Now before you click to the next blog, give this question some thought. The traditional viewpoint of the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox is that Mary was a virgin when she conceived (called the virginal conception) and, after her marriage with Joseph, remained a virgin. Who says so? Have you ever considered this roll call of those who thought Mary remained a virgin?
2d Century text Protevangelium James
Origen, Commentary on Matthew 10:17
Athanasius, Virginity, can’t locate reference in my NPNF text. [Added: Discourses Against the Arians 2.70.]
Augustine, Nature and Grace, 36.42.
Martin Luther, Works, 22.23.
John Calvin, NT Commentary on Synoptics, at Matthew 12:46-50.
John Wesley, in A.C. Coulter, John Wesley, 495
In text-critical terms, belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity is early, widespread, and found in every major tradition of the Church. One might say it was the universal faith of the Church, apart from rare exceptions, until the post-Reformation era.
Mary’s perpetual virginity was opposed by Tertullian and Helvidius. Tomorrow I’ll begin to look at the major biblical texts that are at the center of this discussion. Most evangelical commentators snarl at the suggestion that Mary was perpetually virgin.
Where are you on this one?