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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Semper Virgo

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  • Rosemarie Lieffring
    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
    Message 1 of 14 , Oct 7, 2009
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      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@...> 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]
    • Mike Bennett
      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
      Message 2 of 14 , Oct 7, 2009
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        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@...> wrote:


        From: Rosemarie Lieffring <rose.lieffring@...>
        Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Semper Virgo
        To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.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]
      • Christopher Orr
        From *Facing Up to Mary b**y Archpriest Peter E. Gillquist (Conciliar Press, 2002) *http://aggreen.net/theotokos/face_up_to_mary.html ... And, a few other
        Message 3 of 14 , Oct 7, 2009
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          From "*Facing Up to Mary" b**y Archpriest Peter E. Gillquist (Conciliar
          Press, 2002)
          *http://aggreen.net/theotokos/face_up_to_mary.html

          > EVER-VIRGIN
          >
          > From the very early years of the Church, Mary was called not only Virgin,
          > but Ever-Virgin. She was seen as never having had a sexual union with
          > Joseph, before or after the birth of Christ. Ezekiel 44:1-2 is a passage
          > often referred to by the early Fathers in this regard. It states: "Then He
          > brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the
          > east, but it was shut. And the Lord said to me, 'This gate shall be shut; it
          > shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of
          > Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut.'"
          >
          > In traditional interpretation of this passage, Mary is the temple and
          > Christ is the Prince of Peace. The gate mentioned is seen as a picture of
          > Christ's passage through the door of Mary's womb. You might not find that
          > interpretation in some of today's commentaries, but it was held by the great
          > majority of early Church Fathers, as well as many of the Reformation
          > leaders.
          >
          > At this point, however, a very valid question can be raised. If she
          > remained a virgin, why does the Gospel of Matthew tell us that Joseph knew
          > not his wife until after Christ was born (Matthew 1:25)?
          >
          > From a Scriptural standpoint, the presence of the phrase "until she had
          > brought forth her firstborn Son," does not automatically mean that Joseph
          > must have known her afterward. This is because in both Greek and Hebrew the
          > word 'until' or 'to' can have several different meanings. We find it in II
          > Samuel 6:23: "Michal, daughter of Saul, had not child to (until) the day of
          > her death." It is used again in Matthew 28:20 where the risen Christ says
          > "Lo, I am with you always, even to (until) the end of the world." And in
          > Deuteronomy 34:6 we read "Moses was buried in a valley in the land of Moab,
          > but no one knows his grave to (until) this day."
          >
          > Obviously the use of the word in these passages does not imply that Michal
          > had a child *after* her death, that Christ will *depart* at the end of the
          > world, or that Moses' burial place was discovered *the day *Deuteronomy
          > 34:6 was written. By the same token, the word 'until' in Matthew 1:25 does
          > not mean that Joseph and Mary began a sexual union after Christ was born.
          > Such a teaching is found nowhere in Scripture and is contrary to the
          > consistent voice of the entire early Church.
          >
          > But doesn't the Bible also mention other brothers and sisters of Christ?
          > Who are they and where did they come from?
          >
          > For one thing, they are never directly called the sons and daughters of
          > Mary and Joseph. In several passages the Bible speaks of the children or
          > relatives as "brothers." Abraham and Lot are called brothers, although Lot
          > was actually Abraham's nephew. And Jacob and Laban are called brothers, even
          > though Jacob was the son of Rebecca, Laban's sister.
          >
          > Scripture is therefore silent concerning the nature of this relationship
          > between Christ and these brothers and sisters. Early Fathers differed
          > slightly in their understanding of what the terms meant. Some, such as Saint
          > Ambrose, believed that they were children of a former marriage between
          > Joseph and a wife who died prior to Matthew chapter 1. Others taught that
          > they were cousins. But on one point, almost everyone is in agreement: Mary
          > and Joseph had no sexual union whatsoever, before or after the birth of
          > Christ.
          >
          > I must say in all candor that had my betrothed been the woman chosen by the
          > Father to bear His eternal Son in the flesh, my view of her would have been
          > utterly transformed and my honor for her infinitely heightened. Imagine
          > being betrothed to the Mother of God. It was so with Joseph. His betrothed
          > was ever-virgin.
          >

          And, a few other resources:

          On the Ever-Virginity of the Theotokos (Mother of
          God)<http://cygnus.uwa.edu.au/%7Ejgrapsas/pages/Brothers.htm>-Adapted
          from The Ever-Virginity of Mary, the Title Theotokos, and the
          > Veneration Shown to Her, by Bishop Lazar Puhalo, Synaxis Press. From the web
          > site of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.
          >
          > The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary<http://aggreen.net/theotokos/vir_mary2.html>-By St. Jerome. This tract appeared about A.D. 383.
          >

          Christopher



          On Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 9:44 PM, Oruaseht <oruaseht@...> wrote:

          >
          >
          > Hi friends,
          >
          > I just got back from a Lutheran Pastor's conference and the topic came up
          > about Semper Virgo - the perpetual virginity of Jesus' mother. Most of the
          > brothers at the conference said that although our Lutheran Confessions say
          > that Mary is Semper Virgo (FCSD 8.24) it's not really important.
          >
          > My question is: is Semper Virgo an important doctrine/teaching within
          > Orthodoxy and why? (Is there a Christological concern, theological concern,
          > etc.?)
          >
          > Thanks.
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Rosemarie Lieffring
          Thanks, Mike. This was exactly the reference I had recalled.-----R ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          Message 4 of 14 , 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]
            >
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Christopher Orr
            *Mary and the fathers of the church: the Blessed Virgin Mary in patristic thought* by Luigi Gambero, tr. Thomas Buffer (Ignatius Press, 1999) offers a god
            Message 5 of 14 , Oct 7, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              *Mary and the fathers of the church: the Blessed Virgin Mary in patristic
              thought* by Luigi Gambero, tr. Thomas Buffer (Ignatius Press, 1999) offers a
              god overview of patristic citations regarding the Theotokos, including her
              ever virginity. A limited preview is available on Google Books:
              http://books.google.com/books?id=dsZzsAtggnUC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=&f=false

              You can type in "ever-virgin" into the search box to look for various
              citations throughout the preview.

              Christopher



              On Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 9:44 PM, Oruaseht <oruaseht@...> wrote:

              >
              >
              > Hi friends,
              >
              > I just got back from a Lutheran Pastor's conference and the topic came up
              > about Semper Virgo - the perpetual virginity of Jesus' mother. Most of the
              > brothers at the conference said that although our Lutheran Confessions say
              > that Mary is Semper Virgo (FCSD 8.24) it's not really important.
              >
              > My question is: is Semper Virgo an important doctrine/teaching within
              > Orthodoxy and why? (Is there a Christological concern, theological concern,
              > etc.?)
              >
              > Thanks.
              >
              >
              >


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Mike Bennett
              You re welcome.  Logos software makes instant research librarians of us all.   Mike Bennett ... From: Rosemarie Lieffring Subject:
              Message 6 of 14 , Oct 7, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                You're welcome.  Logos software makes instant research librarians of us all.
                 
                Mike Bennett

                --- On Wed, 10/7/09, Rosemarie Lieffring <rose.lieffring@...> wrote:


                From: Rosemarie Lieffring <rose.lieffring@...>
                Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Semper Virgo
                To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 3:36 PM


                 



                Thanks, Mike. This was exactly the reference I had recalled.--- --R

                On Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 4:04 PM, Mike Bennett <jhs1962@yahoo. com> 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@ gmail.com<rose.lieffring% 40gmail.com> >
                > wrote:
                >
                > From: Rosemarie Lieffring <rose.lieffring@ gmail.com<rose.lieffring% 40gmail.com>
                > >
                > Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEa st] Re: Semper Virgo
                > To: LutheransLookingEas t@yahoogroups. com<LutheransLookingEa st%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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              • Oruaseht
                Ignoring my arrogance in thinking I know the scriptures better than the Church Fathers and 2000 years of Tradition, what impact does Semper Virgo have on
                Message 7 of 14 , Oct 8, 2009
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                  Ignoring my arrogance in thinking I know the scriptures better than the Church Fathers and 2000 years of Tradition, what impact does Semper Virgo have on Christology?
                • Christopher Orr
                  I would say the primary impact would be in admitting that Jesus was not God. That is, we do not treat as sanctified a regular wine glass and plate; but, we
                  Message 8 of 14 , Oct 8, 2009
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                    I would say the primary impact would be in admitting that Jesus was not
                    God. That is, we do not treat as sanctified a regular wine glass and plate;
                    but, we treat as sanctified the chalice and paten used to hold the Body and
                    Blood of Christ. Same with the various vessels in the OT Temple, and the
                    Temple itself, which are seen as types of the Virgin (the candle stand that
                    held the candle, the ark that held the commandments [the words of God],
                    etc.). The Virgin remained a Virgin because She had become sanctified, the
                    God of All Who created the heavens took up abode in a young girl who became
                    more spacious than the heavens. She was sanctified, set apart; her eros
                    (fervent love, not necessarily erotic) was turned from earthly, fleshly
                    things and focused on God. The focus isn't on the lack of sexuality, but on
                    the overwhelming experience of God making one forget about the body and this
                    life in anticipation of God (our Life) and the next life.

                    But, again, the question isn't what 'use' or 'impact' or 'good' the doctrine
                    of semper virgo does in a theological schema. It is simply a part of the
                    revelation, it is a part of the way in which the Fathers and the lex orandi
                    reads Scripture. It simply is. Falling back on the 'obvious sense' of
                    Scripture that Jesus must have had brothers is to forget how un-obvious so
                    much in language(s) is (are) - it's only obvious given certain assumptions;
                    given other assumptions a very different and equally 'obvious' answer
                    results. Think of any idiomatic expressions being translated from one
                    language to another; think of regional slang; think of cultural differences
                    (e.g., dogs hold very different places in our culture than in Middle Eastern
                    cultures), etc. A phrase from Rosemarie (?) yesterday was apt: not seeing
                    the semper virgo in Scripture is a sign one is reading the Scriptures wrong
                    since all the Fathers (and even Luther, Calvin and Zwingli) saw it in
                    Scripture. To hold to another reading is to hold to an idiosyncratic,
                    self-chosen exegesis, perspective, etc.

                    Christopher



                    On Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 11:29 AM, Oruaseht <oruaseht@...> wrote:

                    >
                    >
                    > Ignoring my arrogance in thinking I know the scriptures better than the
                    > Church Fathers and 2000 years of Tradition, what impact does Semper Virgo
                    > have on Christology?
                    >
                    >
                    >


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