Jason Engwer is a Protestant and anti-Catholic apologist, who heads the Tribal blog to place. I will respond to his article, Are Jesus’ Siblings Children from Joseph’s Previous Marriage? (1-8-17). His words will be in blue.
One of the most important concepts to focus on when thinking about this question is what other options were available to the authors in question. What other language could they have used? For example, Luke refers to Jesus as Mary’s “firstborn” (2: 7), although elsewhere he uses a different term for “only born” (7:12, 9:38).
Protestant Hastings Bible Dictionary (“Brothers of the Lord ”) Offers the answer:
?? [prototokos / firstborn] among the Jews was a technical term, meaning “that which opens the womb” (ff.), and does not imply the birth of other descendants. . . . Dr Mayor objected that in a purely historical passage, as , this technical sense is not to think about; but the following statement “they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord, Any male who opens the womb will be called a saint to the Lord‘( ), makes certain that this was precisely what was in the mind of the evangelist when he called Jesus πρωτότοκον (therefore already Jerome, lc X.).
Why would Luke use a term that seems to contradict Mary’s perpetual virginity when he knew of an alternate term that is consistent with perpetual virginity and uses it elsewhere in his gospel?
This is explained above: precisely because this was common Jewish / Old Testament usage and did not in itself imply that other children were born to the same mother; only that there was not previous children.
Likewise, why does Luke differentiate between “brothers” and “parents” in 21:16 if there is no significant difference between the two?
Luke 21:16 (RSV) You will be delivered even by relatives, brothers, relatives and friends, and some of you will be put to death;
“Brothers” in this verse is adelphos, who can refer to siblings (as well as a wide range of other parents) and may very well be the meaning of Jesus in this verse. “Kinsmen” here is Greek sungenis (word from Strong # 4773) and has only one wider application of “parent”. Therefore, the KJV never translates it as “brother” but rather, as follows, in 12 appearances: parent (7), cousin (2), kinship (2), and close (1). There is a difference between the two in this sungenis always refers to the broader application, while adelphos can also include the meaning of siblings. Context and prior cultural usage are generally the determinant of more precise intended meanings.
Likewise, why does Hegesippus refer to Simeon as Jesus’ “cousin” (in Eusebius, Church history, 4: 22: 4), but call James the “brother” of Jesus (ibid., 2: 23: 4) and Jude as “brother according to the flesh” of Jesus (ibid., 3: 20: 1)?
I just explained it. “Brother” / adelphos may have a wider application of meaning beyond brother and sister. Thus, it is not necessary to explain the above as a so-called “deviation”. He just chose different words, which is perfectly kosher and not unexpected.
We see it again and again with the first sources.
Yes; they use different words for stuff (sometimes for the same thing) like we do today! The languages are very rich. They don’t just have a word for a given thing.
They not only use a language which seems to contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary, but even use a different language elsewhere which is consistent with perpetual virginity, which they could have used in the passages concerning Mary….
The is no contradiction with the perpetual virginity of Mary, once all the words are correctly understood as to the latitude of the possible meanings. It is only that of Jason and later that of Protestantism false linguistic and theological premises which cause supposed “confusion” and “contraindications” in the traditional view of the perpetual virginity of Mary, which continued to be held by all the major figures of the initial Protestant revolt in the 16th century.
The theological liberalism of two centuries later introduced this false doctrine into Protestantism. But many Protestants continue to oppose these liberal innovations and novelties to this day.
There are also similar types of “why haven’t they used those terms? “arguments which Support perpetual virginity. For example, the “brothers” of Jesus in the Scriptures are never called the children of Mary, and Mary is never called their mother, as in the case of Jesus:
John 2: 1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there;
John 19:25 . . . standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary, wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
In at least two cases, these “brothers” were mentioned but Mary was not called. their mother; alone Jesus‘ mother:
Acts 1:14 All of them by common accord dedicated themselves to prayer, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
Mark 6: 3 Isn’t he the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and aren’t his sisters here with us? . . .
Isn’t it logical and logical that if these “brothers” were indeed the brothers and sisters of Jesus, Acts 1:14 would rather read: “Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers”? So we wouldn’t be having this dispute; it would have been so clear and undeniable. A similar argument could be made for Mark 6: 3. But instead we only have Jesus called “the son of Mary”, while “son of Mary” refers to someone. outraged Jesus, or the expression “son of Mary” never appear in the Holy Scriptures.
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Summary: Some of the endless (bad, fallacious) arguments of anti-Catholic Protestant apologist Jason Engwer against Mary’s perpetual virginity are refuted.