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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Semper Virgo

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  • Rosemarie Lieffring
    Thanks, Mike. This was exactly the reference I had recalled.-----R ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Message 1 of 14 , Oct 7, 2009
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      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 2 of 14 , Oct 7, 2009
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        *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 3 of 14 , Oct 7, 2009
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          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]
          >
          >
          >

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



















          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • 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 4 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 5 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?
              >
              >
              >


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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