The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....

minasoliman

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LizaSymonenko said:
minasoliman said:
There's another possible tradition.  The sister of the Theotokos, also named Mary, is thought to have had children, who many in the Coptic Church have taken to think these are the "brothers and sisters" of Christ.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but do the Catholic Church believe that St. Joseph was a perpetual virgin?
The Theotokos had actual sisters?  How so?

Weren't her parents Anna and Joachim childless, and always praying that God grant them a child...which He did in their very old age.  So, are you saying they continued to have an additional child/children after Mary was born?
Yes...there's a passage somewhere in the Scriptures...let me pull it out:

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25)

3 Mary's at the Cross by Christ's side, two of which were related to Christ.

Perhaps not a direct sister...maybe a cousin of the Theotokos?
 

minasoliman

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Sainte_Geneviève said:
I went to a Catholic school (whose patron was St. Joseph) during middle school, and we were taught that St. Joseph was probably a widower with several children.
Oh okay...I got the idea from Fr. Sergius Bulgakov in his book on the Forerunner.  In it he adds an addendum chapter comparing our veneration of the Forerunner with the RC veneration of the betrothed.
 

LizaSymonenko

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minasoliman said:
LizaSymonenko said:
minasoliman said:
There's another possible tradition.  The sister of the Theotokos, also named Mary, is thought to have had children, who many in the Coptic Church have taken to think these are the "brothers and sisters" of Christ.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but do the Catholic Church believe that St. Joseph was a perpetual virgin?
The Theotokos had actual sisters?   How so?

Weren't her parents Anna and Joachim childless, and always praying that God grant them a child...which He did in their very old age.  So, are you saying they continued to have an additional child/children after Mary was born?
Yes...there's a passage somewhere in the Scriptures...let me pull it out:

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25)

3 Mary's at the Cross by Christ's side, two of which were related to Christ.

Perhaps not a direct sister...maybe a cousin of the Theotokos?
Yes.  I always thought them to be cousins, but, not sisters, per se.
 

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minasoliman said:
Yes...there's a passage somewhere in the Scriptures...let me pull it out:

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25)

3 Mary's at the Cross by Christ's side, two of which were related to Christ.

Perhaps not a direct sister...maybe a cousin of the Theotokos?
I think it odd that two girls in the same family would be given the same name. However, my wife, for example, has a sister named Lois and a sister-in-law named Lois.

Also, are we absolutely sure that this is a list of three women? It is my understanding that punctuation in earlier times was generally absent. So could it read:
  • His mother
  • His mother's "sister" (in the sense that Jesus had brothers and sisters)
  • Mary the wife of Cleopas
  • Mary Magdalene

If there is clear teaching from our hymnography, iconography, or other, I'd appreciate the learning opportunity. I've already googled "icon crucifixion" then viewed images and discovered that the number of women varies - and some include four.
 

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genesisone said:
I think it odd that two girls in the same family would be given the same name.
Different cultures have certain naming conventions governing who gets what name, and if you have a big family, it's not all that odd, for example, for you to have two siblings with the same name, but named after two different relatives.  Perhaps something like that obtained in that culture?  We know there was some sort of naming convention because when they try to name John the Baptist after his father in Luke 1, the parents insist on breaking tradition. 
 
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genesisone said:
minasoliman said:
Yes...there's a passage somewhere in the Scriptures...let me pull it out:

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25)

3 Mary's at the Cross by Christ's side, two of which were related to Christ.

Perhaps not a direct sister...maybe a cousin of the Theotokos?
I think it odd that two girls in the same family would be given the same name. However, my wife, for example, has a sister named Lois and a sister-in-law named Lois.

Also, are we absolutely sure that this is a list of three women? It is my understanding that punctuation in earlier times was generally absent. So could it read:
  • His mother
  • His mother's "sister" (in the sense that Jesus had brothers and sisters)
  • Mary the wife of Cleopas
  • Mary Magdalene

If there is clear teaching from our hymnography, iconography, or other, I'd appreciate the learning opportunity. I've already googled "icon crucifixion" then viewed images and discovered that the number of women varies - and some include four.
I'm interested in the resolution as well.  I've heard all the above versions and probably more.  I know that cousins are often called brothers and sisters in some cultures, especially Slavic ones.  So that is no big leap.  And I know that Germans often named all their children with the same first name (saints name) and different middle names well into the 19th century.  So two sisters named Mary isn't really that odd either. 
 

minasoliman

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I'll have to dig into the Coptic Holy Week texts to see what they say about the women by the Cross.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
shreek said:
Jesus had no brothers or sisters, whether half or not.
Surprised that the Orthodox believe he did.
I'm surprised Maronites reject Scripture.  

It is the Gospels which call certain family members of Jesus his "brothers and sisters".  Of course, we believe that these are not the children of our Lady, but whether they are children of St Joseph from a previous marriage, or cousins, or what have you, we can't just throw out the concept of "brothers and sisters" when it's in the Gospels and even Jesus doesn't deny it (he expands it).  
No we are Catholics we hold sacred scripture and sacred tradition to be equal, much like you.
However, one needs to realise in Hebrew, Old Aramaic, Syriac...and even Arabic there is no word for nephew or niece, nor even a precise word for cousin neither for aunt or uncle in ancient Hebrew or Aramaic - the words that the Jews used in all those instances were "brother" or "sister"
To this day in the Middle East even strangers call each other 'brother' or 'sister' in greeting them, let alone relatives.
but let's stick to scripture then:

An example of my above point can be seen in Gen 14:14, where Lot, who was Abraham's nephew, is called his brother.

Another point to consider. If Jesus had had any brothers, if Mary had had any other sons, would the last thing that Jesus did on earth be to grievously offend his surviving brothers?

In John 19:26-27, right before Jesus dies, it says that Jesus entrusted the care of His mother to the beloved disciple, John. If Mary had had any other sons, it would have been an incredible slap in the face to them that the Apostle John was entrusted with the care of their mother!

Plus The Lord is dying where are his 'brothers' and 'sisters'??

Also, we see from Matt. 27:55-56, that the James and Joses mentioned in Mark 6 as the "brothers" of Jesus, are actually the sons of another Mary.

In addition, one other passage to consider is Acts 1:14-15, "[The Apostles] with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers...the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty."

So a company of 120 persons composed of the Apostles, Mary, the women, and the "brothers" of Jesus. Let's see there were 11 Apostles at the time. Jesus' mother makes 12. The women, probably the same three women mentioned in Matthew 27, but let's say it was maybe a dozen or two, just for argument's sake. So that puts us up to 30 or 40 or so.

So that leaves the number of Jesus' brothers at about 80 or 90! Do you think Mary had 80 or 90 children? She would have been in perpetual labour not perpetual virginity,

No, Scripture does not contradict the teaching of the Maronite Catholic Church about the "brothers" of Jesus, when Scripture is properly interpreted in context.
 

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shreek said:
No we are Catholics we hold sacred scripture and sacred tradition to be equal, much like you.
However, one needs to realise in Hebrew, Old Aramaic, Syriac...and even Arabic there is no word for nephew or niece, nor even a precise word for cousin neither for aunt or uncle in ancient Hebrew or Aramaic - the words that the Jews used in all those instances were "brother" or "sister"
I realise that, and so does the Orthodox Church, so I'm going to skip most of the apologetics (with one exception, below).  But even if Semitic languages don't have such terminology, the NT was not composed in those languages (with the possible exception of Matthew), but in Greek.  Does Greek share the same deficiency? 

In addition, one other passage to consider is Acts 1:14-15, "[The Apostles] with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers...the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty."

So a company of 120 persons composed of the Apostles, Mary, the women, and the "brothers" of Jesus. Let's see there were 11 Apostles at the time. Jesus' mother makes 12. The women, probably the same three women mentioned in Matthew 27, but let's say it was maybe a dozen or two, just for argument's sake. So that puts us up to 30 or 40 or so.

So that leaves the number of Jesus' brothers at about 80 or 90! Do you think Mary had 80 or 90 children? She would have been in perpetual labour not perpetual virginity,

No, Scripture does not contradict the teaching of the Maronite Catholic Church about the "brothers" of Jesus, when Scripture is properly interpreted in context.
Why do some Catholic posters on OCNet like to quote Scripture and the Fathers selectively?  You quote Acts 1.14-15 as:

[The Apostles] with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers...the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty.
Let's read it:

Acts 1

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away; 13 and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16 “Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us, and was allotted his share in this ministry. 18 (Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Akel′dama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 For it is written in the book of Psalms,

‘Let his habitation become desolate,
and let there be no one to live in it’;

and

‘His office let another take.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsab′bas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthi′as. 24 And they prayed and said, “Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthi′as; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.
Your interpretation depends on all of these "brethren" being relatives of Jesus, or else you wouldn't have posed the ludicrous possibility of our Lady being in perpetual labour rather than perpetual virginity if all those were her children.  But you ignore the possibility (I'd say probability) that the bulk of these one hundred and twenty people were not family members of Jesus at all, but were followers ("brethren" being a generic way of referring to the faithful).  We know that Jesus had other followers (e.g., Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus), possibly other followers (e.g., perhaps people he healed and people related to them, like the family of Jairus), and certainly others we don't know about--after all, there's no tradition that Matthias was in any way related to Christ, and yet he was "one of the men that accompanied us", for which reason he was nominated for apostleship. 

We agree that Jesus did not have any blood brothers, and technically no half-brothers, that the "brothers and sisters" can be cousins, "step-siblings", etc.  My only point is that Scripture uses the term "brothers and sisters", and ecclesiastical tradition doesn't shy away from using the same term in teaching, in liturgy, etc., even in languages where there are many technical terms for family relations and we could translate for meaning rather than literal accuracy.  By all means, explain what "brethren" means, but we need not be afraid of using the term if the Evangelists weren't so hesitant.   
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
shreek said:
No we are Catholics we hold sacred scripture and sacred tradition to be equal, much like you.
However, one needs to realise in Hebrew, Old Aramaic, Syriac...and even Arabic there is no word for nephew or niece, nor even a precise word for cousin neither for aunt or uncle in ancient Hebrew or Aramaic - the words that the Jews used in all those instances were "brother" or "sister"
I realise that, and so does the Orthodox Church, so I'm going to skip most of the apologetics (with one exception, below).  But even if Semitic languages don't have such terminology, the NT was not composed in those languages (with the possible exception of Matthew), but in Greek.  Does Greek share the same deficiency? 

In addition, one other passage to consider is Acts 1:14-15, "[The Apostles] with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers...the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty."

So a company of 120 persons composed of the Apostles, Mary, the women, and the "brothers" of Jesus. Let's see there were 11 Apostles at the time. Jesus' mother makes 12. The women, probably the same three women mentioned in Matthew 27, but let's say it was maybe a dozen or two, just for argument's sake. So that puts us up to 30 or 40 or so.

So that leaves the number of Jesus' brothers at about 80 or 90! Do you think Mary had 80 or 90 children? She would have been in perpetual labour not perpetual virginity,

No, Scripture does not contradict the teaching of the Maronite Catholic Church about the "brothers" of Jesus, when Scripture is properly interpreted in context.
Why do some Catholic posters on OCNet like to quote Scripture and the Fathers selectively?  You quote Acts 1.14-15 as:

[The Apostles] with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers...the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty.
Let's read it:

Acts 1

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away; 13 and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16 “Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us, and was allotted his share in this ministry. 18 (Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Akel′dama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 For it is written in the book of Psalms,

‘Let his habitation become desolate,
and let there be no one to live in it’;

and

‘His office let another take.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsab′bas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthi′as. 24 And they prayed and said, “Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthi′as; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.
Your interpretation depends on all of these "brethren" being relatives of Jesus, or else you wouldn't have posed the ludicrous possibility of our Lady being in perpetual labour rather than perpetual virginity if all those were her children.  But you ignore the possibility (I'd say probability) that the bulk of these one hundred and twenty people were not family members of Jesus at all, but were followers ("brethren" being a generic way of referring to the faithful).  We know that Jesus had other followers (e.g., Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus), possibly other followers (e.g., perhaps people he healed and people related to them, like the family of Jairus), and certainly others we don't know about--after all, there's no tradition that Matthias was in any way related to Christ, and yet he was "one of the men that accompanied us", for which reason he was nominated for apostleship. 

We agree that Jesus did not have any blood brothers, and technically no half-brothers, that the "brothers and sisters" can be cousins, "step-siblings", etc.  My only point is that Scripture uses the term "brothers and sisters", and ecclesiastical tradition doesn't shy away from using the same term in teaching, in liturgy, etc., even in languages where there are many technical terms for family relations and we could translate for meaning rather than literal accuracy.  By all means, explain what "brethren" means, but we need not be afraid of using the term if the Evangelists weren't so hesitant.   
If Mary had other children why did she not go and live with them instead of St. John?

"Love to have you Mom, but with the kids out of school and Judy not working right now.... well the townhouse is real small and all I could do is offer you the couch to sleep on and I know your bad back probably cant handle it. Love to have you though. Really...but.... "
 

minasoliman

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Nothing in the Coptic holy week book indicates there were 3 or 4 women, or whether the sister of Mary was also named Mary.  Even in the Synexarium, I had difficulty finding anything about the number of women by the Cross.  From what I can gather though, in the commemoration of St. Anna, the Mother of the Theotokos, it was mentioned that St. Anna was one of 3 sisters:  Mary, Salome, and Anna.
 

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On a somewhat related note, what would the family dynamic be like around Jesus' time? Was it the standard mother, father, and children? Or was it a bit different? How did communities function and what would childhood have been like for Jesus? Did both parents raise their children or did only one or did the extended family raise children etc?
 

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JamesR said:
On a somewhat related note, what would the family dynamic be like around Jesus' time? Was it the standard mother, father, and children? Or was it a bit different? How did communities function and what would childhood have been like for Jesus? Did both parents raise their children or did only one or did the extended family raise children etc?
Great question. I would also like to hear more from anyone who has studied this. The one thing I have read is that "childhood" is a rather modern invention. Kids were just smaller weaker people who were expected to what they could to help sustain the family.
 

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freddief said:
Eastern Mind said:
freddief said:
Eastern Mind said:
freddief said:
Eastern Mind said:
freddief said:
biro said:
freddief said:
biro said:
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings
The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?
Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph
My point was, he was not biologically the Son of David, because he was not Joseph's descendant. Joseph was descendant of King David. By law, He (Christ) was; but biologically, He was not. The Theotokos was not a descendant of King David.

The point being; by law, Christ had half-siblings, even if it was not biologically so.
Why are you saying Mary was not a descendant of David?
The genealogies in the book of Matthew speak of Joseph descending from David, not the Theotokos. When Joseph became the of Jesus legally, his ancestors became the ancestors of Christ legally. He inherited it.
Yes, I understand this, but what about the genealogy in Luke?  To say she is not descended from David, surely you need to refer to a genealogy
Interesting, Mary is descended from David, but not from Solomon.
 

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Sarah said:
Wouldn't Joseph's children be Jesus' step-siblings, not half-siblings?
A half sibling is a sibling born to the same mother but different father, or same father but different mother. Seeing that the Theotokos was a virgin who had no other children and that Jesus had no earthly father, He would have had no half siblings. Step siblings, otoh, are children whom the Theotokos adopts as her own when she marries Joseph, their father. You are right, then, to state that Joseph's children were indeed Jesus's step siblings.
 

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Jesus was considered to be Joseph's son so Joseph's children were legally His half-siblings.
 

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Michał Kalina said:
Jesus was considered to be Joseph's son so Joseph's children were legally His half-siblings.
Michał, that is quite right concerning the legalities. However, the usual understanding in English for "half-sibling" is biological, so really is not a good choice. Do the terms in Polish have the same nuances?
 

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erimos said:
This is a divisive topic that achieves nothing other than fuelling pride and is a form of trolling.
That is good for these threads, it exercises the brain

wouldnt this forum be so boring if everyone agreed on everything?

I guess you could have called Arius a troll
 

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Gunnarr said:
erimos said:
This is a divisive topic that achieves nothing other than fuelling pride and is a form of trolling.
That is good for these threads, it exercises the brain

wouldnt this forum be so boring if everyone agreed on everything?

I guess you could have called Arius a troll
Arius was a troll.  That is why he needed a good slapping.
 

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xOrthodox4Christx said:
PeterTheAleut said:
xOrthodox4Christx said:
shreek said:
Jesus had no brothers or sisters, whether half or not.
Surprised that the Orthodox believe he did.
He had brothers and sisters from Joseph's end. Mary didn't conceive but Joseph made many women conceive before he married St. Mary.
"Made many women conceive"? ??? You do realize that our Tradition, AFAIK, does not speculate into Joseph's love life except to acknowledge that he was most likely a widower when he took the Theotokos to be his wife?
Okay, I'm sorry, I didn't know the specifics. I'm really sorry, I shouldn't have been so rash to respond to something I don't have any knowledge of.
It's okay. It was funny. I thought of a certain poster playing Joseph in a hypothetical Nativity scene.
 

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TheTrisagion said:
Gunnarr said:
erimos said:
This is a divisive topic that achieves nothing other than fuelling pride and is a form of trolling.
That is good for these threads, it exercises the brain

wouldnt this forum be so boring if everyone agreed on everything?

I guess you could have called Arius a troll
Arius was a troll.  That is why he needed a good slapping.
 

frjohnmorris

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Eastern Mind said:
freddief said:
Eastern Mind said:
freddief said:
biro said:
freddief said:
biro said:
Oh boy, here we go.

Someone please explain to him about St. Joseph's previous marriage, and what half-siblings are?
but any children Joseph had by a previous marriage would not have been the Lord's half-siblings, unless Joseph himself sired the Lord.  the Lord Jesus had no half-siblings
The Orthodox believe that He did.

Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about. This is probably the first time you even heard about that, and I'll bet you didn't even do any research on what the Orthodox think about it, before coming to an Orthodox board. You just came to spam people.
look, if they did not have the same father (they didn't) and if they did not have the same mother (they didn't), then how could they be half-siblings?
Jesus is called the Son of David, even though Joseph was not his father. So is Jesus really the Son of David?
The Lord Jesus was indeed a son of David in that he was a descendant of David.  He was not a descendant of Joseph
My point was, he was not biologically the Son of David, because he was not Joseph's descendant. Joseph was descendant of King David. By law, He (Christ) was; but biologically, He was not. The Theotokos was not a descendant of King David.

The point being; by law, Christ had half-siblings, even if it was not biologically so.
Yes Mary was a descendant of King David. One married within one's extended family at that time. The Fathers tell us that is why Sts. Matthew and Luke give the genealogy of Christ to St. Joseph.

Fr. John W. Morris

Fr. John W. Morris
 
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