Author Topic: Hyper-Marian doctrines  (Read 1355 times)

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Online Volnutt

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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #45 on: January 29, 2015, 07:39:30 PM »
Quote from: orthonorm

The funny thing about LBKs reasoning, is itisn't the PoJ that is seen as "allegorical", she clearly has no idea what this means, but rather as Mor pointed out, it renders aspects of the OT as allegory.
Erm. Sorry, you're gonna have to help me connect the dots on that one. Are you talking about the OT purity code? I don't think Mor ever did.

Quote from: orthonorm
The early productive thinkers of the Christian tradition were allegorists par excellence. Who cares about what really happened, cause that's never what is ever at stake, why destroy the beautiful artifact created by these men?

At least with the hymen intact we were never subjected a possibly worse treatment of it, something similar to what became of Christ's foreskin.
You make a good point. I should quit overreacting :laugh:
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #46 on: January 29, 2015, 07:44:30 PM »
Quote from: orthonorm

The funny thing about LBKs reasoning, is itisn't the PoJ that is seen as "allegorical", she clearly has no idea what this means, but rather as Mor pointed out, it renders aspects of the OT as allegory.
Erm. Sorry, you're gonna have to help me connect the dots on that one. Are you talking about the OT purity code? I don't think Mor ever did.

Quote from: orthonorm
The early productive thinkers of the Christian tradition were allegorists par excellence. Who cares about what really happened, cause that's never what is ever at stake, why destroy the beautiful artifact created by these men?

At least with the hymen intact we were never subjected a possibly worse treatment of it, something similar to what became of Christ's foreskin.
You make a good point. I should quit overreacting :laugh:

You are correct. Lol. I just assumed Mor laid down those knowledges.
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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #47 on: January 29, 2015, 08:34:44 PM »
If what you are getting at is that purity of heart is the ultimate lesson of the OT's focus on virginity, then I definitely agree with that.
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Offline Regnare

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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #48 on: January 29, 2015, 08:56:11 PM »
Why would He come out covered in placenta but not break Mary's hymen?
Well, placentas need to exist, because they are what conveys nutrients to the baby in the womb. I certainly can't cite anyone to prove my point, but I was always given the strong impression that the childbirth was entirely normal, apart from the lack of a father (to fulfill prophecy), and the lack of pain (to signify the coming end of death).
Quote
I thought the idea was that she lived there until puberty and they only took her out so she wouldn't menstruate all over the Holy of Holies.
She lived in the Temple till puberty and they took her out when she hit puberty. You can't enter the Temple at all, not just the Holy of Holies, if you're menstruating (though this is not a problem that the High Priest would ever have had).
Quote
I also have issues with Genesis 3:16. Just my feminist sensibilities, I suppose.
A Bible verse that clearly ranks domineering husbands alongside birth pangs (and mortality) as part of the curse of original sin that Jesus set us free from? That sounds like a feminist's dream.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #49 on: January 29, 2015, 10:02:32 PM »
If what you are getting at is that purity of heart is the ultimate lesson of the OT's focus on virginity, then I definitely agree with that.

It goes more along with Mary as the temple. As LBK would say, read the hymnography or better yet, hear it.

As ridiculous as the PoJ is, what the hymnographers wrung from their sources is quite impressive.
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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #50 on: January 29, 2015, 10:09:30 PM »
Why would He come out covered in placenta but not break Mary's hymen?
Well, placentas need to exist, because they are what conveys nutrients to the baby in the womb. I certainly can't cite anyone to prove my point, but I was always given the strong impression that the childbirth was entirely normal, apart from the lack of a father (to fulfill prophecy), and the lack of pain (to signify the coming end of death).
I'm not sure. The phrase in the Liturgy is, "without corruption." It seems like the most likely reason for that is to harken back to OT purity codes which see the woman as impure after childbirth (I'm guessing the Orthodox view is that Mary still followed a purification period in order to "fulfill all righteousness."

Quote from: Volnutt
I thought the idea was that she lived there until puberty and they only took her out so she wouldn't menstruate all over the Holy of Holies.
She lived in the Temple till puberty and they took her out when she hit puberty. You can't enter the Temple at all, not just the Holy of Holies, if you're menstruating (though this is not a problem that the High Priest would ever have had).
Ok. However, the Protoevangelium does twice say that she was "raised in the Holy of Holies."

Quote from: Volnutt
I also have issues with Genesis 3:16. Just my feminist sensibilities, I suppose.
A Bible verse that clearly ranks domineering husbands alongside birth pangs (and mortality) as part of the curse of original sin that Jesus set us free from? That sounds like a feminist's dream.
No, because it's a brush off that says things are like this to punish women and "that's just the way it is." See for example 1 Timothy 2:14. It's the sort of thinking that lead to prohibitions on attempts to alleviate birth pangs as trying to buck God's punishment.
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I once heard a monk say, “The person of prayer does not need to go any further than his own heart to find the source of all violence in the world.” -Fr. Stephen Freeman

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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #51 on: January 29, 2015, 10:09:54 PM »
If what you are getting at is that purity of heart is the ultimate lesson of the OT's focus on virginity, then I definitely agree with that.

It goes more along with Mary as the temple. As LBK would say, read the hymnography or better yet, hear it.

As ridiculous as the PoJ is, what the hymnographers wrung from their sources is quite impressive.
Ok.
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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #52 on: January 29, 2015, 10:36:15 PM »
The Greek word adhiaphthoros , as used in hymns to the Mother of God, is derived from phthora (wearing out, disintegration). To ascribe her ever-virginity to merely a miraculous preservation of her hymen is a sadly narrow, shallow approach, reducing it to "magic biology".  :P

Her incorruption means much more - that she was unharmed by the fire of divinity which dwelt in her womb, the fulfillment of the prefiguration of the Burning Bush at Mt Sinai.  Again, many a hymn proclaims this. Another prefiguration of this incorruption is from Ezekiel 43:27-44:4. This reading is one of the three OT Vespers readings appointed for feasts of the Mother of God:

The Lord said: “It will be when these days are over, on the eighth day, the priests shall offer your whole-burnt offerings and your peace offerings on the altar, and I shall accept you. Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary that faces toward the east, but it was shut. So the Lord said to me, “This gate shall be shut. It shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it, because the Lord God of Israel will enter by it; therefore, it shall be shut. As for the prince, he will sit in it to eat bread before the Lord. He will go in by way of the gate chamber and go out the same way.” Then He brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple, and I looked, and behold, the house of the Lord was full of glory.
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Offline Regnare

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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #53 on: January 29, 2015, 10:44:52 PM »
The Greek word adhiaphthoros , as used in hymns to the Mother of God, is derived from phthora (wearing out, disintegration). To ascribe her ever-virginity to merely a miraculous preservation of her hymen is a sadly narrow, shallow approach, reducing it to "magic biology".  :P
Just to be clear, LBK, are you arguing that all liturgical descriptions of the Mother of God as "virgin" or "ever-virgin" actually refer to this, or just those that call her "without corruption"?

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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #54 on: January 29, 2015, 10:56:13 PM »
The Greek word adhiaphthoros , as used in hymns to the Mother of God, is derived from phthora (wearing out, disintegration). To ascribe her ever-virginity to merely a miraculous preservation of her hymen is a sadly narrow, shallow approach, reducing it to "magic biology".  :P
Just to be clear, LBK, are you arguing that all liturgical descriptions of the Mother of God as "virgin" or "ever-virgin" actually refer to this, or just those that call her "without corruption"?

What difference would it make to the teaching of her ever-virginity if the word is or isn't there in any particular hymn? Christ is Son of God, the Word of God, and Savior, but these terms are not in every hymn or prayer to Him.
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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #55 on: January 29, 2015, 11:07:31 PM »
The Greek word adhiaphthoros , as used in hymns to the Mother of God, is derived from phthora (wearing out, disintegration). To ascribe her ever-virginity to merely a miraculous preservation of her hymen is a sadly narrow, shallow approach, reducing it to "magic biology".  :P
Just to be clear, LBK, are you arguing that all liturgical descriptions of the Mother of God as "virgin" or "ever-virgin" actually refer to this, or just those that call her "without corruption"?

What difference would it make to the teaching of her ever-virginity if the word is or isn't there in any particular hymn? Christ is Son of God, the Word of God, and Savior, but these terms are not in every hymn or prayer to Him.
I was just curious to see if the language was that strong in all of the hymns, or just the "It is Truly Meet". I didn't intend to imply that its exclusion would mean the failure to teach her ever-virginity; I was assuming that adiaphthoros included virginity but broadened it to the full extent of the Burning Bush symbolism.

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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #56 on: January 29, 2015, 11:11:46 PM »
As I said earlier, her ever-virginity encompasses far more than "her hymen remained intact". IIRC, adhiaphthoros or a variant of it appears in other hymns to her as well.

The East Gate and the Burning Bush are by no means the only prefigurations which speak of ever-virginity. There is also the Uncut Mountain.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 11:13:19 PM by LBK »
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #57 on: January 29, 2015, 11:57:32 PM »
As I said earlier, her ever-virginity encompasses far more than "her hymen remained intact". IIRC, adhiaphthoros or a variant of it appears in other hymns to her as well.

The East Gate and the Burning Bush are by no means the only prefigurations which speak of ever-virginity. There is also the Uncut Mountain.

Such feverish celibates!
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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #58 on: January 30, 2015, 12:00:30 AM »
As I said earlier, her ever-virginity encompasses far more than "her hymen remained intact". IIRC, adhiaphthoros or a variant of it appears in other hymns to her as well.

The East Gate and the Burning Bush are by no means the only prefigurations which speak of ever-virginity. There is also the Uncut Mountain.

Such feverish celibates!
Well, divine eros and all that.
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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #59 on: January 30, 2015, 12:10:25 AM »
As I said earlier, her ever-virginity encompasses far more than "her hymen remained intact". IIRC, adhiaphthoros or a variant of it appears in other hymns to her as well.

The East Gate and the Burning Bush are by no means the only prefigurations which speak of ever-virginity. There is also the Uncut Mountain.

Such feverish celibates!
Well, divine eros and all that.

Must everything around here degenerate into irreverence and frat-boy "humor"? We are talking about the Mother of God, people.  ::) :P >:(
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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #60 on: January 30, 2015, 12:47:57 AM »
Actually, I typed that quite soberly. Being on fire for God takes on an apparent eroticism in many Christian traditions which is hard for me to accept. I know that eros has a nonsexual meaning, but everything gets all muddled at some point it seems like.
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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #61 on: January 30, 2015, 01:31:02 AM »
Actually, I typed that quite soberly. Being on fire for God takes on an apparent eroticism in many Christian traditions which is hard for me to accept. I know that eros has a nonsexual meaning, but everything gets all muddled at some point it seems like.

Traditions going all the way back to the Song of Songs. AaaaAAaaannnd some of the descriptions the prophets used about the Israelites' idolatry go beyond "eroticism" - apparently "real dolls" aren't exactly a new thing according Ezekiel 23:7. Apparently there is something about the mystical that can only be analogized in this world experience using sex - even when that mystical is the worship of false gods.
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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #62 on: January 30, 2015, 05:35:47 AM »
Out of curiosity, how seriously was the Old Testament being observed at the time of the Theotokos and Christ? Would it have even been feasible for the Theotokos to dwell in the Holiest of Holies at that time or would it have caused outrage among the Jews? Given that they were eating pork around that time (evidenced by the story of Christ and the demon pigs) it would appear that they weren't taking it too seriously. This may offend some, and I hope I don't sound like one of those Protestants who try to demonize the Church by saying it adopted pagan Roman elements, but is it possible that the Jews at the time, due to being around the influence of their Roman occupiers, would have been more lenient toward a female hanging out around the Holy of Holies since the Roman temples had females and priestesses who played an important role in their pagan religions? Clearly I don't know enough about the OT, service texts, and hymnography to understand the whole underlying theological parallels, typology, and symbolism behind this topic, but is denying that she literally dwelt in the Holy of Holies really that blasphemous? Someone here earlier said that in the Feasts we don't commemorate "allegories" but real persons and events; are they sure about that? What would you call Noah's Flood, Jonah and the Whale, and the Garden of Eden? We commemorate all of those stories and yet they most likely never happened in a purely literalistic fashion (unless we've become Protestant), and the Fathers seemed to interpret them in a typological fashion more so than they did a literalistic one. If that's the case, why can't we do the same with the Theotokos Holy of Holies story?
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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #63 on: January 30, 2015, 02:18:22 PM »
No, because it's a brush off that says things are like this to punish women and "that's just the way it is." See for example 1 Timothy 2:14. It's the sort of thinking that lead to prohibitions on attempts to alleviate birth pangs as trying to buck God's punishment.
I can understand how it gets used that way, but that doesn't really make sense from the standpoint of Orthodox theology, which sees the effects of original sin, specifically death, not as a deliberate punishment by God, but as the natural effect of our separation from Him through sin. Therefore, they are not something we must meekly accept; they have been defeated by Christ's Resurrection. As Fr. Alexander Schmemann said: “Christianity is not reconciliation with death. It is the revelation of death, and it reveals death because it is the revelation of Life. Christ is this Life. And only if Christ is Life is death what Christianity proclaims it to be, namely an enemy to be destroyed, and not a ‘mystery’ to be explained. I don't know, myself, how we fit this with 1 Timothy 2:14, but it remains the case that interpreting Genesis 3:16 as a way of justifying suffering and domination is entirely alien to the way we Orthodox think about salvation.

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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #64 on: January 30, 2015, 02:50:07 PM »
Out of curiosity, how seriously was the Old Testament being observed at the time of the Theotokos and Christ? Would it have even been feasible for the Theotokos to dwell in the Holiest of Holies at that time or would it have caused outrage among the Jews? Given that they were eating pork around that time (evidenced by the story of Christ and the demon pigs) it would appear that they weren't taking it too seriously. This may offend some, and I hope I don't sound like one of those Protestants who try to demonize the Church by saying it adopted pagan Roman elements, but is it possible that the Jews at the time, due to being around the influence of their Roman occupiers, would have been more lenient toward a female hanging out around the Holy of Holies since the Roman temples had females and priestesses who played an important role in their pagan religions? Clearly I don't know enough about the OT, service texts, and hymnography to understand the whole underlying theological parallels, typology, and symbolism behind this topic, but is denying that she literally dwelt in the Holy of Holies really that blasphemous? Someone here earlier said that in the Feasts we don't commemorate "allegories" but real persons and events; are they sure about that? What would you call Noah's Flood, Jonah and the Whale, and the Garden of Eden? We commemorate all of those stories and yet they most likely never happened in a purely literalistic fashion (unless we've become Protestant), and the Fathers seemed to interpret them in a typological fashion more so than they did a literalistic one. If that's the case, why can't we do the same with the Theotokos Holy of Holies story?
The pigs were up in Samaria, and the Samaritans weren't considered good Jews anyways. Given that shortly before the Theotokos' life, you had Maccabees revolting for desecrating the Temple and Christ getting crucified for blasphemy, I suspect they took their faith rather seriously.
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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #65 on: January 30, 2015, 02:51:41 PM »
It's not the Virgin Birth I take issue with, but the Liturgy and the Fathers' fetishization of keeping Mary's hymen intact. The former does not necessitate the latter, at least not anymore.

"At least not anymore"?  You're making my point.  If Christ was born today, maybe things would've been different.  But he was born about two millennia before "at least not anymore".  So does God act in a way that is comprehensible to people as they are at the time he chooses to act or does he act in a way that is totally incomprehensible and easy to be misunderstood until humanity has learned enough to make sense of it?      

I would submit to you that what looks like "patristic fetishization" is only so because we live in "at least not anymore".  

Quote
If the development of the Liturgy is really supernaturally guided, I would expect better.

The development of the liturgy, as with everything in the Church, is a divine-human process.  We misunderstand something of fundamental importance when we focus on one part and ignore the other.  
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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #66 on: January 30, 2015, 03:22:28 PM »
The pigs were up in Samaria, and the Samaritans weren't considered good Jews anyways. Given that shortly before the Theotokos' life, you had Maccabees revolting for desecrating the Temple and Christ getting crucified for blasphemy, I suspect they took their faith rather seriously.
Actually the pigs were east of the Sea of Galilee in territory that was inhabited mainly by Gentiles (Wikipedia note). But your point is quite correct.

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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #67 on: January 30, 2015, 07:15:26 PM »
No, because it's a brush off that says things are like this to punish women and "that's just the way it is." See for example 1 Timothy 2:14. It's the sort of thinking that lead to prohibitions on attempts to alleviate birth pangs as trying to buck God's punishment.
I can understand how it gets used that way, but that doesn't really make sense from the standpoint of Orthodox theology, which sees the effects of original sin, specifically death, not as a deliberate punishment by God, but as the natural effect of our separation from Him through sin. Therefore, they are not something we must meekly accept; they have been defeated by Christ's Resurrection. As Fr. Alexander Schmemann said: “Christianity is not reconciliation with death. It is the revelation of death, and it reveals death because it is the revelation of Life. Christ is this Life. And only if Christ is Life is death what Christianity proclaims it to be, namely an enemy to be destroyed, and not a ‘mystery’ to be explained. I don't know, myself, how we fit this with 1 Timothy 2:14, but it remains the case that interpreting Genesis 3:16 as a way of justifying suffering and domination is entirely alien to the way we Orthodox think about salvation.

Point taken.
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Re: Hyper-Marian doctrines
« Reply #68 on: January 30, 2015, 10:23:16 PM »
It's not the Virgin Birth I take issue with, but the Liturgy and the Fathers' fetishization of keeping Mary's hymen intact. The former does not necessitate the latter, at least not anymore.

"At least not anymore"?  You're making my point.  If Christ was born today, maybe things would've been different.  But he was born about two millennia before "at least not anymore".  So does God act in a way that is comprehensible to people as they are at the time he chooses to act or does he act in a way that is totally incomprehensible and easy to be misunderstood until humanity has learned enough to make sense of it?      

I would submit to you that what looks like "patristic fetishization" is only so because we live in "at least not anymore".  

Quote
If the development of the Liturgy is really supernaturally guided, I would expect better.

The development of the liturgy, as with everything in the Church, is a divine-human process.  We misunderstand something of fundamental importance when we focus on one part and ignore the other.  
Yeah. I suppose you're right.
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