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  #1  
Old Sep 7, '06, 7:38 am
genealogist genealogist is offline
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Default When did Joseph marry Mary?

I was looking at Group's recent Bethlehem Village VBS which focused on the birth of Jesus. I thought this might be a good Advent activity for my parish.

I was dismayed when the Director's guide stated that Joseph and Mary were stillnot married when they arrived in Bethlehem. Obviously they were only betrothed when she is visited by the angel and later the Holy Spirit. But I thought after Joseph's dream(in Matthew) they married. However when looking at the Luke version it says that Mary was his betrothed when they arrived in Bethlehem. I realize customs are different but were first century Jews okay with a betrothed couple traveling together and the woman being pregnant before the wedding?

The Ignatius Study Bible for Luke was silent.

Any ideas on how to reconcile all this?
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  #2  
Old Sep 7, '06, 12:12 pm
Crumpy Crumpy is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

I can't resolve it, but I can comment on it.

Under these peculiar circumstances, I don't think it made a difference.

Your point seems to be that early listeners of the gospels would have raised their eyebrows or even more upon hearing this stuff about "betrothed."

I hope whoever answers this definitively would cite the key OT passages which define and circumscribe marriage. Exactly what was violated here?

In the sense of 'what God has joined together', there was never a marriage stronger than Joseph and Mary. In Genesis, God leads Eve to Adam, and that was that. Inasmuch as God lead Joseph to Mary, I think it echoes the "that was that."
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  #3  
Old Sep 7, '06, 1:23 pm
Della Della is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

The passage in Matthew tells us that Joseph took Mary as his wife, but it doesn't tell us just when he did that. It also tells us he didn't have sexual relations with her during her pregnancy--which is perhaps Matthew's way of telling us they were betrothed but Joseph hadn't formally taken Mary into his house until she gave birth.

Luke's version has them betrothed when they entered Bethlehem, which would make sense in the light of Matthew's comment on their relationship. It could be that Joseph wanted to wait to make the marriage formal until Mary's son had been born so that no one could later say he had been the father--not because he would have been ashamed to be called Jesus' father, but so Jesus' paternity wouldn't be in question later in life. Although, people late on were under the impression that Joseph was Jesus' father in spite of Joseph being careful in this regard.

We also have to remember that Joseph was Mary's guardian who had no intentions of having sexual relations with her, so his traveling with her while betrothed was just as if she were his daughter or sister, to think in modern terms of such relationships.
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  #4  
Old Sep 7, '06, 2:55 pm
Daniel Marsh Daniel Marsh is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

The Jewish people take illegitimate offspring seriously. Since, Jesus was able to enter the Temple, he must not have been considered illegitimate during his life time. So, based on that, I think they were married shortly after Mary concieved.

Deuteronomy 23:2 (King James Version)
A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

Hosea 5:7
They are unfaithful to Yahweh; for they have borne illegitimate children. Now the new moon will devour them with their fields. WEB

A passage in the Talmud claims that Jesus was illegitimate, this in my opinion was in response to the virgin birth stories in the gospels.

Quote:
He was not the son of Stada, but he was the son of Pandera. Rab Chisda said, The husband of Jesus' mother was Stada, but her lover was Pandera. Another said, Her husband was surely Paphos ben Yehuda; on the contrary, Stada was his mother; or, according to others, his mother was Miriam, the women's hairdresser. The rejoinder is, Quite so, but Stada is her nickname, as it is said at Pumbeditha, Stath da (she proved faithless) to her husband.
http://chazak.heartofisrael.org/articles/dalman.htm
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  #5  
Old Sep 7, '06, 3:07 pm
Daniel Marsh Daniel Marsh is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

Most likely they did not travel alone, families traveled together back then. When they travelled to Bethlehem it was two years after the birth of Christ. The wise men meet them at a house, not in the manger.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08377a.htm

Matthew 2:11-17 (New International Version)

11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."[a]
16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
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  #6  
Old Sep 7, '06, 3:19 pm
Daniel Marsh Daniel Marsh is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

Matthew 1:24-25 (New International Version - UK)

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

This text only makes sense if Joseph immediately married Mary after learning of the virgin birth.

Elsewhere, the people refer to Jesus as the son of Joseph and of Mary.
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  #7  
Old Sep 7, '06, 4:39 pm
Liberian Liberian is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

Daniel,

Luke is pretty explicit that Jesus was born in Bethlehem; thus He had not been born when Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem. You are right, though, that they probably didn't travel alone. You are also right that the Magi found them in a house (a week and a half later, if the celebration of Epiphany means anything; certainly after some interval of time); I doubt seriously that any woman (or man, for that matter) in Bethlehem would have left them in the stable with a newborn. Finally, Herod was just being thorough; the order to kill all boys two years and younger was making sure that Jesus didn't slip through his net.

- Liberian
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  #8  
Old Sep 7, '06, 5:51 pm
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LilyM LilyM is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liberian View Post
Daniel,

Luke is pretty explicit that Jesus was born in Bethlehem; thus He had not been born when Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem. You are right, though, that they probably didn't travel alone. You are also right that the Magi found them in a house (a week and a half later, if the celebration of Epiphany means anything; certainly after some interval of time); I doubt seriously that any woman (or man, for that matter) in Bethlehem would have left them in the stable with a newborn. Finally, Herod was just being thorough; the order to kill all boys two years and younger was making sure that Jesus didn't slip through his net.

- Liberian
Amen! Jesus was born in Bethlehem because it was prophesied that the Messiah WOULD be born in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph obviously continued to live there for at least a short period after the birth - either two years or some lesser period. And as Liberian rightly points out, once people left after the census they could find different and better accommodation.

Obviously the Wise Men probably told Herod that they had been following the star for two years, which is reasonable, they journeyed a long distance. Since Herod didn't know what date the Messiah was supposed to be born, he seems to have decided to kill all male children born in Bethlehem since the star first appeared to the Magi.
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  #9  
Old Sep 8, '06, 11:55 am
adrift adrift is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

Footnotes from The New American Bible

Quote:
Betrothed to Joseph: betrothal was the first part of the marriage, constituting a man and woman as husband and wife. Subsequent infidelity was considered adultery. The betrothal was followed some months later by the husband's taking his wife into his home, at which time normal married life began.
Mathew 1:20

Quote:
Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.
Joseph married Mary before the Angel came to her announcing the birth of Jesus. Betrothal was the frist part of the marriage followed by a year for the woman to prepare to enter her husbands house.

Last edited by adrift; Sep 8, '06 at 11:56 am. Reason: to complete a thought
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  #10  
Old Sep 8, '06, 6:59 pm
Daniel Marsh Daniel Marsh is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

John 6:42
They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?"

Luke 4:22
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" they asked.

Luke 3:23
Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,

These texts tell me that, their part of the marriage where they lived together was close enough to his conception for them to believe that Joseph was his real father.
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  #11  
Old Sep 10, '06, 11:47 am
adrift adrift is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Marsh View Post
Matthew 1:24-25 (New International Version - UK)

This text only makes sense if Joseph immediately married Mary after learning of the virgin birth.

Elsewhere, the people refer to Jesus as the son of Joseph and of Mary.
Joseph was present at the birth. Luke 2:4-8 Was this a miswriting?
Luke 1:26,27
[quote]In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
27
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.
[quote]

Betrothed was the first part of the marriage. Mary was married (betrothed) to Joseph before Gabriel was sent from God.
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  #12  
Old Sep 10, '06, 12:24 pm
TimOliv TimOliv is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Marsh View Post
The Jewish people take illegitimate offspring seriously. Since, Jesus was able to enter the Temple, he must not have been considered illegitimate during his life time. So, based on that, I think they were married shortly after Mary concieved.

Deuteronomy 23:2 (King James Version)
A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

Hosea 5:7
They are unfaithful to Yahweh; for they have borne illegitimate children. Now the new moon will devour them with their fields. WEB

A passage in the Talmud claims that Jesus was illegitimate, this in my opinion was in response to the virgin birth stories in the gospels.



http://chazak.heartofisrael.org/articles/dalman.htm


Jesus would not have been considered illegitimate even if Joseph and Mary had NOT been married when he was born. The only time a child was considered a "Mamzer" was when the marriage of the parents would have been forbidden.

Example, you are of the priestly tribe of Levi and you have relations with a woman who converted to Judaism according to Jewish Law. This union is prohibited as the priests could not marry converts. Any resulting child would be a mamzer.

This doesn't mean that I believe Jesus was born outside of wedlock, but your justification for such being true is based upon modern day interpretations of the legitimacy of a child.

Keep in mind what sexual intercourse meant at the time. Think about Jacob. Jacob is all ready to marry Rachel, Lot slips Leah into his tent, Jacob sleeps with Leah and thus they are married. By modern terms this means that Jacob cheated on his bride-to-be, not that he married someone else.

Since Joseph and Mary did not have intercourse, then until she came into his home wouldn't they technically remain "betrothed?"

Anyone?
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  #13  
Old Sep 10, '06, 12:52 pm
Bruised Reed Bruised Reed is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

If I understand your question, yes they were (remained) betrothed.
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  #14  
Old Sep 10, '06, 12:56 pm
Daniel Marsh Daniel Marsh is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

Quote:
The offspring of such a marriage are mamzerim (bastards, illegitimate), and subject to a variety of restrictions; however it is important to note that only the offspring of these incestuous or forbidden marriages are mamzerim. Children born out of wedlock are not mamzerim in Jewish law and bear no stigma, unless the marriage would have been prohibited for the reasons above. Children of a married man and a woman who is not his wife are not mamzerim (because the marriage between the parents would not have been prohibited), although children of a married woman and a man who is not her husband are mamzerim (because she could not have married him).
http://www.jewfaq.org/marriage.htm

Ok, it looks like you are right. If they were not living together as man and women ( fully married ) when they had Jesus, he does not bear the stigma that Western culture would put on them, thus pre-marrital relations for engaged couples is not a sin based on this because they are getting married.
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  #15  
Old Sep 10, '06, 1:32 pm
Daniel Marsh Daniel Marsh is offline
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Default Re: When did Joseph marry Mary?

Matthew 1 says,

20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

In Luke 2:5 it says,

Luke 2:5 (King James Version)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

a footnote in the NET Bible says,

Traditionally, “Mary, his betrothed.” Although often rendered in contemporary English as “Mary, who was engaged to him,” this may give the modern reader a wrong impression, since Jewish marriages in this period were typically arranged marriages. The term ἐμνηστευμένῃ (emnhsteumenh) may suggest that the marriage is not yet consummated, not necessarily that they are not currently married. Some mss read “the betrothed to him wife”; others, simply “his wife.” These readings, though probably not original, may give the right sense.

Upon checking a textual commentary published by the American Bible Society, the evidence for the word "betrothed" is uncertain or ambiguous at best.

So, yes it is possible that the word betrothed is a mistake in our modern texts.

Luke 2:5 (Daniel Marsh edition )

To be taxed with Mary his wife, being great with child.

In Luke chapter 1, we are told that Mary stayed with her cousin for three months until she birthed John.
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