Kecharitomene


#1

Below is an extract from an article I wrote on the immaculate conception. What do people think? Does anyone find problem with my interpretation?

God bless.

“Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:28)

Indeed “highly favoured one” (Gr. Kecharitomene) can be translated as meaning “full of grace”. Roman Catholic apologists argue that the Greek word “full of grace” is in the perfect passive participle. If you don’t understand Greek, this means Mary received this grace sometime in the past and its effects continue to the future. This adjective, they say, implies the grace Mary attained was not due to the angel’s visit, nor due to the incarnation of Christ into her womb. It began before then, and therefore these apologists try to convince us this grace was attained at conception (the Immaculate Conception).

This is extremely faulty reasoning and completely based on eisegesis and an unworthy hermeneutic. Basing an entire dogma on a single word in the bible is certainly a worthy tenet of Protestantism. It is quite clear that Mary was “full of grace” prior to the Angel’s visit, but this does not necessarily mean she was Immaculately Conceived as the dogma states. It says in the book of Acts “Stephen, ***full of grace and power {present tense}***, did great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8). This passage was even written by the same author as the gospel of Luke. Would a Catholic dare say St Stephen was sinless while he did wonders and signs among the people? If not, then we cannot say “full of grace” assures us that Mary was Immaculately Conceived.

Mary being “already fully graced” (Gr. Kecharitomene) need not mean she was born without Original Sin. In fact, this interpretation has no place in the pre-schism church fathers. ‘Kecharitomene’ indicated to early Christians that Mary was chosen before time to bear the Son of God (Ephesians 1:4). The passage does not say “Hail Full of grace! You were Immaculately Conceived”, but rather says “Hail full of grace! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). Emmanuel, God with us, has chosen to come forth from her womb from before even the foundation of the Earth. What greater grace is there than this? “blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:28) exalted the angel because she was chosen to bring God forth among men (Philippians 2:5-8). The passage in context, indicates Mary was “already fully graced” because she was already chosen by God to bear His Son.

This can be confirmed by the Protoevangelium of St James. The protoevangelium deals greatly with the birth and life of St Mary and is the earliest attribute to many of the church traditions concerning her.The Protoevangelium of St James says:

“the priest received her [Mary], and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified your name in all generations. In you, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel. And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her… And Mary was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there, and she received food from the hand of an angel” (The Protoevangelium of James 7-8 [AD. 150])

All this happened before chapter 11 which says “Rejoice Kecharitomene!, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” just as it says in Luke 1:28 (ibid. 11 [AD. 150]). How is it that “God sent grace upon her [Mary]” if she was already “full of grace!” since the moment of conception? The Protoevangelion gives a clearer explanation of the greek word Kecharitomene in the very next sentence “Fear not, Mary; for you have found grace before the Lord of all, and you shall conceive, according to His word” (ibid. 11 [AD. 150]). The grace is the underserved favour God showed her in choosing her to conceive His son (cf. Ephesians 1:6).

The passage above speaks of the honour we should show St Mary the Theotokos, for being the sacred vessel which brought Christ to Earth, however, the Greek word ‘Kecharitomene’ in no way is even close to being evidence of an Immaculate Conception.


#2

The passage is not evidence or proof of an Immaculate Conception; that definition comes ultimately from the teaching authority of the Church. But it does point to it.

But contrary to your assertion, the Church does not base its teaching on this passage alone. Drawing the entire dogma from this single verse is a grave mistake. It must be used in conjunction with reason and typology.

The word kecharitomene simply means that Mary was fully graced some time in the past (doesn’t say when), and has continued on up to the present (that is, the moment the greeting was spoken).

Nevertheless, whether the Orthodox admit it or not, they do believe in the Immaculate Conception but word it in a different yet equally valid manner. They call her Panhagios. The reasoning is similar to that drawn from kecharitomene. If she was already fully-graced or all-holy before the angel’s greeting, then there was no room for sin, which would be the case if she had concupiscence from original sin.

Ultimately, of course the reason is because of her Son. She was immaculately conceived because it is fitting for her as the vessel who bears God, much like the detailed specifications of the Ark of the Covenant.


#3

This is extremely faulty reasoning and completely based on eisegesis and an unworthy hermeneutic. Basing an entire dogma on a single word in the bible is certainly a worthy tenet of Protestantism.

I’m going to bed so all I’m going to say is this: the Church doesn’t base the teaching on this word. The word itself is not a proof of the dogma but rather serves as an illustration.


#4

Is “kecharitomene” the Greek word used in regard to Steven in Acts 6:8?

Nita


#5

No, it is not.


#6

The Orthodox call her Παναγία (Transliterated: Panagia. Pronounced: Pah-nah-YEE-ah). Meaning “forever holy.”

Just wanted to clarify that. I hope you don’t think I was being nitpicky, but an Orthodox would have pointed that out eventually. :wink:

Pace e Bene
Andrew


#7

Oops. My gosh, I ought to flunk basic Greek. How could I have missed that?!?:eek:


#8

socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/07/luke-128-full-of-grace-immaculate.html


#9

No worries. Just didn’t want to see you get reprimanded by someone else! :thumbsup:

Pace e Bene
Andrew


#10

The verb used in Luke “Charitoun” is very rare in greek. It’s used onlt two times in the NT. Lk 1:28 “kecharitomene” and in Ephesians 1:6 “echaritosen”. To convay better the nuance of the greek word “kecharitomene” you do not want to just say “full of grace” but “made full of grace” or “filled with grace”.


#11

Here are the two verses in Greek for comparison.

Luke 1:28 και εισελθων προς αυτην ειπεν χαιρε κεχαριτωμενη ο κυριος μετα σου

Acts 6:8 στεφανος δε πληρης χαριτος και δυναμεως εποιει τερατα και σημεια μεγαλα εν τω λαω

As you can see, they are not the same Greek word.


#12

I so need my greek to english rosetta stone.:whacky: :doh2:


#13

[quote=porthos11]The passage is not evidence or proof of an Immaculate Conception; that definition comes ultimately from the teaching authority of the Church. But it does point to it.

But contrary to your assertion, the Church does not base its teaching on this passage alone. Drawing the entire dogma from this single verse is a grave mistake. It must be used in conjunction with reason and typology.

The word kecharitomene simply means that Mary was fully graced some time in the past (doesn’t say when), and has continued on up to the present (that is, the moment the greeting was spoken).

[/quote]

Ok. I was under the impression Kecharitomene was the major crux of the Catholic argument. It seems to fill the most pages in a apologetic discussions as though it was the most profound piece of evidence on the subject.

[quote=porthos11]Nevertheless, whether the Orthodox admit it or not, they do believe in the Immaculate Conception but word it in a different yet equally valid manner. They call her Panhagios. The reasoning is similar to that drawn from kecharitomene. If she was already fully-graced or all-holy before the angel’s greeting, then there was no room for sin, which would be the case if she had concupiscence from original sin.
[/quote]

Check your greek. We call her Panagia (not Panagios). Mary is not a man, and she most definitely is not the Holy Spirit.

In my understanding Mary is not called “Panagia” (All-holy) because of the word Kecharitomene. To be holy is to be by definition “free from passions”, to be “free”. Mary is called Panagia because of her obedience to God “let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). She is truly All-free by being All-obedient to the Lord.

Most Orthodox Christians teach Mary as being personally sinless. But reject any notion of her being free from original sin. That is, not being under the power of desire (concupisence) and death. If she did not have these things then she can not be the supreme example to us pointing to Christ, because she truly was seperate from us.

Thankyou very much. This is honestly a nice article defending Catholic faith.

This article now beggers some questions. I like how he explained the glass and air theory of grace and sin. However, can this logic not be also transferred to St Stephen in the book of Acts also?

Plares Charitas (“full of grace”) is a different word yes. But also means full of grace. If Stephen was “full of grace” while he did signs among the people, was he sinless while he did those signs? If Stephen was “full of grace” then surely he could not have any sin?

[quote=“adam in ohio”]The verb used in Luke “Charitoun” is very rare in greek. It’s used onlt two times in the NT. Lk 1:28 “kecharitomene” and in Ephesians 1:6 “echaritosen”. To convay better the nuance of the greek word “kecharitomene” you do not want to just say “full of grace” but “made full of grace” or “filled with grace”.
[/quote]

You missed the quote I used from the protoevangelium of St James. It also uses Kecharitomene, but explains what it means in the next passage as referring to the birth of Christ “Fear not, Mary; for you have found grace before the Lord of all, and you shall conceive, according to His word” (The Protoevangelium of James 11 [AD. 150]). This was only written at the latest 50 years after the book of Revelations. This book was also quoted by many of the church fathers, though not accepted as part of the bible canon.

You may read The Protoevangelium of James from New advent:

newadvent.org/fathers/0847.htm

I will continue to study this topic until I decide a definitive answer on the Kecharitomene verb interpretation.


#14

Hey, Ematouk, have you read this article. I think this might be helpful in getting the right idea about what we mean by it.

newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm


#15

Did we not cover this. "all of these points should be taken together…not any single one as the “proof text”.


#16

The expression “full of grace” and “you who enjoy God’s favour” are renderings of the greek word “kecharitomene”, which is a passive particple. As I said before, the verb used by Luke “charitoun” is very rare in greek. It’s used onlt two times in the NT. Lk 1:28 "kecharitomene" and in Ephesians 1:6 "echaritosen". These verbs convey the idea of a change of something in the person or thing affected. Since the root of the verb “charitoo” is “charis” or grace, the idea which is expressed is that of a change brought about by grace. The verb used by Luke is in the past particpial form. Kecharitomene signifies, in the person to whom the verb relates, that is Mary, that the action of the grace of God has already brought about a change.
When the angel greets Mary, Mary is called “kecharitomene” or full of grace. It is the name used to adress her. It is Mary’s name in the eyes of God. In Semitic usage, a name expresses the reality of the person to which it refers. In this case Mary.

"*You missed the quote I used from the protoevangelium of St James. It also uses Kecharitomene, but explains what it means in the next passage as referring to the birth of Christ “Fear not, Mary; for you have found grace before the Lord of all, and you shall conceive, according to His word” (The Protoevangelium of James 11 [AD. 150]). *"
No I didn’t miss you’re quote. I dissagree with you’re understanding on the word kecharitomene.


#17

Re underlined portion:
That is not what we mean by the state of original sin. Original sin means being conceived without the presence of sanctifying grace in our souls. At Baptism, when we receive sanctifying grace, we say that the stain of original sin has been removed. However, the other natural consequences remain - death, concupiscence…

When we say Mary was Immaculately conceived, we mean that God, from the very first moment of her conception, infused the supernatural life of grace into her soul.

There are varying opinions as to whether concupiscence remained, also as to whether she experienced death. These points are not included in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Church has not spoken infallibly concerning them.

Nita


#18

A thing to take note of, is that all the way up through the midieval times, many of the thinkers and teachers had problems with the idea of the Immaculate Conception because of their Aristotelian view of ensoulment. Ensoulment is the idea that the human embryo receives the rational soul some weeks after conception.


#19

Another problem (quote from “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma”):

"*Their difficulty was that they had not yet found the way to bring Mary’s freedom from original sin into consonance with the universality of original sin, and with the necessity of all men for redemption.

The correct approach to the final solution of the problem was first achieved by the Franciscan theologian, William of Ware, and this was perfected by his great pupil John Duns Scotus (+1308 AD)."*

Nita


#20

Are you 100% sure of this teaching? because I can agree with it if this is true. I believe Mary remained with concupiscence (desire) and death. This would make her like the entire human race and worthy to be called our supreme example, the “first of the redeemed” who points to Christ in all things.

By saying this I would probably agree with the Catholic teaching of the IC, but I would still have to reject the idea that it was by the “singular grace and privilage of Almighty God”. Mostly because I dont believe anyone is an inheriter of Adam’s original guilt (forgiven in baptism by sanctifying grace).

So in this case, I would simply reject the underlying view of Original Sin which is beyond the scope of this discussion.

I would say Mary did have the Original Sin, but what I mean is that she was under concupisence (desire) and death. Which I’m sure you will agree with also?

Also I would have to disagree with the Church dogmatising it, even though it is a non-salvic issue. I can not see the connection between Mary’s IC and Christ, I also can not see how it safeguards any teaching of the church. This teaching I see as merely keeping the wound between the churches left open and festering.

Can anyone back up Nita’s interpretation or does anyone know any Catholic website or document which claims Mary was under concupisence (desire) and death?

May God help us to heal the schisms as soon as possible. God bless. Thankyou Nita.


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