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Source: (consider it) Thread: Almost thou persuadest me (to the Roman Catholic Church)
EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem
Or only betrothed to be married, at least Blessed Jerome argued such in his tract against the heretic Helvidius.

Yes, Helvidius was a heretic in the same way the Bible is heretical.

In other words, in the imaginations of those who prefer Greek philosophy to the Word of God, and who are ashamed of the physical reality of the incarnation and the sanctity of God's creation, which includes sex.

[ 03. June 2014, 21:25: Message edited by: EtymologicalEvangelical ]

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Ad Orientem
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I, among others, have already shown that your objection to the perpetual virginity is built on a strawman and that as a protestant you have no comprehension of consecration. The objections come from a low/poor Christology.

[ 03. June 2014, 21:51: Message edited by: Ad Orientem ]

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
Seekingsister - actually I have no issues with the veneration of Mary (though have issues with some ways of venerating Mary if that makes sense) but do struggle with the Immaculate Conception and Perpetual Virginity. Of course, being an Anglican I'm not obliged to believe in them anyway....

I really have a hard time understanding the VERY modern attack on the perpetual virginity. If it was good enough for Luther and Calvin, why isn't it good enough today?

As for the I.C., come to the Plot™. We have baklava.

It's not an attack! And I don't see why I should have to believe wholesale everything that Calvin and Luther believed either.

As a feminist, I dislike the connection between virginity (a social construct in any case) and holiness. I don't like the drag act pastiches of womanhood that Mary sometimes gets lumbered with.

Not having children with her husband would have been unthinkable to a devout Jewish woman like Mary. The doctrine of Perpetual Virginity shows no understanding of Judaism, and is derived from Greek ideas about virginity (like that of sacred virgins for pagan deities).

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem
I, among others, have already shown that your objection to the perpetual virginity is built on a strawman and that as a protestant you have no comprehension of consecration. The objections come from a low/poor Christology.

Except you have done nothing of the sort.

I do believe in consecration, but not superstition based on pagan Greek philosophy. Your Christology is deeply deficient, denying as it does the full meaning of the incarnation.

Mary was a normal woman and a normal wife. She had sex with her husband Joseph, and that was all part and parcel of her sanctified life, because sex - according to God's rules - is sacred.

Here's a comment I made on this subject some time ago.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
Mary was a normal woman and a normal wife. She had sex with her husband Joseph,

Yes, that is your interpretation. Pity it's wrong, but that is your interpretation.

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Steve Langton
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by Mousethief;
quote:
quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
Mary was a normal woman and a normal wife. She had sex with her husband Joseph.

MT: Yes, that is your interpretation. Pity it's wrong, but that is your interpretation.

It would seem to me that the existence of Jesus' brothers and sisters creates a reasonable presumption in favour of a normal relationship between Mary and Joseph, especially as there is no mention of those other children throughout the Nativity narratives; no mention, for instance, of them being involved in the flight to Egypt, if they were Joseph's children by a previous marriage.

I know that arguments can be constructed to explain this situation; but it is rather evident that these are arguments outside and beyond the data of the Scriptural account. And why should such elaborate arguments be needed when there is no evidence in Scripture of any concern about Mary being a virgin forever, or of any need for her to be so?

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
It would seem to me that the existence of Jesus' brothers and sisters creates a reasonable presumption in favour of a normal relationship between Mary and Joseph,

Yes, it would.

quote:
especially as there is no mention of those other children throughout the Nativity narratives; no mention, for instance, of them being involved in the flight to Egypt, if they were Joseph's children by a previous marriage.
lack of evidence, evidence of lack, etc.

quote:
I know that arguments can be constructed to explain this situation; but it is rather evident that these are arguments outside and beyond the data of the Scriptural account.
As is EE's claim that Mary had sex with Joseph. Scripture doesn't say that. Funny how "sola scriptura" cuts both ways.

quote:
And why should such elaborate arguments
Hardly "elaborate." Unless you have a new meaning for "elaborate" that I'm not aware of.

quote:
be needed when there is no evidence in Scripture of any concern about Mary being a virgin forever, or of any need for her to be so?
lack of evidence, evidence of lack, etc.

There are a lot of things not in the Scriptures that you nevertheless believe, probably starting with the Trinity, an elaborate theory if ever there was one. A theory painfully worked out in the 4th century. Certainly not something laid out for us in Scripture, and certainly not something that fell out of heaven on india paper in calfskin leather.

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Ad Orientem
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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem
I, among others, have already shown that your objection to the perpetual virginity is built on a strawman and that as a protestant you have no comprehension of consecration. The objections come from a low/poor Christology.

Except you have done nothing of the sort.

I do believe in consecration, but not superstition based on pagan Greek philosophy. Your Christology is deeply deficient, denying as it does the full meaning of the incarnation.

Mary was a normal woman and a normal wife. She had sex with her husband Joseph, and that was all part and parcel of her sanctified life, because sex - according to God's rules - is sacred.

Here's a comment I made on this subject some time ago.

And pray, what Greek philosophy is this? As for Christology, you have made it abundantly clear on previous threads that you don't consider it important. Mary was no normal wife and this is why: He whom the entire universe could not contain was contained within your womb, O Theotokos!
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Martin60
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You're wrong to say that mousethief.

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South Coast Kevin
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Ad Orientem - I assume EE is referring to the ancient Greek idea that the bodily and the physical are inherently evil, with the associated belief that perfection entails the shedding or denial of the physical.

I agree with him that the eternal virginity of Mary idea seems more inspired by this Greek rejection of the physical than it is of the Hebrew / Christian redemption of the physical.

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Ad Orientem
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quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
Ad Orientem - I assume EE is referring to the ancient Greek idea that the bodily and the physical are inherently evil, with the associated belief that perfection entails the shedding or denial of the physical.

I agree with him that the eternal virginity of Mary idea seems more inspired by this Greek rejection of the physical than it is of the Hebrew / Christian redemption of the physical.

That is just wrong. In fact it's the other way round. It's precisely because God became man, that is, he took on flesh (for our salvation) and dwelt in her womb that Mary remained a virgin.
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Ad Orientem
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The chalice is a good comparison (which I made earlier). Consecration, far from being a denial of the physical, actually confirms the physical. In the case of the chalice, that it really contains the blood if our Lord; in the case of the Blessed Virgin, that her womb really contained him who the whole universe could not contain. But once something has been consecrated it cannot be used for ordinary things again, and let me say it again: this does not deny the physical, nay, it affirms it.
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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
Mary was a normal woman and a normal wife. She had sex with her husband Joseph, and that was all part and parcel of her sanctified life, because sex - according to God's rules - is sacred.

If Joseph was a pious Jew and if he believed that Mary had given birth to the Son of God, literally, then he would have rather chopped off his penis with an axe than put it into Mary's vagina.

It's completely modern to assume that Joseph thought "Hey, cool, me and the Holy Spirit are fuck-buddies." An ancient Jew would have been obedient to the law not to touch holy things (Num 4:15), on the fear of being struck dead by the Lord (1 Chr 13:10). The elaborate procedure needed to approach the mercy seat (Lev 16) would have been present to his mind, as indeed would be the danger of not listening to the advice of angels (Lk 1:19).

Of course, many moderns see "consecration" as a kind of temporary mood changer, happily using "sacred" things in any way they please once the "holy" performance has ended. This attitude simply is utterly alien to the ancient mind (and good on them). If something has been given to God or taken by Him, has become sacred, man may not use it for mundane purposes any longer. Ever. The very idea of holy things being in any way mixed with secular ones drove people into the frenzy of holy war. And this is very much true for the Jews, who famously fought many (self-)destructive wars against foreigners not respecting their sacred sites.

I'm not making a statement on what would actually be pleasing to God here. I'm simply pointing out that the idea of Joseph resuming a normal marital life with Mary if he believed that she had conceived by the Holy Spirit is anachronistic. A modern day Joseph might, but for an ancient pious Jew this idea is just ludicrous. This has nothing to do with sex being bad, this has to do with making the things of God your own being outrageously bad.

Thus the key scriptural proof against any sexual relationship between Joseph and Mary (aside from the clear statement that she was a virgin when she conceived) is quite simply that Joseph is described as just and holy (obedient to the angels), and that he knew who the real Father of this child was. This must be considered in terms of their ancient standards of religious behaviour, not the slack ones of many of our contemporaries.

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem
It's precisely because God became man, that is, he took on flesh (for our salvation) and dwelt in her womb that Mary remained a virgin.

Mary remained a virgin because of the incarnation??
[Confused]

'Fraid I can't see the logical connection there at all.

I suppose you'll come up with your consecration theory to make the connection. Trouble with that is that sex within marriage is not defiled, as the Bible says:

quote:
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled
(Hebrews 13:4).

Therefore sex within God's law cannot defile anything, because it is something that God declares to be undefiled. It was good enough for Hannah, and good enough for Mary (and, like some in the RCC, I have noticed a clear parallel between Hannah and Mary as I explained in the post I linked to earlier).

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You can argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome': but you neither can nor need argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome, but I'm not saying this is true'. CS Lewis

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Steve Langton
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by Mousethief;
quote:
As is EE's claim that Mary had sex with Joseph. Scripture doesn't say that. Funny how "sola scriptura" cuts both ways.
Matthew 1 v25 "(Joseph) knew her not until she bore a son..." - and by rather clear implication, did 'know her' afterwards....

by Mousethief;
quote:
Hardly "elaborate." Unless you have a new meaning for "elaborate" that I'm not aware of.
If the above point is correct, all the arguments to deny a sexual relationship between Joseph and Mary are going to be 'elaborate' compared to the simple and obvious meaning of that verse.

by Mousethief;
quote:
There are a lot of things not in the Scriptures that you nevertheless believe, probably starting with the Trinity, an elaborate theory if ever there was one.
I never said Scripture was exhaustive, just that as Christians we are not meant to contradict it. I believe in the deity of Jesus and his oneness with the Father and the Holy Spirit, which are clearly taught in Scripture. That Scriptural data requires something like a doctrine of the Trinity, which is likely to be 'elaborate' to explain that data. But it is the Scriptural data I believe, not the later human attempts to define it.

This is a slightly different situation to the perpetual virginity of Mary, where there is no Scriptural data, indeed if anything evidence to the contrary, and therefore the arguments for the doctrine are human invention without Scriptural foundation.

by Mousethief;
[QUOTE ... certainly not something that fell out of heaven on india paper in calfskin leather.] [/QUOTE]

I wasn't aware that the Scriptures fell out of heaven that way - none of my copies did....

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Ad Orientem
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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem
It's precisely because God became man, that is, he took on flesh (for our salvation) and dwelt in her womb that Mary remained a virgin.

Mary remained a virgin because of the incarnation??
[Confused]

'Fraid I can't see the logical connection there at all.

I suppose you'll come up with your consecration theory to make the connection. Trouble with that is that sex within marriage is not defiled, as the Bible says:

quote:
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled
(Hebrews 13:4).

Therefore sex within God's law cannot defile anything, because it is something that God declares to be undefiled. It was good enough for Hannah, and good enough for Mary (and, like some in the RCC, I have noticed a clear parallel between Hannah and Mary as I explained in the post I linked to earlier).

Who argued sex defiles? Another strawman. You're good at them, it seems.
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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB
If Joseph was a pious Jew and if he believed that Mary had given birth to the Son of God, literally, then he would have rather chopped off his penis with an axe than put it into Mary's vagina.

It's completely modern to assume that Joseph thought "Hey, cool, me and the Holy Spirit are fuck-buddies." An ancient Jew would have been obedient to the law not to touch holy things (Num 4:15), on the fear of being struck dead by the Lord (1 Chr 13:10). The elaborate procedure needed to approach the mercy seat (Lev 16) would have been present to his mind, as indeed would be the danger of not listening to the advice of angels (Lk 1:19).

I really don't know where you conjured this "Holy Spirit as a fuck-buddy" idea up from. I doubt anyone who believes in the virgin birth imagines that the Holy Spirit had sexual intercourse with Mary! This is insane literalism, and the mother (no pun intended) of straw man arguments. (In fact, it could be argued that two Christians - filled with the Holy Spirit - who are married to each other and engage in sexual intercourse, are enjoying a threesome with the Holy Spirit, because He is there with them while the 'filthy' deed takes place!!! I am simply employing the logic of your straw man argument.)

You seem to think that because 'modernists' (whoever they are) are apparently obsessed with sex, that the 'ancients' saw the activity as rather dirty. But perhaps they saw sex as something thoroughly holy and sacred, as long as it was performed within the legal framework commanded by God. I know the RCC has a huge neo-Platonist inspired hang-up about sex, but don't project this neurosis onto everyone else, and certainly do not read it into the interpretation of Scripture.

The really disturbing thing about this is the tendency to limit the activity of the Holy Spirit, so that what is perceived to be a direct work of the Holy Spirit is considered 'special' and therefore consecrated, whereas most believers are only subject to some kind of 'indirect' work of the Holy Spirit (i.e. through the mediation of the Church). But the whole Church - i.e. every genuine believer - is a priest before God. The Holy Spirit works directly in every believer's life (and even in those who, in their genuine ignorance, respond to whatever light God gives them). Therefore every believer is consecrated. Every believer is hallowed ground. Therefore none of us should ever have sex, because that would be a denial of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives!

This whole doctrine is all to do with the RCC trying to pull a fast one over the saints (the saints being all believers, as the Bible clearly states). It's a control agenda, in which some Christians are seen to be 'special' and others the mere "run of the mill". It's a kind of theological fascism. Poor old Mary has been turned into the idol and focus representing this kind of warped ecclesiology.

quote:
If something has been given to God or taken by Him, has become sacred, man may not use it for mundane purposes any longer. Ever.
Bullshit.

quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem
Who argued sex defiles? Another strawman. You're good at them, it seems.

Excellent! I am glad you think that it is a straw man argument that sex can defile.

Therefore if Joseph had sex with his wife, he could not defile her, because sex (within marriage) does not defile.

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Ad Orientem
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I never said sex would necssarily have defiled Mary but that they abstained because her womb had been consecrated by the presence of our Lord, God incarnate. This is why her perpetual virginity confirms the Incarnation rather than denies it.
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que sais-je
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Matthew 1 v25 "(Joseph) knew her not until she bore a son..." - and by rather clear implication, did 'know her' afterwards....

I would take "I didn't do X until Y happened" to suggest that after Y occurred I did do X. On your interpretation wouldn't "I didn't have sex with my boy friend until we got married" mean, (by rather clear implication) that I never had sex with my boyfriend?

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seekingsister
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quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem:
The chalice is a good comparison (which I made earlier). Consecration, far from being a denial of the physical, actually confirms the physical. In the case of the chalice, that it really contains the blood if our Lord; in the case of the Blessed Virgin, that her womb really contained him who the whole universe could not contain. But once something has been consecrated it cannot be used for ordinary things again, and let me say it again: this does not deny the physical, nay, it affirms it.

But is Mary blessed among women for her spiritual attributes, or her physical ones?

The womb of any fertile woman could have nurtured Jesus. Mary was chosen for two reasons:

1) her faithfulness to God
2) her betrothal to man in the line of David

The idea that her physical uterus was particularly special, so special that it must not have been used to nurture any subsequent children or to share in marital union with her husband, is a big step in the direction of idolatry in my opinion. She is blessed because she trusted and loved God, not because she had magical lady bits.

Then again, the parts of the church that have this view of Mary also tend to look at physical items that may have been touched by Jesus or the saints as holy in themselves as well.

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Matthew 1 v25 "(Joseph) knew her not until she bore a son..." - and by rather clear implication, did 'know her' afterwards....

This is the case for the English "until", but not so for the original Greek "heõs (hou)", which makes no clear prediction about the state after the specified time at all. This is obvious from other uses of "heõs" in the bible, like the Septuagint for 2 Sam 6:23 "Michal the daughter of Saul had no child until [heõs] the day of her death." or Jn 5:16-17 "For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, "My Father is working until [heõs] now, and I Myself am working." Obviously there is no indication of state change implied in either (Michal did not have a child after she dies, and the Father did not stop working). It is also true for contemporary sources, explicitly so in the Jewish "Joseph and Aseneth" writings: "And Aseneth was left alone with the seven virgins, and she continued to be weighed down and weep [heõs hou] until the sun set. And she ate no bread and drank no water. And the night fell, and all (people) in the house slept, and she alone was awake and continued to brood and to weep; and she often struck her breast with (her) hand and kept being filled with great fear and trembled (with) heavy trembling."

English translations are now often rephrasing such verses to avoid the false impression that the English "until" gives, e.g., Jn 5:17 in the RSV reads "But Jesus answered them, "My Father is working still, and I am working." This captures the Greek much better, precisely because it does not imply any state change in the future.

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Steve Langton
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by que-sais-je;
quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Matthew 1 v25 "(Joseph) knew her not until she bore a son..." - and by rather clear implication, did 'know her' afterwards....

QSJ: I would take "I didn't do X until Y happened" to suggest that after Y occurred I did do X. On your interpretation wouldn't "I didn't have sex with my boy friend until we got married" mean, (by rather clear implication) that I never had sex with my boyfriend?

I thought 'my interpretation' was precisely that I took "I didn't do X until Y happened" to suggest that after Y occurred I did do X. That is, after Mary bore Jesus, Joseph did indeed 'know her' that is, enter a sexual relationship with her. As opposed to what appears to be the RCC/Orthodox interpretation that Joseph 'never had sex...' with Mary. My apologies if I wasn't as clear as I'd thought I was.
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Steve Langton
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IngoB;
Thanks for your comment; my concordance gives a lot of occurrences of 'heos' which I will have to check out - with most of today otherwise committed I probably won't sort it till ('heos'?) tomorrow.

As a provisional comment, if the intention was to say Joseph never 'knew' Mary - clearly extremely important if true - the phrasing is far from ideal. Why not say it clearly? There is also the issue of those brothers and sisters of Jesus - totally straightforward if they were children of Joseph and Mary after Jesus, otherwise they require special (and extra-scriptural) explanation.

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Ad Orientem
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It's a Hebraism translated into Greek.
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que sais-je
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
My apologies if I wasn't as clear as I'd thought I was.

My apologies for not wearing my glasses. Sorry.

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"controversies, disputes, and argumentations, both in philosophy and in divinity, if they meet with discreet and peaceable natures, do not infringe the laws of charity" (Thomas Browne)

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
The idea that her physical uterus was particularly special, so special that it must not have been used to nurture any subsequent children or to share in marital union with her husband, is a big step in the direction of idolatry in my opinion. She is blessed because she trusted and loved God, not because she had magical lady bits.

You are putting the cart before the horse there. It's not that Mary's lady parts were special in some weird spiritual-physiological sense. Nobody doubts that Mary had a perfectly normal and functional vagina, uterus, Fallopian tubes, ... and could have conceived and born any number of kids by regular sexual intercourse with Joseph or some other man. The point is quite simply that what has been dedicated by man to God, and much more so what has been taken by God Himself for His purposes, must not be used by man for mundane purposes. And it matter not the teeniest bit what you think about that. There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that a pious Jew in 1stC Palestine would have affirmed that, indeed, quite likely would have put his very life on the line to defend sacred things.

In order to claim that Joseph had sexual intercourse with Mary, you would have to claim either that Joseph was not aware of her conceiving of the Holy Spirit, or that Joseph was impious and quite possibly an "atheist" of some description. On top of that, you would have to claim either the same about Mary, or that Joseph used his privileges as husband against her contrary to deep religious convictions in a manner that we would now consider as marital rape. If one considers ancient religious attitudes to the sacred and holds true what scripture writes about Joseph and Mary, then it is plain inconceivable that they had sexual relations.

Incidentally, it is highly probable from scripture that by the time of Jesus' crucifixion Mary neither had a husband (Joseph must have died by then) nor any other male child of adult age. Jn 19:26-27, where Jesus entrusts Mary to John, makes perfect sense for a lone widow losing her only male protector, her single son. Nothing short of a major family feud would explain Jesus entrusting his mother to a non-family member as mother to a son in spite of having a half-brother who is Mary's actual son. Again, this action makes no sense whatsoever in terms to custom back then if Jesus had half-siblings by Joseph - unless perhaps if they were all sisters, or his half-brother was less than about twelve years old, thus born over twenty years after Christ. The latter "solutions" however seem very weird given that Mary is never being portrayed in the company of any such children, but only with relatives or friends/acquaintances (in this particular instance: her sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene).

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB
This is the case for the English "until", but not so for the original Greek "heõs (hou)", which makes no clear prediction about the state after the specified time at all.

But isn't that the whole point of the use of this word in Greek? It has to be understood in the context of the meaning of a period of time, and this period of time speaks to the subject under discussion. Therefore, we have to make an assessment based on the context.

So let's look at your examples...

quote:
This is obvious from other uses of "heõs" in the bible, like the Septuagint for 2 Sam 6:23 "Michal the daughter of Saul had no child until [heõs] the day of her death." or Jn 5:16-17 "For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, "My Father is working until [heõs] now, and I Myself am working." Obviously there is no indication of state change implied in either (Michal did not have a child after she dies, and the Father did not stop working). It is also true for contemporary sources, explicitly so in the Jewish "Joseph and Aseneth" writings: "And Aseneth was left alone with the seven virgins, and she continued to be weighed down and weep [heõs hou] until the sun set. And she ate no bread and drank no water. And the night fell, and all (people) in the house slept, and she alone was awake and continued to brood and to weep; and she often struck her breast with (her) hand and kept being filled with great fear and trembled (with) heavy trembling."
"And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child till the day of her death."

Clearly this is saying that Michal had no child - ever. We know this because - to state the painfully obvious - it is only possible to bear children during one's lifetime. But why did the text not say that "Michal remained childless forever" or some such wording?

Everyone knew that the only period of time during which it was possible to have a child was the period of one's life. Therefore the period following a person's death is completely irrelevant to the context, because it is generally assumed that reproduction does not take place in any form of existence that may obtain after a person's death. So the word 'heos' denotes "for the whole period during which childbearing is possible". The word 'heos' clearly does denote a change of state. It is a change of state from relevance to irrelevance.

Now clearly this example does not support your argument concerning Mary and Joseph, because the time (within Joseph and Mary's lifetimes) following the birth and weaning of Jesus was not a period during which Joseph and Mary could not possibly have had sexual relations. You could, of course, impose a circular argument on the text and claim that sex was not possible during that period for the reasons already given on this thread, but, as you well know, that would be the fallacy of question begging!

The second example is also a case of trying to make an argument without taking context into account. This is what the passage states:

quote:
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.

And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”

He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’”

Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”

The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

When we take account of the context, we see that Jesus had performed a healing. And the Jews sought to kill him because He had done it on the Sabbath. (Note the past tense).

This elicited the reply from Jesus: "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working."

The period in question was the past, because it was for a past event that the Jews were seeking to prosecute Jesus. So the future state of affairs is irrelevant. Jesus explains that the Jews are seeking to condemn Him for performing acts that were, in fact, the acts of God. In other words, they are seeking to judge and condemn God Himself.

The entire period during which the Jews have a case (or think they have a case) against Jesus is the period up until the moment at which Jesus speaks to them (the present moment in the context of the saying). So there is a legal context. They cannot have a case against Jesus for what He has not yet done. The future period is therefore irrelevant. So from a legal and contextual point of view there is a change of state: from the vantage point of the moment Jesus spoke to the Jews, God did not act in the future in the way that He acted in the past, such that the Jews could bring a case against Him. Why? Because the actions had not yet occurred! There is therefore a change of legal state from the vantage point of the conversation recorded in John 5.

This also fits neatly with the reference to Michal. The entire period in question was the only period during which she was physically able to have children, and the text informs us that this physical ability was taken away from her. Concerning John 5: the entire period in question was the only period during which it was possible to bring a case against Jesus. God had been working during this entire period, the implication being that the Jews were seeking to judge God.

But this structure of explanation does not apply to the relations between Joseph and Mary, because the period in question (denoted by 'heos') was NOT the only period during which they could have had sexual relations. Therefore the comparison between Matthew 1:25 and these other Bible verses is invalid.

As for your other reference: I am not exactly going to lose sleep over an extra-biblical reference, but I take the point that we do have to look at how Greek is used generally. However, without understanding the context of the narrative, it is difficult to make a judgment, other than to say that the narrator obviously felt that the period up until sunset was relevant in the context of describing a certain kind of human activity. It suggests a concern that Aseneth was behaving in this way during that period of time, and even though she continued to weep after sunset, there was obviously some significance to mentioning the period of day as opposed to night. For all we know, it may have been understood that people kept up a front during the day, and allowed their anxieties to overwhelm them at night. Therefore it would not have been surprising that someone in a state of sadness would weep at night, but it would have been expected that such a person may have had to control his or her feelings during the social hours of the day. But if someone expressed such feelings during the day, then that emphasises the gravity of the suffering. This is just conjecture. Without knowing more about the context, I don't think any judgment can be made on the basis of this text, and so it is much safer to stick to biblical narrative. What is clear is that the narrator feels that the cut off point of sunset is particularly significant, and therefore it marks the end of a period during which only one particular state of affairs can obtain (presumably from a social point of view).

So I don't think you have made your case at all (in fact, quite the opposite!)

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You can argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome': but you neither can nor need argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome, but I'm not saying this is true'. CS Lewis

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IngoB

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# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
I really don't know where you conjured this "Holy Spirit as a fuck-buddy" idea up from. I doubt anyone who believes in the virgin birth imagines that the Holy Spirit had sexual intercourse with Mary! This is insane literalism, and the mother (no pun intended) of straw man arguments.

It was simply an intentionally offensive turn of phrase to convey in modern terms what the assertion that Joseph had put his dick where God dwelt would have meant in ancient terms. Since moderns like you have lost all proper sense of the sacred, the sacrilege of such an action has to be mapped on something else that you (hopefully) still recognise as problematic - in this case then casual fucking around.

quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
You seem to think that because 'modernists' (whoever they are) are apparently obsessed with sex, that the 'ancients' saw the activity as rather dirty.

This does not follow in the slightest from anything I have said, in fact I have explicitly denied that this is about sex being bad in the very post you are commenting on. It would be highly convenient for you if this was my line of argument, because then you could trash it by poetically praising sex. But it wasn't, and so all your counter-arguments reduce to empty rhetoric based on false attribution.

quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
Every believer is hallowed ground. Therefore none of us should ever have sex, because that would be a denial of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives!

There is exactly one person in all of human history who has literally conceived by the Holy Spirit, grew in her womb a Divine child and gave birth to God. It isn't you, it isn't me, it isn't (somewhat less ridiculously) any other woman. The Incarnation is a singular event of human history, indeed it is the pivot point of human history compared to which all other historical events fade into nothingness. And the pivot was one specific woman, Mary. Now, you can go on comparing this to me and my wife having sex, but I just find that ridiculous. Not because I think sex is dirty, not because I think there is no Holy Spirit in us, not indeed because I think that sex cannot be an expression of our personal holiness. I'm all OK with sex as holy activity of a married couple. But because it is like holding up a candle to the Big Bang and saying "Look, they are just the same, both produce light."

quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
Bullshit.

To the contrary, that passage just re-emphasises my point. The Pharisees and Jesus both operate on the ancient sense of the sacred there, as Joseph would have. If they had a modern sense of the "sacred" as some temporary mood change to stage a "spiritual" performance, then the whole exchange would made no sense whatsoever. It would not have been anything to worry about. Furthermore, note that what is actually under discussion is not a use of a sacred object for mundane purposes, but rather a violation of the disciplinary code about the Sabbath. And Jesus does not provide a counter-example that involves the use of a sacred object for mundane purposes. Read carefully. The showbread is lawful to be eaten by priests, it is not dedicated to God as such, it is from the outset expected to be consumed by humans after its ceremonial use. What David did was precisely to violate a disciplinary religious rule, namely who gets to eat the showbread (just the priests), out of immediate human necessity. Jesus targets the Pharisees with precision there. Furthermore, of course Joseph would have lived by the Jewish behavioural code, not by the Jewish behavioural code as eventually corrected by Jesus.

quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
Therefore if Joseph had sex with his wife, he could not defile her, because sex (within marriage) does not defile.

If Joseph had sex with Mary, then he would have taken for his own what God had taken for Himself. It is not the sexual act itself that is the problem there, but rather what is done with the sexual act.

To give an analogy, for some random Jew to wander into the Holy of Holies and sit on the mercy seat would have been sacrilege. Your claim is now equivalent to "But you are saying that walking and sitting defiles people, but they are perfectly fine, indeed if I walk in pilgrimage and sit at a holy site in prayer that is a very holy thing to do!" That completely misses the point. Nobody is saying that walking and sitting is the problem. It is walking into the Holy of Holies and sitting on the mercy seat that is the problem. The problem is the context, not the activity. Likewise, of course sex is not evil, and between husband and wife can be positively holy. That does not mean that Joseph is free to have sex with the embodied Ark of the New Covenant.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Martin60
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# 368

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Wow, this is the best we can do brothers and brothers. Well half brothers. Bastards at that. But who's legit eh?

When is the world going to see that we love one another and actually have something worth having?

Not that we are entitled to love one way or the other it seems. For we are other.

There was nothing modern about being a Jew 2000 years ago. And I have to accept being anathema for knowing that, and not being able to know otherwise, by the biggest kids on the block, without a crumb here it feels like.

I want to fully acknowledge your truth. Validate you despite it not being mine.

How do I do that?

How can we have a conversation where that is paramount?

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Love wins

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IngoB

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# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
So I don't think you have made your case at all (in fact, quite the opposite!)

I don't think that I really need to argue this, AFAIK it is simply scholarly consensus that the Greek word does not give a clear indication of state change in what it references. You are trying to get around the counter-examples by pointing out that something has changed, but that's pointless. Of course something is happening, that's the usual point of using "until" or "till" to mark a specific time. The question is rather whether what has changed is just the thing referred to previously (as typically in English), or if it can be something else (as readily in Greek).

In English, when we hear "I was X, until Y", we typically assume that after Y I was not-X. But the Greek word just doesn't require that strongly. It merely requires that before Y I was X. The state of not having kids is not ended by death. The state of the Father working is not ended by the Sabbath, or Jesus engaging with the Pharisees, or anything. To multiply examples:

"The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until [heõs] he comes to whom it belongs; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples." (Gen 49:10, Septuagint)

Of course, the sceptre is not lost when the rightful ruler comes, to the contrary.

"When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before [heõs] the Son of man comes. " (Mt 23:10)

By virtue of the Son of man coming, they will not suddenly have gone through all the towns of Israel.

"And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before [heõs] they see that the kingdom of God has come with power."" (Mk 9:1)

They will not die by the virtue of the kingdom coming, all that is being implied here is that they are not dead at that point. In this last case in particular it is obvious that putting "until" (instead of here "before") can lead to a wrong interpretation due to the typical English usage.

The Greek word simply does not have a strong implication that the referenced state will end at the time indicated, merely that it was active at the specific time mentioned. This makes perfect sense for talking about Mary: the gospel writer wants to emphasise simply that Jesus is not Joseph's (or any other man's) Son. It does not follow that Mary will have other natural children later. That is not excluded by the Greek, but it is not strongly suggested either.

As for the contemporary Jewish source: The text clearly states that the mourning continues exactly as before, and shows that the "until" is merely used to mark a specific time for the narrative there. We do not need any context there, this simply establishes by and in itself the contention that "X heõs Y" does not mean "after Y, not-X". And to wave this aside because it is not biblical is just ... dumb. Sorry, there is no other word for that. This is not a discussion of Christian doctrine, where you can claim a privileged position for the bible, this is a discussion of language usage. A text in the same language from the same time and the same area by the same cultural group just is primary evidence.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Boogie

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# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
If Joseph had sex with Mary, then he would have taken for his own what God had taken for Himself. It is not the sexual act itself that is the problem there, but rather what is done with the sexual act.

I thought Jesus had brothers?

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Paul.
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In 33 years on earth Jesus must have touched, handled, used, physically interacted with thousands of objects and hundreds of people. Does the consecration argument not hold for these too and if not why not?

Joseph may or may not have put himself "where God dwelt" in terms of sex with his wife but he did by living under the same roof as Jesus, eating from the same plates, with the same utensils and so on. If the argument is that once it's been used by God it must not be used by anyone else then it surely applies all over the place.

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Martin60
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# 368

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Boogie, it depends on where YOU were born.

[ 04. June 2014, 12:45: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]

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Love wins

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Ad Orientem
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
If Joseph had sex with Mary, then he would have taken for his own what God had taken for Himself. It is not the sexual act itself that is the problem there, but rather what is done with the sexual act.

I thought Jesus had brothers?
Half brothers, from a previous marriage of Joseph. Joseph was quite a bit older than Mary. The Protoevangelium of James sheds much light on this.
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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by que sais-je:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Matthew 1 v25 "(Joseph) knew her not until she bore a son..." - and by rather clear implication, did 'know her' afterwards....

I would take "I didn't do X until Y happened" to suggest that after Y occurred I did do X. On your interpretation wouldn't "I didn't have sex with my boy friend until we got married" mean, (by rather clear implication) that I never had sex with my boyfriend?
And lo, I am with you always, until the end of the age. After that, you're on your own.

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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Martin60
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It's pseudepigraphical as it was written over a hundred years after James was murdered. And is therefore self-serving. Has an agenda. Of the time and PLACE.

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Love wins

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Ad Orientem
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Or, even if it wasn't written by St. James, it faithfully passes on the tradition receive from him.
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IngoB

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# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
I thought Jesus had brothers?

Greek "adelphos / adelphē" does not refer only to the direct siblings "brother / sister" but can also refer to for example cousins. It is hence entirely possible that scripture is simply talking about the children of Mary's siblings. An alternative possibility, typically favoured by the Orthodox, is that Joseph had children from a previous marriage, making them Jesus' siblings by adoption.

By the way, since I hang out quite a bit with Filipinos, the very loose application of blood relationship terms seems entirely plausible to me. For example, my son addresses the son of the brother of a good friend of my wife as "Kuya", which means "older brother" (and no Filipino would bat an eyelid at that).

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Pomona
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I have no problem with others believing in the Perpetual Virginity, I do have a problem with being treated as spiritually lacking just because I don't believe in it. It has zero bearing on my salvation.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
In order to claim that Joseph had sexual intercourse with Mary, you would have to claim either that Joseph was not aware of her conceiving of the Holy Spirit, or that Joseph was impious and quite possibly an "atheist" of some description. On top of that, you would have to claim either the same about Mary, or that Joseph used his privileges as husband against her contrary to deep religious convictions in a manner that we would now consider as marital rape. If one considers ancient religious attitudes to the sacred and holds true what scripture writes about Joseph and Mary, then it is plain inconceivable that they had sexual relations.

I think inconceivable is putting it too strongly (it is conceivable, however unlikely, that Joseph may have had an iconoclastic bent, and still considered himself to be a faithful Jew), but I agree that if Mary and Joseph knew that Jesus was God's son, it is at least highly improbable that they would have considered normal sexual relations unproblematic.

So I would say that while I believe in Mary's continuing virginity as being very likely as a matter of history (for all the reasons you give), I wouldn't say that I believed it in the sense of believing in a religious dogma. Insisting on it as a matter of faith* is a stumbling block for me, even though accepting it as probably true is very easy indeed.


(*which I mean in the general sense of teaching it as a religious belief - I don't know whether the RCC formally consider it a de fide doctrine. Is it?)

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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Martin60
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For you Ad, which is untransferably fine.

Jade, we MUST accept this and love those who have no choice. We have.

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Love wins

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
So I would say that while I believe in Mary's continuing virginity as being very likely as a matter of history (for all the reasons you give), I wouldn't say that I believed it in the sense of believing in a religious dogma. Insisting on it as a matter of faith* is a stumbling block for me, even though accepting it as probably true is very easy indeed. (*which I mean in the general sense of teaching it as a religious belief - I don't know whether the RCC formally consider it a de fide doctrine. Is it?)

Yes, Mary's perpetual virginity is a "de fide" doctrine of the RCC. However, as far as this being a stumbling block goes, I think you are putting the cart before the horse. What is expected of you is not this sequence (note: in the following I mean by dogma only the "de fide" teachings, not all doctrines):

believe all the dogmas of the RCC -> consider the RCC to be the Church -> become a member of the RCC

but rather this sequence

consider the RCC to be the Church -> become a member of the RCC & believe all the dogmas of the RCC

The RCC is not the true Church because it has all the right dogmas, the RCC has all the right dogmas because it is the true Church.

Obviously, while you are considering a conversion, you can consider some RC dogma as evidence for or against the RCC being the the true Church. But in this case you cannot consider this particular dogma as a "stumbling block". If this particularly dogma seems very likely to you, then it should count as evidence in favour of the RCC being the true Church. So that would be the opposite of a stumbling block.

The reason why you think this is a stumbling block is because you are operating in a Protestant mode. You believe that behind every RC dogma there is a tick box which says "this dogma is perfectly and undoubtedly true, and I believe it with the utmost sincerity". And you believe that the way one becomes RC is by making one tick mark after the other in those boxes, until finally all are ticked and one can hand in the exam sheet and pass the test of RC membership.

That's not how this works. The primary question for RCs (and indeed the Orthodox) is not "where is the perfect compilation of truth?" The question is "where is the Church? where do I find the apostles of Christ?" It is correct that one assertion about this Church is then that it speaks truth, and in certain circumstances, infallibly so. In that sense there is a compilation of truth to be had from this Church. But there is only one central issue here, really - if we are talking about conversion between Christian denominations rather than from other religions or atheism. And that is just how the body of Christ is incorporated on earth after Pentecost and till the Second Coming. That's the question to be considered, and all else really flows from that.

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Kitten
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quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem:
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
If Joseph had sex with Mary, then he would have taken for his own what God had taken for Himself. It is not the sexual act itself that is the problem there, but rather what is done with the sexual act.

I thought Jesus had brothers?
Half brothers, from a previous marriage of Joseph. Joseph was quite a bit older than Mary. The Protoevangelium of James sheds much light on this.
No wonder they couldn't find room at the in, must have been a large party sharing the stable

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seekingsister
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
The point is quite simply that what has been dedicated by man to God, and much more so what has been taken by God Himself for His purposes, must not be used by man for mundane purposes. And it matter not the teeniest bit what you think about that. There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that a pious Jew in 1stC Palestine would have affirmed that, indeed, quite likely would have put his very life on the line to defend sacred things.

This position still requires one to believe:

- that sex between husband and wife is "mundane"
- that sex with Mary would be a desecration and an insult to God

In which case you are actually making the point that her physical body was special in some way and that it could be defiled by having normal relations with her husband.

Now the problem with this being a binding belief is to me this: if I were presented with incontrovertible truth that Mary and Joseph "knew" each other, it would not affect my faith in Christ in the slightest. However it could seriously damage the faith of a Catholic in the entirety of Christianity. In the same way that someone raised in a Young Earth Creationist church would have their faith shaken to the core after taking first year university biology.

When we emphasize other doctrines outside of those core to the faith (defined by the creeds in my usage here) they can become, to concur with eliab, stumbling blocks. So in my view, better for a church to allow flexibility in beliefs of non-core doctrine and not bind Christians to them.

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
The reason why you think this is a stumbling block is because you are operating in a Protestant mode. You believe that behind every RC dogma there is a tick box which says "this dogma is perfectly and undoubtedly true, and I believe it with the utmost sincerity". And you believe that the way one becomes RC is by making one tick mark after the other in those boxes, until finally all are ticked and one can hand in the exam sheet and pass the test of RC membership.

Yes, that's fair.

Also, I have a strong aversion to making anything a de fide doctrine which a Christian could reasonably doubt or disagree with. I don't think we ought to be excluding one another from unit and fellowship if we can avoid it. Even when (as here) I think the Catholic/Orthodox view to be probably true, it's a problem for me that you insist on it with more rigor than seems to me to be justified.

And yes, you are exactly right that this is because I see Catholic doctrines in a "you must believe this if you want to be in communion with us" way. Therefore they are barriers to unity. Even if they are barriers that I personally could pass with ease, I am still asking "do they really need to insist on that?". On so many, I can't see that you do. Often I can see why you believe it, and even why you are right to believe it, but not that it should be a condition of membership of the true Church (if that's what the RCC is). While it might be characteristically Protestant of me to see de fide doctrines as 'conditions of membership', from where I'm standing, that's what they are.

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
If Joseph had sex with Mary, then he would have taken for his own what God had taken for Himself. It is not the sexual act itself that is the problem there, but rather what is done with the sexual act.

This assumes that Joseph had full understanding of what was going on. In Matthew 1:20 he's told about it, but whether or not he fully understood it is not made clear.

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"I take prayer too seriously to use it as an excuse for avoiding work and responsibility." -- The Revd Martin Luther King Jr.

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
This position still requires one to believe:

[...]

- that sex with Mary would be a desecration and an insult to God

No it doesn't!

It only requires you to believe that Mary and Joseph, or either one of them, might plausibly have thought that sex with the person who had given birth to God's son would be sufficiently daunting that it was probably best avoided.

They might (and almost certainly did) feel rather more strongly about it than that (as IngoB sets out), but all that you have to accept for Mary's virginity to be strongly plausible is that rightly or wrongly, at least one half of the couple thought that it was best to be careful about such things.

That's all. And it seems to me to be an extremely easy thing to believe. It stretches my credibility to suppose that they would have had no scruples at all about sex after such a momentous event involving Mary's body (and heart, mind, soul...) in so intimate a way. You could persuade me (as a modern) that sex between them might not in fact have been displeasing to God - it would be very hard to persuade me (as someone with a modicum of historical empathy) that St Joseph would have thought that that was an obvious conclusion.

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
This assumes that Joseph had full understanding of what was going on. In Matthew 1:20 he's told about it, but whether or not he fully understood it is not made clear.

He understood enough to know that the baby was not his, and at the start to draw the obvious conclusion from that fact. Then he understood enough to know that Mary had not been unfaithful and that the child was in some sense 'of God'. That's all we need.

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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seekingsister
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
No it doesn't!

It certainly does, unless the definition of desecration has changed. It is: "the act of depriving something of its sacred character, or the disrespectful, contemptuous, or destructive treatment of that which is held to be sacred or holy by a group or individual"

My comment was in reply to this, from IngoB:

quote:
There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that a pious Jew in 1stC Palestine would have affirmed that, indeed, quite likely would have put his very life on the line to defend sacred things.

If sex with Mary is not desecration by RCC's standards then what is it?
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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB
Since moderns like you have lost all proper sense of the sacred, the sacrilege of such an action has to be mapped on something else that you (hopefully) still recognise as problematic - in this case then casual fucking around.

What a trite and ill informed insult.

I don't need to engage in superstition to have a proper sense of the sacred. Ever heard of something called "spiritual reality"?

In fact, I would like to suggest that people who need to depend on smells and bells and fancy religious paraphernalia are the ones who have lost all sense of the sacred, because such physical accoutrements can function as a substitute for the Holy Spirit. I suppose they're OK as signposts, but a right relationship with God will not fall apart without them.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
You seem to think that because 'modernists' (whoever they are) are apparently obsessed with sex, that the 'ancients' saw the activity as rather dirty.

This does not follow in the slightest from anything I have said, in fact I have explicitly denied that this is about sex being bad in the very post you are commenting on. It would be highly convenient for you if this was my line of argument, because then you could trash it by poetically praising sex. But it wasn't, and so all your counter-arguments reduce to empty rhetoric based on false attribution.
You can explicitly deny whatever you like, while at the same time implicitly affirming the contrary. After all, how filthy sex must be if it is supposed to defile the consecrated vessel called 'Mary' (and how denigrating to a human being to be reduced to a mere tool. Funny, but I thought it was the nasty Prots who were claiming that Mary was a mere conduit, but the Catholics go one better and seem to be saying that she was a fancy bit of plumbing, which after one use, is put on display, never to be used again, because how awful it must be for common water to flow through plumbing that once conveyed the finest of wines. Poor soul, Mary. I feel so sorry for her. Frankly, I think that the most sacred interpretation of Mary is to regard her as a normal human being. That seems more in accordance with the meaning of the incarnation. Philippians 2:5-8).

quote:
There is exactly one person in all of human history who has literally conceived by the Holy Spirit, grew in her womb a Divine child and gave birth to God. It isn't you, it isn't me, it isn't (somewhat less ridiculously) any other woman. The Incarnation is a singular event of human history, indeed it is the pivot point of human history compared to which all other historical events fade into nothingness. And the pivot was one specific woman, Mary. Now, you can go on comparing this to me and my wife having sex, but I just find that ridiculous. Not because I think sex is dirty, not because I think there is no Holy Spirit in us, not indeed because I think that sex cannot be an expression of our personal holiness. I'm all OK with sex as holy activity of a married couple. But because it is like holding up a candle to the Big Bang and saying "Look, they are just the same, both produce light."
Nothing I have said contradicts the fact of the singular event of the incarnation. The clue is in the word 'incarnation': Jesus came in the flesh, as a normal, though sinless, human being. He did not come as some kind of "holiness alien". Get it? I am not sure you do. I am not sure that you really grasp the wonder of the incarnation, in which God become MAN. Not pseudo-man, Superman, hyper-man, pretend man, angelic man, or any other superspiritualised type of man. He became a normal man. That is the whole effing point of it!!! Sheesh!

I know that the neo-Platonism and Gnosticism that seems to have influenced the RCC is embarrassed by the shocking reality of the incarnation, and therefore tries to surround it with an aura of misplaced piety, but the Bible does not pull its punches. The Word became flesh (in all its implications) and dwelt among us. Therefore there is no need for Mary to be turned into some kind of abnormal woman. In fact, the more normal Mary is, the more authentic the incarnation is.

quote:
The showbread is lawful to be eaten by priests, it is not dedicated to God as such, it is from the outset expected to be consumed by humans after its ceremonial use. What David did was precisely to violate a disciplinary religious rule, namely who gets to eat the showbread (just the priests), out of immediate human necessity.
If you want to make a distinction between what has been specifically dedicated to God directly, and dedicated to God via the law pertaining to the privileges of those whose calling was to minister to God, then go ahead. But I would like to suggest that that is a hair-splitting distinction in the context of this discussion. The ceremonial law of God was to be obeyed perfectly in all its particulars, but it was to obeyed within the context of the love of God, which defined the purpose of the law, namely, to serve the well being of man. That was the point Jesus was making. The Sabbath - a day dedicated to God - was not an end in itself that was designed to be a burden to man, but was a day to enhance the well being of man. In other words, what is sacred is the love of God, not religious rules and regulations that become self-serving.

The idea that consecration involves a denial of life and love (love understood in its purest sense, of course), and becomes nothing more than a sacrifice is refuted by a straightforward saying of, wait for it... the Old Testament. "I desire mercy and not sacrifice" (Hosea 6:6). The purpose of the law was to enhance human well being, not undermine it.

To suggest, therefore, that the consecrated womb of Mary had to be effectively sterilised, because of the presence of Jesus, is to pour scorn on the holiness of God's creation. Are you seriously suggesting, for example, that the holy ground that Moses knelt on, when he encountered God at the burning bush, could never be trodden on again by man? Or what about Mount Sinai? Exodus 19 states that

quote:
..."on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.’"
Is that injunction still in force? Do you seriously think that that ground has not been returned to "common use"? A quick look on the internet informs me that many people have climbed Mount Sinai and lived to tell the tale.

So this fact comprehensively demolishes your claim that "If something has been given to God or taken by Him, has become sacred, man may not use it for mundane purposes any longer. Ever." I repeat: this claim is bullshit.

quote:
If Joseph had sex with Mary, then he would have taken for his own what God had taken for Himself. It is not the sexual act itself that is the problem there, but rather what is done with the sexual act.
Oh, FFS!!!

What do you mean that God had taken Mary for Himself? Everything belongs to God. "All souls are mine" as the Scripture says, so God has taken everything and everyone for Himself. And especially He has taken all believers for Himself.

You seem to treat God like He is some kind of Casanova, who has 'bagged' a woman, and added her to His harem, and no one else can dare touch her. She has been 'taken'; "spoken for", as it were. This is a highly anthropomorphised view of God. I think it must be a rather distorted understanding of the 'jealousy' of God!

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You can argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome': but you neither can nor need argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome, but I'm not saying this is true'. CS Lewis

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