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Mary's Eternal Virginity

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by akthomas, Jan 16, 2002.

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  1. akthomas

    akthomas Guest

    Hello all...I'm not here to bash the Catholics who post on this board. I attend a non-denominational church, but I'm curious as to some of the teachings from the catholic church. One that I don't understand is the concept that Mary was a virgin all of her life. I guess the main area of confusion I have would be after the birth of Christ. Could someone please give me a reference from the Bible that supports that? Thank you!
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  2. The Squalid Wanderer

    The Squalid Wanderer The Fool

    For this gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut (Ezekiel 44:2).

    On the Ever-Virginity of the Theotokos
    (Mother of God)

    by Bishop Lazar Puhalo

    The Orthodox Church has always proclaimed the Ever-Virginity of Mary, the Mother of our God (Theotokos).

    The verse referring to Mary's "Firstborn" has been misinterpreted by a countless number of the heterodox.

    "...and he knew her not up to [Greek = eos] her having brought forth her firstborn son..." (Matthew 1:25; Luke 2:7).
    This verse seems to be often translated as "he knew her not until after..." This is not, however, what is meant. The Greek original, "eos", indicates the true meaning, of "he had no sexual relations with her prior to her giving birth." The Evangelist makes this statement in order to assure us that Joseph had no part in the conception of Jesus. The term eos ou does not require the understanding that he had relations with her after Christ was born. It merely indicates that, as regards the birth of Jesus, Joseph had not had relations with Mary prior to the birth, thus, he was not the father of Jesus. This is merely a usual turn of phrase, the use of a standard and familiar form of expression. This same term and meaning is used elsewhere in the Bible as a standard expression, and it clearly does not indicate what the heterodox (non-Orthodox) claim it does. At 2 Samuel 6:23, for instance, we read, "And Milchal, the daughter of Saul, had no child until [eos] her death. Did she, then, have children after her death? Of course not!, and neither did Joseph "know" Mary after the birth of Jesus. At Genesis 8:7, we read that Noah "sent forth a raven; and it went forth and did not return till [eos] after the water had gone from off the face of the earth." We know from Scripture that in fact, the raven never returned to the ark. It says that it did not return "until after," but in fact, it never returned at all. The Scripture says that "Joseph knew her not till after...", but in fact, he never "knew" her at all. In another example, the Bible says, 'The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand until [eos] I make Thine enemies Thy footstool" (Mark 12:36). Does this mean that Christ will cease to sit at the right hand of the glory of the Father once His enemies have been overcome? Of course not ! Hence, the Bible does not say that "Joseph knew her not until after she brought forth her first born, but then he did." The Bible says, "He did not know her before (up until) she had brought forth her firstborn," meaning simply and clearly, "Joseph was not the father. He had not come together with her before her pregnancy, thus he was not involved in the conception of Jesus."

    The Sacred Tradition concerning these matters is certainly derived from Mary's own testimony and, like all things in the Church, it is guided and guarded by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Mary was, in fulfilment of the Mosaic Law, betrothed to Joseph, an older man who was in fact her own uncle (as the Holy Spirit guided Sacred Tradition tells us). Thus their "marriage" was a marriage which, according to the Mosaic Law did not allow for sexual intercourse between them, because she was the bearer of the inheritance, her Firstborn, the Messiah. The term Firstborn means simply that. It does not imply any further births, but simply describes the first. In the Mosaic law the first born of any female (human or even animal) has religious significance, and this is why Jesus as Firstborn is emphasised.

    Finally, you might ask "how is it physically possible for Mary to remain a virgin after the birth of Christ ?" The simple answer, as given in the Scriptures is "With men this is impossible, but with God ALL things are possible." (Matt. 19:26)

    The meaning and identity of the "Brothers of Jesus"

    Who were the "brethren of the Lord" (Matthew 12:46-47), and if He had brothers, why do we call the Theotokos "Ever-Virgin" ?

    The "brethren" of Jesus are mentioned several times in the New Testament. Four are mentioned by name. To explain who they were is not difficult, because the Scripture itself names four of them and identifies their parentage. Matthew (13:55) and Mark (6:3) list, as brethren of Jesus - James, Joses, Simon and Jude.

    We know for certain that James and Joses were not sons of Mary or Joseph, for the Scripture identifies them, as children of a different Mary, who was the wife of Alphaeus-Cleopas (Matthew 27:56 ; Mark 15:40). James is also referred to as the "son of Alphaeus", in the listing of the Apostles (Matthew 10:3 ; Mark 3:18 ; Luke 6:15 ; Acts 1:13). The relationship between these "brethren" (including "sisters") must be seen in the context of Hebrew-Aramaic tradition, according to which even cousins were called brothers and sisters. This is the case also in Greek and Slavic languages and cultures to this day, so we do not have to speculate about it. This is a fact we know very well from our own families and lives. We have a perfect example of this in the Old Testament Scripture. The word used to describe the relationship between Lot and Abraham at Genesis 14:16 is "adelphi" in the original Greek, which can only be translated as "brother" in English. Nevertheless, we know that Lot was Abraham's nephew. The Greek word "adelphos" and "adelphi" are only attempts to translate an unknown Aramaic word - and no one has any idea what the actual word was which is rendered in Greek and English as "brothers" or "brethren".

    There could have been no "first blood" brothers of Christ, otherwise He would not have given the care of His mother to St. John the Theologian (John 19:26) at the foot of the Cross. Indeed, Christ would have done His 'brothers' great disrespect and harm if He had done this ! The Old Testament prophecies explain the virginal marriage and ever-virginity of Christ's mother, and we also have the testimony of the Holy Spirit speaking through the Church that Mary is "Ever-Virgin".

    Further evidence from the Holy Scriptures that in the Hebrew tradition "brothers" and "sisters" are not necessarily siblings. Our Orthodox Tradition teaches us that the Holy Virgin Mary was the only child of Saints Joakhim and Anna, but at John 19:25 we read, "Standing near the Cross of Jesus was His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary of Klopas, and Mary magdala." If our Church history is correct, how could Mary have had a sister? The first clue to our answer is that both women are named Mary. ! No family has two daughters and gives them both the same name! Therefore it is evident that the relationship between the two women has to be something different than our modern English concept of "sister". The second clue to our answer is that the Bible clearly identifies this Mary of Klopas (Cleopas in KJV), as the mother of Jesus' "brothers". The name Klopas or Cleopas is the same as Alphaeus in the Aramaic language which Jesus spoke. Therefore the so-called brothers of Jesus mentioned at Mark 6:3 are elsewhere clearly identified as the sons of Alphaeus and his wife Mary of Klopas - the "sister" of the Virgin Mary.

    Thus the Scriptures show that the "brothers" of Christ are not His brothers, but some relation. There is no scriptural evidence to support the notion that the Virgin Mary bore any other children apart from Jesus Christ our God.
  3. MikeM

    MikeM New Member

    Hi akthomas,

    OK :)

    Thanks for asking. I can understand if you do not understand or disagree with what Catholics believe or why. (I used to be the same way :) ). But I do appreciate that you are willing to at least try to understand our position, even if you end up disagreeing. Too many people don't even do that much.

    There is no explicit reference to Mary's perpetually virginity, either for or against it, in Scripture. All we can go by is what Scripture implicitly teaches and what the earliest
    Christians believed.

    Now, one such verse that many of the early Church fathers believed supported Mary's perpetual virginity implicitly is Luke 1:34, where we read Mary respond to the to angel Gabriel's news that she will conceive by asking this question "How can this be?". She does not understand how she is to have a child. This seems to me to be one of the strongest Scriptural arguments in favor of Mary's perpetual virginity.

    For as the Fathers pointed out, this question seems to suggest that Mary had taken a vow of virginity, even after marriage; otherwise, her question really makes no sense. After all, the angel did not say you have conceived, but rather, you will conceive. Now, this is a promise that had been made to other women in Jewish history (i.e., Sarah,
    Hannah, etc.). So why should such a promise surprise Mary, a young woman who is already planning to marry as it is? She would expect to conceive and bear a son, unless...
    she had decided to remain a virgin even after marriage.

    (In fact, the Protoevangelium of James, written around the year 120, within living memory of the Virgin Mary, refers to Mary taking such a vow of perpetual virginity. Though apocryphal, that doesn't necessarily prevent the Protoevangelium from having historical facts.)

    Some other arguments are: First, no one in Scripture is referred to as a "son of Mary" other than Jesus. (One also notices that in the story of Jesus going up to the temple when
    he was twelve, there are no other children of Mary and Joseph being mentioned. Not conclusive proof, of course, but something to remember). Also, at the foot of the cross,
    Jesus gives his mother over to the care of John, not any of his "brothers".

    There also seems to be no verses in Scripture that imply Mary had other children. (as Desmios Tou Christou has pointed out).

    The word "brother" in Scripture has a far broader meaning that included any close male relative one wasn't descended from (i.e., Gn 14:14; 29:15; 1 Chron 23:21-22, etc). Plus,
    two of Jesus "brothers" in Mt 13:55 are later to be said the sons of a different Mary (Mt 27:56). In Gal 1:19, Paul refers to one of the twelve apostles, James, as being the Lord's
    "brother". But which James? There are only two Jameses among the apostles: James the son of Zebedee, and James the son of Alphaeus. No James the son of Joseph.

    Nor does Matthew 1:25 imply anything in regards to the use of the word "until". In Scripture, the word "until" or its equivalents only refers to something happening or not
    happening up to a certain point, without implying anything afterwards, one way or the other. (see. Gn 8:7; Dt. 1:31; 9:7; 34:5-6; 2 Sm 6:23; Ps 110:1;123:2; Is 46:4; Mt 28:20;
    Lk 1:80; Rm 8:22; 1 Co 15:25; Eph 4:13 1 Tm 4:13; 6:14; Rv 2:25, etc.).

    And finally, the word "firstborn" is simply a cermenonial which would have been given to an only child just as well. This is because under the Mosaic law, the first male child of a
    marriage was to be redeemed (Ex. 34:20). That would apply to an only child as much as one with many brothers, of course. So Jesus, being an only child, would have to redeemed just as other only children, since the "firstborn" had to be redeemed according to the law.

    Plus, as I said, the early Christians taught the perpetual virginity of Mary. (see:
    www.cin.org/users/jgallegos/virgin.htm ). You may also wish to read the tract
    written by St. Jerome on Mary's perpetual virginity:

    (though I'll warn you: even though St. Jerome is a saint; he was a lot like me as far as having a bad temper at times :) , especially in regards to writing people who should know
    better, such as the person he wrote this tract in response to.)

    OK. Hope that helps! If you disagree, I understand. Just trying to let you know why us Catholics believe what we do :)
  4. IrishJohan

    IrishJohan Well-Known Member

    Interesting. Usually the Orthodox I know hold to the Epiphanian view, i.e. that these "brothers" and "sisters" (including James) were children of Joseph from a previous marriage. One can find throughout the apocryphal gospels. In fact, on my weblog I posted something months ago. I'll see if I can track it down and post it.

    Pax Christi,
  5. MariaRegina

    MariaRegina Well-Known Member

    Eastern Orthodox
    Whether St. Joseph was a virgin or a widower has never been defined as a doctrine of faith - neither by the Catholic Church nor by the Orthodox Church. That is why the Orthodox hold two positions. We just don't know. Bishop Lazar's article is very interesting, and I think the Catholic position concurs with his position on the virginity of St. Joseph.

    If I am wrong, please correct me here.

    Yours truly in Christ our God,
  6. Benedicta00

    Benedicta00 Well-Known Member

    We have the apostolic oral word of God we call Sacred Tradition and it is every bit as much God's word as the bible is. Tradition tells us that Mary remained a virgin her whole life and the written word of God certainly does not contradict this. Since Mary is not dead but alive in Christ and she remained a virgin, we call her ever virgin, describing her perpetual virginity.
  7. IrishJohan

    IrishJohan Well-Known Member

    Ok, I found one such review I did on my weblog months ago. Here you go:

    Infancy Gospel of Thomas

    It is difficult just what to make of the different three texts: Greek A (http://wesley.nnu.edu/noncanon/gospels/inftoma.htm), Greek B (http://wesley.nnu.edu/noncanon/gospels/inftomb.htm), and the third in Latin (http://wesley.nnu.edu/noncanon/gospels/inftoml.htm). They purport to tell the story of the boyhood of Jesus, something lacking in the canonical Gospels, supposedly related by the Apostle Thomas. The Latin is perhaps the best of the three, for it tries to "clean up" what the two Greek texts tell poorly. Yet the most amusing would have to be Greek A. The Latin text also borrows more than the two Greek texts from the canonical Gospels in telling its story, particularly with the additional material from Jesus' sojourn as a child in Egypt.

    Where did these "gospels" come from? Here is some information (http://gospels.net/additional/infancythomasadditional.html):

    The usage of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas can be traced back as far as Ireaneus of Lyons in 185 C.E. and similar stories are found even earlier in the Epistle of the Apostles. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is clearly not the work of the disciple of Jesus mentioned in all four canonical gospels. Thomas is not only not named as author in the earliest manuscripts, but the text was also briefly ascribed to James. Further, the text was not written by any first century writer because the author shows virtually no knowledge of jewish life in the time of Jesus (the author knows about Jerusalem and Passover, but little more).

    More information about these "gospels" can be found here (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/infancythomas.html).

    I find that one cannot read these texts without being highly amused, for the Jesus in these apocryphal gospels is a Divine Dennis the Menace or Squire of Gothos (sans the obsession for fencing). He not only knows Who He Is, but he certainly isn't afraid to show it. Indeed, poor Joseph finds that the boy Jesus is quite the handful and, like many parents of willful children, is a number of times at wits end about what to do with the boy. This boy Jesus smites those who offend him (though those who were struck down are restored in the end), and is very much the terror to any teacher brave enough (or more aptly perhaps foolish enough) to try and teach him his letters. Joseph becomes so vexed at what to do with the boy Jesus that he scolds him and tries corporal punishment of a sort: pinching the boy's ear until it was very sore. Yet to his consternation, the boy Jesus, of course annoyed because of this, looks up at him and says, "It sufficeth thee (or them) to seek and not to find, and verily thou hast done unwisely: knowest thou not that I am thine? vex me not." Imagine having God as your child and trying to punish him!

    Many miracles are performed by the boy Jesus in these "gospels", indeed they are riddled through and through with them. He makes sparrows out of clay, heals the injured and sick, raises the dead, etc. Interestingly enough, shades of the first miracle from these apocryphal gospels can be found in the Islamic Qur'an:

    "Remember when the angel said, 'O Mary! Verily God announceth to thee the Word from Him: His name shall be, Messiah Jesus the son of Mary, illustrious in this world, and in the next, and one of those who have near access to God; And He shall speak to men alike when in the cradle and when grown up; And he shall be one of the just.' She said, 'How, O my Lord! shall I have a son, when man hath not touched me?' He said, 'Thus: God will create what He will; When He decreeth a thing, He only saith, "Be," and it is.' And he will teach him the Book, and the Wisdom, and the Law, and the Evangel; and he shall be an apostle to the children of Israel. 'Now have I come,' he will say, 'to you with a sign from your Lord: Out of clay will I make for you, as it were, the figure of a bird: and I will breathe into it, and it shall become, by God's leave, a bird. And I will heal the blind, and the leper; and by God's leave will I quicken the dead; and I will tell you what ye eat, and what ye store up in your houses! Truly in this will be a sign for you, if ye are believers." (Sura 3:40-43).

    One can only wonder just where and from whom Muhammed first heard the story of this apocryphal miracle of the boy Jesus...

    For a construction worker like myself, the boy Jesus from these "gospels" is a carpenter's helper extraordinaire -- something we can only dream about:

    Now his father was a carpenter and made at that time ploughs and yokes. And there was required of him a bed by a certain rich man, that he should make it for him. And whereas one beam, that which is called the shifting one was too short and Joseph knew not what to do, the young child Jesus said to his father Joseph: Lay down the two pieces of wood and make them even at the end next unto thee (MSS. at the middle part). And Joseph did as the young child said unto him. And Jesus stood at the other end and took hold upon the shorter beam and stretched it and made it equal with the other. And his father Joseph saw it and marvelled: and he embraced the young child and kissed him, saying: Happy am I for that God hath given me this young child.

    We find even a cameo appearance by James, "brother of the Lord" in the canonical Gospels and Acts:

    And Joseph sent his son James to bind fuel and carry it into his house. And the young child Jesus also followed him. And as James was gathering of ("sticks", since the old English word is ridiculously edited here at this forum), a viper bit the hand of James. And as he was sore afflicted and ready to perish, Jesus came near and breathed upon the bite, and straightway the pain ceased, and the serpent burst, and forthwith James continued whole.

    Yet perhaps the miracle in these tales most resembling that of Jesus from the canonical Gospels is this telling of the boy Jesus raising back to life a child who had died:

    And after these things, in the neighbourhood of Joseph, a little child fell sick and died, and his mother wept sore. And Jesus heard that there was great mourning and trouble and he ran quickly and found the child dead: and he touched his breast and said: I say unto thee, Child, die not, but live and be with thy mother. And straightway it looked up and laughed. And he said to the woman: Take him up and give him milk, and remember me. And the multitude that stood by saw it and marvelled, and said: Of a truth this young child is either a god or an angel of God; for every word of his is a perfect work. And Jesus departed thence, and was playing with other children.

    I rather like the last line, for it brings to mind images of the boy Jesus laughing and skipping off to play. Remarkable to think of Jesus in this way. Although perhaps it shouldn't be since from the canonical Gospels we see Jesus being very human: sad, angry, weeping, tired, hungry, etc. Why shouldn't he also have had the ancient Jewish version of the Norman Rockwell childhood?

    Go read these tales and enjoy. All three of them are very short, indeed only 12 pages total combined. I cannot say for certain just what you will get out of them, but they should bring a smile to your face and make you wonder just what Jesus was really like as a boy. The age of Jesus during periods of his time on earth though are in the end not really important, what is important to recall is that at all ages Jesus is our trusted Friend, Lord and Savior.

    Pax Christi,
  8. KennySe

    KennySe Habemus Papam!

    And Jesus put Mary's care upon the Apostle John.

    (If she had other children, she would have gone to one of those adult children.)
  9. IrishJohan

    IrishJohan Well-Known Member

    Here's a second one I reviewed on the weblog months ago:

    Another Infancy Gospel of Thomas

    I did not come across any historical information about
    this apocryphal gospel (http://wesley.nnu.edu/noncanon/gospels/infgos1.htm), other than it appears to be a "5th-century compilation". For much of the first half of this apocryphal gospel, it closely follows the story of the Nativity as found in the canonical Gospels of Matthew and Luke -- with noticeable differences. As most people are familiar with the basic story from the canonical Gospels, let's examine these differences, shall we?

    Incredibly, this "gospel" purports to be related by Caiaphas, the High Priest. Many of you will recall that he played an...interesting role much later during the adult life of Jesus. Just in case Mary was unclear about what the angel Gabriel meant in the Annuciation (
    Luke 1:26-37), the Infant Jesus makes everything crystal clear when he speaks to her from the cradle:

    Mary, I am Jesus the Son of God, that word which thou didst bring forth according to the declaration of the angel Gabriel to thee, and my father hath sent me for the salvation of the world.

    Other noticeable differences in this telling of the Nativity story are that Jesus is definately born in a cave (no room for ambiguity here...) and the sensible presence of a midwife to assist in the delivery. It is with this midwife that Jesus performs his first miracle by curing the old woman of what ails her. She is naturally pleased and worships him. The Infant is circumcized in the cave eight days after his birth, in accordance with the Law of Moses. Knowing a good souvenir when she sees one, the midwife keeps the keeps the foreskin ("others say she took the navel-string") and "preserved it in an alabaster-box of old oil of spikenard". Call me a prude, but what happens much later with this odd keepsake is just plain gross:

    Now this is that alabaster box which Mary the sinner procured, and poured forth the ointment out of it upon the head and the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ, and wiped it off with the hairs of her head. (see Matthew 26:6-13)

    The Infant is next presented in the Temple in Jerusalem pretty much in the same way as recounted in Luke 2:22-39. The Magi then make their appearance also in the same manner as told in Matthew 2:1-12 (for the most part). Where we can only speculate that the Magi (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09527a.htm) were Zoroastrian wise men (or possibly priests), based on what little we have from the canonical Gospels, this "gospel" seems to make this guess a certainty:

    And it came to pass, when the Lord Jesus was born at Bethlehem, a city of Judea in the time of Herod the King; the wise men came from the East to Jerusalem, according to the prophecy of Zoradascht (Zoroaster), and brought with them offerings: namely, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and worshipped him, and offered to him their gifts.

    Interestingly enough though, where the canonical Gospel of Matthew leaves off telling about the Magi at their departure from visiting the Infant Jesus, this "gospel" gives us a taste of what happened when they returned to their own lands:

    On their return their kings and princes came to them inquiring, What they had seen and done? What sort of journey and return they had? What company they had on the road? But they produced the swaddling cloth which St. Mary had given to them, on account whereof they kept a feast. And having, according to the custom of their country, made a fire, they worshipped it. And casting the swaddling cloth into it, the fire took it, and kept it. And when the fire was put out, they took forth the swaddling cloth unhurt, as much as if the fire had not touched it. Then they began to kiss it, and put it upon their heads and their eyes, saying, This is certainly an undoubted truth, and it is really surprising that the fire could not burn it, and consume it. Then they took it, and with the greatest respect laid it up among their treasures.

    As in the canonical Gospels Herod makes an appearance in this "gospel" too, still playing the murderous jackal. Joseph takes Mary and the Infant and flees to Egypt. What happens during their stay in Egypt can only be described as "The Holy Family On Tour". Far surpassing the feats of modern rock bands, the Holy Family travels from city to city in Egypt, with miraculous cures aplenty, idols falling down, evil spirits being cast out, and a grateful populace showering them with worship and praise. The Holy Family even gets their own "groupie" who travels with them after being cured of leprosy. She helps spread their fame from town to town. Good lil' capitalist that I am though, I can only mourn the lost opportunity for sale of t-shirts, bumper stickers, and the ever-present cheap trinkets (I wonder where the ancient Jewish version of Taiwan or Hong Kong was?).

    In one of the cities the Holy Family stops in during the Great Tour, Mary implores Jesus for the first time to perform a miracle (contrary to the story of the Wedding in Cana as found in
    John 2:1-12), restoring a man who had been "bewitched" by a jealous woman and turned into a donkey:

    Hereupon St. Mary was grieved at their case, and taking the Lord Jesus, put him upon the back of the mule. And said to her son, O Jesus Christ, restore (or heal) according to thy extraordinary power this mule, and grant him to have again the shape of a man and a rational creature, as he had formerly. This was scarce said by the Lady St. Mary, but the mule immediately passed into a human form, and became a young man without any deformity. Then he and his mother and the sisters worshipped the Lady St. Mary, and lifting the child upon their heads, they kissed him, and said, Blessed is thy mother, O Jesus, O Saviour of the world! Blessed are the eyes which are so happy as to see thee.

    It is after this event that the Holy Family loses their groupie traveling with them, when she marries the former donkey. Imagine the name-calling possibilities for this man when she was cross with him later in their marriage!

    Ever wonder just who the Two Thieves (
    Luke 23:32-43) were crucified next to Jesus later on and where they came from? Well this "gospel" supplies us with a ready answer:

    In their journey from hence they came into a desert country, and were told it was infested with robbers; so Joseph and St. Mary prepared to pass through it in the night. And as they were going along, behold they saw two robbers asleep in the road, and with them a great number of robbers, who were their confederates, also asleep. The names of these two were Titus and Dumachus; and Titus said to Dumachus, I beseech thee let those persons go along quietly, that our company may not perceive anything of them: But Dumachus refusing, Titus again said, I will give thee forty groats, and as a pledge take my girdle, which he gave him before he had done speaking, that he might not open his mouth, or make a noise. When the Lady St. Mary saw the kindness which this robber did shew them, she said to him, The Lord God will receive thee to his right hand, and grant thee pardon of thy sins. Then the Lord Jesus answered, and said to his mother, When thirty years are expired, O mother, the Jews will crucify me at Jerusalem; And these two thieves shall be with me at the same time upon the cross, Titus on my right hand, and Dumachus on my left, and from that time Titus shall go before me into paradise: And when she had said, God forbid this should be thy lot, O my son, they went on to a city in which were several idols which, as soon as they came near to it, was turned into hills of sand.

    After all these events in Egypt, including going to Memphis where they "saw Pharoah", the Holy Family was ready to return home now that Herod was dead. Many stories of different miraculous cures are next related by this "gospel". Interestingly, Judas Iscariot makes his very first appearance, a more devilish [color=black]Eddie Haskell[/color] later on:

    Another woman likewise lived there, whose son was possessed by Satan. This boy, named Judas, as often as Satan seized him, was inclined to bite all that were present; and if he found no one else near him, he would bite his own hands and other parts. But the mother of this miserable boy, hearing of St. Mary and her son Jesus, arose presently, and taking her son in her arms, brought him to the Lady Mary. In the meantime, James and Joses had taken away the infant, the Lord Jesus, to play at a proper season with other children; and when they went forth, they sat down and the Lord Jesus with them. Then Judas, who was possessed, came and sat down at the right hand of Jesus. When Satan was acting upon him as usual, he went about to bite the Lord Jesus. And because he could not do it, he struck Jesus on the right side, so that he cried out. And in the same moment Satan went out of the boy, and ran away like a mad dog. This same boy who struck Jesus, and out of whom Satan went in the form of a dog, was Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him to the Jews. And that same side, on which Judas struck him, the Jews pierced with a spear.

    This "gospel" thoughtfully deals with the growing pains of Jesus, growing up knowing he was God and relating to other boys his own age (which had to be difficult):

    On another day the Lord Jesus going out into the street, and seeing some boys who were met to play, joined himself to their company: But when they saw him, they hid themselves, and left him to seek for them: The Lord Jesus came to the gate of a certain house, and asked some women who were standing there, Where the boys were gone? And when they answered, That there was no one there; the Lord Jesus said, Who are those whom ye see in the furnace? They answered, They were kids of three years old. Then Jesus cried out aloud, and said, Come out hither, O ye kids, to your shepherd; And presently the boys came forth like kids, and leaped about him; which when the women saw, they were exceedingly amazed, and trembled. Then they immediately worshipped the Lord Jesus, and beseeched him, saying, O our Lord Jesus, son of Mary, thou art truly that good shepherd of Israel! have mercy on thy handmaids, who stand before thee, who do not doubt, but that thou, O Lord, art come to save, and not to destroy. After that, when the Lord Jesus said, the children of Israel are like Ethiopians among the people; the women said, Thou Lord, knowest all things, nor is anything concealed from thee; but now we entreat thee, and beseech of thy mercy that thou wouldst restore those boys to their former state. Then Jesus said, Come hither O boys, that we may go and play; and immediately, in the presence of these women, the kids were changed and returned into the shape of boys.

  10. IrishJohan

    IrishJohan Well-Known Member


    Of course the games of make-believe you and I played as children were quite different for the boy Jesus as told in this "gospel":

    In the month Adar Jesus gathered together the boys, and ranked them as though he had been a king. For they spread their garments on the ground for him to sit on; and having made a crown of flowers, put it upon his head, and stood on his right and left as the guards of a king. And if any one happened to pass by, they took him by force, and said, Come hither, and worship the king, that you may have a prosperous journey. In the mean time, while these things were doing, there came certain men, carrying a boy upon a couch; For this boy having gone with his companions to the mountain to gather wood, and having found there a partridge's nest, and put his hand in to take out the eggs, was stung by a poisonous serpent, which leaped out of the nest; so that he was forced to cry out for the help of his companions: who, when they came, found him lying upon the earth like a dead person. After which his neighbours came and carried him back into the city. But when they came to the place where the Lord Jesus was sitting like a king, and the other boys stood around him like his ministers, the boys made hast to meet him, who was bitten by the serpent, and said to his neighbours, Come and pay your respects to the king; But when, by reason of their sorrow, they refused to come, the boys drew them, and forced them against their wills to come. And when they came to the Lord Jesus, he inquired, On what account they carried that boy? And when they answered, that a serpent had bitten him, the Lord Jesus said to the boys, Let us go and kill that serpent. But when the parents of the boy desired to be excused, because their son lay at the point of death; the boys made answer, and said, Did not ye hear what the king said? Let us go and kill the serpent; and will not ye obey him? So they brought the couch back again, whether they would or not. And when they were come to the nest, the Lord Jesus said to the boys, Is this the serpent's lurking place? They said, It was. Then the Lord Jesus calling the serpent, it presently came forth and submitted to him; to whom he said, Go and suck out all the poison which thou hast infused into that boy; So the serpent crept to the boy, and took away all its poison again. Then the Lord Jesus cursed the serpent so that it immediately burst asunder, and died. And he touched the boy with his hand to restore him to his former health; And when he began to cry, I the Lord Jesus said, Cease crying, for hereafter thou shalt be my disciple; And this is that Simon the Canaanite, who is mentioned in the Gospel.

    Detesting snakes as much as I do, I rather like the serpent's fate at the end of this story, though it was nice of "him" to suck out the poison...

    Poor Joseph, who until this time plays a two-bit role in this "gospel", fills Rodney Dangerfield's shoes and gets no respect. While in this "gospel" the boy Jesus helps his adopted Dad in his carpentry work by regularly stretching 2x4's at will, this help appears to be given mostly because Joseph "was not very skillful at his carpenter's trade". Ouch. Well at least the boy Jesus helps his adopted Dad out of a jam with the "King of Jerusalem" (whomever that could be). At this point, more than before, the "gospel" incorporates some of the tales from other Infancy Gospels of Thomas. Included amongst these is a re-telling of the canonical story of the 12-year old Jesus having been left behind in Jerusalem where his parents find him three days later discoursing with the Rabbis, as found in Luke 2:41-50. From this point on though Jesus "began to conceal his miracles and secret works". This was apparently so successful even before this time, that despite the fame and very public notice these events would brought him, Herod never tried to have him assassinated while he was in Egypt nor did his sons interfere with Jesus' mostly obscure life in Nazareth until about age 30.

    Granted the stories in this "gospel" are fanciful, but they try and satisfy the great curiosity all of us must have about knowing just what happened to the Holy Family in Egypt and what life was like for Jesus as a boy growing up. It obviously comes from a much later period than the canonical Gospels, for Mary is addressed as "Lady Mary" and "St. Mary". Yet though the stories are amusing and striking with their preposterousness, they do relate some truths about the faith. Mary takes an active role in bringing people to her Son, along with prompting Jesus to miraculously heal and cast out Satan. Secondary relics, such as swaddling clothes or bathwater from the baby Jesus, are used repeatedly in these miracles -- much like how the canonical New Testament books tell of how Jesus gave a man sight using mud and spittle (John 9:1-7), the woman being cured by touching Jesus' cloak (Matthew 9:20-22), the sick who were healed when Peter's shadow fell upon them (Acts 5:14-16), or how the sick were cured when hankerchiefs were given to them which had touched Paul's body (Acts 19:11-12). This "gospel" goes to great lengths to pass on the true Gospel of Who Jesus Is and just why he is so important. It's ending is one which the canonical Gospels, and all of us as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, can agree wholeheartedly with:

    This is he whom we worship with all reverence, because he gave us our life and being, and brought us from our mother's womb. Who, for our sakes, took a human body, and hath redeemed us, so that he might so embrace us with everlasting mercy, and shew his free, large, bountiful grace and goodness to us. To him be glory and praise, and power, and dominion, from henceforth and for evermore, Amen.

    Indeed, AMEN! God bless.

    Pax Christi,
  11. thereselittleflower

    thereselittleflower Well-Known Member

    HI akthomas!

    I understand where you are coming from . . and I think that perhaps rather than looking for a reference from the bible that explicity supports the belief that Mary remained a virgin, it is more important to first understand what the bible actually says about the brethern of Christ . . some has been discussed above by others . .but a really good post on this subject is by JefferyLloyd here:


    It is VERY informative and VERY helpful . .

    Once that issue is clearer, it is easier to see the implicit references in the scriptures . .but remember, there is quite a bit of testimony from the Early Church Fathers and the early Church abou tthis also . .

    Peace in Him!
  12. Miss Shelby

    Miss Shelby Legend

    theresalittleflower and all--

    The op is nearly two years old. :)

  13. Oblio

    Oblio Creed or Chaos

    Eastern Orthodox
    LOL !


    Chances are one like this would be started within a week anyway :)
  14. IrishJohan

    IrishJohan Well-Known Member

    You are absolutely correct. Generally, the East holds to the Epiphanian view while the West the Hieronymian. This doesn't mean that one view is more orthodox over the other or that some Catholics and Orthodox hold more to the opposite view. I generally favor the Epiphanian myself, but this isn't a matter of doctrine or something that can be resolved. We just do not know which is correct or the exact details. The only view that orthodoxy in both the East and West reject categorically is the Helvidian. This has been true since the beginning.

    Pax Christi,
  15. Miss Shelby

    Miss Shelby Legend

    That's true. :)

  16. IrishJohan

    IrishJohan Well-Known Member

    Oh my! Didn't notice that. Ah well, the subject comes up now and then so any comments made here are still relevant. Besides, it gave me an excuse to post some material on the noncanonical Infancy Gospels which I found to be interesting and sometimes amusing. ;)

    Pax Christi,
  17. thereselittleflower

    thereselittleflower Well-Known Member


    Who raised it from the grave?

    For a dead thread, it has sure been active lately!! ;)

    Peace in Him!
  18. IrishJohan

    IrishJohan Well-Known Member

    That would be moi. :blush:

    I was scrolling back to see what other topics there were and came across this one and I think another one I commented on earlier. Besides, like I said it gave me a chance to comment on the noncanonical Infancy Gospels. Have you read them? Interesting material in them.
    Pax Christi,
  19. Photini

    Photini Gone.

    I have an inquiry kind of related to this subject...

    The Orthodox believe that the Panagia did not suffer when Christ was born. So not only is she considered ever-virgin as in pure and untouched, but also ever-virgin in that the physical seal of virginity remained intact before and after the birth of our Lord.

    Does the Catholic Church hold this belief also?
  20. IrishJohan

    IrishJohan Well-Known Member

    Yes. I couldn't find anything online after a quick search on this, but if you have a copy of Ludwig Ott's "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" you'll find more on this in there.

    Pax Christi,
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