Translation of the words "brother" and "cousin"


Your reply is nothing more than attempt at diversion. Why not just admit your quote

“Indeed she ought rather to be called not a virgin than a virgin” (Tertullian, [On the Flesh of Christ]

was disingenuous in trying to disprove Mary as ever virgin. Did you even read it before making the claim?

It does no focus on Mary in the least, does not say anything of a hymen, argues only how Jesus is both human and divine.


Absolutely. This writing does not deny Mary’s virginity especially since it is out of context. Tertullian is not saying this about what he believes but what the heretic was saying. @mcq72

We acknowledge, however, that the prophetic declaration of Simeon is fulfilled, which he spoke over the recently-born Saviour: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be spoken against.” The sign (here meant) is that of the birth of Christ, according to Isaiah: “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” We discover, then, what the sign is which is to be spoken against – the conception and the parturition of the Virgin Mary, concerning which these sophists say: “She a virgin and yet not a virgin bare, and yet did not bear;” just as if such language, if indeed it must be uttered, would not be more suitable even for ourselves to use! For “she bare,” because she produced offspring of her own flesh and “yet she did not bear,” since she produced Him not from a husband’s seed; she was “a virgin,” so far as (abstinence) from a husband went, and “yet not a virgin,” as regards her bearing a child. There is not, however, that parity of reasoning which the heretics affect: in other words it does not follow that for the reason “she did not bear,” she who was “not a virgin” was “yet a virgin,” even because she became a mother without any fruit of her own womb.


Well, very difficult reading for me, yet those more knowledgeable than I have uttered their understanding which I have relayed here…upon reading the full quote nicely provided by Hope I think I stand by my posting their understanding. Pretty much seems to say she was not a virgin after child bearing, that is, because of the child bearing, she was no longer virgin…again, are we to deny the meaning of virgin back then as also meaning a closed “womb” (hymen) ?


Agree, it is a difficult writing to understand. Have you read it yet? Since you are the one who originally referenced it, it would only be fair. (The link is a bit up thread.)

Keeping in mind the main topic is to assert the humanity of Jesus it nevertheless affirms Mary to be

a virgin as regards her husband

This writing of Tertullian provides no reason to assume the Virgin Mary birthed other children than Jesus, the Son of God.

This is commonly referred to, I believe, as “moving the goalposts?”


Well I don’t move goslposts, but history has, with reference to the definition or implication of “virgin”, even as per Catholic definition (and have asked for any correction on this if needed). Have admitted this does not address Mary having children or not. It does address early fathers and writings meaning of the word (not to mention the midwife in “James” nativity story), and I think my three quotes are relevant to this point.


Correct, just states she was not virgin after His birth, but neutral as to any later births.


Not sure which link you mean…I am referencing the full paragraph or two quote that Hope nicely posted…just a few posts above.


I think tertullian is taking the sophists wording and turning it around against the heretics, with the correct meaning…the “did not bare” changes from no fruit of her womb (all God, no humanity) to meaning correctly not any thing from Joseph but certainly from Mary and God, fully God and fully man…like pre Trinitarian wording.


Excerpt from Tertulian

"But there is some ground for thinking that Christ’s answer denies His mother and brethren for the present, as even Apelles might learn. The Lord’s brethren had not yet believed in Him. John 7:5So is it contained in the Gospel which was published before Marcion’s time; while there is at the same time a want of evidence of His mother’s adherence to Him, although the Marthas and the other Marys were in constant attendance on Him. In this very passage indeed, their unbelief is evident. Jesus was teaching the way of life, preaching the kingdom of God and actively engaged in healing infirmities of body and soul; but all the while, while strangers were intent on Him, His very nearest relatives were absent… When denying one’s parents in indignation, one does not deny their existence , but censures their faults "…tertullian…new advent…flesh of Christ

Interesting that he implies Mary with a fault, or that it would seem reasonable that Mary was still not quite like Martha and Mary in understanding, or lack of evidence either way.


I missed your response to Hope, where you admitted Tertullian did not say whether Mary had other children, the originally implied “goalpost” (for denying virginity). Your issue now, is that history changed the definition of the word “virgin” and that is what you want to discuss, rather than whether she had children with Joseph after the birth of Jesus. It’s a side topic, one that doesn’t interest me.

I do appreciate (from your post #277) being introduced to this writing which has much to say to the heritics who were queasy about Jesus’ humanity. :no_mouth: Still, the language is challenging.


Tertullian is an odd bird from the slight research I have done. One source said that he did not maintain the view of total virginity another said he held Mary was a virgin before Jesus’ birth and after but not during. I am also confused if he had left the church or not. I told you that I don’t want to get into the birth thing so I will not comment further on that aspect. I define virginity, as most others do,no sex, differently than Tertullian did. Jerome commented on Tertullian “As to Tertullian, I have nothing else to say except that he was not a man of the church”.

What I am disputing with you mcq is that until Jerome the Church did not believe in Mary ever virgin. The Church always believed in Mary ever virgin and that this was in writing before Jerome.


Lol…yes we are back to the beginning. Actually that the church “always believed in Mary ever virgin” is a much more definitive claim than mine, and if I recall “debate/discussion” protocol, the burden of proof is on you. As to my stand, it basically challenges yours, or as I subsequently posted, if one assumes it was taught, one can assume the contrary was taught…both are assumptions out of “silence”…no direct evidence, only hearsay. I agree with those that say this dogma obviously developed which does not deny that at some point it began to be taught, probably first by some, to later by all, or finally embraced as dogma for all.

Where I make a less definitive claim it is saying that it is possible someone taught it from the beginning, but that it was not eveyone, or an apostle, and certainly not the church as whole. That is, it was not taught universally like all the other doctrines we agree on.

So we have Jerome in latter 4th century, being explicit, and you say you found an earlier writer, maybe latter 3rd century(still have to look back to your post on that), and you have Jerome saying earlier writers would also attest to doctrine but have no writings to back that claim, making that hearsay (save for the one you claim you found), and understand Mitaka post that perhaps these writings were lost that Jerome referenced, to which I add we may have also lost any writers claiming a contrary doctrine, such as Helvidius writings.

From the other direction we have nothing explicit from scripture, and no hearsay that apostles taught it.


Once I present evidence the burden of proof shifts to you. I hope we have established that there was no orthodox Church Father that denied her being ever virgin and that there were Church Fathers who said that she was.
Origen ( Commentary on Matthew 2:17 [ A.D. 248 ])Affirms that she remained ever virgin.
We also have the laws of the Jews which said that the oldest son was to provide for his mother. We see Jesus doing so at the cross. I have heard some explanations but such explanations disregard the law and customs. In other words, they set their answers in this century which is known as anachronism. I know you don’t like James but it is up to you to prove what he wrote was not true to the times.


Agree knowledge of customs is important, and one (gentile) could be ignorant of them even a century later …and Helvidius,Tertullian, said what folks like me today say.

I suppose anachronism is a perfect word for the development of Marian doctrine…thay is they (gentile christians) applied their current sentiments on ascetism, marriage ,sex, the flesh, dualism, to a 1st century Jewish event.


With caveat that some do consider Tertullian to have some writings worthwile, and thus could be listed as a church father (certainly not any of his works contrary to his orthodox writings, that is, after he strayed).


And your evidence? We have already established which you have not refuted that the teaching of Mary being ever virgin existed in writing from James. We have established that there was no Early Orthodox Fathers that said she was not but they did say she was. No anachronism exist as you say it does.


Well, it has been opinionated by most scholars, if not all, that it is spurious. And more than a few find it quite anachronistic (a Greek or Roman cultured gentile, ignorant of Jewish customs, writing it)…making it to a list of books “to be avoided by Catholics” (Gelatious Decree 6thC)

Understand that many share your opinion of the book, many.


It is why I said Orthodox. He was not considered Orthodox


By most? No that won’t do who? I am sorry I cannot make out who or what was spurious and what many find wnchronistic? Typing on a phone? that could cause the confusion.


Yes, that was a careful wording, but perhaps I meant, that his writings are considered by some Orthodox, before His late departure.

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