Perpetual Virginity of Mary

For an explanation of why “until” does not HAVE to mean Mary and Joseph had sex after Jesus’ birth please take a look at how the we explain it. It is very interesting. Also, included are early church writings proving that the belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity was not made up later.

Mary Was Only a Virgin UNTIL Jesus was Born.

And here is proof that the Reformers all believed in the Perpetual virginity of Mary:

–>Luther on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

So, at what late date and by whom was it infallibly determined that Mary had other children?

37 Responses

  1. Well, it is really satisfying to hear from a catholic that the ” cousin theory ” of st. Jerome, which has been propagated in this blog, is in Jimmy Akins own words ” somewhat speculative”. Who could really doubt that?
    Then you have the second theory from the protevangelium ofJames which is put forth in this video. Believe it if you like .

    • Yes, I agree that the ‘cousin’ theology is somewhat speculative because the Greek words used for ‘brothers and sisters’ of Jesus are the literal ‘brothers and sisters’ when Greek itself has words for ‘cousins’. This is most probably due to the linguistic differences between Aramaic and Greek. However, though Proevangelism of James is not declared to be God-inspired, it is still undeniably a historical documented record of the Church. There are no Greek or Aramaic words that write ‘step’ or ‘half’ siblings as explained by the scholars. Hence, it’s up to you to believe the Church’s doctrines on Mary’s virginity since its not a necessity for one to believe that Mary’s a Virgin to gain salvation.

  2. Once again, could anyone explain to me why is it so essential for RCC to proclaim the perpetual virginity of Mary? Does virginity signify something on a higher spiritual level than life in a marriage? Couldn´t Mary be the mother of Jesus if she lost her virginity after his birth?

    To keep Mary sinless and holy, to be able to bring forth Jesus, RCC have invented the immaculate conception. So Mary´s mother had the ability to conceive her immaculately? Since Jesus , according to RCC doctrine had to be nurtured in a ” sinless womb ” for himself to be sinless, then how can Mary be sinless unless she also be nurtured by a sinless womb of her mother? And how can the mother of Mary conceive her immaculately unless she also be sinless ,and then we must postulate that the grandmother of Mary also had been immaculately conceived….. So by this line of argument we will end up in a perpetual regressison that requires the whole line of the women leading up to Mary to be immaculately conceived, and to be holy and sinless. This is where the teaching of the perpetual virginity, and the immaculate conception leads us.

    • It’s not essential but it happens to be the Truth as believed by the Catholic Church. The Church believes it’s right to title her a Virgin If she rightfully happens to be one. It’s not as if knowing Mary’s a virgin will save one.

      As I have briefly explained, together with the several links to what catholic apologists argued, the what the Church briefly believes – if the old Ark is instructed by God to be hand-made by sinful men yet only sinless men can touch it; why is it not possible for the barren Anne, informed by God through an Angel as recorded in the protoevangelism (if im not wrong), to hold Mary and then keep her sinless?

      It’s, again, not essential for salvation to know that Mary’s sinless but the Church believes this is a rightful title for God’s first humble servant, who had accepted the Word.

    • Dear Arne,

      There is nothing necessary about Mary being a perpetual virgin. The Church does not proclaim this simply to honor Mary. The Church proclaims it because it happens to be the Truth. And we will not stop proclaiming just because some people don’t understand it or don’t believe it or cannot find it in the Bible. I am sure you agree that the truth is a very good reason.

      Yes, taking a vow of virginity is an especially sacred thing because one must deny themselves. Jesus was celibate as well.

      “some make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of God”

      But Mary could certainly have been the chosen one for the incarnation and then gone on to have other children in the normal way. But, if she did not. If she remained a perpetual virgin do you think that the Catholic Church should lie about it just becuase Protestants have a problem with it because they believe in the tradition of sola scriptura? Long before the Protestants came along the Church believed and taught the historical truth of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

      Mary’s mother conceived in the normal way. It was not by her power but by the power of God to create Mary without the stain of original sin just like He created Adam and Eve.

      Jesus did not HAVE to be nurtured in a sinless womb. But it is much more fitting that God would create a pure place of residence for His gestation. You are wrong and have created a straw man argument. We do not believe that Mary’s immaculate conception was inherited from her mother. It was a special act of the power of God to create the mother of His son free from sin.

      • This is mere human reasoning. Are we to judge what is fitting for God? If it is more fitting for God to first create “a pure place of residence for his gestation” and therefore had to have Mary immaculately conceived, then it follows logically, that if Mary by that logic had to be holy to beget Jesus, then also Mary had to be begotten in a holy womb which wold require also her mother to have been immaculately conceived. This is not straw man argumentation, but plain logic.

        The thing is: forget about this womb being holy or not. God could see to it that Jesus could be specially and immaculately conceived in whatever womb he would chose( if you insists on the opinion that a womb can be unholy, don´t you think God could have changed it to be holy the moment Jesus was conceived? You must believe this since he would have to do exactly this procedure in the womb of Mary´s mother if Mary should be born sinless) That´s the whole point. And therefor it is no prerequisite that Mary was immaculately conceived.

        The whole point of your argument is to cling to the false dogma that Mary was holy and sinless. This is against scripture.

  3. That´s reassuring: there is eventually, as I have long suspected, no real reason or important purpose for the perpetual virginity. That´s good to know.
    So the only reason to proclaim it is that is is true!
    Hm.. on what authority, then…? The problem is that the Bible , which even to catholics must be an important authority, clearly contradicts this teaching. The “cousin theory ” is admitted in the video by Jimmy Akins on this site to be speculative, and the “stepfather theory ” does not be rather self evident, to say the least.
    And if you also cling to the theory ( as nobody so far on the site have abandoned or corrected- it is what I understand the teaching of the RCC) that the Apostle John wrote his second letter to Mary, then we actually have an apostolic statement that Mary had children, which mean more than one child!

    It is very unusual , I suspect, for married persons not to live together, at least for some time ( problems and sexual dysfunction can make it difficult in the long run ) in a relationship. I do think there is every reason to believe taht people in general considered Joseph and Mary to be a ordinary couple living together ( who also had other children ) and actually, people ” considered Jesus to be the son of Joseph” ( Luke 3:23) . They saw in him the simple carpenter which family they knew with brothers and sisters ( Mrk 6:3 ). This means that there was no opinion at the time that ” this was the unusual Holy Family where a normal marital practice was out of the question”. If this notion had been widespread at the time , where could the rumour of that have come from, then? From the Jewish Bible? Was it proclaimed in the synagogue ( which could been inferred from the assumed necessity of this dogma from the RCC )? This is silly.

    If this doctrine has to be upheld ,I cannot see any other possibility than that Mary herself ( or Joseph ) must be the one to inform the public, one way or another, about this fact since it could not easily be inferred from their normal married state, and there could be noone else to really know this as a very reliable truth as the author of the blog infers…..So what do you suggest to be the source of information? : teaparty gossip? death bed confession ? or just plain speaking to the community: “we are married, but we don´t live together”?????

    Or was there a really holy person somewhere who had found it to be his holy duty to interview Mary and Joseph on such private and obviously sensitive details from their marriage?

    You must choose what seems most likely. I want a reasonable answer to this.

  4. @ Arne: I think that this is the appropriate place for our conversation. Let me know what you think.

    Arne said: I only have maintained that this expression ” he didn´t know her until she brought forth her son” implies that they took up a normal marital living after the birth. At least, in my mind , if I wanted to state very strongly and pointedly that they never ever ” fulfilled their marriage “, I would have used a totally different expression: for ex. ” and he knew her not before the birth , nor afterwards” …
    The understanding I have of this seems to be well fitting with 1:18 ” before their coming together she was found to have conceived by the holy spirit”. ” Coming together ” here can not possibly be anything else than coming together in matrimonial cohabitation . So what is said here, as in 1: 24 is a clear and unequivocal statement that they actually came together. The point of the sentence is clearly to make it absolutely clear that Jesus was born BEFORE this living together started. Then it started, and from there was born both brothers and sisters as is evident from Mtt 13:55 …
    So, I cannot accept what you propose with regard to Matt 1:18 and 1:25. This is as close to conclusive as anything can be to disprove the perpetual virginity if Mary. Take v. 18 : your only possibility to evade this conclusion , is to contend that ” coming together ” doesn´t mean what most people understands it to mean.

    My reply:

    1) The English language bible is only a translation. There will be occasions when the proper sense of a word can’t be adequately translated in another language (The word for “love” in the bible is a famous example). Moreover, there’s this ongoing tension of using a bible of a more literal translation (a study bible type) vs. paraphrased (popular reading). The rendering of Matt 1:25 “to/til/until” (“heos” or “heos huo” in Greek) is one such predicament. While there’s a sense that post-modern English “until” implies sex after giving birth but that’s clearly in the current cultural context of a “sex obsessed” society. We’ve to ask if that’s necessarily the case in the semitic and Graeco-Roman world of Koine Greek during the time the Gospel of Matthew was composed originally? There, we find an interesting spectrum of use of the word “heos” which included “until/emphasis of point/and always”.

    2) In John 9:18, we are told the Pharisees didn’t believe in the miraculous cure of the man blind from birth “heos/heos huo” they spoke to his parents; however, they didn’t believe in the miracle after that either. The Ecclesiastical writer in the second and third centuries, Tertullian, supposedly found one hundred examples of “until” used this way in the bible. Do Fundamentalist Christians insist that these passages should also be interpreted in the same way how they insist on Matt 1:25? Of course, no.

    So the participle “until” doesn’t automatically mean a change will occur from the present condition (a cessation of the action in the clause immediately preceding it or discontinues itself in the subordinate clause). It COULD but that isn’t always true.

    3) As usual, it’s very important to check the immediate context of a passage. Here, it begins and ends with the explanation of the miraculous birth of Christ: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way … when his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 1:18). Joseph took Mary as his wife “but knew her not “heos huo” she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus” (v 25). Matthew’s clear concern was to emphasize the virgin birth of Christ. We have to be very cautious in speculation (“Going beyond what is written”) when the bible is silent about the future marital relationship between Joseph and Mary.

    4) A good translation of the bible is only as best as the next translation. To clarify and make clear, the “next” edition of one’s favorite English bible can conceivably decide to re-translate the passage to read more like: “But he had no sexual relations with her before she gave birth to her son” (GNB, 1976), or “He had no relations with her at any time before she bore a son” (NAB, 1970) or “Though he had not had intercourse with her, she gave birth to a son” (JB, 1966). Thus it is important not to become too fixated with a particular rendering of a word in translation especially when we lack the skill of the historical-critical methodology of the study of scripture, etc.

    So Matt 1:18-25 passage neither affirms nor denies Mary’s perpetual virginity. One has to ask Matthew if he was even in a position to know the facts. It’s not like that Mary or Joseph was writing in a celebrity gossip column about their marital relationship in Star Magazine or the National Enquirer for the entertainment.

    What to do now? We can still seek a wider context for proof like the blood brothers or sisters through Mary. As it is, neither the bible nor modern Protestantism prove Catholics wrong.

  5. Surkiko; thank you for your presentation , and especially for your friendly tone.
    I do agree that we always must be cautious both to with regard to the limitations of any translation , and that our own ability to understand things in their right ethnological and chronological context is also limited. That said, it is equally right to contend that this don´t leave everything in a state of unsettled chaos.
    As for the example in John 9.18 I don´t find this to be a convincing support to your contention. I don´t agree in your description of what happened here. First they didn´believe that he had been blind and had got his vision, because they thought , with reasonable skepticism,that he lied to them. Then they called his parents who testified to the fact that he was born blind, even against peril of being cast out of the synagogue. Now that they had evidence to this miracle, they could not straightforward disbelieve anymore, but their attitude changed rather to a state of stubborn negligence , or disbelief against proof or denial . Therefore ” until ” here signifies a clear turning of one state of mind to another. So , they believed this not ,” until ” they had talked with his parents. Then after that they simply had to believe, as they were keenly aware of, but they refused to humble themselves and acknowledge it.

    Then back to Matt 1:18. I cannot with the best of my will, understand this in no other way as to actually prove that ” they came together “. When it is written that something happened ( here it was the conception by the spirit ) before another happening ( here it was their coming together ) then of course both the described things happened! There simply isn´t any possibility to avoid that. So when it appeared that she was pregnant before they came together, then it is said also as clearly as language can convey, that they some time after that actually came together. How can that be otherwise?
    The only possible way to come around this, is to argue that ” coming together ” doesn´t mean to ” be one body ” – to join two bodies in matrimonial conjunction. This is at least what meaning Strong in his dictionsry gives to it.
    I want to respect your feelings about the perpetual virginity of Mary. It is no problem for me that anyone believes this dogma, apart from the fact ( as I hold ) that I cannot see how to avoid it being contradictory to scripture. And it obviously could be a problem if anyone maintained that believing this is absolutely essential for salvation, or that I it is required to be able to belong to a certain church, which i guess is the case with RCC. So obviously that´s one reason why I could not be a member.

    I don´t see any reason why Mary either had to be immaculately conceived or that she retained a perpetual virginity. I feel it is in a certain way very unnatural and against any sensible order, that anyone who has born a child, should walk around and look upon herself , or that anyone should look upon her, as still a virgin?Can anyone who has given birth to a child rightfully be called a virgin? Physically she would at least loose the ” sign of her virginity ” during the birth. But as I understand the RCC teaches that the sign of her virginity was restored back on her? In a way( you must excuse me my perhaps vulgar speech) I can´t help wonder if this is not just the imagination of some middle aged men perhaps more occupied with sex than someone would like to believe? Am I the only one in the world to ask such a question?.
    But still, isn´t it an unpleasant truth that this is nowhere ever mentioned in the scriptures? No one of the apostles? So either they didn´t know it, or they didn´t think it was worth mentioning, or they knew it but didn´t tell it? In any instance they were real bad catholics, weren´t they?
    Paul says in Gal 4:4 about Jesus: “… God sent his son , born of a woman…” ? – not Mary! It is as if he is trying to convey that it was not the important point who she was or anything, but that she was actually born of ” a woman “….Still I know that it´s written that” all generations will call me blessed “.

  6. @ Arne:

    I’m quite surprised that you are somewhat hung up on Matt 1:18 “Before they came together” when even the most polemic Protestants are giving it a pass. The whole passage is about the miraculous birth of Christ and never about the marital relationship of his parents after his birth. It just meant that Christ was not conceived naturally from Joseph. To interpret anything otherwise (when the bible is silent) is presumptive and reading it beyond what’s written. You certainly don’t want to be absolute about it when grammatically there’s nothing to suggest that Mary and Joseph actually “came together” after Christ’s birth. You seem to be reasonable about the pitfall about relying too much on a particular translation of the bible. So let’s again see what other translations have done to the passage:

    1) “His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit” (GNB, 1976).
    2) “When his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the power of the Holy Spirit” (NAB, 1970).
    3) “His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (JB, 1966).

    As far as your take on John 9:18 for Matt “Until” problem, I think that you’re missing the obvious … which is that the Pharisees didn’t believe in the miraculous cure of the man blind from birth “heos/heos huo” (until) they spoke to his parents; however, they didn’t believe in the miracle after that either. You seem content to explain it away by coming up with the most awkward rationalization (“So they believed this not, “until” they had talked with his parents. Then after that they simple had to believe, as they were keenly aware of, but they refused to humble themselves and acknowledge it.” That’s the tricky proposition of “eisegesis” which is used to inject an ill-formed preconceived idea into a bible text to force it to mean something at the expense of its true meaning.

    John 9:18 is only one example. As I’ve already pointed out, there are many other places in the bible where “heos” is used in a spectrum of use which included “until/emphasis of point/and always” ((2 Sam 6:23, Dt 34:6, Ps 110:1, Matt 12:28, etc.). Are you going to rationalize and explain them all away? The whole point that I’m stressing is that the word “heos/heos huo (until)” is not conclusive unless you consult the immediate context and if needed, the wider context of the rest of the bible, hopefully one is able to state it with full moral certitude.

    You raised some valid objections about the necessity for Mary to be immaculately conceived or that she retained a perpetual virginity, and of the physical impossibility of remaining a “virgin” after given birth to a child. Humanly speaking, you’re right and the answer is “No.” However, this is where Catholicism and Modern Protestantism parts company. Modern Protestantism (esp. Fundamentalism and Liberal Protestantism) has inherited a strict bibliology of sola scriptura at the expense of the metaphysical nature of theology. Catholicism has a very developed Mystical Theology to explain the shortfall of man’s most elevated and eloquent thought of a creature, and how the finite human mind cannot fathom the mysteries of God (“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?”, Job 11:7). Yes, that’s the familiar Protestantism dichotomy of “either-or” dichotomy which is always used to pit against Catholicism’s “both-and” reasoning. Protestantism tend to think within the box (“If it doesn’t make sense to me, it’s must be impossible”) whereas Catholicism understands that we can’t predicate or limit what God is going to do or not to do. The word “Trinity” is a good example. We’re given the revelation (that is, incapable of discovering apart from Divine Revelation) about the reality of the triune God but which even when revealed, we still can’t yet attain full knowledge but remains “hidden by the veil of faith” about the true nature of God. About the perpetual virginity of Mary, there is nothing impossible with God (Lk 1:37) and dare we question His wisdom (or even begin to fathom the reasons for it even if we try)? The bible is silent about the marital relationship between Mary and Joseph after the birth of Christ. So why is it impossible that Mary could give birth to Christ (“both-and”) and still remained a virgin by the power of God?

    I think that what’s important is how you put it rather succinctly: “I want to respect your feelings about the perpetual virginity of Mary. It is no problem for me that anyone believes this dogma, apart from the fact (as I hold) that I cannot see how to avoid it being contradictory to scripture.” I’m glad to see that you at least will acknowledge the “Magnificat” that hence “all generations will call me blessed (for the Mighty One has done great things for me).” But why do modern Protestants think that somehow they’ve “figured it out” while the remainder of Christianity has been so incredibly blind to the very first book and chapter of the NT for 2000 years? Don’t scorn the Church which is called the “Pillar and bulwark of the Truth” (1 Tim 3:15). The Church’s maintenance of orthodoxy and discipline were concerns in antiquity. Even as a Protestant, the attitude of “I’d rather err on the side of too much respect, than too little respect” should still be the honorable thing. The believer must continually turn to God with fresh humility: “I do believe; help my unbelief” (Mk 9:23).

    May be we can move forward to examine the alleged siblings of Christ? If you can demonstrate conclusively that these were the blood brothers and sisters of Christ, then you will have proven your case against the perpetual virginity of Mary using the wider context of the whole bible.

    • @ Arne: The incarnation is an even bigger mystery than the perpetual virginity of Mary. Is it really so hard to believe that God has the power to do the latter if one can believe that God became man. Or in the miraculous birth of Christ without a human father (which is humanly and scientifically impossible of course).

      • By no means am I trying to rule out what cannot be conceived by the human mind. Of course God could restore the virginity of Mary after the birth. I never have questioned that ( it is an entirely different question wether we have a trustworthy source that testifies to it ) , and if there were clear and unequivocal writing in the scriptures to the effect ,then I would no doubt accept that even if it was, to my finite brain, rather weird or improbable. But when there is no mentioning of that at all, the only reason to believe this is eventually to bow down to some human authority who says it to be so because they know of some obscure tradition that have said so. Then the final arbiter is either humans or human tradition which at its core has the weakness of not being entirely trustworthy or controllable. And that is not good enough. Only what can be seen to be in accordance with the word of God can be accepted.
        So, I do of course, not understand the incarnation, but I do believe in it because it is clearly stated in the Word. And then also: it is not against reason: it is in accordance with reason that the creator could/would step into his own creation , just as it is conceivable that an author of a novel , could write himself into it, and that a maker of a of a computer game could ” inject ” himself as one of the characters. And we understand it to be necessary to happen( certainly weak examples ).

        With the perpetual virginity, it is totally possible and conceivable that it could be , but it´s case is infinitely much weaker, since it is a not a necessary prerequisite for Jesus to be born, and certainly not anything one would have to expect, it is against biology ( which of course God could very easily ” bypass ” , but since we have learnt that he is a reasonable God, we would not expect him to act like that unless there was some good reason for it ) and as such is not supported by reason . And it serves really no purpose at all, save to be part of the tradition of mariolatry.

  7. Surkiko; let me just ask you then the meaning of the sentences I have copied and pasted from your last posting. My commentary is stated after ” Question “:

    You cite:( 1) 2) 3) )
    1) “His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit” (GNB, 1976).

    Question: if your understanding of this is correct, then this means that they were not married – right?

    2) “When his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the power of the Holy Spirit” (NAB, 1970).

    Question: If your understanding of this is correct, then this quote means that they didn´t start to live together anytime?

    3) “His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (JB, 1966).

    Question: If your understanding is correct, then this quote means that they didn´t ” come to live together “?

    Could you please answer these questions ? OF what I understand from you, your answer to these question is ” yes ” . If that´s right ,then I don´think it has any meaning to go on with our discussion. But still I ask you to confirm ( or negate ) this.

  8. @ Arne:

    Why perpetual virginity of Mary? Why the incarnation? And the biggest question for all of us … why the sacrifice of Christ on the cross? The answer for all the above is “No, God did not have to do any of the above.” As God who is all omnipotent and omniscience, it’s certainly within His power to “demand” a less bloody sacrifice or pick a lesser woman to be the mother of Christ. But God has a divine design and purpose, and His way is not our way … and so the mystery of it. As regarding your question of authority (or trustworthy source) to guide your conscience, you should not start making presumptuous statements about it until and if we do reach that point of the discussion.

    I don’t see the point of you testing my understanding of Matt 1:18 from the various bible translations. I think that they are quite plain in meaning in what they are conveying. I didn’t author those translations so you should take it up with the publishers if you have questions about them. In case you don’t know, GNB is Good News Bible (Protestant) and NAB is North American Bible and JB is Jerusalem Bible (both Catholic). But since you ask, I will attempt to answer you. The answer is “yes and no.” Apparently, it was the custom of the Jewish couples during the time of Christ to become “betrothed” (qiddushin, literally “santifications” or “consecrations”) first. After a year or more after the betrothal, the marriage (nissuin) was celebrated when the wife was led in procession to her husband’s house. So no, Joseph and Mary were not living together during “qiddushin.” And yes, after Mary was found to be pregnant, Joseph married Mary and took her to his house.

    • @ Arne:

      “it is against biology ( which of course God could very easily ” bypass ” , but since we have learnt that he is a reasonable God, we would not expect him to act like that unless there was some good reason for it ) and as such is not supported by reason . And it serves really no purpose at all, save to be part of the tradition of mariolatry.”

      It’s already against “biology” to have someone conceived without a human father so is it reasonable or not reasonable of God? God could conceivably “will” that Christ be born biologically of Joseph and Mary and still made a new creation of Christ so he was/is still perfect to be the Messiah. But that’s not how God plans it. So …. ???

      • God does what he wants, of course. If he wanted to restore the sign of Mary´s virginity on her ,then of course it is no problem. What I find to be reasonable is not decisive. And this is not biologically any more difficult than to conceive Jesus. My point is that to conceive Jesus, in whatever way it happened, is important for the purpose of him coming into the world. It serves a very clear purpose.And that is what I meant by being ” supported by reason “.That can hardly be said of the restoration of the virginal sign of Mary. The point stressed by the scriptures is that she was ,and had to be, a virgin till he was born. Technically she can hardly be called a virgin after having born a child( in my mind at least – I accept fully that anyone may have a different opinion on that )

        But once again: God could do it if he wanted, it´s no problem. And he may have done it. The problem is there is no trustworthy source to the effect, and it is, still after all the arguments are on the table, if anything, against the scriptural testimony.
        I think we are at the end of our arguments.

    • Surkiko. The questions I asked can have none but one answer, either Yes or No! Take the third quotation: ” but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the holy spirit.” The focus of this sentence is that she was found to be pregnant through the HS, and that this happened BEFORE they took up matrimonial life. But it also clearly says the latter, that they ” came to live together ” which must mean that they actually later on lived together as ordinary married people.
      So the answer to the question I asked cannot be yes and no, the only possible answer to the third question is NO. ( of course you can, if you find it more logical, say Yes, but then you must prove that ” coming together” doesn´t mean what we have assumed)

      In the whole context here, the focus is to be explicit as to whether they lived together or not , that is assumed quite naturally, and is also clearly expressed. The focus is to stress a very important thing , namely that they had no intercourse BEFORE the birth of Jesus. That is for the obvious reason to give a historical testimony about the unique conception and birth of Christ. We can be absolutely sure that Jesus is not biologically the son of Joseph, and that is the main point. Whether they had sexual relations after that, is for the purpose and effect of it quite unimportant compared to this.

      And that is actually what you write at last: they did not live together during their betrothal , as was expected not to do of course, and then they married and ” Joseph took her to his house” So, at least this we agree on. What is impossible to come through to you with , is what also is obvious from what is written here, that they not only just lived under the same roof in a kind of arranged marriage, but the fact that Josef also ” knew her ” and that they actually also ” came together ” as a married couple.
      This is, of course against the teaching of your church. I can do nothing about that. You are free to stay by your church on this. Before we started this discussion I was curious about how you argue your case. I have learnt something, but am also more convinced than ever that the teaching of the perpetual virginity has not the credence required for my conviction.
      Personally, I don´t see any point in continuing the discussion. If you have more to say, you can have the last word. I thank you so far. Maybe we can come across again on other matters in this blog.

      • I just have to correct myself. In the second passage it should be written: ” ..the focus is NOT to be explicit… ” . And there are some other minor faults. Since english is not my mother tongue I hope you bear with me.
        Kind regards…

  9. @ Arne: It’s always been you who has insisted to assert “came together” as the only legitimate translation when there are other good bibles which don’t even use that term because of better scholarship. Moreover, you stubbornly continued to ascribe “sexual relationship” as a condition of living together even when the bible is silent on it. You decided that it’s normal to be having sex in a normal married state so this must be it. Well, the whole incarnation is a mystery and there is nothing normal about the virgin birth of Christ from the beginning. You seem to be unaware that many “normal” married couples in our days also do not have sex for personal reasons like the mutual desire to consecrate themselves to God. You have insisted that God must “restore” the virginity of Mary after Christ when again when we don’t really know how the birth actually happened. But according to you, why stop there? Many people can still have sex with their wives when they are pregnant. Why wait until the birth of Christ? Your refusal to accept the unknown when the bible is silent can give rise to all kinds of strange intepretation in the sectarianistic way.

    But the big question is why the obsession with the sex life of Mary and Joseph? Why the insistence to interpret it in a way that’s contrary to traditional and orthodox belief of the whole Christian Church? Do you even know or study Hebrew, Aramaic or Koine Greek to be sure that your understanding of Matt 1:25 is correct?

    You have insisted that “there is no trustworthy source to the effect, and it is, still after all the arguments are on the table, if anything, against the scriptural testimony.” Well, as far as I know, you’re the only person (Protestant or Catholic) who has made this an absolute scriptural testimony based on Matt 1:18 and 1:25 alone. Again, it’s so presumptuous of you to conclude that there are no “trustworthy source to the effect” when you haven’t begin to examine these sources with me. You have even refused to examine the rest of the bible for a wider context. I would think that you’ll be jumping at the chance to show that Christ had blood siblings so it would show conclusively that Mary was not a perpetual virgin (even to my satisfaction). It’s only prudent for a Christian to “rather err on the side of too much respect, than too little respect.” But you would have none of that of course. You are the sole judge and jury, and we wonder why the bible taught against private interpretation?

    It’s quite okay for us to terminate our discussion here. We can just let the readers decide which explanation of Matt 1:18 and 1:25 is more plausible and reasonable. (To be sure, I don’t believe that Christ had other blood siblings from scriptural testimony but that’s another topic for a different day since you won’t touch it.)

    Take care, Arne.

    • If you have read what I have written on this from earlier postings, I think you know that I do not shun it for mere lack of arguments. But I do not want to repeat myself too much. I have considered the siblings theory, and the stepfather theory and not found any or them probable. If you have any other good arguments, then you are very welcome to present them. I will receive it as humbly as I can. If I find it convincing I will tell you, otherwise I will not start a new series of argument as I don´t feel it serves any purpose. But I will be thankful if you could give me the best of arguments that I have perhaps , to this time, not been aware of.

    • Surkiko. I am not a biblical scholar, and never have claimed that. But it hurts me that you seem to ridicule my attempt to make my own judgements. So you think one has to have full knowledge of aramaic ,greek and hebrew to be entitled to have an opinion? I hope you have all the credentials you demand from me.
      But I am able to reason, and I have a higher education, and I am able to read different translations and concordances.
      I do know, as I have written on this topic before , that not every married couple live together sexually, of many different reason, and especially with increasing age .But I don´think it is very common for a normal married couple not have had any such relationship at all, at least in the beginning of a marriage. I don´t think you are right if that is what you are assuming. Then we are speaking of the exceptions. And what I have said, when the Bible uses the the expressions it does: coming together/ knowing her , it is reasonable for a unlearned fellow like me to assume that one is talking of what is still the normal thing to do between married people: to consummate their marriage. Support for this assumption on my side, apart from my simplistic every-day reasoning, one can find in Strong´s concordance. After all he is a scholar, isn´t he? and the one most cited authority on the meaning of biblical words. So here is his explanation on ” knowing ” :

      ” :3. by a Hebraistic euphemism (cf. Winer’s Grammar, 18), found also in Greek writings from the Alexandrian age down, γινώσκω is used of the carnal connection of male and female,remcumaliquo oraliquahabere (cf. our have a (criminal) intimacy with): of a husband, Matthew 1:25; of the woman, Luke 1:34; (Genesis 4:1, 17; Genesis 19:8; 1 Samuel 1:19, etc.; ”

      It is also very clarifying that it works both ways: man to woman and woman to man as in Luke 1:34 when Mary answered the angel: ” how shall this happen for I know not man” . ( in many translations this is given ” I am a virgin ” – so the opposite: to know man is of course to have man, live with a man, to have a sexual relationship, as in matt 1:25 )

      So, at least I have now shown you some scholarly proof to what I have contended all the time. When you compare Matt 1:25 with Luke 1:34 the meaning of this is quite clear. So now I beg of you a pardon for your derogatory statements.

      But I am not sure if I can go on discussing with you anymore when you also are able to state the following: ” we don´t know how the birth actually happened????? So to suit the Catholic in his quest for the perpetual virginity, Jesus bypassed the birth canal to not disrupt the hymenal ring? May be your tradition also has it that in this cave or stable there also was a well equipped surgical team to perform a cesarean section? Well, then I am out . I do not want any more of this.

      And if you have really read what I have written, I have been absolutely clear that they did not have any intimate relationship before the birth, as is clearly stated i Matt 1:25. So please, read me a little better before misstating my opinions. (” but according to you ;why stop there” ????)

      • @ Arne: Like how I pointed out how there are many versions of the English bibles, there are also many dictionaries and commentaries with different opinions. Strong is just one (Protestant) scholar who does not carry any special ecclesiastical authority even if you did quote him perfectly. I didn’t misread you. I shall restate my conclusion again:

        “It’s pointless for us to continue if you are so adamant that you have conclusively proven from the bible about the perpetual virginity of Mary based on Matt 1:18 and 1:25 alone. All I am saying is that there is not enough information there to come to such a conclusion in any absolute term, be it for the affirmative or denial.”

        I’ve tried to steer you gently toward the related subject of the siblings of Christ as a better way of demonstrating and fortifying your case. If I’ve gathered correctly from your various posts, you are also very convinced about these blood siblings which would indeed prove your case of the non-perpetual virginity of Mary conclusively. Since you don’t seem to want to go there, I gather that you don’t want to carry on a reasonable discussion. Take care.

        • Normally, one who is openminded and a true seeker of truth, will consider all sides and all arguments in a debate. Honestly , you do not do that. Whenever I come up with a source or a documentation, you always find a way to rule it out. All my sources are faulty, all yours are the good ones? So now you tell me that even Strong is not to be trusted since he is a protestant ( I never knew that, and I find it absolutely irrelevant)? So since he is a protestant he is not able to be a greek scholar? He is in fact not able to have a scholarly attitude in his work and be able to tell the meaning of greek words?This is rather amusing, in fact now I am not able to withhold the word ” laughable ” any more,and my respect for you is increasingly on the downward slope. You are certainly not showing a scholarly attitude.

          If you want to really consider this uprightly, the least to be expected of you is to acknowledge that at least there is some scholarly support for what i say. That is not to say that Strong, or anyone, has the final word, since everyone know that even scholars can disagree on many items and understandings.But were you serious, in return to what I showed you, you could be so kind as to show me the more accredited scholars that you apparently know of and show me some quotations from their dictionaries to be in direct opposition to what Strong says. The task I give you is very simple: show me one accredited scholar who contradict Strong convincingly on this particular word, and show me that even the majority of scholars disprove his stand . This you will have to do now to rescue your own credibility.

          Then upon considering the various scholarly positions we might be able to draw a conclusion.
          Before you withdraw yourself I demand this from you, since you so openly now express your disregard of everything I come up with.

          By the way, why don´t you just show me the simple and straightforward proof that Jesus didn´t have siblings? I have invited you now several times to do so, but you always keep saying I do not want to hear.

          • @ Arne: Let me try to put it in a different way. Unless you can demonstrate that “to/til/until” (“heos” or “heos huo” in Greek) has ONLY one meaning in Graeco-Roman Greek, that is the participle “until” always automatically mean a change will occur from the present condition (a cessation of the action in the clause immediately preceding it or discontinues itself in the subordinate clause) in the immediate context of the passage, to make an absolute statement about it is simply fallacious, illogical and unreasonable. Therein lies your problem.

            I’m not disputing about the plain meaning of “came together” in isolation. What you are trying to do is pinning the meaning of “came together” but forgetting about the subordinate clause after that. I think that you’ve at least acknowledged the pitfall of relying on a particular English translation of the bible. Various bibles have translated the passage without using the (I think) KJV’s archaic English expression of “came together” just to avoid this kind of misunderstanding to the modern readers. You just need to take one step further to discover the meaning of the whole passage (Matt 1:18 thru 25) as Matthew intended. Quoting Strong is not going to change anything. You need to demonstrate that construction of “until” NEVER included “until/emphasis of point/and always”. I believe that you could not and did not do that.

            Again, it’s you who have decided to challenge the traditional belief of the perpetual virginity of Mary. From there, I have encouraged you to use the wider context of the siblings of Christ to prove your claim more convincingly (even to my satisfaction). Christianity has always understood the “siblings” to be NOT the children of Mary. Since you have pitted yourself against the long established 2000 years of Christian beliefs and have challenged the Church which is called the “Pillar and bulwark of the truth”, there is a standard protocol of putting the onus of proof on the challenger. In other word, you need to go on the offensive. I will do my response to the “siblings” question after you’ve presented your case.

  10. @ Arne: I won’t waste your time either. We didn’t discuss the siblings theory so let’s not be “dogmatic” about your assertion. It’s okay to agree to disagree. You’ve to know that the onus of proof is always on you to show why there is the moral certitude to depart from the traditional teaching of the Church on the perpetual virginity of Mary. It was a good discussion while it lasted. Thanks.

  11. Surkiko : Is the siblings theory what you think is the most reasonable ? I promised not to go on with this , but you see, I can´t stop it , really. For a long time you have you have indicated very strongly that you have the answer to the apparent fact that Jesus had brothers and sisters. I would really appreciate that you gave me a , at least brief sketch of it – just for old friendship?

  12. @ Arne: Like you said, it’s pointless for us to continue if you are so adament that you have conclusively proven from the bible about the perpetual virginity of Mary based on Matt 1:18 and 1:25 alone. All I am saying is that there is not enough information there to come to such a conclusion in any absolute term, be it for the affirmative or denial. The onus of proof is still on you to prove that the siblings of Christ are the children of the Virgin Mary. It should be easy since you already believe in the non-perpetual virginity of Mary so you just need to build on that belief to include the blood siblings theory.

  13. Surkiko: you tend ever to make broad statements and broad cathegories. ” “the church has always believed so and so, ” ” there is a 2000 years tradition ” and so on. This you you do too lightly, because the truth is that there always have been many differing views from the beginning, and the view on this particular matter has , in fact differed among the church fathers( even though it seems correct that the majority have held to it ) . And it is also a truth that the history is written from the victors perspective. That doesn´t prove the veracity of anything at all. And I know also that the view on this particular question also was held by the first protestants like M. Luther. That doesn´t bother me much. He was of course, from the beginning a catholic monk. Have you ever heard of a monk that did not cherish the fiction of perpetual virginity? But it also belongs to the story that this view largely, eventually lost adherence among the protestant and is, I think, not widely believed among them. But that doesn´t count, does it?

    And I will add that it was not a doctrine ever mentioned at all by the apostles. How much should that count? Let´s allow, to be kind, that you at best can maintain that you cannot explicitly rule it out from the testimony of the scriptures, when you allow for all kinds of stretching of words and their immediate meaning. But certainly it is not explicitly stated, which you must expect it should , given the importance it has gained later on.

    When it comes to the meaning of ” until ” I do not have to prove that it always have to imply a change in state of act. This must always be determined from the context, and it is enough to show that it oftentimes functions in this way, and the context will give you the meaning in the actual passage. I have never said that it ALWAYS implies a shift in activity, only that I think it does in the actual passages we have discussed ( Matt. 1:18;25).

    Sometimes , as with the example you gave me about Abigail who” didn´t have a child until her death”, it is obvious that she didn´t have a child after her death either – for the simple reason that dead people never have children! But change this sentence a little bit , say : ” she didn´t have a child until she was 30 years of age ” then the meaning changes entirely. Then you have stated 1) that she had no child before she was 30 and 2) you have also very strongly implied, yes actually stated, that she had a baby after 30. Taken squarely , this is what it means. Perhaps you can think of conditioning circumstances or explicit statements given in addition that can change the meaning ( I am not sure what that would be )

    One other example you gave me, is not any good example either of your position, where God says to Christ: ” sit down at my right hand until I lay your enemies to your feet “. There is absolutely no reason to believe that Christ would be sitting there forever, because this ” until ” implies clearly that , after his enemies is laid down ,then it is time for him to rise up as regent and start to rule.

    Then briefly: there is no reason to think that the many passages where brothers or sisters are talked about should mean anything else that the real brothers/sisters of Jesus . Mr .Akin on the video above, one of your own apologists, admits openly that the “cousin theory” is ” somewhat speculative”. Greek also have specific words for cousin as in Colossians 4: 10.
    So I guess I do not have to attach a theory that this very blog have itself dethroned.
    And I find no good reason that the ” adelfoi ” in Acts 1:14 and 1 Cor 9:5 is not his real brothers by Mariam.

    And, it is also a point in Luke 2:7 that Luke uses the word ” prototokos ” meaning the ” first born “. That implies that she had children later on. If not, the better word would be the ” monogene huios ” meaning the one and only born son.

    As to the step-father theory , I will not go to any length now. It seems speculative. One obvious objection comes from the fact that Joseph seems not to have brought with him any children to Bethlehem to be registered . It doesn´t of course absolutely rule out that he had a family at the time, but it would certainly be reasonable that they were mentioned. Have you ever seen a christmas crib with Joseph and a lot of children around ? But I am not sure if every child of even low age also were required to go to his hometown for registration ( but as the theory requires that Joseph was so old that he was not interested in matrimonial activities any more , one must assume that his children were real grownups! Joseph was a real man, wasn´t he? )

  14. @ Arne: Thank you for your response. I feel that you are at least now trying to reason with me finally. But I think that we should both take a break from the “until” question for the time being if that’s okay with you. Let’s take some time to sink in what’s been discussed between us.

    The term “firstborn” in the bible does not imply a “second born.” It was an identification of the first born son, actually a consecretion ritual for divine service (Pidyon haben – redemption of a son) to commemorate how the firstborn sons of the Israelites were spared during the tenth plague in Egypt. The first born became the “fireborn” whether another child would be born or not. please see Exodus 13:1-2.

    About the brethren of Christ, I will suggest that we investigate what we do know for sure first. In the bible, the brethren of Christ were actually identified by names. Can you positively “prove” that they were the blood siblings of Christ?

  15. Surkiko, thanks also for your gentle answer. It warmed my heart! We can rest the issue of ” until ” that´s ok. I don´t see how I can say anything more about it anyway, but certainly we can find new examples of its use to strengthen or weaken our positions.

    I am, perhaps , not able to prove that protokos always have to imply the later bringing forth of other siblings. In the main and linguistically, I think so, but we also see it being used of state of honor or position as with David in Psalm 89:28″ I will make him the first born, the highest among the the kings of the earth”. And you are right that the firstborn was consecrated to God and there were special offerings to be made in the temple – as we see they do with Jesus in Luke 2. In john we see Jesus as the monogene – the one and only born of the father 1:14 and in v 18 the only begotten god ( monogenes theos ) This is interesting . King James v. renders this only begotten son , but only begotten god is what is written. In Colssians 2 v 15 and 18 he is the 1)the firstborn( prototokos ) of every creature, and 2) the firstborn( prototokos) of the dead. This was so that he ” in all things he might have the preeminence ” ( v 18 )
    To sum up I would suggest that he was
    1) the firstborn ( prototokos ) son of Mariam, as the first born of her children, in the succession of several to follow.
    2) He was the first born ( prototokos ) before every creature from God – as the the first to emanate from him, in the succession of many others to follow
    3) he was the firstborn ( prototokos ) of the dead – the first in a succession of many to follow . He was the first to be regenerated from dead. Later there will follow multitudes – thank God! In this he is demonstrated to have preeminence as the first in every aspect when in a line of others emanating from God
    BUT :
    he was the only begotten god( monogenes theos). He was the one and only theos begotten of God, and in that respect he is not first in a line of others, here he is unique, and as I understand, no one will ever be in that category. We have as believers the hope of being born as children of God , and as such Jesus ” is not ashamed to call us brothers ” ( hebr. 2:11 ) – all born of God. But none of us will ever be called monogenes theos.
    So, perhaps, at least mainly, that as prototokos we find him as the first in a succession of others to follow. But as the monogene from the Father he is the one, only begotten and unique?

  16. @ Arne: I can appreciate your expansive explanation of “prototokas” and related scriptural implications. I don’t have any issue with it. The only minor objection is that I believe “firstborn” (vs. “first born”) was used in a specific semantic context (ritualistic, inheritance rights, custom, etc.) written to and for the Jewish people by Jew(s) so I doubt that we need to go externally to consider the “main and linguistically” modern English or another cultural context for the sense of the term. Anyway, I think that here’s a point which we can actually agree to disagree with a gentleman’s handshake.

    Do you think that we can tackle the next question of the brethren of Christ? It will certainly help to clarify the issue. We will first investigate what we do know from scripture, which is that the “brethren” were actually identified by names in Matt 13:55. The names were James, Joses, Simon and Judas. You can show how these were actual blood siblings of Christ thus proving your case without a shadow of doubt.

    Happy Veterans Day!

    • Surkiko: Thank you. I am not sure what you mean when you say that ” you can show how these were actual blood siblings of Christ..”. And it seems to me that you connect this tho the fact that we know the names of christ´s brothers?
      It is not easy to prove blood relations in an absolute sense. Today we could use DNA-testing as proofs. As this is impossible , we will have to rely on what we consider reliable historical sources, which is mainly the gospels, the Acts and also the letters of the apostles. And from the testimony they give us , we know that at least, he had what were called “his brothers”. From the assumption that ” adelfos “means brother in the sense we normally understand it, then we must conclude this to be as it is said to be, mustn´t we?

      Seen in isolation, I do not think I can rule out, absolutely , that this can not mean ” half-brothers ” of Christ. Generally, we always understand language in its immediate and unexceptional way, and it is a duty of the communicator to condition his statements straight away if he is to be understood in an exceptional or more unusual way. Or the context gives you obvious reason to understand it differently from what is ” normal”.
      In our analysis so far, I don´t think we have found any substantial support for the assertion that Mary did not have later marital relations with Joseph. That is at least, an understanding that must be superimposed. On the contrary, it is more than alleged,that she had, and thus the prerequisite for having children, were in place. If we are not allowed to assume that, then there must be provided solid evidence to the contrary from the scriptures. No such evidence is on the table, and I will have to conclude that Jesus brothers was his blood relatives through Joseph and Mariam.
      Even though you, my friend, assert that it is the churche´s opinion for 2000 years , that Mary had no children of her own, I must conclude that this is not in accord with the tradition of the early church as conveyed in their earliest writings. Should we now follow our analysis to our logical conclusion, we would have to consider the veracity or trustworthiness of later traditions ( which is called “early traditions” ). Why, at all, should we have to believe that they are more ” true ” than the gospels themselves? Isn´t it possible that even within the first century, there would be serious deviations from the teachings of the apostles? Isn´t that exactly what their writings actually give us reason to believe?

  17. @ Arne:

    You can rest assured that this is not a trick for demanding DNA proof of the biological relationship of the “brethren of the Lord.” And you’re certainly right that we should consider the “immediate context” (or even the wider context for proof with the whole bible if needs be) in the attempt to derive the exact meaning and sense of a word or phrase. That’s just what I have had proposed to do with the “heos hou” question previously.

    While immediate context is important, but so is correct exegesis. The Greek word “adelphos” (brethren) is frequently used in the bible in a generic sense so the imposition of a strict interpretation (to mean a blood sibling) is not warranted without examining it textually and contextually. There’s common consensus among biblical scholars that the Septuagint Greek was the model for the NT Greek. We already know that it was common for Jews to use circumlocution like “My father’s brother’s son” because there was no word for cousin, nephew, uncle and other extended family memebers in Hebrew and Aramaic. Since circumlocution was clumsy at best, the word “brother” was commonly used since it was easier. Just to cite one example, Abraham and Lot called each other “brother” although they were really uncle and nephew (Gen 13:8, Gen 14:16). And although there is a Greek word for cousin (“anepsios”), we would find them used as synonyms within two verses of each other: “(Raguel said to his wife Edna) … How much the young man resembles my cousin (anepsios) Tobit … so he said to them, “Do you know our brother (adelphos) Tobit?” (Tobit 7:2-4). It is a widely held view that the Greek adelphos was simply transliterated (vs. translated) from Hebrew and Aramaic.

    Since you do not ascribe to “Sacred Traditions,” we can agree to try to rely on scripture data and critical study to derive the most plausible and reasonable answer to the question of “adelphos.” This is where it is worth to examine the named “brothers” of Christ with what’s known to us from the bible:

    In Mt 13:55 and Mk 6:3, the “brothers” of Christ were named as: James and Joseph (Joses) and Simon and Judas (Jude).

    At the scene of Christ’s crucifixion, according to Jn 19:25, there were three (3) Mary’s present: 1) Mary, the mother of Christ; 2) The sister of Mary (mother of Christ), also called “Mary” and identified as “Mary of Clopas”; and, 3) Mary Magdalene. On the Via Dolorosa, we were told that Mary Magdalene was accompanied by “Mary, the mother of James and Joseph” and the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Matt 27:55-56). In the parallel passage in Mark 15:40, we were told that Mary Magdalene was accompanied by “Mary, the mother of James the younger and of Joses” and Salome. It is reasonable to deduce that this mother of James and Joseph (Joses) was also “the other Mary” (with Mary Magdalene) at the tomb (Mat 27:61, 28-1). So we have “the other Mary” who was the “mother of James and Joseph (Joses)”, identified as the sister of Mary (mother of Christ) and as “Mary of Clopas.” What’s the connection between Clopas and James “the younger”? “The younger” (translated variously as “minor”, “little”, “lesser”, “shorter”) was obviously a title only. It is commonly held that it was most likely used as a comparison to the other “James” of the Twelve Apostles. We know “James, the brother of the Lord” was also one of Twelve (Gal 1:19). The two “James’s” were called James of Alphaeus and James of Zebedee (also called James the Great). We can rule out the latter since he was obviously not the son of Clopas. So what is the connection between Clopas and Alphaeus? St. Jerome in c. 318 had explained that Clopas and Alphaeus were different Greek rendering of the Aramaic name “Halpai” (in the tract against Helvidius, “The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary”). Since “Joseph” was also the son of Mary of Clopas/Alphaeus, we can also rule him out as the blood sibling of Christ. The other “brother” Simon (“the Zealot”) is widely thought to be Symeon of Hegesippus who had expressly stated that he was the son of Clopas (quoted in Eusebius, Hist. Eccl, Book IV, Chap 22). As far as Judas (Jude), he was identified as one of the Twelve and generally identified as “Jude (brother) of James” or Judas Thaddaeus (“… the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James” in Jude 1:1).

    So the supposition (of Fundamentalist Christians) that the “brothers of Christ” can only be interpreted in the strict literal sense is simply presumptuously “trying to prove too much” especially when there is at least ONE other very reasonable explanation which begs to differ.

    Moreover, we can assess the wider context of the NT for other clues:

    1) There was never mention of Mary giving birth to anyone else either in the written or oral tradition.
    2) When Christ went to Jerusalem at the age of 12, there was no mention of any other children with the family.
    3) In his hometown of Nazareth, the people who should know the composition of the family would only referred Christ as “THE son of Mary” and not “A son of Mary” (Mk 6:3).
    4) In fact, the so called siblings of Christ were never referred to as the children of Mary. They were simply referenced as “the brethren of the Lord.” At the wedding of Cana, they were unnamed.
    5) If Christ had other blood siblings, should Christ violate the Mosaic prescription by usurping their obligation by giving the care of his mother to John? Even if that’s possible (Christ was an observant Jew), should Mary neglect or abandon her other “children” and went to stay with John? Not if Christ was the only child, the oldest (firstborn) as well as the youngest.

    Of course, the critical study of the bible is incomplete without the study Typology. Early and modern Christians all see Mary depicted as the New Eve and the new Art of the New Covenant. We would read this Ezekiel’s astonishing prophecy about Christ and the perpetual virginity of his mother:

    “(The Lord said to me) … This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut” (Ezek 44:2).

    Accordingly, it will be a leap to claim that “adelphos” can only be construed in the literal and narrowest sense of blood siblings to exclude the possibility of adelphos as being a cousin or some other extended relative (or even non-relative) of the Lord.

    From here, one can go on to the “Holy Traditions” of the Church, the records of the witness of the first Christians and of the patristic Fathers including the study of post-biblical theology to uncover the veracity of the doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. I’m afraid that this is an area where you have shown contempt and bias. I don’t mind showing you but it’s up to you, Arne.

  18. Surkiko, thank you for this long and thorough explanation. I do appreciate that you put so much time and effort into this, I am impressed at what you have ” put on the table ” here. This is really complex, isn´t it?
    So, I will need some time to study this, I think. and it will take a lot of time to comment on all of it in detail.
    My impression, at first glance ,is that it may be difficult to draw clear conclusions.I am really confused at the moment with regard to the different Marys and James. From what I have understood, there is also much uncertainty and diverging meanings in commentaries.
    I think I will leave it that for the moment, certainly this is not the kind of problems you immerse in after midnight? We´ll see if I can comment on it in a better way later on, but when I am not sure.

  19. @ Arne: I’m glad that you are at least trying to understand the “traditional” position on the perpetual virginity of Mary and the brethren of Christ. It is like you say “really complex” instead of the summary dismissal of the Catholic explanation. May be we can come back later to explore it some more. Meanwhile, you take care, my friend.

  20. Dear Surkiko,
    Thanks for that. I am familiar with all of this information but it is so difficult to get a handle on it. One almost needs a graphic of some sort but also all of the Bible verses to go with it.

    • @ bfhu: Thank YOU also for allowing me to use this platform to exchange ideas with Arne. Hopefully, it will help others ponder more about the wisdom of Mother Church too.

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