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Author Topic: Perpetual Virginity  (Read 29001 times) Average Rating: 0
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Cleopas
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« on: December 04, 2007, 05:24:37 PM »

At the start please allow me to qualify that I mean no disrespect towards the person, faith, or involvement of the Mother of our Lord in the plan of God throughout the ages. I do not wish to be perceived as offensive or demeaning of her or your respect for her. However, I do differ with some of your views. And the fun of a forum is exchanging views and proferring opinions -- to debate, reason, and dialog.

So....

I really have a hard time with this concept of perpetual virginity. It just doesn't make any sense. There is no need for it (IMO). It adds nothing to the work of Christ. Besides, for me the most important matter, is it plainly contradicts the record of Scripture. So, in that sense, it is one of those issues that to me is an error in the teaching of Tradition (or tradition, not sure which or when to use the upper case lower case -- to me it's all the same) vs. the teaching of Scripture.

Matthew 1:22-25
Quote
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.


That word "till" says it all. After Christ was born of Mary, while still a virgin, she and her husband had physical sexual union. The inclusion of "till" assumes and concludes that there was a point at which Joseph did have sexual intercourse with her. At that point she was no longer a virgin. They even had other children of their own.

Virginity (in this case for a female) is not having had sexual intercourse (specifically vaginal penetration by a man). Clearly, as God intends in marriage, where such is holy, Mary and Joseph were intimate as husband and wife. He "knew" her. She was then, at that point, no longer a virgin.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2007, 05:51:24 PM by Cleopas » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2007, 05:49:07 PM »

So....

I really have a hard time with this concept of perpetual virginity. It just doesn't make any sense. There is no need for it one way or the other (IMO). It adds nothing to the work of Christ.

If it makes no sense, why then do you say it makes no difference?  Non sequitur. 

If Christ came on earth so that we may be delivered from the passions, then Mary's perpetual virginity very much testifies to the work of Christ.  Sex within marriage (and Mary was married) is perfectly in order with God's divine order.  However, should we also not view the choice of celibacy as also in keeping with God's gifts to man? Christ never married, nor engaged in relations.  Her perpetual virginity is a result of Christ living in her.  In other words, it testifies to Christ's saving work on earth.

Besides, for me the most important matter, is it plainly contradicts the record of Scripture. So, in that sense, it is one of those issues that to me is an error in the teaching of Tradition (or tradition, not sure which or when to use the upper case lower case -- to me it's all the same) vs. the teaching of Scripture.

Matthew 1:22-25

That word "till" says it all. After Christ was born of Mary, while still a virgin, she and her husband had physical sexual union. The inclusion of "till" assumes and concludes that there was a point at which Joseph did have sexual intercourse with her. At that point she was no longer a virgin. They even had other children of their own.

Virginity (in this case for a female) is not having had sexual intercourse (specifically vaginal penetration by a man). Clearly, as God intends in marriage, where such is holy, Mary and Joseph were intimate as husband and wife. He "knew" her. She was then, at that point, no longer a virgin.

Unfortunately, this is where English cannot help you understand the Greek.  The Greek word which is translated into English as "until" is eos.  This particular word, like so many other two and three letter Greek words, have almost no direct and immediate translation.  In Greek, the sense of this particle is "up to a point and continuing past."  Of course, we have no way to render that complex word in such a simple word so we choose the closest (but not exact word) which is "until" or "'til".  This word is also used in the last chapter of Matthew where our Lord exhorts His apostles and says, "I will be with you until [eos] the end of age."  Will Christ no longer be with us even when this earth is gone?  Of course He will.  If you wish to inquire further, may I recommend looking up eos in Denniston's Greek Particles?  It will give you plenty of other examples in Greek, both koine and non.

By the way, the EO look upon Ezekiel 44 and Psalm 44 as directly witnessing about the Mother of God.  Read Ezekiel, about the temple being shut and you tell me what it is referring to.

{Edit - I added a space between the words "is" and "eos," since for some reason there wasn't one there.  That's all I changed. - Cleveland, GM}
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2007, 05:52:06 PM »

God bless !

You should read Blessed Jerome's:

The Perpetual Virginity of the Virgin Mary:

This tract appeared about a.d. 383. The question which gave occasion to it was whether the Mother of our Lord remained a Virgin after His birth.

....Now we have to prove that just as in the one case he has followed the usage of Scripture, so with regard to the word till he is utterly refuted by the authority of the same Scripture, which often denotes by its use a fixed time (he himself told us so), frequently time without limitation, as when God by the mouth of the prophet says to certain persons, Isaiah 46:4 "Even to old age I am he." Will He cease to be God when they have grown old? And the Saviour in the Gospel tells the Apostles, Matthew 28:20 "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Will the Lord then after the end of the world has come forsake His disciples, and at the very time when seated on twelve thrones they are to judge the twelve tribes of Israel will they be bereft of the company of their Lord? Again Paul the Apostle writing to the Corinthians says, "Christ the first-fruits, afterward they that are Christ's, at his coming. Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet." Granted that the passage relates to our Lord's human nature, we do not deny that the words are spoken of Him who endured the cross and is commanded to sit afterwards on the right hand. What does he mean then by saying, "for he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet"? Is the Lord to reign only until His enemies begin to be under His feet, and once they are under His feet will He cease to reign? Of course His reign will then commence in its fulness when His enemies begin to be under His feet. David also in the fourth Song of Ascents speaks thus, "Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look unto the Lord our God, until he have mercy upon us." Will the prophet, then, look unto the Lord until he obtain mercy, and when mercy is obtained will he turn his eyes down to the ground? although elsewhere he says, "My eyes fail for your salvation, and for the word of your righteousness." I could accumulate countless instances of this usage, and cover the verbosity of our assailant with a cloud of proofs; I shall, however, add only a few, and leave the reader to discover like ones for himself........

He explains in this book:

1.The first of these occupies ch. 3-8. It turns upon the record in Matt. i. 18-25, and especially on the words, "Before they came together" (c. 4), "knew her not till, &c." (5-8).

2. The second (c. 9-17) turns upon the words "first-born son" (9, 10), which, Jerome argues, are applicable not only to the eldest of several, but also to an only son: and the mention of brothers and sisters, whom Jerome asserts to have been children of Mary the wife of Cleophas or Clopas (11-16); he appeals to many Church writers in support of this view (17).


http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3007.htm

In CHRIST
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2007, 05:53:47 PM »

If it makes no sense, why then do you say it makes no difference?  Non sequitur. 

My apologies I misspoke. I did not mean it makes no difference either way. I meant i makes no difference in that it adds nothing to the work of Christ.  I was attempting to emphasis why it is (to me) unnecessary.

I went back and edited my original comments to try and better reflect that.
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2007, 05:59:09 PM »

Christodolous,

Ahaaaaaa. I see! Even though she was joined physically with her husband and is no longer free from sexual experience she is still yet a virgin. Makes perfect sense. Roll Eyes Tongue  Smiley

It is utter contradiction to say she was a virgin while at the same time attesting she was joined with her husband.
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2007, 06:01:33 PM »

My apologies I misspoke. I did not mean it makes no difference either way. I meant i makes no difference in that it adds nothing to the work of Christ.  I was attempting to emphasis why it is (to me) unnecessary.

Cleopas,

I can appreciate that you are coming from an Evangelical background, but you frequently add "to me" when it comes to doctrines.  How can this doctrine be if it doesn't make sense to me?  Perhaps I'm the last person to say anything about this, but the holy fathers of the Church are MUCH smarter and wiser and are in communion with God whereas I am not.  Attempting to disprove a belief of the EO, which has been held for 2000 years, well before you and I even were a consideration for existence simply because it doesn't make sense "to you" is not going to convince anyone.  Not one of the fathers stand in a vacuum; they must be collectively understood in the wholeness of the church.  And with that, I think it is obvious as to who has the truth on their side.  

Forgive me, if my response seems to be phrased too harshly.
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2007, 06:07:30 PM »

Unfortunately, this is where English cannot help you understand the Greek.  The Greek word which is translated into English as "until" is eos.  This particular word, like so many other two and three letter Greek words, have almost no direct and immediate translation.  In Greek, the sense of this particle is "up to a point and continuing past."  Of course, we have no way to render that complex word in such a simple word so we choose the closest (but not exact word) which is "until" or "'til".  This word is also used in the last chapter of Matthew where our Lord exhorts His apostles and says, "I will be with you until [eos] the end of age."  Will Christ no longer be with us even when this earth is gone?  Of course He will.  If you wish to inquire further, may I recommend looking up eos in Denniston's Greek Particles?  It will give you plenty of other examples in Greek, both koine and non.

By the way, the EO look upon Ezekiel 44 and Psalm 44 as directly witnessing about the Mother of God.  Read Ezekiel, about the temple being shut and you tell me what it is referring to.

{Edit - I added a space between the words "is" and "eos," since for some reason there wasn't one there.  That's all I changed. - Cleveland, GM}

Yes, but the content of the passage limits the use and application of the word to it's first meaning. The context is the Jewish espousal period. The point is to confirm the virginity of Mary, her faithfulness to Joseph, and Joseph's faithfulness to the custom of marriage in his day. The write makes a point of saying she was a virgin up until and after the birth of Christ. But that Joseph did sexually join with her, as all Jewish males did after the espousal period had concluded. His joining with her was delayed because of her carrying and birthing Jesus. It was delayed but not forbidden. In fact it would have been forbidden for her not to have joined sexually with Joseph. To defraud him thusly would be sinful.

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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2007, 06:19:18 PM »

God bless !

Forgive, but I forgot to mention:

When the Archangel Gabriel brought her the glad tidings of her giving birth to a Son who "shall be called the Son of the Highest ", in astonishment she replied to him

"HOW SHALL THIS BE, SEEING I KNOWE NO MAN ?" (St. Luke 1:31-34).

Such an answer, full of amazement at the announcement of the angel would have been completely meaningless if she had not given a vow to God to remain a Virgin forever.
The Angel calmed her, explaining to her that her vow would not be broken for she would bear a Son in a supernatural way, without participation of a man, by the over-shadowing of the Spirit of God. ( she was dedicated at the age of three to God, by her parents)

Many Fathers (Origin, St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, ) are writing about that.

It would be not proper, to have other Children beside the GOD CHILD - and do not forget that Christ under the Cross asked St. John to look upon his Mother, when Christ had sisters and brothers it wouldn't have been necessary.

In CHRIST
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2007, 06:21:41 PM »

Cleopas,

I can appreciate that you are coming from an Evangelical background, but you frequently add "to me" when it comes to doctrines.  How can this doctrine be if it doesn't make sense to me?  Perhaps I'm the last person to say anything about this, but the holy fathers of the Church are MUCH smarter and wiser and are in communion with God whereas I am not.  Attempting to disprove a belief of the EO, which has been held for 2000 years, well before you and I even were a consideration for existence simply because it doesn't make sense "to you" is not going to convince anyone.  Not one of the fathers stand in a vacuum; they must be collectively understood in the wholeness of the church.  And with that, I think it is obvious as to who has the truth on their side.  

Forgive me, if my response seems to be phrased too harshly.

Not at all.

Let me ask How can I best share my thoughts and differences and still present a cordial tone? I don't mind speaking on an issue (obviously) and what I believe about it. But I don't want to lift anyone, including myself, up above the infallability of the word of God. I want to leave room for the possibility I may be wrong. And I want to leave room for endearment and fellowship in the midst of passionate disagreement. How would one best do that among Orthodox believers? How should I adress such things in a way that is respectful to you guys and true to my convictions?
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2007, 06:23:19 PM »

Yes, but the content of the passage limits the use and application of the word to it's first meaning. The context is the Jewish espousal period. The point is to confirm the virginity of Mary, her faithfulness to Joseph, and Joseph's faithfulness to the custom of marriage in his day. The write makes a point of saying she was a virgin up until and after the birth of Christ. But that Joseph did sexually join with her, as all Jewish males did after the espousal period had concluded. His joining with her was delayed because of her carrying and birthing Jesus. It was delayed but not forbidden. In fact it would have been forbidden for her not to have joined sexually with Joseph. To defraud him thusly would be sinful. 

ISTM you are reading text into the passage that is simply not there.  After a time, when the angel returns to Joseph to tell him to flee, the angel says "take the child and his mother," not "take the child and your wife."  The belief is that Joseph chose not to "join sexually" with his Mary (who was his second wife) after the birth of Christ - how a man could join sexually with a woman who had a child that no man helped her conceive is beyond my understanding.  Joseph was told and believed that her child was not born with the help of a man.

Part of what I perceive to be faulty logic is the application of English-language expectations (that the word "until" implies action after the set condition) to a language that is completely different than English (which New Testament Greek is).

I don't have any of my Ancient/New Testament Greek resources with me here at work, but I don't think έως has any other meaning than the complete "up to a point and continuing past."  I can't think of any passages where it implies stop-action at the designated point.  Then again, I don't have my references, and don't have the time to cross-reference it.

However, I'm dialing up The Perseus Project right now... We'll see what they've got.
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2007, 06:25:30 PM »

Yes, but the content of the passage limits the use and application of the word to it's first meaning. The context is the Jewish espousal period. The point is to confirm the virginity of Mary, her faithfulness to Joseph, and Joseph's faithfulness to the custom of marriage in his day. The write makes a point of saying she was a virgin up until and after the birth of Christ. But that Joseph did sexually join with her, as all Jewish males did after the espousal period had concluded. His joining with her was delayed because of her carrying and birthing Jesus. It was delayed but not forbidden. In fact it would have been forbidden for her not to have joined sexually with Joseph. To defraud him thusly would be sinful.

You were trying to make a linguistic argument based on the word "until" which you boldfaced in your initial post. I refuted it.  Now you're saying that that was not what you were intending to do.  You can't have it a different way if your first attempt backfired.

And now you say that there was some sort of conspiracy against Joseph?  Why would he not want to preserve Mary's virginity?  If you look at icons of St. Joseph which are quite ancient, Joseph is always an old man and way past his child-bearing and coupling years (they didn't have viagra back then, either  Smiley).   Your whole argument seems to be based on that everyone is a slave to their biology and then trying to find some religious rite to justify it.  not the case.
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2007, 06:27:04 PM »

Christodolous,

Ahaaaaaa. I see! Even though she was joined physically with her husband and is no longer free from sexual experience she is still yet a virgin. Makes perfect sense. Roll Eyes Tongue  Smiley

It is utter contradiction to say she was a virgin while at the same time attesting she was joined with her husband.


God bless !

I think Blessed Jerome ( and of course other fathers ) are very clear.

She was betrothed to Joseph not married, their is a difference ! And she was only betrophed to Elder Joseph for protection, she would have been killed, for being pregnant.

But if you wish we can look to hebrew terms and their meaning !

In CHRIST
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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2007, 06:30:31 PM »

Let me ask How can I best share my thoughts and differences and still present a cordial tone? I don't mind speaking on an issue (obviously) and what I believe about it. But I don't want to lift anyone, including myself, up above the infallability of the word of God. I want to leave room for the possibility I may be wrong. And I want to leave room for endearment and fellowship in the midst of passionate disagreement. How would one best do that among Orthodox believers? How should I adress such things in a way that is respectful to you guys and true to my convictions?

*taking off the mod hat*

Honestly, I think you're doing a fine job of it so far.  When I read your posts, I don't see anything other than an actual desire to understand what it is that we believe.  As a rule of thumb, so long as you're polite and not being dogmatic, you're okay. 
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« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2007, 06:30:57 PM »

One reference I found (emphasis mine):

http://www.orthodoxonline.com/ever_virginity.htm

 A brief study regarding the
Ever-Virginity of Mary, the Theotokos (God-bearer) 

This question was asked at Bible study: 

        "Doesn't Matthew 1:25 say that Joseph did not know Mary until she had born a son?  That pretty much implies that they had sexual relations afterwards, doesn't it?"   

It is first of all important to remember that Mary and Joseph were only betrothed, not married.  (Notice in Matthew 1:18b, for example the NRSV[1] says "engaged" NIV says "pledged to be married" and NKJV says "betrothed.")  In the Jewish tradition, betrothal lasts for a year and was legally binding.  There is no mention in the original Greek that they were ever married.  Thus, the Church had always taught that the fact that they were never married is further evidence that there was no physical sexual relationship.

The specific passage in question:  Matthew 1:25a

"...but he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son." (NIV)

"...but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;  (NRSV)

"...and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son." (NKJV)

But first, a word about "firstborn"

Many ancient texts include the word "firstborn"  (proto-tokon)

According to the Orthodox Study Bible, "firstborn" means having been born first, and never implies the birth of others.  It is common in scripture and ancient writings to show that something is the “only” using the word “first” in order to emphasize pre-eminence, elevation or honor.

Here are some cross references using the same Greek word to illustrate this:

See Isaiah 44:5 - “I am God, the First, and with Me there is no other”

             See Psalm 88:27 - “I will set Him firstborn high among the kings of the earth”

According to St. Cyril of Alexandria:  "To show that the Virgin did not bring forth a mere man, there is added the word “firstborn”, for as she continued to be a Virgin, she had no other son but Him who is of the Father.”

 And now, a brief study of the concept of "until" as used in Matthew 1:25a 

           "...but he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son." (NIV)

"...but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;  (NRSV)

"...and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son." (NKJV)

    The Greek word most often translated as "until" is eos (pronounced āōs), and is negated by ouk at the beginning of the phrase, meaning "not."

The modern-day meaning of the word "until" might lead us to think that Joseph "did not know her until..." but that he did afterwards.  However, the biblical usage is quite different.  In ancient and biblical usage, the word eos is used to designate a "boundary formed by a historical event."[2]

The Greek conjunction eos (till), like the Hebrew ad-ki and the Latin donec, while expressing what has occurred up to a certain period, leaves the future entirely aside"[3] 

Here are some cross references to illustrate that ouk...eos it more accurately translated as "not until this important event, but still not after" (i.e. never.)

    1) Note Luke 2:36-37, the story of Christ's Presentation at the Temple.  The verse describes Anna the prophetess as having lived with her husband for 7 years after their marriage, and then, "she has lived as a widow until (eos) ."  At the time of The Presentation of Christ she is still a widow, and will continue to be so after this.   The "boundary" historical event is the Presentation of Christ.

     2) Another good example of this is Acts 8:40.  The verse says "Phillip.... traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until (eos) he reached Caesarea" (NIV)  Did Phillip the deacon preach the gospel after he reached Caesarea?  Of course he did.   The "boundary" historical event is Phillip the deacon's arrival in Caesarea and the word eos is used to denote the importance of this event.  He preached before, until this significant event, and still after.

     3) Another example is Matthew 24:21, where the use of the word (eos) as having an action as continuing into the future is actually clarified in the text:  "then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until (eos) now – and never to be equaled again."    This great distress has not been seen until now, and still, will never be seen again.

     4)  See John 5:17.  Jesus is speaking: "My Father is always at work to (eos) this very day, and I, too am working." (NIV)  or "My Father has been working until (eos) now..."(NKJV) "My Father is still working, (eos) and I also am working."  Clearly Jesus did not mean that His Father was working only until that very day, but still.  Jesus' presence on earth was a "boundary" historical event.  The Father worked until that day, and still afterwards. 

    5) other examples:  Genesis 8.7  "Noah...sent forth a raven; and it went to and fro till the waters were dried up from the earth."

    Psalm 110.1 "the Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou on my right hand until I make thy enemies thy footstool." 

    See also Isaiah 22.15, Matt 12.20, 1 Tim 4.13, Psalm 90.2, Psalm 72.7

 Finally, back to Matthew 1:25a, the birth of Mary's Firstborn Son is a "boundary" historical event. In the same sense as the examples above, Joseph did not know Mary before the birth, but also after this watershed event of the birth of the Messiah.

 Believe it or not, it is not difficult to argue (using only modern Biblical exegetical methods) that the position of the Orthodox Church of the Ever-Virginity of Mary is true.  However the most significant argument in this discussion is not the Biblical evidence, but that it has simply always been the teaching of the Church.  Any contradictory views were always considered heretical.   This alternate view did not gain momentum until after the Protestant reformation, after which many of the foundational tenets of orthodox Christianity, and especially anything which appeared "Popish" (or Roman Catholic) had been thrown out entirely. 

 

From The Virgin Mary, Theotokos
by Rev. George Mastrantonis

The Ever-Virginity is not a miraculous act but an attitude.  The virginity of Mary after the birth of Jesus Christ was not a miraculous act of God; it was merely her preference for the rest of her life.  It would have been impossible for her to have considered the virgin birth as a "sign" of the birth of the Messiah and then to have neglected its importance to her.  The sacred writers took her condition and attitude for granted.  Moreover, they were not writing about her, nor even a full biography of Jesus Christ; therefore, they did not dwell on things which were known to the Church and had no direct bearing on salvation.  The early Church seems to have held the perpetual virginity of Mary as a treasure of human attitude.  Later, when it was attacked, the Church as a whole expressed its strong conviction in her perpetual virginity as a fact and not as an after-though or a sequence.  Only a man of strong prejudice against the Virgin Mary's personal physical attitude will interpret and deny the face of her ever virginity which had been accepted for 18 centuries. 

A good link to a more-detailed explanation about this same topic:   http://www.eastern-orthodoxy.com/Mary.htm

 

[1] NRSV = New Revised Standard Version;  NIV = New International Version; NKJV = New King James Version

[2] According to Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, Danker in "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature" p. 334.

[3] Fillion, in Rev. George Mastrantonis, The Virgin Mary, Theotokos,  OLOGOS. 


Permission granted for duplication if credit given.
 
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« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2007, 06:37:26 PM »

You were trying to make a linguistic argument based on the word "until" which you boldfaced in your initial post. I refuted it.  Now you're saying that that was not what you were intending to do.  You can't have it a different way if your first attempt backfired.

Not at all. I am rather affrirming why my argumnent was not refuted. I have not changed arguments, only clarified.

Quote
And now you say that there was some sort of conspiracy against Joseph?  Why would he not want to preserve Mary's virginity?  If you look at icons of St. Joseph which are quite ancient, Joseph is always an old man and way past his child-bearing and coupling years (they didn't have viagra back then, either  Smiley).   Your whole argument seems to be based on that everyone is a slave to their biology and then trying to find some religious rite to justify it.  not the case.

I'll have to get back to you. Work calls.
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« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2007, 06:37:50 PM »

Part of what I perceive to be faulty logic is the application of English-language expectations (that the word "until" implies action after the set condition) to a language that is completely different than English (which New Testament Greek is).

I don't have any of my Ancient/New Testament Greek resources with me here at work, but I don't think έως has any other meaning than the complete "up to a point and continuing past."  I can't think of any passages where it implies stop-action at the designated point.  Then again, I don't have my references, and don't have the time to cross-reference it.

God bless !

Yeah, exactly the word "eos" means , ( St. John Chrysostom cities a whole series of places from the Scripture) where this "eos"  - "until " is used for exact the contrary meaning.

In CHRIST
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« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2007, 07:01:49 PM »

Quote
And now you say that there was some sort of conspiracy against Joseph?  Why would he not want to preserve Mary's virginity?  If you look at icons of St. Joseph which are quite ancient, Joseph is always an old man and way past his child-bearing and coupling years (they didn't have viagra back then, either  ).   Your whole argument seems to be based on that everyone is a slave to their biology and then trying to find some religious rite to justify it.  not the case.

I think my responses below, to other quotes, will clear up my argument and premise. I am seeing this through the lens of Jewish marriage at the time.

Quote
It is first of all important to remember that Mary and Joseph were only betrothed, not married.  (Notice in Matthew 1:18b, for example the NRSV[1] says "engaged" NIV says "pledged to be married" and NKJV says "betrothed.")  In the Jewish tradition, betrothal lasts for a year and was legally binding.  There is no mention in the original Greek that they were ever married.  Thus, the Church had always taught that the fact that they were never married is further evidence that there was no physical sexual relationship.

I realize many of the modern English versions use engaged as an equivalent to espoused. betrothed may or may not be an equivalent. But engagement (at least in the modern sense) is NOT equivalent with the Jewish concept of Espousal.

I will assume you are familiar with the Jewish wedding of that era. If so you know that the espousal period is the period of separation between he purchase of and covenant with the bride and the return to steal her away to the prepared bridal chamber (where physical union took place) and to the home place prepared for her by her husband.

Though hard for a Western mind to understand, yet very practical on the other hand, despite the marriage being already inaugurated they did not live together, but were still under covenant. It is the covenant that is the means of union (on the human side at least). Once the bride had been purchased and had accepted the covenant (sealing it with the cup of wine) she was the wife, albeit the espoused wife, of her husband.

The marriage was binding, though considered incomplete with regard to ceremony and custom. It required a divorce to break it (substantiating that espousal was marriage). Joseph (not her father) paid taxes with her to Rome.

When the Scriptures says that the angel instructed Joseph to take unto him his wife (not fiance), if one understands the espousal custom, he was being instructed to conclude the espousal period to go and bring his wife home with Him. If they were never married her father would not have permitted her to be taken from his home. But the father permitted it because the groom had covenanted and paid the price for the bride. he had the proof of purchase (if you will) and she was his property. She was only in the keeping of her father until the groom came to take her away.

Scripture then concludes that Joseph did as instructed. So he ended the espousal period.  The only thing that was different was he had to wait till after the birth of Christ to be intimate with his bride.

Furthermore, If Mary had of been under a vow of celibacy she could not have been espoused. Espousal = marriage, & marriage assumes sexual union. Especially in the Jewish weddings of that time.
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« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2007, 07:20:53 PM »

I think my responses below, to other quotes, will clear up my argument and premise. I am seeing this through the lens of Jewish marriage at the time.

I realize many of the modern English versions use engaged as an equivalent to espoused. betrothed may or may not be an equivalent. But engagement (at least in the modern sense) is NOT equivalent with the Jewish concept of Espousal.

I will assume you are familiar with the Jewish wedding of that era. If so you know that the espousal period is the period of separation between he purchase of and covenant with the bride and the return to steal her away to the prepared bridal chamber (where physical union took place) and to the home place prepared for her by her husband.

Though hard for a Western mind to understand, yet very practical on the other hand, despite the marriage being already inaugurated they did not live together, but were still under covenant. It is the covenant that is the means of union (on the human side at least). Once the bride had been purchased and had accepted the covenant (sealing it with the cup of wine) she was the wife, albeit the espoused wife, of her husband.

The marriage was binding, though considered incomplete with regard to ceremony and custom. It required a divorce to break it (substantiating that espousal was marriage). Joseph (not her father) paid taxes with her to Rome.

When the Scriptures says that the angel instructed Joseph to take unto him his wife (not fiance), if one understands the espousal custom, he was being instructed to conclude the espousal period to go and bring his wife home with Him. If they were never married her father would not have permitted her to be taken from his home. But the father permitted it because the groom had covenanted and paid the price for the bride. he had the proof of purchase (if you will) and she was his property. She was only in the keeping of her father until the groom came to take her away.

Scripture then concludes that Joseph did as instructed. So he ended the espousal period.  The only thing that was different was he had to wait till after the birth of Christ to be intimate with his bride.

Furthermore, If Mary had of been under a vow of celibacy she could not have been espoused. Espousal = marriage, & marriage assumes sexual union. Especially in the Jewish weddings of that time.


God bless !

There are three terms in hebrew:

ISSA: a married woman
ALMAH : a Virigin -  betrophed
BETHULA: non betrophed Virgin

The Prophet Isais ( the virgin/Almah will conceive....)uses the the Term: Almah - betrophed Virgin, because Mary was a betrophed Virgin and this was translated to greek - E PARTHENE - THE VIRGIN - and not "a" - this means She is THE VIRIGIN who never ceased to be....

In CHRIST
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« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2007, 07:33:20 PM »

Hello,

I highly suggest you read the entire exhortation. From Redemptoris Custos:


...

7. As can be deduced from the gospel texts, Joseph's marriage to Mary is the juridical basis of his fatherhood. It was to assure fatherly protection for Jesus that God chose Joseph to be Mary's spouse. It follows that Joseph's fatherhood - a relationship that places him as close as possible to Christ, to whom every election and predestination is ordered (cf. Rom 8:28-29) - comes to pass through marriage to Mary, that is, through the family.

While clearly affirming that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that virginity remained intact in the marriage (cf. Mt 1:18-25; Lk 1:26-38), the evangelists refer to Joseph as Mary's husband and to Mary as his wife (cf. Mt 1:16, 18-20, 24; Lk 1:27; 2:5).

And while it is important for the Church to profess the virginal conception of Jesus, it is no less important to uphold Mary's marriage to Joseph, because juridically Joseph's fatherhood depends on it. Thus one understands why the generations are listed according to the genealogy of Joseph: "Why," St. Augustine asks, "should they not be according to Joseph? Was he not Mary's husband?... Scripture states, through the authority of an angel, that he was her husband. Do not fear, says the angel, to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. Joseph was told to name the child, although not born from his seed. She will bear a son, the angel says, and you will call him Jesus. Scripture recognizes that Jesus is not born of Joseph's seed, since in his concern about the origin of Mary's pregnancy, Joseph is told that it is of the Holy Spirit. Nonetheless, he is not deprived of his fatherly authority from the moment that he is told to name the child. Finally, even the Virgin Mary, well aware that she has not conceived Christ as a result of conjugal relations with Joseph, still calls him Christ's father."(12)

The Son of Mary is also Joseph's Son by virtue of the marriage bond that unites them: "By reason of their faithful marriage both of them deserve to be called Christ's parents, not only his mother, but also his father, who was a parent in the same way that he was the mother's spouse: in mind, not in the flesh."(13) In this marriage none of the requisites of marriage were lacking: "In Christ's parents all the goods of marriage were realized-offspring, fidelity, the sacrament: the offspring being the Lord Jesus himself; fidelity, since there was no adultery: the sacrament, since there was no divorce."(14)

Analyzing the nature of marriage, both St. Augustine and St. Thomas always identify it with an "indivisible union of souls," a "union of hearts," with "consent."(15) These elements are found in an exemplary manner in the marriage of Mary and Joseph. At the culmination of the history of salvation, when God reveals his love for humanity through the gift of the Word, it is precisely the marriage of Mary and Joseph that brings to realization in full "freedom" the "spousal gift of self" in receiving and expressing such a love.(16) "In this great undertaking which is the renewal of all things in Christ, marriage-it too purified and renewed-becomes a new reality, a sacrament of the New Covenant. We see that at the beginning of the New Testament, as at the beginning of the Old, there is a married couple. But whereas Adam and Eve were the source of evil which was unleashed on the world, Joseph and Mary arc the summit from which holiness spreads all over the earth. The Savior began the work of salvation by this virginal and holy union, wherein is manifested his all-powerful will to purify and sanctify the family - that sanctuary of love and cradle of life."(17)

How much the family of today can learn from this! "The essence and role of the family are in the final analysis specified by love. Hence the family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God's love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church his bride."(18) This being the case, it is in the Holy Family, the original "Church in miniature (Ecclesia domestica),"(19) that every Christian family must be reflected. "Through God's mysterious design, it was in that family that the Son of God spent long years of a hidden life. It is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian families."(20) ...

18. Above all, the "just" man of Nazareth possesses the clear characteristics of a husband. Luke refers to Mary as "a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph" (Lk 1:27). Even before the "mystery hidden for ages" (Eph 3:9) began to be fulfilled, the Gospels set before us the image of husband and wife. According to Jewish custom, marriage took place in two stages: first, the legal, or true marriage was celebrated, and then, only after a certain period of time, the husband brought the wife into his own house. Thus, before he lived with Mary, Joseph was already her "husband." Mary, however, preserved her deep desire to give herself exclusively to God. One may well ask how this desire of Mary's could be reconciled with a "wedding." The answer can only come from the saving events as they unfold, from the special action of God himself. From the moment of the Annunciation, Mary knew that she was to fulfill her virginal desire to give herself exclusively and fully to God precisely by becoming the Mother of God's Son. Becoming a Mother by the power of the Holy Spirit was the form taken by her gift of self: a form which God himself expected of the Virgin Mary, who was "betrothed" to Joseph. Mary uttered her fiat. The fact that Mary was "betrothed" to Joseph was part of the very plan of God. This is pointed out by Luke and especially by Matthew. The words spoken to Joseph are very significant: "Do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit" (Mt 1:20). These words explain the mystery of Joseph's wife: In her motherhood Mary is a virgin. In her, "the Son of the Most High" assumed a human body and became "the Son of Man."

Addressing Joseph through the words of the angel, God speaks to him as the husband of the Virgin of Nazareth. What took place in her through the power of the Holy Spirit also confirmed in a special way the marriage bond which already existed between Joseph and Mary. God's messenger was clear in what he said to Joseph: "Do not fear to take Mary your wife into your home." Hence, what had taken place earlier, namely, Joseph's marriage to Mary, happened in accord with God's will and was meant to endure. In her divine motherhood Mary had to continue to live as "a virgin, the wife of her husband" (cf. Lk 1:27).

19. In the words of the "annunciation" by night, Joseph not only heard the divine truth concerning his wife's indescribable vocation; he also heard once again the truth about his own vocation. This "just" man, who, in the spirit of the noblest traditions of the Chosen People, loved the Virgin of Nazareth and was bound to her by a husband's love, was once again called by God to this love.

"Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife" into his home (Mt 1:24); what was conceived in Mary was "of the Holy Spirit." From expressions such as these are we not to suppose that his love as a man was also given new birth by the Holy Spirit? Are we not to think that the love of God which has been poured forth into the human heart through the Holy Spirit (cf. Rm 5:5) molds every human love to perfection? This love of God also molds-in a completely unique way-the love of husband and wife, deepening within it everything of human worth and beauty, everything that bespeaks an exclusive gift of self, a covenant between persons, and an authentic communion according to the model of the Blessed Trinity.

"Joseph. . .took his wife; but he knew her not, until she had borne a son" (Mt 1:24-25). These words indicate another kind of closeness in marriage. The deep spiritual closeness arising from marital union and the interpersonal contact between man and woman have their definitive origin in the Spirit, the Giver of Life (cf. Jn 6:63). Joseph, in obedience to the Spirit, found in the Spirit the source of love, the conjugal love which he experienced as a man. And this love proved to be greater than this "just man" could ever have expected within the limits of his human heart.

20. In the Liturgy, Mary is celebrated as "united to Joseph, the just man, by a bond of marital and virginal love."(31) There are really two kinds of love here, both of which together represent the mystery of the Church - virgin and spouse - as symbolized in the marriage of Mary and Joseph. "Virginity or celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of God not only does not contradict the dignity of marriage but presupposes and confirms it. Marriage and virginity are two ways of expressing and living the one mystery of the Covenant of God with his people."(32) the Covenant which is a communion of love between God and human beings.

Through his complete self-sacrifice, Joseph expressed his generous love for the Mother of God, and gave her a husband's "gift of self." Even though he decided to draw back so as not to interfere in the plan of God which was coming to pass in Mary, Joseph obeyed the explicit command of the angel and look Mary into his home, while respecting the fact that she belonged exclusively to God.

On the other hand, it was from his marriage to Mary that Joseph derived his singular dignity and his rights in regard to Jesus. "It is certain that the dignity of the Mother of God is so exalted that nothing could be more sublime; yet because Mary was united to Joseph by the bond of marriage, there can be no doubt but that Joseph approached as no other person ever could that eminent dignity whereby the Mother of God towers above all creatures. Since marriage is the highest degree of association and friendship involving by its very nature a communion of goods, it follows that God, by giving Joseph to the Virgin, did not give him to her only as a companion for life, a witness of her virginity and protector of her honor: he also gave Joseph to Mary in order that he might share, through the marriage pact, in her own sublime greatness."(33)

21. This bond of charity was the core of the Holy Family's life, first in the poverty of Bethlehem, then in their exile in Egypt, and later in the house of Nazareth. The Church deeply venerates this Family, and proposes it as the model of all families. Inserted directly in the mystery of the Incarnation, the Family of Nazareth has its own special mystery. And in this mystery, as in the Incarnation, one finds a true fatherhood: the human form of the family of the Son of God, a true human family, formed by the divine mystery. In this family, Joseph is the father: his fatherhood is not one that derives from begetting offspring; but neither is it an "apparent" or merely "substitute" fatherhood. Rather, it is one that fully shares in authentic human fatherhood and the mission of a father in the family. This is a consequence of the hypostatic union: humanity taken up into the unity of the Divine Person of the Word-Son, Jesus Christ. Together with human nature, all that is human, and especially the family - as the first dimension of man's existence in the world - is also taken up in Christ. Within this context, Joseph's human fatherhood was also "taken up" in the mystery of Christ's Incarnation.

On the basis of this principle, the words which Mary spoke to the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple take on their full significance: "Your father and I...have been looking for you." This is no conventional phrase: Mary's words to Jesus show the complete reality of the Incarnation present in the mystery of the Family of Nazareth. From the beginning, Joseph accepted with the "obedience of faith" his human fatherhood over Jesus. And thus, following the light of the Holy Spirit who gives himself to human beings through faith, he certainly came to discover ever more fully the indescribable gift that was his human fatherhood.
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« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2007, 07:41:07 PM »

I think my responses below, to other quotes, will clear up my argument and premise. I am seeing this through the lens of Jewish marriage at the time.

I realize many of the modern English versions use engaged as an equivalent to espoused. betrothed may or may not be an equivalent. But engagement (at least in the modern sense) is NOT equivalent with the Jewish concept of Espousal.

I will assume you are familiar with the Jewish wedding of that era. If so you know that the espousal period is the period of separation between he purchase of and covenant with the bride and the return to steal her away to the prepared bridal chamber (where physical union took place) and to the home place prepared for her by her husband.

Though hard for a Western mind to understand, yet very practical on the other hand, despite the marriage being already inaugurated they did not live together, but were still under covenant. It is the covenant that is the means of union (on the human side at least). Once the bride had been purchased and had accepted the covenant (sealing it with the cup of wine) she was the wife, albeit the espoused wife, of her husband.

The marriage was binding, though considered incomplete with regard to ceremony and custom. It required a divorce to break it (substantiating that espousal was marriage). Joseph (not her father) paid taxes with her to Rome.

When the Scriptures says that the angel instructed Joseph to take unto him his wife (not fiance), if one understands the espousal custom, he was being instructed to conclude the espousal period to go and bring his wife home with Him. If they were never married her father would not have permitted her to be taken from his home. But the father permitted it because the groom had covenanted and paid the price for the bride. he had the proof of purchase (if you will) and she was his property. She was only in the keeping of her father until the groom came to take her away.

Scripture then concludes that Joseph did as instructed. So he ended the espousal period.  The only thing that was different was he had to wait till after the birth of Christ to be intimate with his bride.

Furthermore, If Mary had of been under a vow of celibacy she could not have been espoused. Espousal = marriage, & marriage assumes sexual union. Especially in the Jewish weddings of that time.

God bless !

What I know about jewish marriage at that times is:

The marriage consists of two parts:

1. Engagement
2. Marriage

Usually the coupel was engaged in the house of the Bride ( not always) and this engagement was a valid contract ( the same punishement for adultery, etc....the wife was a widow when the betrophed died...) she could be called wife and the Marriage was usually a year ( or earlier ) after the engagement. But they usually lived not together or had a physical relation....

In CHRIST

But I think you should read Blessed Jerome, he answers many questions, and he had known the jewish customs and traditons !
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« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2007, 07:55:21 PM »

She was only in the keeping of her father until the groom came to take her away.

Scripture then concludes that Joseph did as instructed. So he ended the espousal period.  The only thing that was different was he had to wait till after the birth of Christ to be intimate with his bride. 

Except her father had been dead for some time, as was her mother.  Neither lived to see their daughter betrothed to Joseph; she was in the care of the High Priest as a child of the Temple until her betrothal.

I have to repeat: again, you are assuming facts not in evidence.  One cannot assume that Joseph did all the things required by Jewish law, since he did not have Mary stoned for having a child out of wedlock, nor did he divorce her.  This made him unclean, just for being in the same house with her and not putting her out.  He knew that something supernatural was going on, and acted accordingly.

I think you need to read and understand the reference I posted above, and present a refutation of it if you feel so inclined.
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« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2007, 08:03:50 PM »

Except her father had been dead for some time, as was her mother.  Neither lived to see their daughter betrothed to Joseph; she was in the care of the High Priest as a child of the Temple until her betrothal.

I have to repeat: again, you are assuming facts not in evidence.  One cannot assume that Joseph did all the things required by Jewish law, since he did not have Mary stoned for having a child out of wedlock, nor did he divorce her.  This made him unclean, just for being in the same house with her and not putting her out.  He knew that something supernatural was going on, and acted accordingly.

I think you need to read and understand the reference I posted above, and present a refutation of it if you feel so inclined.

God bless !

Yes, the Allholy Theotokos was an orphan- her parents died - when she was living in the Tempel.

St. Evodos (?) and the Tradition tell us that:

She was taken to the Tempel at the age of three and remained there for almost eleven years. She was then given into St. Joseph's keeping and gave birth to the Lord in Her fifteenth year.

In CHRIST
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« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2007, 08:06:51 PM »

Except her father had been dead for some time, as was her mother.  Neither lived to see their daughter betrothed to Joseph; she was in the care of the High Priest as a child of the Temple until her betrothal.

I have to repeat: again, you are assuming facts not in evidence.  One cannot assume that Joseph did all the things required by Jewish law, since he did not have Mary stoned for having a child out of wedlock, nor did he divorce her.  This made him unclean, just for being in the same house with her and not putting her out.  He knew that something supernatural was going on, and acted accordingly.

I think you need to read and understand the reference I posted above, and present a refutation of it if you feel so inclined.

Pardon me. I mixed subjects. I was alternating between the use of the generic "espoused virgin" and "groom" & Mary (our Lord's mother) and Joseph without clearly delineating which I spoke of, and when. I attempted to give a basic overview of the espousal/marriage custom.

I will look into your links when I have time. However, if it is long burdensome reading I would prefer to dialog with you about it.  Smiley I prefer interaction, and fresh dialog, seasoned with reference about the same way I enjoy reading a good essay or article with cited works, but do not care to grab a literary encyclopedia for reading enjoyment.  laugh
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« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2007, 08:14:45 PM »

Pardon me. I mixed metaphors subjects. I was alternating between the generic "espoused virgin" and Mary and the generic "groom" and Joseph without clearing delianting which I spoke of and when. I attempted to give a basic overview of the espousal/marriage custom.

I will look into your links when I have time. However, if it is long burdensome reading I would prefer to dialog with you about it.  Smiley I prefer interaction, and fresh dialog, seasoned with reference about the same way I enjoy reading a good essay or article with cited works, but do not care to grab a literary encyclopedia for reading enjoyment.  laugh

Well, the part that I copied into the post contains a word study of eos, showing how the use of the ouk.... eos phrase does not denote a change after the "watershed" event (as the article states), but rather uses eos to indicate the presence of the watershed event, without implying change after it.  The author gives at least 4 examples in the New Testament and 3-4 in the Old of this usage.  Even if you don't wish to follow the link, check out the body of the post above, especially the textual study... In fact, I'll re-copy it below (and use large font to make it a bit easier to read... Sometimes quote boxes are a bit too hard on my eyes!)


And now, a brief study of the concept of "until" as used in Matthew 1:25a 

           "...but he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son." (NIV)

"...but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;  (NRSV)

"...and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son." (NKJV)

    The Greek word most often translated as "until" is eos (pronounced āōs), and is negated by ouk at the beginning of the phrase, meaning "not."

The modern-day meaning of the word "until" might lead us to think that Joseph "did not know her until..." but that he did afterwards.  However, the biblical usage is quite different.  In ancient and biblical usage, the word eos is used to designate a "boundary formed by a historical event."[2]

The Greek conjunction eos (till), like the Hebrew ad-ki and the Latin donec, while expressing what has occurred up to a certain period, leaves the future entirely aside"[3] 

Here are some cross references to illustrate that ouk...eos it more accurately translated as "not until this important event, but still not after" (i.e. never.)

    1) Note Luke 2:36-37, the story of Christ's Presentation at the Temple.  The verse describes Anna the prophetess as having lived with her husband for 7 years after their marriage, and then, "she has lived as a widow until (eos) ."  At the time of The Presentation of Christ she is still a widow, and will continue to be so after this.   The "boundary" historical event is the Presentation of Christ.

     2) Another good example of this is Acts 8:40.  The verse says "Phillip.... traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until (eos) he reached Caesarea" (NIV)  Did Phillip the deacon preach the gospel after he reached Caesarea?  Of course he did.   The "boundary" historical event is Phillip the deacon's arrival in Caesarea and the word eos is used to denote the importance of this event.  He preached before, until this significant event, and still after.

     3) Another example is Matthew 24:21, where the use of the word (eos) as having an action as continuing into the future is actually clarified in the text:  "then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until (eos) now – and never to be equaled again."    This great distress has not been seen until now, and still, will never be seen again.

     4)  See John 5:17.  Jesus is speaking: "My Father is always at work to (eos) this very day, and I, too am working." (NIV)  or "My Father has been working until (eos) now..."(NKJV) "My Father is still working, (eos) and I also am working."  Clearly Jesus did not mean that His Father was working only until that very day, but still.  Jesus' presence on earth was a "boundary" historical event.  The Father worked until that day, and still afterwards. 

    5) other examples:  Genesis 8.7  "Noah...sent forth a raven; and it went to and fro till the waters were dried up from the earth."

    Psalm 110.1 "the Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou on my right hand until I make thy enemies thy footstool." 

    See also Isaiah 22.15, Matt 12.20, 1 Tim 4.13, Psalm 90.2, Psalm 72.7

 Finally, back to Matthew 1:25a, the birth of Mary's Firstborn Son is a "boundary" historical event. In the same sense as the examples above, Joseph did not know Mary before the birth, but also after this watershed event of the birth of the Messiah.


[2] According to Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, Danker in "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature" p. 334.

[3] Fillion, in Rev. George Mastrantonis, The Virgin Mary, Theotokos,  OLOGOS. 
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« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2007, 08:22:22 PM »

Okay, someone correct me if I'm wrong, but... this is why the church has ALWAYS referred to Joseph as the "Bridegroom," because they were forever engaged, never married.  

Cleopas,

I understand where you are coming from.  I took a class called "Christ in the Old Testament" from a man named Father Eugen Pentiuc.  The name of the book pertinent to the class is Jesus the Messiah in the Hebrew Bible (I suggest you read it.  It is awesome!).  Father Pentiuc speaks all of the ancient biblical languages fluently, and usually proves his point by tracing the etymology of the words in the text to find the original meaning intended by the writer.  He is nothing short of brilliant (can I get an amen, Cleveland and FrChris?).

During the class, he brought up this sticky little word "until" and pointed out that this was the reason that the church had never "officially" made the ever virginity of Mary an official dogma (one student walked out at that point).  Then he went on to trace the etymology and usage of the word eos (just as these gentlemen have so kindly done)to show that they COULD, and talked about how the church had done that by proclaiming its beliefs through the saints, councils, etc. rather than canonizing it (somebody feel free to clarify here if I'm not making my point well enough).  

Now, we know from the writings of the hierarchs, confessors, ascetics, hymnographers, and especially the protoevangelion of St. James that the Theotokos did not, in fact, ever marry Joseph, but remained forever betrothed.  For me, personally, more than the etymology of "eos," it is this fact that seals her ever-virginity.  Had she married Joseph, the marriage would have been consumated.  But in fact, it never was, they never were.  And Cleveland is correct in saying that Joachim and Anna had already passed away.  Though we may have seen the Nativity Story, this is part of the artistic license they took- keeing Joachim and Anna alive.  But I digress here.

While this is one of the more controversial dogmas of the EOC, it is one of our most sacred and, I can assure you, has been "proved" (theologically), and confirmed and proclaimed throughout the ages.  She is the All Holy, Ever-virgin, the pride and jewel of the Church, the salvation of the human race, and the mother of all... why?  Because in her infinite love, she sacrificed like no other mother ever would and CONTINUES to sacrifice by interceding for us every day.  

Hope this helps!

Through the prayers of the blessed Theotokos...

God bless
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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2007, 08:30:55 PM »

It seems my assumptions or predispositions caused me to overlook a very important point.

Quote
The Ever-Virginity is not a miraculous act but an attitude.  The virginity of Mary after the birth of Jesus Christ was not a miraculous act of God; it was merely her preference for the rest of her life.

I read this and it just did not hit me. So, you are saying then that Mary (and Joseph) chose not to have sexual union? That it was not a miracle? I had this idea that you guys (at least Catholics) believed God preserved her physical attributes of virginity in spite of her having birthed a Son and (in my initial view) having been sexually active with her husband.

Let me also ask, what historical documentation do we have to attest the age of Joseph compared with Mary? How close to the actual events is such documentation? Is there any secular documentation especially (so that I am not just taking the Orthodox/Catholic word for it)?
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2007, 08:47:02 PM »

It seems my assumptions or predispositions caused me to overlook a very important point.

I read this and it just did not hit me. So, you are saying then that Mary (and Joseph) chose not to have sexual union? That it was not a miracle? I had this idea that you guys (at least Catholics) believed God preserved her physical attributes of virginity in spite of her having birthed a Son and (in my initial view) having been sexually active with her husband.

Let me also ask, what historical documentation do we have to attest the age of Joseph compared with Mary? How close to the actual events is such documentation? Is there any secular documentation especially (so that I am not just taking the Orthodox/Catholic word for it)?

First off, yes, Mary's virginity was a choice.  Countless (and I do mean we are unable to count) writings about her explain this.  She CHOSE not to defile the womb that bore God.  And Joseph, being a holy man and recognizing Christ's divinity, was in agreement.

As far as secular documentation, there is no such thing.  Any writings from the time about the Theotokos will be contained within the Orthodox tradition, unless they are heretical, like the Gnostic gospels.  These were condemned as heretical because at the time, they were known to be false.  The most prolific writing of the times that we have about the Theotokos is from St. James.  He wrote the protoevangelion of St. James.  Much of it is about the Theotokos, and, while not canonized into the Bible (because the Church determined that it's information was not ESSENTIAL to our salvation), it was determened to be "good for reading," and thus its validity was confirmed.  Much of what we know about the Theotokos is taken from that book.  It also is the source for what we know of Joachim and Anna, and the time that the Theotokos spent in the temple.
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« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2007, 08:57:48 PM »

Okay, someone correct me if I'm wrong, but... this is why the church has ALWAYS referred to Joseph as the "Bridegroom," because they were forever engaged, never married.  

Cleopas,

I understand where you are coming from.  I took a class called "Christ in the Old Testament" from a man named Father Eugen Pentiuc.  The name of the book pertinent to the class is Jesus the Messiah in the Hebrew Bible (I suggest you read it.  It is awesome!).  Father Pentiuc speaks all of the ancient biblical languages fluently, and usually proves his point by tracing the etymology of the words in the text to find the original meaning intended by the writer.  He is nothing short of brilliant (can I get an amen, Cleveland and FrChris?).

During the class, he brought up this sticky little word "until" and pointed out that this was the reason that the church had never "officially" made the ever virginity of Mary an official dogma (one student walked out at that point).  Then he went on to trace the etymology and usage of the word eos (just as these gentlemen have so kindly done)to show that they COULD, and talked about how the church had done that by proclaiming its beliefs through the saints, councils, etc. rather than canonizing it (somebody feel free to clarify here if I'm not making my point well enough).  

Now, we know from the writings of the hierarchs, confessors, ascetics, hymnographers, and especially the protoevangelion of St. James that the Theotokos did not, in fact, ever marry Joseph, but remained forever betrothed.  For me, personally, more than the etymology of "eos," it is this fact that seals her ever-virginity.  Had she married Joseph, the marriage would have been consumated.  But in fact, it never was, they never were.  And Cleveland is correct in saying that Joachim and Anna had already passed away.  Though we may have seen the Nativity Story, this is part of the artistic license they took- keeing Joachim and Anna alive.  But I digress here.

While this is one of the more controversial dogmas of the EOC, it is one of our most sacred and, I can assure you, has been "proved" (theologically), and confirmed and proclaimed throughout the ages.  She is the All Holy, Ever-virgin, the pride and jewel of the Church, the salvation of the human race, and the mother of all... why?  Because in her infinite love, she sacrificed like no other mother ever would and CONTINUES to sacrifice by interceding for us every day.  

Hope this helps!

Through the prayers of the blessed Theotokos...

God bless

God bless !

Nice Post ....  Roll Eyes
I think Ai-parthenos/Evervirgin is a Term used in Ecumenical Synods and so a ( Doctrine) ?

St. Joseph is called in greek: Ho Mnestor- The Betrophed --right ?

There is also the story that the Highpriest Zacharias ( after the Nativity) placed the Theotokos in the place of the Tempel reserved for Virgins, where Mothers and wifes were not allowed to stand.

However the Pharisees and priests were amazed at this, and wanted Mary to be placed in that area designated for wifes and mothers. Neverless, Zacharias enlightened by the Holy Spirit with prophetic power, insisted that Mary was a Virgin although she had just borne a son. The Theotokos always was praying in the place of virgins.

Some Fathers concur that Zacharias was later slain between the Temple and the Altar because, after the Theotokos had given birth to Christ, he brought Her to the place reserved for virgins.

In CHRIST
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« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2007, 10:19:43 PM »

Hello,

Let me also ask, what historical documentation do we have to attest the age of Joseph compared with Mary? How close to the actual events is such documentation? Is there any secular documentation especially (so that I am not just taking the Orthodox/Catholic word for it)?

I think that most Orthodox would age him at the age of 90 at the time of his betrothal to Mary. This comes from an early work known as the Protoevangelium of James. Catholics will generally age him between his teenage years (an uncommon but still existent opinion) and age 90. The two most common thoughts are age 90 or mid-30's at the time of the betrothal. Catholics will cite any number of different sources for their opinion. Of course, how old Joseph was when he betrothed Mary is not a matter of doctrine and so differing thoughts are permitted.
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« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2007, 11:48:29 PM »

Hello,

I think that most Orthodox would age him at the age of 90 at the time of his betrothal to Mary. This comes from an early work known as the Protoevangelium of James. Catholics will generally age him between his teenage years (an uncommon but still existent opinion) and age 90. The two most common thoughts are age 90 or mid-30's at the time of the betrothal. Catholics will cite any number of different sources for their opinion. Of course, how old Joseph was when he betrothed Mary is not a matter of doctrine and so differing thoughts are permitted.

This is the important part.  How old Joseph was is not doctrine because it's not important to our salvation.  Sure, we'd like to know, but it's not essential for us to know in order to reach theosis (or communion with God).  What we do know, though, (and what is important for us to know) is that Joseph was a widower (and thus old enough to have had another wife), and had children by his first wife.  This is why some icons of the flight to Egypt show that St. Iakovos was with them.  This is also why we know St. Iakovos (James) as the brother of the Lord.  The EOC holds that St. Iakovos the Brother of the Lord was Joseph's son by his first wife.  These things are more important for us to know than his exact age.
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« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2007, 12:08:19 AM »

Hello,

What we do know, though, (and what is important for us to know) is that Joseph was a widower (and thus old enough to have had another wife), and had children by his first wife.  This is why some icons of the flight to Egypt show that St. Iakovos was with them.  This is also why we know St. Iakovos (James) as the brother of the Lord.  The EOC holds that St. Iakovos the Brother of the Lord was Joseph's son by his first wife.  These things are more important for us to know than his exact age.
This is also from the Protoevangelium. Again, whether Joseph was a widower or not is a nonessential. As early as Origin (I don't know of any Fathers earlier than that) we see a thought that Joseph wasn't a widower, but a virgin as well. He didn't make a vow in the temple like Mary did, but Mary was his first wife and because of that unique situation he remained a virgin all his life. This idea is further made more and more explicit in the writings of Saints Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine.

But again, it is a nonessential. I personally hold to the view that Saint Joseph was a virgin all his life and that he became betrothed to Mary in his mid-30's. But, I see as an equally valid view that Saint Joseph was a 90 year old widower when he was betrothed to Mary.
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« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2007, 06:18:24 AM »

I have come to think that Our Blessed Mother's perpetual virginity is a witness to her purity,because could it not be said that If Joseph did have sexual relations with her and they had more children,wouldn't others that knew them conclude that maybe Jesus really is Joseph's son,and he was concieved out of marriage!!!
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« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2007, 06:44:43 AM »

Cleopas,
I really mean no offence by this, but I'd like to know whether it ever strikes you as odd that in the early history of Christianity, things like the Ever-Virginity of the Mother of God were accepted as Christian doctrine, yet your "non-denominational" (if that's possible) approach to Christianity raises theological questions which were answered in the earliest years of the Church and throughout the history of Christianity? I mean, even the Protestant Reformation never questioned the Ever-Virginity of the Mother of God. Even John Calvin in his commentary on matthew 1:25 writes: "Those words of Scripture do not mean that after His birth they cohabitated as man and wife..." (John Calvin NT Commentaries Vol. 3, p. 71). and in answer to the question of Christs "brethren", Calvin writes: "In the Hebrew manner relatives of any sort are called 'brethren'...It is therefore very ignorant to imagine that Mary had many sons because there are several mentions of Christ's brethren" (John Calvin NT Commentaries Vol. 3, p. 71)
Do you think, therefore, that Christianity had it wrong for 1900 years, and suddenly, with the rise in American Evangelism the "truth" has somehow been discovered?
Do questions such as these ever come to your mind?
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« Reply #33 on: December 06, 2007, 02:28:51 AM »

I have not concluded my pondering and research into eos. However, in consulting the Proto-thingymebob of James I ran across this quote, which along with several other statements so far, has caused me concern and a strong sense of caution. It is enough to make me seriously doubt the validity of it's contents.

Quote
12 ...But Mary had forgotten the mysteries of which the archangel Gabriel had spoken,...

This quote concerns when Mary traveled to see Elisabeth after Gabriel's announcement that she would conceive Christ and Elisabeth was 6 months into the term of John the Baptist. Luke makes no mention of such a forgetfulness and leaves one to infer (and thus implies) that the account did not happen, or at the very least that the two present contradictory elements. If that be the case, I'm gonna stick with Scripture. I know it's dependable.
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« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2007, 03:26:09 AM »

uhhh, this seals it for me guys. I don't buy it. I can't seriously consider the claims of this source.

Quote
19. ...And the midwife went forth out of the cave, and Salome met her. And she said to her: Salome, Salome, I have a strange sight to relate to you: a virgin has brought forth—a thing which her nature admits not of. Then said Salome: As the Lord my God lives, unless I thrust in my finger, and search the parts, I will not believe that a virgin has brought forth.

20. And the midwife went in, and said to Mary: Show yourself; for no small controversy has arisen about you. And Salome put in her finger, and cried out, and said: Woe is me for mine iniquity and mine unbelief, because I have tempted the living God; and, behold, my hand is dropping off as if burned with fire.

Don't get me wrong. I believe Mary was a virgin, that she gave birth as a virgin. Perhaps (though I doubt it) she remained a virgin, in that she never had sexual relations with a man. But the hymen did not stay in tact through child birth. Mary brought forth a son. She actually birthed him. By the time dilation was complete, much less pushing the baby out in delivery, there was no hymen left in tact.

Sorry, I will not say anymore about that at this point as I do not wish to be offensive. But I don't buy it.

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« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2007, 03:39:33 AM »

Don't get me wrong. I believe Mary was a virgin, that she gave birth as a virgin. Perhaps (though I doubt it) she remained a virgin, in that she never had sexual relations with a man. But the hymen did not stay in tact through child birth. Mary brought forth a son. She actually birthed him. By the time dilation was complete, much less pushing the baby out in delivery, there was no hymen left in tact.

Sorry, I will not say anymore about that at this point as I do not wish to be offensive. But I don't buy it.

In all seriousness, we believe many irrational things in respect to the life of Christ. Angels appearing, a virgin birth, restoring eyesight to the blind, giving mobility to the lame (all without the benifits of modern science), transforming water into wine, mass reproduction of food products, raising the dead, teleportation, levitation, changing the fundamental properties of sub-atomic particles just to walk on water or through walls, and perhaps the furthest out there, self-resurrecting from the dead.

And you buy all these things, but get caught up on the perpetual virginity of the Theotokos based on what you believe is a scientific argument? Give me a break, surely you see why it's hard for me to take this objection of yours seriously.
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« Reply #36 on: December 06, 2007, 03:45:43 AM »

And you ... get caught up on the perpetual virginity of the Theotokos based on what you believe is a scientific argument? Give me a break, surely you see why it's hard for me to take this objection of yours seriously.

No. I have said I personally doubt Mary remained a virgin, but remain open to the possibility. However, I cannot seriously consider the Proto. of James as a source to help determine the validity of that claim (that Mary remained a virgin all the days of her life) and interpretation of the Biblical text.
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« Reply #37 on: December 06, 2007, 04:10:59 AM »

No. I have said I personally doubt Mary remained a virgin, but remain open to the possibility. However, I cannot seriously consider the Proto. of James as a source to help determine the validity of that claim (that Mary remained a virgin all the days of her life) and interpretation of the Biblical text.

Well, that's understandable, I personally dislike Matthew and tend to avoid it when at all possible. In comparison to the other Gospels it's clearly biased towards a Jewish cultural perspective and the author seems more concerned with converting the Jews than giving an objective presentation of the facts surrounding Christ's life. It's a shame that many give it equal standing with the infinitely better Gospel of John.

But in the end, Matthew really says nothing to support your hypothesis; only if one failed to read it in Greek and (for some strange reason) decided to read it in translation could they come to your conclusion. As for Protoevangelium of James, it seems to be the earliest document that actually addresses the issue, or do you know of an earlier one?
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« Reply #38 on: December 06, 2007, 04:44:08 AM »

No. I have said I personally doubt Mary remained a virgin, but remain open to the possibility.

Consider the words of St. Mary in St. Luke 1:34. Would St. Mary have said these words had her virginity had not already been vowed? Would it not have been obvious to her how her womb would conceive if St. Mary was not a dedicated virgin? As St. Augustine said, "Surely she would not say that, unless she had previously vowed her virginity to God".

Origen said, "No one whose opinion on Mary is sound  would claim that she had any child save Jesus".

Is it not the heresy of Helvidius to deny that St. Mary remained ever-virgin? When was this dealt with does anyone know please? (RCs may be able to help us out here as I think it arose in the West?)

Ezekiel 44 makes it clear that the gate through which God entered the world must remain shut and noone else was to enter by it.

Also, according to the Coptic synaxarium at least, St. Joseph was 96 when the Lord was born (if memory serves me rightly) and had no intent of having children with St. Mary whom he took to wife because she could no longer remain in the Temple due to her age.
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« Reply #39 on: December 06, 2007, 04:55:38 AM »

Cleopas, admittedly I haven't all of this but consider 2nd Samuel 6:23; would you suppose Michal had children after her death? It only indicates up to a certain point with no implications about afterwards.

The word "joined" just means they were then married rather than simply betrothed. It does not mean a physical joining. St. Demitrius the Vinedresser (12th Pope of Alexandria from memory if somebody can confirm please?) and his wife were joined in wedded union and yet both ever virgin.

Haven't time to reply more but have been discussing this one with an ex-SDA of your leaning who has stopped talking on this and went onto something else after I pointed out that it was up to him to show that St. Mary did not remain a virgin rather than for us to show that she did. We said nothing changed so if you want to say something changed then prove it please Wink

The Church teaches St. Mary remained a virgin through birth! Have heard how the maids testified to this also.
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« Reply #40 on: December 06, 2007, 05:09:04 AM »

Is it not the heresy of Helvidius to deny that St. Mary remained ever-virgin? When was this dealt with does anyone know please? (RCs may be able to help us out here as I think it arose in the West?)

Helvidius' writings concering the perpetual virginity of the Theotokos appeared in around 383 AD, according to St. Jerome.  St. Jerome would then write his treaties De perpetua Virginitate B. Mariae; adversus Helvidium to refute Helvidius.
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« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2007, 05:05:07 PM »

Hello,

Don't some of the Fathers teach that Jesus passed through the womb of Mary miraculously, as He passed through the walls after the Resurrection.
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« Reply #42 on: December 06, 2007, 07:30:03 PM »

Ezekiel 44 makes it clear that the gate through which God entered the world must remain shut and noone else was to enter by it.

I'm sorry, but I do not agree with that metaphorical interpretation of the text.
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« Reply #43 on: December 06, 2007, 07:33:36 PM »

Hello,

I'm sorry, but I do not agree with that metaphorical interpretation of the text.
Other than an uber explicit scriptural verse that says "Mary was a virgin always, before, during, and after the birth of Jesus!", what other source of authority could we appeal to that you would listen to?
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« Reply #44 on: December 06, 2007, 07:35:26 PM »

Hello,

Don't some of the Fathers teach that Jesus passed through the womb of Mary miraculously, as He passed through the walls after the Resurrection.


God bless !

Yes, this teaching was rejected.

In CHRST
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« Reply #45 on: December 06, 2007, 07:36:37 PM »

Hello,

God bless !

Yes, this teaching was rejected.

In CHRST
I recall hearing about this teaching, but am drawing a blank right now. Who taught it and where and by whom was it rejected?
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« Reply #46 on: December 06, 2007, 07:38:53 PM »

I'm sorry, but I do not agree with that metaphorical interpretation of the text.

Well, that seems to be the essence of the difficulties here, doesn't it? For any text presented, you simply interpret in accordance with your preconceived notions and then decide to give these personal interpretations the force of dogma. Of course, this is the folly of any attempt to develop doctrine from scripture or fixed texts: they all require interpretation, so they're not particularly useful.

Perhaps you could give us a philosophical argument that negates te perpetual virginity of the Mother of God?
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« Reply #47 on: December 06, 2007, 07:41:52 PM »

Hello,
Other than an uber explicit scriptural verse that says "Mary was a virgin always, before, during, and after the birth of Jesus!", what other source of authority could we appeal to that you would listen to?

God bless !

I think the Scripture- with the explanation of the Fathers- is clear enough ! When you not accept Holy Scripture and the early Church Fathers, I also can't help you.

In CHRIST
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« Reply #48 on: December 06, 2007, 07:51:36 PM »

Cleopas, admittedly I haven't all of this but consider 2nd Samuel 6:23; would you suppose Michal had children after her death? It only indicates up to a certain point with no implications about afterwards.

Well, the historical event in that case is her death. Thus we know that upon her death her childless state was permanently sealed.

In the case of Mary I am not sure that the text is implying she remained a virgin all of her life. Rather that she remained a virgin after the conception, carrying, and birth of Jesus. She would have remained that way until Joseph and her physically joined.



Quote
The word "joined" just means they were then married rather than simply betrothed. It does not mean a physical joining. St. Demitrius the Vinedresser (12th Pope of Alexandria from memory if somebody can confirm please?) and his wife were joined in wedded union and yet both ever virgin.

As for the wedded state. I agree. They were married when they covenanted as man and wife (which in their culture was at the initiation of the espousal period).

Quote
Haven't time to reply more but have been discussing this one with an ex-SDA of your leaning who has stopped talking on this and went onto something else after I pointed out that it was up to him to show that St. Mary did not remain a virgin rather than for us to show that she did. We said nothing changed so if you want to say something changed then prove it please Wink

Point taken. Albeit that is what I have attempted to do. Admittedly I was not prepared for the position that she chose to remain sexually innocent. That was a curve I did not expect. I was looking more for the whole mystical physical virginity idea (the hymen remained through and after birth, etc.)

I can say my understanding of what you believe has been cleared up dramatically since starting this discussion.
I find it hard to believe that Mary remained a virgin though technically the wife of Joseph. It is possible, but not probable that a wife would do so. In fact, except the husband were unable to be sexually active it would be a wife's biblical duty to be available to her husband (and likewise for the husband to the wife).

Again, I will admit possibility. Though I seriously doubt probability.

Quote
The Church teaches St. Mary remained a virgin through birth! Have heard how the maids testified to this also.

To the best of my understanding the Scripture does not agree with the Church here. Christ was born a real, mortal man, just like everyone else. If he wasn't then it casts doubt and suspicion over the reality of his being fully human.

The Scripture says that in the fall woman would experience pain and sorrow in childbirth. Mary was mortal, like all of us. A daughter of Adam. There is no cause to believe she was shown respect of persons and given a free pass by a miraculous delivery.

In fact the Scripture says she brought forth -- that is she delivered her son the natural way all mothers typically do. So she labored and travailed, pushed and hurt, and delivered the Lord in birth.

Furthermore, I do not deny she remained a virgin through childbirth. I admit it. That is what I see eos confirming here. Thus her purity is confirmed from prior to conception up to and through out the birth of Jesus. However, that does not mean the hymen remained in place. The hymen is not undeniable proof of virginity or not. And anyone that has experienced natural child birth can tell you that the women dilates significantly prior to delivery, many times larger than the diameter of the hymen. Then the baby is larger than that often tearing the lower portion of skin between birth canal and the anus. When the baby came through, if dilation had not torn the hymen, the delivery of the baby (head and shoulders, and all) surely did.

That does not deny her virginity. But it does, at least for me, cause the Proto. of James to be highly unbelievable. Thus I cannot use it as an aid to better understand the teaching of Scripture.
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« Reply #49 on: December 06, 2007, 07:56:52 PM »

Hello,
Other than an uber explicit scriptural verse that says "Mary was a virgin always, before, during, and after the birth of Jesus!", what other source of authority could we appeal to that you would listen to?

Hi Athanasios,

I'm not sure. Of course, short of that, any source will not carry the same weight in my mind. But it could add perspective and insight.

Sorry to be a source of frustration for you guys. We really are world's apart on some things aren't we?
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« Reply #50 on: December 06, 2007, 08:15:00 PM »

As for the wedded state. I agree. They were married when they covenanted as man and wife (which in their culture was at the initiation of the espousal period).

I find it hard to believe that Mary remained a virgin though technically the wife of Joseph. It is possible, but not probable that a wife would do so. In fact, except the husband were unable to be sexually active it would be a wife's biblical duty to be available to her husband (and likewise for the husband to the wife).

Again, I will admit possibility. Though I seriously doubt probability.

To the best of my understanding the Scripture does not agree with the Church here. Christ was born a real, mortal man, just like everyone else. If he wasn't then it casts doubt and suspicion over the reality of his being fully human.

The Scripture says that in the fall woman would experience pain and sorrow in childbirth. Mary was mortal, like all of us. A daughter of Adam. There is no cause to believe she was shown respect of persons and given a free pass by a miraculous delivery.


God bless !

The Church and the Fathers teach that Her Birth- giving was painless and that the Most Holy Theotokos was a Virgin BEFORE and IN and AFTER the BIRTH GIVING.

" Before she that travailed brought forth, before the travail-pain came on, she escaped it and brought forth a male" (Is. 66:7)

I think one of first was St. Irenaeus who explained the painless birth-giving of the Theotokos.

In CHRIST
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« Reply #51 on: December 06, 2007, 08:27:56 PM »

" Before she that travailed brought forth, before the travail-pain came on, she escaped it and brought forth a male" (Is. 66:7)

Okay. Well then I am sure you will also agree with the implications of verse 9 of the same chapter.

Quote
9. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

Once the birth channel is opened (read hymen is torn, gone) does God put it back?

Fortunately for both of us, verse 8 tells us that Mary is not the subject of the prophet. Rather Zion (national Israel) is.

Quote
8. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.


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« Reply #52 on: December 06, 2007, 08:40:34 PM »

Okay. Well then I am sure you will also agree with the implications of verse 9 of the same chapter.

Once the birth channel is opened (read hymen is torn, gone) does God put it back?

Fortunately for both of us, verse 8 tells us that Mary is not the subject of the prophet. Rather Zion (national Israel) is.
 

God bless !

The Mother of God is often called Zion, Jerusalem ..... and this verse and of course others are interpreted in the mentioned way.

We should find a common fundament for discussion.

Scripture is a part of Tradition, without this Tradition you would not have the Scripture and this Tradition also tells us how to interprete it, otherwise we will interprete it wrong, according to our opinion.

In CHRIST

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« Reply #53 on: December 06, 2007, 09:35:19 PM »

Hello,

God bless !

I think the Scripture- with the explanation of the Fathers- is clear enough ! When you not accept Holy Scripture and the early Church Fathers, I also can't help you.

In CHRIST
That's just the point. Most Protestants I know will not hold anything to the same level as Scripture, which is usually coupled with their own (or their pastor's) interpretation. Even things that are quite explicit in Scriptures are done away with. Sad
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« Reply #54 on: December 06, 2007, 09:39:05 PM »

Hello,

Hi Athanasios,

I'm not sure. Of course, short of that, any source will not carry the same weight in my mind. But it could add perspective and insight.

Sorry to be a source of frustration for you guys. We really are world's apart on some things aren't we?

And we'd need a thread on whether Scripture is the only authoritative source of Divine Revelation.

I and others could quote hundreds of sources of the Church Fathers, Councils, exegesis - but if they are dismissed when they contradict your personal interpretation of Scriptures, where are we left?


Let me ask you - what is your problem with this doctrine? Is it that you think it contradicts Scriptures or that it doesn't seem logical to you?
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« Reply #55 on: December 06, 2007, 09:54:33 PM »

Hello,
That's just the point. Most Protestants I know will not hold anything to the same level as Scripture, which is usually coupled with their own (or their pastor's) interpretation. Even things that are quite explicit in Scriptures are done away with. Sad

God bless !

Many People interprete the Holy Scripture according to their understanding-but this is dangerous.
I think this is also the reason why there are so many different sects.

This is the reason why St. Peter 2 says:

1:20. Understanding this first: That no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation.

1:21. For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost.

.........
3:16. As also in all his epistles (Paul), speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction.

So it is clear we should not follow our private interpretation.

In CHRIST
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« Reply #56 on: December 06, 2007, 09:56:32 PM »

Hello,

So it is clear we should not follow our private interpretation.
I agree.
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« Reply #57 on: December 06, 2007, 10:26:25 PM »

Hello,

And we'd need a thread on whether Scripture is the only authoritative source of Divine Revelation. 

We do have the thread on Sola Scriptura... we addressed other sources of Divine Revelation in that as well, but to no end, sadly.   Sad


I and others could quote hundreds of sources of the Church Fathers, Councils, exegesis - but if they are dismissed when they contradict your personal interpretation of Scriptures, where are we left?


You said this SO perfectly.  This is precisely the problem with Sola Scriptura, and precisely the reason that we embrace the tradition of the church.  I think I said in the Sola Scriptura thread (but I can't remember and don't feel like searching it out) that one of the biggest problems with Sola Scriptura is that it subjects the Scriptures to the reader's own will and worldview/opinion.  Of course, never mind that it also completely ignores the context in which the Scriptures were relayed and interpreted and just makes stuff up as it goes along...

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« Reply #58 on: December 06, 2007, 11:02:18 PM »

Once the birth channel is opened (read hymen is torn, gone) does God put it back?

Please, I don't mean this offensively or as a criticism...

I am very uncomfortable with discussing the hymen of the Theotokos and whether or not it was torn.  We Orthodox would never discuss her virginity in such a graphic way.  And personally, I hold to the belief that her ever-virginity means that she (and Joseph, since it obviously wasn't her own decision) chose celibacy.  Thus, the state of her hymen is none of my business.  Please, could we find another way to discuss this topic?  We Orthodox do not think of her virginity this literally, so discussing such graphic and intimate details of the Most Pure and Holy Theotokos is unnecessary.

I can say my understanding of what you believe has been cleared up dramatically since starting this discussion.
I find it hard to believe that Mary remained a virgin though technically the wife of Joseph. It is possible, but not probable that a wife would do so. In fact, except the husband were unable to be sexually active it would be a wife's biblical duty to be available to her husband (and likewise for the husband to the wife).

They would not have been concerned about this.  Joseph did not follow the laws of stoning Mary because he received the message from Gabriel.  Why would he have rejected such a publicly enforced law but kept such a privately enforced one?  And for what purpose? Sexual gratification?  I find that hard to believe.  They both understood the magnitude of what Mary's conception of Jesus implied.  They understood that it was not only life changing, but universe-changing.  I personally would find it hard to believe that they would have WANTED to defile the womb that bore Christ by giving into sexual desire.  Even today, there are many Orthodox couples that choose to live in "white" (celibate) marriages as a devotion to Christ.  Metropolitan Methodious of Boston commemorates them every time he commemorates at the Great Entrance in the Divine Liturgy.  If people today can do it... why couldn't the Holy Theotokos and Joseph, the Betrothed?

Again, I will admit possibility. Though I seriously doubt probability.

Isn't that what faith is about, though?  Believing, despite probabilities?  The need for proof is not faith.  Show me proof that the Theotokos was NOT a virgin...
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« Reply #59 on: December 06, 2007, 11:10:28 PM »

Please, I don't mean this offensively or as a criticism...

I am very uncomfortable with discussing the hymen of the Theotokos and whether or not it was torn.  We Orthodox would never discuss her virginity in such a graphic way.  And personally, I hold to the belief that her ever-virginity means that she (and Joseph, since it obviously wasn't her own decision) chose celibacy.  Thus, the state of her hymen is none of my business.  Please, could we find another way to discuss this topic?  We Orthodox do not think of her virginity this literally, so discussing such graphic and intimate details of the Most Pure and Holy Theotokos is unnecessary.



God bless !

I would request the same, please !

IN CHRIST
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« Reply #60 on: December 07, 2007, 12:17:38 AM »

Please, I don't mean this offensively or as a criticism...

I am very uncomfortable with discussing the hymen of the Theotokos and whether or not it was torn.  We Orthodox would never discuss her virginity in such a graphic way.  And personally, I hold to the belief that her ever-virginity means that she (and Joseph, since it obviously wasn't her own decision) chose celibacy.  Thus, the state of her hymen is none of my business.  Please, could we find another way to discuss this topic?  We Orthodox do not think of her virginity this literally, so discussing such graphic and intimate details of the Most Pure and Holy Theotokos is unnecessary.



Quote
I would request the same, please !

My apologies. I was actually trying to keep sensibilities to such in mind. That's why I have tried to use medical terminology where possible, without being overly technical. In my defense, it is your own sources that initiated biological discussion on this level. I assumed, because of that, such would be acceptable I used care.

I do apologies for any offense it may have caused you. That was not my intent. Please forgive me.
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« Reply #61 on: December 07, 2007, 12:29:52 AM »



My apologies. I was actually trying to keep sensibilities to such in mind. That's why I have tried to use medical terminology where possible, without being overly technical. In my defense, it is your own sources that initiated biological discussion on this level. I assumed, because of that, such would be acceptable I used care.

I do apologies for any offense it may have caused you. That was not my intent. Please forgive me.

No worries, brother!  And no need for defense.  Now we move on...  Smiley

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« Reply #62 on: December 08, 2007, 05:31:56 AM »

Let me ask you - what is your problem with this doctrine? Is it that you think it contradicts Scriptures or that it doesn't seem logical to you?

Both really. The two are interrelated for me. It does seem to be contradictory to the record of Scripture, a stretch at best (to me), and it seems to make exceptions and inferences of exceptions to other indirectly related scriptural subjects (i.e. the role of husband and wife, sexuality, etc. in marriage). I really have a problem with the idea of sexually void marriages, especially intentionally so and in the name of God. It just flies in the face of my understanding of the nature, purpose, and functions of marriage and sexuality biblically.

But most of all, for someone who holds to the primacy of Scripture as authoritative in all matter of Christian belief and practice, it just doesn't seem to square with the statement of scripture, at least at face value. You guys have given me some things to consider. But when I just go back to the text (which I know to be inspired and intended for doctrine, correction, reproof, etc.) and read it, it really seems such a stretch to make the concept work. Personally, I see the Orthodox views (and Catholic, for that matter) here as spinning the text in order to superimpose your tradition and perspective back onto the text -- as a source of authority and claim to continuity. To me, the idea is essentially contradictory to the plain reading of Scripture.

No offense meant. No offense taken. And I hope nope given. Wink
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« Reply #63 on: December 08, 2007, 05:55:18 AM »

Personally, I see the Orthodox views (and Catholic, for that matter) here as spinning the text in order to superimpose your tradition and perspective back onto the text -- as a source of authority and claim to continuity. To me, the idea is essentially contradictory to the plain reading of Scripture.

Perhaps you didn't see my question to you earlier in the thread. I'll repeat it here for you:

Cleopas,
I really mean no offence by this, but I'd like to know whether it ever strikes you as odd that in the early history of Christianity, things like the Ever-Virginity of the Mother of God were accepted as Christian doctrine, yet your "non-denominational" (if that's possible) approach to Christianity raises theological questions which were answered in the earliest years of the Church and throughout the history of Christianity? I mean, even the Protestant Reformation never questioned the Ever-Virginity of the Mother of God. Even John Calvin in his commentary on matthew 1:25 writes: "Those words of Scripture do not mean that after His birth they cohabitated as man and wife..." (John Calvin NT Commentaries Vol. 3, p. 71). and in answer to the question of Christs "brethren", Calvin writes: "In the Hebrew manner relatives of any sort are called 'brethren'...It is therefore very ignorant to imagine that Mary had many sons because there are several mentions of Christ's brethren" (John Calvin NT Commentaries Vol. 3, p. 71)
Do you think, therefore, that Christianity had it wrong for 1900 years, and suddenly, with the rise in American Evangelism the "truth" has somehow been discovered?
Do questions such as these ever come to your mind?
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« Reply #64 on: December 08, 2007, 06:47:18 AM »

Perhaps you didn't see my question to you earlier in the thread. I'll repeat it here for you:


Forgive me. I am rather "on my own" in these threads -- fending off questions from a plethora of on comers, singlehandedly!

*Cleopas ...slips into fantasies of super fora heroism.....*


OH! Uh, excuse me. Got lost in thought there.  Roll Eyes laugh


The short answer. Not really.  Undecided

Personally, since I find in the NT itself record of inroads being made into the life, belief, and practices of the primitive church. I don't place as much confidence in the writing of those after that generation, or hardly any in those after them, for sure. Scripture itself only lists one thing for me to know as absolutely authoritative in doctrine and practice -- Scripture itself. Other things aid me, and yet sometimes misdirect me (including my own perspectives and intellectual filters). But it, the Scripture, keeps on declaring the truth, and nothing but the truth, when nothing else does (even the church -- i.e. Rome differs with Constantinople). As for protestantism, evangelicanism, etc., I do not see them as discovers of truth. Rather as archaeologists (metaphorically) -- unearthers and restorers of truth covered over by centuries gone by. We see ourselves as rediscovering what was there all the time. Until that is perfectly uncovered and restored we will continue to err, and struggle.

We (all) see through a glass darkly. We (all) grow in knowledge and in grace.

So long as I can rest that my conscience is clear before God, that I am walking in the light of His word (as He is in the light) to the best of my knowledge and ability, then that is sufficient for me.
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« Reply #65 on: December 08, 2007, 07:23:25 AM »

Forgive me. I am rather "on my own" in these threads -- fending off questions from a plethora of on comers, singlehandedly!

And we love you for it.

Quote
*Cleopas ...slips into fantasies of super fora heroism.....*

Yeah, that happens to me too.  Especially on the fundamental forum
that I also post on.

I think I can relate to your thinking (being a former evangelical helps),
I'll post in a Sola Scriptura thread--since my comments have nothing
to do the prepetual virginity.

Ut oh,  I suddenly this desire to up put on that that cape on that is
hanging in the closet.   laugh
 
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« Reply #66 on: December 08, 2007, 08:16:07 AM »

Personally, since I find in the NT itself record of inroads being made into the life, belief, and practices of the primitive church.
Clearly, then, you accept that Scripture is the product of the Church, and not vice versa. What you need to find, therefore, is what the early Church believed about the Virgin Mary. The Protoevangelion of St. James (who is the Brother of Christ) mentioned by GreekChef gives you some insight into the belief of the "primitive Church", and it clearly holds a belief in the ever-Virginity of the Mother of God. To reject in on the basis that it is "not Scripture" would be ridiculous for two reasons: Firstly, the Canon of Scripture was determined by the Church (and not for some centuries after they were written), so again, the Church is clearly a greater authority than even the Scriptures, since the Scriptures depend on the Church for their existence. And secondly, we are looking at what the early Church believed, and the protoevangelion of St. James says that the early Church believed the Mother of God to be ever-Virgin.
Now, if you think that Scripture is a greater authority than the Church, we need to start a new thread on that. And if this is what you think, then I'd really be interested to hear what you have to say, because it might give me some insight into how you think.
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« Reply #67 on: December 08, 2007, 09:29:34 AM »

In Orthodoxy, Joseph is the betrothed of Mary not her husband. According to Matthew he awoke from the dream and took Mary as a wife but only to cover the law. In Luke's gospel she is still called the betrothed (Lk 2.5).

The word 'til' in greek leaves the future aside, Paul says to Timothy, " TILL I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine"(1Tim 4.13). Does that mean after Paul arrives he will no longer have to do these things?

The translation of Matt 1.25, "and did not know her" is incorrect. In the original koine greek this is written in the imperfect tense.  The imperfect tense represents continous action in past time, an accurate reading would be "and was not knowing her". The imperfect tense demonstrates an ongoing action in the past, that has never come to an end (ex: I was having), this  is the opposite of the aorist indicative (ex:I had). 

The correct understanding: "Then Joseph being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife and was not knowing her....."(Matt 1.24-25) Hence in Luke she is still being called the betrothed of Joseph.

When Christ was on the cross, He looked down, and committed the Apostle John to his Mother saying "behold thy mother" and "behold thy son". This act demonstrates that Christ was her only child, and that the disciple John who was the youngest was motherless.
The scripture says,  "And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home".(Jn19.27) If Mary had other children it would presuppose that she packed her bags immediately, moved out of James house without warning, and forsaken her other children for John. Likewise if it was an act of adopting John then John would have moved into Mary's and James house, not the other way around.  In fact such a thing was against the Mosaic law.

Many ancient writings attest to the ever-Virginity of Mary such as St Ignatius, "Now Mary's virginity and her giving birth, escaped the notice of this world, as did the Lord's death, these three secrets crying to be told, but wrought in God's silence".

Perhaps an even earlier text is the Odes of Solomon. Ode 19 mentions how Mary gave birth without pain.  Many date this writing to 90 a.d. In Orthodoxy , the Theotokos painless birth is part of many hymns of the services, she was a virgin before, DURING, and after Christ's birth.
 

 
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« Reply #68 on: December 08, 2007, 09:52:11 AM »

God bless !

I think the problem is, that you are speaking of marriage and sexuality when we are speaking of the Bride of God and the Mysteries of Christ's Incarnation - yes, it is important to believe in the Ever- virginity of the Theotokos because it depends on the Holiness of Christ/God who dwelt in Her and took his flesh from Her.

So the Doctrine of the Evervirginity of Theotokos is also a christological Doctrine !

Again:

+ the Theotokos was consecrated to God before She was borne -by her parents- it would be a great sin to break this vow.

+the Theotokos never thought of Marriage, we can see that in her answer to the Angel - How shell this be, since I know not man ........She is THE Virgin - not in a biological or moral sense NO- Virginity means to be free for God and to love him with the whole being.

+St. Joseph was her  Betroughed and not her Husband- he was her protector ( think how hard it would have been for the Virgin without Joseph- all the troubles and the persecution of the Christ Child, the filght to Egypt, and she would have been killed without him -for being pregnant

+it wouldn't be proper to have other children beside the God Child - Christ was not a "holy man" or a great Prophet, he was/is " TRUE GOD ", before him the universe is trembling and Cherubim and Seraphim are praying without ceasing HOLY HOLY HOLY, and the Theotokos was not like an unpersonal channel where Christ passed through without uniting with her and her flesh, She was one flesh with Christ and She loved only him with her whole being, all her life was only concerned about Christ - God, how could she be interested in a normal family life with husband and children after bearing Christ-the King of Glory. Do you think God wants to share his mother('s flesh) with other Children ? NO

She is also called the THRONE OF GLORY, do you think God would allow someone else to take place on HIS HOLY THRONE

She is the Tempel of the God, the City of God, the New Zion, the New Jerusalem, the Bride of God, the Queen standing beside God, ..........

You only have to read the OT and see the Holiness of the Vessels of the Tempel and that it was not allowed to profan them- it was not allowed to touch the Arc, or the Sinai when God spoke to Moses, it was not allowed to enter the Most Holy where God's glory appeared, it was not allowed to pass through the gate in the east because God passed through, do you also read how Moses was shining after speaking with God ? How much more shone the Theotokos - she did not speak with God - she conceived him in her womb and he took flesh from her - She was one with him -oh how must she shone, do you also read about God's horrible Glory  and seeing it was dangerous, Moses only saw the back of God's Glory and rejoiced to be still alive- the Theotokos did not only see the back of God's Glory, She was the Temple of his Gory, she was filled with His Glory do you see the great Difference ? And you think the Temple of HIS horrible Glory began to know man and a normal familiy life, this would be a great sin and a horrible profanation of God's Tempel?

But let's look to the Scripture:

Exodus:

3:2 And the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he saw that the bush was on fire, and was not burnt. ( Symbol for the Theotokos )

3:3. And Moses said: I will go, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
 
3:4. And when the Lord saw that he went forward to see, he called to him out of the midst of the bush and said: Moses, Moses. And he answered: Here I am.
 
3:5. And he said: Come not nigh hither, put off the shoes from thy feet; for the place, whereon thou standest, is holy ground.

3:6. And he said: I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Moses hid his face: for he durst not look at God

Do you see how Holy even a Vision of God is ? And that Moses feared to look at God ?

Exodus 19:

19:11. And let them be ready against the third day; for on the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people, upon Mount Sinai.

19:12. And thou shalt appoint certain limits to the people round about, and thou shalt say to them: Take heed ye go not up into the mount, and that ye touch not the borders thereof: every one that toucheth the mount, dying he shall die.

19:13. No hands shall touch him, but he shall be stoned to death, or he shall be shot through with arrows: whether it be beast, or man, he shall not live. When the trumpet shall begin to sound, then let them go up into the mount.

19:14. And Moses came down from the mount to the people, and sanctified them. And when they had washed their garments,

19:15. He said to them: Be ready against the third day, and come not near your wives.
 
19:16. And now the third day was come, and the morning appeared: and behold thunders began to be heard, and lightning to flash, and a very thick cloud to cover the mount, and the noise of the trumpet sounded exceeding loud; and the people that was in the camp, feared.

19:17. And when Moses had brought them forth to meet God, from the place of the camp, they stood at the bottom of the mount.

19:18. And all Mount Sinai was on a smoke: because the Lord was come down upon it in fire, and the smoke arose from it as out of a furnace: and all the mount was terrible.
 
19:19. And the sound of the trumpet grew by degrees louder and louder, and was drawn out to a greater length: Moses spoke, and God answered him.

19:20. And the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, in the very top of the mount, and he called Moses unto the top thereof. And when he was gone up thither,

19:21. He said unto him: Go down, and charge the people; lest they should have a mind to pass the limits to see the Lord, and a very great multitude of them should perish.

19:22. The priests also that come to the Lord, let them be sanctified, lest he strike them.

19:23. And Moses said to the Lord: The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai: for thou didst charge, and command, saying: Set limits about the mount, and sanctify it.

19:24. And the Lord said to him: Go, get thee down; and thou shalt come up, thou and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people pass the limits, nor come up to the Lord, lest he kill them.

19:25. And Moses went down to the people and told them all.


Exodus 34:

34:29. And when Moses came down from the Mount Sinai, he held the two tables of the testimony, and he knew not that his face was SHINING from the conversation of the Lord.

34:30. And Aaron and the children of Israel seeing the face of Moses horned, were afraid to come near

34:31. And being called by him, they returned, both Aaron and the rulers of the congregation. And after that he spoke to them,

34:32. And all the children of Israel came to him: and he gave them in commandment all that he had heard of the Lord on Mount Sinai.

34:33. And having done speaking, he put a veil upon his face.

34:34. But when he went in to the Lord, and spoke with him, he took it away until he came forth, and then he spoke to the children of Israel all things that had been commanded him.
 
34:35. And they saw that the face of Moses when he came out was SHINIG, but he covered his face again, if at any time he spoke to them.
Exodus 40:34

40:32. The cloud covered the tabernacle of the testimony, and the glory of the Lord filled it.

40:33. Neither could Moses go into the tabernacle of the covenant, the cloud covering all things, and the majesty of the Lord shining, for the cloud had covered all.


People even feared to come near Moses because his face was shining from the Vision of God-how much more did the face of the Theotokos shinig after bearing God ? And you think, when it is even fearful to look at the face of the Theotokos because of her God bearing, that she had known a man and had other Children and started a normal familiy life ?

Do you see that, to think SHE had a husband and other Children is to profan the HOLINESS óf GOD/ CHRIST !

Let me tell you again- it is very important to have a right understanding of the Glory and Holiness of the Theotokos because of Christ. To deny her Holiness is to deny Christ'S/God's holiness.

In CHRIST
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« Reply #69 on: December 08, 2007, 10:08:14 AM »

God bless !

And there are many ( sometimes hidden) verses, speaking of the Most Holy Theotokos- not directly of her Ever- Virginity but of her Holiness.

From the Canticle of Canticles

2:1. I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valleys.

2:2. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.

2:10. Behold my beloved speaketh to me: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come.

2:11. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone.

2:13. The fig tree hath put forth her green figs: the vines in flower yield their sweet smell. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come:

3:6. Who is She that goeth up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh, and frankincense, and of all the powders of the perfumer?

4:1. How beautiful art thou, my love, how beautiful art thou! thy eyes are doves' eyes, besides what is hid within. Thy hair is as flocks of goats, which come up from mount Galaad.

4:9. Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse, thou hast wounded my heart with one of thy eyes, and with one hair of thy neck.

4:12. My sister, my spouse, is a garden enclosed, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up

4:15. The fountain of gardens: the well of living waters, which run with a strong stream from Libanus.

5:9. What manner of one is thy beloved of the beloved, O thou most beautiful among women? what manner of one is thy beloved of the beloved, that thou hast so adjured us

6:8. One is my dove, my perfect one is but one, she is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her. The daughters saw her, and declared her most blessed: the queens and concubines, and they praised her.

6:9. Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?

From the Psalms: 43

44:10. The daughters of kings have delighted thee in thy glory. The queen stood on thy right hand, in gilded clothing; surrounded with variety.
 
44:11. Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thy ear: and forget thy people and thy father's house.
 
44:12. And the king shall greatly desire thy beauty; for he is the Lord thy God, and him they shall adore.

44:13. And the daughters of Tyre with gifts, yea, all the rich among the people, shall entreat thy countenance.

44:14. All the glory of the king's daughter is within in golden borders,

44:15. Clothed round about with varieties. After her shall virgins be brought to the king: her neighbours shall be brought to thee.
 
44:16. They shall be brought with gladness and rejoicing: they shall be brought into the temple of the king.

Psalm 45 :

45:5. The stream of the river maketh the City of God joyful: the most High hath sanctified his own tabernacle.

45:6. God is in the midst thereof, it shall not be moved: God will help it in the morning early.

Psalm 47 :

46:9. God shall reign over the nations: God sitteth on his Holy Throne.

47:2. Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised in the City of our God, in his holy mountain.

47:3. With the joy of the whole earth is mount Sion founded, on the sides of the north, the City of the great King.

Ezechiel:

 44:1. And he brought me back to the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary, which looked towards the east: and it was shut.
 
44:2. And the Lord said to me: This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it: because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it, and it shall be shut

44:3. For the prince. The prince himself shall sit in it, to eat bread before the Lord: he shall enter in by the way of the porch of the gate, and shall go out by the same way.


In CHRIST
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« Reply #70 on: December 08, 2007, 02:55:09 PM »

Just a quick side-note question for GreekChef.  Do you cook really good gyros?  And what about pastries like baklava?  Grin

On a serious note though, you began to touch on the Protoevangelium of James claiming it was left to us by St. James himself.  What I understood about the Protoevangelium is that it was written probably by an anonymous Christian who wanted to share a third century view of the Virgin's story, and perhaps give some perspective on the Jewish Mishnah traditions being developed in the Syriac community.  But no one is sure of the authorship whether it be St. James the Brother of the Lord, some Christian who holds an oral tradition of St. James, or someone who happened to pen the book with James to add some importance or significance to it.

Has there been an scholarly study on the authorship of the book that may link the writings or ideas to St. James himself?

Thank you.

Mina
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« Reply #71 on: December 08, 2007, 04:34:56 PM »

Has there been an scholarly study on the authorship of the book that may link the writings or ideas to St. James himself?

I believe it dates to the mid second century, but if we're going to start judging books of scripture based on the time they were actually written and from that trying to surmise who the actual authors are, we may find more problems than we really want. Perhaps it's best to just accept the claims of authorship. Wink
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« Reply #72 on: December 09, 2007, 11:01:37 AM »

Hello,

Origen mentions it in his Commentaries on Matthew, so you know it is no newer than that!  Wink
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« Reply #73 on: December 09, 2007, 11:57:40 PM »

I believe it dates to the mid second century, but if we're going to start judging books of scripture based on the time they were actually written and from that trying to surmise who the actual authors are, we may find more problems than we really want. Perhaps it's best to just accept the claims of authorship. Wink

I hope I didn't come across as judgmental of books.  In any case, I know exactly what you mean, but I was just curious specifically about this one Wink
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« Reply #74 on: December 10, 2007, 04:09:45 AM »

The problem is a philosophical one.  Protestants view God as using something, not owning it.  I didn't get the difference until a couple weeks ago.  For example, in my old Protestant church the bread and grape juice would be thrown away or poured out.  They don't view it as belonging to God anymore.  An Orthodox would pass out at the equivalent sight.

Apply similar thinking to Mary.  God doesn't own her body, He's only used it to bring Christ into the world.  Once Jesus was born, Mary's body belongs to her and Joseph.  In an Orthodox mind, God does own things and His ownership is permanent.  Mary belonged to God and she continued to belong to Him even after she gave birth.  That's the reason why Mary's Ever-Virginity is obvious to Orthodox, but Protestants don't get it.

Doesn't tradition say that Joseph was elderly?  I would think Jospeh wouldn't have expected that sexual relations would be part of the marriage.
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« Reply #75 on: December 11, 2007, 08:18:23 AM »

I'm sorry, but I do not agree with that metaphorical interpretation of the text.

Peace and grace be with you Cleopas.

Why do you wilfully disobey 2nd Peter 1:20 and interpret the Holy Scripture privately without the wisdom of God's Church and historical facts?

Regarding some of your other comments, history tells us that St. Joseph was a widower in his 90s when the Lord Christ Jesus was born. He had no intent of having children with St. Mary. We have not changed this teaching throughout the centuries so it remains your responsibility to show otherwise though you are not able.

Women experience pain in birth because all men are conceived with the stain of sin as the Psalms and other passages affirm. Christ was conceived without sin and so there is no reason for His mother (the mother of God) to experience pain in birth.

You said that because Christ is fully human that He could not have past through St. Mary's womb. You neglect the fact that Christ is fully divine. Would you deny that Christ's other miracles are possible because He is fully human? After Christ arose he entered a locked room without any trouble. When Christ boarded the boat on the lake they were immediately at the shore. So we see that even in the human state Christ's divinity was not limited. At other times we see that Christ passed through a pressing crowd without any problems.

Perhaps you don't believe that Jesus Christ is God?
If this is so then all your other conversations here will be in vain.

Glad you have learned ought from being here though.

Pray for us please as we are sinners.

Helvidius' writings concering the perpetual virginity of the Theotokos appeared in around 383 AD, according to St. Jerome.  St. Jerome would then write his treaties De perpetua Virginitate B. Mariae; adversus Helvidium to refute Helvidius.

Could you please clarify in brief what Helvidius taught exactly? Thank you.

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« Reply #76 on: December 11, 2007, 12:43:53 PM »

Just a quick side-note question for GreekChef.  Do you cook really good gyros?  And what about pastries like baklava?  Grin

On a serious note though, you began to touch on the Protoevangelium of James claiming it was left to us by St. James himself.  What I understood about the Protoevangelium is that it was written probably by an anonymous Christian who wanted to share a third century view of the Virgin's story, and perhaps give some perspective on the Jewish Mishnah traditions being developed in the Syriac community.  But no one is sure of the authorship whether it be St. James the Brother of the Lord, some Christian who holds an oral tradition of St. James, or someone who happened to pen the book with James to add some importance or significance to it.

Has there been an scholarly study on the authorship of the book that may link the writings or ideas to St. James himself?

Thank you.

Mina

Mina,

I do like to cook gyros and baklava...  Smiley

As to your question, I'm actually not sure, I'll have to look it up and talk to my husband and see what he knows.  My understanding was always that it was left to us by St. James (or someone penned it for him, or was the oral tradition attributed to him...).  Cleveland might be able to answer this, though.  He's much more knowledgable in this area than I am.

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« Reply #77 on: December 11, 2007, 01:02:30 PM »


Doesn't tradition say that Joseph was elderly?  I would think Jospeh wouldn't have expected that sexual relations would be part of the marriage.


As I referenced before, the iconography of St. Joseph always depicts him as an elderly man, well past his prime.  And the iconography of the Church is also a means of revelation from the HOly Spirit to the Church.
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« Reply #78 on: December 11, 2007, 01:05:47 PM »

Hello,

I do like to cook gyros and baklava...  Smiley

How about Souvlaki?
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« Reply #79 on: December 11, 2007, 01:32:54 PM »

Hello,

How about Souvlaki?

And souvlaki...

You know, it's really not nice to remind me of the things I love to cook and eat in the middle of the fast!!!!!!!  Smiley

Just kidding.  Even though I don't eat them during the fast, I often still have to cook them for people who DO eat them... Sad
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« Reply #80 on: December 11, 2007, 07:19:31 PM »

Presbytera, please feel free to pass along some recipes!  Tongue
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« Reply #81 on: December 11, 2007, 07:21:03 PM »

Hello,

And souvlaki...

You know, it's really not nice to remind me of the things I love to cook and eat in the middle of the fast!!!!!!!  Smiley

Just kidding.  Even though I don't eat them during the fast, I often still have to cook them for people who DO eat them... Sad
That was thoughtless of me.  Embarrassed

You better pass me all the recipes and food so you're not so tempted.  Grin
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« Reply #82 on: December 11, 2007, 07:27:23 PM »

And souvlaki...

You know, it's really not nice to remind me of the things I love to cook and eat in the middle of the fast!!!!!!!  Smiley

Just kidding.  Even though I don't eat them during the fast, I often still have to cook them for people who DO eat them... Sad

Presbytera, please feel free to pass along some recipes!  Tongue

Pres Mari - go ahead and post some in the following threads:

Fasting Recipes
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11170.0.html

Feasting Recipes
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11177.0.html
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« Reply #83 on: December 12, 2007, 01:46:52 AM »

The Protoevangelium of James was authored around 150 a.d. Origen makes mention of it along with a lost Gospel of Peter which purportedly taught the same thing. The reason the author wrote in the name of James is because he would be the most likely candidate to know intimate details of Joseph and Mary.

The infancy narrative in the PJ is similar to a docetist account. One reason the early church had trouble with it and why we dont say Christ Passed thru her as 'light' or passed thru her like he passed thru the sealed tomb, although the latter would be quite Orthodox.

The avoidance of not tearing the hymen is saying she was a virgin "during" birth. In the near east, even to this day, virginity  is dependant on this, regardless if the female has been with a man. The preservation of Mary of the fruits inherited to all women thru  the fallen Eve for her disobedience was always an aspect of christology in the early church, Mary being the New Eve as Christ was the New Adam:

"He declared that the Word would become flesh. He declared that the Son of God would become the Son of Man. For the Pure One  opened purely the pure womb that regenerates men unto God. For He Himself makes it pure." -St Irenaeous 180 a.d.

The whole point is that Christ was without sin, thus the sinless One in the womb was not subject to the fruits of the fall. His incarnation overcame the ancestral curse of man and rendered the Theotokos womb incorrupt.

In the Orthodox Nativity Service we sing, "For God the All-Perfect is born a babe from her. and by his birth He sets the seal upon her virginity. Thru his swaddling clothes he looses the bands of sin and through becoming Child He heals Eve's pangs in travail.."

Perhaps the earliest written account of this comes from the Odes of Solomon possibly as early as 90-100 a.d.- "The womb of the Virgin took it, and she recieved conception and gave birth. So the Virgin became a mother with great mercies.  And she labored and bore the Son but without pain, becausr it did not occur without purpose.. (ode 19.6-8)

All three examples demonstrates Christ in the womb incarnation preserved Mary's womb inviolate, not that she was born without ancestral sin. She was one with the rest of the  humanrace.

If the Virgin Mary ceased being a virgin later on, there would be no point to emphasis that she remained a virgin 'during" the birth. But because there was always this emphasis including the title "Virgin Mary" concludes she was ever-virgin.


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« Reply #84 on: December 12, 2007, 11:06:23 PM »

Thought this might interest people here. It's the Coptic Synaxarium reading for today (Thursday the 13th of December 2007 Gregorian calendar):
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Start of Reading
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      The Coptic Synaxarium Readings for: Kiahk 3

[1] The Entrance of Saint Mary into the Temple at Jerusalem

On this day we commemorate the entrance of our holy Lady, the Virgin, Saint Mary, the Theotokos, into the Temple when she was three years old, for she was dedicated to God.

Her mother, Anna (Hannah), was childless. The women who were in the Temple stayed away from her. She was exceedingly sad and so was her husband Joachim who was a blessed old man. She prayed to God fervently and with a contrite heart saying, "If You give me a fruit, I will devote the child to Your Holy Temple." God answered her prayers and she brought forth this pure saint and called her Mary.

She reared her for three years, after which she took her to live with the virgins in the Temple. Saint Mary dwelt in the sanctuary for 12 years. She received her food from the hands of the angels, until the time when our Lord Christ came into the world, and was incarnated through her, the elect of all women.

When she had completed 12 years in the sanctuary, the priests took counsel together concerning her, so that they might entrust her to someone who would protect her, for she was consecrated to God and they were not allowed to keep her in the temple after this age. They decided that she be engaged to a man who could take care of her and who would look after her.

They gathered 12 righteous men from the house of David of the Tribe of Juda so they might place her with one of them. They took their staffs inside the Sanctuary, and a dove flew up and stood on the staff belonging to Joseph the carpenter who was a righteous man. They knew that this was God's will.

Joseph took the holy Virgin St. Mary, and she dwelt with him until Gabriel, the Angel of the Lord, came to her and announced to her that the Son of God was to be incarnated from her, for the salvation of Adam and his posterity.

Her intercession be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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« Reply #85 on: March 26, 2008, 06:14:10 PM »

Thanks. I had a feeling it was a translation issue.

Yes, I believe so, too. Even though I do not know Greek, I know that translating "eos" as "until" is not perfect. In the Ukrainian translation of the New Testament, done by Prof. Ivan Ohienko (directly from Greek - he never used English translations, and I am not sure he even knew any English!), Matthew 1:25 says:

І не знав він її, аж Сина свого первородженого вона породила, а він дав Йому ймення Ісус. http://bible.pp.ru/bible/ukr/40/01/

(Literally: and he did not know her, even when she gave birth to her firstborn son, and he gave him the name Jesus.)
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« Reply #86 on: March 26, 2008, 08:34:55 PM »

Hello,
Other than an uber explicit scriptural verse that says "Mary was a virgin always, before, during, and after the birth of Jesus!", what other source of authority could we appeal to that you would listen to?
I think the word study on eos showed that this is an explicit scriptural verse.
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« Reply #87 on: March 26, 2008, 09:04:20 PM »

Keep in mind that the verse in Matt 1.25, "And knew her not till.." in the original koine greek is written in the imperfect tense. The imperfect tense demonstrates continuous action in past time. A better translation would have been "And was knowing her not..."

Another words, Joseph was betrothed to her(Matt 1.18) and betrothal in the jewish custom forbade sexual relations. Later Joseph takes Mary as his wife to cover the law (Matt 1.24).

When put together Matt 1.24-25, "Then Joseph being raised from sleep did what the angel of the Lord had bidden him and took unto him his wife, And was knowing her not......"

The word 'till' (eos) has already been discussed for the proper understanding. 
 
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« Reply #88 on: March 26, 2008, 09:26:25 PM »

I concur; past imperfect indicative refers to a continuous action in the past that has not necessarily ever been completed.  So to create a rather choppy but more acurate translation we could say " . . . and he was continuing not to come to know her even until and thereafter she was bearing the son her firstborn . . ." This makes for pretty tough reading especially if the whole bible were translated in this way.

Most translations opt for a literal word for word as much as possible.  This is a clear example where the meaning of the original Greek does not come through adequately in English.
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« Reply #89 on: March 26, 2008, 09:37:26 PM »

I think what we need to consider here is that if one is going to hang his or her theology on a single word that it should be backed up with a solid knowledge of the common Greek of the LXX and NT.
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« Reply #90 on: January 12, 2009, 11:17:36 AM »

Just thought I'd resurrect this thread, since it came up in another thread.

Thanks. I had a feeling it was a translation issue.

Yes, I believe so, too. Even though I do not know Greek, I know that translating "eos" as "until" is not perfect. In the Ukrainian translation of the New Testament, done by Prof. Ivan Ohienko (directly from Greek - he never used English translations, and I am not sure he even knew any English!), Matthew 1:25 says:

І не знав він її, аж Сина свого первородженого вона породила, а він дав Йому ймення Ісус. http://bible.pp.ru/bible/ukr/40/01/

(Literally: and he did not know her, even when she gave birth to her firstborn son, and he gave him the name Jesus.)

Isn't it funny to think that, had someone who opposes this doctrine based on the English translation been born into another culture, speaking another language, they would most likely agree with us, rather than oppose it?  Protestants disagree based on English translations, so does that make the rest of the world wrong?  Just food for thought.  I think there's more that bears saying in this thread.  I'm gonna go back and read and comment later.
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« Reply #91 on: January 12, 2009, 01:12:53 PM »

Just thought I'd resurrect this thread, since it came up in another thread.

Thanks. I had a feeling it was a translation issue.

Yes, I believe so, too. Even though I do not know Greek, I know that translating "eos" as "until" is not perfect. In the Ukrainian translation of the New Testament, done by Prof. Ivan Ohienko (directly from Greek - he never used English translations, and I am not sure he even knew any English!), Matthew 1:25 says:

І не знав він її, аж Сина свого первородженого вона породила, а він дав Йому ймення Ісус. http://bible.pp.ru/bible/ukr/40/01/

(Literally: and he did not know her, even when she gave birth to her firstborn son, and he gave him the name Jesus.)

Isn't it funny to think that, had someone who opposes this doctrine based on the English translation been born into another culture, speaking another language, they would most likely agree with us, rather than oppose it?  Protestants disagree based on English translations, so does that make the rest of the world wrong?  Just food for thought.  I think there's more that bears saying in this thread.  I'm gonna go back and read and comment later.

I don't know if this has been brought up (I presently don't have time to go through the thread now), but I thought I'd mention that all the Reformers believed in the Perpetual Virginity.  Its denial among Protestants only dates from about 200 years, if that.
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« Reply #92 on: January 12, 2009, 01:49:55 PM »

Just thought I'd resurrect this thread, since it came up in another thread.

Thanks. I had a feeling it was a translation issue.

Yes, I believe so, too. Even though I do not know Greek, I know that translating "eos" as "until" is not perfect. In the Ukrainian translation of the New Testament, done by Prof. Ivan Ohienko (directly from Greek - he never used English translations, and I am not sure he even knew any English!), Matthew 1:25 says:

І не знав він її, аж Сина свого первородженого вона породила, а він дав Йому ймення Ісус. http://bible.pp.ru/bible/ukr/40/01/

(Literally: and he did not know her, even when she gave birth to her firstborn son, and he gave him the name Jesus.)

Isn't it funny to think that, had someone who opposes this doctrine based on the English translation been born into another culture, speaking another language, they would most likely agree with us, rather than oppose it?  Protestants disagree based on English translations, so does that make the rest of the world wrong?  Just food for thought.  I think there's more that bears saying in this thread.  I'm gonna go back and read and comment later.

I don't know if this has been brought up (I presently don't have time to go through the thread now), but I thought I'd mention that all the Reformers believed in the Perpetual Virginity.  Its denial among Protestants only dates from about 200 years, if that.

I don't believe it has, Isa, but don't forget what it is that we're dealing with here... they now subscribe to the opinion that, no matter what the previous belief was (whether it was us, the Early Church, the Catholics, or the parent denomination that they split away from), they are right because their belief doesn't jive with the old one.  My opinion is X, therefore the old denominations must be wrong.  My intentions are good, therefore my interpretation must be correct.  So, they probably don't care that the Reformers believed in the Perpetual Virginity of the Theotokos.  They think they are expanding and perfecting (rather than going astray).  Just thought I'd mention it.
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« Reply #93 on: January 12, 2009, 02:34:21 PM »

Ezekiel 44 makes it clear that the gate through which God entered the world must remain shut and noone else was to enter by it.

I'm sorry, but I do not agree with that metaphorical interpretation of the text.

But you agree with other personal interpretations of your own, such as the "until" and etc.?  Arn't you picking and choosing here?  Sorry...just trying to find some consistency here. 
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« Reply #94 on: January 12, 2009, 02:49:21 PM »

Just thought I'd resurrect this thread, since it came up in another thread.

Thanks. I had a feeling it was a translation issue.

Yes, I believe so, too. Even though I do not know Greek, I know that translating "eos" as "until" is not perfect. In the Ukrainian translation of the New Testament, done by Prof. Ivan Ohienko (directly from Greek - he never used English translations, and I am not sure he even knew any English!), Matthew 1:25 says:

І не знав він її, аж Сина свого первородженого вона породила, а він дав Йому ймення Ісус. http://bible.pp.ru/bible/ukr/40/01/

(Literally: and he did not know her, even when she gave birth to her firstborn son, and he gave him the name Jesus.)

Isn't it funny to think that, had someone who opposes this doctrine based on the English translation been born into another culture, speaking another language, they would most likely agree with us, rather than oppose it?  Protestants disagree based on English translations, so does that make the rest of the world wrong?  Just food for thought.  I think there's more that bears saying in this thread.  I'm gonna go back and read and comment later.

I don't know if this has been brought up (I presently don't have time to go through the thread now), but I thought I'd mention that all the Reformers believed in the Perpetual Virginity.  Its denial among Protestants only dates from about 200 years, if that.

I don't believe it has, Isa, but don't forget what it is that we're dealing with here... they now subscribe to the opinion that, no matter what the previous belief was (whether it was us, the Early Church, the Catholics, or the parent denomination that they split away from), they are right because their belief doesn't jive with the old one.  My opinion is X, therefore the old denominations must be wrong.  My intentions are good, therefore my interpretation must be correct.  So, they probably don't care that the Reformers believed in the Perpetual Virginity of the Theotokos.  They think they are expanding and perfecting (rather than going astray).  Just thought I'd mention it.

Yes, the perpetual reinvention of the Faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3) is a wonder to behold.

Evidently the Bible is all sufficient, as their story is always changing.

I know that I won't have been swayed by what Luther said on the matter when I was Lutheran, and it is only in retrospect, when I had joined the Church, that I could look back and understand the import of 1800 years of interpretation of Scripture of her remaining a Virgin, without any naysayers until Tertullian and Helvidius, centuries after the Apostles and both of whom did so on ideological grounds and neither of whom appealed to previous authorities.
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« Reply #95 on: January 12, 2009, 02:55:25 PM »

Not to take away from the dialogue with Cleopas, but...

I think that this has been stated before, within this thread and as well as others.  But, the crux of the matter for ME, and a question for all, is whether or not it is a Dogmatic statement.  We have said that her ever-virginity is biblically sound (some have made this statement).  However, there was someone either on this thread or another one (having difficulty finding it now) who said that the Ever-Virginity was declared Dogma by an Ecumenical Council...unless I skipped something in Ephesus, this was never declared.  Now, on the other hand, John of Damascus' dogmatics states that she is ever virgin, but that's not an ecumenical council. 

If anyone wants to help me out with this, that would be great.  Didn't want to derail anything though...


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« Reply #96 on: January 12, 2009, 03:21:48 PM »

Not to take away from the dialogue with Cleopas, but...

I think that this has been stated before, within this thread and as well as others.  But, the crux of the matter for ME, and a question for all, is whether or not it is a Dogmatic statement.  We have said that her ever-virginity is biblically sound (some have made this statement).  However, there was someone either on this thread or another one (having difficulty finding it now) who said that the Ever-Virginity was declared Dogma by an Ecumenical Council...unless I skipped something in Ephesus, this was never declared.  Now, on the other hand, John of Damascus' dogmatics states that she is ever virgin, but that's not an ecumenical council. 

If anyone wants to help me out with this, that would be great.  Didn't want to derail anything though...




The title is used at the Councils, but never as an object of dogma.


The title Ever-Virgin was used by Pope Leo in his tome for Chalcedon, as did Pope Vigilius (when he got around to submitting to the Fifth Ecumenical Council's decion, and Pope Agatho in his letter to the Fathers at Constantinople III
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xiii.vi.html?highlight=ever,virgin#highlight
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xii.xii.html?highlight=ever,virgin#highlight

The fathers of the Fifth Council issued this anathema:
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.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xii.vii.html

and in their definition:

Having thus detailed all that has been done by us, we again confess that we receive the four holy Synods, that is, the Nicene, the Constantinopolitan, the first of Ephesus, and that of Chalcedon, and we have taught, and do teach all that they defined respecting the one faith.  And we account those who do not receive these things aliens from the Catholic Church.  Moreover we condemn and anathematize, together with all the other heretics who have been condemned and anathematized by the before-mentioned four holy Synods, and by the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, Theodore who was Bishop of Mopsuestia, and his impious writings, and also those things which Theodoret impiously wrote against the right faith, and against the Twelve Chapters of the holy Cyril, and against the first Synod of Ephesus, and also those which he wrote in defence of Theodore and Nestorius.  In addition to these we also anathematize the impious Epistle which Ibas is said to have written to Maris, the Persian, which denies that God the Word was incarnate of the holy Mother of God, and ever Virgin Mary, and accuses Cyril of holy memory, who taught the truth, as an heretic, and of the same sentiments with Apollinaris, and blames the first Synod of Ephesus as deposing Nestorius without examination and inquiry, and calls the Twelve Chapters of the holy Cyril impious, and contrary to the right faith, and defends Theodorus and Nestorius, and their impious dogmas and writings.  We therefore anathematize the Three Chapters before-mentioned, that is, the impious Theodore of Mopsuestia, with his execrable writings, and those things which Theodoret impiously wrote, and the impious letter which is said to be of Ibas, and their defenders, and those who have written or do write in defence of them, or who dare to say that they are correct, and who have defended or attempt to defend their impiety with the names of the holy Fathers, or of the holy Council of Chalcedon.  These things therefore being settled with all accuracy, we, bearing in remembrance the promises made respecting the holy Church, and who it was that said that the gates of hell should not prevail against her, that is, the deadly tongues of heretics; remembering also what was prophesied respecting it by Hosea, saying, “I will betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord,” and numbering together with the devil, the father of lies, the unbridled tongues of heretics who persevered in their impiety unto death, and their most impious writings, will say to them, “Behold, all ye kindle a fire, and cause the flame of the fire to grow strong, ye shall walk in the light of your fire, and the flame which ye kindle.”  But we, having a commandment to exhort the people with right doctrine, and to speak to the heart of Jerusalem, that is, the Church of God, do rightly make haste to sow in righteousness, and to reap the fruit of life; and kindling for ourselves the light of knowledge from the holy Scriptures, and the doctrine of the Fathers, we have considered it necessary to comprehend in certain Capitula, both the declaration of the truth, and the condemnation of heretics, and of their wickedness.



Canon I of Trullo reads:
Moreover what things were set forth by the two hundred God-bearing fathers in the city of Ephesus in the days of Theodosius our Emperor, the son of Arcadius; these doctrines we assent to as the unbroken strength of piety, teaching that Christ the incarnate Son of God is one; and declaring that she who bare him without human seed was the immaculate Ever-Virgin, glorifying her as literally and in very truth the Mother of God.  We condemn as foreign to the divine scheme the absurd division of Nestorius, who teaches that the one Christ consists of a man separately and of the Godhead separately and renews the Jewish impiety.

Btw, even the Iconoclasts used the title, in their own " seventh ecumenical" council:

If anyone shall not confess that the Ever-virgin Mary is properly and truly the Mother of God, and more exalted than every creature, whether visible or invisible, and does not seek her intercessions with sincere faith because she has confidence in approaching our God. who was born of her, let him be anathema.” (L. and C., Conc., Tom. VII., col. 524.)
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xvi.v.html

(15)  If anyone shall not confess the holy ever-virgin Mary, truly and properly the Mother of God, to be higher than every creature whether visible or invisible, and does not with sincere faith seek her intercessions as of one having confidence in her access to our God, since she bare him, etc.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xvi.x.html

The decree of Nicea II reads in pertinent part:
We detest and anathematize Arius and all the sharers of his absurd opinion; also Macedonius and those who following him are well styled “Foes of the Spirit” (Pneumatomachi).  We confess that our Lady, St. Mary, is properly and truly the Mother of God, because she was the Mother after the flesh of One Person of the Holy Trinity, to wit, Christ our God, as the Council of Ephesus has already defined when it cast out of the Church the impious Nestorius with his colleagues, because he taught that there were two Persons [in Christ].  With the Fathers of this synod we confess that he who was incarnate of the immaculate Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary has two natures, recognizing him as perfect God and perfect man, as also the Council of Chalcedon hath promulgated, expelling from the divine Atrium [αὐλῆς] as blasphemers, Eutyches and Dioscorus; and placing in the same category Severus, Peter and a number of others, blaspheming in divers fashions.  Moreover, with these we anathematize the fables of Origen, Evagrius, and 550Didymus, in accordance with the decision of the Fifth Council held at Constantinople.  We affirm that in Christ there be two wills and two operations according to the reality of each nature, as also the Sixth Synod, held at Constantinople, taught, casting out Sergius, Honorius, Cyrus, Pyrrhus, Macarius, and those who agree with them, and all those who are unwilling to be reverent.
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« Reply #97 on: January 12, 2009, 03:27:18 PM »

It seems, from the writings of the councils, that Mary's Ever-Virginity is a presupposition of the Fathers, assumed to be true and not in question at any time.  It wouldn't be dogmatic per se, but if they presupposed it to be true.... Well, for the Orthodox, at least, that's a big deal.
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« Reply #98 on: January 12, 2009, 03:38:09 PM »

I think we should consider it "dogmatic".
Let's take this as an example: If I say: "A black dog lies under the table, whoever denies this is a liar" it doesn't matter if you deny the entire sentence (i.e. "There's no black dog lying under the table") or if you deny only one aspect (e.g. "The dog lying under the table is white"): in both cases you are denying that a black dog lies under the table, and if I'm right then you're indeed a liar!

PS Since the 2nd Council of Constantinople is right (being inspired by the Holy Ghost, as the Orthodox do believe) then no Orthodox could ever put this doctrine in discussion and still stay Orthodox!

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« Reply #99 on: January 12, 2009, 04:11:37 PM »

I think we should consider it "dogmatic".

Hmmm.  While your reasoning isn't flawed, it's missing the point: the Ever-Virginity of the Theotokos could only be dogmatic in how it relates to Christ; if, say, as fulfillment of the prophecies regarding Himself (coming through the gate which is shut and still shut), maybe.
Considering it as "dogmatic," while it isn't actually dogmatic, is still dangerous; one cannot be Orthodox while denying dogma - and until one can show how the perpetual Virginity of the Theotokos is necessary for our Christian Faith, then it is neither dogmatic nor "dogmatic."
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« Reply #100 on: January 12, 2009, 04:49:45 PM »

Not to take away from the dialogue with Cleopas, but...

I think that this has been stated before, within this thread and as well as others.  But, the crux of the matter for ME, and a question for all, is whether or not it is a Dogmatic statement.  We have said that her ever-virginity is biblically sound (some have made this statement).  However, there was someone either on this thread or another one (having difficulty finding it now) who said that the Ever-Virginity was declared Dogma by an Ecumenical Council...unless I skipped something in Ephesus, this was never declared.  Now, on the other hand, John of Damascus' dogmatics states that she is ever virgin, but that's not an ecumenical council. 

If anyone wants to help me out with this, that would be great.  Didn't want to derail anything though...




The title is used at the Councils, but never as an object of dogma.


The title Ever-Virgin was used by Pope Leo in his tome for Chalcedon, as did Pope Vigilius (when he got around to submitting to the Fifth Ecumenical Council's decion, and Pope Agatho in his letter to the Fathers at Constantinople III
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xiii.vi.html?highlight=ever,virgin#highlight
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xii.xii.html?highlight=ever,virgin#highlight

The fathers of the Fifth Council issued this anathema:
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.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xii.vii.html

and in their definition:

Having thus detailed all that has been done by us, we again confess that we receive the four holy Synods, that is, the Nicene, the Constantinopolitan, the first of Ephesus, and that of Chalcedon, and we have taught, and do teach all that they defined respecting the one faith.  And we account those who do not receive these things aliens from the Catholic Church.  Moreover we condemn and anathematize, together with all the other heretics who have been condemned and anathematized by the before-mentioned four holy Synods, and by the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, Theodore who was Bishop of Mopsuestia, and his impious writings, and also those things which Theodoret impiously wrote against the right faith, and against the Twelve Chapters of the holy Cyril, and against the first Synod of Ephesus, and also those which he wrote in defence of Theodore and Nestorius.  In addition to these we also anathematize the impious Epistle which Ibas is said to have written to Maris, the Persian, which denies that God the Word was incarnate of the holy Mother of God, and ever Virgin Mary, and accuses Cyril of holy memory, who taught the truth, as an heretic, and of the same sentiments with Apollinaris, and blames the first Synod of Ephesus as deposing Nestorius without examination and inquiry, and calls the Twelve Chapters of the holy Cyril impious, and contrary to the right faith, and defends Theodorus and Nestorius, and their impious dogmas and writings.  We therefore anathematize the Three Chapters before-mentioned, that is, the impious Theodore of Mopsuestia, with his execrable writings, and those things which Theodoret impiously wrote, and the impious letter which is said to be of Ibas, and their defenders, and those who have written or do write in defence of them, or who dare to say that they are correct, and who have defended or attempt to defend their impiety with the names of the holy Fathers, or of the holy Council of Chalcedon.  These things therefore being settled with all accuracy, we, bearing in remembrance the promises made respecting the holy Church, and who it was that said that the gates of hell should not prevail against her, that is, the deadly tongues of heretics; remembering also what was prophesied respecting it by Hosea, saying, “I will betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord,” and numbering together with the devil, the father of lies, the unbridled tongues of heretics who persevered in their impiety unto death, and their most impious writings, will say to them, “Behold, all ye kindle a fire, and cause the flame of the fire to grow strong, ye shall walk in the light of your fire, and the flame which ye kindle.”  But we, having a commandment to exhort the people with right doctrine, and to speak to the heart of Jerusalem, that is, the Church of God, do rightly make haste to sow in righteousness, and to reap the fruit of life; and kindling for ourselves the light of knowledge from the holy Scriptures, and the doctrine of the Fathers, we have considered it necessary to comprehend in certain Capitula, both the declaration of the truth, and the condemnation of heretics, and of their wickedness.



Canon I of Trullo reads:
Moreover what things were set forth by the two hundred God-bearing fathers in the city of Ephesus in the days of Theodosius our Emperor, the son of Arcadius; these doctrines we assent to as the unbroken strength of piety, teaching that Christ the incarnate Son of God is one; and declaring that she who bare him without human seed was the immaculate Ever-Virgin, glorifying her as literally and in very truth the Mother of God.  We condemn as foreign to the divine scheme the absurd division of Nestorius, who teaches that the one Christ consists of a man separately and of the Godhead separately and renews the Jewish impiety.

Btw, even the Iconoclasts used the title, in their own " seventh ecumenical" council:

If anyone shall not confess that the Ever-virgin Mary is properly and truly the Mother of God, and more exalted than every creature, whether visible or invisible, and does not seek her intercessions with sincere faith because she has confidence in approaching our God. who was born of her, let him be anathema.” (L. and C., Conc., Tom. VII., col. 524.)
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xvi.v.html

(15)  If anyone shall not confess the holy ever-virgin Mary, truly and properly the Mother of God, to be higher than every creature whether visible or invisible, and does not with sincere faith seek her intercessions as of one having confidence in her access to our God, since she bare him, etc.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xvi.x.html

The decree of Nicea II reads in pertinent part:
We detest and anathematize Arius and all the sharers of his absurd opinion; also Macedonius and those who following him are well styled “Foes of the Spirit” (Pneumatomachi).  We confess that our Lady, St. Mary, is properly and truly the Mother of God, because she was the Mother after the flesh of One Person of the Holy Trinity, to wit, Christ our God, as the Council of Ephesus has already defined when it cast out of the Church the impious Nestorius with his colleagues, because he taught that there were two Persons [in Christ].  With the Fathers of this synod we confess that he who was incarnate of the immaculate Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary has two natures, recognizing him as perfect God and perfect man, as also the Council of Chalcedon hath promulgated, expelling from the divine Atrium [αὐλῆς] as blasphemers, Eutyches and Dioscorus; and placing in the same category Severus, Peter and a number of others, blaspheming in divers fashions.  Moreover, with these we anathematize the fables of Origen, Evagrius, and 550Didymus, in accordance with the decision of the Fifth Council held at Constantinople.  We affirm that in Christ there be two wills and two operations according to the reality of each nature, as also the Sixth Synod, held at Constantinople, taught, casting out Sergius, Honorius, Cyrus, Pyrrhus, Macarius, and those who agree with them, and all those who are unwilling to be reverent.

Thank you very much!  I have done some pretty extensive research on Constantinople II, so I was aware of that little snipet, but the other stuff is very good as well! 

My problem really came down to what Cleveland just said above, that it is not pertinent to our salvation, which is from Christ alone. 
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« Reply #101 on: January 13, 2009, 12:42:55 PM »

There are some posts dated 13.1.2009 on the theme of Mary's perpetual virginity on the Sola Scriptura thread. I don't really want to come over to this thread myself, as it is not a theme which is close to my heart, but it was suggested that the debate under Sola Scriptura overlaps at the point it has reached with the matter of this thread.
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« Reply #102 on: January 13, 2009, 12:57:48 PM »

For ease of reference, the post to which David Young is referring is located here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13210.msg284163.html#msg284163

Please keep the discussion of perpetual virginity itself here, and make comments about the relationship between perpetual virginity and sola scriptura on the sola scriptura thread. Thank you.
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« Reply #103 on: January 13, 2009, 06:06:12 PM »

When Christ was on the cross, He looked down, and committed the Apostle John to his Mother saying "behold thy mother" and "behold thy son". This act demonstrates that Christ was her only child, and that the disciple John who was the youngest was motherless.
The scripture says,  "And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home".(Jn19.27) If Mary had other children it would presuppose that she packed her bags immediately, moved out of James house without warning, and forsaken her other children for John. Likewise if it was an act of adopting John then John would have moved into Mary's and James house, not the other way around. 

Maybe I shouldn't help the "other side" in this debate, but I think you emphasise your weakest arguments and seldom mention your stronger ones! (Not only on this matter.) Appealing to the Protoevangelium of James and to an unusual use of the word 'eos' is unconvincing, because the former is regarded as a piece of late pseudepigraphy by those who do not accept it as an act of faith, and the latter flies in the face of usual linguistic practice.

In my opinion as an outsider, buzuxi's argument quoted above carries more weight than the others. I have only consulted three commentaries; two ignore the point, and the third suggests that Jesus preferred to entrust his mother to a believer rather than to her own younger children (for we know that Jesus's brothers did not believe in him at first). My uninformed guess is that this would have run contrary to normal 1st century Jewish practice: but it is only a guess, and I should need to consult an expert if the point were pursued.
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« Reply #104 on: January 13, 2009, 06:11:48 PM »

Maybe I shouldn't help the "other side" in this debate, but I think you emphasise your weakest arguments and seldom mention your stronger ones! (Not only on this matter.) Appealing to the Protoevangelium of James and to an unusual use of the word 'eos' is unconvincing,... the latter flies in the face of usual linguistic practice.

Dear David, but why? It flies in the face of those who are used to *English* translations of the Bible - maybe; but are you sure it's against the Greek linguistic practice and that it is all that "unusual" to translate "eos" as "even when" rather than "until?"
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« Reply #105 on: January 19, 2009, 06:24:36 PM »

Why was Mary always a virgin? Because she just was. There are theological reasons sure, but the simplest reason is just that's the truth. You know, in the simplest sense, that Christians never forgot this fact and passed down this fact from generation to generation.

How can we know this? Well, we have the writings of the Church Fathers and the Tradition that was passed down to us. A part of this Tradition is the writings of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignatius_of_Antioch). He was a disciple of St. John the Apostle, whom we know as the one to which Christ gave Mary upon his death.

St. Ignatius wrote to St. John (and the Virgin) and we have some of his letters. Below is one:

Quote
The Epistle of Ignatius to St. John the Apostle

We are deeply grieved at thy delay in strengthening us by thy addresses and consolations. If
thy absence be prolonged, it will disappoint many of us. Hasten then to come, for we believe that
it is expedient. There are also many of our women here, who are desirous to see Mary [the mother]
of Jesus, and wish day by day to run off from us to you, that they may meet with her, and touch
those breasts of hers which nourished the Lord Jesus, and may inquire of her respecting some rather
secret matters. But Salome also, [the daughter of Anna,] whom thou lovest, who stayed with her
five months at Jerusalem, and some other well-known persons, relate that she is full of all graces
and all virtues, after the manner of a virgin, fruitful in virtue and grace. And, as they report, she is
cheerful in persecutions and afflictions, free from murmuring in the midst of penury and want,
grateful to those that injure her, and rejoices when exposed to troubles: she sympathizes with the
wretched and the afflicted as sharing in their afflictions, and is not slow to come to their assistance.
Moreover, she shines forth gloriously as contending in the fight of faith against the pernicious
conflicts of vicious principles or conduct. She is the lady of our new religion and repentance,
and the handmaid among the faithful of all works of piety. She is indeed devoted to the humble,
and she humbles herself more devotedly than the devoted, and is wonderfully magnified by all,
while at the same time she suffers detraction from the Scribes and Pharisees. Besides these points,
many relate to us numerous other things regarding her. We do not, however, go so far as to believe
all in every particular; nor do we mention such to thee. But, as we are informed by those who are
worthy of credit, there is in Mary the mother of Jesus an angelic purity of nature allied with the
nature of humanity. And such reports as these have greatly excited our emotions, and urge us
eagerly to desire a sight of this (if it be lawful so to speak) heavenly prodigy and most sacred marvel.
But do thou in haste comply with this our desire; and fare thou well. Amen.

St. Ignatius relates that she really acts as she is, in the manner of a virgin, or one who is celibate and viewed as being "fruitful in virtue and grace".

As a Protestant I expect your natural inclination will be to interpret what is being said as mere metaphor or being a virgin symbolically but try to put your trust in the early church via the workings of the Holy Spirit. And that what was handed down was preserved by God because it was truth.
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« Reply #106 on: January 19, 2009, 07:02:07 PM »

Quote
The Epistle of Ignatius to St. John the Apostle

We are deeply grieved at thy delay in strengthening us by thy addresses and consolations. If
thy absence be prolonged, it will disappoint many of us. Hasten then to come, for we believe that
it is expedient. There are also many of our women here, who are desirous to see Mary [the mother]
of Jesus, and wish day by day to run off from us to you, that they may meet with her, and touch
those breasts of hers which nourished the Lord Jesus, and may inquire of her respecting some rather
secret matters. But Salome also, [the daughter of Anna,] whom thou lovest, who stayed with her
five months at Jerusalem, and some other well-known persons, relate that she is full of all graces
and all virtues, after the manner of a virgin, fruitful in virtue and grace. And, as they report, she is
cheerful in persecutions and afflictions, free from murmuring in the midst of penury and want,
grateful to those that injure her, and rejoices when exposed to troubles: she sympathizes with the
wretched and the afflicted as sharing in their afflictions, and is not slow to come to their assistance.
Moreover, she shines forth gloriously as contending in the fight of faith against the pernicious
conflicts of vicious principles or conduct. She is the lady of our new religion and repentance,
and the handmaid among the faithful of all works of piety. She is indeed devoted to the humble,
and she humbles herself more devotedly than the devoted, and is wonderfully magnified by all,
while at the same time she suffers detraction from the Scribes and Pharisees. Besides these points,
many relate to us numerous other things regarding her. We do not, however, go so far as to believe
all in every particular; nor do we mention such to thee. But, as we are informed by those who are
worthy of credit, there is in Mary the mother of Jesus an angelic purity of nature allied with the
nature of humanity. And such reports as these have greatly excited our emotions, and urge us
eagerly to desire a sight of this (if it be lawful so to speak) heavenly prodigy and most sacred marvel.
But do thou in haste comply with this our desire; and fare thou well. Amen.

St. Ignatius relates that she really acts as she is, in the manner of a virgin, or one who is celibate and viewed as being "fruitful in virtue and grace".
As a former Protestant, I can safely say that you're not going to convince Protestants of Mary's ever-virginity using just this letter from St. Ignatius.  For one, "after the manner of a virgin" doesn't clearly mean that Mary was a virgin at the time St. Ignatius wrote this letter.  The phrase certainly can imply that Mary was indeed a virgin, but it doesn't say so explicitly.  One would have to already believe in Mary's ever-virginity, something many of today's Protestants are unwilling to accept, to see this letter of St. Ignatius as supporting such belief.  To those who don't believe in Mary's ever-virginity, this letter of St. Ignatius will most likely offer nothing convincing.

One other thing:  Can you tell us where you got this letter from St. Ignatius so we can read the primary source for ourselves?  I'm looking for a link or a bibliographical footnote.


BTW, I see you've been gone for a few years, so welcome back to OC.net. Grin
« Last Edit: January 19, 2009, 07:05:04 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #107 on: January 19, 2009, 10:54:34 PM »

When Christ was on the cross, He looked down, and committed the Apostle John to his Mother saying "behold thy mother" and "behold thy son". This act demonstrates that Christ was her only child, and that the disciple John who was the youngest was motherless.
The scripture says,  "And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home".(Jn19.27) If Mary had other children it would presuppose that she packed her bags immediately, moved out of James house without warning, and forsaken her other children for John. Likewise if it was an act of adopting John then John would have moved into Mary's and James house, not the other way around. 

Maybe I shouldn't help the "other side" in this debate, but I think you emphasise your weakest arguments and seldom mention your stronger ones! (Not only on this matter.) Appealing to the Protoevangelium of James and to an unusual use of the word 'eos' is unconvincing, because the former is regarded as a piece of late pseudepigraphy by those who do not accept it as an act of faith, and the latter flies in the face of usual linguistic practice.

An old reply (2 Kingdoms (Samuel) 6:23):
καὶ τῇ μελχολ θυγατρὶ σαουλ οὐκ ἐγένετο παιδίον ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας τοῦ ἀποθανεῖν αὐτήν
Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

So, did she have one AFTER she died? Shocked
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« Reply #108 on: January 19, 2009, 11:01:22 PM »

Quote
The Epistle of Ignatius to St. John the Apostle

We are deeply grieved at thy delay in strengthening us by thy addresses and consolations. If
thy absence be prolonged, it will disappoint many of us. Hasten then to come, for we believe that
it is expedient. There are also many of our women here, who are desirous to see Mary [the mother]
of Jesus, and wish day by day to run off from us to you, that they may meet with her, and touch
those breasts of hers which nourished the Lord Jesus, and may inquire of her respecting some rather
secret matters. But Salome also, [the daughter of Anna,] whom thou lovest, who stayed with her
five months at Jerusalem, and some other well-known persons, relate that she is full of all graces
and all virtues, after the manner of a virgin, fruitful in virtue and grace. And, as they report, she is
cheerful in persecutions and afflictions, free from murmuring in the midst of penury and want,
grateful to those that injure her, and rejoices when exposed to troubles: she sympathizes with the
wretched and the afflicted as sharing in their afflictions, and is not slow to come to their assistance.
Moreover, she shines forth gloriously as contending in the fight of faith against the pernicious
conflicts of vicious principles or conduct. She is the lady of our new religion and repentance,
and the handmaid among the faithful of all works of piety. She is indeed devoted to the humble,
and she humbles herself more devotedly than the devoted, and is wonderfully magnified by all,
while at the same time she suffers detraction from the Scribes and Pharisees. Besides these points,
many relate to us numerous other things regarding her. We do not, however, go so far as to believe
all in every particular; nor do we mention such to thee. But, as we are informed by those who are
worthy of credit, there is in Mary the mother of Jesus an angelic purity of nature allied with the
nature of humanity. And such reports as these have greatly excited our emotions, and urge us
eagerly to desire a sight of this (if it be lawful so to speak) heavenly prodigy and most sacred marvel.
But do thou in haste comply with this our desire; and fare thou well. Amen.

St. Ignatius relates that she really acts as she is, in the manner of a virgin, or one who is celibate and viewed as being "fruitful in virtue and grace".
As a former Protestant, I can safely say that you're not going to convince Protestants of Mary's ever-virginity using just this letter from St. Ignatius.  For one, "after the manner of a virgin" doesn't clearly mean that Mary was a virgin at the time St. Ignatius wrote this letter.  The phrase certainly can imply that Mary was indeed a virgin, but it doesn't say so explicitly.  One would have to already believe in Mary's ever-virginity, something many of today's Protestants are unwilling to accept, to see this letter of St. Ignatius as supporting such belief.  To those who don't believe in Mary's ever-virginity, this letter of St. Ignatius will most likely offer nothing convincing.

One other thing:  Can you tell us where you got this letter from St. Ignatius so we can read the primary source for ourselves?  I'm looking for a link or a bibliographical footnote.

It's spurious.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.xx.i.html
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« Reply #109 on: January 19, 2009, 11:31:13 PM »

One other thing:  Can you tell us where you got this letter from St. Ignatius so we can read the primary source for ourselves?  I'm looking for a link or a bibliographical footnote.

It's spurious.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.xx.i.html

From another page at ccel.org:
Quote
There are, in all, fifteen Epistles which bear the name of Ignatius. These are the following: One to the Virgin Mary, two to the Apostle John, one to Mary of Cassobelæ, one to the Tarsians, one to the Antiochians, one to Hero, a deacon of Antioch, one to the Philippians; one to the Ephesians, one to the Magnesians, one to the Trallians, one to the Romans, one to the Philadelphians, one to the Smyrnæans, and one to Polycarp. The first three exist only in Latin: all the rest are extant also in Greek.

It is now the universal opinion of critics, that the first eight of these professedly Ignatian letters are spurious. They bear in themselves indubitable proofs of being the production of a later age than that in which Ignatius lived. Neither Eusebius nor Jerome makes the least reference to them; and they are now by common consent set aside as forgeries, which were at various dates, and to serve special purposes, put forth under the name of the celebrated Bishop of Antioch.
< http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.i.html >


IN SUMMARY:  As much as we would like to be able to use the writings of St. Ignatius to back up our apologetics in defense of belief in Mary's ever-virginity, the supposedly Ignatian writing cited here by heavymg does not give our arguments the support we would like.  The excerpt is of a spurious source, and what it says is far too vague to be of use.
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« Reply #110 on: January 19, 2009, 11:42:13 PM »

From Eusebius:
Chapter 20. The Relatives of our Saviour.
1. Of the family of the Lord there were still living the grandchildren of Jude, who is said to have been the Lord's brother according to the flesh.


What does "according to the flesh" mean in this context?
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« Reply #111 on: January 19, 2009, 11:46:59 PM »

From Eusebius:
Chapter 20. The Relatives of our Saviour.
1. Of the family of the Lord there were still living the grandchildren of Jude, who is said to have been the Lord's brother according to the flesh.


What does "according to the flesh" mean in this context?


His mother was married to Jude's father.

According to His divinity, He doesn't have any brothers.
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« Reply #112 on: January 20, 2009, 12:21:13 AM »

Scriptural Proof on the perpetual virginity of Mary:

“Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.” Matthew 1:24-25

The use of the word “till” does not imply that Joseph had marital relations with Mary after the Savior’s birth. In the Bible, this word (sometimes translated “to”) is often used to express a situation that actually continues after the event mentioned (see Matt 28:20, Gen 8:7, Deut 34:6, 2 Sam 6:23.)

“While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”  And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:46-50

In Jewish usage, brother can indicate any number of relations. Abraham called his nephew Lot “brother (Gen 14:14); Boaz spoke of his cousin Elimelech as his “brother” (Ruth 4:3), and Joab called his cousin Amasa “brother.” (2 Sam 20:9) Christ himself had no blood brothers, for Mary was her only son. The brothers mentioned here are either his stepbrothers, sons of Joseph from a previous marriage, or cousins. If these were indeed Christ’s blood brothers, we would not see him committing her to John’s care when Christ was on the cross.

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 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.” John 19:25-27

If Mary had other children with Joseph, then assigning John to take care of Mary would not be a concern of Christ. (By this point in scripture Joseph has died. Women could not own property, and would be destitute if they did not have any children to look after them.) By assigning John as Mary’s caretaker, Christ affirms her perpetual virginity for all.
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« Reply #113 on: January 20, 2009, 03:02:57 PM »

I think we should consider it "dogmatic".
Let's take this as an example: If I say: "A black dog lies under the table, whoever denies this is a liar" it doesn't matter if you deny the entire sentence (i.e. "There's no black dog lying under the table") or if you deny only one aspect (e.g. "The dog lying under the table is white"): in both cases you are denying that a black dog lies under the table, and if I'm right then you're indeed a liar!

PS Since the 2nd Council of Constantinople is right (being inspired by the Holy Ghost, as the Orthodox do believe) then no Orthodox could ever put this doctrine in discussion and still stay Orthodox!

In Christ, Alex

This misunderstands the word 'dogmatic', which does not mean the same thing as 'true'. If someone says that 'the world is flat', he is a) wrong, and b) probably rather foolish. However, neither condition has any impact on his ability to participate in the salvation offered through the Incarnate Christ. Therefore, the shape of the world is never 'dogmatic'.

The same thing applies to the ever-virginity of the Theotokos (post-Nativity) or the Dormition (which is a good example of the difference). The Church clearly teaches both as historical facts. However, neither has any impact on the salvation of anyone other than the Theotokos (and perhaps St. Joseph in the former case). Therefore, the Church does not dogmatize these facts any more than we dogmatize '2+2=4'. It states the facts (ever-Virgin is repeated in essentially every service, the Dormition has a major feast in celebration of it every year) but doesn't argue about it or punish those who can't seem to understand that 2+2=4.
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« Reply #114 on: January 20, 2009, 04:24:25 PM »

Who says the writings are spurious? I would take Schaff's protestant commentary with a grain of salt. Interpretation is subject to one's pre-determined beliefs.
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« Reply #115 on: January 20, 2009, 05:28:20 PM »

Who says the writings are spurious? I would take Schaff's protestant commentary with a grain of salt. Interpretation is subject to one's pre-determined beliefs.
In other words, "My mind's made up.  Don't confuse me with the facts."

Would you offer the same mistrust to anything the eminent historian Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan wrote before he became Orthodox?  Remember that he wrote his 5-volume work on the development of Christian doctrine while he was still a Lutheran.  You think that maybe his Lutheran faith may have shaded his interpretation of history?
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« Reply #116 on: January 31, 2009, 12:03:05 AM »

Who says the writings are spurious? I would take Schaff's protestant commentary with a grain of salt. Interpretation is subject to one's pre-determined beliefs.
In other words, "My mind's made up.  Don't confuse me with the facts."

Would you offer the same mistrust to anything the eminent historian Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan wrote before he became Orthodox?  Remember that he wrote his 5-volume work on the development of Christian doctrine while he was still a Lutheran.  You think that maybe his Lutheran faith may have shaded his interpretation of history?

Yes.

It led him to Orthodoxy.

Btw, I never read the "letter of Ignatius" before I was Orthodox for a while.  I can see on the face of it, that it is spurious.

Schaff says Christ is God and God is a Trinity, but I believe that too.
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« Reply #117 on: January 31, 2009, 01:52:13 AM »

Btw, I never read the "letter of Ignatius" before I was Orthodox for a while.

Are you talking about the writings of Ignatius of Antioch?  Can you direct me to a good book that contains his and other early church writings?
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« Reply #118 on: July 26, 2009, 01:13:25 AM »

I don't want to lift anyone, including myself, up above the infallability of the word of God. I want to leave room for the possibility I may be wrong.

A major exegetical study[1] by an ecumenical group composed of both Catholic and Protestant NT scholars concluded that NT data in and of itself is ambiguous as to whether Jesus' brothers were siblings (Helviticus), cousins (Jerome) or half brothers (Epiphanius) http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/Rossier.html (see discussion). This suggests there is no exegetical slam dunk contra the Epiphanian view from the NT.

Origen claimed that Ignatius of Antioch (d. AD 99-117) taught Mary remained a virgin:

"On this subject, I have found a fine observation in a letter of the martyr Ignatius, second bishop of Antioch after Peter, who fought with the wild beasts during the persecution in Rome. Mary’s virginity was hidden from the prince of this world, hidden thanks to Joseph and her marriage to him. Her virginity was kept hidden because she was thought to be married" (Origen, Homilies on Luke, 6, 3-4).

If Origen's statement about Ignatius' letter was reliable the tradition would have been current in the first century during the lifetime of the apostles. While it would be going too far from a historical-critical point of view to suggest one may arrive at anything approaching historical certainty such or similar routes (e.g. Protoevangelium of James (c. AD 150), The History of Joseph the Carpenter, etc.) it is at least reasonable to affirm as Protestant and Catholic scholars who participated in Brown, Donfried, Fitzmyer, and Reumann's project did that any decision as to whether Mary remained a virgin or not after the birth of Jesus must be decided on extra-biblical grounds.


[1][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 (NY: Mahwah, 1978)
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« Reply #119 on: July 26, 2009, 01:47:17 AM »

Btw, I never read the "letter of Ignatius" before I was Orthodox for a while.

Are you talking about the writings of Ignatius of Antioch?  Can you direct me to a good book that contains his and other early church writings?

Schaff's 38 volumes are online http://www.bible.ca/history/fathers/
Or you can get the hardback set for about $400  http://www.light-n-life.com/shopping/search_saleItems.asp
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« Reply #120 on: July 26, 2009, 02:13:09 AM »

half brothers (Epiphanius)
Sorry; slip of the mouse ;-) I mean to say brothers not by blood but by a previous marriage by Joseph
« Last Edit: July 26, 2009, 02:26:56 AM by xariskai » Logged

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