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Author Topic: Perpetual Virginity  (Read 29691 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}
« Last Edit: December 04, 2007, 05:53:08 PM by cleveland » Logged

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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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The Divine Mercy


« 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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Pray that we may be one, as Christ and His Father are one. (John 17:20ff)

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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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The Divine Mercy


« 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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Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly.

Pray that we may be one, as Christ and His Father are one. (John 17:20ff)

A.K.A. - JMJ_coder
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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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Tags: Theotokos Perpetual Virginity almah Is 7:14 
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