Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Ever Virgin Mary

Ever Virgin
Saint Jerome, the translator of the Bible into Latin wrote extensively defending the Virginity of Mary, and answers the common attacks (first born, "until" he was born, Joseph, brothers..etc) used by modern heretics and refuted them a millenium and a half years ago. See the defense here written by Saint Jerome written near AD 383. Then the universally loved St Augustine wrote and defended her Virginity and denies her as being denounced

The commonly used justification for Mary's Virginity in John 19:26-27
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

Entrusting His Mother to the Apostle John, shows Mary is a widow, He cares for her and the needs of humans, and it shows that if Mary have birthed others it would be unnecessary to give her to St John, because she would have already been provided for.

Furthermore our Church Fathers and Sages teach the Blessed Virgin’s perpetual virginity was prophesized in the writings of the Prophet Ezekiel:

“He said to me: This gate is to remain closed; it is not to be opened for anyone to enter by it; since the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it, it shall remain closed.”—Ezekiel 44:2

St Augustine and St Jerome were among those who interpreted it as such.

The following verse is used by Protestants to say Mary gave birth to other children, but does it really?
Is he not the carpenter's son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas [perhaps aka Thaddaeus]?—Matthew 13:55

Notice there are James’ whose FATHERS are named!:

The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus—Matthew 10:2-3

James, the son of Zebedee is just another James, he is not the brother of the Lord—it is possible if not likely James son of Alphaeus is the “brother of the Lord.”  St Paul says he meet two apostles in Galatians 1:18-9:
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days. But I did not see any other of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.

which corresponds to Acts 9:26-7:

When he arrived in Jerusalem …Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles

Here St James, brother of the Lord is called an Apostle, which Acts typically uses in a more strict meaning rather than St Paul’s general use, though Acts does call St Paul and Barnabas apostles once. Strictly speaking this is circumstantial evidence.

Here is another verse that names ANOTHER Mary as the mother of James and Joseph Matthew 27:56

Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee [who are James and John see Matt 10:2].

Now there are only two people named Joseph in the gospel of Matthew they are St Joseph who was married to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and its extremely unlikely that this is his mother then there is Joseph of Arimathea, who is not introduced until verse 57 seemingly as a new character, which would make it unlikely that it is his mother.  The only OTHER Joseph mentioned with a James in the gospel of Matthew are the brother of the Lord in Matthew 13:55. This is not the Virgin Mary since the verse would say Mary the mother of Jesus.

The corresponding verse of St Mark’s gospel reads 15:40:

There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome--Mark 15:40 [perhaps Salome is Mary wife of Zebedee father of James and John].

This is proof that it is not Joseph of Arimethea or St Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary since the Joseph here is spelled Joses, while Joseph of Arimethea is spelled in the same chapter (Mark 15:43) Joseph not Joses:

“Joseph of Arimathea…”

The spelling for the Joses of Mark 15:40 is used in the corresponding verse of Matthew 13:55 which names the “brothers of the Lord” among which is Joseph, the Gospel of Mark likewise spells it Joses in Mark 6:3:

Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?--Mark 6:3

Oct 11, 2008 a Protestant tried to assert the James and Joses of Mark 6:3 and Mark 15:40 are different because Mark 15:40 says he was "the lesser," the fact 'the lesser' is used in Mark 15:40 is irrelevant since the verse that corresponds to Mark 15:40 in Matthew 27 reads:

Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.--Matthew 27:56
Notice here Matthew does not say James 'the less' even though Mark 15:40 does, the fact that its omitted in means nothing and its clear they are the same people.

Now we have identified two brothers of the Lord (James the less and Joses/Joseph) as being the sons of another Mary, but what about the other brothers of the Lord mentioned in Mark 6:3/Matthew 13:55?  It cannot be the Virgin Mary because the Gospels would say “his mother”

It just so happens that Luke 6:16 mentions the Apostle Jude/Judas being of James, but scholars are divided on whether or not this is a reference to Jude being the brother of James, or a James being the father of Jude (the exact same ambiguity appears in Acts 1:13).  Jude 1:1 undeniably calls a Jude brother (adelphos) of a James.

In Mark’s gospel the name Joses is only used 2 times they are 15:40 & 6:3, all other references to Joseph are spelled another way.

John’s Gospel identifies in John 19:25

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.

The name Clopas and Alphaeus though spelled differently in both Greek and Syriac texts are etymologically linked and identified by Papias as being the same person.

Matthew 27:56:

Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee [ie James and John].

St Papias one of the earliest Christian writers (c.AD 100) lists the many Marys are follows:

"(1.) Mary the mother of the Lord; (2.) Mary the wife of Cleophas or Alphæus, who was the mother of James the bishop and apostle, and of Simon and Thaddeus, and of one Joseph; (3.) Mary Salome, wife of Zebedee, mother of John the evangelist and James; (4.) Mary Magdalene. These four are found in the Gospel. James and Judas and Joseph were sons of an aunt (2) of the Lord's. James also and John were sons of another aunt (3) of the Lord's. Mary (2), mother of James the Less and Joseph, wife of Alphæus was the sister of Mary the mother of the Lord, whom John names of Cleophas, either from her father or from the family of the clan, or for some other reason.[now we know they are linguistically the same name] Mary Salome (3) is called Salome either from her husband or her village. Some affirm that she is the same as Mary of Cleophas, because she had two husbands."--St Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis (Pamukkale, Turkey) Fragments of Papias c.AD 100

"No one can apprehend the meaning of it except he have lain on Jesus' breast and received from Jesus Mary to be his mother also. Such an one must he become who is to be another John, and to have shown to him, like John, by Jesus Himself Jesus as He is. For if Mary, as those declare who with sound mind extol her, had no other son but Jesus, and yet Jesus says to His mother, "Woman, behold thy son," and not "Behold you have this son also," then He virtually said to her, "Lo, this is Jesus, whom thou didst bear." Is it not the case that every one who is perfect lives himself no longer, but Christ lives in him; and if Christ lives in him, then it is said of him to Mary, "Behold thy son Christ.""—Origen in his commentary on John
Then it says Abram’s brother gave birth to Lot:

Here is the Gospels list of the 12 Apostles, notice different names are used for the same Apostles.

The names of the twelve apostles  are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.—Matthew 10:2-4

Simon, whom he surnamed Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon who is called Zelotes, And Jude, the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, who was the traitor.—Luke 6:16

Some claim that because St Luke write this:

“and she gave birth to her firstborn son”—Luke 2:7

means that Mary must have given birth again because a first born implies future children.  There are two ways to answer this:

1)      This does not require future births, first born has legal importance in Jewish Law as the scriptures state in Genesis 27; Exodus 13:2; Numbers 3:12-3, 18:15-6; Deuteronomy 21:15-7 & etc…Furthermore, in the story of Exodus God declares Israel to be His firstborn son: "So you shall say to Pharaoh: Thus says the LORD: Israel is my son, my first-born." (Exodus 4:22)! Did God have other children in this sense at this time? Furthermore, God said He would have the angel of death kill the firstborn son of the household (should they not obey His orders to prevent such), does this imply that families that had a first born and only child were spared? NO, a firstborn is a firstborn regardless of further offspring. "Let my son go, that he may serve me. If you refuse to let him go, I warn you, I will kill your son, your first-born." (Exodus 4:23) Also it should be known to Protestants that the term firstborn in scripture is also a Hebrew expression of greatness, in fact Christ is called 'firstborn of creation' in Revelation, evidence for this interpretation of firstborn is found in Psalms 89:28: "I, too, shall make him a firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth," [in fact many Protestant bible call the first born here Christ] and Jeremiah 31:9 states: "for I have become a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn." Clearly showing the expression first born can mean favorite or great one.  It should also be noticed that archaeological evidence shows a first century Jewish woman named Arsinoe died giving birth to her "firstborn" [prototokou teknou]. Hence, the term first born in Jesus' time does not require that others had to be born.

2)      This scripture is interpreted by ancient commentators to have a sort of mystical significance which says that Mary had more children, but not by natural generation, but in Spirit, since Christians are her spiritual sons, as this is made evident with the Apostle John in John 19:25-6 where Christ declared. In addition the Marian interpretation of Revelation 12 speaks of the woman has having "other offspring" that keep the commandments.

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