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1413Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Semper Virgo

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  • Rosemarie Lieffring
    Oct 7, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Thanks, Mike. This was exactly the reference I had recalled.-----R

      On Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 4:04 PM, Mike Bennett <jhs1962@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > Here's what I find regarding Mt 1:25 in Luther's Works, pertinent to the
      > question:
      >
      >
      > Then he was asked whether Mary also had intercourse with Joseph after the
      > birth of Christ, for Matthew says that he ‘knew her not until she had borne
      > a son’ [Matt. 1:25]. He [Martin Luther] replied, “The church leaves this [to
      > us] and has not decided. Nevertheless, what happened afterward shows quite
      > strongly that Mary remained a virgin. For after she had perceived that she
      > was the mother of the Son of God, she didn’t think she should become the
      > mother of a human child and adhered to this vow.”
      >
      > Luther, M. (1999, c1967). Vol. 54: Luther's works, vol. 54 : Table Talk (J.
      > J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's Works (54:341).
      > Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
      >
      > and
      >
      >
      > Now this refutes also the false interpretation which some have drawn from
      > the words of Matthew, where he says, “Before they came together she was
      > found to be with child.” They interpret this as though the evangelist meant
      > to say, “Later she came together with Joseph like any other wife and lay
      > with him, but before this occurred she was with child apart from Joseph,”
      > etc. Again, when he says, “And Joseph knew her not until she brought forth
      > her first-born son” [Matt. 1:25], they interpret it as though the evangelist
      > meant to say that he knew her, but not before she had brought forth her
      > first-born son. This was the view of Helvidius which was refuted by
      > Jerome.
      > Such carnal interpretations miss the meaning and purpose of the evangelist.
      > As we have said, the evangelist, like the prophet Isaiah, wishes to set
      > before our eyes this mighty wonder, and point out what an unheard-of thing
      > it is for a maiden to be with child before her husband brings her home and
      > lies with her; and further, that he does not know her carnally until she
      > first has a son, which she should have had after first having been known by
      > him. Thus, the words of the evangelist do not refer to anything that
      > occurred after the birth, but only to what took place before it. For the
      > prophet and the evangelist, and St. Paul as well, do not treat of this
      > virgin beyond the point where they have from her that fruit for whose sake
      > she is a virgin and everything else. After the child is born they dismiss
      > the mother and speak not about her, what became of her, but only about her
      > offspring. Therefore, one cannot from these words [Matt. 1:18, 25] conclude
      > that
      > Mary, after the birth of Christ, became a wife in the usual sense; it is
      > therefore neither to be asserted nor believed. All the words are merely
      > indicative of the marvelous fact that she was with child and gave birth
      > before she had lain with a man.
      > The form of expression used by Matthew is the common idiom, as if I were to
      > say, “Pharaoh believed not Moses, until he was drowned in the Red Sea.” Here
      > it does not follow that Pharaoh believed later, after he had drowned; on the
      > contrary, it means that he never did believe. Similarly when Matthew [1:25]
      > 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. Again, the Red Sea overwhelmed Pharaoh
      > before he got across. Here too it does not follow that Pharaoh got across
      > later, after the Red Sea had overwhelmed him, but rather that he did not get
      > across at all. In like manner, when Matthew [1:18] says, “She was found to
      > be with child before they came together,” it does not follow that Mary
      > subsequently lay with Joseph, but rather that she did not lie with him.
      > Elsewhere in Scripture the same manner of speech is employed. Psalm 110[:1]
      > reads, “God says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies
      > your footstool.’ ” Here it does not follow that Christ does not continue to
      > sit there after his enemies are placed beneath his feet. Again, in Genesis
      > 28[:15], “I will not leave you until I have done all that of which I have
      > spoken to you.” Here God did not leave him after the fulfilment had taken
      > place. Again, in Isaiah 42[:4], “He shall not be sad, nor troublesome,
      > till he has established justice in the earth.” There are many more similar
      > expressions, so that this babble of Helvidius is without justification; in
      > addition, he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture
      > or the common idiom.
      > This is enough for the present to have sufficiently proved that Mary was a
      > pure maiden, and that Christ was a genuine Jew of Abraham’s seed. Although
      > more Scripture passages might be cited, these are the clearest. Moreover,
      > if anyone does not believe a clear saying of His Divine Majesty, it is
      > reasonable to assume that he would not believe either any other more obscure
      > passages. So certainly no one can doubt that it is possible for God to cause
      > a maiden to be with child apart from a man, since he has also created all
      > things from nothing. Therefore, the Jews have no ground for denying this,
      > for they acknowledge God’s omnipotence, and they have here the clear
      > testimony of the prophet Isaiah.
      >
      > Luther, M. (1999, c1962). Vol. 45: Luther's works, vol. 45 : The Christian
      > in Society II (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's
      > Works (45:211-213). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
      >
      > Mike Bennett
      >
      > --- On Wed, 10/7/09, Rosemarie Lieffring <rose.lieffring@...<rose.lieffring%40gmail.com>>
      > wrote:
      >
      > From: Rosemarie Lieffring <rose.lieffring@...<rose.lieffring%40gmail.com>
      > >
      > Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Semper Virgo
      > To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Date: Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 12:13 PM
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > oruasht,
      >
      > You make an important point..."coming at the scriptures from a Sola
      > Scriptura lens, you miss out on all of the other background information
      > your
      > posts have provided"
      >
      > The problem is that Scripture absolutely cannot be removed from the context
      > of the Church and still be fully understood properly. This discussion of
      > Semper Virgo is proof positive of that. The Church teaches us how to
      > understand the Scriptures.. .just as Christ did when He walked with the men
      > on the road to Emmaus and opened up the Scriptures to them so that they
      > would understand.
      >
      > The verse from Ezekiel 44:2 is one case in point.
      >
      > Another is the historic understanding of Matt. 1:25 which you reference
      > here...Luther even comments about the incorrect interpretation of
      > the heretic, Helvidius, who used the Scriptures in this way to deny the
      > ever
      > virginity of the Theotokos. (Unfortunately, I don't have that reference
      > here with me right now.) So here we are 1700 hundred years later and the
      > misinterpretations are being made anew. How absolutely frightening this is
      > to me that beliefs of old heretics are resurrected by folks interpretting
      > Scripture apart from the knowledge of the Church. What a dangerous thing
      > Sola Scripture appears to be!
      >
      > Is Semper Virgo important? In addition to what has already been said by the
      > others here I would emphasize that not seeing Semper Virgo in the
      > Scriptures
      > is evidence that one doesn't have the proper interpretation of the
      > Scriptures. Not a good place to be if one is Sola Scripture... ..R
      > On Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 12:33 PM, oruaseht <oruaseht@yahoo. com> wrote:
      >
      > >
      > >
      > > Thank you for the replies, they are very fascinating. Coming at the
      > > scriptures from the Sola Scriptura lens, you miss out on all of the other
      > > background information your posts have provided.
      > >
      > > The most often cited verse for Mary not being perpetually virgin is
      > Matthew
      > > 1:18 "Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his
      > mother
      > > Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was
      > found
      > > to be with child from the Holy Spirit." "Came together" is typically
      > > understood here as sexual union but the Greek doesn't necessarily
      > indicate
      > > that was the case.
      > >
      > > The other verse, MT 1:25 "but knew her not until she had given birth to a
      > > son. And he called his name Jesus." is more problematic. It comes down to
      > > how you understand the improper preposition translated here as "until."
      > >
      > > It seems though that the understanding of Mary's perpetual virginity has
      > > been an important tradition of the church ~ one that is no longer really
      > > held by Lutherans.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >


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