Mary as Perpetual Virgin

This thread was initiated in response to specific claims by Yankee_drifter.

Four Positive Proofs of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Proof #1 - The Vow of Perpetual Virginity

First, at the annunciation, the angel said that she would conceive and bear a son, she asked, “How can this be, since I do not know man?” She knew how babies were made, and she was about to be married. “How can this be?” would seem like a pretty silly question unless she had made a prior vow of virginity.

So, Why is she betrothed to Joseph if she made a vow of virginity?

Consecrated virginity was not common among first century Jews, but it did exist. According to some early Christian documents, such as the Protoevangelium of James (written around A.D. 120), Mary was a consecrated virgin. As such, when she reached puberty, her monthly cycle would render her ceremonially unclean and thus unable to dwell in the temple without defiling it under the Mosaic Law. At this time, she would be entrusted to a male guardian. However, since it was forbidden for a man to live with a woman he was not married or related to, the virgin would be wed to the guardian, and they would have no marital relations. Joseph agreed to marry Mary as her guardian - not as her husband - because he was much older and a widower. See Proof #3 below.

Proof #2 - The Absence of Younger Siblings in Childhood Scenes

When Jesus was found in the Temple at age twelve, the context suggests that he was the only son of Mary and Joseph. There is no hint in this episode of any other children in the family (Luke 2:41–51). Jesus grew up in Nazareth, and the people of Nazareth referred to him as “the son of Mary” (Mark 6:3), not as “a son of Mary.” In fact, others in the Gospels are never referred to as Mary’s sons, not even when they are called Jesus’ “brethren.” If they were in fact her sons, this would be strange usage.

Proof #3 - The Presence of Older Siblings by Joseph’s First Marriage

Also, the attitude taken by the “brethren of the Lord” implies they are his elders. In ancient and, particularly, in Eastern societies (remember, Palestine is in Asia), older sons gave advice to younger, but younger seldom gave advice to older—it was considered disrespectful to do so. But we find Jesus’ “brethren” saying to him that Galilee was no place for him and that he should go to Judea so he could make a name for himself (John 7:3–4).

Another time, they sought to restrain him for his own benefit: “And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, ‘He is beside himself’” (Mark 3:21). This kind of behavior could make sense for ancient Jews only if the “brethren” were older than Jesus, but that alone eliminates them as his biological brothers, since Jesus was Mary’s “first-born” son (Luke 2:7).

Proof #4 - Jesus Entrusts Mary to John

Consider what happened at the foot of the cross. When he was dying, Jesus entrusted his mother to the apostle John (John 19:26–27). The Gospels mention four of his “brethren”: James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude. It is hard to imagine why Jesus would have disregarded family ties and made this provision for his mother if these four were also her sons.

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

Right on Randy !
Very well said, all in one place.

I can only add one thought to your 4 great proofs—
Mary was in the very intimate position to KNOW that she as carrying the Messiah.
She was absolutely unique in her knowledge of who He was.
In the Annunciation, she was given proof beyond the shadow of a doubt that God had acted in her life in a most incredibly personal & sacred manner.
In every respect she was the Tabernacle of the Lord.
Her body had become THE most sacred of all created beings.

For nine months, her blood mingled with the precious blood of the Son of God.
His Blood pumped through HER heart.

Now, please tell me why anyone would even THINK that the BVM did not remain a virgin for the rest of her life ?
The question is not whether she was a perpetual virgin, but rather WHY would anyone argue otherwise ???
I have to wonder about their agenda.

+Peace,
Bob

Bob, I have thought of this too. Why do many Protestants get bent out of shape of the idea of Mary remaining a virgin? Beneath it I don’t think it is the virginity part of the dogma but remaining sinless that causes them problems. It doesn’t fit well with their theology in that their theology is more tolerant of sin (not saying they are more sinful only commenting on the theology).

I

Randy Carson,

For someone who claims to have studied the Scriptures for years, I marvel at your errors of what it actually teaches.

Four Positive Proofs of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Proof #1 - The Vow of Perpetual Virginity

So, Why is she betrothed to Joseph if she made a vow of virginity?

She never made such a vow! You’re looking at this filtered through the Magisterial teachings of Rome in order to defend the RCC “perpetual virginity” doctrine. Matt 1:24,25 says: Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not UNTIL she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Does the passage say Joseph knew her not until his death? No.The passage says that Joseph did not have sexual relations with Mary until after she had given birth to the Son she had conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. If Joseph and Mary never had sexual relations, why didn’t Matthew simply write, “He knew her not until the day of his death”?

Contrary to RC apologist’s effort to make the verse conform to their doctrine of “perpetual virginity,” the Greek in no way suggests that Mary was communicating to Gabriel that she was restricted, by vow, from ever having a sexual relationship with a man. Her question arose not from some mythical vow (as Rome asserts), but the fact of her current state of virginity.

Proof #2 - The Absence of Younger Siblings in Childhood Scenes

First of all, most of Jesus’ childhood is not recorded in the Bible, so to make a case from silence will never hold water. Jesus’ brothers are mentioned in several verses. Matt 12:46, Luke 8:19, and Mark 3:31 say that Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see Him. The Bible tells us that Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matt 13:55). The Bible also tells us that Jesus had sisters, but they are not named or numbered (Matt13:56). In John 7:1-10, His brothers go on to the festival while Jesus stays behind. In Acts 1:14, His brothers and mother are described as praying with the disciples. Gal1:19 mentions that James was Jesus’ brother. 1 Cor. 9:4-5 - “Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?” The most natural conclusion of these passages is to interpret that Jesus had actual blood half-siblings.

Some RC claim that these “brothers” were actually Jesus’ cousins. However, in each instance, the specific Greek word for “brother” is used. While the word can refer to other relatives, its normal and literal meaning is a physical brother. There was a Greek word for “cousin,” and it was not used. Further, if they were Jesus’ cousins, why would they so often be described as being with Mary, Jesus’ mother? There is nothing in the context of His mother and brothers coming to see Him that even hints that they were anyone other than His literal, blood-related, half-brothers.

Proof #3 - The Presence of Older Siblings by Joseph’s First Marriage

Joseph agreed to marry Mary as her guardian - not as her husband - because he was much older and a widower.

In ancient and, particularly, in Eastern societies (remember, Palestine is in Asia), older sons gave advice to younger, but younger seldom gave advice to older

The Bible says nothing about Joseph being a widower. It doesn’t even tell us the ages of Joseph and Mary. The first mention anywhere that Joseph may have been a widower is from an apocryphal work long since deemed an unreliable historical source and which isn’t even in the RC Bible. Another writing in Coptic called “The history of Joseph the carpenter,” claims Joseph was 91 years old when he received Mary! 91 and working as a carpenter to support his family??! :eek:

Both Jerome and Augustine vigorously defended the idea that Joseph was a virgin throughout his entire life!!! :confused:

Examples of younger siblings giving advice to older ones is not unique in Scriptures. Joseph of Egypt many times gave advice to his older brothers.

Proof #4 - Jesus Entrusts Mary to John
Consider what happened at the foot of the cross. When he was dying, Jesus entrusted his mother to the apostle John (John 19:26–27). The Gospels mention four of his “brethren”: James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude. It is hard to imagine why Jesus would have disregarded family ties and made this provision for his mother if these four were also her sons.

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was estranged by His brothers. John 7:5 says “For not even His brothers were believing in Him.” Please do not try to read things into the scriptures that aren’t even there. You’re making a case based upon mere assumptions.

I suggest you read the Scriptures more carefully and prayerfully. Its truly a wonderful book. :thumbsup:

Phillip Schaff states the Protestant view well

(1) The Brother-theory takes the term άδελφοί in the usual sense, and regards the brothers as younger children of Joseph and Mary, consequently as full brothers of Jesus in the eyes of the law and the opinions of the people, though really only half-brothers, in view of his supernatural conception. This is exegetically the most natural view and favored by the meaning of άδελφός (especially when used as standing designation), the constant companionship of these brethren with Mary (John 2:12; Matt. 12:46; 13:55), and the obvious meaning of Matt. 1:25, and Luke 2:7, as explained from the standpoint of the evangelists, who used these terms in full view of the subsequent history of Mary and Jesus. The only serious objections to it is of a doctrinal and ethical nature, viz., the assumed perpetual virginity of the mother of our Lord and Saviour, and the committal of her at the cross to John rather than her own sons and daughters (John 19:25-27). If it were not for these two obstacles the brother-theory would probably be adopted by every fair and honest exegete. The first of these objections dates from the post-apostolic ascetic overestimate of virginity, and cannot have been felt by Matthew and Luke, else they would have avoided these ambiguous terms just noticed. The second difficulty presses also on the other two theories, only in a less degree. It must therefore be solved on other grounds, namely, the profound spiritual sympathy and congeniality of John with Jesus and Mary, which rose above carnal relationships, the probable cousinship of John (based upon the proper interpretation of the same passage, John 19:25), and the unbelief of the real brethren at the time of the committal.

This theory was held by Tertullian (whom Jerome summarily disposes of as not being a “homo ecclesiae” i.e. a schismatic), defended by Helvidius at Rome about 380 (violently attacked as a heretic by Jerome), and by several individuals and sects opposed to the incipient worship of the Virgin Mary; and recently by the majority of German exegetes since Herder, such as Stier, De Wette, Meyer, Weiss, Ewald, Wieseler, Keim, also by Dean Alford, and Cannon Farrar (Life of Christ, I. 97 sq.). I advocated the same theory in my German tract, but admitted afterwards in my Hist. Of Ap. Ch., p. 378,that I did not give sufficient weight to the second theory.

As far as the purity argument, what is the Catholic understanding of Mary and menstrual cycles? I am assuming that Catholics would contend she went through puberty and was not a pre-pubescent girl while giving birth or afterwards. As such, the Hebrew scriptures say a lot about this matter for most women and to what extent that is or is not applicable in this case.

A very solid point that gets overlooked because of the distraction of dealing with heos hou and what it does or does not mean. Focusing on this distracts from the overall passage. It makes absolutely no sense for Matthew to write about how Joseph and Mary did not have sex unless their is a reason to include. I believe the reason is stated in the passage right before:

Mat 1:24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took {Mary} as his wife,
Mat 1:25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

He took Mary as his wife. But there is understandable concern or a level of discomfort with them having sex prior to that.

Thank you, Yankee_drifter, for your encouragement to study harder.

She never made such a vow! You’re looking at this filtered through the Magisterial teachings of Rome in order to defend the RCC “perpetual virginity” doctrine. Matt 1:24,25 says: Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not UNTIL she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Does the passage say Joseph knew her not until his death? No.The passage says that Joseph did not have sexual relations with Mary until after she had given birth to the Son she had conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. If Joseph and Mary never had sexual relations, why didn’t Matthew simply write, “He knew her not until the day of his death”?

How do you know with certainty that Mary had not made such a vow, YD? Do you have access to some knowledge that the early Church did not? If so, please produce your evidence so that we might reivew it.

I have 2,000 years of Sacred Tradition based upon the teaching of the Apostles and an infallible Church. You have…um…your own opinion. :o

However, I understand that you must see everything from scripture, so let’s review the relevant passage. Your argument from Matthew 1:24-25 has been thoroughly demolished, and I mean CRUSHED, by thorough analysis of the passage. I’ve read that in some detail, and I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version.

Matthew 1:24-25: Until she brought forth a son

Matthew 1:24-25
24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son.

The word *until *here just says what happened up to the time of Christ’s birth. It doesn’t imply anything about what happened after that, although our modern use of the word until seems to imply that. For an example of this, look at 2 Samuel 6:23, which says, “Michal the daughter of Saul had no children till the day of her death.” We’re obviously not supposed to assume that she had children after she died.

Other Examples of “Until” That Do Not Require Cessation of Action

Genesis 8:7
The raven “did not return TILL the waters were dried up…” Did the raven ever return?

Deuteronomy 34:6 (Knox)
No one knew the location of his grave “until this present day” But we know that no one has known it since that day either.

1 Maccabees 5:54
“…not one of them was slain TILL they had returned in peace.” Were Judas Maccabeus and his troops killed when they returned?

Luke 1:80
“And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.” The Greek word translated “until” in this passage is heos, the same word used in Matthew 1:25. The child spoken of is John the Baptist who, after as well as before he appeared in public, resided in the desert (cf. Matt. 3:1, Mark 1:3,4; Luke 3:2).

Romans 8:22
“…the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together UNTIL now.” Is it still groaning?

1 Corinthians 15:25
“For He must reign TILL He has put all enemies under His feet.” After all enemies are put away, will Christ be reigning?

For a more thorough treatment:

Heos Hou and the Protestant Polemic
By John Pacheco
catholic-legate.com/articles/heoshou.html

An exhaustive explanation of the Greek phrase heos hou [until] found in Matthew 1:24-25.

[quoteContrary to RC apologist’s effort to make the verse conform to their doctrine of “perpetual virginity,” the Greek in no way suggests that Mary was communicating to Gabriel that she was restricted, by vow, from ever having a sexual relationship with a man. Her question arose not from some mythical vow (as Rome asserts), but the fact of her current state of virginity.
[/quote]Why do you automatically assume that the Catholic Church is trying for force its doctrine into scripture? Isn’t it really the case that Protestants have in recent years begun to deny something that has been taught by the Church for two millennia? Aren’t YOU the one trying to explain away the constant teaching of the Church on this matter?

(cont.)

Yankee_drifter-

By denying the perpetual virginity of Mary, you are at odds with the Protestant Reformers themselves. Are you more knowledgeable than these men?:

Early Protestants on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

“Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary’s virginal womb…This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that.”

“Christ…was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him…I am inclined to agree with those who declare that ‘brothers’ really mean ‘cousins’ here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers.”

“A new lie about me is being circulated. I am supposed to have preached and written that Mary, the mother of God, was not a virgin either before or after the birth of Christ…Scripture does not say or indicate that she later lost her virginity.”

“Scripture does not say or indicate that she later lost her virginity…When Matthew says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her…This babble…is without justification…he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom.”

John Calvin (1509-1564)

“Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ’s ‘brothers’ are sometimes mentioned.”

“The inference he [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband…No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words…as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called ‘first-born’; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin…What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us…No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.”

“Under the word ‘brethren’ the Hebrews include all cousins and other relations, whatever may be the degree of affinity.”

Huldreich Zwingli (1484-1531)

“I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonourable, impious, unworthy or evil…I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity.”

“I speak of this in the holy Church of Zurich and in all my writings: I recognize MARY AS EVER VIRGIN AND HOLY.” (January 1528 in Berne)

Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575)

“The Virgin Mary…completely sanctified by the grace and blood of her only Son and abundantly endowed by the gift of the Holy Spirit and preferred to all…now lives happily with Christ in heaven and is called and remains ever-Virgin and Mother of God.”

John Wesley (1703-1791)

“I believe…he [Jesus Christ] was born of the blessed Virgin, who, as well after as shebrought him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin.”

(cont.)

And you know this with certainty how? :shrug:

But lest you think this is just something made up by the “Roman” Catholic Church, here are passages from the Law of Moses which deal with such vows.

Mary’s Vow of Perpetual Virginity in Light of Numbers 30

Many people question whether Mary remained a virgin all of her life, and they dispute the idea that Mary had taken a vow of consecration to God. However, the Law of Moses contained specific instructions for both men and women who had made vows to the Lord. Let’s take a look:

Numbers 30:1-16
1 Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: "This is what the LORD commands: 2 When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.

3 "When a young woman still living in her father’s house makes a vow to the LORD or obligates herself by a pledge 4 and her father hears about her vow or pledge but says nothing to her, then all her vows and every pledge by which she obligated herself will stand. 5 But if her father forbids her when he hears about it, none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand; the LORD will release her because her father has forbidden her.

6 "If she marries after she makes a vow or after her lips utter a rash promise by which she obligates herself 7 and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her, then her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand. 8 But if her husband forbids her when he hears about it, he nullifies the vow that obligates her or the rash promise by which she obligates herself, and the LORD will release her.

9 "Any vow or obligation taken by a widow or divorced woman will be binding on her.

10 “If a woman living with her husband makes a vow or obligates herself by a pledge under oath 11 and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her and does not forbid her, then all her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand. 12 But if her husband nullifies them when he hears about them, then none of the vows or pledges that came from her lips will stand. Her husband has nullified them, and the LORD will release her. 13 Her husband may confirm or nullify any vow she makes or any sworn pledge to deny herself. 14 But if her husband says nothing to her about it from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or the pledges binding on her. He confirms them by saying nothing to her when he hears about them. 15 If, however, he nullifies them some time after he hears about them, then he is responsible for her guilt.”

16 These are the regulations the LORD gave Moses concerning relationships between a man and his wife, and between a father and his young daughter still living in his house.

From this passage, we can see that the Law of Moses contained instructions for determining which vows were to be honored and which could be nullified by the parents or husband of a woman. While this passage does not provide any evidence that Mary had taken a vow of chastity, it does demonstrate that vows to God did occur in ancient Jewish society and that they were to be taken very seriously.

IOW, Yankee_drifter, there is precedent and provision in the Law for vows such as the one that Mary may have taken.


Concerning the Annunciation, we read the following exchange between the angel Gabriel and Mary:

Luke 1:31-34
31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." 34"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

At the time of this conversation, Mary was betrothed to Joseph. Under Jewish law, they were already married but not yet living under one roof. If she had taken no vow of perpetual virginity, she would soon be engaging in normal marital relations with the likelihood of conception in the very near future. In this case, her question, “How will this be since I am a virgin?” makes no sense. If her virginity was only temporary, she knew that pregnancy would occur naturally soon enough.

On the other hand, if Mary had made a vow of perpetual virginity to the Lord, then her question makes much more sense. “How will this be since I am a virgin?” indicates that Mary questioned how this conception could occur since she had no plans to engage in marital relations because she was a virgin – a consecrated virgin by means of a vow before the Lord. Since Mary obviously understood how babies are made, she asked the angel how she could conceive without violating her oath to God. The angel responded that she would be overshadowed by the power of the Most High.

In preparing for the Incarnation, God performed two miracles: He preserved the young virgin’s womb during conception, and He opened the barren womb of the older woman, Elizabeth. “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

Almost like on demand with the heos hou argument…
You see I hope it does not derail into that. The fact of the matter is that heos hou can mean a cessation or a change of activity and there are examples of that as well. Instead like most matters look at the passage both ways.

Mat 1:24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took {Mary} as his wife,
Mat 1:25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Mat 1:24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took {Mary} as his wife,
Mat 1:25 but kept her a virgin the rest of her life; and he called His name Jesus.

I’m repeating myself here, but I want to make sure that I break your argument down as thoroughly as possible…

At the time of this conversation, Mary was betrothed to Joseph. Under Jewish law, they were already married but not yet living under one roof. If she had taken no vow of perpetual virginity, she would soon be engaging in normal marital relations with the likelihood of conception in the very near future. In this case, her question, “How will this be since I am a virgin?” makes no sense. If her virginity was only temporary, she knew that pregnancy would occur naturally soon enough.

On the other hand, if Mary had made a vow of perpetual virginity to the Lord, then her question makes much more sense. “How will this be since I am a virgin?” indicates that Mary questioned how this conception could occur since she had no plans to engage in marital relations because she was a virgin – a consecrated virgin by means of a vow before the Lord. Since Mary obviously understood how babies are made, she asked the angel how she could conceive without violating her oath to God. The angel responded that she would be overshadowed by the power of the Most High.

Presented to you previously. Did you not read it?

Brothers of Jesus, Not Sons of Mary

Many non-Catholics deny the Perpetual Virginity of Mary by referring to passages of scripture that mention the “brothers” of Jesus. A rigorous analysis of scripture, however, proves their position is false. Consider the following:

1. Jesus had a “brother” named James.


"Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?”(Matthew 13:55)

2. James, the Lord’s “brother”, is an apostle.


“Then, after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. (Galatians 1:18-19)

3. There are two apostles named James.


“When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”(Luke 6:13-16)

4. One James (the brother of John) is not the uterine brother of Jesus; his father is Zebedee.


James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder)” (Mark 3:17)

5**. The other apostle named James is not the uterine brother of Jesus; his father is Alpheus.**


“And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he called apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter and Andrew his brother, and James and John and Philip and Bartholomew, and Matthew and James the son of Alpheus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.” (Luke 6:13-16)

6. Therefore, neither apostle named James was a uterine brother of Jesus.

7. The man named Joseph (or Joses) is not the uterine brother of Jesus; his mother is Mary and his brother is James. Therefore, this Mary is the wife of Alphaeus.


“Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.” (Matthew 27:55-56)

8. Judas is not a uterine brother of Jesus because he is the son of James.


“When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.” (Acts 1:13)

  1. While Matthew 15:35 declares James, Joseph and Judas to be the “brothers” of Jesus, it has been demonstrated from scripture that they are NOT uterine brothers of the Lord. From this, it is apparent that scripture must be using the term “brothers” to mean relatives other than sons of Mary.

Uh oh. Do I foresee a repeat of “the meaning of the word [until]” argument???

Yes, and it is a waste of time I am afraid…although I understand the temptation. It will not solve anything for anyone :o

Well, duh.

An author steeped in Aramaic culture which refers to all kinsmen as “brothers” is going to carry that idea over into his writing in Greek.

That concept is explained as follows:

Explaining the “Brothers” of Jesus

Because neither Hebrew nor Aramaic (the language spoken by Christ and his disciples) had a special word meaning “cousin,” speakers of those languages could use either the word for “brother” or a circumlocution, such as “the son of my uncle.” But circumlocutions are clumsy, so the Jews often used “brother.”

The writers of the New Testament were brought up using the Aramaic equivalent of “brothers” to mean both cousins and sons of the same father—plus other relatives and even non-relatives. When they wrote in Greek, they did the same thing the translators of the Septuagint did. (The Septuagint was the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible; it was translated by Hellenistic Jews a century or two before Christ’s birth and was the version of the Bible from which most of the Old Testament quotations found in the New Testament are taken.)

In the Septuagint the Hebrew word that includes both brothers and cousins was translated as adelphos, which in Greek usually has the narrow meaning that the English “brother” has. Unlike Hebrew or Aramaic, Greek has a separate word for cousin, anepsios, but the translators of the Septuagint used adelphos, even for true cousins.

You might say they transliterated instead of translated, importing the Jewish idiom into the Greek Bible. They took an exact equivalent of the Hebrew word for “brother” and did not use* adelphos* in one place (for sons of the same parents), and anepsios in another (for cousins). This same usage was employed by the writers of the New Testament and passed into English translations of the Bible.

So it is your contention that James, the Lord’s brother is one of the twelve?

Tell you what…read John Pacheco’s article, Heos Hou and the Protestant Polemic, and let us know what you think.

The evidence is overwhelming…but you have to be willing to consider it and do the reading.

If the word cousin is used in other parts of the Bible, does that mean the author is not steeped in his culture? :wink:

There are three (possibly four) James’ mentioned in the New Testament. However, evidence suggests that two of the references are two the same person:

James the Greater
Son of Zebedee and Salome
Brother of Apostle** John**
A “son of thunder”
Martyred in 42 AD by Herod

James the Lesser/Younger
Son of Alpheus/Clopas and** Mary**
Brother of Joseph, Jude, Simon
“Brother of the Lord” (Mt 13:55, Mk 6:3, Gal. 2:19)
Bishop of Jerusalem

James the “Brother of the Lord”
Author of the Book of James

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.