The perpetual virginity of Mary is a Marian doctrine, taught by the Catholic Church and held by a number of groups in Christianity, which asserts that Mary (the mother of Jesus) was "always a virgin, before, during and after the birth of Jesus Christ."This doctrine also proclaims that Mary had no marital relations after Jesus' birth nor gave birth to any children other than Jesus. While the Bible mentions brothers of Jesus, Catholic, Orthodox, and some traditional Protestant interpretations offer various explanations that align with the doctrine of Mary's perpetual virginity; that these siblings were either children of Joseph from a previous marriage, cousins of Jesus, or were closely associated with the Holy Family.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.
Mary was a first-century BC Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, and the mother of Jesus, according to the New Testament and the Qur'an.
In Christianity, Jesus is believed to be the Son of God and the second Person of the Holy Trinity. Christians believe that through his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, God offered humans salvation and eternal life. He is believed to be the Jewish messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament. These teachings emphasize that as the Lamb of God, Jesus chose to suffer on the cross at Calvary as a sign of his obedience to the will of God, as an "agent and servant of God". Jesus died to atone for sin to make us right with God. Jesus' choice positions him as a man of obedience, in contrast to Adam's disobedience.
By the fourth century, the doctrine was widely supported by the Church Fathers, and by the seventh century it had been affirmed in a number of ecumenical councils. : ἀειπάρθενος, translit. aeiparthenos). The Assyrian Church of the East, which is derived from the Church of the East, also accepts the perpetual virginity of Mary by titling her the "Ever Virgin", after the "Second Heaven".The doctrine is part of the teaching of Catholicism and Anglo-Catholics, as well as Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy, as expressed in their liturgies, in which they repeatedly refer to Mary as "ever virgin" (Greek
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers. There is no definitive list. The era of these scholars who set the theological and scholarly foundations of Christianity largely ended by AD 700.
Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a given branch of knowledge or in a belief system. The etymological Greek analogue is "catechism".
Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. It forms a basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.
Some early Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther supported the doctrine, and founder figures of Anglicanism such as Hugh Latimer and Thomas Cranmer "followed the tradition that they had inherited by accepting Mary as 'ever virgin'".Reformed teaching, however, largely abandoned it. The doctrine of perpetual virginity is currently maintained by some Anglican and Lutheran theologians. In addition, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, affirmed the perpetual virginity of Mary.
Martin Luther,, was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation.
Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation.
Hugh Latimer was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and Bishop of Worcester before the Reformation, and later Church of England chaplain to King Edward VI. In 1555 under the Catholic Queen Mary he was burned at the stake, becoming one of the three Oxford Martyrs of Anglicanism.
The doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary, which is believed de fide (i.e. held by Catholics as being an essential part of faith), states that Mary was a virgin before, during and after giving birth for all her life.The threefold nature of this doctrine (referring to before, during and after) thus subsumes the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus. Since the Second Ecumenical Council held in Constantinople in 381 AD, the virgin birth of Jesus has been affirmed in the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed by the statement "who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary, and was made man".
De fide is a "theological note" "theological qualification" that indicates that some religious doctrine is an essential part of Catholic faith and that denial of it is heresy. The doctrine is de fide divina et ecclesiastica, if contained in the sources of revelation and therefore believed to have been revealed by God and if taught by the Church. If a doctrine has been solemnly defined by a pope or an ecumenical council as a dogma, the doctrine is de fide definita.
The virgin birth of Jesus is the doctrine that Jesus was conceived and born by his mother Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit and without a human father. The Catholic church holds it authoritative for faith and Protestants regard it as an explanation of the mixture of the human and divine natures of Jesus, but the scholarly consensus is that its historical foundations are very flimsy.
Year 381 (CCCLXXXI) was a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Syagrius and Eucherius. The denomination 381 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
The doctrine of perpetual virginity is also distinct from the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, which relates to the conception of the Virgin Mary herself without any stain (macula in Latin) of original sin.
In Christian theology, the Immaculate Conception is the conception of the Virgin Mary free from original sin by virtue of the merits of her son Jesus. The Catholic Church teaches that God acted upon Mary in the first moment of her conception, keeping her "immaculate".
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
Original sin, also called ancestral sin, is a Christian belief in the state of sin in which humanity has existed since the fall of man, stemming from Adam and Eve's rebellion in Eden, namely the sin of disobedience in consuming the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred to as a "sin nature", to something as drastic as total depravity or automatic guilt of all humans through collective guilt.
The Greek term Aeiparthenos (i.e. "Ever Virgin") is attested to by Epiphanius of Salamis from the early 4th century.It is widely used in the liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Eastern Orthodox liturgical prayers typically end with "Remembering our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary". The Catechism of the Catholic Church (item 499) also includes to the term Aeiparthenos and referring to the dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium (item 57) states: "Christ's birth did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it." The doctrine of perpetual virginity is also held by some Anglican and some Lutheran churches, but not all of those churches endorse the doctrine.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Aeiparthenos is the title of the Theotokos which refers to the "Ever Virgin" Mary, mother of Jesus, thus affirming the doctrine of the Perpetual virginity of Mary.
Epiphanius of Salamis was the bishop of Salamis, Cyprus at the end of the 4th century. He is considered a saint and a Church Father by both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. He gained a reputation as a strong defender of orthodoxy. He is best known for composing the Panarion, a very large compendium of the heresies up to his own time, full of quotations that are often the only surviving fragments of suppressed texts. According to Ernst Kitzinger, he "seems to have been the first cleric to have taken up the matter of Christian religious images as a major issue", and there has been much controversy over how many of the quotations attributed to him by the Byzantine Iconoclasts were actually by him. Regardless of this he was clearly strongly against some contemporary uses of images in the church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a catechism promulgated for the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II in 1992. It sums up, in book form, the beliefs of the Catholic faithful.
The virginity of Mary at the time of her conception of Jesus is a key topic in Marian art in the Catholic Church, usually represented as the annunciation to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel that she would virginally conceive a child to be born the Son of God. Frescos depicting this scene have appeared in Roman Catholic Marian churches for centuries.The oldest fresco of the annunciation is a 4th-century depiction in the Catacomb of Priscilla in Rome.
Mary's virginity even after her conception of Jesus is regularly represented in the Christian art of both the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox (as well as in early Western religious art) by including in Nativity scenes the figure of Salome, whom the Gospel of James presents as finding that Mary had preserved her virginity even in giving birth to her son.In many icons, Mary's perpetual virginity is signified by three stars that appear on her left, her right, and above her or on her head, which represent her virginity before, during and after giving birth.
As of the second century, interest developed within the early Church regarding the conception of Jesus and the virginity of Mary.The majority of early Christian writers accepted the virginal conception of Jesus via reliance on the accounts in the gospels of Luke and Matthew, yet, the focus of these early discussions was of virginity before birth, not during or afterwards.
The interpretation of the statement in Matthew 1:25 that Joseph "knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son" and of the various New Testament mentions of the brothers (and sisters) of Jesus is discussed below under the heading "Scripture". The "brothers" and "sisters" of Jesus mentioned in the Gospels, and the "James, the Lord's brother", mentioned in Galatians 1:19, "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James", mentioned by Josephuswere thus interpreted by many texts as not being children of Mary. The use of the word "brother" in Scripture is, in addition, not only used to refer to biological brothers but also to relatives (Genesis 14:14, 29:15), close friends (2 Samuel 1:26, 1 Kings 9:13) or even allies (Amos 1:9).
A second-century document that paid special attention to Mary’s virginity was originally known as the Nativity of Mary , but later became known as the Protoevangelium of James .The document tells of Mary’s virginity before giving birth, the miraculous way in which she gave birth, and her physical virginity even after giving birth. The work also claims that Jesus' "brothers" and "sisters" are Joseph's children from a marriage previous to his union with Mary. However, this text does not explicitly assert Mary's perpetual virginity after the birth of Jesus.
There was no full consensus on the doctrine of perpetual virginity within the early Church by the end of the second century, e.g. Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 225) did not teach the doctrine (although he taught virgin birth). Jerome claims Irenaeus (c. 130 – c. 202) taught perpetual virginity, but no extant sources have survived. Origen (185–254) was emphatic on the issue of the brothers of Jesus, and stated that he believed them to have been the children of Joseph from a previous marriage.However, wider support for the doctrine began to appear within the next century.
Some writers from 4th century, Helvidius and Eunomius of Cyzicus (one of the Arians leaders), interpreted Matthew's statement to mean that Joseph and Mary did have normal marital relations after Jesus' birth, and that James, Joses, Jude, and Simon were the biological sons of Mary and Joseph, a view held by Helvidius and Eunomius. Helvidius appealed to the authority of Tertullian against the doctrine of Mary's perpetual virginity, to which Jerome (c. 340–419) replied that Tertullian was "not a man of the church".Basil of Caesarea denied Eunomius' view since Basil sees Matthew 1:25 as evidence for, not against, Mary’s perpetual virginity.
Epiphanius held too that the brothers of Jesus were Joseph's sons from (an unrecorded) former marriage.He adds that
When the Virgin was entrusted to Joseph she was not entrusted to him for marriage, since he was a widower. He was called her husband because of the Law, but it is plainly follows from the Jewish tradition that the Virgin was not entrusted to him for matrimony. It was for the preservation of her virginity in witness to the things to come ... For because she had been betrothed to Joseph Mary appeared to be the wife of a husband, but she had no sexual relations with him.
By the 4th century, the doctrine of perpetual virginity had been well attested.For example, references can be found in the 3rd century writings of Hippolytus of Rome, who called Mary "the tabernacle exempt from defilement and corruption", and the 4th century works of Athanasius, Epiphanius, Hilary, Didymus, Ambrose, Jerome, and Pope Siricius continued the attestations to perpetual virginity – a trend that gathered pace in the next century.
John Chrysostom (347–407) defended perpetual virginity on a number of grounds, one of which was Jesus' commands to his mother in Calvary: "Woman, behold your son!" and to his disciple "Behold, thy mother!" in John 19:26–27.Since the second century these two statements of Jesus from the cross had been the basis of reasonings that Mary had no other children and "from that hour the disciple took her unto his own home" because after the deaths of Joseph and Jesus there was no one else to look after Mary, and she had to be entrusted to the disciple.
By the time of Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine of Hippo, with the increased emphasis on Marian piety, a wider role for Mary began to appear in the context of the history of salvation. Augustine himself presented a number of arguments in favor of the doctrine of perpetual virginity.By the end of the 4th century, Luke 1:34 (How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?) was read as a passage that indicated a "vow of perpetual virginity" on the part of Mary. The Fathers argued that Mary's concern arose since she had already taken the vow to remain a virgin.
The concept of Mary's vow of virginity had already appeared in the Protoevangelium of James (4:1) which asserted that Mary's mother, Anne, gave Mary as a "virgin of the Lord" in service in the Temple, and that Joseph, a widower, was to serve as her guardian (legal protections for women depended on their having a male protector: father, brother, or, failing that, a husband).A book from the late 6th or early 7th century, The History of Joseph the Carpenter , presents Jesus as speaking, at the death of Joseph, of Mary as "my mother, virgin undefiled"; this writing probably composed in Greek, but surviving only in Coptic and Arabic language translation. The Lateran Council of 649, attended by Maximus the Confessor, explicitly affirmed the teaching of Mary's virginity before, during and after birth. This was further affirmed at the sixth ecumenical council in 680.
Over the centuries the interpretation of Mary as an ever virgin bride of the Lord who had taken a vow of perpetual chastity spread and was in full vogue by the time of Rupert of Deutz in the 12th century.By the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas had fashioned long and detailed theological arguments in defense of the doctrine and stated that a denial of the perpetual virginity of Mary would be derogatory to the perfection of Christ, an insult to the Holy Spirit, and an affront to the dignity of the Mother of God.
As of the fourth century, in discussing God's plan of salvation, a parallel theme began to appear in which Mary's obedience ("be it unto me according to thy word" in Luke 1:38) and the doctrine of perpetual virginity were counter-positioned against Adam and Eve, just as Jesus' obedience was counter-positioned against that of Adam in Romans 5:12–21.
The concept of Mary as the Second Eve was first introduced by Justin Martyr around 155 AD.In this perspective, which was discussed in detail by Irenaeus, supported by Jerome, and then grew further, the vow of obedience and virginity of Mary positioned her as the "Second Eve" as part of the plan of salvation, just as Jesus was positioned as the Second Adam.
The theme developed by the Church Fathers ran parallel to the theme developed by Apostle Paul in Romans 5:19 when he compared Adam's sin with the obedience of Jesus to the will of the Father: "For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."In the same manner, Mary's obedience to the statements of the angel, and her adherence to her vow of perpetual virginity, was seen as a remedy for the damage caused by Eve.
The Second Eve teaching continued to grow among Catholics, and in discussing perpetual virginity, the 1566 Catechism of the Council of Trent explicitly taught that while Eve by believing the serpent brought malediction on the human race, Mary by believing the angel brought benediction to mankind.
The concept of the Second Eve has continued to remain part of Catholic teachings, e.g. Pope Pius XII referred to it in the encyclical Mystici corporis Christi and Pope John Paul II referred to it in a General Audience at the Vatican in 1980.
The start of the Protestant Reformation at the beginning of the 16th century did not immediately bring about a rejection of the doctrine of perpetual virginity and several leaders of the Reformation provided varying degrees of support for it, at times without directly endorsing it.
The early Protestant reformers felt that Scripture explicitly required the acceptance of the virgin birth of Jesus, but only permitted the acceptance of perpetual virginity.Over time, some Protestant churches stopped teaching the doctrine and other Protestant churches even denied it. However, many believers in other Protestant denominations, such as the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church, continue to uphold the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary.
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Martin Luther believed that Mary did not have other children and did not have any marital relations with Joseph. The Latin text of the 1537 Smalcald Articles, written by Martin Luther, used the term "Ever Virgin" to refer to Mary.The perpetual virginity of Mary was Luther's lifelong belief, even after he rejected other Marian doctrines except "Mother of God".
Huldrych Zwingli directly supported perpetual virginity and wrote: "I firmly believe that [Mary], ... forever remained a pure, intact Virgin."Like Zwingli, the English reformers also supported the concept of perpetual virginity, but often varied on their reasons for the support. Luther and Zwingli's support of perpetual virginity was endorsed by Heinrich Bullinger and was included in the 1566 Second Helvetic Confession.
John Calvin "was less clear-cut than Luther on Mary's perpetual virginity but undoubtedly favored it".He cautioned against what he thought as "impious speculation" on the topic. In his commentary of Luke 1:34, he rejected as "unfounded and altogether absurd" the idea that Mary had made a vow of perpetual virginity, saying that "She would, in that case, have committed treachery by allowing herself to be united to a husband, and would have poured contempt on the holy covenant of marriage; which could not have been done without mockery of God" and adding that there is no evidence of the existence of such vows at the time. Though celibacy or abstinence within marriage life was not unknown in Jewish tradition in response to God's command and participation in His service. In the Commentary on a Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, Calvin rejected the argument that Mary had other children due to the mention in Scripture of brothers of Jesus.
The Anglican reformers of the 16th and 17th century, such as Hugh Latimer and Thomas Cranmer,supported perpetual virginity "on the basis of ancient Christian authority". In the 18th century, John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, also supported the doctrine and wrote that Jesus was "born of the blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as before she brought Him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin."
Diarmaid MacCulloch, a historian of the Reformation, wrote that the reason why the early reformers upheld Mary’s perpetual virginity was that she was "the guarantee of the Incarnation of Christ", a teaching that was being denied by the same radicals that were denying Mary’s perpetual virginity.However, the absence of conclusive Biblical statements expressing the doctrine, in combination with the principle of sola scriptura and together with the tendency to associate veneration of Mary with idolatry, kept references to the doctrine out of the Reformation creeds. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, wrote in Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible , took the "brothers" (ἀδελφοί) οf Jesus mentioned in the New Testament to be most naturally children of Mary, though it has left the "vexed question" why Jesus entrusted His mother to John if she still had other biological children then alive.
Some conservative Lutheran scholars such as Franz Pieper (1852–1931) refused to follow the tendency among Nonconformist Protestants to insist that Mary and Joseph had marital relations and children after the birth of Jesus. It is implicit in his Christian Dogmatics that belief in Mary's perpetual virginity is the older and traditional view among Lutherans.He stated, that "we should simply hold that (Mary) remained a virgin after the birth of Christ because Scripture does not state or indicate that she later lost her virginity". He taught that "Christ, our Saviour, was the real and natural fruit of Mary's virginal womb ... This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that"; and that "Christ ... was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him ... I am inclined to agree with those who declare that 'brothers' really mean 'cousins' here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers". Against this view Vincent Taylor points out that if they were actually cousins the word 'adelphoi' (brothers), was unnecessary linguistically, because the word 'anepsios' (cousin, as in Col 4:10) "lay ready to hand", and inappropriate metaphorically, because they were opposed to Jesus' ministry. Though the word 'anepsios' could also be used for nephews or nieces. However, as cited by Eusebius in Historia Ecclesiastica (III.39.14), Jesus and Matthew's native language was not Greek, but Aramaic (as in Matthew 27:46; Mark 5:41, 15:34) which does not possess any words exclusively meaning "cousin", further complicating translation if it only relied on what is written in Scripture.
Many current Protestant churches teach the virgin birth of Jesus, without teaching that Mary remained a virgin for the rest of her life.However, some Protestants are becoming more open to the theological study of Mary, especially after the Second Vatican Council, marked by the formation of the Ecumenical Society of Our Lady in 1967.
The New Testament refers to Jesus' brothers and sisters; they are mentioned in such verses as Matthew 12:46-47, Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3, Luke 8:19, John 7:3, Acts 1:14, and 1 Corinthians 9:5and include James, Joses, Simon, and Jude (also referred to as Judas and Judah). Prima facie these verses argue against Mary's perpetual virginity, but there are possible explanations which lead to the conclusion that "it cannot be said that the NT identifies [Jesus' brothers and sisters] without doubt as blood brothers and sisters and hence as children of Mary".
Galatians 1:19 directly calls James the "Lord's brother." Also, Mary is referred to as "Mary the mother of James" in Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, Mark 15:47, Mark 16:1, and Luke 24:10. Both Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3 name James, Joses, Simon, and Judas as Jesus' brethren after mentioning Jesus' mother Mary. The next verse in Matthew (and the same verse in Mark) mention Jesus having sisters.
In relation to Mark 6:3 Jerome, "apparently voicing the general opinion of the Church" about the perpetual virginity of Mary in opposition to the view put forward in about 382 by Helvidius that they were children of Joseph and Mary,proposed that they were cousins of Jesus, the sons of Mary the wife of Clopas and sister of the Virgin. This new view, "strongly coloured by [Jerome's] belief in the perpetual virginity, [is] almost universally rejected except by Roman Catholic scholars". The view with most support in the Fathers, and with some support in modern writers such as Lightfoot, is that of Epiphanius: they were children of Joseph by an earlier marriage, the view generally accepted among Eastern Christians. A more recent hypothesis is that they were children of Cleopas, a brother of Joseph according to Hegesippus, and of "Mary, the mother of James and Joses" seen as sister-in-law, not blood sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Leon Morris said that, in relation to 1 Cor 9:5, the "most natural interpretation is that [the unnamed "brothers of the Lord"] were the children of Joseph and Mary".C K Barrett agrees, arguing that this passage is "most naturally taken to refer to sons of Mary and Joseph", however he allows that they are "conceivably ... sons of Joseph by a former wife". The concept, that they were the children of Joseph and Mary, is very likely rooted in Helvidius' view as written by Vincent Taylor. And according to Taylor supported by Helvidius, who cites Tertullian, and by "many modern scholars", he considers this view as "the simplest and most natural" one.
Karl Keating argues against this; in his book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" he notes that Helvidius was the first on record to claim that Mary had children. 286 In his treatise on the perpetual virginity, Jerome referred to Helvidius's theory as "novel, wicked, and a daring affront to the faith of the whole world". "This [judging by Jerome's reaction] was an entirely new interpretation, one nobody had ventured before," says Keating, "and it was beneath contempt". Helvidius was unable to find an answer to the defence made by Jerome, and his views did not resurface until modern times. In his treatise, Jerome cited Polycarp, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus of Lyons among others. The two Church Fathers whom Helvidius quoted in support of his claim were Tertullian and Victorinus, but Jerome claimed this was no support at all, since Tertullian was a Montanist and the writings of Victorinus turned out to have been misinterpreted. :286–287 Elsewhere Keating defends Jerome's hypothesis and concludes from the various Scripture passages referring to the women at the foot of the Cross that James and Joseph must be the sons of Cleophas, as the "other Mary" referred to in Matthew 27:56 and Mark 15:40 must be Mary the wife of Cleophas referred to in John 19:25. He counters an argument that James is elsewhere called the son of Alphaeus (Mt. 10:3) by explaining that Cleophas and Alphaeus are simply different renderings of the same name in the Jewish and Greek languages, like Saul and Paul. :287–288:
Pseudepigraphic (i.e., bearing the name of an author who did not actually compose the text) second century gospels such as Protoevangelium of James, the Gospel of Peter, and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas identify the brothers of Jesus as his stepbrothers from a previous marriage of Joseph.
Origen (184-254) wrote that "according to the apocryphal Gospel of Peter the brethren of Jesus were sons of Joseph by a former wife, whom he married before Mary".The apocryphal History of Joseph the Carpenter describes how Joseph had with his first wife four sons and two daughters. Years after his first wife died he took Mary. The Protoevangelium of James explicitly claims that Joseph was a widower, with children, at the time that Mary is entrusted to his care.
The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, which was probably written in the seventh century, states that the brothers of Jesus were his cousins.Protestant historian Paul L. Maier accepts the view that "James the brother of the Lord" was not the biological son of Mary but instead her stepson. English Anglican scholar Richard Bauckham writes that "no NT text offers any further real evidence on this point, but the idea that the brothers and sisters of Jesus were children of Joseph by a previous marriage is found in three second-century Christian works (the Protevangelium of James, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Peter), which probably all derived from Syria. It looks as though this was an early second-century Syrian Christian tradition" and notes that "reliable tradition about prominent early Christian leaders like the Lord's brothers could still have been available at this time and place."
John Ankerberg says:
[T]here is a big problem in [claiming that Jesus' brothers and sisters were actually cousins or other kinsmen]. The reason being that there was an exact term for cousin, anepsios, a very well known word in New Testament times. This word for cousin is not used in any of the passages [that refer] to Jesus' brothers or sisters. On the other hand, the word for cousin is used in Colossians 4:10 where Paul writes, "Aristarchus sends you his greetings as does Mark, the cousin (anepsios) of Barnabas." So the New Testament writers knew the exact word for cousin but didn't use it in referring to Jesus' brothers. In addition, the word for kinsmen (suggenes) occurs eleven times in the New Testament [such as in Luke 1:36 to identify Elizabeth as Mary's "relative"]. But it never appears in any of the passages describing the children of Mary and Joseph. So, if the writers of the New Testament really meant to say that the brothers of our Lord Jesus were merely cousins or kinsmen, it seems strange that they never used the correct words to do so, words they used in other passages to describe other people's cousins or kinsmen. Finally, the word for brother which is used in speaking about Jesus' brothers is the word adelphos, and for "sister" it is adelphe. Adelphos and adelphe can sometimes be used in a wider sense. But their primary meaning speaks of a relationship of shared parentage. Unless the context suggests otherwise -- and in none of these passages is that the case -- this must be the primary meaning of the word that is intended.
Dave Armstrong says:
Adelphos is used because it is the closest Greek equivalent of the Hebrew ach. (precisely because it can be used for both siblings and more distant relatives; even for countrymen, etc.) Hebrew and Aramaic (unlike Greek) didn't have words for "cousin." So the Jews used ach in this wider sense of "brotherhood," just as the English word "brother" has a wide latitude also (even though English does have the term cousin, too). ... Thus the more common adelphos, or "brothers" was used, because this was how the terminology was used in Hebrew culture (indeed, often in Semitic or Middle Eastern culture, among both Jews and Arabs to this day). That was how ach was used in the Old Testament, so that the KJV never uses "cousin" a single time in the Old Testament. ... It's true that the Gospel writers could have used the words sungenis or anepsios. But their not doing so is not as strong an argument as it may seem at first, once we understand that sungenis also has a very wide latitude (such that Paul only uses it in that wider sense of race or nationalism). ...
John F. MacArthur says, "Further evidence that these were Jesus' actual brothers comes from Psalm 69. In this messianic psalm, Messiah says in verse 8, 'I have become estranged from my brothers and an alien to my mother's sons.' [Psalm 69:8, NASB] Here, 'brothers' cannot mean 'cousins', or 'step brothers', since the term refers to Messiah's mother's sons."Armstrong argues, "Prophecies and messianic scriptures, however, often have a double application, and not all particulars here apply to Jesus the Messiah. Hence, in context, David refers to himself in verse 5: 'O God, thou knowest my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from thee.' [Psalm 69:5, RSV] We know this with certainty, because Jesus never sinned."
Matthew 1:25 states that Joseph had no marital relations with Mary "until" (ἕως οὗ ) she had borne Jesus. Writers such as R.V. Tasker 285 also, when Jesus is lost in the Temple (Luke 2: 41-51), the text makes no mention of other children in the family. Keating notes that Jesus' "brothers" are never referred to as Mary's sons even when Jesus is referred to as "the son of Mary," and he also argues that in Jewish culture younger brothers never rebuked, or even advised, their elders, for it was considered great disrespect to do so, while, according to him, Jesus' brothers are shown doing just that on several occasions (John 7:3-4, Mark 3:21). :284and D. Hill argue that this implies that Mary and Joseph had customary marital relations after the birth of Jesus. Others, such as K. Beyer, point out that the Greek ἕως οὗ after a negative, as used in the verse, "often has no implication at all about what happened after the limit of the 'until' was reached", and Raymond E. Brown observes that "the immediate context favors a lack of future implication here, for Matthew is concerned only with stressing Mary's virginity before the child's birth". Karl Keating says that if the modern usage of the word "until" is forced on passages such as 2 Samuel 6:23, Genesis 8:7, and Deuteronomy 34:6, "some ridiculous meanings result"; :
On this point, the founder of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, wrote "one cannot from these words [Matt. 1:18, 25] conclude that Mary, after the birth of Christ, became a wife in the usual sense; it is therefore neither to be asserted nor believed."
Gregory of Nyssa interpreted Mary's response to the angel, when told that she will conceive ("How will this be, since I am a virgin?) as indicating that Mary had taken a lifelong vow of virginity, even in marriage: "For if Joseph had taken her to be his wife, for the purpose of having children, why would she have wondered at the announcement of maternity, since she herself would have accepted becoming a mother according to the law of nature?".Howard Marshall rejects this view: "It is impossible to see how the text can yield this meaning". Taylor shares Marshall's view and points to Lightfoot's acknowledgement that the expressions used here and in Luke 2:7 "would have been avoided by writers who believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary".
Keating shares Gregory's view and says, "There is no reason to assume Mary was wholly ignorant of the rudiments of biology. She presumably knew the normal way in which children are conceived. If she anticipated having children and did not intend to maintain a vow of virginity, she would hardly have to ask "how" she was to have a child, since having a child the normal way would be expected by a newlywed". 283 Scott Hahn says "the Dead Sea Scrolls give evidence that celibacy was a common practice of some Israelite sects, thus it does make sense that Mary could have vowed perpetual virginity before the incident of Annunciation.":
A passage used to support the doctrine of perpetual virginity is of the sayings of Jesus on the cross, i.e. the pair of commands first to his mother "Woman, behold thy son!" and then to his disciple "Behold, thy mother!" in John 19:26-27. 284The Gospel of John then states that "from that hour the disciple took her unto his own home". Since the time of the Church Fathers this statement has been used to reason that after the death of Jesus there was no one else in the immediate family to look after Mary, and she had to be entrusted to the disciple given that she had no other children. This passage was one of the arguments Pope John Paul II presented in support of perpetual virginity. John Paul II also reasoned that the command "Behold your son!" was not simply the entrustment of Mary to the disciple, but also the entrustment of the disciple to Mary in order to fill the maternal gap left by the death of her only son on the cross. Taylor points out difficulties in this interpretation of the text: it ignores both the fact that Jesus' 'brothers' opposed his claims, and the position of honour of John, the 'beloved disciple'. However, it seems strange and remarkably out of character, says Keating, that Jesus would have gone out of his way to disregard family ties and commit a grave dishonor to his brothers by entrusting their mother to another man. "It is hard to imagine why Jesus would have disregarded family ties and made this provision for his Mother if these four [James, Joseph, Simon and Jude] were also her sons". :
In Sura 19 (Maryam),the Quran declares that Jesus was the result of a virgin conception (verses 20–22). There is no clear doctrinal belief one way or another, but some extend this to mean the perpetual virginity of Mary.
The Gospel of James, also known as the Protoevangelium of James, and the Infancy Gospel of James, is an apocryphal gospel probably written around the year AD 145, which expands backward in time the infancy stories contained in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and presents a narrative concerning the birth and upbringing of Mary herself. It is the oldest source to assert the virginity of Mary not only prior to, but during the birth of Jesus. The ancient manuscripts that preserve the book have different titles, including "The Birth of Mary", "The Story of the Birth of Saint Mary, Mother of God," and "The Birth of Mary; The Revelation of James." It is also referred to as "Genesis of Mary".
James the Just, or a variation of James, brother of the Lord, was the brother of Jesus, according to the New Testament. He was an early leader of the Jerusalem Church of the Apostolic Age, to which Paul was also affiliated. He died in martyrdom in 62 or 69 AD.
The New Testament describes James, Joseph (Joses), Judas (Jude), and Simon as brothers of Jesus. Also mentioned, but not named, are sisters of Jesus. Some scholars argue that these brothers, especially James, held positions of special honor in the early Christian church.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus, called Pascha (Easter), is the greatest of all holy days and as such it is called the "feast of feasts". Immediately below it in importance, there is a group of Twelve Great Feasts. Together with Pascha, these are the most significant dates on the Orthodox liturgical calendar. Eight of the great feasts are in honor of Jesus Christ, while the other four are dedicated to the Virgin Mary — the Theotokos.
Mary of Clopas, was one of the women present at the crucifixion of Jesus and bringing supplies for his funeral. The expression Mary of Clopas in the Greek text is ambiguous as to whether Mary was the daughter or wife of Clopas, but exegesis has commonly favoured the reading "wife of Clopas". Hegesippus identified Clopas as a brother of Saint Joseph. In the Roman Martyrology she is remembered with Saint Salome on April 24.
Catholic Mariology refers to Mariology—the systematic study of the person of Mary, mother of Jesus, and of her place in the Economy of Salvation—within Catholic theology. Mary is seen as having a singular dignity above the saints. The Catholic Church teaches that she was conceived without original sin, therefore receiving a higher level of veneration than all other saints. Catholic Mariology thus studies not only her life but also the veneration of her in daily life, prayer, hymns, art, music, and architecture in modern and ancient Christianity throughout the ages.
The History of Joseph the Carpenter is a compilation of traditions concerning Mary, Joseph, and the "holy family," probably composed in Byzantine Egypt in Greek in the late sixth or early seventh centuries, but surviving only in Coptic and Arabic language translation. The text gives support to the doctrine of perpetual virginity of Mary.
Matthew 1:25 is the twenty-fifth and last verse of the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. Joseph has awakened from a dream in which an angel gave him instructions about the birth of Jesus. He has taken Mary into his home, completing their marriage, and this verse explains what occurs once the couple is united.
Antidicomarianites was a term applied to Christians who believed that the brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned in the New Testament were the younger children of Joseph and Mary after the birth of Jesus. It was a pejorative term used from the 3rd to 5th centuries by those who believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary and that the siblings of Jesus were children of Joseph by an earlier marriage—a belief originating with the 2nd century apocryphal Gospel of James, which had become orthodoxy by the 3rd century. There is no evidence that these Christians considered themselves to be "against Mary" in any sense, except of her being the "Queen of Heaven", which Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians used as a title for her, a reflection of the biblical image in Revelation 12.
Anglican Marian theology is the summation of the doctrines and beliefs of Anglicanism concerning Mary, mother of Jesus. As Anglicans believe that Jesus was both human and God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, within the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglican movement, Mary is accorded honour as the theotokos, a Koiné Greek term that means "God-bearer" or "one who gives birth to God".
James, son of Alphaeus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, appearing under this name in all three of the Synoptic Gospels' lists of the apostles. He is often identified with James the Less and commonly known by that name in church tradition. He is also labelled "the minor", "the little", "the lesser", or "the younger", according to translation. He is distinct from James, son of Zebedee and in some interpretations also from James, brother of Jesus. He appears only four times in the New Testament, each time in a list of the twelve apostles.
Helvidius was the author of a work written prior to 383 against the belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary. Helvidius maintained that the biblical mention of "sisters" and "brothers" of the Lord constitutes solid evidence that Mary had normal marital relations with Joseph and additional children after the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. He supported his opinion by the writings of Tertullian and Victorinus.
Protestant views on Mary include the theological positions of major Protestant representatives such as Martin Luther and John Calvin as well as some modern representatives. While it is difficult to generalize about the place of Mary, mother of Jesus in Protestantism given the great diversity of Protestant beliefs, some summary statements are attempted.
John Calvin (1509–1564) was a French Protestant theologian during the Protestant Reformation, and one of the most influential reformers. He was a central figure for the Reformed churches, whose theological system is sometimes called Calvinism.
Luther's Marian theology is derived from his views of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It was developed out of the deep Christian Marian devotion on which he was reared, and it was subsequently clarified as part of his mature Christocentric theology and piety. Lutherans hold Mary in high esteem. Martin Luther dogmatically asserted what he considered firmly established biblical doctrines like the divine motherhood of Mary while adhering to pious opinions of the Immaculate Conception and the perpetual virginity of Mary along with the caveat that all doctrine and piety should exalt and not diminish the person and work of Jesus Christ. By the end of Luther's theological development, his emphasis was always placed on Mary as merely a receiver of God's love and favor. His opposition to regarding Mary as a mediatrix of intercession or redemption was part of his greater and more extensive opposition to the belief that the merits of the saints could be added to those of Jesus Christ to save humanity.
The Blessed Virgin Mary has been one of the major subjects of Western Art for centuries. Numerous pieces of Marian art in the Catholic Church covering a range of topics have been produced, from masters such as Michelangelo and Botticelli to works made by unknown peasant artisans.
Joseph is a figure in the canonical gospels who was married to Mary, Jesus' mother, and was Jesus' legal father. In the Apocrypha, Joseph was the father of James, Joses, Jude, Simon, and at least two daughters. According to Epiphanius and the apocryphal History of Joseph the Carpenter, these children were from a marriage which predated the one with Mary, a belief that is accepted by some select Christian denominations. Perspectives on Joseph as a historical figure are distinguished from a theological reading of the Gospel texts.
The Latter Day Saint movement teaches that Mary was the mother of Jesus, whose father was God the Father. Latter Day Saints affirm the virgin birth of Jesus but reject the Roman Catholic traditions of the Immaculate Conception, the perpetual virginity of Mary, and her assumption. They also believe that the brothers of Jesus were her and Joseph's biological children. Mary is not seen as an intercessor between humankind and Jesus, and Latter Day Saints do not pray to Mary. The Book of Mormon, part of the Latter Day Saint canon of scripture, refers to Mary by name in prophecies of her mission, and describes her as "most beautiful and fair above all other virgins" and as a "precious and chosen vessel."
Protestants have historically rejected these doctrines, although Lutherans and Anglicans affirm the term theotokos, and some Anglicans (those who favor a more Catholic expression of the Anglican tradition) have been receptive to the other Marian doctrines
The perpetual virginity of Mary is a beautiful and fitting belief upheld by the Eastern Orthodox as well as many Anglicans and Lutherans. Furthermore, it was defended not only by the ancient church fathers, but by Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and the classic Anglican theologians. John Wesley also believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary, writing, "I believe he [Jesus Christ] was born of the blessed Virgin, who, as well after she brought him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin."
In his profession of faith Wesley includes the Perpetual Virginity of "the Blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as before she brought Him forth, continued a pure and unspotted Virgin." xix 6. (1749.)
Helvidius appealed to the authority of Tertullian in his attack on the Church's doctrine of Mary's perpetual virginity ... I have nothing else to say except that he was not a man of the Church [Ecclesiae hominem, non fuisse].
The Latin text of the Lutheran Schmalkaldic Articles refers to Mary as 'ever Virgin', a title traditionally denoting belief in her perpetual virginity, and Luther himself consistently believed in the doctrine of perpetual virginity. There is evidence that Zwingli, Calvin, and early Anglican theologians believed in Mary's perpetual virginity, although and explicit affirmation of this belief does not appear in the Reformed Confessions or in early Anglican doctrinal statements.
Calvin was likewise less clear-cut than Luther on Mary's perpetual virginity but undoubtedly favored it. Notes in the Geneva Bible (Matt. 1:18, 25; Jesus' 'brothers') defend it, as did Zwingli and the English reformers, often on hazardous grounds (e.g., the established proof text of Ezek. 44:2, to rebut the charge of reliance on tradition instead of Scripture).
An exceedingly difficult question here arises—What were these 'brethren' and 'sisters' to Jesus? Were they, First, His full brothers and sisters? or, Secondly, Were they His step-brothers and step-sisters, children of Joseph by a former marriage? or, Thirdly, Were they cousins, according to a common way of speaking among the Jews respecting persons of collateral descent? On this subject an immense deal has been written, nor are opinions yet by any means agreed. For the second opinion there is no ground but a vague tradition, arising probably from the wish for some such explanation. The first opinion undoubtedly suits the text best in all the places where the parties are certainly referred to (Mt 12:46; and its parallels, Mr 3:31; Lu 8:19; our present passage, and its parallels, Mr 6:3; Joh 2:12; 7:3, 5, 10; Ac 1:14). But, in addition to other objections, many of the best interpreters, thinking it in the last degree improbable that our Lord, when hanging on the cross, would have committed His mother to John if He had had full brothers of His own then alive, prefer the third opinion; although, on the other hand, it is not to be doubted that our Lord might have good reasons for entrusting the guardianship of His doubly widowed mother to the beloved disciple in preference even to full brothers of His own. Thus dubiously we prefer to leave this vexed question, encompassed as it is with difficulties.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)