2 Comments

  1. Quenton said:

    So the question naturally follows, when did Mary make this vow? If before her betrothal, why would she enter into betrothal? If after her betrothal, why would she make the vow? Are there other examples of such odd behaviour?

    April 25, 2015
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  2. Matt Nelson said:

    Hi Quenton: great questions. One primary source from early Christianity that supports this tradition (Mary’s avowed virginity and later betrothal) is the Proteoevangelium of James (free on line version @ http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0847.htm). We have 3rd century transcript(s) which appear to be secondary, suggesting an even earlier origin. According to this narrative (which is obviously considered extra-biblical, albeit not a gnostic text) Mary was conceived by a special blessing of God upon her parents. Their response was to dedicate her to the temple and to God, as a virgin. Joseph then, as an older widower with children from a prior marriage, is chosen to be Mary’s protector and provider. Their relationship from the beginning was not meant to be what we understand today to be a “traditional” marriage. The early Church Father, Origin, used the Protoevangelium to make his case for Mary’s perpetual virginity (Jesus’ brothers were step-brothers, though Joseph’s sons from a former marriage). It is, thus, not considered inerrant like Scripture, but historically reliable to some significant degree. As for other examples in antiquity of virgins getting married for these same purposes, I’m not too sure. M

    April 27, 2015
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