Perpertual Virginity of Mary Part Unknown:


Scripture says that Mary and Joseph were betrothed, and that when Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, he planned to quietly divorce her. Both of these tidbits of information indicate a Jewish betrothal contract, one that could only be dissolved by divorce

You said of a man having the right to relations with his betrothed:

“it’s consistent with what we find in the Bible

Still you supply nothing in Scripture that supports that it was Jewish law that a man has sexual rights to his betrothed.

What we do find in Scripture is that Joseph did not act on any such “Jewish laws” as they were betrothed before the Annunciation and he had yet to touch her.

We do know when he did however:

Mat 1:25 “…but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son”

and secular historical sources about first-century Jewish betrothals tell us that men could exercise conjugal rights with their betrothed spouses.

Source please.


So what is on page 72 of Jewish Marriage in Antiquity By Michael L. Satlow?

Look it up.

My goodness.

Even offered a chance to support your claims and you cannot accept the opportunity.

This is not looking well for your position. You offer nothing.

**You said that was, in effect, what she was saying.

Mary’s actual words say something entirely different.**

I disagree.

No matter. It is plain before us all.

She surely did not say anything like she will always be a virgin…as you erroneously implied.

I am not lying.

You are lying. Your are claiming I said or did something that I did not say or do. That is called lying.

Since I never said you meant your added words to be Mary’s words, your objection is moot and a false charge.

**Her question was specifically about her present sexual state…not any future sexual state. **

That’s your interpretation.

Uhhhh, no.

That is the text.

All reference to the present. No reference to the future.

No “interpretation” needed.

Mary could have been inquiring about her present AND future sexual states.

Could have?

Is that your defense?

That is not what you originally posted.

She also could have been joking…but “could haves” are not worth the broadband they use up.

The text does not supply you with “could haves.” It supplies you with what is.

She specifically responded in the present tense…not the future tense as you forward.

Again, that’s your interpretation.

That be the fact, not anyone’s “interpretation.”

That’s why you will not find any translation anywhere that has her saying anything like “since I will always be a virgin.”

She could also be speaking about a present condition that will continue into the future.



Thank God that sound doctrine is not based on “could have been.”





The angel doesn’t give a timeframe for when Mary will conceive, nor does Scripture. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Mary to ask, “When will this happen – right now or after my marriage?”

Her response shows how she understood the angel. What you think would have made “more sense” for her is irrelevant. What we do have is the sense in which she actually responded: the present tense as to her present sexual condition. Nothing at ALL mentioned about her future condition.

We can trust that she knew how to respond to the announcement or we can not. That is everyone’s choice.

I believe our Lord’s mother made perfect sense exactly how she responded…with no fictional “could haves” necessary to add.

Yes. And Mary responded as if that conception was imminent.

Again, that’s your fallible interpretation.

Yet she did not respond as if the conception was in the far future.

**More assumptions?

My mother-in-law entered the convent and was a nun.

Guess what?

She had sex afterwards. **

Unlike your mother-in-law, I’m sure Mary, who was the New Eve and the New Ark of the Covenant, conceived without sin, meant to KEEP her vow of virginity.


More assumptions on the text?

Please cite the Scripture where Mary made any vow of virginity. You keep adding more and more.

Either produce and back such a claim up or get over the fact that people will call you on it.

Do you think Joseph is the kind of man who would desecrate the Holy of Holies, the New Ark of the Covenant? Can you provide Scriptural support for THAT claim?

You said that an angel admonished Joseph to “know her not” after Jesus’ birth.

You even QUOTE the angel!

Yet you cannot cite the Scripture that says such an admonishment was given to Joseph.

That is because it is not in any text anywhere in Scripture.

What were you calling me again?



If Mary had other children they would have been responsible for her upkeep after the death of the first-born son.

Why then was one of the last things that Our Lord did from the cross the act of assigning his mother to the care of a non-family member?
[size=][FONT=“Palatino Linotype”]
John 19:26 When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. 27 After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.

If He had blood siblings instead of step siblings (who were not responsible for their step mother), why would he have done that?[/FONT][/size]



This is often ignore by a lot of Non-Catholic Christian (Protestants). They have never put those into consideration.



I still don’t understand why it matters one way or another. I think people just like to argue. Christ is still perfect, Mary is still his mother, and the sun still rises in the east :slight_smile:



People like to clarify an orthodox belief about Mary remain a virgin throughout her lifetime. It matters because it is the Truth.



kenmd> You forgot to add that Mary was still a virgin when Christ was born too.

As for the claims regarding “Page 72 of Jewish Marriage in Antiquity” – I don’t have a copy of this volume. Would someone who has it (I assume wanner47 does, since he mentioned it) please post the excerpt of text in question (along with a couple of surrounding paragraphs and no omissions from the text). If you’re able to cite a source, and then won’t allow us to see that same source, you’re really hindering the discussion. This is simply an unfair tactic in any debate – not the act of one who is seeking the truth. Thus, until I’m provided with exactly what this evidence says, I choose to disregard it. Even if it were true, that only shows Jewish custom of the day allowed it – it doesn’t say that Jewish law, as ordained by God, allowed it. After all, Jewish custom (man-made) allowed for the sale of goods in the temple, and Jesus clearly wasn’t happy with that.

Let’s also keep in mind that it’s entirely possible that Mary could have not had other children, and yet still had sex with Joseph. Proving that she had other children, yes, would prove she had sex, but proving she didn’t have other children does not prove her perpetual virginity, for the simple reason that not all instances of sex result in pregnancy. For that matter, not all pregnancies result in living offspring.

The passage where she says “I know not any man” is indeed speaking of present tense, as best I can tell. I’m no scholar in Greek, but from what I can tell, the verb form being used is present (not past, future, or perfect) tense. Thus, it’s not fair to say that she was saying anything about the future at this time. Even if we had a verse that said “And Mary took a vow of lifelong celibacy” it still would not tell us that Luke 1:34 speaks of anything other than present tense. If it were a continual state of being, as GoodFella has suggested in the past, we should most certainly see another verb form used – but we don’t. Mary spoke (according to the text) in present tense only.

It’s like if I said in English…“I am not sexually active” or “I do not know a woman”. While this is currently true, it doesn’t mean that I never intend to change this situation. I have taken no vow of virginity. Even if I were engaged to be married, I could still say that I am a virgin, and it would be true – but obviously once I’m married, I intend that to change.

Regarding being betrothed – my understanding of these things (feel free to cite evidence to the contrary) is that betrothal periods could last over a year. If, perhaps (I’m just posing a theory here, not saying it’s fact), the angel appeared to Mary just after she became betrothed (this is not certain – scripture doesn’t tell us one way or the other), and if she was an upstanding Jew (thus not having sex with Joseph until marriage – according to God’s law, rather than supposed Jewish custom), she may well have been puzzled. Think about it – Elizabeth just became pregnant, probably almost immediately after an angel appeared saying it would happen (Luke is a bit foggy on the exact timing, but my best studying seems to indicate it happened very soon after). Now an angel is appearing to Mary, saying she’s going to have a child.

Is this a certain interpretation? By no means. But it does fit all of the available evidence in scripture. Furthermore, we see some additional supporting evidence…
*Matthew 1:18 Amplified
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place under these circumstances: When His mother Mary had been promised in marriage to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be pregnant [through the power] of the Holy Spirit.
*The emphasis is mine. Please note that in my studies, the use of “before X happened” almost always implies that afterward, X did happen. If it was known Mary was a temple virgin, and was never going to have sex with Joseph, Matthew would never have written “before they came together” (which is, obviously, a euphemism for sexual intercourse). You don’t write “before X happened” if X was never going to happen.




Take the following example…

*Before my friend, let’s call him Joe, was killed by a drunk driver, he called me on a cell phone, and asked me to pick him up.
There are only two possible explanations I can come up with:

  1. Joe actually was killed by a drunk driver, and called me before that happened.
  2. This is far less likely, but still plausible. Perhaps Joe (or the writer of the sentence) anticipated that he would be hit by a drunk driver if he stayed where he was, and thus took steps to avert what he knew was coming.

To say that there was no thought of sex between Mary and Joseph happening is as if to say…

My friend, Joe, was standing in a park in the middle of the day. There were no drunks around, and he was so far inside the park, it would be extremely odd for a drunk driver to get to where he was anyway. Before he got hit by a drunk driver, Joe called me and asked me to pick him up.

Now, how silly is that? If there’s no thought of some particular action happening, then you don’t write about before X happened.

Before I drove to work, I realized that it was snowing outside, and that the roads would be icy.

Obviously, in that example, I had every intent of driving to work.

Thus, we can see that Matthew, at least, was oblivious to Mary’s vow. And if one of the twelve is not aware of it, it seems that either it was so unimportant that Jesus never mentioned it (and thus argument over it is pointless, as it’s trivial) or it didn’t happen.



Atemi, it’s clear that you’re not reading my responses (either that or you are going out of your way to misinterpret them), so any continuing posts on my part would be an exercise in futility. :shrug:

If you ever improve your reading comprehension, let me know and perhaps we can debate the point again.






No. That is not why it matters, Manny.

It may also be the truth that Mary was a brunette. That is not dogma nor is it of importance to the Kingdom of God and the salvation of souls.

Why anyone on earth must believe that Mary never had sex with her lawful husband 2000 years ago is beyond me…and that anyone could lose their salvation if they did not believe it, is even worse.



No one seems to have addressed this…



PC Master did.

Whether Mary did not have other children besides Christ is irrelevant to the topic at hand.

Jesus could have been Mary’s only child and she still did not have to be forever virgin.

Childlessness is not the indicator of virginity.



Ezek. 44:2 - Ezekiel prophesies that no man shall pass through the gate by which the Lord entered the world. This is a prophecy of Mary’s perpetual virginity. Mary remained a virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus.


Ryan :slight_smile:



Here is a bit of clear scripture for you: Scripture clearly identifies Jesus “as the carpenter’s son” …so clearly Jesus was concieved by Mary and Joseph with divine assistance … :confused: And this passage is more clear than many … The angel speaking furture tense, Mary responding past tense … why did the angel not correct her present tense response with “Mary, I don;t mean right now, but later when you and Joseph come together” …But, wait, Joseph is not part of the equation … So why did he not say “I mean you’ll conceive right now, before you and Joseph “know” each other in the carnal sense, later you can know each other with abandon” And who was recording this conversation anyway … they should be shot for leaving us this quandry …

I like how those who say it “does not matter” … then insist that it does matter and that catholic’s invent this stuff …

They cherry pick passages and add to the textual meanings at will but catholics “put the words they wish Mary had spoke” in the text …

So lets look at why it does matter … The Holy of Holies and the Ark are pure things, not to be defiled, not for common usage. Now I know that married realtions are not unclean, unholy or sinful…However, Mary was overcome by the Hoy Spirit, impregnated by God, claimed as His own … many very early references refer to Mary as the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. You can only have one spouse…the Holy Spirit is eternal ergo Mary remained faithful to God her entire earthly life. Joseph was her protector, caring for both Mary and Jesus, at least until Jesus was twelve and entering manhood, when He assumed the care of his Mother [Joseph not appearing in scriputure from that point forward].

Siblings…siblings of the God-Man, do you not see the problems this would pose? Direct descendents of Jesus, relatives - half brothers and sisters or full brothers and sisters - half gods… The Greek and Roman Gods and many of the pagan religions had sexual relations between Gods and men with offspring … those who curried favor and had pull with …

Now in the early heresies people believed Jesus was either God [not Man] or only Man [not God] … The church is deciding those heresies determined that Mary was the Mother of God and that JEsus was both fully God and fully Man…

Today, we have people who claim to be descendents of Jesus …and we have theologians who say that not only was Mary not ever virgin but that the conception of Jesus was probably the result of a rape by a roman soldier … Thus we have the result of the 1800’s Christian Revival, the Modernist Movement and the Age of the Enlightenment merged with the free sex of the 1960’s [everybody does it with everybody] with all of its anti-catholic undertones …



They wouldn’t have been a half god. If Joseph fathered a child w/ Mary, that child would not be any more divine than any other human.

I am assuming you are saying that some in the culture would view them as half gods. Is this your point?



No, you assume that it is a prophesy of that. Does it talk about Mary elsewhere in the passage? Not that I’ve seen.

The Amplified Bible contains the following note…*In Christ’s time the Golden Gate was the principal eastside thoroughfare. Through it the Prince of Peace would naturally make His triumphal entry. But by A.D. 1542-3, when Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem, tradition says that the road which once led to this gate had fallen into disuse, and what is now St. Stephen’s Gate was the accepted entrance. So the Sultan walled up the Golden Gate with its double entrance, and it has remained so ever since.
*Other commentaries I have found on the passage back this up, and suggest other meanings in relation to the whole context of the passage, rather than pulling this one verse out of context. Using a verse in context is far more reasonable than taking it out on its own, I believe, especially when saying that it’s prophetic of an event.

Yada> Your assumptions aside, there’s a few points to make.

You say that you can have only one legal spouse. This is true. But first, the Holy Spirit is not a physical being, and thus is not a physical spouse. Second, being married to Joseph indeed made him her spouse. Either Mary was married to Joseph, or she wasn’t. Whether or not she had taken any vow, and whether or not Joseph was supposedly her protector (both of which are assumptions only supported by sources which are not very credible, like the Protoevangelium of James) – marriage between the two made Mary the spouse of Joseph under the law, and therefore in God’s eyes as well.

People will always come up with theories, including that Jesus was the natural child of Mary, rather than a divinely-conceived child. I have faith that this is not the case. The question is, does your belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary come down to faith only, or do you believe it’s factually supportable?

If you believe it’s supportable, please kindly respond to the points in my previous post.

As for whether or not it matters – it doesn’t change my faith. However, a more realistic view of Mary may serve as less of a stumbling block to those seeking God.

Regarding the half-god thing – I’m with Pwrlftr on this one. The “divine DNA” Jesus had (if any – I mean, we didn’t exactly have DNA testing two millennia ago, so we don’t exactly know what his DNA makeup was) would have come from God. Mary was not divine. She was an ordinary person. Two ordinary people having sex does not result in half-deities as children.

The larger concern, and where your argument really comes into play is if Jesus had had children himself, they might be seen as partial deities. But that’s not the point of discussion. Additionally, we don’t see the early Christian authors dealing with people who claimed to be divine due to being the descendants of Mary and Joseph, so I doubt that such claims, if any, were given serious consideration.If Mary and Joseph did have other children, it’s quite possible that they didn’t have children themselves, or that they understood Jesus’ purpose, and thus didn’t get into this heresy.

Regardless, it can’t be proven that Mary did have other children (as far as I can tell), and proving that she did not wouldn’t prove the ever-virgin bit anyway, so that seems pointless to engage in further.



You assume it is not a prophesy. Why does it have to talk about Mary elsewhere?

1Co 3:16 *Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? *

Jesus dwelt in Mary first and The Prince of Peace did make His triumphant entry through the gate of Mary.

So, believe what you will.


Ryan :slight_smile:



I assume it is not because the entire passage speaks of multiple gates and has historical connotations which connect it to the physical gates of the city of Jerusalem. If you wish to purport it to speak of Mary, you have to show more than one verse. It is not fair to rip one verse out of context.

1Co 3:16 *Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? *

Jesus dwelt in Mary first and The Prince of Peace did make His triumphant entry through the gate of Mary.

Show me any other instance where the womb is referred to as a gate metaphorically. As for the passage in 1 Corinthians – it speaks of the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in every believer.

Jesus also walked through many gates during his life, and entered through a particular gate in Jerusalem which fits the prophesy very well. Care to explain how your interpretation is better, aside from that you want it to be right?

So, believe what you will.

Would you care to address the other points I raised. For instance, how could Matthew have been oblivious to the vow Mary took? Check out my previous posts for that info.



This was answered for me during a bible study conducted by a Dominican Priest from Nigeria. He explained the language and culture of Jesus’ time, relating it to scripture. Following is a private revelation that erased my last objections to Mary’s perpetual virginity. A little language and culture study helps, and this was revealed to me at a Catholic bible study. In those days, a woman relied on her husband for support. When he died, the children then supported her. If she was childless, she was in dire straights, because she had no one to rely on for support. Even worse, society considered her to be cursed by God, who gave her no children. Such women were shunned, and suffered greatly, reduced to begging for subsistence.

Jesus had great love for widows. This was evidenced by the “widow’s mite” story in both Luke 21:1-4 and Mark 13:41-44. Christ was so impressed at the widow in the temple that he made a point of teaching His disciples about her selflessness, for the sake of God. Again, Jesus showed His great love for the widow in Luke 7:11. When He and his entourage met the funeral party leaving the gates of the city of Nain, He took Heavenly pity upon the now childless widow who was enroute to bury her only son. He, as God in Christ, raised her only son to life and presented him to her. God raising an only Son to life. See any similarity? Imagine the awe!

Then, in John 19:26-27, Jesus’ last physical act on earth was to give Mary to John, telling him, “This is your mother” and saying to Mary, “This is your son”. Why did He do this at all, and why as He was dying on the cross? If Mary had any other children, they would have supported her for the remainder of her life. For Jesus to do this would have been a great insult and disrespect to Mary’s other children, IF SHE HAD ANY. There’s the rub! She had no other children to support her, as John “took her into his home from that hour”

Again, in the Aramaic, there was no word for “cousin”. So, “brother” and “sister” were used to describe various relatives. Remember that in some cultures, to this day, brother and sister can be used to address even those from the same town or village. Union members, did your mother actually give birth to all those “brothers” and “sisters” in the photos at the union hall?

The evidence goes against Mary having human children and in favor of her perpetual virginity, inspite of what “bible” Christians love to claim. Remember that they have to attack the Catholic faith, so as to justify their separation from the One True Church. Pray for them, that the Holy Spirit may illuminate their hearts.


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