Is there really such a thing as a "temple virgin"?


#1

ok, i’m in a debate right now (here) about Mary’s perpetual virginity. i suggested that one possible explanation for her puzzlement upon the anouncement of the angel was b/c she was a temple virgin. my opponent, Uncle Bud, claims that there was no such thing as Jewish, monotheistic, temple virgins. if you visit the link, you will see the information i have provided in my attempt to prove that such virgins did in fact exist. however, despite this, i have been unable to make a convincing argument.

does anyone have any proof that there was such a thing as “temple virgins” who devoted their life and their bodies solely to God? i have found many instances of this among jewish men and rabbis, but the evidence that women did this as well is inconclusive.

your help would be greatly appreciated.

pax christi,
phatcatholic

ps: to those who visit this debate, it essentially starts with Uncle Bud’s post on Jan 10 2005, 03:53 PM when he says:[list]By the way it might interest all of you to know that there is no record at anytime of female temple virgins, in the Jewish temples. None. So if Mary was consecrated as a Jewish Temple virgin, she was in effect the only one. I have asked every source imaginable and no one can verify that there was such a thing.[/list]


#2

Hey PhatCatholic!

Check out the story of Samuel. I think he was a consecrated celibate. Sola Scriptura wil obscure that fact, but the truth will reveal it, or at least I think it will. How about Jesus? Would you say he was a “temple dweller”? Was he NOT a virgin?

Thanks again for your review of my letter to the editor. I really appreciate your honesty, and I am going to submit prettty much verbatim what you suggested I do.

Pax Christi,

Thom


#3

hehe, hey bro. no problem :wink:

i appreciate your response, but, you provided examples of men–not women. i need proof that jewish women consecrated their bodies to the Lord, made Him their spouse, and devoted themselves to the work of the temple. this seems to be the image of mary protrayed in apocryphal works such as the Protoevangelium of James the the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary. however, these works don’t help in my debate with “Uncle Bud” b/c both are known to be filled with embellishments.

pax christi,
phatcatholic


#4

Have a look at Luke 36-38 :smiley:

Not a virgin but definitely states that a woman lived in the Temple at Jerusalem. Her name is Anna the prophetess.

Maggie


#5

Hi all!

Phatcatholic, you posted:

Uncle Bud, claims that there was no such thing as Jewish, monotheistic, temple virgins.

Uncle Bud is correct. Celibacy is completely alien to normative, traditional Judaism & always has been. There is no reference anywhere in the Tanakh (what we call what Christians call the “Old Testament”) to the notion of “Temple virgins”; neither is there any reference to it anywhere in the vast body of rabbinical literature (i.e. works such as the Mishnah, the Talmuds, etc.). In fact, according to normative Jewish law (which the Sadducee & Essene heretics didn’t hold by), only a priest who was married (i.e. not single, divorced or widowed) could be High Priest.

What do you mean by this:

i have found many instances of this among jewish men and rabbis,

?

What are your sources? With all due respect, I cannot accept Br. Anthony Opisso’s analysis. As a Roman Catholic, he is hardly unbiased. Just as you would not accept me, a Jew, telling you, a Roman Catholic, what normative Roman Catholicism is, so too I cannpt accept Br. Opisso, a Roman Catholic, telling me, a Jew, what normative Judaism is. (His reference to Elijah being celibate is based on a particular tradition found in later Kabbalistic literature that Elijah was an angel in human form; this particular tradition is very much a minority view.) Jeremiah is no precedent; he received a direct, peremptory and personal command from God. (Our Sages teach that Hephzibah, the wife of King Hezekiah & mother of King Manasseh, was the daughter of the prophet Isaiah.)

See The Jewish Encyclopedia entry on “Celibacy” at tinyurl.com/5kufv.

The case of Ben Azzai is no example. Aside from the fact that there are views that he was married (see the above link), he was a very unique character (see tinyurl.com/6gqvm).

Thom, you posted:

Check out the story of Samuel. I think he was a consecrated celibate.

I mean no disrespect (God forbid!) but you are incorrect. I Samuel 8:1-3 tells us:

And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his first-born was Joel; and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beer-sheba…

Samuel makes reference to his sons in I Samuel 12:2.

When Hannah told Eli that she was lending Samuel to God all his life, she meant that she was going to do what she, in fact, did, i.e. she handed him over to Eli to be raised & educated by him to serve God at the tabernacle at Shilo. As a Levite, this would no be so strange. She didn’t mean that Samuel would be celibate.

Phatcatholic, you posted:

i need proof that jewish women consecrated their bodies to the Lord, made Him their spouse, and devoted themselves to the work of the temple.

The “work of the Temple” was done exclusively by men, whether Aaronic priests or Levites. See templeinstitute.org/main.htm.

Be well!

ssv :wave:


#6

[quote=stillsmallvoice]Celibacy is completely alien to normative, traditional Judaism & always has been.
[/quote]

Hi stillsmallvoice, I would appreciate your input on the thread about Joseph and Mary’s marriage (and how they are talking on the thread like it was not unheard of that a woman would have a vow of celibacy and it was related to the temple) as it relates to numbers 30. Here is the post made to me:

forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=425462&postcount=64

I honestly thought this was about how a woman’s vows were subject to the husband (or father), and not that the vow was about virginity. I will try to read up a bit more, but again, I would appreciate your input about the numbers 30 thing on that thread.


#7

Go to paragraph #6. - #8 Temple virgins

newadvent.org/fathers/0847.htm

Go to Paragraph 6 thru 8.

catholic-forum.com/saints/stj20001.htm


#8

i know that mary is described as a temple virgin the protoevangelium of james. what i was trying to find was some type of precedence of this so that it could be stated that the author of the protoevangelium was drawing from a certain tradition, and not just making that up.

i guess my question is this: assuming the author is James, where did he get this idea of “temple virgin” if there was no such thing? did he just make it up?


#9

bump


#10

[quote=phatcatholic]i know that mary is described as a temple virgin the protoevangelium of james. what i was trying to find was some type of precedence of this so that it could be stated that the author of the protoevangelium was drawing from a certain tradition, and not just making that up.

i guess my question is this: assuming the author is James, where did he get this idea of “temple virgin” if there was no such thing? did he just make it up?
[/quote]

The author of this work is not James. The work is spurious and it was not written before about 120 A.D. and some have dated the work as late as 150 A.D.

I agree that the author is drawing on certain tradition, but there is also a lot of embellishment in the work.

I remain open as to whether girls were placed in the temple for a time, but they had to leave when they became full women :).

MaggieOH


#11

Hi stillsmallvoice, point well taken.

You said:

Quote:

And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his first-born was Joel; and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beer-sheba…

Samuel makes reference to his sons in I Samuel 12:2.

Can we say that the by saying that the usage of the terms “father” and/or son MUST imply that at some point in time a sexual action was experienced in which resulted in the establishment of the two respective titles?

If that is the case, then how do we reconcile the words of St. Paul when he writes:

[size=3]For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. [/size]

And the three chapters later, he tells us:

[size=3]I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.[/size]

Would it not seem to reason that Timothy is St. Paul’s illegitimate child if we are to reason from the literal interpretation of the words? Considering the instruction of the Didache which limits the length of time that an apostle may stay in one place to 2 or 3 days if needed, but no more, then one must conclude that Timothy was the product of a one night stand. I don’t think it was because of nepotism that St. Paul appointed Timothy as a bishop.

What about the report in Acts of the Apostles about St. Philip’s bud?

[size=3]And he rose and went. And behold, an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a minister of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship[/size]

Where in this passage or those that surround it can you derive the meaning that this person was “estranged” to the customs of Judiasm? The text is void of any peculiarity in the condition of this person, whom we may assume was a Jew because he was worshipped in the Temple in Jerusalem.

If this were, as you indicate, something completely foreign to the Jewish tradition, would it not have reasoned that the author of Acts would have so noted this or that the Early Church Fathers would have addressed it? I don’t think that this person was from the town of Eunuch, Ethiopia. I think that describing this person as a “eunuch” indicates that they have a vow of celibacy, doesn’t it? Is there such a thing as an eunuch prostitute? I didn’t think so, I had thought that the essence of such a feature (or lack of feature) was for the expressed purpose of piety and chastity, but I could be wrong.


#12

CONTINUED FROM ABOVE:

I reason that this person was a regarded as very pious and Godly, thus is why he was in route to the Temple. I believe that it was because of the nobility of his character, that he was appointed to such a significant position in his native kingdom. Would he thus not be serving as a type of Levitical priest? Check out this tale about Judas Macceabus:

[size=3]He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection.[/size]

:smiley:

Would it not seem to reason that this eunuch, by virtue of the charge he had over the treasury of Queen Candice, was making an offering in the Jerusalem temple, on behalf of her kingdom? Logically then, it would stand to reason that he served as a type of priest for that kingdom, at least in the capacity of delivering the offering to the temple.

If it were “completely foreign” to the Jewish culture that someone would have taken a vow of celibacy, then shouldn’t Acts be revised to include that taboo? Gary Hogue inspired me with his RFV, which stands for “Revised Fundamentalist Version”. Check out Gary’s site if you get a chance:

http://www.catholicoutlook.com/

[size=3]And he rose and went. And behold, an Ethiopian, a eunuch, which was a vocation completely foreign to Judiasm and probably indicative of his liberal practice of his faith, a minister of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship[/size]

:wink:

Alright, well I hope to chat with you later.

Pax Christi,

Thom


#13

can anyone else please help me with this?


#14

Try this link:

cpats.org/CPATSAnswerDirectory/Answers_to_Questions/2003_11NovermberQuestions/2003NovWasMaryAlwaysAVirgin.cfm

I hope it is helpful.

pax Christi,

Thom


#15

Also, it would seem odd that if celibacy was totally foreign to the culture of the time that Our Lord himself would say (In Mt 19:12):

For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.

To me, at least, this suggests that there indeed were “eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”.


#16

[quote=phatcatholic]hehe, hey bro. no problem :wink:

i appreciate your response, but, you provided examples of men–not women. i need proof that jewish women consecrated their bodies to the Lord, made Him their spouse, and devoted themselves to the work of the temple. this seems to be the image of mary protrayed in apocryphal works such as the Protoevangelium of James the the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary. however, these works don’t help in my debate with “Uncle Bud” b/c both are known to be filled with embellishments.

pax christi,
phatcatholic
[/quote]


With all DUE respect, who has decided that the Protoevangelium of James are "known to be filled with embellishments?

Who is this person? The vote was 25 to 14 that the E. of James would be excluded . That means that 14 out of 39 approved of it.

The E. of James is more credible than some of the Books of the O.T. How credible are the works of Plato? It seems all of his works are accepted. Is the history of the Jews by Josephus absolutely credible?


#17

stillsmallvoice http://forums.catholic.com/images/statusicon_cad/user_offline.gif vbmenu_register(“postmenu_425756”, true);
Regular Member

You posted that a Catholic Priest is not credible, that he is biased when he quotes or speaks about anything Christian.

Yet you use the Jewish Books and the Jewish Rabbi’s interpretation that is supposed to talk about Christianity. Did you notice that ?

You cant have it both ways. Do you have a comment on the Jew named Josephus? He was said to be a General & a historian.


#18

Hi all!

Lessee…

Kecharitomene, you asked:

Can we say that the by saying that the usage of the terms “father” and/or son MUST imply that at some point in time a sexual action was experienced in which resulted in the establishment of the two respective titles?

In this case, yes.

I cannot comment on your citation from Corinthians & Acts. They are neither scriptural nor authoritative for me & are beyond my purview as an orthodox Jew.

You lost me on the reference to II Maccabees 12:43. Could you please explain?

Exporter, you said:

You posted that a Catholic Priest is not credible, that he is biased when he quotes or speaks about anything Christian.

Not so. I said:

With all due respect, I cannot accept Br. Anthony Opisso’s analysis. As a Roman Catholic, he is hardly unbiased. Just as you would not accept me, a Jew, telling you, a Roman Catholic, what normative Roman Catholicism is, so too I cannot accept Br. Opisso, a Roman Catholic, telling me, a Jew, what normative Judaism is.

You said:

Yet you use the Jewish Books and the Jewish Rabbi’s interpretation that is supposed to talk about Christianity. Did you notice that ?

I cite our Sages & our holy books to show what we believe (and don’t believe) and why (and why not).

Why your reference to Josephus (whom we consider to be merely a historian, and a hardly unbiased one, and not a rabbi/sage/religious authority)? Is it these (jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=543&letter=J&search=Josephus#1809 &
jewsforjudaism.org/web/faq/faq064.html)?

Be well!

ssv :wave:


#19

[quote=stillsmallvoice] What are your sources? With all due respect, I cannot accept Br. Anthony Opisso’s analysis. As a Roman Catholic, he is hardly unbiased. Just as you would not accept me, a Jew, telling you, a Roman Catholic, what normative Roman Catholicism is, so too I cannpt accept Br. Opisso, a Roman Catholic, telling me, a Jew, what normative Judaism is.
[/quote]

He gives quite detailed references, are you saying the references are incorrect or that you cannot accept his analysis because he is a Catholic?


#20

Hi all!

Tom, I mean neither offense nor disrespect (really!) but, generally speaking, just as I, an orthodox Jew, am not qualified to pronounce on Roman Catholic doctrine, Br. Opisso, a Roman Catholic is not qualified to pronounce on Jewish doctrine. The Temple in Jerusalem was/will be a Jewish Temple & there was/won’t be any room for “Temple virgins” in it.

Specifically, I think his analysis of Elijah’s alleged celibacy is selective and based on a minority opinion among Jewish sages & that his analysis of Ben Azzai is likewise no precedent.

Howzat?

Be well!

ssv :wave:


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