Skip to comments.Why is the perpetual virginity of Mary so important to Catholics? [Ecumenical Vanity]
Posted on 03/17/2012 2:30:01 PM PDT by reaganaut
I understand the history of the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary (ἀειπαρθένος). I know it was taught as early as the 4th century, and I understand the development of "Spritual Marriages" in the Early Middle ages. That isn't what I am asking.
I have a good grasp of the history, doctrine and Biblical texts. I have done a lot of research on the topic. I grew up in Catholic school and Matthew 1:25 always got me in trouble during Catechism class.
And he knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. (Matthew 1:25).
"Know" is a very common idiom for sex in Judaism of the period of writing. Again, I don't want to debate the text or history.
Protestants have no issue with Joseph and Mary having a normal marriage and having sexual relations AFTER the birth of Jesus (not before for obvious reasons) and having other children.
What I am curious about is the WHY the doctrine is important to MODERN Catholics (Medieval Catholics I get). Why does matter if Mary was ever-virgin (after the birth of Christ) or not?
From what I’ve learned Mary was consecrated to the Temple at her birth, that is, perpetual virginity. I believe that is what the consecration meant for baby girls.
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Source for this? Judaism never had a practice for this for women that I have ever come across so I am curious.
And Joseph is mentioned when Jesus was 12 so after his birth.
Joseph was NEVER mentioned again?
Are you sure? Look again, age 12 Jesus is supposedly (By the human understanding of His earthly parents) lost in the Temple. Who was looking for Him and extremely worried?
LOL....you’re very welcome. :)
I agree. Besides, where were the other physical brothers? It seems to me that, according to the Gospels, John was the only man at the foot of the cross. To whom else would Jesus consigned His mother?
But we (and I include myself here) are getting off the subject. The point in question is not the perpetual virginity, or lack of thereof, of Mary but WHY is it so important to Catholics?
Why do you assume that ancient Greek had the word for cousin?
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Because I am fluent in Koine Greek. It isn’t just an assumption. The word is anepsios and used in other places in the New Testament.
Early Church Fathers on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity - http://www.catholic.com/tracts/mary-ever-virgin
Pope Siricius I
“You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lords body, that court of the eternal king” (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).
(see more church fathers at above link)
You can also check out:
Salza for more Church Fathers - http://www.scripturecatholic.com/blessed_virgin_mary.html#tradition-III
Hahn’s site for more - http://www.salvationhistory.com/search/results/81ef5793412e6baa02ab6980d5ddd051/
Hopefully that will keep you busy. :)
Besides, why would the translator CHANGE a meaning from “brother” to “cousin,” just because Greek had the word and Aramaic didn’t? A translator would have held to what the speaker said: brother.
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Have you done much translating? Honest question.
Part of the translation process is stating the text or in the case of idioms changing it to preserve meaning.
Most of those in the Aramic Middle East knew how to speak at least some Greek (rather than Latin which was less used). Why are you assuming that the speaker said cousins instead of brothers meaning literal siblings?
Yes, apostolic tradition.
As Jesus ascended into heaven, He didn't yell down: READ MY BOOK! There WAS no book. The apostles didn't write things down until later. Paul didn't write until after Jesus death either. Yet Jesus' Church grew, WITHOUT the written words, WITH the preaching of the Apostles and the 72 other disciples Jesus appointed. They didn't carry books and scrolls around with them. They preached according to the tradition taught to them by Jesus.
There were scrolls of the life of Jesus scattered throughout early Christiandom, but darn few and even fewer people read. Apostolic tradition was the way the Church grew for a LONG time. Remember that John said: "There are, however, many other things that Jesus did: but if every one of these should be written, not even the world itself, I think, could hold the books that would have to be written." (John, 21:25)
Jesus did much more during His life but they weren't written down. He left it to his Apostles to spead the Good News...thereby NOT relying on just a book.
If Jesus had brothers the brothers wouldn’t have let their mother travel around following Jesus. The brothers would have been taking care of her all along. The brothers would have been at the Cross with their mother and brother.
Jesus had no brothers. Where does it say that Jesus’ family were non-believers?
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John 7 states that his brothers did not believe. And you are assuming without evidence that they would have taken care of Mary or would have been at the cross (esp if they didn’t believe) or wouldn’t let her travel.
Have you ever tried to convince a Jewish mother to do something she didn’t want to do or to prevent her from something she did?
Post #74 is an excellent answer as to why, IMO.
I’ve read all that, thank you very much for the links, but that is not what I was looking for.
I know the history of the doctrine probably better than most Catholics (Historian), what I am looking for is why it matters to Modern (not Medieval) Catholics.
Is it a theological hill to die on? If so, why?
But if it was such an important doctrine, why didn’t it make it into the New Testament? Many things did, that did not.
We don’t really hear about the doctrine until almost the 4th century through the Church fathers.
I wouldn’t be too sure it didn’t make it into the NT implicitly. I sure see it in Luke.
I sure see it in Luke.
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Where? I don’t so I am curious.
I DON'T assume that the speaker said cousins instead of brother, meaning literal siblings. What I said was that "brothers and sisters" was a term used for cousins because the word "cousin" didn't exist in ancient Aramaic.
I learned my Bible from priests. They were taught in the seminary about what the Bible teaches. Protestants ARE allowed to interpret the Bible as they like. There is no dictum as to what anything means. So if you want to interprest the word brother for cousin you can because Protestants can. Catholics are taught doctrine/dogma and that is not up for interpretation. Priests will tell you the same thing I did. I didn't make it up or get MY OWN interpretation of the Bible. Catholics don't do that.
I HAVE done translating from Spanish-English and vice versa but only on a need-to basis for friends and family. I realized that idioms are impossible to translate. I translate both the exact text AND the actual meaning, which often differ A LOT. It's hysterically funny sometimes.
e.g. The word elbow in Spanish is "codo." When someone pats his elbow and is speaking of someone else, he REALLY means that the other person is a cheapskate, as "codo" can also mean skinflint. It's an idiom.
Also I don't assume that the ancient Aramaic speakers knew ANY Greek unless they were merchants of some sort, mechants who dealt with people who traded for farther away than the village in the next valley. Aramaic is STILL spoken on ONE town in Syria but it's NOT the same Aramaic that Jesus spoke...language changes after 2000 years. Aramaic sounds like Arabic in many ways.
Greek was the language of the Greek conquerors. Then the Romans came. Why would Jewish peasants speak EITHER Greek or Latin? Why wouldn't they speak only Aramaic? Most were illiterate anyway. Education wasn't for the poor.
For the same reason that her perpetual virginity was so important to Calvin, Luther and Zwingli amongst many other protestants.
I did not mean to be hostile, Sorry.
But to me I don’t have to know aboutt Mary’s life. The Church tells me she was Virgin, we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and I believe.
The Church tells me that Jesus suffered and died on the Cross , and rose on the third day.
I didn’t see it, I do not expect to know how he arose, I do not question if he was in a coma for three days, I accept that he was dead and arose.
I don’t ask questions I believe.
If it has to be explained to you , Your faith is weak IMO.
I don’t mean that in a nasty way.
Neither does it mean sibling.
We know the Gospels to be inerrant so there must be an explanation other than sibling to explain the different fathers mentioned for each of Jesus' "brothers".
"For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother. - Mark 3:35