Perpetual Virginity - Tertullian?

I know I am probably on a big limb here and will be knocked off by protestants.

but i need convincing that Tertullian actually thought Mary had other children or that she had a sexual relatonship with joseph.

the main extracts that will be used are as follows.

Behold, there immediately present themselves to us, on the threshold as it were, the two priestesses of Christian sanctity, Monogamy and Continence: one modest, in Zechariah the priest; one absolute, in John the forerunner: one appeasing God; one preaching Christ: one proclaiming a perfect priest; one exhibiting ‘more than a prophet,’ - him, namely, who has not only preached or personally pointed out, but even baptized Christ. For who was more worthily to perform the initiatory rite on the body of the Lord, than flesh similar in kind to that which conceived and gave birth to that body? And indeed it was a virgin, about to marry once for all after her delivery, who gave birth to Christ, in order that each title of sanctity might be fulfilled in Christ’s parentage, by means of a mother who was both virgin, and wife of one husband." (On Monogamy, 8)

okay… the extract from “on monogamy” appears pretty convincing, but tertullian then goes on later in the same chapter to discuss chastity including the following comments

“…others who, after marriage, remained (or became) virgins…”

and then in a previous book “On exhortation to chastity” he writes the following in Chapter 1*…"…a third grade remains, monogamy, when after the interception of a marriage once contracted, there is thereafter a renunciation of sexual connection…" *

Given the above quotes on a chaste marriage, I’m not so sure that his words describing Mary as fullfilling the role of both Virgin and wife necesarrily mean she slept with Joseph.

then there is
Against Marcion 4:19
He did not so much deny as disavow727 them. And therefore, when to the previous question, "Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?728 He added the answer “None but they who hear my words and do them,” He transferred the names of blood-relationship to others, whom He judged to be more closely related to Him by reason of their faith. [12] Now no one transfers a thing except from him who possesses that which is transferred. If, therefore, He made them “His mother and His brethren” who were not so, how could He deny them these relationships who really had them? Surely only on the condition of their deserts, and not by any disavowal of His near relatives; teaching them by His own actual example,729 that "whosoever preferred father or mother or brethren to the Word of God, was not a disciple worthy of Him."730 Besides,731 His admission of His mother and His brethren was the more express, from the fact of His unwillingness to acknowledge them. [13] That He adopted others only confirmed those in their relationship to Him whom He refused because of their offence, and for whom He substituted the others, not as being truer relatives, but worthier ones.

why does he use the word ‘brethren’, a cousin is still a blood relationship right?
his Mother is certainly a blood relationship

is this extract of Tertullian so convincing to others out there (ie: against PV)?

any discussion on this would be great.

Well, considering Tertullian wrote these things as he was sliding into heresy, I would not be terribly swayed by them. But I am not sure I understand your question . . .

Yeah re-reading it, it is not very clear.
I believe it is commonly thought that tertullian did not recognize the perpetual virginity of Mary. And the two extracts I provided above are used to illustrate this.

But I’m not so sure that a denial of PV can be made by appealing to them.

Do you agree?

Tertullian may seem to think Mary had other children, but the evidence is weak. Even if he did, it was never the teaching of the Church and no one even dreamed up the notion until well after the so called reformation.

This is about marriage in general. There is nothing in this quote that remotely suggests Mary had other children. Here is the full text: tertullian.org/anf/anf04/anf04-17.htm#P1162_303350

Tertullian is not describing Our Blessed Mom. Her name is not mentioned. Here is the full text “On exhortation to chastity”:
mb-soft.com/believe/txu/tertulm4.htm

Your question is vague. Tertullian wrote in Greek. There is no word for cousin in Greek. “blood relations” can mean step children.

“The perpetual virginity of Mary has always been reconciled with the biblical references to Christ’s brethren through a proper understanding of the meaning of the term “brethren.” The understanding that the brethren of the Lord were Jesus’ stepbrothers (children of Joseph) rather than half-brothers (children of Mary) was the most common one until the time of Jerome (fourth century). It was Jerome who introduced the possibility that Christ’s brethren were actually his cousins, since in Jewish idiom cousins were also referred to as “brethren.” The Catholic Church allows the faithful to hold either view, since both are compatible with the reality of Mary’s perpetual virginity.” Mary: Ever Virgin

Not to me. What seems to be is not definitive. Even if Tertullian came right out and said “Mary had other children”, all it would mean is that he would be contradicting what everyone believed. He would be wrong. This blasphemous notion was not invented until 100-200 years AFTER the so called reformation, and became popular with CULTS only recently. It results in a diminishment of the Incarnation and is therefore a doctrine of demons.

thanks Kepha1.

I tried to explain myself a bit better in my 2nd post on this thread.

I agree with what you say. I guess I did not expect support for the view.

In my discussions on these forums in the past, tertullian was always called up by those denying PV, and I always wanted to look at what he wrote a bit closer.

Hello, Panevino. I don’t think that you have examined all the relevant passages from Tertullian. Here is how I would present his position wrt the PV of Mary:

  • To what purpose could they have tempted Him by naming His mother and His brethren? If it was to ascertain whether He had been born or not–when was a question raised on this point, which they must resolve by tempting Him in this way? … Even if it had been necessary that He should thus be tried in the investigation of His birth, surely any other proof would have better answered the trial than that to be obtained from mentioning those relatives which it was quite possible for Him, in spite of His true nativity, not at that moment to have had. For tell me now, does a mother live on contemporaneously with her sons in every case? Have all sons brothers born for them? …… If, therefore, He made them “His mother and His brethren” who were not so, how could He deny them these relationships who really had them? Surely only on the condition of their deserts, and not by any disavowal of His near relatives; teaching them by His own actual example, that “whosoever preferred father or mother or brethren to the Word of God, was not a disciple worthy of Him.” Besides, His admission of His mother and His brethren was the more express, from the fact of His unwillingness to acknowledge them. That He adopted others only confirmed those in their relationship to Him whom He refused because of their offence, and for whom He substituted the others, not as being truer relatives, but worthier ones. Finally, it was no great matter if He did prefer to kindred (that) faith which it did not possess.* Against Marcion IV .19

here Tertullian, in the context of discussing Jesus’ mother and brethren asks “does a mother live on contemporaneously with her sons in every case?” By so doing he designated the brethern of Jesus to be Mary’s sons…now if you want to interpret Tertullian’s wording to mean that he believed Mary had sons by way of the pre-existing children of Joseph, it’s possible, though more than he explicitly says and unlikely given his choice of words.

*But let Apelles, as well as Marcion, hear from me what was the reason behind the reply which for the moment denied mother and brethren. Our Lord’s brethren did not believe in him: this also is included in the Gospel as it was published before Marcion’s day. His mother likewise is not shown to have adhered to him, though Martha and other Marys are often mentioned as being in his company. At this juncture their unbelief at last comes into the open. When Jesus was teaching the way of life, when he was preaching the Kingdom of God, when he was occupied in healing infirmities and sicknesses, though strangers were intent upon him these near relations were absent…‘Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?’? When Christ was preaching God and giving proof of him, was fulfilling the Law and the Prophets, and was dispelling the darkness of long ages past, was it without justification that he used this expression to castigate the unbelief of those who stood without, or at least to expose their unseasonableness in calling him back from his work? * On the Flesh of Christ 7

**here Tertullian indicated a lack of evidence of Mary’s adherence to Jesus, thereby questioning her faithfulness to the Lord at the time of John 7:5…Why do venerators say God ensured the perpetual virginity of Mary? Isn’t a main reason to emphasize her absolute purity?..something entirely at odds with questioning her faithfulness to the Lord. Do you really think that Tertullian would call into question Mary’s faithfulness and still feel the need assert her virginity after Christ’s birth? **

She who bare (really) bare; and although she was a virgin when she conceived, she was a wife when she brought forth her son.* Now, as a wife, she was under the very law of opening the womb, ** wherein it was quite immaterial whether the birth of the male was by virtue of a husband’s co-operation or not;** it was the same sex that opened her womb**. Indeed, hers is the womb on account of which it is written of others also: Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord. * On the Flesh of Christ 23

Here Tertullian declares his belief in Mary’s virginity at conception and indicates that the birth process opened her womb …no virginity through the birth process…

Turning now to the law, which is properly ours— that is, to the Gospel— by what kind of examples are we met, until we come to definite dogmas? Behold, there immediately present themselves to us, on the threshold as it were, the two priestesses of Christian sanctity, Monogamy and Continence: one modest, in Zechariah the priest; one absolute, in John the forerunner: one appeasing God; one preaching Christ: one proclaiming a perfect priest;…For who was more worthily to perform the initiatory rite on the body of the Lord, than flesh similar in kind to that which conceived and gave birth to that (body)? And indeed it was a virgin, about to marry once for all after her delivery, who gave birth to Christ, in order that each title of sanctity might be fulfilled in Christ’s parentage, by means of a mother who was both virgin, and wife of one husband. On Monagamy 8

Here Tertullian sounds as if he is putting forward a view similar to Helvidius’s (as described by Jerome)…namely that Mary held both of the titles of sanctity by being both the virgin and the wife (a wife being a non-virgin, as being under the very law of opening the womb).

My 2 cents since you asked:

Your last quote from Tertullian in his work, “On the Flesh of Christ” is what I always point to as evidence that he believed that the brethren of the Lord were Jesus’ blood siblings, i.e. the children of Mary, His mother.

Tertullian wasn’t shy about stating his opinion. In his treatise on baptism he challenged the practice of baptizing small children, and in another place he challenged the church’s power to forgive “irremissible” sins (On Modesty). But the nature of his dissertation against Marcion transcends his personal opinion by the use of the plural pronoun, we. He writes this as if what he is stating is the orthodox belief of the church.

Tertullian produced his apology against Marcion, in part, to defend the fact that Christ possessed a body like ours. This was in opposition to the Gnostics who believed only in the divine nature of Christ. Because of the argument he makes concerning Christ’s human nature, it is absolutely certain that he believed the brethren of Lord were blood relatives. Furthermore, he states that these relatives are Jesus’ mother, brothers and sisters. This he wrote in the Latin language where if he meant “cousins” he could have identified them as such.

The fact that Tertullian believed the brothers of the Lord were blood relatives of Jesus presents and interesting situation. At around the same time Origen stated that those who believe Mary kept her virginity throughout her life based it on a spurious work that identified the brethren of Jesus as children of Joseph. If Tertullian believed that Mary kept her virginity, he was certainly not in agreement with what Origen claimed was the basis for it.

In terms of orthodoxy, it doesn’t seem clear either way. I hope we can set aside frivolous accusations regarding Tertullian’s orthodoxy (which has nothing to do with the topic at hand) and assertions of what the church “taught” during the time on this issue. It is evident enough that both viewpoints were held in the church at the time, one favoring the perpetual virginity of Mary, which seemed to be prevalent in the east, and the other that Mary had other children after Jesus, which seems to be understood as factual by Tertullian in the west.

The Catholic Encyclopedia appears to affirm that Tertullian held the view that Mary did not remain a virgin from this excerpt:

Two works are against the Docetism of the Gnostics, “De carne Christi” and “De resurrectione carnis”. Here he emphasizes the reality of Christ’s Body and His virgin-birth, and teaches a corporal resurrection. But he seems to deny the virginity of Mary, the Mother of Christ, in partu, though he affirms it ante partum. (C.E. Tertullian)

Note: ante partum: from “On the Resurrection of the Flesh” chapter 20 and in partum: from “On the Flesh of Christ” chapter 7

ouch, this is strong.
not much to say here, though agree children of Joseph by previous marriage is a possibility.

But let Apelles, as well as Marcion, hear from me what was the reason behind the reply which for the moment denied mother and brethren. Our Lord’s brethren did not believe in him: this also is included in the Gospel as it was published before Marcion’s day. His mother likewise is not shown to have adhered to him, though Martha and other Marys are often mentioned as being in his company. At this juncture their unbelief at last comes into the open. When Jesus was teaching the way of life, when he was preaching the Kingdom of God, when he was occupied in healing infirmities and sicknesses, though strangers were intent upon him these near relations were absent…‘Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?’? When Christ was preaching God and giving proof of him, was fulfilling the Law and the Prophets, and was dispelling the darkness of long ages past, was it without justification that he used this expression to castigate the unbelief of those who stood without, or at least to expose their unseasonableness in calling him back from his work? On the Flesh of Christ 7

here Tertullian indicated a lack of evidence of Mary’s adherence to Jesus, thereby questioning her faithfulness to the Lord at the time of John 7:5…Why do venerators say God ensured the perpetual virginity of Mary?

not sure, or not aware of anyone saying God ensured it, but that she commited herself to God teh Father for God the Son .

Isn’t a main reason to emphasize her absolute purity?.

its an illustration of the divintiy of Jesus given the unavoidable respect due to God the Fatherby His handmaid.

…something entirely at odds with questioning her faithfulness to the Lord. Do you really think that Tertullian would call into question Mary’s faithfulness and still feel the need assert her virginity after Christ’s birth?

understood,

…snip… Now, as a wife, she was under the very law of opening the womb,

wherein it was quite immaterial whether the birth of the male was by virtue of a husband’s co-operation or not;** it was the same sex that opened her womb**. Indeed, hers is the womb on account of which it is written of others also: Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord. On the Flesh of Christ 23

Here Tertullian declares his belief in Mary’s virginity at conception and indicates that the birth process opened her womb …no virginity through the birth process…
understood… - as a side note I note irenaeus saying something like "…opened that pure womb in a pure manner…"Against Heresies, IV 33, 11

Turning now to the law, which is properly ours— that is, to the Gospel— by what kind of examples are we met, until we come to definite dogmas? Behold, there immediately present themselves to us, on the threshold as it were, the two priestesses of Christian sanctity, Monogamy and Continence: one modest, in Zechariah the priest; one absolute, in John the forerunner: one appeasing God; one preaching Christ: one proclaiming a perfect priest;…For who was more worthily to perform the initiatory rite on the body of the Lord, than flesh similar in kind to that which conceived and gave birth to that (body)? And indeed it was a virgin, about to marry once for all after her delivery, who gave birth to Christ, in order that each title of sanctity might be fulfilled in Christ’s parentage, by means of a mother who was both virgin, and wife of one husband. On Monagamy 8

Here Tertullian sounds as if he is putting forward a view similar to Helvidius’s (as described by Jerome)…namely that Mary held both of the titles of sanctity by being both the virgin and the wife (a wife being a non-virgin, as being under the very law of opening the womb).

as you know this one I disagree with, and read it as support of PV. Given he states that Mary carries both titles.
as soon as she sleeps with joseph, she looses the title of Virgin.
“…in order that each title of sanctity might be fulfilled in Christ’s parentage…”

his parentage would cease to include a virgin.

with a chaste marriage (ie: role of virgin and wife) explained to be possible only a couple paragraphs later
“…others who, after marriage, remained (or became) virgins…”

and also in the previous book leading up to the discussion on title of Virgin and Wife.

“On exhortation to chastity”* a third grade remains, monogamy, when after the interception of a marriage once contracted, there is thereafter a renunciation of sexual connection…" *

Well I was looking around in the Bible and I found some verses that might explain some things.

Matthew 12:46, Luke 8:19-20, Mark 6:3, Mark 3:31, Matthew 13:55-56, John 7:1-10, Acts 1:14, Galatians 1:19

biblos.com/

Hey, thanks for reviving the thread.
You may find the following interesting

Papias fragment X
earlychristianwritings.com/text/papias.html

&

Fragments of Clement of Alexandria

II.–COMMENTS ON THE EPISTLE OF JUDE,
Jude, who wrote the Catholic Epistle, the brother of the sons of Joseph, and very religious, whilst knowing the near relationship of the Lord, yet did not say that he himself was His brother. But what said he?(3) “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ,”–of Him as Lord; but “the brother of James.” For this is true; he was His brother, (the son)(4) of Joseph.

Hello all. Cathoholic here.

I am writing a book on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, was researching many related issues and that brought me to this thread. It will probably never be published. I’m just doing it as a kind of devotional but it is well over 300 pages already. I may eventually leave some of it “on the cutting room floor” as they say.

Several people have weighed in on this so I might as well too. I wasn’t going to research Tertullian because he was a heretic and I initially thought “why bother”. But I decided to anyway. Here is the excerpt from my book on the Tertullian issue.

The Tertullian Objection

Tertullian (160 A.D. to 225 A.D.) was an ecclesiastical writer. The Catholic Encyclopedia has this to say concerning him . . .

Tertullian was an ecclesiastical writer in the second and third centuries, b. probably about 160 at Carthage, being the son of a centurion in the proconsular service. He was evidently by profession an advocate in the law-courts, and he shows a close acquaintance with the procedure and terms of Roman law . . . A pagan until middle life, he had shared the pagan prejudices against Christianity, and had indulged like others in shameful pleasures. His conversion was not later than the year 197, and may have been earlier. He embraced the Faith with all the ardour of his impetuous nature. He became a priest, no doubt of the Church of Carthage. . . . his ordination was about 200. His extant writings range in date from the apologetics of 197 to the attack on a bishop who is probably Pope Callistus (after 218). It was after the year 206 that he joined the Montanist sect, and he seems to have definitively separated from the Church about 211 (Harnack) . . . . After writing more virulently against the Church than even against heathen and persecutors, he separated from the Montanists and founded a sect of his own. The remnant of the Tertullianists was reconciled to the Church by St. Augustine. . . .

Some people assert Tertullian was against the doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That may or may not be the case. It isn’t clear to me from reading Tertullian’s so-called denials.

Tertullian was a heretic to be sure, so only very careful credence is given to him as a theologian but admittedly his writings are very useful considering him as a historian.

St. Jerome, when presented by Helvidius (Helvetius) with Tertullian’s alleged denials of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary (Helvidius was the first to interpret Tertullian’s writings this way), just disavowed Tertullian and did not respond directly to Tertullian but rather eventually after some coaxing, responded directly to Helvidius (again Helvidius invoked Tertullian). Let’s look at what St. Jerome said .

Now that I have cleared the rocks and shoals I must spread sail and make all speed to reach his epilogue. Feeling himself to be a smatterer, he (Helvidius) there produces Tertullian as a witness and quotes the words of Victorinus bishop of Petavium. Of Tertullian I say no more than that he did not belong to the Church. But as regards Victorinus, I assert what has already been proved from the Gospel – that he spoke of the brethren of the Lord not as being sons of Mary, but brethren in the sense I have explained, that is to say, brethren in point of kinship not by nature. We are, however, spending our strength on trifles, and, leaving the fountain of truth, are following the tiny streams of opinion.

continued . . .

If these were denials of Tertullian’s, his denials would be as a heretical theologian.

Tertullian became a follower of Montanus who may have been possessed, had bizarre visions and made bold statements. Montanus talked of special knowledge (gnosis) and possibly even a new and better Covenant. He may have ended up committing suicide, we do not know for sure. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia . . .

. . . Montanus declared: “The Lord hath sent **me **as the chooser, the revealer, the interpreter of this labor, this promise, and this covenant, being forced, willingly or unwillingly, to learn the **gnosis **of God.” . . . A better argument (for why Montanus was in trouble with the Church) was the declaration that the new prophecy was of a higher order than the old, and therefore unlike it. It came to be thought higher than the Apostles, and even beyond the teaching of Christ. . .

. . . The anonymous writer admits that he has only an uncertain report for the story that Montanus and Maximilla both hanged themselves, and that Themison was carried into the air by a devil, flung down, and so died. . . .

Tertullian later broke away even from the Montanists and formed a group of followers some historians refer to as “Tertullianists”. The Catholic Encyclopedia goes on to say,

. . . The following of Tertullian cannot have been large; but a Tertullianist sect survived him and its remnants were reconciled to the Church by St. Augustine (Hær., lxxxvi).

If Tertullian expresses a denial (and I am not so sure it is) of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary he would be going against all early orthodox Christianity.

Objection: Tertullian likely did not affirm the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. Tertullian writes that Jesus’ brothers were “really” his brothers (Against Marcion, 4:19).

Answer: This may be so. Tertullian MAY have thought that in a Helvidian way. He MAY have been denying the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. We will look at the “Against Marcion” quote shortly. But remember these “brothers” of Jesus REALLY are “brothers” . . . but in a Hebrew sense. So that is perfectly Biblical and not persuasive against Mary’s Perpetual Virginity.

Continued . . . .

Just because Jesus “REALLY” had “brothers” does NOT mean you can conclude Mary had other children. That conclusion just is NOT convincing.

It must be shown that Mary bore other children or that other children had Mary for their mother. Nothing less will do.

When I say other children we are referring to “biologic children” as we are all Mary’s Children in a sense. This is not the sense we are talking about here though.

Objection: Well elsewhere, in Tertullian’s “On Monogamy” he comments:

"Behold, there immediately present themselves to us, on the threshold as it were, the two priestesses of Christian sanctity, Monogamy and Continence: one modest, in Zechariah the priest; one absolute, in John the forerunner: one appeasing God; one preaching Christ: one proclaiming a perfect priest; one exhibiting ‘more than a prophet,’ - him, namely, who has not only preached or personally pointed out, but even baptized Christ.

For who was more worthily to perform the initiatory rite on the body of the Lord, than flesh similar in kind to that which conceived and gave birth to that body? And indeed it was a virgin, about to marry once for all after her delivery, who gave birth to Christ, in order that each title of sanctity might be fulfilled in Christ’s parentage, by means of a mother who was both virgin, and wife of one husband." (On Monogamy, 8)

**
Objection (continued**): Tertullian says that Mary is representative of both ideals, monogamy and continence. She represented virginity for a while, then represented monogamy within marriage. The latter seems to “replace” the former, as something distinct from it, which is a denial of the perpetual virginity doctrine.

Answer: Think Monogamy in terms of WHO?

Catholics think monogamy in terms of “The Holy Spirit”. Some Protestants think monogamy in terms of “Joseph”.

Zechariah the Levitical Priest = monogamy
St. John the Baptist (“the forerunner”) = Lifelong Virginity

Q: How can you have BOTH of these? How can someone have “monogamy” **and **“lifelong virginity”?

A: The Blessed Virgin Mary that’s how.

If Tertullian means “Monogamy” in terms having a Child” of the Holy Spirit” I don’t have a problem with that.

Continued . . . .

But if Tertullian means “Monogamy” in terms having other kids with Joseph **IN ****ADDITION **to Her Child of the Holy Spirit it seems to contradict what Tertullian said earlier about alluding to the lifelong virginity aspect (St. John the Baptist being the example). And I would have a problem with that.

How can you have offspring **AND **be a LIFELONG VIRGIN at the same time? Only if you affirm the Catholic doctrine on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity that’s how. Mary is the only one we can say is monogamous AND is a lifelong Virgin.

If Tertullian is asserting this here, and I think he is, it actually lends SUPPORT for Mary’s Perpetual Virginity NOT opposition to it.

But admittedly Tertullian would have to further clarify. Tertullian just is not clear in this portion of his writing.

So you can conclude Tertullian is **affirming ****the ****Perpetual ****Virginity ****of ****Mary **or you can conclude he is denying it, or you can conclude Tertullian is just plain confused on the issue.

But you really can’t say anything definitive from reading this passage of Tertullian’s without more evidence. I think that’s WHY it was a couple hundred years until anyone (Helvidius in this case) tried to pass off Tertullian as denying the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. Don’t get me wrong. I am not giving Tertullian carte blanche approbation as a theologian. But I am not convinced he is denying the Perpetual Virginity of Mary here either.

Tertullian implies the Virginity of Jesus. Then Tertullian says it was fitting for God to use Mary’s flesh to fashion Jesus’ body because after all, Mary was a Virgin too.

Jesus was a lifelong Virgin, and if Mary had “flesh similar in kind” you would think Tertullian is at least implying that Mary was a lifelong Virgin too. Although I think Tertullian is referring to the Immaculate sinless nature of Mary here, Tertullian does explicitly say “virginity” in this context so that may be what he is alluding to here or even both Mary’s sinlessness and Mary’s Perpetual Virginity!

For who was more worthily to perform the initiatory rite on the body of the Lord, than flesh similar in kind to that which conceived and gave birth to that body? And indeed it was a virgin, about to marry once for all after her delivery, who gave birth to Christ, in order that each title of sanctity might be fulfilled in Christ’s parentage, by means of a mother who was both virgin, and wife of one husband."

The “about to marry” aspect Tertullian is referring to here is just plain wrong. Mary was “married” before the Archangel Gabriel approached Her.

As we saw earlier in the book, Mary had completed kiddushin and was already married to Joseph. And Mary would have completed Nisuin before Jesus was born too. So either way, Tertullian is wrong on Mary’s marital state. Mary is already married or “espoused” when approached by the Angel Gabriel. Mary was **never **an “unwed mother”.

In conclusion, Tertullian may actually be affirming Mary’s Perpetual Virginity with these quotes. Admittedly, he may also be attacking it. There certainly seems to be an element of confusion on Tertullian’s part here too, especially with regards to the Jewish Marriage Covenant (Tertullian was a convert from paganism so that is not a total surprise).

I know some people think Tertullian MAY be denying Mary’s Virginity with these quotes, but I am not convinced.

I hope this adds to the discussion. God bless.

Don’t hold back radical. Just kidding, and thank you for your usual thoroughness.

Not sure they were married as you say.Tertullian may be correct for betrothed means they made vows but were not yet consumated. I think it is like an engagement in the sense that a year would pass before the couple would "become “one”.Apparently the child would be illegitimate for they had not come together yet.

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