Friday, October 28, 2005

Dialogue on Supposed Biblical Disproofs of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary: Round Two, Part II (vs. Ken Temple)

See first dialogue and part one of this dialogue. Ken's words will be in green. My past words will be in brown.

*****

The early church left its first love, Jesus ( Revelation 2:4-5) and God judged the early church by removing the lampstand and allowing Islam to conquer the Middle east and North Africa. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox church ( and all the heretical sects around Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Arabia – Monophysites, Nestorians, Arians, Gnostics, the Collyridians ( who make raisin cakes to Mary and worshipped Mary), and the RCC and Orthodox nominalism and externalisms) are responsible for neglecting the scriptures, neglecting the epistles of Paul and justification by faith alone, and substituting it with false worship, real idolatry and appearances of idolatry, externalisms, and a false view of sanctification and salvation – by emphasis on asceticism, virginity, celibacy, vows of poverty, indulgences, works of man, etc. Simon Stylitus is such a good witness ! Colossians 2:20-23 says that this “severe treatment of the body and self-made religion has the appearance of wisdom, but is of no value against fleshly indulgence.”

I cite this (even though it is off-topic) because I wanted our readers to observe the extreme bias that lies behind your exegetical arguments. I thought you believed that Catholicism was Christian? How can we be real Christians if we engage in "false worship" and "real idolatry" every Sunday at Mass, and have a "false view of sanctification and salvation" (a variation on the old charge of "denying the gospel")? That's what it always seems to come down to, doesn't it: (distressingly common) Protestant hatred and gross misunderstanding of both the Mass and Mariology, with the papacy close behind?

So what distinguishes you from the anti-Catholic, if this is what you believe, Ken? Have you moved further to the right or something? And where are you deriving your material? I don't believe you are coming up with all this on your own (though I could, of course, be wrong there, as you are a bright guy). Eric Svendsen, perchance? If you're just going to cite him, you should provide documentation, and page numbers and make direct citations, so that our readers can see that I am refuting his arguments as well as yours. :-) By the way, I'm not using any other books on Mary, etc. in my replies (though I have many in my library). The only books I have consulted thus far are Protestant linguistic references like Strong's Concordance, Englishman's Greek Concordance, etc., as well as a few citations from Calvin's Harmony of the Synoptic Gospels.

The PVM and the veneration of the saints, icons, ceremonies, and these ascetic practices of trying to “work” for one’s salvation became the dominant theme in the history of the RCC/orthodox from 400s on, started small and grew and grew into the Crusades (Wars of penance - working ones way back into God's favor, indulgences) and the indulgence controversy that got Luther’s attention.

More nice boilerplate "Reformation" polemics and rhetoric. This is textbook Catholic-bashing.

. . . this [emphases of Origen, Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome] led to bondages of the masses of people having a false gospel preached to them and keeping them ignorant of the gospel that frees men’s and women’s wills of the bondage of sin and a works orientation.

Ah! Now we're back to denying the gospel and semi-Pelagianism. Yet we're still Christian? Please clarify, since if you are an anti-Catholic now, I will stop the debate, per my policy. I think it is already crystal-clear that you are far too biased to be able to engage in an objective, open-minded discussion on this issue. It's also true that as an orthodox Catholic and indeed an apologist I will obviously have a bias towards the doctrine I seek to defend (!). I would never deny that for a second, yet nevertheless, I think there is a huge difference between hopefully fair-minded advocacy within a context of overall respect for one's opponent and his religious affiliation and theology, and axe-grinding agendas which seek to put the opposing position in the worst possible light (with the aid of all sorts of extraneous rhetoric and polemics, which further the cause of denigration).

Thus you are making this more than just a discussion of an issue which is not in ansd of itself an intrinsic cause of Catholic-Protestant division (since most Protestants agreed with us till 200 or so years ago), and are seeking to make it a springboard or cause of further division (which, heaven knows, no one needs). That's sad and unnecessary, because this is an issue (unlike something like sola Scriptura or sola fide) where a Protestant can come down on either side without abandoning the fundamental principles and theology of Protestantism in the least (so, e.g., Dr. Paul Owen accepts the doctrine, as did Luther, Calvin, Turretin, and Wesley and many other prominent Protestant theologians and exegetes).

The reason why the PVM is not true, is because the Bible says Mary was a virgin until Jesus was born.

What does her virginity till Jesus was born have to do with her state after he was born? As has been argued endlessly, Matthew 1:18,25 tell us nothing whatsoever about a supposed change in sexual practice after the birth of Jesus. The words used do not require this at all. Hence, it is yet another failed, non-compelling "disproof." You have yet to show me a compelling scriptural reason to deny the perpetual virginity. You get an E for effort, but you have no base hits at all yet, and you have struck out every time (not for lack of trying and swinging very hard!).

Another issue is that the focus on virginity and good works in sanctification became the focus of the early church, rather than expounding upon what the gospel was for people to be saved, -- by grace through faith alone.

And so we're right back to the boilerplate rhetoric which has little or nothing to do with sound exegesis and determination of what the biblical texts actually teach (tradition be damned if you must believe that, but at least give us the courtesy of some alternative exegesis and "proof" contrary to our position).

They focused on sanctification rather than justification and faith. Eventually, this focus led to a whole system that focuses on what you do for God, rather than what God has done for us at the cross in Jesus Christ.

Really? That's news to me! I'm sure St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Bernard or St. Dominic or St. Francis or St. Teresa of Avila or St. Bonaventure or Thomas a Kempis or Duns Scotus would have been quite shocked to learn of this supposed reality, too.

And by the way, it is spelled "Irenaeus," not "Ireneaus" (a before e). If I see his name misspelled one more time I think I will scream . . .

(Jason Engwer, Irenaeus on Perpetural Virginity, "Catholic but not Roman Catholic", which Dave is familiar with and has written about, but not convincing. Jason E. and E. Svendsen have much, much more evidence and logic and "common sense" on this and many other issues.

Yep, as suspected . . . I demolished Jason Engwer's arguments with regard to the Fathers' alleged belief in sola Scriptura. I've told the story many times. I started critiquing this endless series of his in this one respect, in 2002, when I was still debating anti-Catholics. He decided to issue a counter-reply, and this was a much-advertised encounter on the anti-Catholic CARM forum, which set up a board solely devoted to the Great Debate (at my request). Anti-Catholic folks longed to see me get licked in a debate once and for all: to get my "come-uppance." They hoped and prayed for it and were positively giddy in excited anticipation.

Well, reality often disappoints our fantasies. I went through ten Fathers that Jason had expounded upon, easily disposing of his contentions. Jason made his way through four of them in counter-reply and then gave up right in the middle of the "debate." He didn't do any better in our several debates on development and the papacy and the canon, either. Give him some credit, though. At least he lasted 40% of the way before high-tailing it. William Webster and David King hardly answered my critiques of them at all, and James White fled for the hills and declined to reply in a second round, after I thoroughly refuted his reply to my material concerning Moses' Seat and its implications for Christian authority. Svendsen has refused to defend his positions, too, where I am concerned, for years now, preferring to simply engage in ridiculous ad homimem attack, making me out to be the biggest idiot in the history of theology and worth no one's time for even one minute. The fool's way out . . .

But we are to believe that Jason Engwer - the king of mild-mannered anti-Catholic sophistry and special pleading (free of personal attack but also of coherence and cogency) - is a more studied, fair, and impartial, and authoritative interpreter of Scripture and the history of patristic doctrine and Catholic Tradition than Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome et al? Give me a break!

As to Carlstadt’s over-zealous actions with the mobs against the statues and idols, I cannot know for sure what I would have done, if I had lived at that time. If it causes bloody violence to people, no, that would be wrong. But if it can be done in the right spirit, such as when the Ephesians repented of magic and brought out their magic books and idols and burned them in Acts 19, then destroying idols is a good thing. It seems that the mob and Carlstadt did go overboard, as portrayed in both the 1950s version of Luther movie and the recent one. However, God did command the Israelites to smash the idols in the land of Canaan. Deuteronomy 7:5; Exodus 23:24; 34:13; Deuteronomy 12:3.

Excellent. I'll be sure not to let you into my gorgeous German Gothic Revival cathedral, where I go to church. These crazed mobs also smashed statues of Christ, which they considered "idols" as well. Some of the Calvinists would destroy organs . . . . Stained glass was considered idolatrous; that's why many Calvinist churches are dull as can be architecturally: plain white walls. We mustn't have any beauty where the things of God are concerned!

This part gets goofy logic, in my humble opinion, from you Dave. It was in a blue box.

Great! I look forward to some solid logical argumentation from you. Let's see what you can come up with, if in fact my argument was as shoddy as you claim.

"1. Ken: John couldn't possibly have meant "cousins" because he could have used anepsios instead and chose not to. Therefore, adelphos here must mean siblings." ( Dave)

Yes, that is the plain meaning of the text. It proves all the work that you and the RCC do trying to get brothers to mean cousins, is just wishful thinking, in those contexts.

But you have failed to grasp the fairly straightforward logical point here, and have not, therefore, replied to it. This is a classic example; but I will read on, hoping for a real counter-reply, rather than your usual irrelevant repetition, bald denials, mere rhetoric, etc.

"2. Yet Paul often uses brothers in a larger sense, and fails to use anepsios or sungenis in those same instances. John does the same at, e.g., John 20:17." (Dave)

This point is kind of ridiculous – where does Paul use “brothers”, but you know for sure he means, “cousins” or “relatives” ?? How do you know what he means, without proving my point? He clearly was knowledgeable of the difference by his use in Colossians 4:10 and remember, John Mark, and Barnabas, and Paul are all Jews. You did not make a very logical or even reasonable case here at all.

Remarkably, you seem to miss my entire (lengthy, involved) argument in this regard, and as usual, you don't interact with it directly (if you had, perhaps you would show some evidence that you at least understand it, which would be a start). Where to begin? First of all, I didn't claim that Paul meant in other places, "cousins" or "relatives" in particular, but rather, "brothers in a larger sense." Secondly, I used the example of sungenis because it, too, has a wide latitude of meaning (it doesn't just mean cousin, and is rather like adelphos in that respect). Thus I wrote:

Now, it is true, that sungenis and its cognate sungenia do appear in the NT 15 times (sungenia: Lk 1:61, Acts 7:3,14; sungenis: Mk 6:4, Lk 1:36,58, 2:44, 14:12, 21:16, Jn 18:26, Acts 10:24, Rom 9:3, 16:7,11,21). They are usually translated kinsmen, kinsfolk, or kindred in the KJV, and usually in a sense wider than cousin: more so referring to the entire nation of Hebrews.

Thirdly, I already provided three instances of Paul using adelphos in the sense of something other than sibling: Romans 1:13 and 9:3, and 1 Thess 1:4. The point being that, yes, Paul understood what all these words meant, yet he continued to use adelphos even in those instances which had a non-sibling application (just as I am arguing was the case in the Gospels, with Jesus' "brothers"). Your fallacious argument tries to set forth the illogical notion that if a writer knows of a more specific word and doesn't use it (i.e., anepsios or sungenis), that he must mean a more literal sense for the word that he does use (adelphos). But Paul's use of adelphos in a sense other than sibling, blows this out of the water. It's rather simple logical deduction; yet you don't seem to grasp it. I can only explain that by your prior bias. In any event, your reasoning here fails to pass logical muster.

Fourth, you try to make a big deal out of anepsios (cousin) in Colossians 4:10, yet this is the only time it appears in the NT. On the other hand, Paul uses both adelphos and sungenis, and in many senses, several times. This also mitigates against your argument: "hey, Paul (and by extension John, Matthew, etc.) knew about this word for cousin, so if and when he [they] didn't use it, he [they] must have meant siblings when they used the word adelphos." This is simply false -by both linguistic and logical criteria. Here, then, are Paul's clear uses of adelphos and sungenis and their cognates (sungenia, adelphe, adelphotes) in a sense other than "sibling".

The striking thing is that it looks like every time he uses adelphos he means it as something other than blood brother or sibling. I may have missed one or two because I am going by the concordance and not looking up everything, but it appears to be a unanimous use of the larger sense of adelphos. In fact, Paul uses the word(s) no less than 138 times in this way. Yet the liberal Protestant argument will make great hay of Galatians 1:19: ". . . James the Lord's brother." 137 other times, Paul means non-sibling, yet amazingly enough, here he must mean sibling, because, well, he uses the word adelphos!? Does that make any sense? Of course it does not (i.e., not in any terms of logical necessity, which is what we are here disputing, as opposed to possibility). Paul knew that the word encompassed relatives besides blood brothers, and that this was common usage, so he used it.

Paul's use of sungenis is even more interesting and instructive, since (I believe) it is more likely to mean cousin, but is not restricted to that definition. It is translated as cousin in Luke 1:36 and 1:58 in the KJV, but kinswoman and kinsfolk in the RSV. The latter (more distant relation) is actually the more literal and common definition and application. Thus, W.E. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, lists it not only under "Cousin" but also under "Kin, Kinsfolk, Kinsman, Kinswoman." As for Paul, Vine lists his four uses of the word (Romans 9:3, 16:7,11,21), all under the meaning of "tribal or racial kinship, fellow-nationals." So here again we have a much larger meaning, and exclusive use of that wider sense by Paul.

Now here is the point. You wrote: "Matthew and Luke and Mark knew and wrote Greek. They could have used sungenis (kinsmen) or the word for cousin in Colossians 4:10 if the "brothers and sisters" were cousins. (anepsios)." Yes, it's true that they could have. But this is not as strong an argument as it may seem at first, once we understand that sungenis also has a very wide latitude (such that Paul only uses it in that wider sense of race or nationalism). That being the case, why use it, since it would be the same scenario as adelphos offers? This "they woulda used this-a-here word iff'n they meant what you are claiming" argument just falls flat all around, the more we look at it. It's illogical, and it hardly succeeds even in terms of definitions and language issues.

The same scenario applies to use of sungenis and its cognates elsewhere. In the KJV they are translated (besides Luke 1:36 and 1:58) kindred, kinsfolk, kin, kinsmen, and kinsman (Mk 6:4, Lk 1:61, 2:44, 14:12, 21:16, Jn 18:26, Acts 7:3,14, 10:24). In the RSV, likewise, we have the renderings (even including Lk 1:36,58) kin, kindred, kinswoman, kinsfolk, kinsmen, and kinsman. So it is unanimous there: not even the English "cousin" is used. Now, the meaning of kindred et al in English is clear: of common origin, extended family, relatives, including distant ones, tribe, etc. Thus, it is not even crystal clear that Elizabeth and Mary were literally cousins (which is why RSV refrained from describing them as such).

You think it is telling that sungenis isn't used to describe the brothers of Jesus. I think I have adequately explained that by Jewish culture and the wide meaning of its equivalent of our term brothers, but there is one place at least, related somewhat to our subject matter, where it is perhaps linguistically implied that these "brothers" are indeed more distant relatives. And that is Mark 6:4, where sungenis appears:

And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." (cf. Jn 7:5: "For even his brothers did not believe in him")

What is the context? Let's look at the preceding verse, where the people in "his own country" (6:1) exclaimed:

"Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and
Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at
him.

It can plausibly be argued, then, that Jesus' reference to kin (sungenis) refers (at least in part) back to this mention of his "brothers" and "sisters" - his relatives. Since we know that sungenis means cousins or more distant relatives, that would be an indication of the status of those called Jesus' "brothers". One objection might be that Jesus also mentions "in his own house," thus suggesting siblings. But this saying also has a general application, since it referred back to the prophets' experience of rejection; therefore it doesn't necessarily apply to Jesus in all particulars. Mary and Joseph did not oppose Jesus' ministry. When Jesus said that "a man's foes will be those of his own household," this was a proverbial statement, which allows exceptions, since it is a generality.

But the reference in Mk 6:3 to these "brothers" must also be cross-referenced, as I did in my book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism:

By comparing Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, and John 19:25, we find that James and Joseph -- mentioned in Matthew 13:55 with Simon and Jude as Jesus' "brothers" -- are also called sons of Mary, wife of Clopas. This other Mary (Matthew 27:61, 28:1) is called our Lady's adelphe in John 19:25 (it isn't likely that there were two women named "Mary" in one family -- thus even this usage apparently means "cousin" or more distant relative). Matthew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3 mention Simon, Jude and "sisters" along with James and Joseph, calling all adelphoi. Since we know for sure at least James and Joseph are not Jesus' blood brothers, the most likely interpretation of Matthew 13:55 is that all these "brothers" are cousins, according to the linguistic conventions discussed above. At the very least, the term brother is not determinative in and of itself. (p. 196 in the Sophia edition)

This is pretty direct evidence that two of these "brothers" mentioned are not siblings. Jesus' reference to "kin" would be in line with this. It all works together as "cumulative evidence." Is all of this "logical" and "reasonable" - which you denied above? I'm happy, as always, to let readers make up their own minds. I think that fair-minded inquirers can see that your biblical "case" against Mary's perpetual virginity is no more compelling than the Catholic biblical and traditional rationale in favor of it. The Bible doesn't prove or require your view. It doesn't absolutely prove ours, either, but nothing in Scripture contradicts our position, and there is enough indication in favor of it, I think, to make it at least equally plausible as your view.

. . . in Matthew, Mark, and Luke parallels of the brothers of Jesus, and John 7:3-8 and 2:12-22, it is obvious that these are not “spiritual brothers” or “humanity or common interest brothers”, but because of the context of family, with real mother and father, etc.

I agree that context shows that they are relatives, not distant "kinsmen." But it doesn't prove that they are siblings.

Your point about John 20:17 does not make sense with what you are trying to prove. We know that the biblical writers sometimes use “brothers” to describe spiritual brothers. That does not prove that “brothers” means “cousins” though, especially when the context is surrounded by statements like, “Isn’t that the carpenter’s son? Isn’t Mary his mother? Aren’t His brothers James and Jude and Joses and Simon here? Are not His sisters here with us? ( Mark 6:3)

Again, you engage in circular argument (when will you learn to refrain from it?), by assuming that use of sisters and brothers proves that siblings are being referred to. I've shown again and again that adelphos doesn't require this. The cross-referencing I again gave above, from my book, shows one indisputable example where two of these named "brothers" cannot be siblings, and must be more distant relatives. That is clear evidence against your view.

All the other contexts of what you are talking about ( spiritual brothers or brothers, in the sense of “fellow human”) are not in the context of family siblings. Context is the key to good exegesis. You are grabbing all the “brothers in Christ” or “brothers as humans” contexts and reading them into the clear family contexts of mother and brothers. You kept saying I am circular and illogical and just making bald assertions, your whole paper is nothing but circular reasoning, assumptions, illogic – the very thing you accuse me of.

I submit that my reasoning above (and your lack of same, and endless repetition of things you simply assume and don't prove) ) suggests otherwise.

Where does John or Paul clearly use “brother”, where the meaning is clearly “cousin” or “relative”?? You don’t have any point at all. You are the one who is just assuming and presuming and just making bald claims with no evidence.

Is that so? Then what do you make of John 19:25, where the apostle John calls Mary, wife of Clopas, the virgin Mary's "sister" (adelphe)? Is it your belief that Mary had a blood sister named Mary? Or is this a cousin or more distant relative?

James and Joseph are called Jesus' "brothers" in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55. Yet Matthew 27:56 (cf. Mk 15:40) describes a different Mary as their mother (described as "the other Mary" in 27:61 and 28:1, and "Mary the wife of Clopas" in Jn 19:25). Now, assuming that Mary, the Mother of God didn't have a sister (sibling) named Mary, this Mary, wife of Clopas and "sister" of the Blessed Virgin Mary is at least a cousin, if not further removed.

Cousin is plausible; let's assume for the sake of argument that she is a first cousin. That would make her sons James and Joseph, the Blessed Virgin Mary's second cousins, and Jesus' third cousins. Yet they are called Jesus' "brothers" in two places. This is virtual proof (if not ironclad proof) of adelphos meaning "cousin". And it is based on the use of not only John, but Mark (thought to have received much of his information from Peter) and Matthew as well.

St. Paul rounds out the list by calling James "the Lord's brother" in Galatians 1:19. But this James (thought to be the author of the book of James, and the first bishop of Jerusalem) is not a sibling, but rather, His first or third cousin or even further removed, depending on how much stock is put into early historical sources. Therefore, by the deduction of cross-referencing of Holy Scripture, Paul, John, Mark, and Matthew have all used adelphos in the sense of "cousin." I think that's a bit more biblical evidence than a "bald claim" and no "point at all."

The Protestant New Bible Dictionary (1962) confirms all this (if indeed that is necessary with all that biblical data available). In its article, "Mary," the fourth entry is about Mary, wife of Clopas:

Mary the mother of James; 'the other Mary'; Mary of Clopas. It is very probable that these three names all refer to the same person. Mary the mother of James and Joses . . . (Mt. 27:55 f.) . . . Mark refers to her (15:40) as 'Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses . . .

. . . Hegesippus tells us (see Eus., EH iii 11) that Clopas (AV Cleophas) was the brother of Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary.

(p. 793)

If the latter is true, then Mary, wife of Clopas would have been the Blessed Virgin Mary's sister-in-law; married to her husband's brother. That would have made her Jesus' aunt, and thus her sons would be His first cousins, rather than third, as supposed above in the hypothetical scenario. Note the looseness of adelphos again: it is applied in Jn 19:25 to this "sister" of Mary, who is actually a sister-in-law and not blood-related at all (according to Hegesippus and Eusebius), or else a cousin (blood-related, but more distantly than a sibling).

We find more fascinating information in Eusebius, in the same passage cited above:

After the martyrdom of James and the capture of Jerusalem which instantly followed, there is a firm tradition that those of the apostles and disciples of the Lord who were still alive assembled from all parts together with those who, humanly speaking, were kinsmen of the Lord - for most of them were still living. Then they all discussed together whom they should choose as a fit person to succeed James, and voted unanimously that Symeon, son of the Clopas mentioned in the gospel narrative [note: Jn 19:25; perhaps Lk 24:18], was a fit person to occupy the throne of the Jerusalem see. He was, so it is said, a cousin of the Saviour, for Hegesippus tells us that Clopas was Joseph's brother.

(The History of the Church, translated by G.A. Williamson, Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1965, 123-124; emphasis added)

It turns out, then, that early tradition, from the second-century historian Hegesippus (which we have no reason to doubt in its non-theological reporting of relationships) tells us that "Symeon" is also a son of Clopas. That's very interesting because we have "Simon" (another form of Symeon) listed as a "brother" of Jesus, alongside James and Joseph, in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. Thus, he is another first cousin, according to this scenario, not a blood brother. That would identify three of these named "brothers" (there are only four named, total) as cousins, based on clear biblical evidence (James and Joseph) and a combination of sound early historical tradition and the Bible (Simon or Symeon). Eusebius cites Hegesippus again:

When James the Righteous had suffered martyrdom like the Lord and for the same reason, Symeon the son of his uncle Clopas was appointed bishop. He being a cousin of the Lord, it was the universal demand that he should be the second.

(p. 181 [IV, 22]; emphasis added; cf. III, 32, p. 143: ". . . Mary, wife of the Clopas whose son he was" and "the son of the Lord's uncle, the aforesaid Simon son of Clopas . . .")

That leaves only "Jude" or "Judas" of the four named "brothers." What do we know about him, from the Bible and early tradition? The New Bible Dictionary states:

The Lord's brother (Mt. 13:55 = Mk. 6:3). Perhaps the author of the Epistle of Jude . . . .

(p. 673)

Alright; so what does the same work tell us about that epistle? Two pages later, we learn the following:

The author of this little tract identifies himself as 'Jude (RV Judas), the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James'. In the early Church there was only one James who could be referred to in this way without further specification - 'James the Lord's brother' (as he is called in Gal. 1:19). This points to an identification of the author with the Judas who is numbered among the brothers of Jesus in Mt. 13:55 and Mk. 6:3 . . .


New Testament scholar Donald Guthrie concurs:

There can be no doubt that the author intended his readers to think of this James as James of Jerusalem, the Lord's brother. This would have been a very natural assumption since James of Jerusalem was well known. it is also natural to suppose that the lesser-known Jude wished to commend himself on the strength of his brother's wider reputation . . . Jude, as some of the other brothers of the Lord, engaged in itinerant preaching . . .

There seems, therefore, no reason to suppose that this Jude was other than the Lord's brother.

(New Testament Introduction, Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, revised one-volume edition, 1970, 906, 908; Guthrie believs that the epistle of James was written by this same James: "brother" [cousin] of Jesus, or at least that the author, whomever it was, wished to identify himself as this James, and that this opinion has garnered "general agreement" amongst scholars: p. 740)

Note once again how Jude identifies himself. Is it plausible to interpret "brother" here as sibling or cousin? Well, given the fact that we already have two lists of four siblings in Scripture, two of whom (including James) have been expressly identified as sons of Mary wife of Clopas, and since a third has been identified by early Church history also as a son of Clopas, and Jude is the fourth in the list, it is reasonable to assume he is this fourth brother; therefore, that he is using adelphos in its meaning of sibling here. So he would be the blood brother of James, who, as we've seen, is the cousin of Jesus, thus making Jude the same. Hence Jude describes himself as "servant" of Jesus, but James' brother.

Now, suppose that he really were Jesus' blood brother, too (as it were). In that case, he refrains from referring to himself as the Lord's own sibling (when, on this theory, such a phraseology occurs several times in the NT, referring to sibling relationship) and chooses instead to identify himself as James' brother (when James isn't even the oldest, let alone God incarnate). This is too strange to adopt, so we are left with my first scenario, and all four named "brothers of Jesus" have been explained quite plausibly and solidly, as Jesus' first cousins and each others' siblings: sons of "the other" Mary and Clopas (Joseph's brother). James also refrains from calling himself Jesus' brother, in his epistle (James 1:1).

Despite all this that can be found without too much trouble, mostly from Scripture itself or rock-solid early historical sources, you conclude:

Dave, I am surprised at this “box”! It is just “goofy”. You didn’t prove anything. Since Paul and Luke clearly knew Greek words for cousin and relative and your whole PVM doctrine is based mostly on the Hebrew/Aramaic language lack of word for cousin and relative, it is your argument that fails. The NT is written in Greek, and only Luke is a Greek/Roman/non-Jew/Gentile.

Here again we have your annoying, exasperating tendency of breezy dismissal without argument or proper counter-response, and almost a total refusal to deal and interact with my arguments themselves, as I present them (whereas I am systematically responding to yours, spending many hours replying). I think readers can readily observe who has actually done the work and exegeted the relevant texts, and at least thrown out something of significant substance to ponder. Whatever you think of the above argumentation and what came before, I think it is clearly more than just "goofy." And I believe that fair-minded readers will realize that, too, and give this opinion a second thought if they don't presently hold it.

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