Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Perpetual Virginity of Mary: Acceptance By Prominent Reformed Protestant Theologian Francois Turretin

[Turretin.jpg]
Franรงois Turretin (1632-1687) was a major figure in Reformed Protestant (Calvinist) theology.

Thanks to Perry Robinson (Orthodox), who posted on this in November, and Nicholas Hardesty, who called my attention to the same. The indented words below are all from Turretin. Bolding is Robinson's own.

* * *

This is not expressly declared in Scripture, but is yet piously believed with human faith from the consent of the ancient church. Thus it is probable that the womb in which our Savior received the auspices of life (whence he entered into this world, as from a temple) was so consecrated and sanctified by so great a guest that she always remained untouched by man; nor did Joseph ever cohabit with her.

Hence Helvidius and the Antidicomarianites (so-called because they were opponents of [antidikoi] Mary) are deservedly rebuked by the fathers for denying that Mary was always a virgin (aei Parthenon). They held that she cohabited with Joseph after delivery; yea, also bore children from him. As Augustine remarks, they rely on the shallowest arguments, i.e., because Christ is called the ‘firstborn’ of Mary (cf. De Haeresibus 56, 84 [PL 42.40, 46]). For as Jerome well remarks, she was so called because no one was begotten before him, not because there was another after him. Hence among lawyers: ‘He is the first whom no one precedes; he is last, whom no one follows.’ The Hebrews were accustomed to call the firstborn also only begotten; Israel is called ‘the first-born of God’ (Ex 4:22), although the only people chosen of God. Thus ‘the firstborn’ is said to be ‘holy unto God’ (Ex 13:2), who first opened the womb, whether others followed or not. Otherwise the firstborn would not have to be redeemed until after another offspring had been procreated (the law shows this to be false because it commands it to be redeemed a month after birth, Num. 18:16).

Not more solidly have they been able to elicit this from the fact that in the New Testament certain ones are called ‘the brothers of Christ.’ It is common in Scripture not only for one’s own and full brothers by nature to be designated by this name, but also blood relatives and cousins (as Abraham and Lot, Jacob and Laban). Thus James and Joses, Simon and Judas are called brothers of Christ (Mt. 13:55) by a relation of blood. For Mary (who is called their mother by Matthew and Mark) is called by John the sister of the Lord’s mother. However what is said in Jn. 7:5 that ‘neither did his brethren believe him’ must be understood of more remote blood relations.

Nor is it derived better from this-that Joseph is said ‘not to have known Mary till she had brought forth her firstborn son’ (Mt. 1:25). The particles ‘till” and ‘even unto’ are often referred only to the past, not to the future (i.e., they so connote the preceding time, concerning which there might be a doubt or which it was of the highest importance to know, as not to have a reference to the future-cf. Gen 28:15; Pss 122:2; 110:1; Mt.28:20, etc.). Thus is shown what was done by Joseph before the nativity of Christ (to wit, that he abstained form her); but it does not imply that he lived with her in any other way postpartum. When therefore she is said to have been found with child ‘before they came together’ (prin e synelthein autous), preceding copulation is denied, but not subsequent affirmed.

Although copulation had not take place in that marriage, it did not cease to be true and ratified (although unconsummated) for not intercourse, but consent makes marriage. Therefore it was perfect as to form (to wit, undivided conjunction of life and unviolated faith), but not as to end (to wit, the procreation of children), although it was not deficient as to the raising of the offspring.

(Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 2, 345-346)


Related papers:

Luther, Calvin, and Other Early Protestants on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

"Why Are Catholics So Dogmatic About the Perpetual Virginity of Mary?" / Confessional Lutheran Agreement

Martin Luther's Mariology (Particularly the Immaculate Conception)

11 comments:

Martin said...

I assume that TAO disagrees with his namesake. Here he will point out that the big T is only a man and hence fallable. My question from the getgo is why would I disagree with the big T and follow the little t.
-with my usual phone typos

Doug Benscoter said...

Martin, don't you mean "fallible"? ;)

Dave Armstrong said...

Of course he would disagree, lest he appear in any remote way, shape or form, Catholic!

Turretinfan said...

Dave,

It's good to see that you've started reading Turretin.

Martin,

You should prefer the argument which has better support in terms of evidence and reasoning, not the bigger name.

-TurretinFan

Martin said...

You should prefer the argument which has better support in terms of evidence and reasoning, not the bigger name.

-TurretinFan


That would be the big T on this one.

Turretinfan said...

Since you haven't seen my arguments, perhaps you will recognize that your judgment is prejudice.

Dave Armstrong said...

Can a Catholic judgment be anything but prejudice?

Turretinfan said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Dave.

Martin said...

On other hand, there is nothing in Scripture that even hints that Mary remained a virgin after Jesus' birth (just as there is nothing that hints that she was sinless).

-TurretinFan

Turretifan on the PVM

I am afraid this is the best I could do from your webpage. As to my prejudice that you would come down against the PVM, it seems I am correct. Perhaps it is only your anti-Catholic bias that prevents you from agreeing with Luther and Turretin.

If "scripture is silent" on this then a Christian is free to believe what he may, yes?

BTW: I have not seen the argument refuted that John 19:26-27 proves that there were no other siblings. I'm sure you've seen this, I'd be interested in your answer.



26
When Jesus saw his mother 11 and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son."
27
Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

Ken said...

Matthew 1:18 and 1:25 prove that the Perpetual Virginity idea is wrong. (along with all the passages on Jesus' brothers and sisters)

Tertullian knew it was wrong.

The reason Jesus gives His mother to John at the cross is because John is a believer, and Jesus' brothers were still not believing in Him. John 7:5

Martin said...

Matthew 1:18 and 1:25 prove that the Perpetual Virginity idea is wrong. (along with all the passages on Jesus' brothers and sisters)

Apparently T and TF disagree that this "proves" anything.

Tertullian knew it was wrong.
Perhaps he was wrong :)

The reason Jesus gives His mother to John at the cross is because John is a believer, and Jesus' brothers were still not believing in Him. John 7:5

Why do they need to believe anything in order to take care of her?