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Source: (consider it) Thread: Almost thou persuadest me (to the Roman Catholic Church)
Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
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.

Perhaps all **you** need, but don't speak for us all.

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
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"
You're missing the point. Mary, as a matter of historical fact, likely remained a virgin if Joseph had any sort of scruple about having sex with her. It doesn't matter a jot whether Joseph was actually right to be scrupulous, as far as the historical fact is concerned.

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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:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
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.

Perhaps all **you** need, but don't speak for us all.
Actually, I was disagreeing with you.

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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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mousethief

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Regarding: "Brother" -- to add to what IngoB said, it's not just the Greek that uses its word that is usually translated into "brother" (in this case adelphos) less precisely than the English word Brother. The Hebrew is also "sloppy" (if you will) with its analogous word (which I currently am not remembering). Lot is Abraham's nephew, but he is also called his "brother." The word just wasn't as precise in those languages as it is in English, so saying "but Jesus had brothers!" with the implication that they were the physical offspring of Mary is just a non-sequitur.

Concerning dogma: as far as I know the perpetual virginity of Mary is not a dogma required to be believed for salvation in the Orthodox Church. It is nevertheless a universal teaching of the church and one who denies it does not have the mind of the church (to use the phrase we use).

As for Mary's womb versus Jesus' fork -- I think this makes a category error. You might as well argue, the utensils used on the altar in the Hebrew temple were not really consecrated, because the priests went home and used normal utensils there, and shouldn't every utensil the priests touched be equally consecrated?

Being the place of gestation of the Incarnate Son for 9 months is a difference in kind to being a fork Jesus used at dinner. What mother would say that the mat her baby plays on has the same relationship to the baby that she did when she carried it inside her? That relationship is holy even with a normal mother and a normal child. With the incarnate Son and his mother, it's holy plus. No other womb ever did that (as IngoB either said or implied).

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
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.

You've got the timing a little mixed up here. From the Orthodox POV, her lady bits became holy because they gestated and bore Jesus. They were not holy before that. The presence of the Incarnate Son in her womb made it into a holy place. God consecrated her womb by causing Jesus to be incarnate therein. And what has been made holy in this sense remains holy -- because it is set apart (the underlying definigion of "holy") for a divine purpose.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
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?

I think in the Greek that *IS* clearly. Just as when Jesus is question about whether he is the messiah, and he says "you say that I am." In English that sounds like a dodge; in Greek, it is a direct affirmative.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
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.

An examle of the Protestant "what's the least we can get away with?" mindset. Which has stripped most Protestant worship down to a shell of what Christian worship was for its first 1500 years, and still is for most Christians.

quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
After all, how filthy sex must be if it is supposed to defile the consecrated vessel called 'Mary'

Again, a complete misunderstanding of holiness. The vessels in the Hebrew Temple were set apart for that special use. For the priest to take them home and use them to dig in the garden would be a misuse of them, because they were set apart for one use, and that's not it. Does that mean digging in the garden is filthy? Puh-leeze. Exactly the same principle applies here. Normal, ordinary sex between a husband and wife is not filthy. But it's not the purpose for which Mary's womb was consecrated when Christ became incarnate in her. So either this whole "filthiness" is just a canard, or you are saying that normal meals and gardening are filthy because the high priest was not allowed to use the utensils of the Temple to do them.

quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
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.

Again, a complete and utter lack to understand what holiness is. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; it does not follow from that that the place Moses was standing was not really holy, and there was no reason for him to take off his sandals. God has taken everyone to himself, and yet the firstborn sons of Israel were holy to God and had to be redeemed in the temple. God is everywhere present and fills all things, and in him we live and move and have our being -- but he was in Christ in a way that he is not in you or me or any other person.

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StevHep
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# 17198

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It might be worth pointing out that the Gospels explicitly designate Mary as the mother of Jesus but never refer to her as the mother of anyone else. They do however name someone else as the mother of James and Joseph who are elsewhere named as the brothers of a Jesus. See Matthew 13:55 and 27:55 also Mark 6:3 and this handy apologetic

Also at the Annunciation Mary having been introduced to us as the betrothed of Joseph wonders how she can become a mother. This implies that she has already taken a vow of virginity otherwise she would have supposed that her husband to be would become a father in the normal way, a point I touch on in my last but one blog The Bible and The Virgin Part One.

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Gwai
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
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?

I think in the Greek that *IS* clearly. Just as when Jesus is question about whether he is the messiah, and he says "you say that I am." In English that sounds like a dodge; in Greek, it is a direct affirmative.
Actually interested, where is scripture clear about the perpetual virginity of Mary? I want to poke my local Greek scholar to explain any relevant verse to me.

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A master of men was the Goodly Fere,
A mate of the wind and sea.
If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally.


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Martin60
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If it's clear why is that not clear?

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Eliab
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# 9153

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I think mousethief's point is that the 'until' in 'he didn't have sexual relations with her until...' has a clear meaning in Greek that does not imply "...but he did afterwards."

I don't think he's saying that the bible is clear on perpetual virginity per se, but that the text providing what looks like an obvious knock-down counter-argument in the English translation doesn't reflect any similar implication in the Greek, and that the there's no scholarly dispute about that.

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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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# 9153

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
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.

An examle of the Protestant "what's the least we can get away with?" mindset.
I can't speak for EE, but I think that my Protestant mind-set is more "What's the least that I need to insist on?" than "What's the least that I can get away with?".

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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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Nice try, but no knock down arguments are necessary or ever possible.

This shows my point (am I REALLY dumb enough to be the only one ever to say this here?): apologetics do not, can not work.

You have to be born to believe these things, or be the 1:1000 who convert, which amounts to the same thing.

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Love wins

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Paul 2012
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You may also wish to consider this and other similar
stories before entrusting the care of your immortal soul to Rome.

"Ireland considers enquiry into children's mass grave"

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27703711

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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# 15091

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief
quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
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.

An examle of the Protestant "what's the least we can get away with?" mindset. Which has stripped most Protestant worship down to a shell of what Christian worship was for its first 1500 years, and still is for most Christians.
I actually wrote about "people who need to depend on smells and bells and fancy religious paraphernalia". I also affirmed that such paraphernalia are "OK as signposts", but that "a right relationship with God will not fall apart without them".

In other words, I am affirming the role of High Church rituals and sacred objects, as long as they don't become a spiritual fetish.

I really don't know how any Christian could ever dispute this. After all, I am sure there are many Christians who find themselves in situations where they don't have any access to all this stuff. Does God abandon such people?

The answer is obvious.

quote:
Again, a complete misunderstanding of holiness. The vessels in the Hebrew Temple were set apart for that special use. For the priest to take them home and use them to dig in the garden would be a misuse of them, because they were set apart for one use, and that's not it. Does that mean digging in the garden is filthy? Puh-leeze. Exactly the same principle applies here. Normal, ordinary sex between a husband and wife is not filthy. But it's not the purpose for which Mary's womb was consecrated when Christ became incarnate in her. So either this whole "filthiness" is just a canard, or you are saying that normal meals and gardening are filthy because the high priest was not allowed to use the utensils of the Temple to do them.
A straw man argument, because Mary's genitalia and womb were parts of a person's body and not inanimate objects in a temple. I find it deeply disturbing that a human being should be put in the same category as tools and utensils, which are used for a particular purpose. God does not 'use' people, in the way that He uses objects. Perhaps the RCC and Orthodox Churches rather like the idea of a God who uses people like objects, but thank God, He is not like that.

Funny how Jesus spoke about "coming that they may have life in all its abundance". But your idea of consecration seems to be one of deprivation: proving your worth to God by being deprived of a normal human experience, or God taking someone in order to deprive them. Of course, Mary may have willingly and joyfully given up her sexuality and Joseph also may have consented to this, but I cannot assume that this was the case.

I can deprive a garden tool of some function. It makes no difference to the tool, because it is an unfeeling, unconscious, 'dead' object. But the same rules cannot apply to human beings, quite obviously. Treating people like objects is not my idea of holiness.

quote:
God is everywhere present and fills all things, and in him we live and move and have our being -- but he was in Christ in a way that he is not in you or me or any other person.
Exactly. And "any other person" includes Mary.

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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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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I think mousethief's point is that the 'until' in 'he didn't have sexual relations with her until...' has a clear meaning in Greek that does not imply "...but he did afterwards."

I don't think he's saying that the bible is clear on perpetual virginity per se, but that the text providing what looks like an obvious knock-down counter-argument in the English translation doesn't reflect any similar implication in the Greek, and that the there's no scholarly dispute about that.

Yes. Thank you for putting it more clearly.

EE:

1. It was an analogy. Obviously analogies cannot be pressed too far. If you think God doesn't use people to bring about his desired ends on earth, then you clearly don't believe the Bible.

2. So, not having sex is being deprived? This is more of the 21st-century sex-soaked modernism that IngoB was decrying. "Oh my God, she didn't have sex, she wasn't fully human!" It's rather sick.

3. What you personally can or cannot assume to be the case really isn't relevant to the question of the right teaching of the historic Church.

4. You are right that God wasn't in Mary the way He was in Christ. I would never have denied that. This is a really stupid point. But he was also in Mary the way he was in no other person. No other person carried God in her womb. Ever. Before or since. He was in Mary in a unique way in all of creation. It's not like "oh, well, she happened to have a womb she wasn't using."

I note you pass over my analogy on mothers, wombs, and playmats. Care to give that a mangle?

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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# 15091

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief
1. It was an analogy. Obviously analogies cannot be pressed too far. If you think God doesn't use people to bring about his desired ends on earth, then you clearly don't believe the Bible.

No, God does not 'use' people in the theologically fascistic way some churches seem to think He does. That's why God's ways are so complex, because we are not just pieces on a gigantic chessboard.

And, yes, I do believe the Bible. A book (or rather series of books) that is not for the simple-minded, quite obviously.

quote:
2. So, not having sex is being deprived? This is more of the 21st-century sex-soaked modernism that IngoB was decrying. "Oh my God, she didn't have sex, she wasn't fully human!" It's rather sick.
I did not say any such thing.

If you actually bothered to read my posts, instead of seeing what you want to see, you will have noticed that I affirmed that Mary may have given up her sexual life willingly. Therefore I was affirming that positive celibacy has a place. But it doesn't follow from this, that Mary had to be celibate.

Actually, I am not the one who is obsessed with sex. I couldn't actually care less whether Mary was a perpetual virgin or not. It makes not one jot of difference to my life. It was a matter entirely between her and God. But it's you lot who are utterly obsessed with Mary's sexuality or non-sexuality. It's the RCC which is utterly absorbed in a fanatical neurosis about sex - but always expressed in an inverted way (i.e. in the negative). Some of us are not fooled by all this fake chastity plea.

quote:
3. What you personally can or cannot assume to be the case really isn't relevant to the question of the right teaching of the historic Church.
Likewise what you personally can or cannot assume to be the case is not relevant to what is actually true.

See I can write a snarky non-comment as well!

quote:
4. You are right that God wasn't in Mary the way He was in Christ. I would never have denied that. This is a really stupid point. But he was also in Mary the way he was in no other person. No other person carried God in her womb. Ever. Before or since. He was in Mary in a unique way in all of creation. It's not like "oh, well, she happened to have a womb she wasn't using."
Yeah, I agree. God was in many different saints in a way that He wasn't in everyone else. It doesn't mean that because of that, He told them that they were henceforth utterly forbidden to have sex.

quote:
I note you pass over my analogy on mothers, wombs, and playmats. Care to give that a mangle?
Care to direct me to that comment? I can't seem to find it, for some reason.

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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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Martin60
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# 368

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Do we have the faintest idea what a couple of non-Roman Catholic, non-Orthodox, non-Christian, ordinary Jews from two millennia ago thought, apart from the certainty that they thought none of these things?

Just as we wouldn't if we were them. Just do the thought experiment.

Nothing in their culture - that's NOTHING, not some post-hoc, interpolation of I Samuel 2:22 - that would lend itself to such alien beliefs and behaviour with most in common with contemporary rural south Asia.

Mary and Joseph were chosen for their normality, their ordinariness, their humanity. How would a poor, rural Hindu or Muslim couple feel, think, behave today?

There's nothing modern about sex. The excruciating confliction about it in post-Jewish Christianity is relatively recent in evolution. It won't last. It isn't lasting.

[ 04. June 2014, 20:39: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]

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Love wins

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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I never thought I'd say this, Biohazard, but you may have possibly written something I just about agree with.

Or maybe I've misread it. Dunno. [Biased]

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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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Martin60
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# 368

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Uh OH!

Amanda B. Reckondwythe said it before me.

These ordinary people hadn't the faintest idea of what was going on.

Just as we don't.

So we tell stories and feed them back ignoring the cognitive dissonance they create. With every iteration.

As long as they don't stop us being kind, just, generous, tolerant, inclusive. Directly or in reaction to those of us who have to tell them.

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Love wins

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Gamaliel
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I'll tread carefully here, but whatever our views are on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary - and as I've said, some Protestants including Luther, Calvin and Wesley were entirely comfortable with the idea - I'm not convinced that it HAS to lead inevitably to some kind of warped view of sexuality.

The RCC is often accused of that - and yes, one can understand why given its poor track record over the years on issues of that kind. However, by the same token, we could argue that those Protestants who blithely accept abortion as a regular means of contraception are showing singular indifference to the sanctity of life and so on ...

I've no dog in this fight, but it seems to me that the Orthodox somehow manage to combine a strong emphasis on virginity and chastity in the right context with a fairly healthy attitude towards sex. They don't seem fixated with it either in the modern kind of way nor rather ashamed or embarrassed about it as was certainly the case with the RCC - and yes, indeed some Protestant churches too - until more recent times.

It does seem odd to me, though, hearing EE castigating the RCs for an apparently low view of the Incarnation and both the RCs and the Orthodox for a rather 'mechanical' view of human nature and human response to the divine when both those Churches - when they were One Single Undivided Church - were the very bodies which passed on the scriptures and the accounts of God's dealings with human kind to the rest of us.

That doesn't mean that RC or Orthodox interpretations of the scriptures shouldn't be questioned or challenged - we should have robust debate as we are here.

But I certainly don't see any evidence to suggest that either the RC or the Orthodox Churches diminish or objectify our humanity when it comes to their understanding of the interaction between the human and the divine. If anything, one might accuse the more Reformed among us of such a thing as they effectively over-ride the synergistic aspects ... but that's another debate.

My own 'take' on these things is that the RCs and the Orthodox are no more simplistic or 'easily led' than anyone else. Heck, the sparks can fly when they get into debate among themselves ...

They do, however, handle scripture rather differently than most Protestants and its that which is causing some of the friction here on this board.

If we understand scripture from an RC or Orthodox perspective then both systems make complete sense. If we don't - and look at scripture in a Protestant way or what we take to be a Sola Scriptura way - then of course we are going to be at variance.

It all comes back to tradition and context. And we all interpret scripture through the lens of our own particular tradition and context. All of us.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
God does not 'use' people in the theologically fascistic way some churches seem to think He does. That's why God's ways are so complex, because we are not just pieces on a gigantic chessboard.

False reductionism. "Use" does not mean "use as if a piece on a gigantic chessboard."

quote:
If you actually bothered to read my posts, instead of seeing what you want to see, you will have noticed that I affirmed that Mary may have given up her sexual life willingly.
And yet you referred to not having sex as being "deprived." Are you confused in your own mind as to what you believe about having sex?

quote:
Therefore I was affirming that positive celibacy has a place. But it doesn't follow from this, that Mary had to be celibate.
Fortunately nobody has claimed that link.

quote:
Actually, I am not the one who is obsessed with sex. I couldn't actually care less whether Mary was a perpetual virgin or not. It makes not one jot of difference to my life.
This is belied by your voluminous posting on this topic.

quote:
Likewise what you personally can or cannot assume to be the case is not relevant to what is actually true.
Nor have I claimed so, nor have I inserted my personal opinions on what is or is not the case. Unlike some people I might mention. So this tu quoque is a non sequitur.

quote:
See I can write a snarky non-comment as well!p
Yes, it's just irrelevant to the conversation.

quote:
Yeah, I agree. God was in many different saints in a way that He wasn't in everyone else. It doesn't mean that because of that, He told them that they were henceforth utterly forbidden to have sex.
Once again you fail to take into account the utter difference between having God in your womb and all the other ways that God can be "in" someone. Until you address this, all of this kind of comparison is just gas.

quote:
quote:
I note you pass over my analogy on mothers, wombs, and playmats. Care to give that a mangle?
Care to direct me to that comment? I can't seem to find it, for some reason.
I have no idea how you could not find it, but I shall quote it again for your delectation. You can find where it's at on the page by sampling some of this text and using your browser's search function, if the exact location, rather than the content, is what you're interested in.

quote:
Being the place of gestation of the Incarnate Son for 9 months is a difference in kind to being a fork Jesus used at dinner. What mother would say that the mat her baby plays on has the same relationship to the baby that she did when she carried it inside her? That relationship is holy even with a normal mother and a normal child. With the incarnate Son and his mother, it's holy plus. No other womb ever did that (as IngoB either said or implied).


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Gwai
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Eliab, mousethief, thanks on the clarification re until. I didn't know that, so that is helpful.

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
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.

Without wishing to cast any doubt on your historical empathy, St Joseph was a bit of a special case in that the angel specifically told him that it was OK to take Mary as his wife.

And the obvious interpretation is not that they were to pretend to the rest of the world that they were Mr and Mrs whilst not actually enjoying conjugal relations.

Similarly, yes it's useful to make the distinction between what is pleasing to God and what a typical first century Jew would have considered as pleasing to God. But ask a traditional Catholic a question as to who was closer to the mind of God than any other human being in history and you won't be surprised at the answer... So such a distinction doesn't really make the Catholic position more reasonable.

Seems to me from what's been said - and thanks to all those who've tried hard to explain why they believe as they do - that this idea of consecration of things is a pre-Christian element of
Catholic (and Orthodox) culture, and is one of the elements of that culture that many Protestants reject in the light of the Christian message.

Best wishes,

Russ

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Martin60
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Wise as ever G. Our cultures are all hurtling beyond the postmodern where increasingly alien narrative traditions have no place except as an opportunity for inclusion of the other. And aye, if you want depth and breadth our ancestor churches have enough for forever still. Henri Nouwen alone will do for me. Or a Gregory or three. Apart from their invincible mandatory esoteric distinctives, I find NOTHING approaching as nasty as my Protestant mother's damnationism (frozen in time from her since mellowed estranged mother in that regard) in my Grandmother and her sister.

But dominant patriarchal objectification is still there, the early disconnect from humanity, as in Marianism. Particularly in the West with regard to divorce and sexuality. Which led to that quiet atrocity in Ireland Paul 2012 linked to above and all the inevitable sex abuse.

[ 04. June 2014, 22:36: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]

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Gamaliel
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I did say that the RCC has a pretty poor record in this regard - sex abuse, 'Catholic guilt', inducing a sense of shame and so on ...

I s'pose I'm more of an Orthophile than a Papalist or RC-ophile - although I'm certainly not virulently anti-RC (or at least, I hope I'm not) ...

So I s'pose my take on this would be that the RCC has taken 'too far' emphases that were certainly there from the early days of Christianity. The Orthodox, of course, would argue that the RCs do this with pretty much everything - be it their view of the Pope or their tendency to over-codify and be overly prescriptive in everything - whether it be the Real Presence, teachings about Original Sin or whatever else.

I've previously argued that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is an example of this. Original Sin left them with a dilemma - which they sort to resolve - hence the doctrine of Immaculate Conception.

Protestants have attempted to resolve the apparent difficulty in a different way, the Orthodox in another.

I certainly think there is a case to answer in terms of the RC attitude towards sex - certainly as it has been expressed in the past.

I'm not so convinced, though, that the doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity came about as some kind of repugnance at sex ... but I can certainly see how it could have - and probably has - become a 'patriarchal' way of marginalising women and deriding/decrying sexuality and so on.

For a Protestant, I am quite Marian in my approach. A high view of Mary stems from a high Christology in my view.

That said, I wouldn't accuse EE and other Protestant posters on this thread of having a low Christology - as far as I know EE has a thoroughly 'realised' view of the deity of Christ, the Trinity and so on.

He also - it seems to me - has a highly developed view of the sacred - given his charismatic emphasis. This might be expressed differently to how these things are understood in RC and indeed Orthodox circles - but that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

Again, this is one of those both/and rather than either/or areas. I don't think that one HAS to take a ritualised or 'high church' approach to worship to develop a strong sense of the sacred or the numinous (although arguably, it does help) ... and would contest that this exists - albeit in a different form - across all the various Christian traditions and churchmanships.

So, if I may be so bold, I felt that IngoB was being rather dismissive there in accusing EE of a low Christology and a low sense of the sacred and the 'consecrated'.

I know what IngoB is getting at though - and would contend that by and large Protestants have compensated for the 'void' left by the more Catholic sense of the sacred and the sacraments by effectively 'sacralising' other things - be it the preaching of the word, the 'worship time' or the 'ministry time' in charismatic parlance.

We need to hold all these things in balance. I quite like the fact that a church that George Herbert had a hand in appointing and decorating has both the pulpit and the reading-desk (for the prayers) at an equal height at a time when the pulpit was being heightened and emphasised to the detriment of the latter.

He could see that this was a both/and thing not either/or ... not preaching rather than prayer nor prayer rather than preaching but both/and.

But then, that's the Anglican part of my spiritual DNA talking and why I tend to cut the RCs and the Orthodox more slack when it comes to some of their traditions (or Traditions) because I see these as a natural development rather than things suddenly concocted one day in order to con people or lord it over them.

Sure, I think that some traditions did go too far ...

But I can certainly understand the basis and reasoning behind them.

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB
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).

No, it's not pointless to say that 'heos' is used to denote some kind of change, because the word is used to mark periods of time within a particular context, and this speaks to the meaning of what is going on in that context.

For example, if I say that "Peter didn't have a job until he was 30 years old", it implies that he got a job at the age of 30. The point is that 'until' in this sentence marks the end of the period from the beginning of his potential working life up to 30 years old. But his potential working life continues after 30 as long as he remains alive, of course. So we know from the context that Peter could have had a job from the age of, say, 16 up to 29/30. And we know that he could have a job from 30 onwards. So in terms of employment there is no essential difference between the period before Peter turns 30 and the period after. But the writer of the above sentence wants to mark a difference between these two periods in the context of Peter's experience of employment. The only logical deduction one can therefore make is that this difference is marked by the change from unemployment to employment, because there is no other change that can be deduced from the context.

But suppose we wrote: "Peter didn't have a job until his death at the age of 30". Although that sounds a bit strange in English, it is what could be written in Greek, using 'heos'. This, of course, does not mean that Peter obtained a job when he died! But the point is that we know that the period after a person's death is one in which employment is not possible. So therefore it is understood that Peter never got a job. He lived and died in a state of unemployment.

Therefore the word 'heos' denotes the end of a period of possibility or potentiality within a particular context, or it divides a period of possibility. Let's call this "period of possibility"...

P:(subject under discussion)=(.......)

and let us put an x where 'heos' falls within it.

So let's look at the examples you gave in your first post:

1. Michal - P:(childlessness)=(......x)

The cut off is at the end of 'P', so therefore we know that she would never have children.

2. Jesus speaking to the Jews, who are condemning Him for what He has done on the Sabbath - P:(Jews judging Jesus)=(......x)

The cut off is at the 'now' of Jesus' words at the end of the period during which acts could have been performed which were capable of being judged by the Jews, given that they could not have judged future acts. Therefore we know that no judgeable acts at that point in time could have been performed after the cut off, because the judgment was being rendered at a particular point in time. Future acts could not be judged at the point in time in question.

Now let me look at your biblical examples from your last post...

3. "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) - From what I have read this is an extremely obscure reference, and I wonder whether you know what the phrase "until Shiloh comes" (which is what is in the original Hebrew for "until he comes to whom it belongs")?

However, your comment about this is: "Of course, the sceptre is not lost when the rightful ruler comes, to the contrary."

There are two periods here. The first period is the time before the rightful ruler comes (assuming that is the correct interpretation) and the second period is the time after this ruler has come to his kingdom. It may very well be that a certain method of rule comes to an end at the end of the first period. This is, in fact, obvious. When the rightful ruler returns, the nature of rule changes. Given the obscurity of the reference, I can't say how that method of rule will change, so I don't think any case can be made on the basis of this saying. It is therefore a pretty irrelevant example.

4. "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). And you point out: "By virtue of the Son of man coming, they will not suddenly have gone through all the towns of Israel."

Now how shall I represent this? P:(going through the towns of Israel)=(......x)

Yes, I put the 'x' at the end of the "period of possibility", because, of course, it is not possible to move around in a normal way once this period of history has ended, which I assume this is referring to. So therefore the coming of the Son of Man is a kind of 'death' to the activity of fleeing from persecution. Thus, this is in the same category as the Michal example.

5. "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)

And your comment about this: "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."

I really cannot see the logic of your position here, because we know that all those to whom Jesus was speaking were going to die at some point. The "period of possibility" was a number of decades from the point of this saying. Furthermore, the event of the "kingdom coming with power" was not described as a single event occurring in a short space of time. It is vague. So all Jesus was saying is that some people to whom He was speaking would live to see this occurrence or series of occurrences and some, by implication, would not. But they would all die at some point in the future.

So we have - P:(dying)=(...x....), where 'x' represents the kingdom coming in power. The 'x' is positioned in the middle of the bracketed period, which means that the activity or experience being referred to (in this case: dying) will occur for some people after the 'x'. And this is what surely happened! It certainly does not mean that people die "by virtue of the kingdom coming" as you say, as if the latter causes the former. That is not what I have ever implied by the use of the word 'heos'.

Now if we apply this to Matthew 1:24-25...

"Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus."

Here we have - P:(Joseph and Mary having sexual relations)=(...x....), where 'x' represents the birth of Jesus. Clearly the 'x' has to lie at some point in the "period of possibility" of their sexual relations, because they were physically and legally (being presumably properly married at this time) able to have such relations after the birth of Jesus. The word 'heos' indicates a cut off that makes no sense at all if Mary were to remain a virgin, unless we interpret the word 'know' as meaning something other than sexual intercourse. Clearly it has that meaning, otherwise we are driven to the absurd position of saying that Joseph did not know Mary intellectually before Jesus was born. The context makes the interpretation of 'know' obvious.

So to sum up: in all these examples, 'heos' is used either to denote the end of the period during which a certain referenced activity or experience is possible, and therefore indicates that such an activity or experience will never become reality, or it denotes a cut off within a period during which a referenced activity or experience is possible, and therefore it indicates that some change has occurred, which then allows that activity or experience to occur having previously not occurred, or to not occur having previously occurred.

This therefore very strongly suggests (I will draw back from using 'proves') that Mary and Joseph had sexual relations after Jesus was born.

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Chesterbelloc

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I'm not sure I even understand EE's last post properly, but I'm pretty sure that the general tenor of his "until" argument is misconceived.

The whole emphasis of the Gospel assertion that Joseph did not have sexual relations with the BVM up to the point of her being delivered is directed to the period before the birth of Christ for a very good reason. The "until" is there to indicate that His birth had nothing to do with Joseph - and that is its whole point.

"Until" Christ's birth, Joseph's sexual involvement could have been inferred to indicate Christ's paternity was human - afterwards, not. But for this reason it seems to be asking something very odd of the passage to assume that it would indicate anything at all about what happened subsequently. It tells us nothing whatsoever about what happened after Christ's birth and nothing concerning that can be deduced from the "until" passage whatsoever. Because that's not what it's there for.

Incidentally, I'm extremely sceptical about the BBC Irish story linked to above, for several reasons - why, for example, would the Church refuse Christian burial to children who died naturally? I'm also suspicious about what role the story is supposed to be playing in this thread. But that's a whole 'nother thread, it seems to me.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Seems to me from what's been said - and thanks to all those who've tried hard to explain why they believe as they do - that this idea of consecration of things is a pre-Christian element of Catholic (and Orthodox) culture, and is one of the elements of that culture that many Protestants reject in the light of the Christian message.

Of course, GOD is a pre-Christian element of Catholic and Orthodox culture. Just because something was around before Christ doesn't mean it should be jettisoned. "The notion of consecration predates Christianity" isn't an argument against it. We inherited a lot from the Jews.

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Ahleal V
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:

Our cultures are all hurtling beyond the postmodern where increasingly alien narrative traditions have no place except as an opportunity for inclusion of the other. And aye, if you want depth and breadth our ancestor churches have enough for forever still.

Amen. Amen.

AV

[ 05. June 2014, 06:13: Message edited by: Ahleal V ]

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GCabot
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I cannot quite see what all the hubbub is about.

While the doctrine of Mary's virginity prior to Jesus' birth is certainly important, I fail to see the theological import of her perpetual virginity. Rather, it appears to be one of those subjects where reasonable people can disagree on the correct interpretation, such as the meaning of Christ's words of institution.

Is all this commotion really called for?

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Martin60
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Repugnance of sex comes from self indoctrinated mandatory chastity.

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Chesterbelloc

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The avoidance and proscription of illicit sex comess simply from a desire to do God's will. Avoidance of licit sex - through, say, a deliberate embracing of celibacy - can be a healthy offering in service to God.

ISTM that it's not those who are arguing for the perpetual virginity of the BVM here who have hangups about sex...

[ 05. June 2014, 08:38: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]

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Stejjie
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quote:
Originally posted by GCabot:
I cannot quite see what all the hubbub is about.

While the doctrine of Mary's virginity prior to Jesus' birth is certainly important, I fail to see the theological import of her perpetual virginity. Rather, it appears to be one of those subjects where reasonable people can disagree on the correct interpretation, such as the meaning of Christ's words of institution.

Is all this commotion really called for?

I do remember getting quite heavily drawn into this debate a few years ago on the Ship and shortly afterwards our second child was born - I'm not sure what that proves but it must prove something... [Eek!]

Anyway, I did get rather heated debating against the perpetual virginity of Mary, but now... I think I'd take that line. It strikes me that the evidence in Scripture is inconclusive one way or the other, because that's not an important issue for the writers of the stories of the birth of Jesus*. So if Scripture doesn't give us "the answer" then I guess it depends on where else we go and then it probably all gets much more subjective.

But I'd agree (now) with GCabot: it's not an issue of first importance and perhaps not worth getting so worked up about?

* I'd argue that passage with the "until" in it that's been debated hotly above is more about making sure it was clear Joseph had nothing to do with the conception of Jesus, ie that Jesus was God's son, not Joseph's - it says nothing one way or the other about what happened afterwards.

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Ad Orientem
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Yes, the "until" is only neant to show that St. Joseph wasn't Jesus' biological father. As I understand it, it's a Hebraism translated into Greek. Blessed Jerome, for instance, provides other examples of this use of "until" from the scriptures in his tract against Helvidius.
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seekingsister
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quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
But I'd agree (now) with GCabot: it's not an issue of first importance and perhaps not worth getting so worked up about?

It's a big deal in the context of this conversation, in which Roman Catholics have insisted that the only barrier to church unity is that we pesky Protestants won't just accept these binding doctrines that seem to us peripheral to the main issues of Christian faith.

I'll repost the comment by Invictus_88 that started the more contentious tone being taken in this thread:


quote:
See the world from my eyes. My Church was there at the start, and I have to live in a Protestant country in which most people blithely reject the faith and teachings of Jesus, and His apostles, and the Early Church Fathers, and the Pope. Dismissing the whole deposit of faith, dismissing the authority of the Church, dismissing Christian moral precepts which have held until modern times, arrogantly putting in their place errors from the 1500s, from the 1800s, from their own reading of the Bible, from their pastor who has never tried to root himself (or herself) in the soil of Catholicism.


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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by GCabot
I cannot quite see what all the hubbub is about.

While the doctrine of Mary's virginity prior to Jesus' birth is certainly important, I fail to see the theological import of her perpetual virginity. Rather, it appears to be one of those subjects where reasonable people can disagree on the correct interpretation, such as the meaning of Christ's words of institution.

Is all this commotion really called for?

As it concerns the particular lives and experiences of Mary and Joseph, it makes not a whit of difference. If God had called her and Joseph to a life of celibacy, then fine. I have no problem with that. It's none of my business.

But the question is also none of anyone else's business, including the Church. But certain sections of the Church - particularly the RCC - have made it their business, because the doctrine upholds their particular view of what constitutes a superior form of spirituality, namely, a spiritual life based on celibacy.

I also think that Mary is actually an anomaly - perhaps even an embarrassment - to a deeply patriarchal organisation. I can almost hear some of them ask: "How can a woman be allowed to have such a status within our theological system?" And then some bright spark pipes up: "I know! Let's put her in some special category of her own, so that she is clearly different from all other women. Let's turn her into a pallid, white, racially inappropriate, ghostly, hyper-spiritual idol, so that she cannot be associated with that group of people whom we are so concerned to suppress." Brilliant idea (if we're that way inclined)!

Here is an example of this from St. Louis de Montfort:

quote:
There is not and there will never be, either in God's creation or in his mind, a creature in whom he is so honoured as in the most Blessed Virgin Mary, not excepting even the saints, the cherubim or the highest seraphim in heaven. Mary is God's garden of Paradise, his own unspeakable world, into which his Son entered to do wonderful things, to tend it and to take his delight in it. He created a world for the wayfarer, that is, the one we are living in. He created a second world - Paradise - for the Blessed. He created a third for himself, which he named Mary. She is a world unknown to most mortals here on earth. Even the angels and saints in heaven find her incomprehensible, and are lost in admiration of a God who is so exalted and so far above them, so distant from them, and so enclosed in Mary, his chosen world, that they exclaim: "Holy, holy, holy" unceasingly.
Hmmm.

Moved by the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, proclaimed to Mary: "Blessed are you among women..." Although she does not say "you are the most blessed woman", there is a strong implication that it means that, or it means that Mary is among the most blessed of women. Note the word 'among'. Mary is identified with all other women. She is blessed as a woman among women. Therefore her life represents something of what it is like for a woman to be blessed. Now I can't see how putting Mary in some spooky category of superspirituality, where she is treated as essentially different from other women, is faithful to this saying (and the Bible makes clear that the saying was uttered under the influence of the Holy Spirit - Luke 1:41-42).

So how the Church views Mary does have some bearing on how it views spirituality, celibacy and women.

Furthermore, the Catholic Church states in its catechism (Article 7, Section 5):

quote:
1652 "By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory."

Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: "It is not good that man should be alone," and "from the beginning (he) made them male and female"; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: "Be fruitful and multiply." Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.

(emphasis mine)

Clearly the Catholic Church frowns on a marriage which is not consummated. Of course, there is a sense in which there was a 'consummation' in Mary's life - through the work of the Holy Spirit - which resulted in the conception of our Lord. But then the Church teaches that Mary's marriage to Joseph was not consummated, but that they were required to be celibate. This flies in the face of the Church's teaching on marriage. Mary and Joseph's marriage was therefore abnormal. What sort of example does that set?

I see this as a huge contradiction at the heart of Catholic theology. The RCC just cannot live with the idea that the mother of our incarnate Lord was a normal woman. It shatters their view of spirituality (rooted, as it is, in a neo-Platonist redefinition of spirituality), and it shatters their view of the role of women in God's plan of salvation, in which a woman - who is blessed among women (and therefore, in a sense, represents all women) - has a leadership role far above any man.

So therefore Mary has been put in a special exceptionalist category, where her life cannot have too many awkward theological implications that could undermine the ecclesiastical status quo.

(By the way... there is a whole thread on this subject here)

[ 05. June 2014, 09:37: Message edited by: EtymologicalEvangelical ]

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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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As for the use of 'until' (heos), I have presented my argument in detail, and no one has made any attempt to refute my analysis of the use of this word. Making bald assertions (as Ad Orientem tends to do) does not count as a refutation.

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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

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
As for the use of 'until' (heos), I have presented my argument in detail, and no one has made any attempt to refute my analysis of the use of this word.

I realise that this is more tragic than comic, but still: ROTFL.

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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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# 15091

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I think that's called capitulation.

Well done! [Killing me]

Oh, by the way... those who think that Matthew 1:25 simply refers to the fact that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, really need a lesson in the birds and the bees. It's pretty embarrassing actually (not to mention comedic) when you think that such people obviously assume that a man has to continue penetrating a woman throughout the entire period of gestation "just to make sure" (presumably!). After all, the word 'until' is positioned at the point when Mary brings forth Jesus, not merely conceives Him!

To which I say:

[Killing me] [Killing me] [Killing me]

[ 05. June 2014, 10:43: Message edited by: EtymologicalEvangelical ]

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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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South Coast Kevin
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# 16130

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
As for the use of 'until' (heos), I have presented my argument in detail, and no one has made any attempt to refute my analysis of the use of this word.

I realise that this is more tragic than comic, but still: ROTFL.
Help me out, IngoB. What do you think is so laughable about EE's argument that means it clearly doesn't need any rebuttal beyond 'ROTFL'?

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My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

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Stejjie
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# 13941

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:


Oh, by the way... those who think that Matthew 1:25 simply refers to the fact that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, really need a lesson in the birds and the bees. It's pretty embarrassing actually (not to mention comedic) when you think that such people obviously assume that a man has to continue penetrating a woman throughout the entire period of gestation "just to make sure" (presumably!). After all, the word 'until' is positioned at the point when Mary brings forth Jesus, not merely conceives Him!

To which I say:

[Killing me] [Killing me] [Killing me]

OK, I've read this several times and I'm still not sure what you're trying to say...

But anyway, a question to you (as one who, on the balance of things would share your view that Mary didn't remain a virgin): why do you think Matthew includes that verse? What purpose do you think it serves, if not to make sure that everyone understood that Joseph wasn't Jesus' biological father?

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A not particularly-alt-worshippy, fairly mainstream, mildly evangelical, vaguely post-modern-ish Baptist

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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# 15091

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quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie
quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
Oh, by the way... those who think that Matthew 1:25 simply refers to the fact that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, really need a lesson in the birds and the bees. It's pretty embarrassing actually (not to mention comedic) when you think that such people obviously assume that a man has to continue penetrating a woman throughout the entire period of gestation "just to make sure" (presumably!). After all, the word 'until' is positioned at the point when Mary brings forth Jesus, not merely conceives Him!

OK, I've read this several times and I'm still not sure what you're trying to say...
Here's the verse, along with the preceding verse to give the context:

quote:
Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her until she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Now this is what Chesterbelloc and Ad Orientem said about it (respectively):

quote:
The whole emphasis of the Gospel assertion that Joseph did not have sexual relations with the BVM up to the point of her being delivered is directed to the period before the birth of Christ for a very good reason. The "until" is there to indicate that His birth had nothing to do with Joseph - and that is its whole point.
and

quote:
Yes, the "until" is only neant to show that St. Joseph wasn't Jesus' biological father.
Well, if this is so, then the placement of 'until' (heos) in the time frame would clarify it. We know that sex is being referred to, because of the use of the verb 'know', which cannot mean anything else, and we know that this is a term used in the Old Testament (e.g. Genesis 4:1 - "Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived..."). So it is saying that Joseph did not have sex with Mary until she had brought forth Jesus. This implies that they had sexual relations thereafter (and I explained that the word 'heos' denotes this when it is used within a period in which the action referred to can still take place. When the word is placed at the end of such a period - such as the point of death - then it is understood that the relevant action will never take place. This is so obvious that I am amazed that an otherwise intelligent person like IngoB cannot see it, and somehow finds accurate exegesis so comedic).

But those who seem not to be able to handle the idea that Mary and Joseph had a normal marriage after the birth of Jesus, tell us that Matthew 1:25 indicates nothing more than that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. OK, so therefore the placement of 'until' (heos) should support this interpretation. If Joseph had been the biological father of Jesus, then, of course, his sexual role would have ceased at the point of conception, not birth.

Therefore the text should have read: "Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her until she had conceived her firstborn Son. And after the child was born he called His name Jesus."

Although, in normal usage, this version implies that Joseph could have had sex with Mary after the conception of Jesus, if we take the view of the perpetual celibacy of both Mary and Joseph, and we accept Chesterbelloc's and Ad Orientem's interpretation, then this would be accurate. We know from the placement of 'until' that Joseph had no part in the conception of Jesus.

But if we accept Chesterbelloc's and Ad Orientem's interpretation, and yet also realise that the 'until' is placed at the birth of Jesus, then it doesn't make sense! It is trying to tell us that "Joseph was not the father of Jesus, because he did not have sex with Mary leading to Jesus' conception and also he did not have sex with her during the period of gestation", implying that having sex with your wife while she is pregnant has something to do with being the biological father of the child!!!

It doesn't add up logically. It is absurd. And therefore the correct interpretation involves more than simply the denial of Joseph as Jesus' biological father.

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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

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I can't speak for EE, but I think that my Protestant mind-set is more "What's the least that I need to insist on?" than "What's the least that I can get away with?".

Originally posted by GCabot:
I cannot quite see what all the hubbub is about. While the doctrine of Mary's virginity prior to Jesus' birth is certainly important, I fail to see the theological import of her perpetual virginity. Rather, it appears to be one of those subjects where reasonable people can disagree on the correct interpretation, such as the meaning of Christ's words of institution. Is all this commotion really called for?

I would like to answer these together, and I would like to do so simply by pointing at what has been going on here. Look indeed at the hubbub being generated - and at who is primarily generating it. All sorts of things suddenly get tied into this apparently inconsequential doctrine, it expresses a corrupted view of sexuality, fascist views of Church governance, and whatnot... Now, obviously I consider pretty much all of this critique as nonsense, as such. However, the way this nonsense emerges here actually expresses a deep truth: the connectedness of doctrine. Christian teaching is not simply a heap of disconnected propositions, to be accepted one by one individually (or not). Rather it all hangs together, like a network. Pull or push at one point, and the whole network is being affected, it all starts to distort and deform. Furthermore, these connections are not only formed by the steely wires of rational (theo-)logic. There are many more links, those that have an "organic" quality, that spring forth from the heart and the gut, that are intuitive. These are no less systematic, frequent and strong. And they are not "wrong" just because they are not "rational".

That the dogma of Mary's perpetual virginity "deserves" to be a dogma, in the sense of delivering religious impact, is inadvertently being demonstrated by the shrill protestations here of those who do not believe in it. They instinctively know that this is important somehow, and so they throw the kitchen sink at it. The defenders also immediately and instinctively widen the scope. One could now move in with (theo-)logic and try to show how this dogma is a signpost for how God interacts with the world, and how we should interact with God. That topic is probably good for a PhD thesis or two. But in a way we are already all proving the point in practice. There is something here to rally the troops, it is not merely a random claim that nobody really cares about and whose inclusion as RC dogma is a matter of mild bemusement. And to extend this further, let me come back to this:

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Concerning dogma: as far as I know the perpetual virginity of Mary is not a dogma required to be believed for salvation in the Orthodox Church. It is nevertheless a universal teaching of the church and one who denies it does not have the mind of the church (to use the phrase we use).

Now, from a RC point of view I could question whether not having the mind of the Church should not endanger one's chances of salvation. But I actually think that this phrase is really helpful here, and it sort of summarises several points I've been trying to make (in this post, and in the previous one about the Church being prior to doctrine).

If we step back and look at this thread with a bit of distance, in an overview fashion, it is pretty damn clear that this is not just about disagreement concerning one doctrine. There are rather different mindsets clashing here, and this particular doctrine merely serves as a kind of rallying point for these clashes. And what is usually quite difficult to capture, like for example just how much doctrinal agreement there is precisely between the RCs and Orthodox, suddenly becomes a lot more obvious in this view. There are mindsets here that are clearly akin in some way, and others that are very much not so.

There is a kind of flavour to how we think, that goes beyond the content of what we think. I think we see this clearly on display here. Concerning this, too, we must make a choice. And in a way it seems more fundamental to me than just exactly what one believes...

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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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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
Help me out, IngoB. What do you think is so laughable about EE's argument that means it clearly doesn't need any rebuttal beyond 'ROTFL'?

EE's arguments are perhaps laughable, but that's not what I was laughing about. I had in fact posted a detailed rebuttal of EE above, and several others have added their voice since (for example Chesterbelloc responded to his latest offering here). In addition, several people (e.g., mousethief) have pointed out that there's a pretty clear scholarly consensus standing against EE (there is plenty of exegetical disagreement, of course, but AFAIK few "professionals" believe that the Greek word itself decisively speaks against continued virginity).

For EE to summarise this state of play as "no one has made any attempt to refute my analysis of the use of this word" is worth a ROTFL.

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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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South Coast Kevin
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# 16130

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Christian teaching is not simply a heap of disconnected propositions, to be accepted one by one individually (or not). Rather it all hangs together, like a network. Pull or push at one point, and the whole network is being affected, it all starts to distort and deform.

Good point, IngoB. However, I wonder if the interconnectedness of all the doctrines and teaching makes us (all of us, not just you or other RCs) more resistant than we need to be regarding doctrinal or praxis issues which deviate from our current understanding.

We acknowledge that Christian teaching is not simply a heap of disconnected propositions, so we fear that a change to one of the points will deform the whole tableau beyond recognition. But actually, I think, often a change to one point will affect the whole, but producing something of equal beauty and elegance rather than distorting it or reducing its coherence.

TLDR - We shouldn't be so negative about fresh takes on doctrine, because what the changes produce might be just as beautiful and good as what we had before.

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Stejjie
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# 13941

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@EE - thanks for the clarification. Would be grateful, though, for an answer to my question: why do you think Matthew has that verse in?

Also, this:
quote:
But those who seem not to be able to handle the idea that Mary and Joseph had a normal marriage after the birth of Jesus, tell us that Matthew 1:25 indicates nothing more than that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus.
I believe Joseph and Mary probably did have children, in the usual way, after Jesus. But I'd agree with them that that verse is talking about Jesus and how He came to be conceived (which is actually a pretty huge theological point).

But again: what do you think it means?

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A not particularly-alt-worshippy, fairly mainstream, mildly evangelical, vaguely post-modern-ish Baptist

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
As for the use of 'until' (heos), I have presented my argument in detail, and no one has made any attempt to refute my analysis of the use of this word. Making bald assertions (as Ad Orientem tends to do) does not count as a refutation.

I think you successfully distinguish two English uses of “until” – one of which is used to define a period after which something stopped or started, and the other of which defines the period during which it was potentially possible to occur. What that does not do is exhaust all possible usages of “until”.


Consider these three sentences:

A: “I was feeling hungry that evening, so I didn’t have sex with my wife until after dinner”.

B: “I got a divorce. My ex-wife wouldn’t have sex with me from 2005 until I left her in 2012”.

C: “I knew she’d had an affair when I found out she was pregnant in November – we hadn’t had sex from January until then”.


A and B are covered by your categories. In A, the strong implication is that the speaker did go on to have sex after his first priority of dinner had been addressed. In B, the implication is that no sex occurred after 2012, the opportunity for such having then come to an end. C, though, doesn’t imply either. The period defined by “until” marks the broad outlines of the times where it is important, for the conclusion of adultery to be valid, that the parties had not had sex. It tells us nothing about whether they subsequently parted never to speak again, or reconciled and went on to have a joyously fulfilling sexual relationship.

The “until” in C is somewhat rarer, I think, than the usages of “until” in A or B, but it is certainly possible in English for “until” to say something definite about a particular time in which a condition mattered, and nothing at all about what might have happened thereafter.

The Mary and Joseph thing looks very much like a “C” to me. There’s a very specific point being made – it was absolutely impossible for Joseph to be the biological father because he hadn’t had sex with Mary right up to the point of the birth. At most, it’s evidence that the gospel writer either didn’t know, or didn’t care to tell us, what level of intimacy applied afterwards. I don’t think that gets us very far, though.

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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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Stejjie
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# 13941

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quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
But I'd agree (now) with GCabot: it's not an issue of first importance and perhaps not worth getting so worked up about?

It's a big deal in the context of this conversation, in which Roman Catholics have insisted that the only barrier to church unity is that we pesky Protestants won't just accept these binding doctrines that seem to us peripheral to the main issues of Christian faith.

I'll repost the comment by Invictus_88 that started the more contentious tone being taken in this thread:


quote:
See the world from my eyes. My Church was there at the start, and I have to live in a Protestant country in which most people blithely reject the faith and teachings of Jesus, and His apostles, and the Early Church Fathers, and the Pope. Dismissing the whole deposit of faith, dismissing the authority of the Church, dismissing Christian moral precepts which have held until modern times, arrogantly putting in their place errors from the 1500s, from the 1800s, from their own reading of the Bible, from their pastor who has never tried to root himself (or herself) in the soil of Catholicism.


Thanks, seekingsister, and yes I see that. I think (like you?) I can't get my head around why this is such a big deal for either side of the argument when it does appear to, as you say, a peripheral issue.

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A not particularly-alt-worshippy, fairly mainstream, mildly evangelical, vaguely post-modern-ish Baptist

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Martin60
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# 368

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Chesterbelloc - agreed. Fine in theory.

And you are on the way to being truly apologetic in your apologetic.

But not quite [Smile]

But very close: you're not being defensive, projecting, aggressive: blaming me for some moral failure or even suggesting I have some feckless incapability.

This is an open question, truly: what am I being? Where am I failing?

Not in not being born Roman Catholic or Orthodox, but in the meta-dialogue? Because I don't feel right.

Know what I mean?

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Love wins

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Boogie

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# 13538

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Mary was an ordinary young Jewish girl asked to do an extraordinary thing. I believe she went on to have an normal marriage with Joseph and gave birth to brothers/sisters of Jesus.

That's my belief, but that's all it is. I can't know for sure. Nothing in the Bible is certain about it. But that's true for those who believe that Joseph and Mary were celibate after marriage too.

It's a matter of belief - not fact.

If your whole edifice depends on Mary's 'purity' after marriage then maybe your edifice needs scrutiny?

[ 05. June 2014, 14:41: Message edited by: Boogie ]

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Gwai
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# 11076

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
At most, it’s evidence that the gospel writer either didn’t know, or didn’t care to tell us, what level of intimacy applied afterwards. I don’t think that gets us very far, though.

That certainly would be relevant though. If true, that would imply it wasn't a super-important fact to him.

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A master of men was the Goodly Fere,
A mate of the wind and sea.
If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally.


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