"Mary in Early Christian Faith and Devotion"

Discussion in 'Church History' started by Rexlion, Mar 17, 2019.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    Recently I purchased a read a copy of this book, "Mary in Early Christian Faith and Devotion," by Stephen J. Shoemaker. This is my review of the book. Due to the review's length, it will be split into several posts.

    “Mary in Early Christian Faith and Devotion,” by Stephen J. Shoemaker, examines some of the earliest Christian writings concerning Mary. This book is well-written, engaging, and (as far as I can tell) well-researched, and is definitely worth reading. Professor Shoemaker begins with an analysis of the relatively scant details about Mary in the Bible, and then discusses documents in more or less chronological order for the first few centuries of the early Christian Era.

    We all know what the N.T. records concerning Mary. The next document mentioned, “The Ascension of Isaiah” (early 2nd Century), merely reinforces Mary’s virginal conception and birth. Next mentioned are the letters of Ignatius of Antioch (late 1st or early 2nd Century), which do the same. “Odes of Solomon” (mid- 2nd Century) calls Mary “a mother with great mercies” who “loved with redemption and protected with kindness,” and says that the birth of Jesus was painless. In this same time frame, the “Infancy Gospel of Thomas” mentions Mary “only a few times and in passing.” Justin Martyr also wrote during this time period, and he records an idea that Mary could be viewed as the “New Eve, whose chastity and obedience undid the original Eve’s primordial immorality and disobedience.” All well and good. Shoemaker notes that nothing so far “elevate(s) her status significantly within the discourse of Christian theology.”

    Irenaeus (late 2nd Century) carries the Eve-Mary idea a bit further in “Against Heresies,” wherein he labels Mary as “the cause of salvation” in that her obedience made possible the birth of Christ who brought salvation to her and to all mankind. Here I would differ, for although Mary may be termed “a cause” of salvation, she was by no means a proximate cause of salvation; indeed, had Mary been unwilling or disobedient, God most certainly could have incarnated through another. But even with this stretched causal link by Irenaeus, Shoemaker finds “little if any evidence of emergent Marian piety.”
     
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  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    The “Protevangelium of James,” thought to originate from the late 2nd Century, reveals “the first visible shoots of early Christian devotion to Mary.” This dating puts the “Protevangelium” some 150 years or so after the ascension of Jesus and about 100 years after the death of John, the last living Apostle. The document tells a story of the birth and early life of Mary. It raises the possibility (without stating it overtly) that Mary’s mother conceived without her husband’s involvement, but this is not at all made definite or clear. Then it tells of Mary’s seclusion within her bedroom until age 3 while being attended by “the undefiled daughters of the Hebrews,” after which she is taken to the temple to live. Mary is said to have remained in the temple until age 12, at which time the onset of menses would have been a source of impurity, so the widowers are assembled and Joseph’s rod turns into a dove, indicating that he was selected by God to step in as Mary’s guardian. This he does, and he “somewhat reluctantly takes [her] into his home.” After the angelic visitation and Mary’s humble obedience, she goes to live with Elizabeth for 3 months and then returns to Joseph’s house. When the community notices Mary’s pregnancy, she and Joseph are obliged to drink “the water of the Lord’s conviction” to test their innocence in the matter, and they pass the test. Subsequently, on the census journey to Bethlehem, Mary gives birth in a cave halfway between Jerusalem and Bethlehem with the aid of a midwife whom Joseph located. The midwife tells Salome about the event, and Salome goes to the cave and tries to test via her finger for Mary’s virginal hymen, upon which effort Salome’s hand is burned with fire; but an angel tells her to touch the baby Jesus for healing, and Salome’s hand is restored. The document winds up the tale by saying that John the Baptist and his mother are swallowed up by a mountain for protection from King Herod’s killing crew.

    Shoemaker points out that Mary, not Jesus, is the center of attention in the “Protevangelium.” Mary is portrayed as possessing a “sacred purity” or “unique holiness” that distinguishes her from other people, and her “miraculous conception and birth offer an early sign of her supernatural qualities and invest her, like her son, with a divine origin.” Shoemaker characterizes the influence of this document on the later church as “vast” and “enormously influential;” he states that “such a highly influential text certainly ought to be regarded as more than just an apocryphon,” for it “certainly was not a failure nor were its traditions rejected.” In this manner, the author views the “Protevangelium” as evidence of a “surprisingly advanced piety centered on Mary’s exceptional purity and holiness already by the later second century.”

    In reaching this conclusion, Shoemaker seems to think that the Marian piety of the late 2nd Century serves as evidence that such piety existed since the time of the Apostles, and that later documents which continue to show Marian reverence also support his conclusion. But couldn’t the absence of written evidence of Marian piety prior to this time serve as evidence, in and of itself, that such piety was not yet practiced on a significant scale? Which came first, the document or the reverence? Is it not equally possible no such piety was common much before the late 2nd Century, and that this document ‘started the ball rolling’? Shoemaker bases his opinion upon the fallacious idea that the Protevangelium should be held in high regard because it was “such a highly influential text”; by that logic, every influential text ever written (including “Mein Kampf,” “Communist Manifesto,” and “Origin of Species”) should also be highly esteemed.

    The “Protevangelium” should, like all such documents, be evaluated in light of that which we hold to be inspired Scripture. Comparing it to the Bible, we see that the “Protevangelium” deviates from facts we hold to be true. The Bible teaches us that Joseph was Mary’s betrothed, not her guardian; as a betrothed couple, they would not have lived together before their marriage day. Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem, not in a cave somewhere in the countryside. These deviations from accepted truth should cause us to look askance at the document’s other claims, but Shoemaker appears to accept the deviations as ‘gospel truth’ and give greater weight to them than to the divinely inspired Bible.

    Shoemaker states that “without this [Protevangelium] text we would have little reason to suspect that Mary had already emerged as a figure of great religious significance for Christians in this era.” However, one could state with equal validity that without this text we would have no evidence that Mary was being primed for portrayal as a figure of great religious significance. One may ask, “Who would want to do such a thing?” We have no provenance, and certainly no reason to believe that the “Protevangelium” was written by a scholarly, respected church father. We do know, however, that many heresies had developed already by this point in time. Fringe groups with non-orthodox ideas were popping up with ever-increasing frequency. It would only take one community (or one person who heard a legend) on the edge of Christianity to write something embellished or fanciful in a misguided effort to inspire the faithful, and that one writing could easily have become a ‘foot in the door’ to point the way for greater errors concerning Mary to creep into the Christian world. Indeed, what we see up to this point has been a clear progression over time; at first, there is no sign whatsoever of Marian piety, but little by little the writings about Mary embellish her reputation and status, just as one would expect if the original Apostolic teachings wer to become distorted by hundreds (if not thousands) of tellings and re-tellings.

    Another indicting factor concering the “Protevangelium” is its elevation of Mary at Christ’s expense; whereas all of the New Testament writings lift up Jesus Christ, the “Protevangelium” makes Christ out as a ‘bit player’ and places Mary on a pedestal (albeit a low pedestal at this time); this should also make us suspicious. Shoemaker records Beverly Roberts Gaventra as stating that “a reader who knew only the Protevangelium might reasonably conclude that Mary is the holy figure and that Jesus’s holiness derives from hers.” Shoemaker seems to regard this as supporting evidence for the validity of Marianism, but should it not instead serve as a warning (perhaps even an indictment) against any practices encouraged by the “Protevangelium”? Shouldn’t a document which purports to promote Christianity but is not Christ-centered, and which exalts someone other than Jesus our Savior, be considered suspect by the Christian faith?

    To anyone who thinks that significant error could not creep into the early church poplulation in a mere 150 years, consider how we currently observe a substantial (and growing) number of Holocaust deniers just 75 years after Hitler’s regime murdered millions – this despite our light-years-better communications, photography, historical records, and news transmission as compared to the 2nd Century. Consider also the need for Irenaeus to write “Against Heresies.”

    Another important fact regarding the “Protevangelium,” a fact that Shoemaker glosses over, is the eventual issuance of the Gelasian Decree, by which the Western church around 500 A.D. condemned the “Protevangelium” as heretical. From all the evidence, it appears that this text is not worthy of respect or high regard, for it is seriously flawed. And since Shoemaker points out more than once that the traditions of the “Protevangelium” were “highly influential” in the West as well as the East, we can see that it had ample opportunity to taint subsequent writings and church thoughts on the subject of Marian piety. By all the evidence, this taint spread enormously and rapidly in the coming decades.
     
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    Such a taint would be expected to exert its greatest influence upon groups who were poorly instructed in proper Christian doctrine and upon laity with little education. This is exactly what can be observed from the historical data compiled in this book. Indeed, Shoemaker observes that “most other witnesses from the late second and third centuries show strong affinities with various kinds of esoteric Christianity.” He also notes that “lay piety frequently stood well in advance of dogmatic developments and ecclesiastical recognition during the medievel and modern periods. Time and again popular devotion to the Virgin outpaced Mariological doctrine...”

    A leading example of the close affinity Marian piety had with esoteric thinking is the “Book of Mary’s Repose,” concerning which Shoemaker says, “...we can locate this text with some confidence to the third century...” In it, a “great angel” appears to Mary and tells her she will die on the third day. This angel is alleged to be Jesus, however Mary fails to recognize her son for quite some time and she actually asks to know his name. Mary does not recognized Jesus until after she climbs the Mount of Olives for him. “The Christ-angel” tells her to recall (as a way of proving his identity) the journey to Egypt, during which (this document alleges) Joseph accused Mary of “becoming pregnant because she failed to guard her virginity” and admitted his fear that he may have impregnated her himself while he was drunk; Joseph also lays a ‘guilt trip’ on Mary by reminding her that he had abandoned his other seven children in order to care for her and the baby! After this time of recollection, the “Christ-angel” tells Mary that he has come to teach her a secret prayer (passwords, one might say) which she will need to recite when dead so that she may “escape past the guardians of the cosmic spheres” and gain entry into heaven. Mary is further instructed to teach these secret passwords to the Apostles but to no one else. Among other statements, the “Christ-angel” (rather peculiarly) tells Mary, “I am the third thing that was created, and I am not the Son; there is no one greater than me.” After their conversation is concluded, the book claims that the Apostles were flown to Mary’s location on clouds so they might attend her in her final hours on earth. After Mary’s death, during the funeral procession Mary’s bodily remains allegedly effect an injury, and then a subsequent healing, of an individual who attacked her bier. The tale closes with Jesus descending to escort Mary and the apostles on a scenic tour of Hell and a brief glimpse of Heaven before returning the apostles to the earth (telling them “to proclaim everything they have seen”), and finally taking Mary into Heaven for good. (Apparently the apostles were disobedient to our Lord’s command, for they seemingly never wrote or spoke about the amazing tableaus of Hell and Paradise.)

    The influence of Gnostic beliefs upon the “Book of Mary’s Repose” appears irrefutable. It turns ‘Mary the Virgin Christ-Bearer’ into ‘Mary the Dispenser of Cosmic Mysteries Necessary for Salvation.’ Shoemaker’s position is that the book represents evidence that Marian piety is good and pure, but he seems to recognize that this Gnosticism damages his position, so he writes that even though he has argued in the past “that this writing bears evidence of contact with Gnostic Christianity,” now he holds a modified position that the book “seems to reflect the beliefs of an almost unique early Christian group that believed in salvation through esoteric knowledge and seems to have embraced a creation myth with some striking similarities to the Gnostic myth.” This twisting of words to make the book’s origin palatable to orthodox Christianity would be laughable were it not so serious. Anyone who believes that one can be saved “through esoteric knowledge” has fallen into Gnostic thinking, plain and simple. Because the evidence of this book’s Gnostic origin is clearly displayed for all to see, one can also see that the Book of Mary’s Repose” reveals that a “strong affinity” between “esoteric Christianity” and Marianism existed in those days. Shoemaker himself admits in his concluding chapter to the “strong possibility that Marian piety and veneration may have first emerged and flourished with heterodox Christian communities,” but calling Gnosticism “heterodox” is most charitable.

    Whether the origins of Marianism lie in heterodoxy or in heresy, either way it seems evident that they are an “outlier” form of Christian thinking that only entered the mainstream around the time of the Council of Ephesus, hundreds of years after the Apostolic Age ended. No evidence of “Theotokos,” veneration of Mary, piety toward Mary, prayers to Mary, apparitions of Mary, or miracles attributed to Mary can be found within the first 150 years of the Christian era. These practices and ideas arrived slowly and gradually during the late-second century and early-third century, then they snowballed rapidly among the laity in the late-third and fourth centuries.
     
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  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    Shoemaker’s book relates several good examples of the increased momentum toward an aggrandized view of Mary during this period. The “Pistis Sophia,” which relates an alleged conversation between the recently-risen Christ and His followers, portrays Mary as “a learned master of the cosmic mysteries” in that she received “secrets directly from her son and interpreted them for her son’s followers.” The “Gospel of Bartholomew” also portrays Mary in a similar role; she fields questions from the disciples and explains “the sacred mysteries” to them; when asked how she bore such greatness in bearing the Christ-child in her womb, Mary purportedly warns them that if she were to tell them the answer, “fire will come out of my mouth and consume the whole earth.” Perhaps we should not wonder why (as Shoemaker puts it) “the church fathers of the later third century, for their part, are inexplicably reticent when it comes to Mary,” with the notable exception of Tertullian who offered “a surprisingly negative assessment of Mary.”

    The “cult of Mary” picks up even more written support in the Fourth Century with the writing of the “Six Books Dormition Apocryphon.” In this document, set in the days following Christ’s ascension, the apostles are portrayed in open veneration of Mary. A Roman governor kneels before Mary and venerates her. Even more significantly, the sun and the moon venerate Mary in the upper room where she resides! After her death, the patriarchs and the prophets venerate her, too.

    The “Six Books” contains numerous accounts of Mary’s successful intercession with her Son on behalf of Christians. Many healings and miracles are attributed to her intercessions. A significant number of her intercessory prayers are for agriculture and fertility, prompting Shoemaker to remark, “No doubt here the Virgin had already begun to fill a role as protectress of the earth and the harvest that she inherited from the various Mediterranean goddesses.”

    At one point, soldiers are sent to arrest Mary and the apostles, but they “take up Mary’s bed and fly miraculously through the air over the heads of the men coming against them, who fail to see them.” Marian apparitions are recounted, and Mary’s ability to be in two places at once is also recorded in the “Six Books.” The name “Theotokos” is applied to Mary in the “Six Books” as well. The “Six Books Apocryphon” further commands that three festivals to Mary be held each year and, “in a blatant act of self-promotion,” requires itself to be read at each of these festivals. At these events the priests were instructed make bread offerings to the Virgin and to refer to her as, “my master Mary.”

    It may be small wonder that Epiphanius wrote of similar Marian practices among a group called the Kollyridians in the following manner: “Whether these worthless women offer Mary the loaf as though in worship of her, or whether they mean to offer this rotten fruit on her behalf, it is altogether silly and heretical, and demon-inspired insolence and imposture.” Perhaps the same could be said of the “Six Books Apocryphon” which may have served as (at least partial) inspiration for such practices.

    To sum up, the earliest Christian writings portray Mary as the humble servant of God who, in her virginity, bore the Incarnation of the Son of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. After all witnesses of that Apostolic Age had passed away, the writings very slowly and gradually began to add to Mary’s reputation. First came the comparison to Eve. Then came the portrayal of Mary as one who had “sacred purity.” Then she became holder of the cosmic mysteries and wise explainer of hidden truths to the poor, befuddled apostles. Finally, some 300 years after Jesus’ ascension, she was propelled into virtual orbit as the divine intercessor, protector of earth, and Theotokos who was worthy in her own right to receive bread offerings and festivals in her honor. The author, Stephen Shoemaker, records all of this information with accuracy and yet (no doubt due to his Orthodox background and standing) he comes to the erroneous conclusion that Marian veneration and piety are thus vindicated.


    This ends my review. Your comments are welcome.
     
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  5. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    I've known of many in the neo-pagan and feminist movement who have either syncretized or completely rejected their devotion of Mary with pre-Christian Goddess veneration. There are so-called 'Christian Witches' teaching this, that the bible is so blatantly underwhelming on the subject of female authority and icons that the Roman empire desperately wanted to compete against their pagan neighbors by offering a biblical alternative. Despite the comparisons in Catholic tradition to Mary as the ark and as Eve, we must remember that even with Eve and nearly every OT woman, there is no extensive example in their life records to draw a noteworthy parallel in regards to a matriarchal figure. God is actually the one being described as a hen with chicks, but to Eve, and virtually every other, very little is said to illustrate some example that would supposedly be paralleled typologically, besides the most superficial details, i.e., that a man and a woman were responsible for sin in some way, so in turn they would be responsible for salvation, yet, not all parallels have to be entirely similar even though typology of this sort is a very critical aspect of understanding the bible's deeper truths. Doing so reads too much into this. They say Mary is not mentioned much because she was still alive at the time the gospels and epistles were written, but after she died, they started providing factual accounts of her life. Yet, very little is said of Joseph's actual burial place or life in Catholic tradition, which we would expect to be given the same amount of veneration or close to it at least as what Mary gets. It may be true that details of the still-living Mary are seldom mentioned so as to protect her identity from the would-be celebrity status that her Son would eventually shine on her. To respect her privacy. Likewise however, I believe it is possible that the truth is that Mary and Joseph were buried in a private place, unmarked, since otherwise that too would become a pilgrimage site with high traffic and potential idolatry. We don't even know with certainty the graves or bones of certain apostles or bishops/popes that are claimed to exist currently. Often times the remains or sites of their burial have several competing candidates that are difficult to confirm.
     
  6. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Beautiful essay @Rexlion, thank you for that, and I couldn't more affirm what you say, including your conclusions

    The author is trying to present the history in a way that favors Marianism, but as you point out, he undermines his own case by showing that there was ZERO theological devotion to Mary for the Apostolic era

    I would want to strengthen your case by arguing that we don't know that the Protoevangelium of James is in any way orthodox, or was accepted by the Church Fathers... In fact we do know that it was declared to be heretical in the 500s, so if anything it was deemed to absolutely not orthodox! Yes, its existence proves that there was a devotion to Mary among some early-ish (post-Apostolic) Christians, but we also know that many (if not most) Christians in the early times were heretics! I repeat my earlier post:


    While we do know that Mary was declared a Theotokos, and I firmly affirm that, and it is in our Creeds.. But it is quite different from how the (heretical) Protoevangelium of James, and how modern Marianists paint her.

    I give you two quotes from St. Augustine:
    "Mary was more important in her faith in Christ, than in the fact that she gave him birth"

    And,

    https://tomperna.org/2016/08/29/the-marian-writings-of-st-augustine-of-hippo/
     
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  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    Those Augustine quotes are quite nice ones. They bring out the truth of the matter with elegance and clarity.

    I personally think there was some merit to Nestorius' Christotokos and I don't think he intended it to imply that Jesus was "two persons." History is written by the victors, and Nestorius lost (against both the Council's view and popular opinion) so we hear what 'his view' was from his opponents. I speculate that if his term had been accepted, possibly the Roman church would not have gone so extreme in their attitude and doctrine toward Mary. "Mother of God" can evoke a mental image of a divine being giving birth to another divine being, especially in the minds of followers who lived before or during the middle ages who lacked in good doctrinal education.

    As an aside, I read a passage in Shoemaker's book regarding Chrysostom's tendency to teach that Mary's motive at the Cana wedding was to impress the attendees. I can picture that... the pride of a mother in her son and the opportunity to 'show him off' to her peers while doing something 'nice' for the newlyweds. It reminded me of a cartoon.....

    Mary and Joseph.jpg
     
  8. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    The joint statement says in part:
    The humanity to which the Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth always was that of the Son of God himself. That is the reason why the Assyrian Church of the East is praying the Virgin Mary as "the Mother of Christ our God and Saviour". In the light of this same faith the Catholic tradition addresses the Virgin Mary as "the Mother of God" and also as "the Mother of Christ". We both recognize the legitimacy and rightness of these expressions of the same faith and we both respect the preference of each Church in her liturgical life and piety.

    That was a nice bit of flexibility they extended to one another. "We can agree to get along," more or less. Too bad they still weren't ready to share Eucharist together, but it was an important milestone nonetheless. Thanks for posting that. We all have different backgrounds and knowledge bases, and I'm learning quite a bit around here. :thumbsup:
     
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  10. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Even more interesting is that the Roman Catholic Church will commune members of the Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Churches, if they are "properly disposed." If those Churches were to, hypothetically, extend the same treatment, then they would all be in communion with one another, in some manner. The Roman position demonstrates that they will commune and offer the other sacraments to certain Churches without those Churches having to accept Roman dogmas. Interesting and strange at the same time.

    "Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own and are properly disposed" (Code of Canon Law, canon 844§3).

    The following link concerns the Assyrian Church of the East and the Caldean Catholic Church, which was formed in the past by Assyrians who broke away and reunited with Rome:


    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/p...uni_doc_20011025_chiesa-caldea-assira_en.html
     
  11. Pax_Christi

    Pax_Christi Member

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    • Mary is the mother of Jesus
    • Jesus is God
    • Therefore, Mary is the mother of God

    This is how the argument usually goes. It is meant to affirm Jesus' divinity. However, we could add for clarification:

    • Mary is the EARTHLY mother of Jesus
      • (For in the fulness of time, the Word, made of a women and made under the law, became flesh and dwelt amongst us; John 2, ect)
    • Jesus is God
      • (Let all the angels of God worship Him, "My Lord and my God", ect.)
    • Therefore, Mary is the EARTHLY mother of God.

    This continues to reaffirm Jesus' divinity without having to treat Mary as some "Queen of Heaven". Rather, it affirms what scripture has to say about Jesus who is God that also became a man. He was flesh and blood, born into this world to fulfill the law. To affirm her humanity and her earthliness is to actually safeguard that Christ was truly man. To continue to call her the earthly mother of God continues to affirm his deity. For the Lord was truly and is fully both God and man.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  12. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The early church used the term Theotokos which might be translated in English as 'God Bearer'. It was translated into latin using Mater Dei which translates to English as 'Mother of God'. The difficulty that the latin translates has a sense of origen which was not intended in the Greek. Nestorius took exception to the concept an promoted the term 'Christokos' which was not accepted in the Church generally as it suggested a distinction between Christ and God that was not intended. The argument you present here is a late origin. For myself I tend to use the term theotokos as it more profoundly and with less nuance proclaims the truth that the early church accepted.
     
  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    Well spoken, Botolph! Your explanation (and to some degree Pax_Christi's) make sense to me. It's finally sinking in for me how the problem was one of translation.

    I never did like Latin... :p
     
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  14. Pax_Christi

    Pax_Christi Member

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    Good explaination. I myself prefer theotokos. You are right that it is of late origin as it is my own thought on the subject. Things always get iffy in translations.

    I am afraid that means I should change my username lest I incur your disdain :p
     
  15. jschwartz

    jschwartz New Member

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    All of the Oriental Orthodox and Assyrian and Eastern Orthodox churches revere Mary. Revering Mary, venerating saints, the Real Presence, the creeds, the ecumenical councils, etc. are all marks of Apostolic Christianity
     
  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    Regarding "revering Mary, venerating saints" they are marks of Apostolic Christianity today. And they have been so for many, many centuries. But evidence of veneration of Mary & saints in the first 200 years of the church is absent. The very early church fathers (1st two centuries AD) did not mention the practice let alone advocate it. Nor did the NT writers mention it let alone advocate it (we have more evidence for snake-handling, i.e. one questionable verse in Mark, than we do for veneration of Mary or the saints! :no: ) By all the extant accounts Jesus didn't teach it, the apostles didn't teach it, and the early church didn't teach it. Maybe there was a valid reason for that.
     
  17. Fidei Defensor

    Fidei Defensor Active Member

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    Indeed, the Eastern Orthodox (USA/UK) proclaim Mary Theotokios (God Bearer), but not sinless as they take note of the verse in Mary’s Magnificant, “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” (Luke 1:47). Marione declares she rejoices in God her savior, people only need a savior if they are sinners, ergo Mary is not sinless.
     

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