Re: Virgin Birth

From: george murphy (
Date: Wed Feb 27 2002 - 15:33:12 EST

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    Adrian Teo wrote:

    > Hello George,
    > > -----Original Message-----
    > > From: george murphy []
    > > Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 4:30 AM
    > > To: Jonathan Clarke
    > > Cc:
    > > Subject: Re: Virgin Birth
    > > First, to be precise, one ought to speak of what is
    > > proclaimed in
    > > Mt.1 & Lk.1 as virginal _conception_. One can then speak of
    > > virgin _birth_
    > > in the sense that Mary had not had intercourse when she gave
    > > birth to Jesus,
    > > but the term has often been taken to include the idea that
    > > Mary "retained
    > > her virginity" in giving birth in the sense that the hymen
    > > was not broken
    > > &c. In spite of the fact that the latter is a very
    > > traditional idea, there
    > > is no biblical justification for it.
    > I would not exactly say that there is no biblical justification for it.
    > Consider why, if Mary had other children, did Jesus entrust the care fo Mary
    > to John, instead of one of his brothers, which would have been expected in
    > that culture? While you may find some way to explain that away, it is an
    > issue of interpretation or differing attempts at justification, not the lack
    > of biblical justification.

            1) This isn't quite the same thing. To be technical one has to
            2) Virginal conception: Mary conceived Jesus without sexual
            3) Virgin birth: Mary gave birth as a virgin. This is often taken (as
    I noted) to include _virginitas in partu_, that Mary retained her virginity in
    giving birth to Jesus.
            4) Perpetual virginity: Mary remained a Virgin after giving birth to

            You are referring to 4), while I was speaking of 3). I think there is
    more justification for 4 than for 3. One does, however, have to take into
    account the "brothers" & "sisters" of Jesus - who may have been cousins or
    half-brothers &c, but maybe not.
            It's interesting to note that Luther seems to have accepted both
    _virginitas in partu_ and perpetual virginity, & Mary is called "ever virgin" in
    one place in the Lutheran Confessions.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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