Skip to comments.Brothers of Jesus: Biblical Arguments for Mary’s Virginity
Posted on 05/31/2014 4:33:21 PM PDT by narses
In my previous article, I wrote about the Hebraic use of the Greek adelphos: as applying to cousins, fellow countrymen, and a wide array of uses beyond the meaning of sibling. Yet it is unanimously translated as brother in the King James Version (KJV): 246 times. The cognate adelphe is translated 24 times only as sister. This is because it reflects Hebrew usage, translated into Greek. Briefly put, in Jesus Hebrew culture (and Middle Eastern culture even today), cousins were called brothers.
Brothers or Cousins?
Now, its true that sungenis (Greek for cousin) and its cognate sungenia appear in the New Testament fifteen times (sungenia: Lk 1:61; Acts 7:3, 14; sungenis: Mk 6:4; Lk 1:36, 58; 2:44; 14:12; 21:16; Jn 18:26; Acts 10:24; Rom 9:3; 16:7, 11, 21). But they are usually translated kinsmen, kinsfolk, or kindred in KJV: that is, in a sense wider than cousin: often referring to the entire nation of Hebrews. Thus, the eminent Protestant linguist W. E. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, lists sungenis not only under Cousin but also under Kin, Kinsfolk, Kinsman, Kinswoman.
In all but two of these occurrences, the authors were either Luke or Paul. Luke was a Greek Gentile. Paul, though Jewish, was raised in the very cosmopolitan, culturally Greek town of Tarsus. But even so, both still clearly used adelphos many times with the meaning of non-sibling (Lk 10:29; Acts 3:17; 7:23-26; Rom 1:7, 13; 9:3; 1 Thess 1:4). They understood what all these words meant, yet they continued to use adelphos even in those instances that had a non-sibling application.
Strikingly, it looks like every time St. Paul uses adelphos (unless I missed one or two), he means it as something other than blood brother or sibling. He uses the word or related cognates no less than 138 times in this way. Yet we often hear about Galatians 1:19: James the Lords brother. 137 other times, Paul means non-sibling, yet amazingly enough, here he must mean sibling, because (so we are told) he uses the word adelphos? That doesnt make any sense.
Some folks think it is a compelling argument that sungenis isnt used to describe the brothers of Jesus. But they need to examine Mark 6:4 (RSV), where sungenis appears:
And Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. (cf. Jn 7:5: For even his brothers did not believe in him)
What is the context? Lets look at the preceding verse, where the people in his own country (6:1) exclaimed: Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us? And they took offense at him. It can plausibly be argued, then, that Jesus reference to kin (sungenis) refers (at least in part) back to this mention of His brothers and sisters: His relatives. Since we know that sungenis means cousins or more distant relatives, that would be an indication of the status of those called Jesus brothers.
What about Jude and James?
Jude is called the Lords brother in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. If this is the same Jude who wrote the epistle bearing that name (as many think), he calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James (Jude 1:1). Now, suppose for a moment that he was Jesus blood brother. In that case, he refrains from referring to himself as the Lords own sibling (while we are told that such a phraseology occurs several times in the New Testament, referring to a sibling relationship) and chooses instead to identify himself as James brother. This is far too strange and implausible to believe.
Moreover, James also refrains from calling himself Jesus brother, in his epistle (James 1:1: servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ): even though St. Paul calls him the Lords brother (Gal 1:19: dealt with above). Its true that Scripture doesnt come right out and explicitly state that Mary was a perpetual virgin. But nothing in Scripture contradicts that notion, and (to say the same thing another way) nothing in the perpetual virginity doctrine contradicts Scripture. Moreover, no Scripture can be produced that absolutely, undeniably, compellingly defeats the perpetual virginity of Mary. Human Tradition
The alleged disproofs utterly fail in their purpose. The attempted linguistic argument against Marys perpetual virginity from the mere use of the word brothers in English translations (and from sungenis) falls flat at every turn, as we have seen.
If there is any purely human tradition here, then, it is the denial of the perpetual virginity of Mary, since it originated (mostly) some 1700 years after the initial apostolic deposit: just as all heresies are much later corruptions. The earliest Church fathers know of no such thing. To a person, they all testify that Mary was perpetually a virgin, and indeed, thought that this protected the doctrine of the Incarnation, as a miraculous birth from a mother who was a virgin before, during and after the birth.
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Woman, there is your son...son, there is your mother. And from then on, John took her into his care. Wouldn’t have been necessary if she had sons to take care her...
So Mary and Joseph were never married?
How does that question pop into the discussion?
BINGO!!! The one sentence that blows it out of the park.
Well, if Mary remained a virgin, then she never consummated her marriage with Joseph. Thus two never became one in the grander scheme of things.
No where is there any Gospel that suggests that Mary ever had sex.
You seem hung up an the sex ACT itself.
Mary was not an incarnation (rehash) of a Pagan Godess.
She was a humble servant of God, and favored above all other women because God chose her to bring bring about The fleshly manifestation of God — Jesus!
As such, this does NOT require Mary remain a virgin AFTER the birth of Jesus.
In other words the divinity of Jesus is NOT attacked by the humanity of Mary.
Indeed the divinity of Jesus is derived from the father (God, though the Holy Spirit).
It seems sin is inherited or visited upon the children through the father, not the maternal side. (there are scriptures to this point). Thus since the father is God, Jesus can come into the world sinless. Mary not need be sinless her entire life to be the vessel that bore Jesus. However Mary was indeed a virgin we know at least until Jesus was born. Since the bible indicates Jesus had brothers, we can deduce that Joseph was the father of Jesus’s siblings.
This in no way impugns the nature of Jesus, or Mary.
It would sure SEEM as if they wed, because they were living together as man and wife 12 years after Christ’s BIRTH, when the family went to Jerusalem and, after leaving for home, left Him behind. I cannot for the life of me fathom how a man would marry a woman, then not have marital relations with her for over 12-15 years or more. They both were normal human beings, after all. This belief in her perpetual virginity makes ZERO sense to me, just as so much of the RC doctrine does.
From the viewpoint of one who reads Scripture and has a reasonable amount of good sense and curiosity, such things as praying to Mary or anyone else but God Himself, or not KNOWING FOR SURE THAT YOU ARE SAVED, SACTIFIED AND SURE OF YOUR PLACE IN HEAVEN WHEN GOD CALLS YOUR NAME run absolutely COUNTER to God’s Own, sure Words. I have yet to find these things in my 3-4 favorite English translations, but I have another 35 to go through yet. If anyone can point me to book, chapter and verse, as well as version, I would be ever so grateful.
Did say that Yashua had brothers - i.e. “James, the brother of Yashua” ... where did he come from????
“As such, this does NOT require Mary remain a virgin AFTER the birth of Jesus.”
Nor does it REQUIRE her to lose her virginity.
My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum,
et exsultávit spíritus meus
in Deo salvatóre meo,
quia respéxit humilitátem
Ecce enim ex hoc beátam
me dicent omnes generatiónes,
quia fecit mihi magna,
qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius,
et misericórdia eius in progénies
et progénies timéntibus eum.
Fecit poténtiam in bráchio suo,
dispérsit supérbos mente cordis sui;
depósuit poténtes de sede
et exaltávit húmiles.
Esuriéntes implévit bonis
et dívites dimísit inánes.
Suscépit Ísrael púerum suum,
sicut locútus est ad patres nostros,
Ábraham et sémini eius in sæcula.
Glória Patri et Fílio
et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio,
et nunc et semper,
et in sæcula sæculórum.
She became the Mother of God, in which work so many and such great good things are bestowed on her as pass man’s understanding. For on this there follows all honor, all blessedness, and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among which she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in heaven, and such a Child . . . Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God . . . None can say of her nor announce to her greater things, even though he had as many tongues as the earth possesses flowers and blades of grass: the sky, stars; and the sea, grains of sand. It needs to be pondered in the heart what it means to be the Mother of God.
(Commentary on the Magnificat, 1521; in Luther’s Works, Pelikan et al, vol. 21, 326)
That reading thing again. Try reading the article. It will answer your question. Really!
Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS -Matthew 1:25
James the brother of Jesus is named in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3, along with three other brothers (Joseph [or “Joses”], Simon and Judas [Jude]) ...
Boy, you Catholics love to major in the minors.
Mary also said “Since I do not know man”, I believe the different interpretations from the original verse would have some assert she meant she would never know man.
Also, the Orthodox seem to think that God, Jesus, Son of God, came from a sacred place, hence, Mary did not have run-of-the-mill sex after the birth of Jesus.
James the cousin you mean, unless you are confused and think that the Bible was written by King James?