

    That would work. Right.:D
     
  12. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Actually, you're right. If the Apostles had written it down on platinum dinnerware or anything else, I think people today would have a more accurate account than the one I'd described. Unfortunately, my example is closer to what really happened.
     
  13. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    Well, you are trying to equate the power of God safeguarding the deposit of faith through Sacred Tradition with human frailty...... we have a little bit more respect for God than that.
    Amen.
     
  14. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    And is the same reason I gave, though in a more roundabout way. Holy Tradition says Mary was ever virgin, we accept Holy Tradition because we trust the Church and, believe that She is the pillar and ground of the Truth.

    All the evidence provided with regards to the Scriptures has not been an attempt to 'prove' my belief but to disprove the notion that Scripture contradicts it. In that, if the lack of recent opposing posts is anything to go by, I seem to have succeeded, with the help of the others who've posted here and share my belief.

    James
     
  15. Steve

    Steve Active Member

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    Hi James,

    This i disagree on, rather than show that the scriptures dont contradict your tradition you instead change what the scriptures seem to clearly teach. You change brothers to half brothers and to do so imply that Joseph must have had a earlier marriege. None of which is supported by scripture, you have to take your belife to scripture to get the half brother earlier marrige etc idea.
    For someone who dosnt care much for many of the so called "holy traditions" this line of reasoning does nothing.
    Its simply a belief you take to the bible not one you get out of it.
     
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  16. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    You appear to be having some difficulty differentiating between proving that my belief is correct and disproving that Scripture contradicts it. I don't deny that Scripture doesn't say Mary was ever virgin, only that it doesn't say she wasn't. I accept that you can read Scripture and suppose that Christ's siblings were Mary's children but there is absolutely no evidence that they were (and a small snippet of evidence that they were not, which nobody on your side of the argument has yet attempted to refute).

    I am not a sola scripturalist and hence you are right when you suppose that my reading of the Scriptures is via the lens of Holy Tradition. All people read any text through the lens of some tradition or other, however, so this does not worry me in the slightest - sola scriptura is a logical and philosophical impossibility, and a(rather recent) tradition in itself.

    You are wrong, however, when you insist that I am reading half-brother into the text. The very same verse that mentions Christ's siblings also calls Him Joseph's son when we know he was not. It's important to look at verses in context. This is a report of speech made by those who did not know who Christ was. They believed Him to simply be Joseph's son and so any children of Joseph's would automatically be considered His siblings, regardless of who their mother was. No reading into the text is required. On the contrary, you are reading Mary's motherhood of Christ's siblings into the text when it doesn't say anything of the kind.

    As to the previous marriage of Joseph, you are right that Scripture is silent on this but as Scripture itself points out that Scripture is not the be all and end all of Christian faith, this is not a problem for me. You cannot argue doctrine from Scriptural silence. You can choose to accept or reject whatever extra-Scriptural sources you like, but it does not alter the fact that nowhere in Scripture is there anything to contradict the belief that Mary remained virgin after Christ's birth.

    James
     
  17. Bennettresearch

    Bennettresearch Politically Incorrect

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    Hi James,

    I think the entire discussion revolves around the parsing of this statement.

    Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

    This can be looked at two different ways and obviously has been. Yes, one can say that there is no differentiation between stepfather and father. However, there is no earlier mention of Joseph having children when he married Mary. This would surely clinch it if the Gospels did. We have to wonder where these siblings came from and there isn't any discussion of this in the earlier chronolgy of the Gospels. Does it say Jesus is the youngest of these siblings? Please help me here, I haven't found anything about this in the Gospel. Mary treats Jesus like the oldest son in places like where He turned the water to wine. Looking at it objectively, it appears that these siblings where from the marriage of Joseph and Mary and not from a previous marriage. Since the Gospels are our main source for the virgin birth, they should clear this up but they do not. I would say that there is more evidence of them being the product of this marriage than not. I will take the side of those who think that Mary did not remain a virgin after the birth of Jesus because there isn't any real neccesity for it.
     
  18. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    You're quite right that there is almost no evidence either way. That is my point entirely. Scripture is essentially silent on the issue. Neither Joseph's life prior to his betrothal to Mary nor the parentage of Christ's siblings is mentioned, because they are not essential to the Gospel story. Holy Tradition fills in these blanks, but I accept that not everyone accepts it.

    My point with starting this thread was to debunk allegations that the ever-virginity of Mary was disproven by Scripture, not to prove it. In actual fact, there is one piece of evidence in the Bible that suggests that Mary did not have other children than Christ. This is her being entrusted to John after the Crucifixion. This suggests that a.) Joseph was no longer alive, which is a hint that he may have been older as attested to by Tradition and b.) that she had no other children. If she had had any male relatives alive it would have been their duty to look after her. This suggests that Christ was her only (and hence she treated Him as eldest) son. If this is the case, Christ's siblings must be Joseph's children by another wife. This is exactly what Holy Tradition tells us.

    I have to say that you are right that this is not an important belief in the grand scale of things, but it is important to me and millions of other Christians as it is part of my personal beliefs regarding the Mother of God, who I honour above all other women. The purpose of this thread was to defend our beliefs as completely consistent with Scripture and to try to understand why some other Christians seem so obsessed with attacking us for it (other than linguistic misunderstandings and poor translations colouring their judgement). This thread was meant as a defense of the Catholic (in its broadest meaning) faith, not proselytism.

    James
     
  19. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    The beauty of being Catholic. :)

    ~Victor
     
  20. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    Can I get an "Amen"? :bounce
     
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