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Author Topic: Perpetual Virginity  (Read 29325 times) Average Rating: 0
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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
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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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