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Moderated Forums => Orthodox-Other Christian Discussion => Orthodox-Protestant Discussion => Topic started by: freddief on March 04, 2013, 06:51:07 PM

Title: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 04, 2013, 06:51:07 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: biro on March 04, 2013, 06:55:45 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 04, 2013, 06:57:05 PM
There's always that one person who thinks they have the cat in the bag and it will somehow be so epic that it will send shockwaves throughout the universe.  :laugh:
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 04, 2013, 06:59:42 PM
An alien to my mother's sons talks about alienation from all Jewish people, not a literal "sons of Mary".  Besides, if Jesus was rejected by his brothers, why was James the bishop of Jerusalem?  Why did he have an Epistle in the Bible?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 04, 2013, 07:00:59 PM
Well I guess that tears it, since that was the final proof :P
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: biro on March 04, 2013, 07:19:24 PM
Well I guess that tears it, since that was the final proof :P

Oh no! I'm shocked, shocked I tell you! Now I will become a megachurcher and believe whatever Benny Hinn tells me!

 :o :o
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LBK on March 04, 2013, 07:25:15 PM
Your assertion proves nothing.

In ancient cultures, the words children, brothers, sisters did not necessarily mean fruits of one's womb or one's siblings. What does St Paul mean when he opens his epistles with Brethren or My child Timothy? Does he share a biological mother with all those present? Did he physically beget Timothy? Of course not.

Even today, many cultures retain this broad meaning to refer to members of their extended family.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 04, 2013, 07:36:47 PM
An alien to my mother's sons talks about alienation from all Jewish people, not a literal "sons of Mary".  Besides, if Jesus was rejected by his brothers, why was James the bishop of Jerusalem?  Why did he have an Epistle in the Bible?
well if its a question of alienation from all Jewish people, as you suggest, how come James was bishop in Jerusalem?  how come there was a church in Jerusalem for that matter?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 04, 2013, 07:40:12 PM
An alien to my mother's sons talks about alienation from all Jewish people, not a literal "sons of Mary".  Besides, if Jesus was rejected by his brothers, why was James the bishop of Jerusalem?  Why did he have an Epistle in the Bible?
well if its a question of alienation from all Jewish people, as you suggest, how come James was bishop in Jerusalem?  how come there was a church in Jerusalem for that matter?

Read Acts thoroughly and then come back to me.  It is all there.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 04, 2013, 07:42:43 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 04, 2013, 07:51:16 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 04, 2013, 07:56:21 PM
Your assertion proves nothing.

In ancient cultures, the words children, brothers, sisters did not necessarily mean fruits of one's womb or one's siblings. What does St Paul mean when he opens his epistles with Brethren or My child Timothy? Does he share a biological mother with all those present? Did he physically beget Timothy? Of course not.

Even today, many cultures retain this broad meaning to refer to members of their extended family.
i would suggest that none of this extends to the phrase "my mother's sons"
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: biro on March 04, 2013, 07:57:41 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 04, 2013, 07:59:36 PM
An alien to my mother's sons talks about alienation from all Jewish people, not a literal "sons of Mary".  Besides, if Jesus was rejected by his brothers, why was James the bishop of Jerusalem?  Why did he have an Epistle in the Bible?
well if its a question of alienation from all Jewish people, as you suggest, how come James was bishop in Jerusalem?  how come there was a church in Jerusalem for that matter?

Read Acts thoroughly and then come back to me.  It is all there.



I know whats in Acts.  please read carefully what i wrote, and the point i was answering
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: biro on March 04, 2013, 08:01:29 PM
An alien to my mother's sons talks about alienation from all Jewish people, not a literal "sons of Mary".  Besides, if Jesus was rejected by his brothers, why was James the bishop of Jerusalem?  Why did he have an Epistle in the Bible?
well if its a question of alienation from all Jewish people, as you suggest, how come James was bishop in Jerusalem?  how come there was a church in Jerusalem for that matter?

Read Acts thoroughly and then come back to me.  It is all there.



I know whats in Acts.  please read carefully what i wrote, and the point i was answering

Freddie, are you just some kid fresh out of Bible camp? Did you just come here because you've been told the Orthodox are bad or something?

Do you even know what you are talking about?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: erimos on March 04, 2013, 08:05:59 PM
This is a divisive topic that achieves nothing other than fuelling pride and is a form of trolling.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 04, 2013, 08:08:38 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 04, 2013, 08:10:01 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 04, 2013, 08:10:05 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

By Jewish Law, Joseph is Jesus' father.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 04, 2013, 08:10:53 PM
An alien to my mother's sons talks about alienation from all Jewish people, not a literal "sons of Mary".  Besides, if Jesus was rejected by his brothers, why was James the bishop of Jerusalem?  Why did he have an Epistle in the Bible?
well if its a question of alienation from all Jewish people, as you suggest, how come James was bishop in Jerusalem?  how come there was a church in Jerusalem for that matter?

Read Acts thoroughly and then come back to me.  It is all there.



I know whats in Acts.  please read carefully what i wrote, and the point i was answering

I read it carefully.  Clearly you do not know Acts, otherwise you woulnd't ask questions like how there was a Church in Jerusalem or why James was the bishop there.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 04, 2013, 08:11:30 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

By Jewish Law, Joseph is Jesus' father.


^^^ Exactly, this.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: biro on March 04, 2013, 08:11:49 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Did you ever see 'The Brady Bunch'?

Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 04, 2013, 08:15:40 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
Thank you for your non-mocking response.  at least you are prepared to consider the issue and the point i'm making.  I will make a proper response later
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 04, 2013, 08:18:12 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Arachne on March 04, 2013, 08:20:29 PM
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

As Judaism does not accept the Incarnation, Jesus to them is Joseph's son. I bet he wouldn't go about Nazareth saying otherwise.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 04, 2013, 08:21:25 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

My point was, he was not biologically the Son of David, because he was not Joseph's descendant. Joseph was descendant of King David. By law, He (Christ) was; but biologically, He was not. The Theotokos was not a descendant of King David.

The point being; by law, Christ had half-siblings, even if it was not biologically so.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: biro on March 04, 2013, 08:21:37 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

Are you aware that proselytizing isn't allowed here? Why did you come to an Orthodox board to 'prove' to Orthodox people that what they believe is wrong?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 04, 2013, 08:22:49 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
Thank you for your non-mocking response.  at least you are prepared to consider the issue and the point i'm making.  I will make a proper response later

No one is mocking you. Questioning you does not equal mocking.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 04, 2013, 08:24:25 PM
An alien to my mother's sons talks about alienation from all Jewish people, not a literal "sons of Mary".  Besides, if Jesus was rejected by his brothers, why was James the bishop of Jerusalem?  Why did he have an Epistle in the Bible?
well if its a question of alienation from all Jewish people, as you suggest, how come James was bishop in Jerusalem?  how come there was a church in Jerusalem for that matter?

Read Acts thoroughly and then come back to me.  It is all there.



I know whats in Acts.  please read carefully what i wrote, and the point i was answering

I read it carefully.  Clearly you do not know Acts, otherwise you woulnd't ask questions like how there was a Church in Jerusalem or why James was the bishop there.
oh dear - you were the one who first asked why James was bishop of Jerusalem  ::)  you seem to have missd my point completely :(
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: biro on March 04, 2013, 08:25:02 PM
We don't believe your point. We've been reading it since the top of the page.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 04, 2013, 08:26:47 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

Are you aware that proselytizing isn't allowed here? Why did you come to an Orthodox board to 'prove' to Orthodox people that what they believe is wrong?
Freddie isn't proselytizing, so please stop playing Miss Moderator.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: biro on March 04, 2013, 08:28:07 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

Are you aware that proselytizing isn't allowed here? Why did you come to an Orthodox board to 'prove' to Orthodox people that what they believe is wrong?
Freddie isn't proselytizing, so please stop playing Miss Moderator.

All right, but I thought the thread title made it clear enough.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 04, 2013, 08:30:29 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

Are you aware that proselytizing isn't allowed here? Why did you come to an Orthodox board to 'prove' to Orthodox people that what they believe is wrong?
Freddie isn't proselytizing, so please stop playing Miss Moderator.

All right, but I thought the thread title made it clear enough.
I notice that you aren't Orthodox, either, so why are you fighting so hard to defend the Orthodox Faith on this thread?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: biro on March 04, 2013, 08:33:07 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

Are you aware that proselytizing isn't allowed here? Why did you come to an Orthodox board to 'prove' to Orthodox people that what they believe is wrong?
Freddie isn't proselytizing, so please stop playing Miss Moderator.

All right, but I thought the thread title made it clear enough.
I notice that you aren't Orthodox, either, so why are you fighting so hard to defend the Orthodox Faith on this thread?

I didn't think I was. I just thought Freddie may post stuff like Alfred P. used to do, and get himself in more confusion than he has to, simply because Freddie didn't post very much before, and maybe he hasn't seen some of our earlier discussions on the subject. I mean, it just sounded like he didn't know what he was getting into.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 04, 2013, 08:39:36 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

Are you aware that proselytizing isn't allowed here? Why did you come to an Orthodox board to 'prove' to Orthodox people that what they believe is wrong?
Freddie isn't proselytizing, so please stop playing Miss Moderator.

All right, but I thought the thread title made it clear enough.
I notice that you aren't Orthodox, either, so why are you fighting so hard to defend the Orthodox Faith on this thread?

I didn't think I was. I just thought Freddie may post stuff like Alfred P. used to do, and get himself in more confusion than he has to, simply because Freddie didn't post very much before, and maybe he hasn't seen some of our earlier discussions on the subject. I mean, it just sounded like he didn't know what he was getting into.
To be honest, biro, I don't think your tactics on this thread are helping any.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: biro on March 04, 2013, 08:41:21 PM
I'm sorry.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: orthros on March 04, 2013, 08:46:36 PM
In fairness, I was ready to jump in as well, even though I'm not Orthodox.  One doesn't need to be Orthodox to want to defend the Theotokos' perpetual virginity; it's not exclusive to Eastern Orthodoxy.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: orthonorm on March 04, 2013, 08:46:47 PM
Your assertion proves nothing.

In ancient cultures, the words children, brothers, sisters did not necessarily mean fruits of one's womb or one's siblings.

Who knew I lived in an ancient culture?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 04, 2013, 08:48:17 PM
In fairness, I was ready to jump in as well, even though I'm not Orthodox.  One doesn't need to be Orthodox to want to defend the Theotokos' perpetual virginity; it's not exclusive to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Yeah. I can understand anyone wanting to defend their Mom  :)
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 04, 2013, 09:24:32 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.  The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy. 

We know also about the disgrace, humiliation and insults he endured.  They called him a glutton, a drunkard, a blasphemer, a Samaritan (a dreadful insult, apparently), claimed he operated by the power of Satan, and was in fact possessed of a demon.  Finally they had him nailed to the cross, a death of shame and total humiliation.  I can give you scripture for all of this, but know you probably believe it. 

We also know he became a "stranger to his brothers", in that they did not believe him - John 7:5.  In view of this, I can't see why the thought of becoming "an alien to his mother's sons" should not relate to him as well.  It's a big ask if that's what you're asking me to believe.

Anyway I was just reading the psalm the other day, and wondered what the perpetual virginity people thought of it
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 04, 2013, 09:31:06 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

My point was, he was not biologically the Son of David, because he was not Joseph's descendant. Joseph was descendant of King David. By law, He (Christ) was; but biologically, He was not. The Theotokos was not a descendant of King David.

The point being; by law, Christ had half-siblings, even if it was not biologically so.
I understand your point, from the legal perspective
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 04, 2013, 09:32:44 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.
By definition, there can only be one primary purpose. There can be a number of secondary purposes, but only one primary purpose.

The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy.
So you think then that the first purpose of this Psalm was to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Him? Could not the same thing be said for Zerubabbel or Ezra or someone else who helped reconstruct the Temple after the exile?

We know also about the disgrace, humiliation and insults he endured.  They called him a glutton, a drunkard, a blasphemer, a Samaritan (a dreadful insult, apparently), claimed he operated by the power of Satan, and was in fact possessed of a demon.  Finally they had him nailed to the cross, a death of shame and total humiliation.  I can give you scripture for all of this, but know you probably believe it.  

We also know he became a "stranger to his brothers", in that they did not believe him - John 7:5.  In view of this, I can't see why the thought of becoming "an alien to his mother's sons" should not relate to him as well.  It's a big ask if that's what you're asking me to believe.

Anyway I was just reading the psalm the other day, and wondered what the perpetual virginity people thought of it
I think we need to understand the Psalms first within their historical context and only secondarily as prophecies of Christ. Even then, we need to be very careful not to draw from the Psalms proof texts for Christological dogmas that contradict the faith given us by the Apostles and Fathers of the Church.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: JamesR on March 04, 2013, 09:35:52 PM
This is a perfect example of how Orthonorm said that Americans don't pay enough attention to the context of a text and to literary devices. I could think of several rebuttals to the OP's argument. Firstly, you could argue as Biro did that it was referring to Jesus' half brotherrs from St. Joseph's previous marriage (s), which would have been the Theotokos' stepchildren, or you could argue that "my mother's children" actually refers to Israel and the Jews, that the nation of Israel was the "mother" and that the "children" are the Jews, and that Jesus became a shame to them because they crucified Him and thus became guilty. Or, you could simply argue that the Psalm was using imagery and symbolism to emphasize the pain that Christ endured.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: OrthoNoob on March 04, 2013, 09:36:36 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

From the same Psalm:

O God, You know my foolishness;
And my sins are not hidden from You.

Conclusion: Christ was clearly a sinner. Christianity is over.  ::)
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: JamesR on March 04, 2013, 09:41:46 PM
Am I the only one who finds it derogatory when Protestants say "mary" and don't even capitalize it? Something about the casual way they say or type it when speaking or typing something about her seems very disrespectful and I can't exactly put my finger on it.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 04, 2013, 09:47:34 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.
By definition, there can only be one primary purpose. There can be a number of secondary purposes, but only one primary purpose.

The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy.
So you think then that the first purpose of this Psalm was to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Him? Could not the same thing be said for Zerubabbel or Ezra or someone else who helped reconstruct the Temple after the exile?

We know also about the disgrace, humiliation and insults he endured.  They called him a glutton, a drunkard, a blasphemer, a Samaritan (a dreadful insult, apparently), claimed he operated by the power of Satan, and was in fact possessed of a demon.  Finally they had him nailed to the cross, a death of shame and total humiliation.  I can give you scripture for all of this, but know you probably believe it.  

We also know he became a "stranger to his brothers", in that they did not believe him - John 7:5.  In view of this, I can't see why the thought of becoming "an alien to his mother's sons" should not relate to him as well.  It's a big ask if that's what you're asking me to believe.

Anyway I was just reading the psalm the other day, and wondered what the perpetual virginity people thought of it
I think we need to understand the Psalms first within their historical context and only secondarily as prophecies of Christ. Even then, we need to be very careful not to draw from the Psalms proof texts for Christological dogmas that contradict the faith given us by the Apostles and Fathers of the Church.
I should have said "as important as", not "as primary as".  No, it was not the primary purpose of the psalm to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Christ, but it did directly prophesy it. And that is as important as anything else in the psalm.  Was this said of Ezra or Zerubabbel?  Nowhere, as far as I know, is it related to anyone else but Christ in John 2.  I do not see how the perpetual virginity of Mary can be a "Christological dogma".  Which of the apostles gave it?  I'm not going to argue with you about the importance of historical context, but would say prophecies of Christ are secondary to nothing
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 04, 2013, 09:47:48 PM
Am I the only one who finds it derogatory when Protestants say "mary" and don't even capitalize it? Something about the casual way they say or type it when speaking or typing something about her seems very disrespectful and I can't exactly put my finger on it.

It does irritate me, I admit.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 05, 2013, 01:38:57 AM
Am I the only one who finds it derogatory when Protestants say "mary" and don't even capitalize it? Something about the casual way they say or type it when speaking or typing something about her seems very disrespectful and I can't exactly put my finger on it.
No, James, it's just you.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 05, 2013, 01:48:21 AM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.
By definition, there can only be one primary purpose. There can be a number of secondary purposes, but only one primary purpose.

The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy.
So you think then that the first purpose of this Psalm was to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Him? Could not the same thing be said for Zerubabbel or Ezra or someone else who helped reconstruct the Temple after the exile?

We know also about the disgrace, humiliation and insults he endured.  They called him a glutton, a drunkard, a blasphemer, a Samaritan (a dreadful insult, apparently), claimed he operated by the power of Satan, and was in fact possessed of a demon.  Finally they had him nailed to the cross, a death of shame and total humiliation.  I can give you scripture for all of this, but know you probably believe it.  

We also know he became a "stranger to his brothers", in that they did not believe him - John 7:5.  In view of this, I can't see why the thought of becoming "an alien to his mother's sons" should not relate to him as well.  It's a big ask if that's what you're asking me to believe.

Anyway I was just reading the psalm the other day, and wondered what the perpetual virginity people thought of it
I think we need to understand the Psalms first within their historical context and only secondarily as prophecies of Christ. Even then, we need to be very careful not to draw from the Psalms proof texts for Christological dogmas that contradict the faith given us by the Apostles and Fathers of the Church.
I should have said "as important as", not "as primary as".  No, it was not the primary purpose of the psalm to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Christ, but it did directly prophesy it.
No, it didn't.

And that is as important as anything else in the psalm.
No, it isn't.

We see Christ in the Psalms, but that does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied Christ.

Was this said of Ezra or Zerubabbel?  Nowhere, as far as I know, is it related to anyone else but Christ in John 2.
The fact that an apostle related the Psalms to Christ does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied the Christ. Rather, it means that, knowing Christ, the apostle was able to see Christ as the fulfillment of the Psalms.

I do not see how the perpetual virginity of Mary can be a "Christological dogma".
Personally, I don't, either. The ever-virginity is certainly part of our Tradition, but it's never really been proclaimed in a way that can clearly be recognized as dogmatic, unlike the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth to Christ. You could say that the ever-virginity of the Theotokos just isn't a part of our public message to the world.

Which of the apostles gave it?  I'm not going to argue with you about the importance of historical context, but would say prophecies of Christ are secondary to nothing
But seeing Christ in the Psalms does not mean the Psalms are necessarily prophecies of Christ.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Cyrillic on March 05, 2013, 02:46:57 AM
Of all the heresies I think I like OP's one least.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Father H on March 05, 2013, 02:57:19 AM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

His mother was Eve.  Read Luke--"the son of Adam" (the son of Eve). 


Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Father H on March 05, 2013, 02:58:55 AM
Of all the heresies I think I like OP's one least.

If you speak of all the heresies on this site, you may have a point.  The Manichaean heresy, however, has this one beat. 
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Father H on March 05, 2013, 03:00:22 AM
Am I the only one who finds it derogatory when Protestants say "mary" and don't even capitalize it? Something about the casual way they say or type it when speaking or typing something about her seems very disrespectful and I can't exactly put my finger on it.

It does irritate me, I admit.

agreed
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Father H on March 05, 2013, 03:01:49 AM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.
By definition, there can only be one primary purpose. There can be a number of secondary purposes, but only one primary purpose.

The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy.
So you think then that the first purpose of this Psalm was to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Him? Could not the same thing be said for Zerubabbel or Ezra or someone else who helped reconstruct the Temple after the exile?

We know also about the disgrace, humiliation and insults he endured.  They called him a glutton, a drunkard, a blasphemer, a Samaritan (a dreadful insult, apparently), claimed he operated by the power of Satan, and was in fact possessed of a demon.  Finally they had him nailed to the cross, a death of shame and total humiliation.  I can give you scripture for all of this, but know you probably believe it.  

We also know he became a "stranger to his brothers", in that they did not believe him - John 7:5.  In view of this, I can't see why the thought of becoming "an alien to his mother's sons" should not relate to him as well.  It's a big ask if that's what you're asking me to believe.

Anyway I was just reading the psalm the other day, and wondered what the perpetual virginity people thought of it
I think we need to understand the Psalms first within their historical context and only secondarily as prophecies of Christ. Even then, we need to be very careful not to draw from the Psalms proof texts for Christological dogmas that contradict the faith given us by the Apostles and Fathers of the Church.
I should have said "as important as", not "as primary as".  No, it was not the primary purpose of the psalm to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Christ, but it did directly prophesy it. And that is as important as anything else in the psalm.  Was this said of Ezra or Zerubabbel?  Nowhere, as far as I know, is it related to anyone else but Christ in John 2.  I do not see how the perpetual virginity of Mary can be a "Christological dogma".  Which of the apostles gave it?  I'm not going to argue with you about the importance of historical context, but would say prophecies of Christ are secondary to nothing

So what, you don't like Airwolf?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 05, 2013, 03:06:55 AM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

From the same Psalm:

O God, You know my foolishness;
And my sins are not hidden from You.

Conclusion: Christ was clearly a sinner. Christianity is over.  ::)

Allahu akbar!
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Father H on March 05, 2013, 03:30:04 AM
Am I the only one who finds it derogatory when Protestants say "mary" and don't even capitalize it? Something about the casual way they say or type it when speaking or typing something about her seems very disrespectful and I can't exactly put my finger on it.
No, James, it's just you.

Did you mean "it's not just you"?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 05, 2013, 03:31:37 AM
Am I the only one who finds it derogatory when Protestants say "mary" and don't even capitalize it? Something about the casual way they say or type it when speaking or typing something about her seems very disrespectful and I can't exactly put my finger on it.
No, James, it's just you.

Did you mean "it's not just you"?
No, my comment to James was an inside joke. ;)
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Father H on March 05, 2013, 04:02:03 AM
Am I the only one who finds it derogatory when Protestants say "mary" and don't even capitalize it? Something about the casual way they say or type it when speaking or typing something about her seems very disrespectful and I can't exactly put my finger on it.
No, James, it's just you.

Did you mean "it's not just you"?
No, my comment to James was an inside joke. ;)

Gotcha.  Thanx
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on March 05, 2013, 04:37:10 AM
I think the OP asks a legitimate question. This is an Orthodox forum after all, and we should be able to defend our doctrines and answer sincere questions when asked. I think many good answers have already been given. I hope freddief  will forgive the mocking responses and focus on the sound answers that have been provided thus far.



Selam
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Ansgar on March 05, 2013, 04:41:51 AM
I think the OP asks a legitimate question. This is an Orthodox forum after all, and we should be able to defend our doctrines and answer sincere questions when asked. I think many good answers have already been given. I hope freddief  will forgive the mocking responses and focus on the sound answers that have been provided thus far.



Selam

With all due respect to the OP,  if you ask me, this thread began rather with a statement, than with a question.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 05, 2013, 07:47:19 AM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

My point was, he was not biologically the Son of David, because he was not Joseph's descendant. Joseph was descendant of King David. By law, He (Christ) was; but biologically, He was not. The Theotokos was not a descendant of King David.

The point being; by law, Christ had half-siblings, even if it was not biologically so.

Why are you saying Mary was not a descendant of David?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 05, 2013, 08:14:05 AM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

My point was, he was not biologically the Son of David, because he was not Joseph's descendant. Joseph was descendant of King David. By law, He (Christ) was; but biologically, He was not. The Theotokos was not a descendant of King David.

The point being; by law, Christ had half-siblings, even if it was not biologically so.

Why are you saying Mary was not a descendant of David?

The genealogies in the book of Matthew speak of Joseph descending from David, not the Theotokos. When Joseph became the of Jesus legally, his ancestors became the ancestors of Christ legally. He inherited it.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Kerdy on March 05, 2013, 08:14:21 AM
There's always that one person who thinks they have the cat in the bag and it will somehow be so epic that it will send shockwaves throughout the universe.  :laugh:

And it is usually the same cat.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 05, 2013, 08:31:25 AM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

My point was, he was not biologically the Son of David, because he was not Joseph's descendant. Joseph was descendant of King David. By law, He (Christ) was; but biologically, He was not. The Theotokos was not a descendant of King David.

The point being; by law, Christ had half-siblings, even if it was not biologically so.

Why are you saying Mary was not a descendant of David?

The genealogies in the book of Matthew speak of Joseph descending from David, not the Theotokos. When Joseph became the of Jesus legally, his ancestors became the ancestors of Christ legally. He inherited it.
Yes, I understand this, but what about the genealogy in Luke?  To say she is not descended from David, surely you need to refer to a genealogy
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LBK on March 05, 2013, 12:17:24 PM
Quote
I do not see how the perpetual virginity of Mary can be a "Christological dogma". Which of the apostles gave it?

Oh, you are so utterly wrong on this!! From The Rudder:

Quote
The Virgin is called the Theotoke as having truly given birth to God, the accent being upon the last syllable, and not Theotocus, with the accent on the antepenult, which would signify “having been begotten by God spiritually,” as recusant and man-worshiping Nestorius called her. For in this manner all human beings have been begotten spiritually through and by virtue of baptism. But the Holy Virgin is said to be a Theotoke in two ways. One of these ways is on account of the nature and the substance of the God Logos which was given birth out of Her and which assumed humanity; and the other way is on account of the humanity assumed, which became deified as a result of that union and assumption, and attained to God-hood. (John Damascene, Concerning the Orthodox Faith, book 3, ch. 12, and elsewhere.)

The holy and ecumenical Sixth Council proclaimed Her a Virgin (in its act 11 by means of the libellus of the faith of Sophronius of Jerusalem) before giving birth, and in giving birth, and after giving birth: which is the same as saying ever-virgin. Concerning St. Epiphanius (Haer. 78) says: “Who, having said Mary, and having been asked whom he meant, ever failed to answer by adding the Virgin?” And St. Jerome (Dialogue Second against Pelagius) said: “Christ alone opened the closed portals of the Virgin’s womb, and thereafter these remained thenceforth shut (this word “opened” denotes that the Lord fecundated the womb, just as, in the opposite case, the womb is said to be shut in the sense that the womb is barren because of sterility: in accordance with that passage in Genesis saying: “God had shut fast every womb from without” (Gen. 20:18); or it may be said to denote “parted asunder,” but without injury, and not like the rest of infants). She is declared to be ever-virgin also the first Canon of the Sixth Ecum. C., held in the Trullus.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LBK on March 05, 2013, 12:17:24 PM
Quote
Personally, I don't, either. The ever-virginity is certainly part of our Tradition, but it's never really been proclaimed in a way that can clearly be recognized as dogmatic, unlike the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth to Christ. You could say that the ever-virginity of the Theotokos just isn't a part of our public message to the world.

There is a post of mine waiting to be approved which shows that the matter of the ever-virginity of the Mother of God was, indeed, proclaimed as a proper and necessary teaching of the Church in the Quinisext Council in trullo.

Moreover, the ever-virginity of the Mother of God is proclaimed and expressed in iconography, including that which predates this council, by the use of the three star motifs on her maphorion. Her ever-virginity is also proclaimed at every litany throughout the liturgical cycle, as well as in many ancient hymns, including Only-begotten Son, attributed to St Justinian the Great.

Lex orandi, lex credendi.It is a semantic moot point as to whether or not her ever-virginity is a matter of dogma, when it has so comprehensively infused every facet of Orthodox worship.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LBK on March 05, 2013, 12:19:27 PM
I think the OP asks a legitimate question. This is an Orthodox forum after all, and we should be able to defend our doctrines and answer sincere questions when asked. I think many good answers have already been given. I hope freddief  will forgive the mocking responses and focus on the sound answers that have been provided thus far.



Selam

Ahem. The OP has not asked a question, but made an open proclamation in the thread title and opening post. People here have indeed defended Orthodox doctrine, but the OP is having none of it.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 05, 2013, 12:31:24 PM
Am I the only one who finds it derogatory when Protestants say "mary" and don't even capitalize it? Something about the casual way they say or type it when speaking or typing something about her seems very disrespectful and I can't exactly put my finger on it.

It does irritate me, I admit.

agreed

You mean like when we act like we don't think she's a goddess? Gasp! How horrible!!

Did you ever think about how it sounds to us when you call her all-holy, most blessed and glorious virgin pure, immaculate lady, queen of all, more radiant than the rays of sun and higher than the heavens, superior to angels, brighter than the firmament and purer than the sun's light, and so on and so forth?

And no, I won't capitalize any of that.

So lets see, sifting through the garbage, I see like 3 intelligible responses to the OP's argument. Good job people!
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 05, 2013, 12:33:08 PM
Am I the only one who finds it derogatory when Protestants say "mary" and don't even capitalize it? Something about the casual way they say or type it when speaking or typing something about her seems very disrespectful and I can't exactly put my finger on it.

It does irritate me, I admit.

agreed

You mean like when we act like we don't think she's a goddess? Gasp! How horrible!!

Did you ever think about how it sounds to us when you call her all-Holy, most blessed and glorious virgin pure, immaculate Lady, queen of all, more radiant than the rays of sun and higher than the heavens, superior to angels, brighter than the firmament and purer than the sun's light, and so on and so forth? The first word that comes to my mind is 'blasphemy', and no, I won't capitalize any of that.

So lets see, sifting through the garbage, I see like 3 intelligible responses to the OP's argument. Good job people!

None of that is treating her like she is a goddess. If you have such a problem with Orthodox veneration of Mary, I could recommend a book for you to read on it. Perhaps it could help you.

Otherwise, why are you here?

God bless.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: primuspilus on March 05, 2013, 12:35:25 PM
I venerate her, but I dont heap title after title on her. I recognize her for who she is, and why she is deserving of veneration.

I think just like everyone else, sometimes we can get carried away.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 05, 2013, 12:36:12 PM
The Theotokos is worthy of honor because she gave birth to God the Word.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 05, 2013, 12:37:30 PM


Quote
Yes, I understand this, but what about the genealogy in Luke?  To say she is not descended from David, surely you need to refer to a genealogy

What is in his genealogy that is different?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 05, 2013, 12:39:58 PM
Otherwise, why are you here?

Because this is the Orthodox/other Christian area, and I'm an 'other Christian' hear to talk to talk to the Orthodox.

Why are you here?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 05, 2013, 12:42:38 PM
Otherwise, why are you here?

Because this is the Orthodox/other Christian area, and I'm an 'other Christian' hear to talk to talk to the Orthodox.

Why are you here?

Well, I am here for dialogue. I suppose I was just confused as to why you are on an Orthodox forum, that has a picture of the Theotokos holding Christ, if just to call their beliefs blasphemy?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 05, 2013, 12:48:17 PM
The Theotokos is worthy of honor because she gave birth to God the Word.

No.  Rather blessed are they who hears His word and keep it.

I was listening just this morning to Fr. Tom Hopko's podcast on the Annunciation.  He wonderfully put it this way, "Mary is not holy because she is the Mother of God, she is the Mother of God because she is holy."
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 05, 2013, 12:48:53 PM
The Theotokos is worthy of honor because she gave birth to God the Word.

No.  Rather blessed are they who hears His word and keep it.

I would say both; She gave birth to God the Word, and she chose to obey God. The Axion Esti even proclaims that she is honorable for giving birth to Christ.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 05, 2013, 12:49:33 PM
The Theotokos is worthy of honor because she gave birth to God the Word.

No.  Rather blessed are they who hears His word and keep it.

I would say both; She gave birth to God the Word, and she chose to obey God.

I edited, please read what I added :)
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 05, 2013, 12:50:10 PM
Quote
I was listening just this morning to Fr. Tom Hopko's podcast on the Annunciation.  He wonderfully put it this way, "Mary is not holy because she is the Mother of God, she is the Mother of God because she is holy."

Interesting. I like that.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 05, 2013, 12:56:17 PM
Well, I am here for dialogue. I suppose I was just confused as to why you are on an Orthodox forum, that has a picture of the Theotokos holding Christ, if just to call their beliefs blasphemy?

Fair enough. Look, I've had my big sarcastic moment for the day, so I'll move on. Truth is, I'm an inquirer, I like Orthodoxy very much, but I'm not sold, That's why I'm here. Something about the attitude towards the OP being expressed on this thread made me feel the need to make a small point, though, everything from outright mockery from implying disrespect for the Virgin Mary by, what, calling her by her name? Forgetting to capitalize? Oh well!

Yeah, sometimes it's hard for me to see how your veneration isn't worship, I admit, but I haven't come to a conclusion on it yet, so hopefully you won't take my words to suggest that I'm intrenched in an anti-Orthodox point of view. I just wanted to make the point, think about how it must look from a Protestant's viewpoint.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 05, 2013, 01:18:32 PM
Quote
I was listening just this morning to Fr. Tom Hopko's podcast on the Annunciation.  He wonderfully put it this way, "Mary is not holy because she is the Mother of God, she is the Mother of God because she is holy."

Interesting. I like that.

Yes, he emphsized that the Theotokos' submission to God is what made her holy, and thus became the Theotokos.  Of course there is always that passage in Luke where Jesus corrected the woman who said that the woman who bore him is blessed.  Jesus reminds us that it was her total submission to God's will, her total dedication of her life to God that made her blessed, and because of that she was made the Theotokos.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 05, 2013, 01:38:04 PM


Quote
Yes, I understand this, but what about the genealogy in Luke?  To say she is not descended from David, surely you need to refer to a genealogy

What is in his genealogy that is different?
I think everything, from David on
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: genesisone on March 05, 2013, 01:54:53 PM

Yeah, sometimes it's hard for me to see how your veneration isn't worship, I admit, but I haven't come to a conclusion on it yet, so hopefully you won't take my words to suggest that I'm intrenched in an anti-Orthodox point of view. I just wanted to make the point, think about how it must look from a Protestant's viewpoint.
Just as a bit of an aside, I'll point out that many of us here spent most of our lifetime as Protestants (for me it was over 50 years). We have a pretty good idea of a Protestant's viewpoint. And quite frankly, you are correct in that understanding the role of the Theotokos - which leads to how we venerate her - is very frequently the most difficult hurdle. It does take time. The unlearning of beliefs is often a much more difficult process that the learning of new concepts. Be patient. Pay special attention to our understanding of the Incarnation as expressed in our hymns. Keep praying.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 05, 2013, 01:56:03 PM
I think the OP asks a legitimate question. This is an Orthodox forum after all, and we should be able to defend our doctrines and answer sincere questions when asked. I think many good answers have already been given. I hope freddief  will forgive the mocking responses and focus on the sound answers that have been provided thus far.



Selam

Ahem. The OP has not asked a question, but made an open proclamation in the thread title and opening post. People here have indeed defended Orthodox doctrine, but the OP is having none of it.
I wonder why, when people like you come here to roast him. The call to always be ready to give a defense of our faith does not always require such belligerence.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: jah777 on March 05, 2013, 02:17:28 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

Are you aware that proselytizing isn't allowed here? Why did you come to an Orthodox board to 'prove' to Orthodox people that what they believe is wrong?
Freddie isn't proselytizing, so please stop playing Miss Moderator.

All right, but I thought the thread title made it clear enough.
I notice that you aren't Orthodox, either, so why are you fighting so hard to defend the Orthodox Faith on this thread?

I didn't think I was. I just thought Freddie may post stuff like Alfred P. used to do, and get himself in more confusion than he has to, simply because Freddie didn't post very much before, and maybe he hasn't seen some of our earlier discussions on the subject. I mean, it just sounded like he didn't know what he was getting into.
To be honest, biro, I don't think your tactics on this thread are helping any.

Biro's just getting a bit too Inquisitional for an Orthodox forum.  This is the kind of help that Catholics offer when they join our forums.   ;)
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: TheTrisagion on March 05, 2013, 03:04:38 PM
I venerate her, but I dont heap title after title on her. I recognize her for who she is, and why she is deserving of veneration.

I think just like everyone else, sometimes we can get carried away.

I so wish this was facebook where I could just hit a like button because I think this is very true.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: jah777 on March 05, 2013, 03:18:34 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

As others have pointed out, your interpretation of this prophecy would imply that this prophecy was not fulfilled.  If "mother's sons" implied that she gave birth to other children, you would have to believe that she had given birth to St. James (who is referred to as "the Lord's brother" in Galatians 1:19) and St. Jude (who refers to himself as "brother of James" in Jude 1:1).  If you read the Book of Acts and the epistles of Sts. James & Jude, you would know that they were faithful followers of the Lord and did not consider him a stranger and alien. 

Yet, John 19:26-27 states:
Quote
When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

The Lord entrusted His mother to His disciple because He was her only Son and she had given birth to no other.  Sts. James and Jude were children of St. Joseph from his former marriage.  That St. Jude refers to himself as "a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James", rather than "brother of the Lord", is on account of the fact that he was the son of St. Joseph and not of the mother of the Lord, and on account of his humility.  St. James also does not refer to himself as "brother of the Lord", but is referred to as such by St. Paul.

That the Psalm you quote refers to Israel is shown in many places in the New Testament, for instance John 1:11-13:
Quote
He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

"His own", meaning Israel, on the whole rejected the Lord as the Messiah.  However, "as many as received him" refers to those who did believe in Him unto salvation, both of Israel and among the Gentiles.  The children of Israel were "His people", "his brothers", and "his mother's sons", and they as a people did not recognize the Lord when he came.  This is demonstrated by the persecutions that the Christians endured as described in the Book of Acts.  However, the Book of Acts also confirms that some of Israel (a minority for sure) did accept Christ, including St. Paul and the Apostles.   

St. Augustine comments on this verse from the Psalms as follows:
Quote
“An alien I have become to My brethren, and a stranger to the sons of My mother” (ver. 8 ). To the sons of the Synagogue He became a stranger…Why so? Why did they not acknowledge? Why did they call Him an alien? Why did they dare to say, we know not whence He is? “Because the zeal of Thine House hath eaten Me up:” that is, because I have persecuted in them their own iniquities, because I have not patiently borne those whom I have rebuked, because I have sought Thy glory in Thy House, because I have scourged them that in the Temple dealt unseemly:2942 in which place also there is quoted, “the zeal of Thine House hath eaten Me up.” Hence an alien, hence a Stranger; hence, we know not whence He is. They would have acknowledged whence I am, if they had acknowledged that which Thou hast commanded. For if I had found them keeping Thy commandments, the zeal of Thine House would not have eaten Me up. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf108.ii.LXIX.html

Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: JamesR on March 05, 2013, 03:26:32 PM
You mean like when we act like we don't think she's a goddess? Gasp! How horrible!!

I don't think that's treating her like a goddess; I think the problem lies in culture. America is very, eh, what's the word? Lazy and casual. The most respect we show to someone is a handshake. So when you see others showing respect to someone in a different way, you immediately assume worship.

Quote
Did you ever think about how it sounds to us when you call her all-holy, most blessed and glorious virgin pure, immaculate lady, queen of all, more radiant than the rays of sun and higher than the heavens, superior to angels, brighter than the firmament and purer than the sun's light, and so on and so forth?

It sounds pretty nice, thank you very much. Much better than when Protestants just disrespect her by casually saying "mary" or going to great lengths to minimalize her role in the Incarnation because of rabid anti-Catholicism.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Punch on March 05, 2013, 03:26:52 PM
As Orthodox Christians, we did not miss your point, we reject it.  So, you can stop now.


An alien to my mother's sons talks about alienation from all Jewish people, not a literal "sons of Mary".  Besides, if Jesus was rejected by his brothers, why was James the bishop of Jerusalem?  Why did he have an Epistle in the Bible?
well if its a question of alienation from all Jewish people, as you suggest, how come James was bishop in Jerusalem?  how come there was a church in Jerusalem for that matter?

Read Acts thoroughly and then come back to me.  It is all there.



I know whats in Acts.  please read carefully what i wrote, and the point i was answering

I read it carefully.  Clearly you do not know Acts, otherwise you woulnd't ask questions like how there was a Church in Jerusalem or why James was the bishop there.
oh dear - you were the one who first asked why James was bishop of Jerusalem  ::)  you seem to have missd my point completely :(
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: JamesR on March 05, 2013, 03:28:55 PM
Also, just felt like pointing out, Jesus didn't have any half-siblings because that would imply St. Joseph was his biological father; rather, he had step-siblings.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: mike on March 05, 2013, 03:46:23 PM
You mean like when we act like we don't think she's a goddess? Gasp! How horrible!!

Did you ever think about how it sounds to us when you call her all-holy, most blessed and glorious virgin pure, immaculate lady, queen of all, more radiant than the rays of sun and higher than the heavens, superior to angels, brighter than the firmament and purer than the sun's light, and so on and so forth?

And no, I won't capitalize any of that.

So lets see, sifting through the garbage, I see like 3 intelligible responses to the OP's argument. Good job people!

Calm down, dude.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 05, 2013, 03:47:22 PM
Quote
Much better than when Protestants just disrespect her by casually saying "mary" or going to great lengths to minimalize her role in the Incarnation because of rabid anti-Catholicism.

I've seen some Protestants go to great lengths, praising St. Peter, St. Paul, and other "heroes" of the faith, but when it comes to the Theotokos, she doesn't seem to get much of a mention at all. Not that all Protestants do this, but many do.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 05, 2013, 04:11:44 PM
Also, just felt like pointing out, Jesus didn't have any half-siblings because that would imply St. Joseph was his biological father; rather, he had step-siblings.
Hallelujah!  someone agrees with something I said
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Cognomen on March 05, 2013, 04:20:26 PM
I was listening just this morning to Fr. Tom Hopko's podcast on the Annunciation.  He wonderfully put it this way, "Mary is not holy because she is the Mother of God, she is the Mother of God because she is holy."

I'm not sure that I'm entirely comfortable with that interpretation. Nor do I think it does much, in itself, to explain the phenomenon.  But it does illustrate that not any old decent person receives the honor she did.

Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: mike on March 05, 2013, 04:21:45 PM
Also, just felt like pointing out, Jesus didn't have any half-siblings because that would imply St. Joseph was his biological father; rather, he had step-siblings.

All theiris neighbours believed He was.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 05, 2013, 04:51:10 PM
Quote
Much better than when Protestants just disrespect her by casually saying "mary" or going to great lengths to minimalize her role in the Incarnation because of rabid anti-Catholicism.

I've seen some Protestants go to great lengths, praising St. Peter, St. Paul, and other "heroes" of the faith, but when it comes to the Theotokos, she doesn't seem to get much of a mention at all. Not that all Protestants do this, but many do.

True, but I've never heard a protestant refer to Peter or Paul as more honorable than Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than immaterial Seraphim. Neither of them are called king of creation or king of heaven, nigher of them are called the protection of Christians or are addressed as our only hope. But yeah, Protestants do think they were great. Not greater than Mary (<<<I call all to witness, I did capitalize). :)



    
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: mike on March 05, 2013, 04:54:25 PM
I would be surprised if most Protestant knew who Seraphim or Cherubim are or that they are at all.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Αριστοκλής on March 05, 2013, 04:56:48 PM
I guess we can change the thread title from "Final Proof" to Final Spoof.

Enough already.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 05, 2013, 05:05:31 PM
Quote
True, but I've never heard a protestant refer to Peter or Paul as more honorable than Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than immaterial Seraphim.

Sts. Peter and Paul did not give birth to God the Word.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 05, 2013, 05:21:29 PM
Quote
True, but I've never heard a protestant refer to Peter or Paul as more honorable than Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than immaterial Seraphim.

Sts. Peter and Paul did not give birth to God the Word.

They also never said that Mary was the most powerful and awesome being in all creation for having done so. I guess they were just way too concerned with her son Jesus Christ to explain all of that.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: mike on March 05, 2013, 05:24:13 PM
Quote
True, but I've never heard a protestant refer to Peter or Paul as more honorable than Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than immaterial Seraphim.

Sts. Peter and Paul did not give birth to God the Word.

They also never said that Mary was the most powerful and awesome being in all creation for having done so. I guess they were just way too concerned with her son Jesus Christ to explain all of that.

St. Elisabeth and Archangel Gabriel did that.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 05, 2013, 05:24:29 PM
Quote
True, but I've never heard a protestant refer to Peter or Paul as more honorable than Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than immaterial Seraphim.

Sts. Peter and Paul did not give birth to God the Word.

They also never said that Mary was the most powerful and awesome being in all creation for having done so. I guess they were just way too concerned with her son Jesus Christ to explain all of that.
This thread is about the belief in the ever-virginity of Mary. The problems you are sharing on this thread are problems you are already addressing on another thread. It might be good, then, that you take your concerns there so we can keep this thread focused on the topic freddief wants to discuss. Thanks.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 05, 2013, 05:38:50 PM
St. Athanasius: "Let those, therefore, who deny that the Son is by nature from the Father and proper to his essence deny also that he took true human flesh from the ever-virgin Mary" (Discourses Against the Arians 2:70 [A.D. 360]).

Pope Siricius I: You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the Flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord's body, chat court of the eternal King (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Clemente on March 05, 2013, 06:50:38 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

Quote
The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious and born of her:  let him be anathema.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Clemente on March 05, 2013, 07:55:15 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

Quote
The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her:  let him be anathema.

If you are right that Scripture does not allow for the ever-virginity of the Theotokos, than the Church universal fell into significant error and material heresy rather quickly, manifesting itself in its declaration of an anathema at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

However, that would suggest that the Church was not the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). Christ promised He would be with the Church always: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:20). So, if you are right, that would suggest that either Christ was not truthful, or that He was trying to be truthful but that He was ineffectual and impotent. Either way, I cannot imagine following that sort of Jesus.

Moreover, given that the Church universal disagreed with your interpretation (as expressed in this Council and at the 4th Ecumenical Council), you are effectively putting yourself above the Church in your understanding of Scripture. Scripture is our most reliable, "infallible" authority for Christian faith and praxis, but it is a material authority. Scripture does not interpret itself any more than the American Constitution interpretes itself. Both need a formal authority to do so. You have made yourself a formal authority above the Church, which begs the question: On what basis is your understanding of Scripture more normative than that which was believed "everywhere, always by everyone" in the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins warns us that the worst heresies of the Early Church arose when individuals tried to interpret Scripture apart from the Church:
Quote
"But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters .For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation".A Commonitory by St. Vincent of Lérins

The Holy Spirit never left the Church and we have no reason to believe she fell into universal error. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she is trustworthy. We should therefore interpret Scripture as she does.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Punch on March 05, 2013, 07:56:04 PM
I do not think that the OP has denied anything in the below canons.  In fact, I have not seen him say that he believed that Mary was anything other than Theotokos.  What I understand to be his point is that she had more children after Jesus - a point believed by most Protestants that I have known.  In fact, it was one of the last of my Lutheran beliefs that I gave up, and I am still not sure that I truly believe what I now confess.

edit - I see you added some more stuff to your post, so what I wrote above may not be accurate.

"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

Quote
The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious and born of her:  let him be anathema.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 05, 2013, 08:18:01 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.
By definition, there can only be one primary purpose. There can be a number of secondary purposes, but only one primary purpose.

The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy.
So you think then that the first purpose of this Psalm was to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Him? Could not the same thing be said for Zerubabbel or Ezra or someone else who helped reconstruct the Temple after the exile?

We know also about the disgrace, humiliation and insults he endured.  They called him a glutton, a drunkard, a blasphemer, a Samaritan (a dreadful insult, apparently), claimed he operated by the power of Satan, and was in fact possessed of a demon.  Finally they had him nailed to the cross, a death of shame and total humiliation.  I can give you scripture for all of this, but know you probably believe it.  

We also know he became a "stranger to his brothers", in that they did not believe him - John 7:5.  In view of this, I can't see why the thought of becoming "an alien to his mother's sons" should not relate to him as well.  It's a big ask if that's what you're asking me to believe.

Anyway I was just reading the psalm the other day, and wondered what the perpetual virginity people thought of it
I think we need to understand the Psalms first within their historical context and only secondarily as prophecies of Christ. Even then, we need to be very careful not to draw from the Psalms proof texts for Christological dogmas that contradict the faith given us by the Apostles and Fathers of the Church.
I should have said "as important as", not "as primary as".  No, it was not the primary purpose of the psalm to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Christ, but it did directly prophesy it.
No, it didn't.

And that is as important as anything else in the psalm.
No, it isn't.

We see Christ in the Psalms, but that does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied Christ.

Was this said of Ezra or Zerubabbel?  Nowhere, as far as I know, is it related to anyone else but Christ in John 2.
The fact that an apostle related the Psalms to Christ does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied the Christ. Rather, it means that, knowing Christ, the apostle was able to see Christ as the fulfillment of the Psalms.

I do not see how the perpetual virginity of Mary can be a "Christological dogma".
Personally, I don't, either. The ever-virginity is certainly part of our Tradition, but it's never really been proclaimed in a way that can clearly be recognized as dogmatic, unlike the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth to Christ. You could say that the ever-virginity of the Theotokos just isn't a part of our public message to the world.

Which of the apostles gave it?  I'm not going to argue with you about the importance of historical context, but would say prophecies of Christ are secondary to nothing
But seeing Christ in the Psalms does not mean the Psalms are necessarily prophecies of Christ.
I think we are just going to have to disagree.  The person who speaks in the quotation bore disgrace, humiliation and insults.  He was consumed by the zeal of God's house, had brothers who did not believe him, and a mother who had sons who did not believe him (that they, or some of them, later came to faith does not alter the initial fact).  I believe that person is the Lord Jesus Christ, that the psalmist is speaking prophetically of Him.  

I do not believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary, principally because I am not asked to in the Holy Scriptures.  It is amazing that I am being called a heretic for not believing something not mentioned by the only inspired writers of God's word.  I do not see how the teaching in any way enhances the glory of Christ's Person.  I do not see how it would enhance my walk of faith in Christ if I adhered to it.  I cannot see either how it enhances the dignity and stature of Mary.  I believe everything God says about Mary in His written word, and leave nothing out.  I strive to follow her holy example and her holy teaching, so clearly shown in the scriptures.  That is my position.  There is no question of my downplaying or even denigrating Mary, as some seem to be suggesting

Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 05, 2013, 08:25:23 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

Quote
The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her:  let him be anathema.

If you are right that Scripture does not allow for the ever-virginity of the Theotokos, than the Church universal fell into significant error and material heresy rather quickly, manifesting itself in its declaration of an anathema at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

However, that would suggest that the Church was not the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). Christ promised He would be with the Church always: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:20). So, if you are right, that would suggest that either Christ was not truthful, or that He was trying to be truthful but that He was ineffectual and impotent. Either way, I cannot imagine following that sort of Jesus.

Moreover, given that the Church universal disagreed with your interpretation (as expressed in this Council and at the 4th Ecumenical Council), you are effectively putting yourself above the Church in your understanding of Scripture. Scripture is our most reliable, "infallible" authority for Christian faith and praxis, but it is a material authority. Scripture does not interpret itself any more than the American Constitution interpretes itself. Both need a formal authority to do so. You have made yourself a formal authority above the Church, which begs the question: On what basis is your understanding of Scripture more normative than that which was believed "everywhere, always by everyone" in the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins warns us that the worst heresies of the Early Church arose when individuals tried to interpret Scripture apart from the Church:
Quote
"But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters .For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation".A Commonitory by St. Vincent of Lérins

The Holy Spirit never left the Church and we have no reason to believe she fell into universal error. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she is trustworthy. We should therefore interpret Scripture as she does.
If this is about interpreting the Holy Scriptures, exactly which scripture are you interpreting when you proclaim the perpetual virginity of Mary?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Clemente on March 05, 2013, 08:51:34 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.
By definition, there can only be one primary purpose. There can be a number of secondary purposes, but only one primary purpose.

The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy.
So you think then that the first purpose of this Psalm was to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Him? Could not the same thing be said for Zerubabbel or Ezra or someone else who helped reconstruct the Temple after the exile?

We know also about the disgrace, humiliation and insults he endured.  They called him a glutton, a drunkard, a blasphemer, a Samaritan (a dreadful insult, apparently), claimed he operated by the power of Satan, and was in fact possessed of a demon.  Finally they had him nailed to the cross, a death of shame and total humiliation.  I can give you scripture for all of this, but know you probably believe it.  

We also know he became a "stranger to his brothers", in that they did not believe him - John 7:5.  In view of this, I can't see why the thought of becoming "an alien to his mother's sons" should not relate to him as well.  It's a big ask if that's what you're asking me to believe.

Anyway I was just reading the psalm the other day, and wondered what the perpetual virginity people thought of it
I think we need to understand the Psalms first within their historical context and only secondarily as prophecies of Christ. Even then, we need to be very careful not to draw from the Psalms proof texts for Christological dogmas that contradict the faith given us by the Apostles and Fathers of the Church.
I should have said "as important as", not "as primary as".  No, it was not the primary purpose of the psalm to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Christ, but it did directly prophesy it.
No, it didn't.

And that is as important as anything else in the psalm.
No, it isn't.

We see Christ in the Psalms, but that does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied Christ.

Was this said of Ezra or Zerubabbel?  Nowhere, as far as I know, is it related to anyone else but Christ in John 2.
The fact that an apostle related the Psalms to Christ does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied the Christ. Rather, it means that, knowing Christ, the apostle was able to see Christ as the fulfillment of the Psalms.

I do not see how the perpetual virginity of Mary can be a "Christological dogma".
Personally, I don't, either. The ever-virginity is certainly part of our Tradition, but it's never really been proclaimed in a way that can clearly be recognized as dogmatic, unlike the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth to Christ. You could say that the ever-virginity of the Theotokos just isn't a part of our public message to the world.

Which of the apostles gave it?  I'm not going to argue with you about the importance of historical context, but would say prophecies of Christ are secondary to nothing
But seeing Christ in the Psalms does not mean the Psalms are necessarily prophecies of Christ.
I think we are just going to have to disagree.  The person who speaks in the quotation bore disgrace, humiliation and insults.  He was consumed by the zeal of God's house, had brothers who did not believe him, and a mother who had sons who did not believe him (that they, or some of them, later came to faith does not alter the initial fact).  I believe that person is the Lord Jesus Christ, that the psalmist is speaking prophetically of Him.  

I do not believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary, principally because I am not asked to in the Holy Scriptures.  It is amazing that I am being called a heretic for not believing something not mentioned by the only inspired writers of God's word.  I do not see how the teaching in any way enhances the glory of Christ's Person.  I do not see how it would enhance my walk of faith in Christ if I adhered to it.  I cannot see either how it enhances the dignity and stature of Mary.  I believe everything God says about Mary in His written word, and leave nothing out.  I strive to follow her holy example and her holy teaching, so clearly shown in the scriptures.  That is my position.  There is no question of my downplaying or even denigrating Mary, as some seem to be suggesting

Why do you think that which is normative in Christianity is only found in Scripture? Scripture says that we should believe more than just written Scripture: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle". 2 Thes 2:15. For the first four centuries of Christianity, there was no fixed canon of the New Testament, yet Christians still managed to transmit the faith from one generation to the next.

Who called you a heretic?

The doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos is not taught for the sake of upholding the sanctity of the Virgin Mary, but because of the uniqueness of her Son Jesus Christ. By being ever virgin, the Theotokos fulfils prophecy from the Old Testament, thereby elevating Christ.   

"Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut." (Ezekiel 44:2). This has always been interpreted by the Fathers of the Church to be a reference to the Virgin Mary and the Incarnation. When we consider that God took flesh from the Virgin's womb, it is not difficult to imagine that this womb would remain virgin.

But even if you don't understand how it would help your faith, why wouldn't you believe it if it is true? Christian Othodoxy is not about you or about doctrinal pluralism. “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” (2nd Thessalonians 3:6).

Christianity is not about just believing a bare minimum to get "saved"; it is about truth and becoming Christlike.

The Church believed the ever-virginity was part of the faith transmitted faithfully from the Apostles. Why would you limit your belief to that which you, as the final, private judge, determine from Scripture?

Where in Scripture or in the Fathers do you see such an epistemology where we should each act like, what amounts to, little popes?


Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 05, 2013, 08:58:08 PM
Quote
I do not believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary, principally because I am not asked to in the Holy Scriptures.

Why does it have to be in the Bible? Do you think the early Christians were Sola Scriptura?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: minasoliman on March 05, 2013, 09:24:34 PM
Well, the Scriptures feel the verse concerning "Rachel weeping for her children" as connected to the slaughter of the innocents, yet even she was not the mother of all Israel's children.  Soooooo....why particularly do you find reason to take this verse literally as the Theotokos?  That makes no sense in the context of how the prophecies were used by the gospels and Acts.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 05, 2013, 09:50:33 PM

Why do you think that which is normative in Christianity is only found in Scripture? Scripture says that we should believe more than just written Scripture: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle". 2 Thes 2:15. For the first four centuries of Christianity, there was no fixed canon of the New Testament, yet Christians still managed to transmit the faith from one generation to the next.


You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was? The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles, which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts. That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of.  


The doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos is not taught for the sake of upholding the sanctity of the Virgin Mary, but because of the uniqueness of her Son Jesus Christ. By being ever virgin, the Theotokos fulfils prophecy from the Old Testament, thereby elevating Christ.  

"Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut." (Ezekiel 44:2). This has always been interpreted by the Fathers of the Church to be a reference to the Virgin Mary and the Incarnation. When we consider that God took flesh from the Virgin's womb, it is not difficult to imagine that this womb would remain virgin.


What if the Fathers were wrong? What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching? Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage. It may be a literal vision of a future temple, it may be symbolic of the Church (whatever that truly is). The East gate may remain shut signifying that once God had interfered, he would never leave. It may be shut to prevent or signify the end of the solar worship in the temple described earlier in the book of Ezekiel.  


The Church believed the ever-virginity was part of the faith transmitted faithfully from the Apostles.


What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully? What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time? If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church, and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals. In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.  
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 05, 2013, 09:56:34 PM
Pope Siricius I: You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the Flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord's body, chat court of the eternal King (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).

I'm curious, in what way would the 'seed' of natural sexual intercourse with one's spouse be considered a 'contamination'?

Do not the scriptures teach that the marriage bed is undefiled? (Hebrews 13:4)
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 05, 2013, 10:18:41 PM
Pope Siricius I: You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the Flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord's body, chat court of the eternal King (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).

I'm curious, in what way would the 'seed' of natural sexual intercourse with one's spouse be considered a 'contamination'?

Do not the scriptures teach that the marriage bed is undefiled? (Hebrews 13:4)

Also, why do they believe that anything can contaminate God?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Nephi on March 05, 2013, 10:24:29 PM
You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was? The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles, which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts. That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of.  

Is it possible to be sure of the completeness and sole sufficiency of Scripture outside assumption or conviction?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 06, 2013, 01:22:34 AM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.
By definition, there can only be one primary purpose. There can be a number of secondary purposes, but only one primary purpose.

The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy.
So you think then that the first purpose of this Psalm was to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Him? Could not the same thing be said for Zerubabbel or Ezra or someone else who helped reconstruct the Temple after the exile?

We know also about the disgrace, humiliation and insults he endured.  They called him a glutton, a drunkard, a blasphemer, a Samaritan (a dreadful insult, apparently), claimed he operated by the power of Satan, and was in fact possessed of a demon.  Finally they had him nailed to the cross, a death of shame and total humiliation.  I can give you scripture for all of this, but know you probably believe it.  

We also know he became a "stranger to his brothers", in that they did not believe him - John 7:5.  In view of this, I can't see why the thought of becoming "an alien to his mother's sons" should not relate to him as well.  It's a big ask if that's what you're asking me to believe.

Anyway I was just reading the psalm the other day, and wondered what the perpetual virginity people thought of it
I think we need to understand the Psalms first within their historical context and only secondarily as prophecies of Christ. Even then, we need to be very careful not to draw from the Psalms proof texts for Christological dogmas that contradict the faith given us by the Apostles and Fathers of the Church.
I should have said "as important as", not "as primary as".  No, it was not the primary purpose of the psalm to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Christ, but it did directly prophesy it.
No, it didn't.

And that is as important as anything else in the psalm.
No, it isn't.

We see Christ in the Psalms, but that does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied Christ.

Was this said of Ezra or Zerubabbel?  Nowhere, as far as I know, is it related to anyone else but Christ in John 2.
The fact that an apostle related the Psalms to Christ does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied the Christ. Rather, it means that, knowing Christ, the apostle was able to see Christ as the fulfillment of the Psalms.

I do not see how the perpetual virginity of Mary can be a "Christological dogma".
Personally, I don't, either. The ever-virginity is certainly part of our Tradition, but it's never really been proclaimed in a way that can clearly be recognized as dogmatic, unlike the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth to Christ. You could say that the ever-virginity of the Theotokos just isn't a part of our public message to the world.

Which of the apostles gave it?  I'm not going to argue with you about the importance of historical context, but would say prophecies of Christ are secondary to nothing
But seeing Christ in the Psalms does not mean the Psalms are necessarily prophecies of Christ.
I think we are just going to have to disagree.  The person who speaks in the quotation bore disgrace, humiliation and insults.  He was consumed by the zeal of God's house, had brothers who did not believe him, and a mother who had sons who did not believe him (that they, or some of them, later came to faith does not alter the initial fact).  I believe that person is the Lord Jesus Christ, that the psalmist is speaking prophetically of Him.
Well, then, how is your belief the final proof of anything?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 06, 2013, 01:25:29 AM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

Quote
The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her:  let him be anathema.

If you are right that Scripture does not allow for the ever-virginity of the Theotokos, than the Church universal fell into significant error and material heresy rather quickly, manifesting itself in its declaration of an anathema at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

However, that would suggest that the Church was not the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). Christ promised He would be with the Church always: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:20). So, if you are right, that would suggest that either Christ was not truthful, or that He was trying to be truthful but that He was ineffectual and impotent. Either way, I cannot imagine following that sort of Jesus.

Moreover, given that the Church universal disagreed with your interpretation (as expressed in this Council and at the 4th Ecumenical Council), you are effectively putting yourself above the Church in your understanding of Scripture. Scripture is our most reliable, "infallible" authority for Christian faith and praxis, but it is a material authority. Scripture does not interpret itself any more than the American Constitution interpretes itself. Both need a formal authority to do so. You have made yourself a formal authority above the Church, which begs the question: On what basis is your understanding of Scripture more normative than that which was believed "everywhere, always by everyone" in the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins warns us that the worst heresies of the Early Church arose when individuals tried to interpret Scripture apart from the Church:
Quote
"But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters .For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation".A Commonitory by St. Vincent of Lérins

The Holy Spirit never left the Church and we have no reason to believe she fell into universal error. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she is trustworthy. We should therefore interpret Scripture as she does.
If this is about interpreting the Holy Scriptures, exactly which scripture are you interpreting when you proclaim the perpetual virginity of Mary?
If you see Psalm 68 as prophetic of the Christ, then why do you not see Ezekiel 44:1-3 as prophetic of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 06, 2013, 01:28:57 AM
Quote
Personally, I don't, either. The ever-virginity is certainly part of our Tradition, but it's never really been proclaimed in a way that can clearly be recognized as dogmatic, unlike the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth to Christ. You could say that the ever-virginity of the Theotokos just isn't a part of our public message to the world.

There is a post of mine waiting to be approved which shows that the matter of the ever-virginity of the Mother of God was, indeed, proclaimed as a proper and necessary teaching of the Church in the Quinisext Council in trullo.
Okay, I must have confused the ever-virginity of the Theotokos with the stories about her entry into the Temple as a child.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LBK on March 06, 2013, 01:54:06 AM
Pope Siricius I: You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the Flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord's body, chat court of the eternal King (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).

I'm curious, in what way would the 'seed' of natural sexual intercourse with one's spouse be considered a 'contamination'?

Do not the scriptures teach that the marriage bed is undefiled? (Hebrews 13:4)

The marriage bed is indeed undefiled, but, like the OT Ark which contained the tablets of the Law, so sacred that touching it meant instant death, how much holier is the true Ark, the woman whose womb bore God Himself? Some food for thought:

Now, St Joseph was a good Jew, he would have been brought up with a strong sense of the sacred. He would have been raised knowing the stories in scripture of people touching the Ark of the Covenant and suffering instant death. He would have also known that only the high priest dared enter the Holy of Holies of the Temple to offer the yearly sacrifice to the presence of God who "dwelt there". Undoubtedly at some stage St Joseph would have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to realise the true meaning behind these images and stories from scripture, as well as the temple rituals.

Once the meaning of these became clear to him, how, then, could Joseph possibly consider marital relations with this woman, the living Tabernacle, the new Ark, the Holy of Holies, knowing that she has given birth to the Son of God? Not that sex is bad, evil or wrong between married couples, just as eating and cooking meat are not bad, evil, or wrong in themselves, but when put into service to God in the Temple, be it sacrificial animals, or, in the case of Mary who was dedicated to the Temple as a child, they became holy, and only the high priests could participate in the sacrifice. Christ Himself is the great and eternal High Priest, the "prince who eats bread before the Lord" (Ezekiel 44). Good man that he was, St Joseph would most likely have regarded himself as utterly unworthy to even be in the presence of such a treasure blessed and wholly sanctified by God, let alone consider sleeping with her.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LBK on March 06, 2013, 01:54:06 AM
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Personally, I don't, either. The ever-virginity is certainly part of our Tradition, but it's never really been proclaimed in a way that can clearly be recognized as dogmatic, unlike the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth to Christ. You could say that the ever-virginity of the Theotokos just isn't a part of our public message to the world.

There is a post of mine waiting to be approved which shows that the matter of the ever-virginity of the Mother of God was, indeed, proclaimed as a proper and necessary teaching of the Church in the Quinisext Council in trullo.
Okay, I must have confused the ever-virginity of the Theotokos with the stories about her entry into the Temple as a child.

The entry into the Temple of the Mother of God is a feast, indeed one of the twelve highest feasts of the Church, and an ancient one at that. The Church celebrates realities, not allegories, in her feasts, despite what certain contemporary writers might claim.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Romaios on March 06, 2013, 04:15:39 AM
If the brothers of Our Lord had been younger than himself (that is born of his Mother and fathered by Joseph), they could not have claimed any authority over him. When in Mark 3:21 we read that they came to "pick him up", because they/people were saying he was out of his mind, they were acting like older siblings. 

It is also evident in the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church honours as Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry (John 7:5). They believed in him only after the Resurrection. Their attitude makes more sense if they weren't that close (perhaps not/no longer living in the same household) and he was the youngest.   
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: jmbejdl on March 06, 2013, 05:28:59 AM

Why do you think that which is normative in Christianity is only found in Scripture? Scripture says that we should believe more than just written Scripture: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle". 2 Thes 2:15. For the first four centuries of Christianity, there was no fixed canon of the New Testament, yet Christians still managed to transmit the faith from one generation to the next.


You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was? The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles, which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts. That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of.  


The doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos is not taught for the sake of upholding the sanctity of the Virgin Mary, but because of the uniqueness of her Son Jesus Christ. By being ever virgin, the Theotokos fulfils prophecy from the Old Testament, thereby elevating Christ.  

"Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut." (Ezekiel 44:2). This has always been interpreted by the Fathers of the Church to be a reference to the Virgin Mary and the Incarnation. When we consider that God took flesh from the Virgin's womb, it is not difficult to imagine that this womb would remain virgin.


What if the Fathers were wrong? What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching? Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage. It may be a literal vision of a future temple, it may be symbolic of the Church (whatever that truly is). The East gate may remain shut signifying that once God had interfered, he would never leave. It may be shut to prevent or signify the end of the solar worship in the temple described earlier in the book of Ezekiel.  


The Church believed the ever-virginity was part of the faith transmitted faithfully from the Apostles.


What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully? What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time? If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church, and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals. In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.  

If what you are speculating about here were true you'd have a problem with more than just the Orthodox Church, you'd have a problem with the Church entire. What you're effectively saying is 'what if the Church is not the pillar and ground of the Truth'. Honestly, if you can't be sure of the Church you can't be sure of Scripture either. As long as you put your own personal interpretations and doubts ahead of the consensus of the Church you'll never understand Orthodoxy. I know someone here said that beliefs about the Theotokos were often hard for Protestants to accept. That wasn't particularly the case for me (I was well aware of and accepted Luther's veneration of her already), though the veneration of icons was. What I can say is that I think that it's letting go of your personal opinions and accepting that you don't know better than the Church that makes the difference, whatever your particular stumbling block. If you can't do that, and I know it's difficult, your enquiries into Orthodoxy will certainly never become anything more.

James
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: JamesR on March 06, 2013, 05:36:05 AM
You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was?

Then Jesus was either a liar or He was incompetent when He said that Hades would not prevail over His Church. If the faith of the Apostles is the only faith that saves, and it was lost and/or corrupted, then there is no hope.

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The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles

Who's to say that the epistles weren't "gradually corrupted over time"? What makes the Bible anymore accurate or reliable than the rest of the Apostolic Tradition? In fact, there are many atheistic scholars who would love to point out challenges to the Bible.

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...which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts.

You realize that we have no original texts, but every text we have is a copy of another text? And on each of them, there have been slight differences. For the secular scholar, or for advocates of Sola Scriptura, this is a huge problem. But being Orthodox and having the authority of the Church, we can be at ease knowing that whatever the background is on the epistles, we know that they still bear witness to the faith.

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What if the Fathers were wrong?

Many of them were in certain respects, and many of them were right in certain respects. No one saying that they are infallible. But what matters is that we believe God has given the Church the authority and spiritual guidance in discerning the truth from errors, and thus, we can use this to judge the Fathers.

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What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching?

Jesus wouldn't let the apostolic teaching which established the universe--the teaching which we are saved by, the teaching which bears witness to the Saviour of the world--be corrupted because it would spell doom for us.

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Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage.

Doesn't matter. All of those other possible interpretations do not have the authority of the Church and can be dismissed.

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What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully?

Then once again, Jesus didn't keep His promise to protect His Church from Hades if He allowed it to sanction blasphemy for all these years.

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What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time?

Most of those things are rather rooted in the Apostolic Tradition, but were developed over time. You can examine the history and claims yourself. But the point is that we have faith in Christ's promise to protect His Church and thus this isn't a problem for us.

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If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church

That's a tautology, and you're assuming that the Church has corrupted the Apostolic Tradition. The burden is on you to prove that it has. And if it hasn't, then this is irrelevant.

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and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals.

How could the Baptists or Pentecostals possibly have any authority at all? Let alone equal to the Orthodox Church? The Baptists and Pentecostals don't have any apostolic succession at all, therefore the possibility of them being the true Church is literally impossible. The Orthodox Church on the other hand does, and thus, at the very worst, you can conclude that the Orthodox Church is at least possibly the true Church, whereas the former don't even stand a chance.

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In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.

Personally I've never seen how this argument means anything. Saying that you belong to the proper Church doesn't mean you believe that everyone in it is "saved" or "His"--indeed, many members of the Church probably are destined for Hell. Still though, that doesn't mean you aren't supposed to join the true Church that He established and try your hardest to adhere to His teachings, even if only He knows whether or not you are "His."
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LBK on March 06, 2013, 05:47:35 AM
It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 

St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Romaios on March 06, 2013, 06:06:54 AM
It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 

St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.

Some Synaxaria identify him with the Jude that replaced the Iscariot after the Resurrection:

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Ο Θεάδελφος Ιούδας, συγγραφέας της ομώνυμης Επιστολής της Καινής Διαθήκης, προστέθηκε στον κύκλο των μαθητών μετά την ανάσταση του Κυρίου.

"The Brother-of-God Jude, the author of the Epistle with the same name from the NT, was added to the circle of disciples after the Resurrection of the Lord."

Source (http://users.sch.gr/aiasgr/Agiologia/Apostoloi_B%27/Apostolos_Ioudas_o_Theadelfos.htm)
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LBK on March 06, 2013, 06:40:07 AM
It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 

St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.

Some Synaxaria identify him with the Jude that replaced the Iscariot after the Resurrection:

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Ο Θεάδελφος Ιούδας, συγγραφέας της ομώνυμης Επιστολής της Καινής Διαθήκης, προστέθηκε στον κύκλο των μαθητών μετά την ανάσταση του Κυρίου.

"The Brother-of-God Jude, the author of the Epistle with the same name from the NT, was added to the circle of disciples after the Resurrection of the Lord."

Source (http://users.sch.gr/aiasgr/Agiologia/Apostoloi_B%27/Apostolos_Ioudas_o_Theadelfos.htm)

If this were the case, then both Sts Jude and Matthias (who is explicitly named thus in Acts) would have a common feast day. They do not. St Jude's feast is on June 19, St Matthias' on August 9. The feast they do share is that of the Twelve Apostles, on June 29.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Romaios on March 06, 2013, 07:01:00 AM
It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 

St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.

Some Synaxaria identify him with the Jude that replaced the Iscariot after the Resurrection:

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Ο Θεάδελφος Ιούδας, συγγραφέας της ομώνυμης Επιστολής της Καινής Διαθήκης, προστέθηκε στον κύκλο των μαθητών μετά την ανάσταση του Κυρίου.

"The Brother-of-God Jude, the author of the Epistle with the same name from the NT, was added to the circle of disciples after the Resurrection of the Lord."

Source (http://users.sch.gr/aiasgr/Agiologia/Apostoloi_B%27/Apostolos_Ioudas_o_Theadelfos.htm)

If this were the case, then both Sts Jude and Matthias (who is explicitly named thus in Acts) would have a common feast day. They do not. St Jude's feast is on June 19, St Matthias' on August 9. The feast they do share is that of the Twelve Apostles, on June 29.

You are right - he cannot be one and the same with Matthias, but I'm not sure that he is the same as Jude Thaddeus which was among the Twelve either.

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Opinion is divided on whether Jude the apostle is the same as Jude, brother of Jesus, who is mentioned in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-57, and is the traditional author of the Epistle of Jude.

Source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jude_the_Apostle)

The Feast of St. Jude the Brother-of-God is June 19th - that of St. Jude Thaddeus on August 21st. 
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 06, 2013, 07:25:33 AM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.
By definition, there can only be one primary purpose. There can be a number of secondary purposes, but only one primary purpose.

The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy.
[

I think we are just going to have to disagree.  The person who speaks in the quotation bore disgrace, humiliation and insults.  He was consumed by the zeal of God's house, had brothers who did not believe him, and a mother who had sons who did not believe him (that they, or some of them, later came to faith does not alter the initial fact).  I believe that person is the Lord Jesus Christ, that the psalmist is speaking prophetically of Him.
Well, then, how is your belief the final proof of anything?

The "final proof" title of the thread is an attention seeking device to get folks to read what I put in it, to consider their beliefs in the light of the text I quote, and so I can find out what orthodox say about it.  My belief is not the final proof of anything, what God says is
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 06, 2013, 07:50:11 AM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

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The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her:  let him be anathema.

If you are right that Scripture does not allow for the ever-virginity of the Theotokos, than the Church universal fell into significant error and material heresy rather quickly, manifesting itself in its declaration of an anathema at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

However, that would suggest that the Church was not the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). Christ promised He would be with the Church always: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:20). So, if you are right, that would suggest that either Christ was not truthful, or that He was trying to be truthful but that He was ineffectual and impotent. Either way, I cannot imagine following that sort of Jesus.

Moreover, given that the Church universal disagreed with your interpretation (as expressed in this Council and at the 4th Ecumenical Council), you are effectively putting yourself above the Church in your understanding of Scripture. Scripture is our most reliable, "infallible" authority for Christian faith and praxis, but it is a material authority. Scripture does not interpret itself any more than the American Constitution interpretes itself. Both need a formal authority to do so. You have made yourself a formal authority above the Church, which begs the question: On what basis is your understanding of Scripture more normative than that which was believed "everywhere, always by everyone" in the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins warns us that the worst heresies of the Early Church arose when individuals tried to interpret Scripture apart from the Church:
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"But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters .For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation".A Commonitory by St. Vincent of Lérins

The Holy Spirit never left the Church and we have no reason to believe she fell into universal error. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she is trustworthy. We should therefore interpret Scripture as she does.
If this is about interpreting the Holy Scriptures, exactly which scripture are you interpreting when you proclaim the perpetual virginity of Mary?
If you see Psalm 68 as prophetic of the Christ, then why do you not see Ezekiel 44:1-3 as prophetic of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos?
Well we know from the New Testament that the psalm has to do with Christ, and I gave you the scripture for that.  We do not know from the New Testament that Ezekiel 44 has anything whatsoever to do with Mary or her alleged perpetual virginity.  Are you saying that this gate is a type of Mary's womb?  It seems very far-fetched
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LBK on March 06, 2013, 08:01:49 AM
It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 

St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.

Some Synaxaria identify him with the Jude that replaced the Iscariot after the Resurrection:

Quote
Ο Θεάδελφος Ιούδας, συγγραφέας της ομώνυμης Επιστολής της Καινής Διαθήκης, προστέθηκε στον κύκλο των μαθητών μετά την ανάσταση του Κυρίου.

"The Brother-of-God Jude, the author of the Epistle with the same name from the NT, was added to the circle of disciples after the Resurrection of the Lord."

Source (http://users.sch.gr/aiasgr/Agiologia/Apostoloi_B%27/Apostolos_Ioudas_o_Theadelfos.htm)

If this were the case, then both Sts Jude and Matthias (who is explicitly named thus in Acts) would have a common feast day. They do not. St Jude's feast is on June 19, St Matthias' on August 9. The feast they do share is that of the Twelve Apostles, on June 29.

You are right - he cannot be one and the same with Matthias, but I'm not sure that he is the same as Jude Thaddeus which was among the Twelve either.

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Opinion is divided on whether Jude the apostle is the same as Jude, brother of Jesus, who is mentioned in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-57, and is the traditional author of the Epistle of Jude.

Source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jude_the_Apostle)

The Feast of St. Jude the Brother-of-God is June 19th - that of St. Jude Thaddeus on August 21st. 

There are two apostles named Thaddeus: Jude of the Twelve, and Thaddeus of the Seventy. The Seventy, like the Twelve, were chosen by Christ Himself, as recorded in chapter 10 of St Luke's Gospel. The latter is only ever referred to as Thaddeus, never as Jude; he was a native of Edessa, and, among other notable acts, brought the Mandylion to King Abgar for him to be healed. St Jude of the Twelve refers to himself in his epistle as "the brother of James", i.e. James the Brother of the Lord.

Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: TheTrisagion on March 06, 2013, 09:13:59 AM
Heres the thing, freddie.  You can come up with all kinds of cool explanations and proofs for what you believe, but unless it is something that has been taught consistently by the Church, we don't give a hill of beans about it.  We take very seriously the statement by Christ that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.  We know that Satan can deceive us, so we cannot trust our own intuition, but we trust the Church.  If you can show that the Church has consistently taught whatever you are proposing, it is something that can be considered, but in the 2,000 year history of the church, the concept of the Virgin Mary having additional children was completely foreign for about 1,800 of those 2,000 years.  Therefore, it is safe for us to assume that perhaps  the novel explanations about her additional children are just modern misunderstandings rather than any belated inspiration.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: genesisone on March 06, 2013, 11:02:10 AM

You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was? The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles, which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts. That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of.  



What if the Fathers were wrong? What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching? Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage. It may be a literal vision of a future temple, it may be symbolic of the Church (whatever that truly is). The East gate may remain shut signifying that once God had interfered, he would never leave. It may be shut to prevent or signify the end of the solar worship in the temple described earlier in the book of Ezekiel.  



What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully? What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time? If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church, and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals. In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.  
Unfortunately for your argument, the Fathers who wrote both before and after the acceptance of the 27 books of the New Testament as Scriptural agree with each other. The 27 books were acknowledged as Scriptural because they affirmed and confirmed the teaching of the Church. Writers in the third century praised the virginity of our Lord's Mother - and in terms as glowing and effusive as those who came after.

I won't pretend to have any expertise on the Early Church Fathers, but it didn't take more than a few minutes to confirm what I just wrote. I would encourage you to do a bit of reading and research yourself on those early (i.e. pre-NT, pre-A.D. 397) years.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Happy Lutheran on March 06, 2013, 11:07:40 AM
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Clemente on March 06, 2013, 11:55:41 AM
You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was? The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles, which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts. That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of.  

What if the Fathers were wrong? What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching? Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage. It may be a literal vision of a future temple, it may be symbolic of the Church (whatever that truly is). The East gate may remain shut signifying that once God had interfered, he would never leave. It may be shut to prevent or signify the end of the solar worship in the temple described earlier in the book of Ezekiel.  

What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully? What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time? If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church, and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals. In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.

If, as you suggest, the orthodox Christian faith delivered once and for all to the saints (Jude 3), became corrupted over time, then the consensus of the Fathers and the decisions of Ecumenical Councils regarding the ever-virginity of the Theotokos are not trustworthy.

However, the Fathers such as St. Irenaeus, St. Vincent of Lerins and others certainly claimed that the orthodoxy of the Church was due to her faithfully transmitting the Apostolic faith from generation to generation. St. Irenaeus said the following:
Quote
The Church, which has spread everywhere, even to the ends of the earth, received the faith from the apostles and their disciples....The Church, spread throughout the whole world, received this preaching and this faith and now preserves it carefully, dwelling as it were in one house. Having one soul and one heart, the Church holds this faith, preaches and teaches it consistently as though by a single voice. For though there are different languages, there is but one tradition.The faith and the tradition of the churches founded in Germany are no different from those founded among the Spanish and the Celts, in the East, in Egypt, in Libya and elsewhere in the Mediterranean world. Just as God’s creature, the sun, is one and the same the world over, so also does the Church’s preaching shine everywhere to enlighten all men who want to come to a knowledge of the truth. Against Heresies
So the Church certainly believed that changing the Deposit of the Faith meant corrupting it. In many cases, they literally preferred to die as martyrs rather than change the faith. So it does not seem plausible that the Church would consciously change the faith.

Moreover, the historical evidence is strong that the perpetual virginity was believed early in the Church (we have evidence from 150 AD), widespread (basically all the Fathers) and in every part of Christiandom. Opposition to the belief only arose in the late 4th century by two writers, who were strongly condemned. Ecumenical Councils, clearly at the 5th Council, demonstrated that the Church universal accepted the ever-virginity of the Theotokos. There was no remnant of the Church that believed she was not ever-virgin. Why is it historically plausible to think an entire Church would enter quickly into heresy by accepting an error regarding the Theotokos without leaving a paper trail of opposition?

In addition, Christ's promises to the Church render the idea that it quickly entered into widespread heresy inconceivable. He said that He was the head of the Church, (Eph 4:15) and that the gates of Hades would not prevail against the Church (Matt. 16:18). He promised to send a Helper, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16-17). He said
Quote
I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20

If the universal Church fell into heresy regarding the ever-virginity, then you have one of two choices: either the the Holy Spirit did not lead the Church to truth, in which case, Jesus lied, or the Holy Spirit was impotent and therefore somehow less than divine (in which case you are rejecting the Trinity) or somehow ineffectual. Which do you believe?

Similarly, and more practically, why would you want to be a Christian, if with such a simple thing--the ever-virginity of Theotokos--the Church could not even keep that strait and true for one generation? Why would you have any confidence that the Church correctly understood and transmitted more important doctrines such as the Trinity?

Finally, your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation? You say, regarding Scripture "That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of." If Scripture is the only thing you can be sure of, than you cannot be sure of your statement "That's the only thing we can be sure of", since it is not Scripture. Your position is self-defeating and you are thus in error. You are concerned that individual Fathers err, but so do you.

Yes, individual Fathers can err, but the Spirit guides the Church to truth. We can be confident of that truth when the Church speaks in unison, as it has regarding the ever-virginity. Scripture does not interpret itself; it needs a formal authority to do so. Why are your interpretations of Scripture better than that which the Church universal believed "everywhere, always and by everyone".

Moreover, after casting doubt on the reliability of the Church's decisions, you exalt the authority of Scripture. Do you believe the New Testament Canon is closed? If so, why do you accept the Scriptures that a "corrupted" Church selected from amongst many more possible documents? Do you think Hebrews is Scripture? Who wrote it? Why is its inclusion in the Bible trustworthy? Here is a list of Christian documents floating around during the time of the Early Church: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/) The existing NT Canon says nothing about these books, so according to that which you are "sure of", we have no means to select the NT Canon. How do you do it without the Church and why is your decision normative?

For the reasons I have outlined, we can conclude that the Church did not fall into universal corruption over time, and thus the consensus of the Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils are trustworthy witnesses of the doctrine, including the doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: orthonorm on March 06, 2013, 11:59:39 AM
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

You can get any number of answers: typology, allegory, tradition, puritanism, spiritualizing one's own sexual hangs up, etc.

And anyone can take to excess their reason regardless of the merit the reason might have.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: orthonorm on March 06, 2013, 12:03:54 PM
Finally, your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation?

Google alerts let me know someone tried using a big word here.

There are no private interpretations, not in the sense you mean. Really what is begged here is your own epistemological prejudices.

Such are always begged. We cannot be free from that which first allows us access to understanding. 
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: orthonorm on March 06, 2013, 12:07:48 PM
However, the Fathers such as St. Irenaeus, St. Vincent of Lerins and others certainly claimed that the orthodoxy of the Church was due to her faithfully transmitting the Apostolic faith from generation to generation. St. Irenaeus said the following:
Quote
The Church, which has spread everywhere, even to the ends of the earth, received the faith from the apostles and their disciples....The Church, spread throughout the whole world, received this preaching and this faith and now preserves it carefully, dwelling as it were in one house. Having one soul and one heart, the Church holds this faith, preaches and teaches it consistently as though by a single voice. For though there are different languages, there is but one tradition.The faith and the tradition of the churches founded in Germany are no different from those founded among the Spanish and the Celts, in the East, in Egypt, in Libya and elsewhere in the Mediterranean world. Just as God’s creature, the sun, is one and the same the world over, so also does the Church’s preaching shine everywhere to enlighten all men who want to come to a knowledge of the truth. Against Heresies
So the Church certainly believed that changing the Deposit of the Faith meant corrupting it.

You aren't taking properly the notion of the Church, faith, etc, thus you are drawing the wrong conclusions.

There is but one Church. One Faith. And over time that faith in terms of how it is understood in time and place has changed. To argue otherwise is just to be blind.

Thing is the Church and the Faith is that which is held within the entirety of the Church which has not yet been expressed within time.

St. Paul knew this. Mirror darkly and all that.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 06, 2013, 12:08:04 PM
The "final proof" title of the thread is an attention seeking device to get folks to read what I put in it, to consider their beliefs in the light of the text I quote, and so I can find out what orthodox say about it.  My belief is not the final proof of anything, what God says is
And how do you know what God says?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 06, 2013, 12:10:06 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

Quote
The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her:  let him be anathema.

If you are right that Scripture does not allow for the ever-virginity of the Theotokos, than the Church universal fell into significant error and material heresy rather quickly, manifesting itself in its declaration of an anathema at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

However, that would suggest that the Church was not the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). Christ promised He would be with the Church always: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:20). So, if you are right, that would suggest that either Christ was not truthful, or that He was trying to be truthful but that He was ineffectual and impotent. Either way, I cannot imagine following that sort of Jesus.

Moreover, given that the Church universal disagreed with your interpretation (as expressed in this Council and at the 4th Ecumenical Council), you are effectively putting yourself above the Church in your understanding of Scripture. Scripture is our most reliable, "infallible" authority for Christian faith and praxis, but it is a material authority. Scripture does not interpret itself any more than the American Constitution interpretes itself. Both need a formal authority to do so. You have made yourself a formal authority above the Church, which begs the question: On what basis is your understanding of Scripture more normative than that which was believed "everywhere, always by everyone" in the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins warns us that the worst heresies of the Early Church arose when individuals tried to interpret Scripture apart from the Church:
Quote
"But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters .For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation".A Commonitory by St. Vincent of Lérins

The Holy Spirit never left the Church and we have no reason to believe she fell into universal error. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she is trustworthy. We should therefore interpret Scripture as she does.
If this is about interpreting the Holy Scriptures, exactly which scripture are you interpreting when you proclaim the perpetual virginity of Mary?
If you see Psalm 68 as prophetic of the Christ, then why do you not see Ezekiel 44:1-3 as prophetic of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos?
Well we know from the New Testament that the psalm has to do with Christ, and I gave you the scripture for that.
That doesn't make it prophetic of Christ as you envision prophecy to be.

We do not know from the New Testament that Ezekiel 44 has anything whatsoever to do with Mary or her alleged perpetual virginity.  Are you saying that this gate is a type of Mary's womb?  It seems very far-fetched
We do know what the Church says about this verse, since this prophecy of Ezekiel is read in very great feast of the Theotokos.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on March 06, 2013, 12:56:43 PM
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?

Honest Question:

What is the importance to the Lutherans that she was a virgin when Christ was born? It seems utterly unimportant.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: jmbejdl on March 06, 2013, 12:58:56 PM
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?

Honest Question:

What is the importance to the Lutherans that she was a virgin when Christ was born? It seems utterly unimportant.

Nowadays, you might not get the answer to that one that you're expecting, unfortunately. I've known staunch Lutherans who would say it's not all that important - and yes I was as shocked as you would be.

James
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Melodist on March 06, 2013, 01:11:59 PM
What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Dedication to being set apart to fulfill her role as the Mother of God.

Would you use a Communion chalice for anything other than Communion?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Happy Lutheran on March 06, 2013, 01:13:07 PM
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?

Honest Question:

What is the importance to the Lutherans that she was a virgin when Christ was born? It seems utterly unimportant.

Isaiah 7:14
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 06, 2013, 01:17:29 PM
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?

In the same sense the chalice used for the Eucharist will never be used as a beer mug.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Apostolos on March 06, 2013, 02:04:09 PM
Leaving aside scripture, Orthodox hymnography, Church dogmas and doctrines for a moment, do you really believe freddief (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=4301) that Joseph after the dream he had with the angel appearing and explaining to him, that the child, his pregnant young-bride-to-be, carried in her womb, was the Messiah conceived miracuously by the Holy Spirit, and after the second dream he had with the angel advising him (or rather instructing him) to take the young mother and her newborn child and flee to Egypt to avoid persecution and death, the same pious, first century God-fearing Jew, would erase all that, move on and sleep with the woman who gave birth to God?
You are thinking like a 21st century westerner with no sense of awe or fear, before the Sanctity and Holiness of God.
No pious first century Jew, with a basic knowledge of holy scripture, who knew what had happened to Uzzah when he touched the ark of the covenant-which was nothing more than a bier containing tablets made of stone-would have EVER touched that woman who was the living ark and contained GOD HIMSELF.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on March 06, 2013, 02:10:51 PM
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?

Honest Question:

What is the importance to the Lutherans that she was a virgin when Christ was born? It seems utterly unimportant.

Isaiah 7:14

LOL.

That means maiden and not virgin, according to that Masoretic text that Luther so loved. A young lady. Next.

BTW, Luther seemed to think that her ever-virginity was utterly important, but whatever.

"When Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her . . . This babble . . . is without justification . . . he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom." Luther, Church Father of the Lutherans
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Happy Lutheran on March 06, 2013, 02:17:44 PM
Yawn ::)

Feel free to read Isaiah 7:14 in Luther's own translation.

Can't ask an honest question around here. I also never said she wasn't. Just asked why it's so important to Orthodox. Thanks to the others who gave generous non condescending replies.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Eastern Mind on March 06, 2013, 02:19:40 PM
Leaving aside scripture, Orthodox hymnography, Church dogmas and doctrines for a moment, do you really believe freddief (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=4301) that Joseph after the dream he had with the angel appearing and explaining to him, that the child, his pregnant young-bride-to-be, carried in her womb, was the Messiah conceived miracuously by the Holy Spirit, and after the second dream he had with the angel advising him (or rather instructing him) to take the young mother and her newborn child and flee to Egypt to avoid persecution and death, the same pious, first century God-fearing Jew, would erase all that, move on and sleep with the woman who gave birth to God?
You are thinking like a 21st century westerner with no sense of awe or fear, before the Sanctity and Holiness of God.
No pious first century Jew, with a basic knowledge of holy scripture, who knew what had happened to Uzzah when he touched the ark of the covenant-which was nothing more than a bier containing tablets made of stone-would have EVER touched that woman who was the living ark and contained GOD HIMSELF.

I wish I could like this (bold mine).
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: orthonorm on March 06, 2013, 02:54:48 PM
Leaving aside scripture, Orthodox hymnography, Church dogmas and doctrines for a moment, do you really believe freddief (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=4301) that Joseph after the dream he had with the angel appearing and explaining to him, that the child, his pregnant young-bride-to-be, carried in her womb, was the Messiah conceived miracuously by the Holy Spirit, and after the second dream he had with the angel advising him (or rather instructing him) to take the young mother and her newborn child and flee to Egypt to avoid persecution and death, the same pious, first century God-fearing Jew, would erase all that, move on and sleep with the woman who gave birth to God?
You are thinking like a 21st century westerner with no sense of awe or fear, before the Sanctity and Holiness of God.
No pious first century Jew, with a basic knowledge of holy scripture, who knew what had happened to Uzzah when he touched the ark of the covenant-which was nothing more than a bier containing tablets made of stone-would have EVER touched that woman who was the living ark and contained GOD HIMSELF.

I wish I could like this (bold mine).

I don't. It is radically anti-Christian. We touch the Theotokos and Christ. GOD HIMSELF was touched by many during His life on earth as was His mother (do you really think Mary was never touched by anyone after giving birth to Jesus?). And GOD HIMSELF has been consumed, not to speak of touched, by untold numbers since.

I guess all those Apostles weren't pious Jews.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Clemente on March 06, 2013, 03:10:18 PM
Finally, your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation?

Google alerts let me know someone tried using a big word here.

There are no private interpretations, not in the sense you mean. Really what is begged here is your own epistemological prejudices.

Such are always begged. We cannot be free from that which first allows us access to understanding. 

That is perspicuous and begs being nothing more and nothingness. 

Quote
To think Being itself explicitly requires disregarding Being to the extent that it is only grounded and interpreted in terms of beings and for beings as their ground, as in all metaphysics.

Martin Heidegger
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Apostolos on March 06, 2013, 03:18:52 PM
Leaving aside scripture, Orthodox hymnography, Church dogmas and doctrines for a moment, do you really believe freddief (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=4301) that Joseph after the dream he had with the angel appearing and explaining to him, that the child, his pregnant young-bride-to-be, carried in her womb, was the Messiah conceived miracuously by the Holy Spirit, and after the second dream he had with the angel advising him (or rather instructing him) to take the young mother and her newborn child and flee to Egypt to avoid persecution and death, the same pious, first century God-fearing Jew, would erase all that, move on and sleep with the woman who gave birth to God?
You are thinking like a 21st century westerner with no sense of awe or fear, before the Sanctity and Holiness of God.
No pious first century Jew, with a basic knowledge of holy scripture, who knew what had happened to Uzzah when he touched the ark of the covenant-which was nothing more than a bier containing tablets made of stone-would have EVER touched that woman who was the living ark and contained GOD HIMSELF.

I wish I could like this (bold mine).

I don't. It is radically anti-Christian. We touch the Theotokos and Christ. GOD HIMSELF was touched by many during His life on earth as was His mother (do you really think Mary was never touched by anyone after giving birth to Jesus?). And GOD HIMSELF has been consumed, not to speak of touched, by untold numbers since.

I guess all those Apostles weren't pious Jews.
I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear, English is not my native language, I did not mean the simple touch, I meant, "touch"
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: orthonorm on March 06, 2013, 03:23:40 PM
Leaving aside scripture, Orthodox hymnography, Church dogmas and doctrines for a moment, do you really believe freddief (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=4301) that Joseph after the dream he had with the angel appearing and explaining to him, that the child, his pregnant young-bride-to-be, carried in her womb, was the Messiah conceived miracuously by the Holy Spirit, and after the second dream he had with the angel advising him (or rather instructing him) to take the young mother and her newborn child and flee to Egypt to avoid persecution and death, the same pious, first century God-fearing Jew, would erase all that, move on and sleep with the woman who gave birth to God?
You are thinking like a 21st century westerner with no sense of awe or fear, before the Sanctity and Holiness of God.
No pious first century Jew, with a basic knowledge of holy scripture, who knew what had happened to Uzzah when he touched the ark of the covenant-which was nothing more than a bier containing tablets made of stone-would have EVER touched that woman who was the living ark and contained GOD HIMSELF.

I wish I could like this (bold mine).

I don't. It is radically anti-Christian. We touch the Theotokos and Christ. GOD HIMSELF was touched by many during His life on earth as was His mother (do you really think Mary was never touched by anyone after giving birth to Jesus?). And GOD HIMSELF has been consumed, not to speak of touched, by untold numbers since.

I guess all those Apostles weren't pious Jews.
I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear, English is not my native language, I did not mean the simple touch, I meant, "touch"

What does "touch" mean? I am native American speaker and I am only familiar with such use by those who are rather uptight about sex or by many more who are uptight talking about sex to their kids.

So let's be clear.

Do you mean touch sexually?

If so, what would the account of Uzzah add to differentiate how to touch Mary? Unless my Bible is more PG than I thought . . .
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: orthonorm on March 06, 2013, 03:32:40 PM
Finally, your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation?

Google alerts let me know someone tried using a big word here.

There are no private interpretations, not in the sense you mean. Really what is begged here is your own epistemological prejudices.

Such are always begged. We cannot be free from that which first allows us access to understanding.  

That is perspicuous and begs being nothing more and nothingness.  

Quote
To think Being itself explicitly requires disregarding Being to the extent that it is only grounded and interpreted in terms of beings and for beings as their ground, as in all metaphysics.

Martin Heidegger

I hope you were chuckling along with the Nazi as you read this when you googled it. In any case, it reminds me of a text I haven't thought about in a while. Thanks.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 06, 2013, 03:48:24 PM
Pope Siricius I: You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the Flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord's body, chat court of the eternal King (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).

I'm curious, in what way would the 'seed' of natural sexual intercourse with one's spouse be considered a 'contamination'?

Do not the scriptures teach that the marriage bed is undefiled? (Hebrews 13:4)

The marriage bed is indeed undefiled, but, like the OT Ark which contained the tablets of the Law, so sacred that touching it meant instant death, how much holier is the true Ark, the woman whose womb bore God Himself? Some food for thought:

Now, St Joseph was a good Jew, he would have been brought up with a strong sense of the sacred. He would have been raised knowing the stories in scripture of people touching the Ark of the Covenant and suffering instant death. He would have also known that only the high priest dared enter the Holy of Holies of the Temple to offer the yearly sacrifice to the presence of God who "dwelt there". Undoubtedly at some stage St Joseph would have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to realise the true meaning behind these images and stories from scripture, as well as the temple rituals.

Once the meaning of these became clear to him, how, then, could Joseph possibly consider marital relations with this woman, the living Tabernacle, the new Ark, the Holy of Holies, knowing that she has given birth to the Son of God? Not that sex is bad, evil or wrong between married couples, just as eating and cooking meat are not bad, evil, or wrong in themselves, but when put into service to God in the Temple, be it sacrificial animals, or, in the case of Mary who was dedicated to the Temple as a child, they became holy, and only the high priests could participate in the sacrifice. Christ Himself is the great and eternal High Priest, the "prince who eats bread before the Lord" (Ezekiel 44). Good man that he was, St Joseph would most likely have regarded himself as utterly unworthy to even be in the presence of such a treasure blessed and wholly sanctified by God, let alone consider sleeping with her.

You're making 3 assumptions.

1, That Mary and Joseph understood, from the beginning, the fullness of who and what Jesus Christ is, the incarnate God. It's possible all they understood is that the child to be born of Mary was the Messiah.

2, That after Christ had left the womb of His virgin Mother, it continued to be the 'ark of the covenant'. To the contrary, a thing can only be a temple of God so long as God continues to live in it. Once God has left, it ceases to be His temple.

3, That Mary was the antitype of the Ark of the Covenant, but the Ark does not represent such as 'contains' God, but represents His presence among men, Foreshadowing Christ and His own body which was formed for Him of the Virgin, not the Virgin herself. Perhaps the Ark foreshadowed His body, just as the Temple seems to have in some way (John 2 19-21).
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Clemente on March 06, 2013, 04:16:06 PM
Finally, your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation?

Google alerts let me know someone tried using a big word here.

There are no private interpretations, not in the sense you mean. Really what is begged here is your own epistemological prejudices.

Such are always begged. We cannot be free from that which first allows us access to understanding.  

That is perspicuous and begs being nothing more and nothingness.  

Quote
To think Being itself explicitly requires disregarding Being to the extent that it is only grounded and interpreted in terms of beings and for beings as their ground, as in all metaphysics.

Martin Heidegger

I hope you were chuckling along with the Nazi as you read this when you googled it. In any case, it reminds me of a text I haven't thought about in a while. Thanks.

Which text. Mein Kampf?

(Ok, now I am chuckling. Thanks).
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: mike on March 06, 2013, 04:30:28 PM
1, That Mary and Joseph understood, from the beginning, the fullness of who and what Jesus Christ is, the incarnate God. It's possible all they understood is that the child to be born of Mary was the Messiah.

Lk 1, 35
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Kerdy on March 06, 2013, 09:27:54 PM
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Because its truth and truth is what we seek.  Not someone's personal ideas of what could have been.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Kerdy on March 06, 2013, 09:33:05 PM
I hear the argument the early Church got this and that wrong, messed up here, became corrupt there, but what they don't realize is if this is true, everything which came after is even more so, especially over a thousand years later.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 06, 2013, 09:39:50 PM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Punch on March 06, 2013, 11:23:36 PM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?

It is what I have always believed, or at least believed possible.  I do not profess it because the Church does not profess it.  Likewise, I do not argue the point since it is one of the more stupid arguments.  Whether or not she had other Children has absolutely no bearing on my faith (although it could gain me an anathema if I say that she did).  I believe that she was a virgin at conception.  After that, I really do not care.  I guess if I was heavy into Mary worship such insignificant points would weigh heavy on me.  But I am not.  I revere her as Mother of God, and find no need to go farther than that.  In fact, isn't Mother of God about as high and far as one can go?  As to those that believe the other way, I really have not seen where their belief that she remained ever virgin did anything for their faith.  As I have written many times on this forum, I have seen more people live Christlike lives outside of the Church than I have inside.  Maybe it is because they spend more time trying to follow the commands of Christ instead of looking for unhewn mountains and locked gates and arguing if cousins are brothers and the like.

So, I think that your question is rather misguided, as is your assumption that those who believe this way are simply after polemics or any desire to prove the Church wrong.  I have no such desire because I really couldn't give a rodent's posterior about the issue.  There are many things that the Orthodox Church professes that I do not believe.  However, like the father of the demoniac in the Scripture,  my answer to these things is "I believe, Lord help my unbelief".  Perhaps one day He will give me the Grace to understand what I do not believe and the Faith to accept it.  If He does not, I do not worry since it must not really have been that big of a deal.  As to those that start stupid threads like this (as is any "final proof" idiocy), I cannot speak for them.  Perhaps you should have rephrased your question as ". . . to those that start stupid threads like this; why?" 
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 06, 2013, 11:29:01 PM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?

It is what I have always believed, or at least believed possible.  I do not profess it because the Church does not profess it.  Likewise, I do not argue the point since it is one of the more stupid arguments.  Whether or not she had other Children has absolutely no bearing on my faith (although it could gain me an anathema if I say that she did).  I believe that she was a virgin at conception.  After that, I really do not care.  I guess if I was heavy into Mary worship such insignificant points would weigh heavy on me.  But I am not.  I revere her as Mother of God, and find no need to go farther than that.  In fact, isn't Mother of God about as high and far as one can go?  As to those that believe the other way, I really have not seen where their belief that she remained ever virgin did anything for their faith.  As I have written many times on this forum, I have seen more people live Christlike lives outside of the Church than I have inside.  Maybe it is because they spend more time trying to follow the commands of Christ instead of looking for unhewn mountains and locked gates and arguing if cousins are brothers and the like.

So, I think that your question is rather misguided, as is your assumption that those who believe this way are simply after polemics or any desire to prove the Church wrong.  I have no such desire because I really couldn't give a rodent's posterior about the issue.  There are many things that the Orthodox Church professes that I do not believe.  However, like the father of the demoniac in the Scripture,  my answer to these things is "I believe, Lord help my unbelief".  Perhaps one day He will give me the Grace to understand what I do not believe and the Faith to accept it.  If He does not, I do not worry since it must not really have been that big of a deal.  As to those that start stupid threads like this (as is any "final proof" idiocy), I cannot speak for them.  Perhaps you should have rephrased your question as ". . . to those that start stupid threads like this; why?" 

If it is not polemics, why go to an Orthodox board and insist on it?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 07, 2013, 02:36:09 AM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?

Personally, the doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos has very little baring for me. It is attested to in some very early sources, and it doesn't effect my faith either way. My concerns about the teachings on the Theotokos lies elsewhere. Mainly, I'm just arguing possible objections to see how well thought out the Orthodox point of view is. Are there good answers to the hard questions, or will it fall apart under scrutiny? I think most people who ask questions and posit objections are usually just trying to figure out where the truth, either consciously or subconsciously. And I'm one of the few people around who actually enjoys a good theological debate. For some of us, it helps keep us on our toes and thinking about the things we believe. But I'm certainly not hear to try to tear down Orthodoxy. I just want to understand what makes it tick.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Romaios on March 07, 2013, 03:17:18 AM
The ever-virginity of the Theotokos is like a seal of the true faith - no icon of hers is true and fit for veneration without those three stars. Now, if one has a different mental representation...


 
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LBK on March 07, 2013, 03:32:39 AM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?

Indeed. Who were these children? What were their names? Where in scripture or Christan history does it mention them?  ;)
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LBK on March 07, 2013, 03:32:54 AM
Quote
Are there good answers to the hard questions, or will it fall apart under scrutiny?

The questioning of the ancient teaching ever-virginity of the Mother of God has only appeared in the last couple of centuries, with the emergence of protestant groups which sought to diminish, if not eliminate, anything which smacked of the veneration or regard of saints, including the Virgin. As with so many heresies and errors, the Church has held firm, and proclaimed the truth.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: JamesR on March 07, 2013, 04:05:31 AM
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

It demonstrates that she lived a higher life for the Lord--which goes along with the years of Church tradition which describes her as being perfect in virtue and faithfulness, hence why she was chosen to bear God. Jesus mentioned "eunuchs for the kingdom of God" as in celibacy, and speaks of it as being a higher calling, so if the Theotokos is really that pure and virtuous, then it goes without saying that she probably would have taken this higher calling and stayed a virgin.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 07, 2013, 04:09:33 AM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?

Indeed. Who were these children? What were their names? Where in scripture or Christan history does it mention them?  ;)

I mean, regardless of that even, why are they so insistent about this?  Is it important to their faith?  Do they have doctrines and dogmas around this?  Would it radically change their Christian belief if Mary did not have any other children other than Jesus?

There has to be a point in this, otherwise why are they wasting their (and our) time?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: JamesR on March 07, 2013, 04:15:09 AM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?

Two reasons. The more genuine, honest reason (as Punch stated) is simply that it is always what some folks grew up believing and thus it's simply just different to them. The second reason--and the one I find more common among the Evangelical crowd--is simply rooted in anti-Catholicism (which would also apply to the Orthodox if they knew who we were). They want to prove the Church wrong because they don't like it.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 07, 2013, 04:19:12 AM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?

Two reasons. The more genuine, honest reason (as Punch stated) is simply that it is always what some folks grew up believing and thus it's simply just different to them. The second reason--and the one I find more common among the Evangelical crowd--is simply rooted in anti-Catholicism (which would also apply to the Orthodox if they knew who we were). They want to prove the Church wrong because they don't like it.

That is why I asked if it is anything more than polemics.  Because I think at least to them it makes no difference if the Theotokos was ever virgin or not.  I can't think of any Evangelical belief that relies on Mary having more children, other than proving that the Catholics (and the Orthodox by extension) are wrong and they are right.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Apostolos on March 07, 2013, 08:28:07 AM
Leaving aside scripture, Orthodox hymnography, Church dogmas and doctrines for a moment, do you really believe freddief (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=4301) that Joseph after the dream he had with the angel appearing and explaining to him, that the child, his pregnant young-bride-to-be, carried in her womb, was the Messiah conceived miracuously by the Holy Spirit, and after the second dream he had with the angel advising him (or rather instructing him) to take the young mother and her newborn child and flee to Egypt to avoid persecution and death, the same pious, first century God-fearing Jew, would erase all that, move on and sleep with the woman who gave birth to God?
You are thinking like a 21st century westerner with no sense of awe or fear, before the Sanctity and Holiness of God.
No pious first century Jew, with a basic knowledge of holy scripture, who knew what had happened to Uzzah when he touched the ark of the covenant-which was nothing more than a bier containing tablets made of stone-would have EVER touched that woman who was the living ark and contained GOD HIMSELF.

I wish I could like this (bold mine).

I don't. It is radically anti-Christian. We touch the Theotokos and Christ. GOD HIMSELF was touched by many during His life on earth as was His mother (do you really think Mary was never touched by anyone after giving birth to Jesus?). And GOD HIMSELF has been consumed, not to speak of touched, by untold numbers since.

I guess all those Apostles weren't pious Jews.
I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear, English is not my native language, I did not mean the simple touch, I meant, "touch"

What does "touch" mean? I am native American speaker and I am only familiar with such use by those who are rather uptight about sex or by many more who are uptight talking about sex to their kids.

So let's be clear.

Do you mean touch sexually?

If so, what would the account of Uzzah add to differentiate how to touch Mary? Unless my Bible is more PG than I thought . . .
I'm a 43-year-old male and I'm uptight about sex?
I'm just an Orthodox Christian who cannot even fathom how a first century Jew could have ever had sexual intercourse with the woman who gave birth miraculously to God.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Clemente on March 07, 2013, 09:02:03 AM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?

Personally, the doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos has very little baring for me. It is attested to in some very early sources, and it doesn't effect my faith either way. My concerns about the teachings on the Theotokos lies elsewhere. Mainly, I'm just arguing possible objections to see how well thought out the Orthodox point of view is. Are there good answers to the hard questions, or will it fall apart under scrutiny? I think most people who ask questions and posit objections are usually just trying to figure out where the truth, either consciously or subconsciously. And I'm one of the few people around who actually enjoys a good theological debate. For some of us, it helps keep us on our toes and thinking about the things we believe. But I'm certainly not hear to try to tear down Orthodoxy. I just want to understand what makes it tick.

I think this is, again, fair enough. You have asked a lot of questions and hopefully got some answers, but have been less forthcoming with answers posed to you. That is fine--you are not on trial here. But be careful that you don't consider Orthodoxy in a vacuum. We shall never get "all the answers". How do your current presuppositions stand up to scrutiny? Your certainty that Scripture is the only certain thing is self-defeating. Are you so certain you have "good answers to the hard questions"?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Αριστοκλής on March 07, 2013, 09:26:19 AM
Quote
Are there good answers to the hard questions, or will it fall apart under scrutiny?

The questioning of the ancient teaching ever-virginity of the Mother of God has only appeared in the last couple of centuries, with the emergence of protestant groups which sought to diminish, if not eliminate, anything which smacked of the veneration or regard of saints, including the Virgin. As with so many heresies and errors, the Church has held firm, and proclaimed the truth.

That and a really bad understanding of Holy Scripture they so steadfastly revere using translations which confuse the intent of the original Greek. I hate to bring this up ("another "it says, no it doesn't" thread), but it is true.
Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition witnessed by ALL Christianity before these denials arose relatively recently.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on March 07, 2013, 12:04:05 PM
Feel free to read Isaiah 7:14 in Luther's own translation.

Sorry I was condescending. Forgive me.

I'm just saying that he was translating that passage through the apostolic Septuagint lens. The NRSV has finally moved things to their final extrapolation. I don't trust the Masoretic on this point, and I don't trust the type of people who created the NRSV. I've studied under them and many are not to be admired.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: orthonorm on March 07, 2013, 01:41:52 PM
Feel free to read Isaiah 7:14 in Luther's own translation.

Sorry I was condescending. Forgive me.

I'm just saying that he was translating that passage through the apostolic Septuagint lens. The NRSV has finally moved things to their final extrapolation. I don't trust the Masoretic on this point, and I don't trust the type of people who created the NRSV. I've studied under them and many are not to be admired.

A relatively strong argument could made that almah or whatever it is in Hebrew implicitly means virgin in the Masoretic texts as well.

I don't understand the point of pointing out Luther is translating a passage in light of Apostolic tradition. Unless woefully misunderstands his method of interpretation?

Heck the German Luther uses could contain the same possible ambiguity in theory those who would argue that Hebrew contains, unless you take a look at how the German is used elsewhere.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 07, 2013, 02:17:45 PM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?

Personally, the doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos has very little baring for me. It is attested to in some very early sources, and it doesn't effect my faith either way. My concerns about the teachings on the Theotokos lies elsewhere. Mainly, I'm just arguing possible objections to see how well thought out the Orthodox point of view is. Are there good answers to the hard questions, or will it fall apart under scrutiny? I think most people who ask questions and posit objections are usually just trying to figure out where the truth, either consciously or subconsciously. And I'm one of the few people around who actually enjoys a good theological debate. For some of us, it helps keep us on our toes and thinking about the things we believe. But I'm certainly not hear to try to tear down Orthodoxy. I just want to understand what makes it tick.

I think this is, again, fair enough. You have asked a lot of questions and hopefully got some answers, but have been less forthcoming with answers posed to you. That is fine--you are not on trial here. But be careful that you don't consider Orthodoxy in a vacuum. We shall never get "all the answers". How do your current presuppositions stand up to scrutiny? Your certainty that Scripture is the only certain thing is self-defeating. Are you so certain you have "good answers to the hard questions"?

Honestly, I'm not aware of any questions posted toward me that I have failed to answer as best I could. But if anyone wants to ask me questions, I'll try to give a good answer. I'm not trying to say my opinions are iron-clad and yours aren't. I don't think I ever suggested that.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 07, 2013, 02:33:21 PM
Quote
Are there good answers to the hard questions, or will it fall apart under scrutiny?

The questioning of the ancient teaching ever-virginity of the Mother of God has only appeared in the last couple of centuries, with the emergence of protestant groups which sought to diminish, if not eliminate, anything which smacked of the veneration or regard of saints, including the Virgin. As with so many heresies and errors, the Church has held firm, and proclaimed the truth.

That and a really bad understanding of Holy Scripture they so steadfastly revere using translations which confuse the intent of the original Greek. I hate to bring this up ("another "it says, no it doesn't" thread), but it is true.
Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition witnessed by ALL Christianity before these denials arose relatively recently.


There seems to be some huge misunderstanding here. The protestant rejection of the Ever-Virginity has nothing to do with attacking the veneration of Saints or a poor understanding of Scripture. The problem is, it's not in Scripture, or at least, not explicitly. Protestants are sola-scriptura.

Now, I know about the East Gate prophecy in Ezekiel. Assuming that's talking about the ever virginity, then it is in scripture. But that's a very specific typological interpretation. Since there is no mention in Scripture of the passage finding a fulfillment in the Virgin Mary's remaining a virgin, that particular interpretation of the passage came to be taken with a grain of salt by protestants.  
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: primuspilus on March 07, 2013, 02:36:44 PM
Quote
The problem is, it's not in Scripture, or at least, not explicitly
Neither is sola scriptura, nor the "sinner's prayer", nor that the eucharist is only symbolic.

Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 07, 2013, 03:09:11 PM
Quote
The problem is, it's not in Scripture, or at least, not explicitly
Neither is sola scriptura, nor the "sinner's prayer", nor that the Eucharist is only symbolic.

I know! I personally think the sinner's prayer is silly (though if that's how a genuine Christian life begins, I won't criticize), I'm at least part way convinced of the real presence at the Eucharist (Jesus said "This is my body" and "This us my Blood", so in some sense it must be true), and I wouldn't argue that the whole of the divinely inspired truth is only found in the scripture. All I'm saying is, the ever-virginity is not in the scripture, and that's why protestants rejected it, right or wrong. I think many Protestants reject things that ARE debatably in the scripture, and sometimes believe things that aren't (like the per-tribulation rapture, which I also find ridiculous). I'm not totally protestant in all my beliefs, and pretty far from being evangelical.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Clemente on March 07, 2013, 03:22:20 PM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?

Personally, the doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos has very little baring for me. It is attested to in some very early sources, and it doesn't effect my faith either way. My concerns about the teachings on the Theotokos lies elsewhere. Mainly, I'm just arguing possible objections to see how well thought out the Orthodox point of view is. Are there good answers to the hard questions, or will it fall apart under scrutiny? I think most people who ask questions and posit objections are usually just trying to figure out where the truth, either consciously or subconsciously. And I'm one of the few people around who actually enjoys a good theological debate. For some of us, it helps keep us on our toes and thinking about the things we believe. But I'm certainly not hear to try to tear down Orthodoxy. I just want to understand what makes it tick.

I think this is, again, fair enough. You have asked a lot of questions and hopefully got some answers, but have been less forthcoming with answers posed to you. That is fine--you are not on trial here. But be careful that you don't consider Orthodoxy in a vacuum. We shall never get "all the answers". How do your current presuppositions stand up to scrutiny? Your certainty that Scripture is the only certain thing is self-defeating. Are you so certain you have "good answers to the hard questions"?

Honestly, I'm not aware of any questions posted toward me that I have failed to answer as best I could. But if anyone wants to ask me questions, I'll try to give a good answer. I'm not trying to say my opinions are iron-clad and yours aren't. I don't think I ever suggested that.

Well, a few I asked are the following (refer to my previous email for context):


Please have a go at any or none, but I would be interested in your epistemology, how you know what you know, given that you reject the consensus of a "corrupted" Church.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Happy Lutheran on March 07, 2013, 03:46:40 PM
Feel free to read Isaiah 7:14 in Luther's own translation.

Sorry I was condescending. Forgive me.

No problem, thank you. :)
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 07, 2013, 03:54:34 PM

Well, a few I asked are the following (refer to my previous email for context):

  • Why is it historically plausible to think an entire Church would enter quickly into heresy by accepting an error regarding the Theotokos without leaving a paper trail of opposition?
  • If the universal Church fell into heresy regarding the ever-virginity, then you have one of two choices: either the the Holy Spirit did not lead the Church to truth, in which case, Jesus lied, or the Holy Spirit was impotent and therefore somehow less than divine (in which case you are rejecting the Trinity) or somehow ineffectual. Which do you believe?
  • Your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation? Why are your interpretations of Scripture better than that which the Church universal believed "everywhere, always and by everyone"?
  • Do you believe the New Testament Canon is closed? If so, why do you accept the Scriptures that a "corrupted" Church selected from amongst many more possible documents? Do you think Hebrews is Scripture? Who wrote it? Why is its inclusion in the Bible trustworthy?
  • Here is a list of Christian documents floating around during the time of the Early Church: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ The existing NT Canon says nothing about these books, so according to that which you are "sure of", we have no means to select the NT Canon. How do you do it without the Church and why is your decision normative?

Please have a go at any or none, but I would be interested in your epistemology, how you know what you know, given that you reject the consensus of a "corrupted" Church.


I'm sorry, if by e-mail you are referring to a private message, I don't seem to have gotten it. But I will try to answer your questions tonight. Unfortunately I have to go to work in a few minutes, and I don't want to give you any hasty, none-thought-out replies. But yes, I will be happy to answer them soon.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: orthonorm on March 07, 2013, 03:58:01 PM

Well, a few I asked are the following (refer to my previous email for context):

  • Why is it historically plausible to think an entire Church would enter quickly into heresy by accepting an error regarding the Theotokos without leaving a paper trail of opposition?
  • If the universal Church fell into heresy regarding the ever-virginity, then you have one of two choices: either the the Holy Spirit did not lead the Church to truth, in which case, Jesus lied, or the Holy Spirit was impotent and therefore somehow less than divine (in which case you are rejecting the Trinity) or somehow ineffectual. Which do you believe?
  • Your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation? Why are your interpretations of Scripture better than that which the Church universal believed "everywhere, always and by everyone"?
  • Do you believe the New Testament Canon is closed? If so, why do you accept the Scriptures that a "corrupted" Church selected from amongst many more possible documents? Do you think Hebrews is Scripture? Who wrote it? Why is its inclusion in the Bible trustworthy?
  • Here is a list of Christian documents floating around during the time of the Early Church: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ The existing NT Canon says nothing about these books, so according to that which you are "sure of", we have no means to select the NT Canon. How do you do it without the Church and why is your decision normative?

Please have a go at any or none, but I would be interested in your epistemology, how you know what you know, given that you reject the consensus of a "corrupted" Church.


I'm sorry, if by e-mail you are referring to a private message, I don't seem to have gotten it. But I will try to answer your questions tonight. Unfortunately I have to go to work in a few minutes, and I don't want to give you any hasty, none-thought-out replies. But yes, I will be happy to answer them soon.

I think by email Clemente is referring to previous post(s). Yes, I like to speak for others.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: TheTrisagion on March 07, 2013, 04:10:16 PM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?

Personally, the doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos has very little baring for me. It is attested to in some very early sources, and it doesn't effect my faith either way. My concerns about the teachings on the Theotokos lies elsewhere. Mainly, I'm just arguing possible objections to see how well thought out the Orthodox point of view is. Are there good answers to the hard questions, or will it fall apart under scrutiny? I think most people who ask questions and posit objections are usually just trying to figure out where the truth, either consciously or subconsciously. And I'm one of the few people around who actually enjoys a good theological debate. For some of us, it helps keep us on our toes and thinking about the things we believe. But I'm certainly not hear to try to tear down Orthodoxy. I just want to understand what makes it tick.

I think this is, again, fair enough. You have asked a lot of questions and hopefully got some answers, but have been less forthcoming with answers posed to you. That is fine--you are not on trial here. But be careful that you don't consider Orthodoxy in a vacuum. We shall never get "all the answers". How do your current presuppositions stand up to scrutiny? Your certainty that Scripture is the only certain thing is self-defeating. Are you so certain you have "good answers to the hard questions"?

Honestly, I'm not aware of any questions posted toward me that I have failed to answer as best I could. But if anyone wants to ask me questions, I'll try to give a good answer. I'm not trying to say my opinions are iron-clad and yours aren't. I don't think I ever suggested that.

Well, a few I asked are the following (refer to my previous email for context):

  • Why is it historically plausible to think an entire Church would enter quickly into heresy by accepting an error regarding the Theotokos without leaving a paper trail of opposition?
  • If the universal Church fell into heresy regarding the ever-virginity, then you have one of two choices: either the the Holy Spirit did not lead the Church to truth, in which case, Jesus lied, or the Holy Spirit was impotent and therefore somehow less than divine (in which case you are rejecting the Trinity) or somehow ineffectual. Which do you believe?
  • Your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation? Why are your interpretations of Scripture better than that which the Church universal believed "everywhere, always and by everyone"?
  • Do you believe the New Testament Canon is closed? If so, why do you accept the Scriptures that a "corrupted" Church selected from amongst many more possible documents? Do you think Hebrews is Scripture? Who wrote it? Why is its inclusion in the Bible trustworthy?
  • Here is a list of Christian documents floating around during the time of the Early Church: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ The existing NT Canon says nothing about these books, so according to that which you are "sure of", we have no means to select the NT Canon. How do you do it without the Church and why is your decision normative?

Please have a go at any or none, but I would be interested in your epistemology, how you know what you know, given that you reject the consensus of a "corrupted" Church.


I am going to play a bit of devil’s advocate even though I agree with you.  In regards to your first two points, these are some responses I have received.  I think the final three arguments are pretty strong though.  They are what got me interested in Orthodoxy to start with.

1.   If the Church quickly accepted an error regarding Theotokos, it is quite possible that the paper trail has been destroyed.  There are numerous documents that were destroyed because they did not follow what the Church taught.
2.   Christ’s statement says that the gate of hell will never prevail against the Church, not that all its teaching would be perfect.  It is possible that minor error such as Mary’s marital relations status could creep in.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: JamesR on March 07, 2013, 04:30:14 PM
...I can't think of any Evangelical belief that relies on Mary having more children...

I might know one. I don't know if this is a widespread "official" belief that Evangelicals hold, or just one that a few  Evangelicals I've met hold, but I know that some Evangelicals believe that celibacy and monasticism/nunhood is unnatural and somehow offensive to God, that we're supposed to have families (like Islam). In theory, the Theotokos having more children could be important to them because in their mind, if it is true, then it would support their view.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Cyrillic on March 07, 2013, 04:49:30 PM
James, your latest posts have been excellent.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Clemente on March 07, 2013, 05:03:22 PM

Well, a few I asked are the following (refer to my previous email for context):

  • Why is it historically plausible to think an entire Church would enter quickly into heresy by accepting an error regarding the Theotokos without leaving a paper trail of opposition?
  • If the universal Church fell into heresy regarding the ever-virginity, then you have one of two choices: either the the Holy Spirit did not lead the Church to truth, in which case, Jesus lied, or the Holy Spirit was impotent and therefore somehow less than divine (in which case you are rejecting the Trinity) or somehow ineffectual. Which do you believe?
  • Your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation? Why are your interpretations of Scripture better than that which the Church universal believed "everywhere, always and by everyone"?
  • Do you believe the New Testament Canon is closed? If so, why do you accept the Scriptures that a "corrupted" Church selected from amongst many more possible documents? Do you think Hebrews is Scripture? Who wrote it? Why is its inclusion in the Bible trustworthy?
  • Here is a list of Christian documents floating around during the time of the Early Church: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ The existing NT Canon says nothing about these books, so according to that which you are "sure of", we have no means to select the NT Canon. How do you do it without the Church and why is your decision normative?

Please have a go at any or none, but I would be interested in your epistemology, how you know what you know, given that you reject the consensus of a "corrupted" Church.


I'm sorry, if by e-mail you are referring to a private message, I don't seem to have gotten it. But I will try to answer your questions tonight. Unfortunately I have to go to work in a few minutes, and I don't want to give you any hasty, none-thought-out replies. But yes, I will be happy to answer them soon.

I think by email Clemente is referring to previous post(s). Yes, I like to speak for others.

You are exactly right. I was a bit hasty.

Just questions from my previous post.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 07, 2013, 05:48:03 PM
...I can't think of any Evangelical belief that relies on Mary having more children...

I might know one. I don't know if this is a widespread "official" belief that Evangelicals hold, or just one that a few  Evangelicals I've met hold, but I know that some Evangelicals believe that celibacy and monasticism/nunhood is unnatural and somehow offensive to God, that we're supposed to have families (like Islam). In theory, the Theotokos having more children could be important to them because in their mind, if it is true, then it would support their view.

Fair enough, it is the first time I've heard of it though.  But how do they get around St. Paul's call to celibacy?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 07, 2013, 05:48:13 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

Quote
The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her:  let him be anathema.

If you are right that Scripture does not allow for the ever-virginity of the Theotokos, than the Church universal fell into significant error and material heresy rather quickly, manifesting itself in its declaration of an anathema at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

However, that would suggest that the Church was not the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). Christ promised He would be with the Church always: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:20). So, if you are right, that would suggest that either Christ was not truthful, or that He was trying to be truthful but that He was ineffectual and impotent. Either way, I cannot imagine following that sort of Jesus.

Moreover, given that the Church universal disagreed with your interpretation (as expressed in this Council and at the 4th Ecumenical Council), you are effectively putting yourself above the Church in your understanding of Scripture. Scripture is our most reliable, "infallible" authority for Christian faith and praxis, but it is a material authority. Scripture does not interpret itself any more than the American Constitution interpretes itself. Both need a formal authority to do so. You have made yourself a formal authority above the Church, which begs the question: On what basis is your understanding of Scripture more normative than that which was believed "everywhere, always by everyone" in the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins warns us that the worst heresies of the Early Church arose when individuals tried to interpret Scripture apart from the Church:
Quote
"But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters .For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation".A Commonitory by St. Vincent of Lérins

The Holy Spirit never left the Church and we have no reason to believe she fell into universal error. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she is trustworthy. We should therefore interpret Scripture as she does.
If this is about interpreting the Holy Scriptures, exactly which scripture are you interpreting when you proclaim the perpetual virginity of Mary?
If you see Psalm 68 as prophetic of the Christ, then why do you not see Ezekiel 44:1-3 as prophetic of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos?
Well we know from the New Testament that the psalm has to do with Christ, and I gave you the scripture for that.
That doesn't make it prophetic of Christ as you envision prophecy to be.

We do not know from the New Testament that Ezekiel 44 has anything whatsoever to do with Mary or her alleged perpetual virginity.  Are you saying that this gate is a type of Mary's womb?  It seems very far-fetched
We do know what the Church says about this verse, since this prophecy of Ezekiel is read in very great feast of the Theotokos.

To answer your previous question, I believe that what is in the Bible is what God says.  That is my faith.  Basically what it's coming down to is that because someone or persons in your church decided to read in church this passage from Ezekiel on special days of veneration for Mary, then you believe that it applies to Mary.
 However what the verse in Ezekiel says, or what your church claims it says, about Mary is not confirmed in the New Testament scriptures.  There is no scriptural back-up for the interpretation that I can see.  Whereas what the Holy Spirit tells us about Christ in psalm 69, and the reaction of people to him, is clearly confirmed in the NT scriptures.
 You may say the reference to "his mother's sons" is not confirmed in the New Testament (I am aware that you will have a set of stock answers ready to anything I point out in this regard, such as considerations of the force of the word "until" and other possible meanings for "brother", none of which are conclusive as far as I know), but everything else in the original quotation I gave is confirmed, and so there is no reason for me to suppose his mother did not have sons.
In short, there is no positive written inspired statement that you can point to in the NT (that I know of) in support of your teaching, which nonetheless seems to be very central, if not essential to your belief system, going by what others are writing.  The whole discussion of your church in this matter, when referring to the NT, consists of objections to what other people point out, not any clear statement setting out your teaching.
This issue is never discussed, or preached upon, in my church.  I think it would be thought unimportant and a distraction to the main business.  I have not started the thread because I'm an anti-catholic bigot or anything like that, nor to offend anyone, just to make that clear
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: freddief on March 07, 2013, 06:10:55 PM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?

It is what I have always believed, or at least believed possible.  I do not profess it because the Church does not profess it.  Likewise, I do not argue the point since it is one of the more stupid arguments.  Whether or not she had other Children has absolutely no bearing on my faith (although it could gain me an anathema if I say that she did).  I believe that she was a virgin at conception.  After that, I really do not care.  I guess if I was heavy into Mary worship such insignificant points would weigh heavy on me.  But I am not.  I revere her as Mother of God, and find no need to go farther than that.  In fact, isn't Mother of God about as high and far as one can go?  As to those that believe the other way, I really have not seen where their belief that she remained ever virgin did anything for their faith.  As I have written many times on this forum, I have seen more people live Christlike lives outside of the Church than I have inside.  Maybe it is because they spend more time trying to follow the commands of Christ instead of looking for unhewn mountains and locked gates and arguing if cousins are brothers and the like.

So, I think that your question is rather misguided, as is your assumption that those who believe this way are simply after polemics or any desire to prove the Church wrong.  I have no such desire because I really couldn't give a rodent's posterior about the issue.  There are many things that the Orthodox Church professes that I do not believe.  However, like the father of the demoniac in the Scripture,  my answer to these things is "I believe, Lord help my unbelief".  Perhaps one day He will give me the Grace to understand what I do not believe and the Faith to accept it.  If He does not, I do not worry since it must not really have been that big of a deal.  As to those that start stupid threads like this (as is any "final proof" idiocy), I cannot speak for them.  Perhaps you should have rephrased your question as ". . . to those that start stupid threads like this; why?" 
I hold my hands up - I started the stupid thread.  The "final proof" thing is no more than an attention seeking headline to get folks to read what I put so that I will then be able to glean information from whatever responses they give.  This sometimes helps one to gain understanding of an issue, I find.  The issue has no bearing on my faith either
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: JamesR on March 07, 2013, 06:32:35 PM
...I can't think of any Evangelical belief that relies on Mary having more children...

I might know one. I don't know if this is a widespread "official" belief that Evangelicals hold, or just one that a few  Evangelicals I've met hold, but I know that some Evangelicals believe that celibacy and monasticism/nunhood is unnatural and somehow offensive to God, that we're supposed to have families (like Islam). In theory, the Theotokos having more children could be important to them because in their mind, if it is true, then it would support their view.

Fair enough, it is the first time I've heard of it though.  But how do they get around St. Paul's call to celibacy?

I dunno. Same way they get around his order for headcoverings and Baptism being necessary for salvation I guess
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 07, 2013, 07:20:14 PM
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

Quote
The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her:  let him be anathema.

If you are right that Scripture does not allow for the ever-virginity of the Theotokos, than the Church universal fell into significant error and material heresy rather quickly, manifesting itself in its declaration of an anathema at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

However, that would suggest that the Church was not the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). Christ promised He would be with the Church always: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:20). So, if you are right, that would suggest that either Christ was not truthful, or that He was trying to be truthful but that He was ineffectual and impotent. Either way, I cannot imagine following that sort of Jesus.

Moreover, given that the Church universal disagreed with your interpretation (as expressed in this Council and at the 4th Ecumenical Council), you are effectively putting yourself above the Church in your understanding of Scripture. Scripture is our most reliable, "infallible" authority for Christian faith and praxis, but it is a material authority. Scripture does not interpret itself any more than the American Constitution interpretes itself. Both need a formal authority to do so. You have made yourself a formal authority above the Church, which begs the question: On what basis is your understanding of Scripture more normative than that which was believed "everywhere, always by everyone" in the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins warns us that the worst heresies of the Early Church arose when individuals tried to interpret Scripture apart from the Church:
Quote
"But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters .For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation".A Commonitory by St. Vincent of Lérins

The Holy Spirit never left the Church and we have no reason to believe she fell into universal error. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she is trustworthy. We should therefore interpret Scripture as she does.
If this is about interpreting the Holy Scriptures, exactly which scripture are you interpreting when you proclaim the perpetual virginity of Mary?
If you see Psalm 68 as prophetic of the Christ, then why do you not see Ezekiel 44:1-3 as prophetic of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos?
Well we know from the New Testament that the psalm has to do with Christ, and I gave you the scripture for that.
That doesn't make it prophetic of Christ as you envision prophecy to be.

We do not know from the New Testament that Ezekiel 44 has anything whatsoever to do with Mary or her alleged perpetual virginity.  Are you saying that this gate is a type of Mary's womb?  It seems very far-fetched
We do know what the Church says about this verse, since this prophecy of Ezekiel is read in very great feast of the Theotokos.

To answer your previous question, I believe that what is in the Bible is what God says.  That is my faith.  Basically what it's coming down to is that because someone or persons in your church decided to read in church this passage from Ezekiel on special days of veneration for Mary, then you believe that it applies to Mary.
 However what the verse in Ezekiel says, or what your church claims it says, about Mary is not confirmed in the New Testament scriptures.  There is no scriptural back-up for the interpretation that I can see.  Whereas what the Holy Spirit tells us about Christ in psalm 69, and the reaction of people to him, is clearly confirmed in the NT scriptures.
 You may say the reference to "his mother's sons" is not confirmed in the New Testament (I am aware that you will have a set of stock answers ready to anything I point out in this regard, such as considerations of the force of the word "until" and other possible meanings for "brother", none of which are conclusive as far as I know), but everything else in the original quotation I gave is confirmed, and so there is no reason for me to suppose his mother did not have sons.
However, for your supposition to be conclusive and ours wrong, you would have to prove that it's impossible for Mary to have never given birth to other children through sexual procreation. This you can do no more easily than we can prove that she didn't give birth to other children. We Orthodox suggest only that there's nothing in Scripture, Old or New Testament, that refutes our belief in Mary's ever-virginity.

So what does this all mean for you? This: We cannot prove that Mary didn't give birth to children after Jesus. You cannot prove that she did. We, however, base our belief on a few extra-biblical documents dating back to the first couple of centuries and on what the Church has always taught. You, OTOH, reject this authority.

In short, there is no positive written inspired statement that you can point to in the NT (that I know of) in support of your teaching, which nonetheless seems to be very central, if not essential to your belief system, going by what others are writing.  The whole discussion of your church in this matter, when referring to the NT, consists of objections to what other people point out, not any clear statement setting out your teaching.
This issue is never discussed, or preached upon, in my church.  I think it would be thought unimportant and a distraction to the main business.  I have not started the thread because I'm an anti-catholic bigot or anything like that, nor to offend anyone, just to make that clear
The importance of our belief in the ever-virginity of the Theotokos is merely that it protects our belief in the full divinity of her Son, Jesus Christ.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 07, 2013, 07:22:22 PM
...I can't think of any Evangelical belief that relies on Mary having more children...

I might know one. I don't know if this is a widespread "official" belief that Evangelicals hold, or just one that a few  Evangelicals I've met hold, but I know that some Evangelicals believe that celibacy and monasticism/nunhood is unnatural and somehow offensive to God, that we're supposed to have families (like Islam). In theory, the Theotokos having more children could be important to them because in their mind, if it is true, then it would support their view.

Fair enough, it is the first time I've heard of it though.  But how do they get around St. Paul's call to celibacy?

I dunno. Same way they get around his order for headcoverings and Baptism being necessary for salvation I guess
Except for one thing: St. Paul never uttered a call to celibacy, if by celibacy you mean the lifelong celibacy of a monastic. He recommended it for those who could handle it, but he never commanded it.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Clemente on March 07, 2013, 07:31:16 PM
I am going to play a bit of devil’s advocate even though I agree with you.  In regards to your first two points, these are some responses I have received.  I think the final three arguments are pretty strong though.  They are what got me interested in Orthodoxy to start with.

1.   If the Church quickly accepted an error regarding Theotokos, it is quite possible that the paper trail has been destroyed.  There are numerous documents that were destroyed because they did not follow what the Church taught.
2.   Christ’s statement says that the gate of hell will never prevail against the Church, not that all its teaching would be perfect.  It is possible that minor error such as Mary’s marital relations status could creep in.

Good questions.

Regarding the first question, I understand your hypothetical to be the following:(1) the Church quickly made a 180 degree change in doctrine, from the Theotokos was not ever-virgin to the Theotokos was ever-virgin and (2) the Church destroyed the evidence.

Well, we know the Church did not destroy all the evidence, since we have evidence of both Helvidius and Bonosus questioning the belief in the ever-virginity in the late forth century, which led to rebukes by St Jerome and St Ambrose. The controversy led to the convening of the regional Council of Capua in 392, at which the Theotokos' ever-virginity was reaffirmed and defended. So, proposition (2) appears to be false. If the Church at some later date is going to destroy evidence, why just some? It would be a half cover up, which is no cover up at all.

Let's consider (1), though. Could the Church universal, from India to Africa to Iberia receive the Apostolic faith in the 1st century, including the message that the Theotokos was not ever-virgin, and then quickly reject this in favour of a belief in the ever virginity?

The Protoevangelium of James around 150 AD mentions the ever-virginity. Hyppolytus writes in 210 AD about the ever-virginity rather matter of factly. So, if there were a full about face in Church belief, it would have to have happened in about one generation after the Apostles, before 150 AD. It would also have to happen throughout Christendom, which no doubt would have stirred up some controversy. Yet, from the writings of the Fathers at the time (e.g. St. Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Polycarp), we have no indication of such controversy. Perhaps the Church destroyed all the anti-ever virginity polemics of this period. But did it destroy the polemics of St. Clement, St. Polycarp and St. Ignatius as well, well regarded saints, all of whom would no doubt have had an opinion on such a polemic, one should think? Moreover, the Church at this time faced far bigger doctrinal challenges than the ever-virginity. It strains credibility to think that the Ante-Nicene Church had a big cover-up concerning the ever-virginity and therefore (1) seems unlikely.

Regarding your second question, is it possible that some minor error entered the Church and this was universally believed?

First, why would one think material heresy regarding the Theotokos were a "minor error"? On what basis would this error be judged to be minor? The Church did not embrace doctrinal pluralism, whereby the faithful avoided major errors but did not worry about minor errors.  Rather they took great care that the entire Deposit of the Faith was taught. See, for example:

2 Thessalonians 3:6

"But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us."

Romans 16:17

"Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them."

1 Timothy 1:3-4

"As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith."

Second, the Church in 1 Timothy 3:15 is described as the "pillar and foundation of the truth". So, Scripture does not give us reason to think that the Church would universally embrace falsehood, however minor. Is the Church infallible? No, I do not think Scripture or the Fathers spoke of "infallibility" regarding the Church. Individual Fathers certainly erred. Yet, we have good reason from Scripture and the Fathers to assume that the Church, when speaking in unison, spoke the truth concerning the Apostolic faith. The ever-virginity of the Theotokos is confirmed by the Church universal at several Ecumenical Councils (e.g 4th and 5th). The Church has subsequently confirmed these councils, so we have good reason to assume they faithfully transmit the Apostolic faith.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 08, 2013, 03:34:07 AM
OK, Clemente, I'm going to attempt to answer your questions. bare in mind that I'm not an ardent Protestant, though perhaps my previous posts might have given that suggestion. Truth is, I'm thinking about possibly joining the Orthodox Church, which is why my monicker says Orthodox Inquirer, and not Protestant or something like that. But I have a lot to figure out and a lot of ideas to sort through, and I can see an argument for and against issues like the ones we're talking about here. I'm a long way from knowing if the Orthodox Church is trustworthy and 'safe', so bare with me. I will attempt to impart my thoughts on the questions you have asked, and will appreciate honest feedback.

Why is it historically plausible to think an entire Church would enter quickly into heresy by accepting an error regarding the Theotokos without leaving a paper trail of opposition?

If anything the ancient Church believed about the Theotokos was heresy, it wasn't the ever-virginity per say, but what it and other ideas gradually led to over the course of centuries. I'm talking about the way, as it sometimes seems to me, that the Mother of God was exalted to near-goddess stature. I've talked about this in my Theotokos thread, and I won't derail the topic. But assuming the veneration of the Theotokos is excessive to the point of heresy, I would posit that, it escaped notice for two main reasons:

A, Because it crept in rather gradually compared to other heresies which seemed flare up over night, so gradually that few if any noticed the changes in teaching and emphasis from the grace of Christ to the graces of His mother. The teaching of the perpetual virginity, which is attested to in the mid-second century, would only have been one step in the long process I'm hypothesizing.

B, Because devotion to and veneration of Mary, along with belief in the perpetual virginity, were useful in combating other heresies. So when Nestorius tried to butcher the authentic doctrine of the Incarnation, he wanted to call Mary the Christotokos. The Church, rightly I think, responded by affirming Mary's identity as the Theotokos. And the Perpetual Virginity, even if unnecessary, turned out to be very useful for affirming the teaching. If God were in her womb, surely she could not be contaminated by the seed of sexual intercourse. She was like the ark that could not be touched, and thus she remained a virgin. This also fits with conceptions some of the Fathers had about sexuality, that it was a result of the fall and not a truly natural human faculty, less than perfectly honorable and not to be chosen, even in marriage, above the great and awesome glories of celibacy, which was seen as the 'angelic state'. These are teachings I'm not naturally inclined to agree with, for the same reason I'm uncertain about the rest. I don't see these ideas in the scriptures.       

If the universal Church fell into heresy regarding the ever-virginity, then you have one of two choices: either the the Holy Spirit did not lead the Church to truth, in which case, Jesus lied, or the Holy Spirit was impotent and therefore somehow less than divine (in which case you are rejecting the Trinity) or somehow ineffectual. Which do you believe?

Don't forget the Scripture promises there will be heresies, even at the heart of the Church.

"Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears."

Acts 20; 28-31.

Paul also says this:

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, even Christ"

Ephesians 4; 11-15

He said this indicating, I think, that the Spirit of God would eventually lead the Church out of errors and bring her to perfection, but no one in the scripture tells us that this process would be swift and easy going, or how long it would take, or what errors would manifest along the way. Perhaps the process is still ongoing. Perhaps it will take another 2000 years, or longer. Perhaps we are still the 'Early Christians' As C.S. Lewis suggested. Perhaps the heresies we've been discussing, if indeed they are heresies, along with all the schisms and divisions among Christians are simply growing pains. Perhaps one day we'll grow out of them.

Your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation? Why are your interpretations of Scripture better than that which the Church universal believed "everywhere, always and by everyone"?

What you have posited is a real problem. How can we know? How do we tell what's right? The Orthodox answer is usually always, "trust the Church". But That's assuming that the Orthodox Church is really the Church, and the only Church, and has all the answers. Problem is, the Catholics make the same claim, and the Protestants don't feel themselves excluded from 'the Church', whatever it is. And everyone has their argument for how they can claim to represent the Church. How do we know?

Perhaps you think your Church's claim of authority more legitimate, and perhaps you're right. But the truth is, if my hypothetical scenario is right, and some of your teachings crept in gradually over time, then it means that your Church has not always and everywhere believed these things, but that from the beginning it was not so. Or if the true Church is 'invisible', not dependent upon Apostolic Succession and the alleged ecclesiastical necessity thereof; if these are merely human teachings, and not the design of the Apostles, then only God knows those who are truly His, and they will be His Church. And if many Protestants are a part of this Church, then of course there are many Christians and members of the Church in recent centuries who have not believed the things we are debating, not in the least, and their opinion would not be in the least less authoritative then that of the Orthodox Church, or any other.

In the end, I'm as confused as anyone. I admit, I don't have an absolute answer. How do we know? It's all a matter of faith what you put your trust it. And usually a matter of opinion too. God guide us.   

Do you believe the New Testament Canon is closed? If so, why do you accept the Scriptures that a "corrupted" Church selected from amongst many more possible documents? Do you think Hebrews is Scripture? Who wrote it? Why is its inclusion in the Bible trustworthy?

Here is a list of Christian documents floating around during the time of the Early Church: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ The existing NT Canon says nothing about these books, so according to that which you are "sure of", we have no means to select the NT Canon. How do you do it without the Church and why is your decision normative?

I think there are a few texts that could have been a part of the New Testament and wouldn't have hurt anything. Some of the books from the the Apostolic Fathers or the Didache for example I think are safe, but ultimately they don't really add anything major doctrinally to the books of the current canon, and as such they were not really necessary. Ultimately, I'm less concerned about exactly what books are in the canon as I am about sifting out the apostolic witness from the mess of heretical literature circulating around in the times of the early Church. This of course means you want books that were probably written in the first century, and that have relativity early historical attestation backing them up as authentic apostolic works, as in, written by the Apostles and their close associates. And of course you're going to need them to agree about basic doctrine. I think the books of the New Testament meet these criteria, and the Apostolic Fathers and later Fathers of the Church quoted the current books of the New Testament more than anything else long before the official canon was compiled. So I personally think the Church did a good job selecting the criteria, doing the research, and finding the right books. The some of the early Protestant reformers actually considered re-doing the canon, or so I have heard, but decided it was fine the way it was.

I don't think the undivided Church of the fist millennium was just wrong, through and through to the core about everything. I simply suspect based on my observations that they let some non-apostolic teachings creep into the heart of their beliefs and practices. Then again, I don't know, I wasn't there. But regardless, I have faith that the books that we have in the current Bible convey the essential Christian teaching accurately, and if I'm wrong about that, then you're wrong too and our whole religion is pointless. I have not found that to be the case in my own life, so I'm not too concerned.
     
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LBK on March 08, 2013, 03:52:02 AM
ArmchairTheologian wrote:

Quote
This also fits with conceptions some of the Fathers had about sexuality, that it was a result of the fall and not a truly natural human faculty, less than perfectly honorable and not to be chosen, even in marriage, above the great and awesome glories of celibacy, which was seen as the 'angelic state'. These are teachings I'm not naturally inclined to agree with, for the same reason I'm uncertain about the rest. I don't see these ideas in the scriptures.     
   

It has been said more than once here and in the sister threads to this, that not every pronouncement of a saint or Father is perfect. This is why the Church relies on not a single individual as arbiter of what is true and proper, but on all its members, clerics and laymen, monastics and married, men and women.

Monastic celibacy is indeed glorious for those who are truly called to it, but no less so is marriage, which is blessed by the Church as a great mystery. It is no accident that the Epistle reading appointed for the Orthodox marriage service is Eph. 5: 20-33. There is much wisdom and food for thought there.


Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Kerdy on March 08, 2013, 03:54:04 AM
There is more to suggest the Theotokos was and is ever virgin than there is to suggest she was not.  It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 08, 2013, 04:05:37 AM
...I can't think of any Evangelical belief that relies on Mary having more children...

I might know one. I don't know if this is a widespread "official" belief that Evangelicals hold, or just one that a few  Evangelicals I've met hold, but I know that some Evangelicals believe that celibacy and monasticism/nunhood is unnatural and somehow offensive to God, that we're supposed to have families (like Islam). In theory, the Theotokos having more children could be important to them because in their mind, if it is true, then it would support their view.

Fair enough, it is the first time I've heard of it though.  But how do they get around St. Paul's call to celibacy?

I dunno. Same way they get around his order for headcoverings and Baptism being necessary for salvation I guess
Except for one thing: St. Paul never uttered a call to celibacy, if by celibacy you mean the lifelong celibacy of a monastic. He recommended it for those who could handle it, but he never commanded it.

You mean him saying that it is better for the unmarried that are called by Christ remain unmarried isn't a call to celibacy?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Armchair Theologian on March 08, 2013, 04:09:11 AM
ArmchairTheologian wrote:

Quote
This also fits with conceptions some of the Fathers had about sexuality, that it was a result of the fall and not a truly natural human faculty, less than perfectly honorable and not to be chosen, even in marriage, above the great and awesome glories of celibacy, which was seen as the 'angelic state'. These are teachings I'm not naturally inclined to agree with, for the same reason I'm uncertain about the rest. I don't see these ideas in the scriptures.    
 

It has been said more than once here and in the sister threads to this, that not every pronouncement of a saint or Father is perfect. This is why the Church relies on not a single individual as arbiter of what is true and proper, but on all its members, clerics and laymen, monastics and married, men and women.

Monastic celibacy is indeed glorious for those who are truly called to it, but no less so is marriage, which is blessed by the Church as a great mystery. It is no accident that the Epistle reading appointed for the Orthodox marriage service is Eph. 5: 20-33. There is much wisdom and food for thought there.




I absolutely agree with your interpretation. And I'm glad that the Orthodox church does not proclaim such teachings as doctrine. That would have been a huge issue for me. And I absolutely love the Orthodox understanding of marriage as a sacred mystery and sacrament. Something Protestants almost altogether miss, which might be one reason the divorce-rate among Protestants actually parallels that of unbelievers.      

Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Clemente on March 08, 2013, 05:04:18 AM
OK, Clemente, I'm going to attempt to answer your questions. bare in mind that I'm not an ardent Protestant, though perhaps my previous posts might have given that suggestion. Truth is, I'm thinking about possibly joining the Orthodox Church, which is why my monicker says Orthodox Inquirer, and not Protestant or something like that. But I have a lot to figure out and a lot of ideas to sort through, and I can see an argument for and against issues like the ones we're talking about here. I'm a long way from knowing if the Orthodox Church is trustworthy and 'safe', so bare with me. I will attempt to impart my thoughts on the questions you have asked, and will appreciate honest feedback.

Why is it historically plausible to think an entire Church would enter quickly into heresy by accepting an error regarding the Theotokos without leaving a paper trail of opposition?

If anything the ancient Church believed about the Theotokos was heresy, it wasn't the ever-virginity per say, but what it and other ideas gradually led to over the course of centuries. I'm talking about the way, as it sometimes seems to me, that the Mother of God was exalted to near-goddess stature. I've talked about this in my Theotokos thread, and I won't derail the topic. But assuming the veneration of the Theotokos is excessive to the point of heresy, I would posit that, it escaped notice for two main reasons:

A, Because it crept in rather gradually compared to other heresies which seemed flare up over night, so gradually that few if any noticed the changes in teaching and emphasis from the grace of Christ to the graces of His mother. The teaching of the perpetual virginity, which is attested to in the mid-second century, would only have been one step in the long process I'm hypothesizing.

B, Because devotion to and veneration of Mary, along with belief in the perpetual virginity, were useful in combating other heresies. So when Nestorius tried to butcher the authentic doctrine of the Incarnation, he wanted to call Mary the Christotokos. The Church, rightly I think, responded by affirming Mary's identity as the Theotokos. And the Perpetual Virginity, even if unnecessary, turned out to be very useful for affirming the teaching. If God were in her womb, surely she could not be contaminated by the seed of sexual intercourse. She was like the ark that could not be touched, and thus she remained a virgin. This also fits with conceptions some of the Fathers had about sexuality, that it was a result of the fall and not a truly natural human faculty, less than perfectly honorable and not to be chosen, even in marriage, above the great and awesome glories of celibacy, which was seen as the 'angelic state'. These are teachings I'm not naturally inclined to agree with, for the same reason I'm uncertain about the rest. I don't see these ideas in the scriptures.       

If the universal Church fell into heresy regarding the ever-virginity, then you have one of two choices: either the the Holy Spirit did not lead the Church to truth, in which case, Jesus lied, or the Holy Spirit was impotent and therefore somehow less than divine (in which case you are rejecting the Trinity) or somehow ineffectual. Which do you believe?

Don't forget the Scripture promises there will be heresies, even at the heart of the Church.

"Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears."

Acts 20; 28-31.

Paul also says this:

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, even Christ"

Ephesians 4; 11-15

He said this indicating, I think, that the Spirit of God would eventually lead the Church out of errors and bring her to perfection, but no one in the scripture tells us that this process would be swift and easy going, or how long it would take, or what errors would manifest along the way. Perhaps the process is still ongoing. Perhaps it will take another 2000 years, or longer. Perhaps we are still the 'Early Christians' As C.S. Lewis suggested. Perhaps the heresies we've been discussing, if indeed they are heresies, along with all the schisms and divisions among Christians are simply growing pains. Perhaps one day we'll grow out of them.

Your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation? Why are your interpretations of Scripture better than that which the Church universal believed "everywhere, always and by everyone"?

What you have posited is a real problem. How can we know? How do we tell what's right? The Orthodox answer is usually always, "trust the Church". But That's assuming that the Orthodox Church is really the Church, and the only Church, and has all the answers. Problem is, the Catholics make the same claim, and the Protestants don't feel themselves excluded from 'the Church', whatever it is. And everyone has their argument for how they can claim to represent the Church. How do we know?

Perhaps you think your Church's claim of authority more legitimate, and perhaps you're right. But the truth is, if my hypothetical scenario is right, and some of your teachings crept in gradually over time, then it means that your Church has not always and everywhere believed these things, but that from the beginning it was not so. Or if the true Church is 'invisible', not dependent upon Apostolic Succession and the alleged ecclesiastical necessity thereof; if these are merely human teachings, and not the design of the Apostles, then only God knows those who are truly His, and they will be His Church. And if many Protestants are a part of this Church, then of course there are many Christians and members of the Church in recent centuries who have not believed the things we are debating, not in the least, and their opinion would not be in the least less authoritative then that of the Orthodox Church, or any other.

In the end, I'm as confused as anyone. I admit, I don't have an absolute answer. How do we know? It's all a matter of faith what you put your trust it. And usually a matter of opinion too. God guide us.   

Do you believe the New Testament Canon is closed? If so, why do you accept the Scriptures that a "corrupted" Church selected from amongst many more possible documents? Do you think Hebrews is Scripture? Who wrote it? Why is its inclusion in the Bible trustworthy?

Here is a list of Christian documents floating around during the time of the Early Church: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ The existing NT Canon says nothing about these books, so according to that which you are "sure of", we have no means to select the NT Canon. How do you do it without the Church and why is your decision normative?

I think there are a few texts that could have been a part of the New Testament and wouldn't have hurt anything. Some of the books from the the Apostolic Fathers or the Didache for example I think are safe, but ultimately they don't really add anything major doctrinally to the books of the current canon, and as such they were not really necessary. Ultimately, I'm less concerned about exactly what books are in the canon as I am about sifting out the apostolic witness from the mess of heretical literature circulating around in the times of the early Church. This of course means you want books that were probably written in the first century, and that have relativity early historical attestation backing them up as authentic apostolic works, as in, written by the Apostles and their close associates. And of course you're going to need them to agree about basic doctrine. I think the books of the New Testament meet these criteria, and the Apostolic Fathers and later Fathers of the Church quoted the current books of the New Testament more than anything else long before the official canon was compiled. So I personally think the Church did a good job selecting the criteria, doing the research, and finding the right books. The some of the early Protestant reformers actually considered re-doing the canon, or so I have heard, but decided it was fine the way it was.

I don't think the undivided Church of the fist millennium was just wrong, through and through to the core about everything. I simply suspect based on my observations that they let some non-apostolic teachings creep into the heart of their beliefs and practices. Then again, I don't know, I wasn't there. But regardless, I have faith that the books that we have in the current Bible convey the essential Christian teaching accurately, and if I'm wrong about that, then you're wrong too and our whole religion is pointless. I have not found that to be the case in my own life, so I'm not too concerned.
     

Thanks for your very thorough response. I can sympathise with your situation. I was of very much the same mind a few years back.

I am sure others here will have much to say about your answers, but thanks for taking the time and having the courage to lay it all out. God bless!
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Αριστοκλής on March 08, 2013, 06:30:43 AM
It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.

You're not alone in this regard.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: mike on March 08, 2013, 07:51:15 AM
There is more to suggest the Theotokos was and is ever virgin than there is to suggest she was not.  It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.

You also did it a few times, confusing EO and RC. Heal yourself...
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Clemente on March 08, 2013, 08:12:01 AM
It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.

You're not alone in this regard.

Well, I do not really sympathise with either of you. You are reading a subforum that, by its very nature, encourages debate and honest questions. St. Paul stood in the Areopagus (Acts 17:22) and welcomed debate from a hostile audience. That is where we are as well. It is hopefully not fruitless: "But certain men joined unto him and believed (Acts 17:34).

For the most part, the Orthodox here seem to be vigorously defending Church doctrine.

So, if you do not like Protestants questioning Church doctrine, I would avoid this subforum.

Forgive me, in any case.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Αριστοκλής on March 08, 2013, 09:39:04 AM
It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.

You're not alone in this regard.

Well, I do not really sympathise with either of you. You are reading a subforum that, by its very nature, encourages debate and honest questions. St. Paul stood in the Areopagus (Acts 17:22) and welcomed debate from a hostile audience. That is where we are as well. It is hopefully not fruitless: "But certain men joined unto him and believed (Acts 17:34).

For the most part, the Orthodox here seem to be vigorously defending Church doctrine.

So, if you do not like Protestants questioning Church doctrine, I would avoid this subforum.

Forgive me, in any case.


Your points are well taken except where purportedly Orthodox seem to be squishy on our beliefs and those-not-yet-Orthodox are confused and/or confusing. I assumed Kerdy was referring to the tone across more than just this sub-board.
The entire forum, sub or otherwise, was created originally for us Orthodox. Non-Orthodox noise is to be expected here were debate is encouraged or allowed.
Am I clearer now? And thanks anyway, I need not your sympathy in any event.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 08, 2013, 12:31:17 PM
...I can't think of any Evangelical belief that relies on Mary having more children...

I might know one. I don't know if this is a widespread "official" belief that Evangelicals hold, or just one that a few  Evangelicals I've met hold, but I know that some Evangelicals believe that celibacy and monasticism/nunhood is unnatural and somehow offensive to God, that we're supposed to have families (like Islam). In theory, the Theotokos having more children could be important to them because in their mind, if it is true, then it would support their view.

Fair enough, it is the first time I've heard of it though.  But how do they get around St. Paul's call to celibacy?

I dunno. Same way they get around his order for headcoverings and Baptism being necessary for salvation I guess
Except for one thing: St. Paul never uttered a call to celibacy, if by celibacy you mean the lifelong celibacy of a monastic. He recommended it for those who could handle it, but he never commanded it.

You mean him saying that it is better for the unmarried that are called by Christ remain unmarried isn't a call to celibacy?
No, it's not a call to celibacy. A recommendation, but not a call.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: choy on March 08, 2013, 02:05:48 PM
No, it's not a call to celibacy. A recommendation, but not a call.

But a call doesn't necessarily  mean "mandatory".  I think we are interpreting "call" differently.  At least from my understanding, a "call" isn't something that is made an absolute requirement, but rather encouraged.  Besides, in the same bit of Scripture, St. Paul clarifies that he isn't advocating an across-the-board celibacy rule.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Kerdy on March 08, 2013, 09:33:51 PM
There is more to suggest the Theotokos was and is ever virgin than there is to suggest she was not.  It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.

You also did it a few times, confusing EO and RC. Heal yourself...

When you make blanket (empty) statements like this, it helps if you provide context.  Otherwise, my only response is, "What?"  To my knowledge, on this forum, I have never questioned her virginity.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Kerdy on March 08, 2013, 09:40:23 PM
It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.

You're not alone in this regard.

Well, I do not really sympathise with either of you. You are reading a subforum that, by its very nature, encourages debate and honest questions. St. Paul stood in the Areopagus (Acts 17:22) and welcomed debate from a hostile audience. That is where we are as well. It is hopefully not fruitless: "But certain men joined unto him and believed (Acts 17:34).

For the most part, the Orthodox here seem to be vigorously defending Church doctrine.

So, if you do not like Protestants questioning Church doctrine, I would avoid this subforum.

Forgive me, in any case.


I was not seeking sympathy.  Merely making an observation and responding to that observation.  I have no problem with dialogue which is clear from my interaction here, but when the Church has made a distinct and clear teaching, there is no room for interpretation.  Other areas where it is not clear and distinct, sure, as this is how we learn and grow.  The virginity of the Theotokos is not debatable by Orthodox Christians.  As my priest repeated states, you either accept the Orthodox Church or you reject the Orthodox Church.  There is no middle ground.  If the questions come from outside the Orthodox Church, no problem, as long as those questions are sincere for the sake of learning and understanding.  I didn’t mean for my comment to be snippy or anything like that.  My apologies if anyone was offended.  I am still learning about Orthodoxy.  The joy is, it is a lifelong education process. 
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Kerdy on March 08, 2013, 09:41:37 PM
It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.

You're not alone in this regard.

Well, I do not really sympathise with either of you. You are reading a subforum that, by its very nature, encourages debate and honest questions. St. Paul stood in the Areopagus (Acts 17:22) and welcomed debate from a hostile audience. That is where we are as well. It is hopefully not fruitless: "But certain men joined unto him and believed (Acts 17:34).

For the most part, the Orthodox here seem to be vigorously defending Church doctrine.

So, if you do not like Protestants questioning Church doctrine, I would avoid this subforum.

Forgive me, in any case.


Your points are well taken except where purportedly Orthodox seem to be squishy on our beliefs and those-not-yet-Orthodox are confused and/or confusing. I assumed Kerdy was referring to the tone across more than just this sub-board.
The entire forum, sub or otherwise, was created originally for us Orthodox. Non-Orthodox noise is to be expected here were debate is encouraged or allowed.
Am I clearer now? And thanks anyway, I need not your sympathy in any event.

This was what I meant.  Thank you.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Shiny on March 08, 2013, 09:50:13 PM
It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.

You're not alone in this regard.

Well, I do not really sympathise with either of you. You are reading a subforum that, by its very nature, encourages debate and honest questions. St. Paul stood in the Areopagus (Acts 17:22) and welcomed debate from a hostile audience. That is where we are as well. It is hopefully not fruitless: "But certain men joined unto him and believed (Acts 17:34).

For the most part, the Orthodox here seem to be vigorously defending Church doctrine.

So, if you do not like Protestants questioning Church doctrine, I would avoid this subforum.

Forgive me, in any case.


Your points are well taken except where purportedly Orthodox seem to be squishy on our beliefs and those-not-yet-Orthodox are confused and/or confusing. I assumed Kerdy was referring to the tone across more than just this sub-board.
The entire forum, sub or otherwise, was created originally for us Orthodox. Non-Orthodox noise is to be expected here were debate is encouraged or allowed.
Am I clearer now? And thanks anyway, I need not your sympathy in any event.
Isn't that an accusation you have made on others on this forum?

Are you even Orthodox? Or just trying to justify your politics?

I can play this game too.

Maybe we should all have our baptismal ceritifcates in our signatures.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Αριστοκλής on March 09, 2013, 08:22:49 AM
It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.

You're not alone in this regard.

Well, I do not really sympathise with either of you. You are reading a subforum that, by its very nature, encourages debate and honest questions. St. Paul stood in the Areopagus (Acts 17:22) and welcomed debate from a hostile audience. That is where we are as well. It is hopefully not fruitless: "But certain men joined unto him and believed (Acts 17:34).

For the most part, the Orthodox here seem to be vigorously defending Church doctrine.

So, if you do not like Protestants questioning Church doctrine, I would avoid this subforum.

Forgive me, in any case.


Your points are well taken except where purportedly Orthodox seem to be squishy on our beliefs and those-not-yet-Orthodox are confused and/or confusing. I assumed Kerdy was referring to the tone across more than just this sub-board.
The entire forum, sub or otherwise, was created originally for us Orthodox. Non-Orthodox noise is to be expected here were debate is encouraged or allowed.
Am I clearer now? And thanks anyway, I need not your sympathy in any event.
Isn't that an accusation you have made on others on this forum?

Are you even Orthodox? Or just trying to justify your politics?

I can play this game too.

Maybe we should all have our baptismal ceritifcates in our signatures.

I will ask my mother where she's got my certificate from 1950 when I was baptized at age 60 days. Regardless, I have personally seen the documentation in my home parish records when I researched my family going back to 1910 and finding both of my grandfathers to have been charter members of the parish at its founding. Not that I'll share the details with you.

Yes, we are aware of your games, and dodges, as well as the stalled catechumens we have here.

Oh, yeah... I did decline the honor of ordination because I know myself too well.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: mike on March 09, 2013, 01:13:36 PM
There is more to suggest the Theotokos was and is ever virgin than there is to suggest she was not.  It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.

You also did it a few times, confusing EO and RC. Heal yourself...

When you make blanket (empty) statements like this, it helps if you provide context.  Otherwise, my only response is, "What?"  To my knowledge, on this forum, I have never questioned her virginity.

I didn't state you had questioned virginity of Theotokos. I only wrote you questioned a few times EO teachings and that didn't bother you.

some examples:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,49432.msg876514.html#msg876514
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,49356.0.html
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: ialmisry on March 09, 2013, 01:46:51 PM
OK, Clemente, I'm going to attempt to answer your questions. bare in mind that I'm not an ardent Protestant, though perhaps my previous posts might have given that suggestion. Truth is, I'm thinking about possibly joining the Orthodox Church, which is why my monicker says Orthodox Inquirer, and not Protestant or something like that. But I have a lot to figure out and a lot of ideas to sort through, and I can see an argument for and against issues like the ones we're talking about here. I'm a long way from knowing if the Orthodox Church is trustworthy and 'safe', so bare with me. I will attempt to impart my thoughts on the questions you have asked, and will appreciate honest feedback.

Why is it historically plausible to think an entire Church would enter quickly into heresy by accepting an error regarding the Theotokos without leaving a paper trail of opposition?

If anything the ancient Church believed about the Theotokos was heresy, it wasn't the ever-virginity per say, but what it and other ideas gradually led to over the course of centuries. I'm talking about the way, as it sometimes seems to me, that the Mother of God was exalted to near-goddess stature. I've talked about this in my Theotokos thread, and I won't derail the topic. But assuming the veneration of the Theotokos is excessive to the point of heresy, I would posit that, it escaped notice for two main reasons:

A, Because it crept in rather gradually compared to other heresies which seemed flare up over night, so gradually that few if any noticed the changes in teaching and emphasis from the grace of Christ to the graces of His mother. The teaching of the perpetual virginity, which is attested to in the mid-second century, would only have been one step in the long process I'm hypothesizing.

B, Because devotion to and veneration of Mary, along with belief in the perpetual virginity, were useful in combating other heresies. So when Nestorius tried to butcher the authentic doctrine of the Incarnation, he wanted to call Mary the Christotokos. The Church, rightly I think, responded by affirming Mary's identity as the Theotokos. And the Perpetual Virginity, even if unnecessary, turned out to be very useful for affirming the teaching. If God were in her womb, surely she could not be contaminated by the seed of sexual intercourse. She was like the ark that could not be touched, and thus she remained a virgin. This also fits with conceptions some of the Fathers had about sexuality, that it was a result of the fall and not a truly natural human faculty, less than perfectly honorable and not to be chosen, even in marriage, above the great and awesome glories of celibacy, which was seen as the 'angelic state'. These are teachings I'm not naturally inclined to agree with, for the same reason I'm uncertain about the rest. I don't see these ideas in the scriptures.
 
There is a problem, however, in that early on (from the Gospels onward) the Church nurtured the Tradition of
a) the "Despocynoi" the relatives of the Lord according to the flesh, who continued the leadership of the Church at Jerusalem from the Ascension, when St. James the Brother of God was consecrated bishop at least through his successor St. Simeon, the Lord's cousin, into the second century.  (btw, there are bishops elsewhere in the second century who claimed descent from St. Joseph).  If any half brothers of the Lord through the Holy Theotokos existed, they would be counted among this group.
b) the Tradition of the Holy Theotokos living out her days in the care of St. John, as the Lord mandated at the Cross. If she had sons (and the Desposynoi are all protrayed as being with her after the Ascension in the Church in Acts 1), where were they?

We know of deniers of the Virgin Birth in the 1st century. Surely they would have used the existence of any other sons of the Holy Theotokos to bolster there case, if they existed. But no such appeal was made.  In fact, some apocryphal gospels have St. James at the Birth, obviously St. Joseph's son, and, given the status of Jesus as her "first-born," obviously then not the Holy Theotokos'.

One could argue that the Ever-Virginity arises out of dogmatic development, but that admits the connection between the Virgin Birth and the Ever-Virginity.  The question then becomes, did the second century Fathers defend the Ever-Virginity because it flowed from the Virgin Birth, or did they defend the Ever-Virginity because they believed in the Virgin Birth.

The Holy Theotokos, aside from her birth-giving and the result that Christ is both God and man, was not and is not part of the public preaching of the Church.  The story of the Dormition, that the Church of Jerusalem kept it to herself for centuries, demonstrates that.  That those who attacked her virginity in the first and second centuries did so on the issue of Christ's birth, and not his brothers, who are never thought of as her sons, would imply that those who first designated the Desposynoi as her sons did so in a vaccum of tradition and facts.  That those who first did so, did so to fit their own conceptions (Tertullian to emphasize Christ's humanity against the gnostics, Helvidius to promote marriage to disparage monasticism (Jerome would do the opposite in dreaming up his cousin hypothesis) etc.) would indicate that they, not the Orthodox, had the ax to grind on the perpetual virginity.

If the universal Church fell into heresy regarding the ever-virginity, then you have one of two choices: either the the Holy Spirit did not lead the Church to truth, in which case, Jesus lied, or the Holy Spirit was impotent and therefore somehow less than divine (in which case you are rejecting the Trinity) or somehow ineffectual. Which do you believe?

Don't forget the Scripture promises there will be heresies, even at the heart of the Church.
Not ones that will prevail over her.

"Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears."

Acts 20; 28-31.

Paul also says this:

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, even Christ"

Ephesians 4; 11-15

He said this indicating, I think, that the Spirit of God would eventually lead the Church out of errors and bring her to perfection, but no one in the scripture tells us that this process would be swift and easy going, or how long it would take, or what errors would manifest along the way. Perhaps the process is still ongoing. Perhaps it will take another 2000 years, or longer. Perhaps we are still the 'Early Christians' As C.S. Lewis suggested. Perhaps the heresies we've been discussing, if indeed they are heresies, along with all the schisms and divisions among Christians are simply growing pains. Perhaps one day we'll grow out of them.
First we have to be able to distinguish healthy tissue from heretical tumor.

Your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation? Why are your interpretations of Scripture better than that which the Church universal believed "everywhere, always and by everyone"?

What you have posited is a real problem. How can we know? How do we tell what's right? The Orthodox answer is usually always, "trust the Church". But That's assuming that the Orthodox Church is really the Church, and the only Church, and has all the answers. Problem is, the Catholics make the same claim, and the Protestants don't feel themselves excluded from 'the Church', whatever it is. And everyone has their argument for how they can claim to represent the Church. How do we know?
Look for the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which has an unbroken chain of witnesses from the Apostles until today, who teach what was-and still is-taught everywhere, always and by everyone, i.e. the Church that can point to someone in every generation from the Apostles' first converts until today who would be welcome at their chalice.

Perhaps you think your Church's claim of authority more legitimate, and perhaps you're right. But the truth is, if my hypothetical scenario is right, and some of your teachings crept in gradually over time, then it means that your Church has not always and everywhere believed these things, but that from the beginning it was not so. Or if the true Church is 'invisible', not dependent upon Apostolic Succession and the alleged ecclesiastical necessity thereof; if these are merely human teachings, and not the design of the Apostles, then only God knows those who are truly His, and they will be His Church. And if many Protestants are a part of this Church, then of course there are many Christians and members of the Church in recent centuries who have not believed the things we are debating, not in the least, and their opinion would not be in the least less authoritative then that of the Orthodox Church, or any other.
Then the gates of Hell have prevailed over the Church and Christ has not remained with her "all of the days until the end of the Age", and so He has been shown a liar, and we need not bother worrying about anything He taught or said.

You are talking about crept in like a virus.  Either the healthy Orthodox Body of Christ has repelled the infection of heresy, or cut off the tumors of doctrinal development-i.e. dogmatic drift-or she hasn't, in which case He is a God of the dead, not of the living.

In the end, I'm as confused as anyone. I admit, I don't have an absolute answer. How do we know? It's all a matter of faith what you put your trust it. And usually a matter of opinion too. God guide us.
 
It is a matter of the Spirit.

Do you believe the New Testament Canon is closed? If so, why do you accept the Scriptures that a "corrupted" Church selected from amongst many more possible documents? Do you think Hebrews is Scripture? Who wrote it? Why is its inclusion in the Bible trustworthy?

Here is a list of Christian documents floating around during the time of the Early Church: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ The existing NT Canon says nothing about these books, so according to that which you are "sure of", we have no means to select the NT Canon. How do you do it without the Church and why is your decision normative?

I think there are a few texts that could have been a part of the New Testament and wouldn't have hurt anything. Some of the books from the the Apostolic Fathers or the Didache for example I think are safe, but ultimately they don't really add anything major doctrinally to the books of the current canon, and as such they were not really necessary. Ultimately, I'm less concerned about exactly what books are in the canon as I am about sifting out the apostolic witness from the mess of heretical literature circulating around in the times of the early Church. This of course means you want books that were probably written in the first century, and that have relativity early historical attestation backing them up as authentic apostolic works, as in, written by the Apostles and their close associates. And of course you're going to need them to agree about basic doctrine. I think the books of the New Testament meet these criteria, and the Apostolic Fathers and later Fathers of the Church quoted the current books of the New Testament more than anything else long before the official canon was compiled. So I personally think the Church did a good job selecting the criteria, doing the research, and finding the right books. The some of the early Protestant reformers actually considered re-doing the canon, or so I have heard, but decided it was fine the way it was.

I don't think the undivided Church of the fist millennium was just wrong, through and through to the core about everything. I simply suspect based on my observations that they let some non-apostolic teachings creep into the heart of their beliefs and practices. Then again, I don't know, I wasn't there. But regardless, I have faith that the books that we have in the current Bible convey the essential Christian teaching accurately, and if I'm wrong about that, then you're wrong too and our whole religion is pointless. I have not found that to be the case in my own life, so I'm not too concerned.
The point being, you are just as dependent on that Church giving you that current Bible (Nestle and Aland came long after 1517) as for anything else it teaches. For instance, there are manuscripts (e.g. the Sinaitic Syriac) which "correct" the Gospels to make Jesus the natural son of Joseph.  The Church (of Sinai) possesses it, it wasn't destroyed, but it wasn't used as a examplar for copying either.  Trust such good judgment on the dogma as well.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: ialmisry on March 09, 2013, 01:52:35 PM
ArmchairTheologian wrote:

Quote
This also fits with conceptions some of the Fathers had about sexuality, that it was a result of the fall and not a truly natural human faculty, less than perfectly honorable and not to be chosen, even in marriage, above the great and awesome glories of celibacy, which was seen as the 'angelic state'. These are teachings I'm not naturally inclined to agree with, for the same reason I'm uncertain about the rest. I don't see these ideas in the scriptures.     
   

It has been said more than once here and in the sister threads to this, that not every pronouncement of a saint or Father is perfect. This is why the Church relies on not a single individual as arbiter of what is true and proper, but on all its members, clerics and laymen, monastics and married, men and women.

Monastic celibacy is indeed glorious for those who are truly called to it, but no less so is marriage, which is blessed by the Church as a great mystery. It is no accident that the Epistle reading appointed for the Orthodox marriage service is Eph. 5: 20-33. There is much wisdom and food for thought there.
It might be pointed out that the Church has adopted, during the Western Captivity, the schema of seven great mysteries.  Although not entirely Orthodox (but not heretical nor perhaps unorthodox), the fact remains the the Seven Great Mysteries include Marriage (indeed, it is the only one called a Mystery in Scripture) but not monastic profession (which, like the Great Blessing of Water, is included in the Traditional Orthodox sacramentary).  It also remains true that only those Churches who have monasticism consider marriage a sacrament.  Those who do not have monks, don't.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: ialmisry on March 09, 2013, 02:15:05 PM
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?

Honest Question:

What is the importance to the Lutherans that she was a virgin when Christ was born? It seems utterly unimportant.
Many Lutherans, to the scandal of Luther, have come to that conclusion.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: ialmisry on March 09, 2013, 02:18:23 PM
Yawn ::)

Feel free to read Isaiah 7:14 in Luther's own translation.

Can't ask an honest question around here. I also never said she wasn't. Just asked why it's so important to Orthodox. Thanks to the others who gave generous non condescending replies.
Part of the importance is that denying her virginity often comes with heretical implications-like Unitarianism.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: podkarpatska on March 09, 2013, 02:27:37 PM
I must confess that I am astounded to read posts here by posters who profess their Orthodoxy,  often quibbling over this or that liturgical variation or custom, who seem to doubt the necessity for a true believing Orthodox Christian to profess belief in the Ever-Virginity of the Mother of God. Perhaps I am careless in my reading here, but this link points one to what is taught in those jurisdictions under the protection of the ecumenical throne.

"The Orthodox have no difficulty, then, considering the ever-virginity of Mary a nonnegotiable fact and its alternative unthinkable. "  
http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith9174

Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: podkarpatska on March 09, 2013, 02:34:03 PM
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?

Personally, the doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos has very little baring for me. It is attested to in some very early sources, and it doesn't effect my faith either way. My concerns about the teachings on the Theotokos lies elsewhere. Mainly, I'm just arguing possible objections to see how well thought out the Orthodox point of view is. Are there good answers to the hard questions, or will it fall apart under scrutiny? I think most people who ask questions and posit objections are usually just trying to figure out where the truth, either consciously or subconsciously. And I'm one of the few people around who actually enjoys a good theological debate. For some of us, it helps keep us on our toes and thinking about the things we believe. But I'm certainly not hear to try to tear down Orthodoxy. I just want to understand what makes it tick.

I think this is, again, fair enough. You have asked a lot of questions and hopefully got some answers, but have been less forthcoming with answers posed to you. That is fine--you are not on trial here. But be careful that you don't consider Orthodoxy in a vacuum. We shall never get "all the answers". How do your current presuppositions stand up to scrutiny? Your certainty that Scripture is the only certain thing is self-defeating. Are you so certain you have "good answers to the hard questions"?

Honestly, I'm not aware of any questions posted toward me that I have failed to answer as best I could. But if anyone wants to ask me questions, I'll try to give a good answer. I'm not trying to say my opinions are iron-clad and yours aren't. I don't think I ever suggested that.

Well, a few I asked are the following (refer to my previous email for context):

  • Why is it historically plausible to think an entire Church would enter quickly into heresy by accepting an error regarding the Theotokos without leaving a paper trail of opposition?
  • If the universal Church fell into heresy regarding the ever-virginity, then you have one of two choices: either the the Holy Spirit did not lead the Church to truth, in which case, Jesus lied, or the Holy Spirit was impotent and therefore somehow less than divine (in which case you are rejecting the Trinity) or somehow ineffectual. Which do you believe?
  • Your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation? Why are your interpretations of Scripture better than that which the Church universal believed "everywhere, always and by everyone"?
  • Do you believe the New Testament Canon is closed? If so, why do you accept the Scriptures that a "corrupted" Church selected from amongst many more possible documents? Do you think Hebrews is Scripture? Who wrote it? Why is its inclusion in the Bible trustworthy?
  • Here is a list of Christian documents floating around during the time of the Early Church: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ The existing NT Canon says nothing about these books, so according to that which you are "sure of", we have no means to select the NT Canon. How do you do it without the Church and why is your decision normative?

Please have a go at any or none, but I would be interested in your epistemology, how you know what you know, given that you reject the consensus of a "corrupted" Church.


Thank you for this post. I have asked Protestant friends and relatives these very questions since my long ago college years and never have I received an answer which does anything other than evade the basic premise you raise.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Kerdy on March 09, 2013, 07:17:24 PM
There is more to suggest the Theotokos was and is ever virgin than there is to suggest she was not.  It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.

You also did it a few times, confusing EO and RC. Heal yourself...

When you make blanket (empty) statements like this, it helps if you provide context.  Otherwise, my only response is, "What?"  To my knowledge, on this forum, I have never questioned her virginity.

I didn't state you had questioned virginity of Theotokos. I only wrote you questioned a few times EO teachings and that didn't bother you.

some examples:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,49432.msg876514.html#msg876514
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,49356.0.html
You should learn what serious inquiry is.
Quote
   I have no problem with dialogue which is clear from my interaction here, but when the Church has made a distinct and clear teaching, there is no room for interpretation.  Other areas where it is not clear and distinct, sure, as this is how we learn and grow.  The virginity of the Theotokos is not debatable by Orthodox Christians.  As my priest repeated states, you either accept the Orthodox Church or you reject the Orthodox Church.  There is no middle ground.  If the questions come from outside the Orthodox Church, no problem, as long as those questions are sincere for the sake of learning and understanding.  I didn’t mean for my comment to be snippy or anything like that.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: mike on March 09, 2013, 08:17:12 PM
You should learn what serious inquiry is.

Confusing Eastern Orthodoxy with Roman Catholicism two years after conversion is a serious inquiry?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Kerdy on March 09, 2013, 10:23:14 PM
You should learn what serious inquiry is.

Confusing Eastern Orthodoxy with Roman Catholicism two years after conversion is a serious inquiry?
You, again, make strange discussion.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: William on March 10, 2013, 01:26:40 PM
Quote
Personally, I don't, either. The ever-virginity is certainly part of our Tradition, but it's never really been proclaimed in a way that can clearly be recognized as dogmatic, unlike the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth to Christ. You could say that the ever-virginity of the Theotokos just isn't a part of our public message to the world.

There is a post of mine waiting to be approved which shows that the matter of the ever-virginity of the Mother of God was, indeed, proclaimed as a proper and necessary teaching of the Church in the Quinisext Council in trullo.
Okay, I must have confused the ever-virginity of the Theotokos with the stories about her entry into the Temple as a child.

The entry into the Temple of the Mother of God is a feast, indeed one of the twelve highest feasts of the Church, and an ancient one at that. The Church celebrates realities, not allegories, in her feasts, despite what certain contemporary writers might claim.

What about last Sunday?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 10, 2013, 08:36:01 PM
In an attempt to keep this thread on topic, I've moved the back-and-forth between LBK and me to Orthodox-Other Christian Private Discussions (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?board=37).

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=50438.0 (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=50438.0)
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Shanghaiski on March 10, 2013, 10:23:19 PM
There is more to suggest the Theotokos was and is ever virgin than there is to suggest she was not.  It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.

+1
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Shanghaiski on March 10, 2013, 10:29:06 PM
I must confess that I am astounded to read posts here by posters who profess their Orthodoxy,  often quibbling over this or that liturgical variation or custom, who seem to doubt the necessity for a true believing Orthodox Christian to profess belief in the Ever-Virginity of the Mother of God. Perhaps I am careless in my reading here, but this link points one to what is taught in those jurisdictions under the protection of the ecumenical throne.

"The Orthodox have no difficulty, then, considering the ever-virginity of Mary a nonnegotiable fact and its alternative unthinkable. "  
http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith9174


Amen!

quoting tags editted - MK
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Shanghaiski on March 10, 2013, 10:31:32 PM
The Synodikon of Orthodoxy anathematizes all who do not confess the ever-virginity of the Most Holy Theotokos. It's a very serious matter.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: xariskai on March 10, 2013, 11:58:07 PM
Quote
The problem is, it's not in Scripture, or at least, not explicitly
Neither is sola scriptura, nor the "sinner's prayer", nor that the Eucharist is only symbolic.

I know! I personally think the sinner's prayer is silly (though if that's how a genuine Christian life begins, I won't criticize), I'm at least part way convinced of the real presence at the Eucharist (Jesus said "This is my body" and "This us my Blood", so in some sense it must be true), and I wouldn't argue that the whole of the divinely inspired truth is only found in the scripture. All I'm saying is, the ever-virginity is not in the scripture, and that's why protestants rejected it, right or wrong. I think many Protestants reject things that ARE debatably in the scripture, and sometimes believe things that aren't (like the per-tribulation rapture, which I also find ridiculous). I'm not totally protestant in all my beliefs, and pretty far from being evangelical.
It is, however, a matter of historical record that Protestant Reformers Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Wesley all believed in and defended the perpetual virginity of Mary; we cannot therefore simply speak of "protestant rejection" without qualification.

Further, it is widely acknowledged that NT exegesis in and of itself leaves the matter an open question. A major exegetical study by an ecumenical group composed of both Catholic and Protestant biblical scholars concluded that NT data in and of itself is ambiguous as to whether Jesus' brothers must be understood as biological half brothers born of Mary (Helvidius),[1] or possibly something like brothers by a previous marriage by Joseph (Epiphanius, most Greek fathers) (Raymond Brown, Karl P. Donfried, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and John Reumann, eds., Mary in the New Testament: A Collaborative Assessment by Protestant and Roman Catholic Scholars (Fortress Press, 1978). The Protestant and Catholic scholars who participated in Brown, Donfried, Fitzmyer, and Reumann's project ultimately concluded any firm decision as to whether Mary remained a virgin or not after the birth of Jesus can only be decided on extra-biblical grounds; on the other hand the traditional Roman Catholic view that the brothers of Jesus were cousins is considered the most problematic). Further, there are major Protestant scholars who defend the Epiphanian view (traditional Orthodox view) as being the most probable on historical critical grounds (extra-biblical/historical), e.g. Richard Bauckham).

For an 2008 review of the status of the Protestant/Catholic Collaborative Assessment three decades later see http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/Rossier.html "...the biblical text allows one to identify the so-called “brothers and sisters” as Jesus’ siblings as well as other sorts of close relatives. Thus exegetes may either accept Mary’s post partum (i.e. after Jesus’ birth) virginity--in the literal meaning of the word--or reject it, without having to surrender their intellectual integrity. Both interpretations are acknowledged as being consonant with Scripture. Second, and since both interpretations are scripturally legitimate, readers will see in Jesus’ "brothers and sisters" either siblings or close relatives, depending mostly on the tradition they belong to and by the way they relate to that tradition" (Rossier, op cit). Cf. also Richard Baukham's article on the family of Jesus posted on my blog. http://katachriston.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/richard-j-bauckham-on-the-relatives-of-jesus/
__________
[1] There are three main views about the brothers of Jesus in the NT:
1. Epiphanian: Joseph’s children from a previous marriage; stepbrothers (Epiphanius; most Greek fathers; earliest attested/100's AD).
2. Helvidian: Mary's biological children born after Jesus.
3. Hieronymian: Cousins of Jesus (originated with Jerome and held by most Latin fathers after Jerome).
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: TheTrisagion on March 13, 2013, 08:34:23 AM
It really disturbs me how often Church doctrine is questioned on this forum.  I understand much of is not from Orthodox Christians, but it still bothers me.

You're not alone in this regard.

I think that most of the questions come from an honest inquiry.  In the US, many Orthodox are former protestants who struggle greatly with the foreigness of such teachings.  I think few people here have a desire to undermine Church doctrine, we (myself included) just want to "poke" it to see what the responses are.  It helps us build our confidence in understanding what the Church teaches.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: shreek on November 08, 2013, 10:09:50 AM
Jesus had no brothers or sisters, whether half or not.
Surprised that the Orthodox believe he did.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LizaSymonenko on November 08, 2013, 10:19:38 AM

The Orthodox do not believe this.

What they DO believe is that Joseph, a widower, already had sons.

These are "step" brothers to Jesus.

This is what we know and believe.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Mor Ephrem on November 08, 2013, 10:21:33 AM
Jesus had no brothers or sisters, whether half or not.
Surprised that the Orthodox believe he did.

I'm surprised Maronites reject Scripture.  

It is the Gospels which call certain family members of Jesus his "brothers and sisters".  Of course, we believe that these are not the children of our Lady, but whether they are children of St Joseph from a previous marriage, or cousins, or what have you, we can't just throw out the concept of "brothers and sisters" when it's in the Gospels and even Jesus doesn't deny it (he expands it).  
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Math lover on November 08, 2013, 10:44:17 AM
Jesus had no brothers or sisters, whether half or not.
Surprised that the Orthodox believe he did.

I'm surprised Maronites reject Scripture.  

It is the Gospels which call certain family members of Jesus his "brothers and sisters".  Of course, we believe that these are not the children of our Lady, but whether they are children of St Joseph from a previous marriage, or cousins, or what have you, we can't just throw out the concept of "brothers and sisters" when it's in the Gospels and even Jesus doesn't deny it (he expands it).  

I think shreek was referring to biological siblings.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: xOrthodox4Christx on November 08, 2013, 10:47:27 AM
Jesus had no brothers or sisters, whether half or not.
Surprised that the Orthodox believe he did.

He had brothers and sisters from Joseph's end. Mary didn't conceive but Joseph made many women conceive before he married St. Mary. Of course, Joseph was an old man by the time St. Mary was wed with him.

Orthodox believe that Jesus' 'brothers' are brothers from Joseph's side. Not from St. Mary's womb.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Mor Ephrem on November 08, 2013, 10:49:51 AM
I think shreek was referring to biological siblings.

I understand, but I still stand by what I wrote.  As a Catholic, his belief on this issue should not be different from ours, so I'm not sure where he got the idea that we differ.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Mor Ephrem on November 08, 2013, 10:50:58 AM
Mary didn't conceive but Joseph made many women conceive before he married St. Mary.

Um, what?  How many?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: xOrthodox4Christx on November 08, 2013, 10:53:57 AM
Mary didn't conceive but Joseph made many women conceive before he married St. Mary.

Um, what?  How many?

Am I wrong? Correct me, I don't know if that is true or not.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on November 08, 2013, 10:56:24 AM
Jesus had no brothers or sisters, whether half or not.
Surprised that the Orthodox believe he did.

He had brothers and sisters from Joseph's end. Mary didn't conceive but Joseph made many women conceive before he married St. Mary.
"Made many women conceive"? ??? You do realize that our Tradition, AFAIK, does not speculate into Joseph's love life except to acknowledge that he was most likely a widower when he took the Theotokos to be his wife?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: xOrthodox4Christx on November 08, 2013, 11:10:24 AM
Jesus had no brothers or sisters, whether half or not.
Surprised that the Orthodox believe he did.

He had brothers and sisters from Joseph's end. Mary didn't conceive but Joseph made many women conceive before he married St. Mary.
"Made many women conceive"? ??? You do realize that our Tradition, AFAIK, does not speculate into Joseph's love life except to acknowledge that he was most likely a widower when he took the Theotokos to be his wife?

Okay, I'm sorry, I didn't know the specifics. I'm really sorry, I shouldn't have been so rash to respond to something I don't have any knowledge of.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Mor Ephrem on November 08, 2013, 12:43:48 PM
Am I wrong? Correct me, I don't know if that is true or not.

Our tradition, as noted above, is that St Joseph was an older man and a widower when he was betrothed to our Lady, that the choice of this older man was intentional and not for lack of younger guys.  I'm unaware of any tradition of his having married more than once before our Lady.  Even if he married more than once, "made many women conceive" is a bit too much.  St Joseph was not a player. 
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: minasoliman on November 08, 2013, 12:55:32 PM
There's another possible tradition.  The sister of the Theotokos, also named Mary, is thought to have had children, who many in the Coptic Church have taken to think these are the "brothers and sisters" of Christ.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but do the Catholic Church believe that St. Joseph was a perpetual virgin?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Sainte_Geneviève on November 08, 2013, 03:09:02 PM
I went to a Catholic school (whose patron was St. Joseph) during middle school, and we were taught that St. Joseph was probably a widower with several children.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LizaSymonenko on November 08, 2013, 03:43:36 PM
There's another possible tradition.  The sister of the Theotokos, also named Mary, is thought to have had children, who many in the Coptic Church have taken to think these are the "brothers and sisters" of Christ.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but do the Catholic Church believe that St. Joseph was a perpetual virgin?

The Theotokos had actual sisters?   How so?

Weren't her parents Anna and Joachim childless, and always praying that God grant them a child...which He did in their very old age.  So, are you saying they continued to have an additional child/children after Mary was born?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: minasoliman on November 08, 2013, 03:47:10 PM
There's another possible tradition.  The sister of the Theotokos, also named Mary, is thought to have had children, who many in the Coptic Church have taken to think these are the "brothers and sisters" of Christ.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but do the Catholic Church believe that St. Joseph was a perpetual virgin?

The Theotokos had actual sisters?   How so?

Weren't her parents Anna and Joachim childless, and always praying that God grant them a child...which He did in their very old age.  So, are you saying they continued to have an additional child/children after Mary was born?


Yes...there's a passage somewhere in the Scriptures...let me pull it out:

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25)

3 Mary's at the Cross by Christ's side, two of which were related to Christ.

Perhaps not a direct sister...maybe a cousin of the Theotokos?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: minasoliman on November 08, 2013, 03:49:05 PM
I went to a Catholic school (whose patron was St. Joseph) during middle school, and we were taught that St. Joseph was probably a widower with several children.

Oh okay...I got the idea from Fr. Sergius Bulgakov in his book on the Forerunner.  In it he adds an addendum chapter comparing our veneration of the Forerunner with the RC veneration of the betrothed.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: LizaSymonenko on November 08, 2013, 03:50:26 PM
There's another possible tradition.  The sister of the Theotokos, also named Mary, is thought to have had children, who many in the Coptic Church have taken to think these are the "brothers and sisters" of Christ.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but do the Catholic Church believe that St. Joseph was a perpetual virgin?

The Theotokos had actual sisters?   How so?

Weren't her parents Anna and Joachim childless, and always praying that God grant them a child...which He did in their very old age.  So, are you saying they continued to have an additional child/children after Mary was born?


Yes...there's a passage somewhere in the Scriptures...let me pull it out:

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25)

3 Mary's at the Cross by Christ's side, two of which were related to Christ.

Perhaps not a direct sister...maybe a cousin of the Theotokos?

Yes.  I always thought them to be cousins, but, not sisters, per se.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: genesisone on November 08, 2013, 04:16:15 PM
Yes...there's a passage somewhere in the Scriptures...let me pull it out:

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25)

3 Mary's at the Cross by Christ's side, two of which were related to Christ.

Perhaps not a direct sister...maybe a cousin of the Theotokos?
I think it odd that two girls in the same family would be given the same name. However, my wife, for example, has a sister named Lois and a sister-in-law named Lois.

Also, are we absolutely sure that this is a list of three women? It is my understanding that punctuation in earlier times was generally absent. So could it read:

If there is clear teaching from our hymnography, iconography, or other, I'd appreciate the learning opportunity. I've already googled "icon crucifixion" then viewed images and discovered that the number of women varies - and some include four.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Mor Ephrem on November 08, 2013, 04:20:46 PM
I think it odd that two girls in the same family would be given the same name.

Different cultures have certain naming conventions governing who gets what name, and if you have a big family, it's not all that odd, for example, for you to have two siblings with the same name, but named after two different relatives.  Perhaps something like that obtained in that culture?  We know there was some sort of naming convention because when they try to name John the Baptist after his father in Luke 1, the parents insist on breaking tradition. 
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Yurysprudentsiya on November 08, 2013, 04:23:18 PM
Yes...there's a passage somewhere in the Scriptures...let me pull it out:

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25)

3 Mary's at the Cross by Christ's side, two of which were related to Christ.

Perhaps not a direct sister...maybe a cousin of the Theotokos?
I think it odd that two girls in the same family would be given the same name. However, my wife, for example, has a sister named Lois and a sister-in-law named Lois.

Also, are we absolutely sure that this is a list of three women? It is my understanding that punctuation in earlier times was generally absent. So could it read:
  • His mother
  • His mother's "sister" (in the sense that Jesus had brothers and sisters)
  • Mary the wife of Cleopas
  • Mary Magdalene

If there is clear teaching from our hymnography, iconography, or other, I'd appreciate the learning opportunity. I've already googled "icon crucifixion" then viewed images and discovered that the number of women varies - and some include four.

I'm interested in the resolution as well.  I've heard all the above versions and probably more.  I know that cousins are often called brothers and sisters in some cultures, especially Slavic ones.  So that is no big leap.  And I know that Germans often named all their children with the same first name (saints name) and different middle names well into the 19th century.  So two sisters named Mary isn't really that odd either. 
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: minasoliman on November 08, 2013, 04:48:56 PM
I'll have to dig into the Coptic Holy Week texts to see what they say about the women by the Cross.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: shreek on November 09, 2013, 10:26:13 AM
Jesus had no brothers or sisters, whether half or not.
Surprised that the Orthodox believe he did.

I'm surprised Maronites reject Scripture.  

It is the Gospels which call certain family members of Jesus his "brothers and sisters".  Of course, we believe that these are not the children of our Lady, but whether they are children of St Joseph from a previous marriage, or cousins, or what have you, we can't just throw out the concept of "brothers and sisters" when it's in the Gospels and even Jesus doesn't deny it (he expands it).  

No we are Catholics we hold sacred scripture and sacred tradition to be equal, much like you.
However, one needs to realise in Hebrew, Old Aramaic, Syriac...and even Arabic there is no word for nephew or niece, nor even a precise word for cousin neither for aunt or uncle in ancient Hebrew or Aramaic - the words that the Jews used in all those instances were "brother" or "sister"
To this day in the Middle East even strangers call each other 'brother' or 'sister' in greeting them, let alone relatives.
but let's stick to scripture then:

An example of my above point can be seen in Gen 14:14, where Lot, who was Abraham's nephew, is called his brother.

Another point to consider. If Jesus had had any brothers, if Mary had had any other sons, would the last thing that Jesus did on earth be to grievously offend his surviving brothers?

In John 19:26-27, right before Jesus dies, it says that Jesus entrusted the care of His mother to the beloved disciple, John. If Mary had had any other sons, it would have been an incredible slap in the face to them that the Apostle John was entrusted with the care of their mother!

Plus The Lord is dying where are his 'brothers' and 'sisters'??

Also, we see from Matt. 27:55-56, that the James and Joses mentioned in Mark 6 as the "brothers" of Jesus, are actually the sons of another Mary.

In addition, one other passage to consider is Acts 1:14-15, "[The Apostles] with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers...the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty."

So a company of 120 persons composed of the Apostles, Mary, the women, and the "brothers" of Jesus. Let's see there were 11 Apostles at the time. Jesus' mother makes 12. The women, probably the same three women mentioned in Matthew 27, but let's say it was maybe a dozen or two, just for argument's sake. So that puts us up to 30 or 40 or so.

So that leaves the number of Jesus' brothers at about 80 or 90! Do you think Mary had 80 or 90 children? She would have been in perpetual labour not perpetual virginity,

No, Scripture does not contradict the teaching of the Maronite Catholic Church about the "brothers" of Jesus, when Scripture is properly interpreted in context.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Mor Ephrem on November 09, 2013, 11:59:27 AM
No we are Catholics we hold sacred scripture and sacred tradition to be equal, much like you.
However, one needs to realise in Hebrew, Old Aramaic, Syriac...and even Arabic there is no word for nephew or niece, nor even a precise word for cousin neither for aunt or uncle in ancient Hebrew or Aramaic - the words that the Jews used in all those instances were "brother" or "sister"

I realise that, and so does the Orthodox Church, so I'm going to skip most of the apologetics (with one exception, below).  But even if Semitic languages don't have such terminology, the NT was not composed in those languages (with the possible exception of Matthew), but in Greek.  Does Greek share the same deficiency? 
 
Quote
In addition, one other passage to consider is Acts 1:14-15, "[The Apostles] with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers...the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty."

So a company of 120 persons composed of the Apostles, Mary, the women, and the "brothers" of Jesus. Let's see there were 11 Apostles at the time. Jesus' mother makes 12. The women, probably the same three women mentioned in Matthew 27, but let's say it was maybe a dozen or two, just for argument's sake. So that puts us up to 30 or 40 or so.

So that leaves the number of Jesus' brothers at about 80 or 90! Do you think Mary had 80 or 90 children? She would have been in perpetual labour not perpetual virginity,

No, Scripture does not contradict the teaching of the Maronite Catholic Church about the "brothers" of Jesus, when Scripture is properly interpreted in context.

Why do some Catholic posters on OCNet like to quote Scripture and the Fathers selectively?  You quote Acts 1.14-15 as:

Quote
[The Apostles] with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers...the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty.

Let's read it:

Quote
Acts 1

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away; 13 and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16 “Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us, and was allotted his share in this ministry. 18 (Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Akel′dama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 For it is written in the book of Psalms,

‘Let his habitation become desolate,
and let there be no one to live in it’;

and

‘His office let another take.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsab′bas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthi′as. 24 And they prayed and said, “Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthi′as; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.

Your interpretation depends on all of these "brethren" being relatives of Jesus, or else you wouldn't have posed the ludicrous possibility of our Lady being in perpetual labour rather than perpetual virginity if all those were her children.  But you ignore the possibility (I'd say probability) that the bulk of these one hundred and twenty people were not family members of Jesus at all, but were followers ("brethren" being a generic way of referring to the faithful).  We know that Jesus had other followers (e.g., Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus), possibly other followers (e.g., perhaps people he healed and people related to them, like the family of Jairus), and certainly others we don't know about--after all, there's no tradition that Matthias was in any way related to Christ, and yet he was "one of the men that accompanied us", for which reason he was nominated for apostleship. 

We agree that Jesus did not have any blood brothers, and technically no half-brothers, that the "brothers and sisters" can be cousins, "step-siblings", etc.  My only point is that Scripture uses the term "brothers and sisters", and ecclesiastical tradition doesn't shy away from using the same term in teaching, in liturgy, etc., even in languages where there are many technical terms for family relations and we could translate for meaning rather than literal accuracy.  By all means, explain what "brethren" means, but we need not be afraid of using the term if the Evangelists weren't so hesitant.   
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Marc1152 on November 09, 2013, 12:41:49 PM
No we are Catholics we hold sacred scripture and sacred tradition to be equal, much like you.
However, one needs to realise in Hebrew, Old Aramaic, Syriac...and even Arabic there is no word for nephew or niece, nor even a precise word for cousin neither for aunt or uncle in ancient Hebrew or Aramaic - the words that the Jews used in all those instances were "brother" or "sister"

I realise that, and so does the Orthodox Church, so I'm going to skip most of the apologetics (with one exception, below).  But even if Semitic languages don't have such terminology, the NT was not composed in those languages (with the possible exception of Matthew), but in Greek.  Does Greek share the same deficiency? 
 
Quote
In addition, one other passage to consider is Acts 1:14-15, "[The Apostles] with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers...the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty."

So a company of 120 persons composed of the Apostles, Mary, the women, and the "brothers" of Jesus. Let's see there were 11 Apostles at the time. Jesus' mother makes 12. The women, probably the same three women mentioned in Matthew 27, but let's say it was maybe a dozen or two, just for argument's sake. So that puts us up to 30 or 40 or so.

So that leaves the number of Jesus' brothers at about 80 or 90! Do you think Mary had 80 or 90 children? She would have been in perpetual labour not perpetual virginity,

No, Scripture does not contradict the teaching of the Maronite Catholic Church about the "brothers" of Jesus, when Scripture is properly interpreted in context.

Why do some Catholic posters on OCNet like to quote Scripture and the Fathers selectively?  You quote Acts 1.14-15 as:

Quote
[The Apostles] with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers...the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty.

Let's read it:

Quote
Acts 1

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away; 13 and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16 “Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us, and was allotted his share in this ministry. 18 (Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Akel′dama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 For it is written in the book of Psalms,

‘Let his habitation become desolate,
and let there be no one to live in it’;

and

‘His office let another take.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsab′bas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthi′as. 24 And they prayed and said, “Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthi′as; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.

Your interpretation depends on all of these "brethren" being relatives of Jesus, or else you wouldn't have posed the ludicrous possibility of our Lady being in perpetual labour rather than perpetual virginity if all those were her children.  But you ignore the possibility (I'd say probability) that the bulk of these one hundred and twenty people were not family members of Jesus at all, but were followers ("brethren" being a generic way of referring to the faithful).  We know that Jesus had other followers (e.g., Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus), possibly other followers (e.g., perhaps people he healed and people related to them, like the family of Jairus), and certainly others we don't know about--after all, there's no tradition that Matthias was in any way related to Christ, and yet he was "one of the men that accompanied us", for which reason he was nominated for apostleship. 

We agree that Jesus did not have any blood brothers, and technically no half-brothers, that the "brothers and sisters" can be cousins, "step-siblings", etc.  My only point is that Scripture uses the term "brothers and sisters", and ecclesiastical tradition doesn't shy away from using the same term in teaching, in liturgy, etc., even in languages where there are many technical terms for family relations and we could translate for meaning rather than literal accuracy.  By all means, explain what "brethren" means, but we need not be afraid of using the term if the Evangelists weren't so hesitant.   


If Mary had other children why did she not go and live with them instead of St. John?

"Love to have you Mom, but with the kids out of school and Judy not working right now.... well the townhouse is real small and all I could do is offer you the couch to sleep on and I know your bad back probably cant handle it. Love to have you though. Really...but.... "
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: minasoliman on November 09, 2013, 11:55:50 PM
Nothing in the Coptic holy week book indicates there were 3 or 4 women, or whether the sister of Mary was also named Mary.  Even in the Synexarium, I had difficulty finding anything about the number of women by the Cross.  From what I can gather though, in the commemoration of St. Anna, the Mother of the Theotokos, it was mentioned that St. Anna was one of 3 sisters:  Mary, Salome, and Anna.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: JamesR on November 10, 2013, 02:23:44 AM
On a somewhat related note, what would the family dynamic be like around Jesus' time? Was it the standard mother, father, and children? Or was it a bit different? How did communities function and what would childhood have been like for Jesus? Did both parents raise their children or did only one or did the extended family raise children etc?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Marc1152 on November 10, 2013, 05:32:46 PM
On a somewhat related note, what would the family dynamic be like around Jesus' time? Was it the standard mother, father, and children? Or was it a bit different? How did communities function and what would childhood have been like for Jesus? Did both parents raise their children or did only one or did the extended family raise children etc?

Great question. I would also like to hear more from anyone who has studied this. The one thing I have read is that "childhood" is a rather modern invention. Kids were just smaller weaker people who were expected to what they could to help sustain the family.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Jetavan on January 03, 2014, 09:47:56 AM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

My point was, he was not biologically the Son of David, because he was not Joseph's descendant. Joseph was descendant of King David. By law, He (Christ) was; but biologically, He was not. The Theotokos was not a descendant of King David.

The point being; by law, Christ had half-siblings, even if it was not biologically so.

Why are you saying Mary was not a descendant of David?

The genealogies in the book of Matthew speak of Joseph descending from David, not the Theotokos. When Joseph became the of Jesus legally, his ancestors became the ancestors of Christ legally. He inherited it.
Yes, I understand this, but what about the genealogy in Luke?  To say she is not descended from David, surely you need to refer to a genealogy
Interesting, Mary is descended from David, but not from Solomon.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Sarah on January 03, 2014, 10:48:40 AM
Wouldn't Joseph's children be Jesus' step-siblings, not half-siblings?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 03, 2014, 02:37:46 PM
Wouldn't Joseph's children be Jesus' step-siblings, not half-siblings?
A half sibling is a sibling born to the same mother but different father, or same father but different mother. Seeing that the Theotokos was a virgin who had no other children and that Jesus had no earthly father, He would have had no half siblings. Step siblings, otoh, are children whom the Theotokos adopts as her own when she marries Joseph, their father. You are right, then, to state that Joseph's children were indeed Jesus's step siblings.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: mike on January 03, 2014, 02:44:54 PM
Jesus was considered to be Joseph's son so Joseph's children were legally His half-siblings.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: genesisone on January 03, 2014, 04:37:04 PM
Jesus was considered to be Joseph's son so Joseph's children were legally His half-siblings.
Michał, that is quite right concerning the legalities. However, the usual understanding in English for "half-sibling" is biological, so really is not a good choice. Do the terms in Polish have the same nuances?
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Gunnarr on January 07, 2014, 01:17:25 AM
This is a divisive topic that achieves nothing other than fuelling pride and is a form of trolling.

That is good for these threads, it exercises the brain

wouldnt this forum be so boring if everyone agreed on everything?

I guess you could have called Arius a troll
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: TheTrisagion on January 07, 2014, 01:19:57 AM
This is a divisive topic that achieves nothing other than fuelling pride and is a form of trolling.

That is good for these threads, it exercises the brain

wouldnt this forum be so boring if everyone agreed on everything?

I guess you could have called Arius a troll
Arius was a troll.  That is why he needed a good slapping.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: Shanghaiski on January 07, 2014, 01:38:00 AM
Jesus had no brothers or sisters, whether half or not.
Surprised that the Orthodox believe he did.

He had brothers and sisters from Joseph's end. Mary didn't conceive but Joseph made many women conceive before he married St. Mary.
"Made many women conceive"? ??? You do realize that our Tradition, AFAIK, does not speculate into Joseph's love life except to acknowledge that he was most likely a widower when he took the Theotokos to be his wife?

Okay, I'm sorry, I didn't know the specifics. I'm really sorry, I shouldn't have been so rash to respond to something I don't have any knowledge of.

It's okay. It was funny. I thought of a certain poster playing Joseph in a hypothetical Nativity scene.
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: alexpetros on January 07, 2014, 01:50:27 AM
This is a divisive topic that achieves nothing other than fuelling pride and is a form of trolling.

That is good for these threads, it exercises the brain

wouldnt this forum be so boring if everyone agreed on everything?

I guess you could have called Arius a troll
Arius was a troll.  That is why he needed a good slapping.

(http://rockadoodee.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/punchheretics.jpg)
Title: Re: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....
Post by: frjohnmorris on January 16, 2014, 04:55:03 PM
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings

The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?

Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph

My point was, he was not biologically the Son of David, because he was not Joseph's descendant. Joseph was descendant of King David. By law, He (Christ) was; but biologically, He was not. The Theotokos was not a descendant of King David.

The point being; by law, Christ had half-siblings, even if it was not biologically so.

Yes Mary was a descendant of King David. One married within one's extended family at that time. The Fathers tell us that is why Sts. Matthew and Luke give the genealogy of Christ to St. Joseph.

Fr. John W. Morris

Fr. John W. Morris