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NOTES FOR PERPETUAL VIRGINITY DEBATE

Compiled by William Albrecht

HEOS HOU

An argument we hear brought up a lot is the argument that Matthew 1:25 proves that LATER on Mary and Joseph must have had sexual relations.

Matthew 1:25 reads

Matthew 1:25 And he knew her not until she brought forth her firstborn son; and he called his name Jesus.

The argument commonly put forth is that the construction HEOS HOU must surely mean that sexual relations LATER ensued.

In examining HEOS HOU we find that the Septuagint has 85 uses of heos hou where the action of the main verb can continue. In the NT there are 4 of the 19 in which it occurs.

The percentage ratio in which the Septuagint and the NT both have the main verb continuing with the usage of heos hou is virtually the same! Matthew 14:22, 26:36, 2 Peter 1:19, and Rev. 6:11.

If HEOS HOU were such a landmark argument against the Perpetual Virginity of Mary we would surely find it employed by the early opponents of the Perpetual Virginity. But indeed, we only find this passage used in the late 4th century. What’s even more glaring is the fact that CODEX VATICANUS lacks the HOU after HEOS in it’s manuscript.

The fact of the matter is that HEOS and HEOS HOU really aren’t different at all and simply because we have the form HEOS HOU, does not then entail that this is clearly showing that Mary must have later on lost her virginity. The verse is simply telling us that Mary remained a virgin before she gave birth to Christ. It gives no indication as to what occurred afterwards.

There are a few other arguments that are levied by the Protestant critic. For we also hear that since Christ is called PROTOTOKOS, FIRSTBORN, then this means MORE children were born after him.

A simple way to answer this is to note that this is a title that is applied to a child of honor, and a child who is not preceded by other children. It need not entail that OTHER children are born.

Consider David who is called God’s Firstborn, the highest of all the kings of earth

  1. 89:19-20, 26-28 Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him… He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.
  2. 88:28 LXX And I will make him [my] first-born (prototokon), higher than the kings of the earth.

David was neither the first son born, since he was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons (Cf. 1 Samuel 16). Nor was the first king of Israel, let alone from all the kings of the earth. Saul had been appointed King long before him (Cf. 1 Sam. 9-10).

ADELPHOS

Indeed, the Protestant argument that the NORMAL usage of Adelphos requires these to have been normal siblings is disqualified by the fact that ADELPHOS is NOT always used in speaking of a BROTHER in the strict sense ONLY, we find proof of this in the SEPTUAGINT and the NT alike!

In the Septuagint we read,

Deuteronomy 23:7

NAB Deuteronomy 23:8 But do not abhor the Edomite, since he is your brother, nor the Egyptian, since you were an alien in his country.

The Septuagint rendering has Adelphos here.

Indeed in Jerimiah 34:9,

NAB Jeremiah 34:9 Everyone was to free his Hebrew slaves, male and female, so that no one should hold a man of Judah, his brother, in slavery.

Again the same term employed here and not in reference to a strict sibling.

Many examples can be given such as Genesis 29:15, 1 Chronicles 23, 2 Kings 10 and a whole lot more.

Indeed Genesis 13:8 and 14:14 tell us,

NASB1995 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers.

KJV Genesis 14:14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

The Greek reads ADELPHOS here, but it’s no wonder that the translations such as the NEW AMERICAN BIBLE render it relative and nephew, respectively.

Indeed in the New Testament the examples can also be multiplied, but we’ll specifically examine a few of them.

Matthew 5:47 reads

NAB Matthew 5:47 And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?

NAS Matthew 5:47 “And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?”

The Greek rendering has ADELPHOUS from ADELPHOS. The meaning here is clearly not that of BLOOD SIBLINGS for there are indeed other variant readings where the Greek word PHILOUS from PHILOS is used, meaning FRIEND, close friend.

Indeed Peter and Andrew are called brothers, but we are never told that they have the same Father in the New Testament.

MARK 6:3

Mark (and Matthew), speaks Biblically by using the Mosaic Law’s division of the family in Numbers.

LXX Numbers 1:2-3: Take a census of all the synagogue/assembly (synagôgês) of the sons of Israel, by their clans/cousins (kata sygeneias autôn), by their patrilineal houses (kat’oikous patriôn autôn), by number of names taken by their head (kata kephalên autôn), i.e., every male (arsên) twenty years old and above; everyone who can go out among the [armed] force of Israel.

BGT Numbers 1:2 λάβετε ἀρχὴν πάσης συναγωγῆς υἱῶν Ισραηλ κατὰ συγγενείας αὐτῶν κατ᾽ οἴκους πατριῶν αὐτῶν κατὰ ἀριθμὸν ἐξ ὀνόματος αὐτῶν κατὰ κεφαλὴν αὐτῶν πᾶς ἄρσην (Num. 1:2 BGT)

The divisions are as follows: (1.) A patrilineal house (oikos) with heads (kefalê) above twenty years old, (2.) clansmen or cousins (syngeneis) who are blood relations broader than the patrilineal household, and (3.) the twelve tribes of Israel named according to Israel’s son.

This division is VERY clearly brought out in Mark 6 where the BROTHERS and SISTERS of Christ are IDENTIFIED as his SYNGENIS of the HOUSE.

Mark 6

DRA Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joseph, and Jude, and Simon? are not also his sisters here with us? And they were scandalized in regard of him. (Mk. 6:3 DRA)

BGT Mark 6:3 οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τέκτων, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος; καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς; καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ. (Mk. 6:3 BGT)

KJV Mark 6:4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. (Mk. 6:4 KJV)

BGT Mark 6:4 καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν προφήτης ἄτιμος εἰ μὴ ἐν τῇ πατρίδι αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τοῖς συγγενεῦσιν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ. (Mk. 6:4 BGT)

NKJ Jeremiah 3:18 “In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given as an inheritance to your fathers.

BGT Jeremiah 3:18 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις συνελεύσονται οἶκος Ιουδα ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Ισραηλ καὶ ἥξουσιν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ἀπὸ γῆς βορρᾶ καὶ ἀπὸ πασῶν τῶν χωρῶν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἣν κατεκληρονόμησα τοὺς πατέρας αὐτῶν

Hegesippus

Hegesippus speaks of ‘Jude, his brother according to the flesh, as he was called’ (Eusebius, HE 3:20:1), presumably reporting Jewish Christian usage, while in another passage dependent on, though not explicitly quoting, Hegesippus, Eusebius calls members of the family of Jesus’those who belonged to the Lord’s family according to the flesh’ (HE 3:11:1).

That the qualification ‘according to the flesh’ was Jewish Christian terminology with reference to the family of Jesus is also suggested by the fact that Julius Africanus, in a passage dependent on Jewish Christian sources, refers to Jesus’ ‘relatives according to the flesh,’ ‘the brother of Christ according to the flesh’; and Joseph as Jesus’ father ‘according to the flesh‘in History of Joseph; cf. also Rom 1:3;I Clem 32:2 for Jesus’ ancestry.

They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah,[b] who is over all, God blessed forever.[c] Amen. Romans 9:4-5

KATA SARKA doesn’t mean they were actual BLOOD brothers; the very same phrase is USED for COUSINS of the Lord!

In the VERY same author’s work, book 3 of his Church History he SHOWS us how he is using the phraseology!

  1. After the martyrdomof James and the conquest of Jerusalem which immediately followed, it is said that those of the apostlesand disciples of the Lord that were still living came together from all directions with those that were related to the Lord according to the flesh (for the majority of them also were still alive) to take counsel as to who was worthy to succeed James.
  2. They all with one consent pronounced Symeon, the son of Clopas, of whom the Gospelalso makes mention; to be worthy of the episcopal throne of that parish. He was a cousin, as they say, of the Saviour. For Hegesippus records that Clopas was a brother of Joseph.

 

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