In Matthew in today’s liturgy of the word the scriptures say that "…Joseph had no relations with her until she had her son. Does that suggest they did later? Is it tradition in the church that Jesus had no relations ever with Mary or is that official doctrine that he didn’t? I’m not sure about the OT reading either. I’m not so sure the OT spoke of the son to be born was born of a “virgin” rather than it was just translated that way. Of course this doesn’t effect lectio divina and it’s efficacy.
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In Matthew in today's liturgy of the word the scriptures say that "...Joseph had no relations with her until she had her son. Does that suggest they did later? Is it tradition in the church that Jesus had no relations ever with Mary or is that official doctrine that he didn't? I'm not sure about the OT reading either. I'm not so sure the OT spoke of the son to be born was born of a "virgin" rather than it was just translated that way. Of course this doesn't effect lectio divina and it's efficacy.
I believe it's Jimmy Akin who has addressed this several times on the Catholic Answers radio show; you might want to check his blog in case he's talked about it there, too.
Summary: we often use the word "until" without meaning that the situation changed afterward. If you say "Grandma loved Grandpa from the day they met until the day he died," that doesn't mean she stopped loving him when he died.
(Note: Jimmy's examples were much better, this was just all I could think of on the spur of the moment.)
I'm glad that you brought this up as I came across a "catholic" commentary on the readings and their comment was that "Joseph, now at peace, took Mary to his home as his wife. And he had no sexual relations with her until after Jesus was born."
Also there are many variations in the different Scripture translations. Some of them are offensive and state things like "Joseph woke up. He did what the angel of the Lord commanded him to do. He took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not make love to her until after she gave birth to a son. And Joseph gave him the name Jesus.(NIRV)
Which translation is the one that is closest to the original text?
Is this the radio show?:
The original Greek is “καὶ οὐκ ἐγίνωσκεν αὐτὴν ἕως οὗ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν” (and he knew her not until she bore a son").
Now, that word ἕως (“heos”) is what’s in play here. As others have mentioned, Catholic apologists have explained the meaning of that word in detail. One example that I like to use, comes from the Old Testament. In the story of David and his first wife (Michal), the Bible helps us see the way that ‘heos’ is used:
“As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal, daughter of Saul, looked down from her window, and when she saw King David jumping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart… Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him and said, ‘How well the king of Israel has honored himself today, exposing himself to the view of the slave girls of his followers, as a commoner might expose himself!’ But David replied to Michael, ‘I was dancing before the LORD… I will be lowly in your eyes, but in the eyes of the slave girls you spoke of I will be somebody.’ Saul’s daughter Michal was childless to the day she died.” (see 2 Samuel 6)
Now, in the Greek of the Septuagint Bible, this last sentence is “καὶ τῇ Μελχολ θυγατρὶ Σαουλ οὐκ ἐγένετο παιδίον ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας τοῦ ἀποθανεῖν αὐτήν”. Do you see it? The word ‘heos’ – which means ‘until’ or ‘to’ – is here! Now, let me ask you a question: if Michal was childless ἕως the day of her death, does that imply that she had a child after she died? Likewise, if Mary did not have relations with Joseph ἕως she bore a son, does that imply that she had relations with him afterward?
Of course it doesn’t! And, just to help put some context around our discussion, let’s look at what Matthew was trying to say: he was writing to a Jewish Christian audience, and from a Jewish perspective, the criticism was “son of God? Are you crazy? We knew him in his hometown – he’s the son of Joseph, you fools!” So, Matthew wants to demonstrate that (1) Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit, not of Joseph and (2) there’s no way that Joseph could have been Jesus’ natural father. So, that’s why he frames it up the way he does!
Hope that helps!
Original text? I don’t know I guess it would be the Aramaic.
Ok. So then it is known and taught as official doctrine and/or tradition that Mary remained a virgin all her life? What exactly is so great about virginity in God’s eyes?
Yes. The Perpetual Virginity of Mary is a teaching of the Church. See the Catechism, beginning at paragraph 499.
What exactly is so great about virginity in God’s eyes?
From the Catechism, paragraph 506: “Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faith ‘unadulterated by any doubt’, and of her undivided gift of herself to God’s will.”