A prophecy about Christ and Mary’s children

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by Jellies, Aug 30, 2021.

  1. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    Among some anglicans it is believed Mary is a perpetual virgin. Now, I don’t mean to upset anyone. But I think the scriptures are plenty clear Mary had children when repeatedly she appears along with Jesus’s brothers. It would be weird for her to go everywhere with them if they were Joseph’s children from a previous marriage, who were basically older than her. I also think it does more harm to Mary that she married an old widowed man instead of a loving husband who she can have a family with after giving birth to Christ. anyways, psalm 69 says this:
    “Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Shame has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers, And an alien to my mother’s children; Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.”
    We know this prophecy applies to Christ:
    “And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.””
    ‭‭John‬ ‭2:16-17‬ ‭
    “For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.””
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:3‬ ‭

    And we know his brothers forsook him:
    “For even His brothers did not believe in Him.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭7:5‬ ‭

    I think it makes the heartache Our Lord suffered even sadder, because the brothers he grew up with, children of the same mother, didn’t believe in him. :no:
    I say this because I was watching Anglican videos on YouTube, and came across a guy trying to support the perpetual virginity of Mary. One of his proofs was the church fathers. But If you look at where this is first recorded, it is in Gnostic works. 2000 year old errors are still errors. I think scripture is plenty clear on this, especially with this prophecy from king David. We are either to call David a liar, or say “my mothers children” is allegorical or doesn’t refer to Jesus. But the sad truth is Christ was rejected by his half brothers, born of Mary and Joseph. And even Mary herself doubted him, because she was a human.
    Mary having doubt doesn’t make me think any less of her, and neither does her having children with Joseph. It is completely unheard of in Jewish culture to have a marriage without consummation, that is no marriage at all. The Talmud requires consummation of marriage in order for it to even be valid. Everywhere in the Old Testament Jewish women who are infertile suffer and pray to god to bless them with a child. Mary as a Jewish woman had a duty to bear children to Joseph. The church fathers should have no say on this matter, because tertulian and other earlier writers casually assumed she had children, and the earliest witnesses are best. It is not a degradation of mary to say she had children, but an exaltation of her motherhood.
     
  2. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Your interpretation may be possible but is not biblically conclusive.

    One of the main go-to verses that people use to "prove" that Mary and Joseph had children after Jesus' birth is in Matthew 1. However, the actual wording of the verse does not prove their point: https://leorningcniht.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/rethinking-the-word-until/

    You may also be surprised to learn that most of the Protestant Reformers, and figures as late as the Wesleys, believed in the perpetual virginity. It was simply the default interpretation of Scripture until (I assume) less-historically-grounded forms of evangelicalism became the majority voice in American Christianity. I wrote more on her virginity here a while back: https://leorningcniht.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/the-blessed-virgin-mary/
     
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  3. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    If that’s the road you want to go down - historical criticism of tradition - the situation is far worse than you think. The Birth Narratives themselves have major problems, as acknowledged in numerous modern commentaries, such as those by the late Raymond Brown. Even without the miraculous elements, there are enough discrepancies in the accounts that many modern scholars - even otherwise theologically conservative ones - have concluded that they are legendary. The Virgin Birth itself seems to have been unknown to both Mark and Paul, and occurs only in the Q Source. It plays no role in John’s Gospel. Both historically and geographically, it is poorly attested, being neither early nor widespread. It is nevertheless cited as a “fulfillment” of a passage in Isaiah that was actually neither a Messianic prophecy, nor was it talking about a “virgin”. Pull on the strings of that tapestry and the whole thing will come apart.

    That being said, some of the Church’s greatest art, hagiography, music, and devotional writings have been premised on the figure of the Virgin Mary as the Tradition has presented her. To throw away the Birth Narratives and all the subsequent Marian piety built upon it would be a tremendous loss. Much of that devotion was built up to safeguard historic Christological dogma, and one need only gaze momentarily upon the theological wasteland of the Churches descended from the Reformation to realize that the traditionalists in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy may have had a point after all. Historically accurate or not, the Tradition is best left alone, and reverenced for that toward which it points, rather than understood as an end in itself.
     
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  4. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    Are you suggesting I believe Mary, a Jewish woman, did not have sex with Joseph after the birth of Christ for the sake of “tradition?” A 2000 year old error is still an error. And Jewish law at the time (and probably still) required consummation of the marriage in order for it to be valid. I feel like this is asking me to ignore logic and reasoning for the sake of “tradition.”
    I honestly can’t do that. It’s so far fetched to believe a Jewish woman remained celibate in a marriage, that literally never happened in their culture. The church fathers had some weird hang ups about sex which is why they made Mary a perpetual virgin. I don’t think If it was proven Mary had sex it would ruin devotion to her as you say, unless you are the type to hold back vomit at the thought of sex (and I don’t mean you, I mean celibates in Roman and orthodox circles). If I had Marian devotion and it was proven to me she had sex it wouldn’t bother me at all. Perfectly normal for a married woman to have sex. In fact I’d rather say Mary had sex than say she disobeyed Jewish law. Or worse, risk the inheritance of the Davidic throne for Christ (which is already based on shaky principles) by making jospeh not Jesus’ legitimate stepfather because his marriage with mary is illegitimate. I know you’re trying to protect tradition, but this is actually something that bothers me about Rome and the East. You’re supposed to close your eyes and plug your ears if The One True Church TM tells you 2+2=5. If the church says it it can’t be false! Ignore all logic and rational thinking!
    I think God would want me to use my brain instead of blindly believing traditions but that’s just me:dunno:
     
  5. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    What I am saying is that you can interpret it allegorically. The Birth Narratives function as rhetorical devices mainly. Ancient historians felt free to “fill in the gaps” when they felt it was warranted from a literary standpoint. The idea of “celibate marriage” is contrary to everything we know of Judaism at the time. There’s no reason to take that literally today. That doesn’t mean that something valuable can’t be gleaned from the image.
     
  6. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    Tbh I’m kind of confused at what you mean. I’m not talking about the accuracy of the nativity or virgin birth stories. I’m talking about Mary’s perpetual virginity. Are you suggesting I interpret her perpetual virginity allegorically or something? lol sorry I just don’t understand what you mean
     
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  7. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Without the Birth Narratives being literally true, there is no basis for the teaching of Perpetual Virginity. There are serious problems with the former. The whole thing can be interpreted allegorically, thereby preserving the moral and devotional content of the tradition (including the biblical accounts) without being committed to upholding unsupportable claims.
     
  8. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    I don’t think there is that much ambiguity like you say. Most accounts from Christians in the 1st and second centuries affirmed the virgin birth. Even if the Bible is unclear about it (which I don’t believe it is) we have testimony of people close to the event affirming it. Perpetual virginity however comes from the protoevangelium of James. Tertulian is the first to talk about Mary’s virginity and affirms the virgin birth but assumes Mary had previous children. Coupled with the fact that just because Paul et al don’t mention Mary’s virginity doesn’t mean it’s not true. Paul rarely talked about Christ and his earthly life. So we can’t assume his knowledge of the virgin birth or not. But we know for a fact that Jewish laws contradict this belief. It’s like, I can have faith in the virgin birth as a miracle from God even if it seems to you to be dubious from the Bible. But I can’t accept that based on some tradition which we have no proof for Mary is a perpetual virgin, given what I know about Jewish society, laws, and practices at the time. One asks me to have faith in a miracle and the other to ignore logic and history for the sake of a tradition. To me it’s not the same thing at all. I don’t think God would ever ask me to affirm 2+2=5
     
  9. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I fail to see the distinction.

    It also seems easier to believe that a 1st century Jewish woman suspected of having a child out of wedlock would be involuntarily celibate, than that a supernatural parthenogenesis would transpire to fulfill a passage in Isaiah that didn’t actually predict a virginal conception and birth. The whole thing could be legendary and also worthy of preservation (as allegory) for more properly theological reasons. Her perpetual virginity would be something analogous to Christ retaining his wounds even in his resurrected and glorified body.
     
  10. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    The difference for me is I actually believe in miracles. But is Mary’s perpetual virginity a miracle? No. Where did it come from? Celibate hang ups in the early church. I guess if you believe the church is infallible you can ignore logic and history and believe the perpetual virginity. But believing in a miracle isn’t ignoring logic or history because it’s a supernatural event and there’s no way for us to prove if Mary conceived virginally or not because we weren’t there. So I can have sensible faith. Isaiah can be interpreted to mean both virgin and young woman.
    But perpetual virginity asks me to ignore historical Jewish practices for the sake of something that’s not a miracle. There’s a difference for me anyway. But we can agree to disagree. I guess if someone has faith in The Church TM they can ignore history or pretend Mary was a unique Jew repulsed by sex or something idk
     
  11. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I get what you’re saying, and I think it’s well put. :thumbsup: