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Moxie
May 14th 2009, 05:24 AM
I was wondering........

There are some who believe Jesus' brothers were Joseph's children from a previous marriage and Mary remained a virgin. Of course, the other view is Joseph and Mary had more children after Jesus was born.

So, my question is: If Joseph had other children at the time Mary was pregnant with Jesus, why did they not accompany them to Bethlehem for the census?

I realize the Bible would not have to mention the children traveling with them. However, In Luke 2:5 it says,..."in order to register, along with Mary who was engaged to him, and was with child". Luke is pretty specific here and given that most of his writing is detailed I find it odd that children (if present) would not be mentioned.

markedward
May 14th 2009, 05:54 AM
I opt for the latter view, that Joseph had children with Mary after Jesus was born.

The claim that Joseph had children from a previous marriage is used to support the claim that Mary was a virgin for her entire life. The problem is that it is completely unsubstantiated by Scripture: there's simply no evidence for Joseph having been previously married, nor is there any evidence that the children were another woman's. (Likewise for the claim that Jesus' "brothers and sisters" were actually his "cousins".) Not to mention that, as you pointed out, they're never mentioned until after Jesus is born.

The gospel of Matthew outright shows us that Joseph did have "relations" with Mary after Jesus was born (Matthew 1.25). It's easy to see that Joseph and Mary had children.

Teke
May 15th 2009, 07:11 PM
Only problem with your view Mark is that there is no historical proof for it. All of early Christianity confirms what the church has been teaching. Mary remained a virgin. So unless you can prove otherwise, I believe the church over your biblical understanding.

karenoka27
May 15th 2009, 07:18 PM
Matthew 1:24-25-"Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not 'till"she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS."


NIV says:
"But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."


New American Standard says of the same verse:
"but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.



I believe the children born were from both Joseph and Mary after Jesus was born.

RabbiKnife
May 15th 2009, 07:26 PM
Who needs "historical proof" when the text of the Gospels are clear that Joseph has sexual intercourse with Mary after Jesus was born?

Teke
May 15th 2009, 07:41 PM
Who needs "historical proof" when the text of the Gospels are clear that Joseph has sexual intercourse with Mary after Jesus was born?

I don't see that as clear. Since scripture is your only proof, where are other scriptures to support such a claim.

ZAB
May 15th 2009, 08:26 PM
I was wondering........

There are some who believe Jesus' brothers were Joseph's children from a previous marriage and Mary remained a virgin. Of course, the other view is Joseph and Mary had more children after Jesus was born.

So, my question is: If Joseph had other children at the time Mary was pregnant with Jesus, why did they not accompany them to Bethlehem for the census?

I realize the Bible would not have to mention the children traveling with them. However, In Luke 2:5 it says,..."in order to register, along with Mary who was engaged to him, and was with child". Luke is pretty specific here and given that most of his writing is detailed I find it odd that children (if present) would not be mentioned.


I suppose the only reason one would care if Mary remained a virgin or not would be to support the claim that she was "holier" than others, and thus worthy to be "adored" as she is in some circles. However, the Bible does declare that Joseph "knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son..." (Matt 1:25). So, even if she didn't have anymore children, she clearly was not a virgin.

David Taylor
May 15th 2009, 09:12 PM
Only problem with your view Mark is that there is no historical proof for it.


The historical citations in the gospels give much convincing proof against the perpetual virginity of Mary, and that she had other sons and daughters.

No historical citations in the gospels give any proof that Mary was a perpetual virgin.





All of early Christianity confirms what the church has been teaching. Mary remained a virgin.

"All" isn't true either. There were some who early on spoke out against the perpetual virginity of Mary/other children/siblings.

Hegesippus circa 110 A.D.
Tertullian circa 160 A.D.
Victorinus circa 260 A.D.
Jovinian circa 360 A.D.
Bonosus circa 360 A.D.
Helvidius circa 380 A.D.
Antidikomarianites circa 367 A.D.

All of these early historians/groups opposed the perptual virginity of Mary, and/or believed that Mary and Joseph did have other children later.

That the RCC supressed this teaching for over a thousand years is undoubtable; but that it didn't exist until recently and wasn't held within early Christianity is false. The NT being the primary source of truth regarding this subject.

markedward
May 16th 2009, 03:13 AM
Only problem with your view Mark is that there is no historical proof for it.There's no "historical proof" for God having stopped the sun in the sky for Joshua. Except the testimony of Scripture. The testimony of Scripture says that Joseph had "relations" with Mary only after Jesus was born. The testimony of Scripture says that Jesus had brothers and sister. The testimony of Paul says that Jesus' brother James was a leading figure in the Jerusalem church.


All of early Christianity confirms what the church has been teaching.As David Taylor showed, this is outright false. Besides, regardless of whether "Church history" is unanimous of one teaching doesn't mean they're actually correct.

Athanasius
May 16th 2009, 03:18 AM
I might be stepping out on a limb here, but I don't think Joseph was all for being a perpetual virgin with Mary, either.

ZAB
May 16th 2009, 03:31 AM
I might be stepping out on a limb here, but I don't think Joseph was all for being a perpetual virgin with Mary, either.

haha, yes, good point :spin:

Teke
May 16th 2009, 06:21 PM
The historical citations in the gospels give much convincing proof against the perpetual virginity of Mary, and that she had other sons and daughters.

No historical citations in the gospels give any proof that Mary was a perpetual virgin.



"All" isn't true either. There were some who early on spoke out against the perpetual virginity of Mary/other children/siblings.

Hegesippus circa 110 A.D.
Tertullian circa 160 A.D.
Victorinus circa 260 A.D.
Jovinian circa 360 A.D.
Bonosus circa 360 A.D.
Helvidius circa 380 A.D.
Antidikomarianites circa 367 A.D.

All of these early historians/groups opposed the perptual virginity of Mary, and/or believed that Mary and Joseph did have other children later.

That the RCC supressed this teaching for over a thousand years is undoubtable; but that it didn't exist until recently and wasn't held within early Christianity is false. The NT being the primary source of truth regarding this subject.

I believe there is some misunderstanding about the situation of the time and what the early writings do and don't present. I know the first two on your list, as well as Eusibus, and Origen wrote about Joseph and James, but all of the writings are in reference to the persecution that the house of Joseph suffered for being of the house of David.

Some will be familiar with the teachings which explain the brothers of Jesus as possible cousins. I believe this also is important in understaning how Mary came to her position with Joseph under the title of betrothed. Africanus and Hegesippus remind us of the custom of levirate marriage (not to be confused with the Levites).

Many early writings were ambiguous in the sense of revealing specifics about certain people for fear of persecution and death. As many of the Lord's kinsmen (aka the Desposyni) became undisputed leaders in the churches of Christianity, all being of the house of Joseph, Joseph being the titular head of the house of David. They were sought out and killed or persecuted by both Romans and Jews. This is what the early writings relate.

So the confusion of relationship could be likened to a witness protection plan. Whether James and others were actually brothers from a previous marriage of Joseph's or cousins of Jesus, I do not know. But I do believe they were all of the house of Joseph, who is also of the house of David. It was important in that era that Christianity not be seen as a reemergence of the house of David. Rome saw this as a threat. The Parthian Empire ( the Magi who sought Christ) sought the Davidic descendent as well. Anyway, it wasn't a good idea to mention the two together, Christianity and the house of David.

As for implications being raised about adoration of Mary. That is not the reason her virginity is of issue. To those not of the faith, it is of no concern one way or the other. But to those, such as the first Jewish Christians, she was seen as the ark which carried the new covenant of the Messiah to them. Just as they had an ark in the OT which carried a covenant.

The church furthered this thought (let's keep in mind that the Roman church doesn't rule the churches, never has as a matter of fact), with comparisons in like, such as that of the Jewish Christians, with traditional OT examples. Such as that of Eve being the mother of all living, Mary is comparable as the God bearer, God being the source of all life.
IOW in such a way as to relate the church as the virgin bride of Christ in spiritual understanding. The church being the mother of all living, and Mary being the first church.

Of course this doesn't mean that we are to worship Mary or the church as we worship God. But it does mean that we are to respect and understand that spiritual meaning.

It is not me to dispute, but the churches spiritual understanding.

Now would I say Rome went overboard with this. Yes.

I have tried to explain this as best I can in a manner you will understand. If it is of no use to you, then forget it. For me it is more than a casual reading of a verse of scripture. It is our Christian history.

In peace,
Eve

Ta-An
May 16th 2009, 06:37 PM
I read this today from Lk 2:7 (http://bibledatabase.org/cgi-bin/bib_search/bible.cgi?BIBLE=48&BOOK=42&CHAP=2&SEARCH=jesus%20king%20lord&Read=Read&FIRST=OK&HV=7) And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Firstborn son, to me implies that she had more children after Jesus :idea:

Ta-An
May 16th 2009, 06:39 PM
I might be stepping out on a limb here, but I don't think Joseph was all for being a perpetual virgin with Mary, either.And for me.... I don't understand what you are saying :D

Lynne
May 16th 2009, 07:01 PM
I don't see that as clear. Since scripture is your only proof, where are other scriptures to support such a claim.


Jesus fulfilled this prophecy:

Psalms 69:8-9 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children. For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.

John 2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

John 7:5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.

KATMAN
May 16th 2009, 07:18 PM
I believe the bible mentions that Jesus had brothers and sisters.Therfore I believe Joesph had other children with Mary.

Athanasius
May 16th 2009, 08:23 PM
And for me.... I don't understand what you are saying :D

I don't believe Joseph would have wanted to have been married to Mary without consumating the marriage at some point. So while everyone is talking about the 'perpetual virginity' of Mary, they all seem to forget the 'perpetual virginity' of Joseph.

Ta-An
May 16th 2009, 08:29 PM
I don't believe Joseph would have wanted to have been married to Mary without consumating the marriage at some point. So while everyone is talking about the 'perpetual virginity' of Mary, they all seem to forget the 'perpetual virginity' of Joseph. Thank you :D .

matthew7and1
May 16th 2009, 08:59 PM
I agree with the posters who have stated that Mary did not remain a virgin. I feel that the scriptural proof supports that she had more children after Christ and that she and Joseph "knew" one another.

Scruffy Kid
May 16th 2009, 09:39 PM
This is one of those topics that is often contentious.


The Main Lines of the Logic of the Arguments (Reasons)
Which are Usually Given, Pro- and Con-

Arguments against Jesus being an only child, or Mary remaining Virgin Generally, people who think that Jesus was not Mary's only child tend to make one or more of the following four kinds of arguments. (1) That various passages in Scripture prove that Mary had other children. (2) That testimony other than Scripture is irrelevant. (3) That the historical testimony outside Scripture is not necessarily so strongly in favor of Jesus being Mary's only child. (4) That it is ridiculous or unseemly or sinister to say that Mary remained a virgin. (5) That the motives of those arguing Jesus was Mary's only child -- or that Mary remained a virgin are suspect, or that this is a "catholic conspiracy", or something like that.

Arguments open to Jesus being an only child, or Mary remaining Virgin Generally, people who think that Jesus was Mary's only child tend to make one or more of the following kinds of arguments. (1) That there are passages in Scripture which cast doubt on Mary having other children. (2) That the passages which are put forward as showing Mary had other children don't show that. (3) That lots of convincing historical testimony, beside Scripture, shows that Mary was a virgin lifelong. (4) That it is fitting that Mary should have been a virgin lifelong, and unseemly that she would not have been. (5) That this is not a distinctively Catholic (or Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) position, in that, for instance, many reformers -- including Calvin and Luther -- believed and taught that Mary was a virgin lifelong.

Obviously, the Scriptural argument is primary in this sense: If Scripture actually demonstrates that Mary did not remain a Virgin, then of course it must be that she did not. (All views agree here; including Catholics and Orthodox, I think.) Also, if Scripture does not make it clear that Mary did not remain a virgin, most of the case against the position that she remained a Virgin goes away. Also, if there are Scriptures which cast severe doubt on the hypothesis that she had other children, that is highly relevant, though by no means conclusive, support for the view she remained a virgin.

The OP's post, which no one has yet gotten to attend to, asked about a line of reasoning why Mary bearing other children seems in tension with the Biblical text. The OP was concerned that the account, in Luke 2, of the journey of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus to Jerusalem doesn't mention other children. This is one of several similar arguments, including concerns about Mark 3, John 7, John 19 and so on, where there are ways of thinking about the Scripture's text which some may think raise questions about whether Mary could have had other children.

What about other arguments, not based on rational discussion of the Scriptures themselves? Many people would say, in principle, that if Scripture doesn't clearly decide the issue for them, then they might look at other considerations. Others would say that if Scripture doesn't clearly decide the issue for them, they would not believe anything one way or the other, since they think that only the Scriptures should be considered as relevant to what we believe. However, some of these latter are somwhat inconsistent, and do want to make other arguments.


About Other Matters Which Go Into These Discussions

The discussion often runs into a tendency of some who comment to suppose that the way that it seems to them (or to their faith communities) natural to read the Scriptures is indeed, surely, and indisputably the only natural way to read the Scriptures.

This is compounded by a kind of scorn for those who read the Scriptures differently, or for those readings of Scripture and sometimes accusations that those others are in some way not true Christians, corrupt, affected by some terrible influence, and so on. Such scorn is unhelpful, and uncharitable. It would be far better to assume that all are doing their best to understand, even if there are different perspectives, and to concentrate, in a friendly manner, on factors which go into weighing the evidence. That's the way that civil and intelligent people ordinarily conduct rational discussion.


Arguments from Scripture in favor of the Idea
That Mary did not remain a virgin,
and that she had other children.

Some who want to argue this rely on blanket statements or assertions that the matter is simple: that "it's easy to see that" or that the gospels "give much convincing proof" and so on. Some in this thread have made such assertions without actually giving the verses they have in mind.

So far as I can tell, there are several main arguments from Scripture which are used to try to establish that Mary had other children, or was not a virgin.

"Brother" arguments. There are arguments which reference a variety of passages which use the terms "brother" or "sister" of Jesus. I shall call these "Brother arguments" which are based on the Bible referring to someone as Jesus's brother (or sister). There are 4 or 5 such arguments.

In the Gospels there are basically three such passages (plus parallels in other synoptics).
(1) "Jesus's mother and brothers" arrive when He's teaching (in a crowded room); and Jesus comments on the news that they have arrived that those who hear the word of God and do it are mother, brother, and sister to Him. (Mark 3:31-35, Matt 12:46-50; Luke 8:19-20)
(2) People in Jesus's home town reject His teaching and authority by saying that His brothers are "James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas" and His sisters are with us" (Matt 13:54-58; Mark 6:3)
(3) John tells us that His brethren urged him to go up to the feast and show Himself there, but that He did not go up with them openly (John 7:1-10)

In the Epistles. Also, there are references to James of Jerusalem, clearly a leading figure in the early church, as "the Lord's brother
(4) Paul says this at Gal. 1:19, as others have noted above.
(5) Jude describes himself as "the brother of James" -- which would be an odd way to refer to himself, some think, unless he really meant "the brother of Jesus" but thought that would be a cheeky way to put it, and so referred to himself, in effect, as the brother of James (who is/was the brother of Jesus).

There are two other arguments that are commonly used, so far as I know: the "until" argument, and the "firstborn" argument.
The "until" argument. One has to do with the sentence which gets translated "[Joseph] knew her not until she had brought forth her firstborn son, and called his name Jesus" (Matt. 1:25)
The "firstborn" argument. The other has to do with the use of the term "firstborn" to refer to Jesus, at Matt. 1:25, just quoted, and Luke 2:7 "She gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes ..."

Psalm 69 There may be other, less commonly mentioned, lines of reasoning as well. Lynne gives an interesting argument I was not familiar with, concerning the reference to Psalm 69:8 at John 2:17. John tells us that when Jesus cleansed of the Temple his disciples remembered the verse (Ps. 69:9) "zeal for your house has consumed me." Lynne argues first that Jesus' act here was a fulfillment of prophecy (presumably because John is suggesting that it was -- and I think I agree), and second that therefore Ps. 69:8 must also be a prophecy of Jesus, specifically, and that in saying "I have become ... an alien to my mother's children" Ps. 69:8 therefore is stating that Jesus' mother bore other children (which does not necessarily seem to be implied -- but I need to think about it).


Reasons why some think Scripture does not teach
That Mary did not remain a virgin, and had other children
and don't think the arguments above show that

Brother arguments Many people think that the term "brother" or "brethren" (and "sister" likewise) is used loosely, or analogously, in Scripture, and can indicate adopted brothers, cousins, step-brothers, relatives who grew up in the household, or kinfolk generally. Certainly, that usage exists in many cultures. I have a close friend who refers to a cousin who lived with his family while they were growing up as his "brother." Many people I know refer to their step-brothers or step-sisters as "brother" or "sister". I have seen scholarly articles which indicate that this was common practice in Koine Greek (the Greek of the NT). I have also seen scholarly articles which (as I recall) say there was no word for "cousin" in aramaic at that time and that the term brother was used commonly for close relatives, especially if they grew up in the same household.

Of course, as soon as this point is raised, others will have other detailed arguments as to why we should not think this was the usage in Matt., Mark, Luke, John, Galatians, and (perhaps) Jude. It seems to me that the evidence suggests at a minimum that the use of the term "brother" is not demonstrably or conclusively meaning "child of Mary."

[As a side note, it seems to be that the kinship diction of Scripture cannot always be intended to be extremely precise, for even if we accept that these "brothers" and "sisters" were children of Mary and Joseph they would not be, in the strict sense, "brothers" and "sisters" of Jesus, but "half-brothers" and "half-sisters", since Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. Concerning the analogous, rather than strict, use of kinship terms in regard to Jesus, in Scripture, note that Luke quotes Mary as saying to Jesus "your father and I have looked for you, sorrowing" (2:48), although she knows that Joseph is not Jesus's biological father.]

If the terms "brother" and "sister" (or "father") used in Scripture of Jesus do not necessarily have to indicate the kind of biological kinship that they do when used in a strict sense, then the use of these terms doesn't really resolve the issue. While those who think this, and think that there may be reasons why these people were not Mary's children may have various different theories about what the precise kinship-relationship was (cousins, kids of Joseph from a previous marriage, etc.) one need not subscribe to any particular such theory, nor have evidence for it, in order to conclude that the terms used don't necessarily resolve the issue of whether or not these were children of Mary's.

The "until" argument. The Greek conjunction which is translated "until" in Matt 1:25 does not, according to most people who know and have studied Greek very well that I know ("scholars") imply that something S which didn't happen "until" some event E happened that that something S did occur after event E happened. Occasionally, "until" is used this way in English, also. As a random illustration of "until" in English, the KJV translators translate Romans 5:13 as saying "For until the law sin was in the world"; but of course Paul does not mean that after the law was given there was no longer sin in the world.

Therefore, the "until" in Matt 1:25 (g2193 ἕως heōs) need not imply that Joseph knew (had sexual relations with) Mary afterwards. Its only point is to emphasize that there was no possibility that Jesus was conceived naturally, as a result of sexual activity, rather than virginally. And of course the context suggests that it is that which the author is trying to convey.

The "Firstborn" argument The term "firstborn" (g4416 πρωτότοκος prōtotokos) in Matt 1:25 and Luke 2:7 is referring back to places in the OT where there are various requirements for what is done after the birth of a first child, who "opens the womb". Again, the best information I have seen on this suggests that it would be normal to use this term even for an only child. Again, then, the argument does not appear conclusive.

The Psalm 69 argument. While Lynne's argument is very interesting, I myself don't suppose that when a verse in the OT refers in some way to Christ that there isn't also an OT context being referred to. And I don't suppose that every verse in the OT which refers prophetically to Christ, as well as to its own context, requires that all elements of the passage in which it is found also refer to Christ. Thus I don't at all find the quotation of 69:9 in John 2:17 strong evidence that 19:8 intends to state that Mary bore other children.


How we continue the discussion

It would be nice to get back to the question the OP asked, and to other arguments which bear on these issues.

I hope I'll get a chance to, but I'm pretty busy right now, as usual.

It would be godly and wonderful if we can conduct such discussion in a spirit of friendly seeking, without being dismissive or indignant, or jumping to conclusions.