Extended Holy Family

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Cino, Oct 12, 2021.

  1. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    The Gospels, Acts, and some of the Epistles mention Jesus' extended family.

    There was of course Mary, his mother. Joseph, his (step-)father.

    James the Just is mentioned as a brother of Jesus.

    John the Baptist, his cousin.

    Who else is there? More uncles and aunts and cousins?

    Are the "Sons of Thunder" related to him, cousins?

    How about Jude, the author of the epistle of the same name? He identifies himself as the Brother of James.

    (Not primarily interested in any "Davinci Code" type speculations, rather, what is known, what do the Christian members of the forum know?)
     
  2. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    In rural African extended families, the terms mother, father, brother and sister extend well beyond what they mean in western society, to include uncles, aunts and cousins. Elder men are addressed as Baba (Father) and matron women as Mama. Close friends become 'my brother/sister'. It is not practical to try to unravel exact African family relationships by these terms.

    Am just making this point for clarity at the start of any such discussion, assuming the same applies to many tribal/rural extended family societies.
     
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  3. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Thanks, good points! Jesus' brothers may have been half brothers, to our modern wesrern understanding. The confusion about all the various Marys and their relations to the family may also stem from this modern perspective.

    So to rephrase: who was in the extended family, that we know of? For example, who was Klopas? Some sort of uncle?
     
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  4. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Over to others -- I'm not knowledgeable on details
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Same here. For many folk many believed Jesus to be a single child, in attempt to leave Mary a virgin, we got over that, and the Virgin birth...i think.

    Me thinks his holy family was not blood thou....who are my brothers....he asks.

    For those who believe we are all part of the Holy family...
     
  6. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Excluding 2.38 billion Christians and 1.91 billion Muslims, you mean, lol?
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I wish I did.
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Yep, I think so. Thanks @RJM.

    It's most likely, as you say, that the brothers and sisters of Jesus were part of an extended family, rather than immediate siblings.

    The "confusion about all the various Marys" might be one of those cases where the reality muddies the waters? Mary was a common name, but if you were creating a family you'd have selected different names to enable the reader to distinguish between one and the other.

    There's a couple of possible family trees detailed here... it's just one of those things we can endlessly speculate about, but we have no firm evidence.
     
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Religion? Interfaith? G!d? Life after death? Heaven n hell? Origin of life? Big bang?

    Not a short list...
     
  10. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    It's just that often queries about Jesus's family are loaded to discount the virgin birth by showing Jesus had brothers and sisters. Some Christian denominations insist Mary was eternally virgin, while others allow that Mary had children after Jesus. Islam believes the virgin birth of Jesus, but I'm not sure where Islam stands on the issue of Mary's eternal virginity.

    Am also not at all implying that the question is meant as loaded in this particular thread.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
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  11. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    For southern Africans it is of great importance to attend the funeral of a respected family member. Africans will often drop everything and travel a long way to attend a funeral. It becomes a feast and family gathering lasting several days in the village of the family.

    For western-minded employers it takes a while to get to understand an employee asking time off work to attend 'my mother's funeral' yet again
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
  12. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    The ancestral village is where the skulls of the ancestors are buried. When a group relocates, the skulls of the ancestors are dug up and transported in a cart, to be buried in the new location. Of course most of these ancient customs are falling away

    EDIT: Nelson Mandela is buried in his ancestral village Qunu. Sorry, it's irrelevant to the thread
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Quite. The argument is not definitive because the use of the terms is not definitive.

    Added to this is the strong tradition that Joseph was an older man who had children by a previous marriage. Also, in the Gospel of John, when Jesus is on the cross He tells John to take care of His mother, this assumes there were no other family members to care for her.

    This requires reference to begin, and theologies in its development. That Mary was a virgin prior to the conception is an open question, but no reason to dispute it. The problem for theology is that Scripture only affirms Mary's virginity prior to conception.

    The Tradition of her perpetual virginity appears emerges in the Protoevangelium of James (James), in circulation about 150AD. The Gospel was considered dubious by the Fathers, but nevertheless Ephesus (431AD) affirmed the belief, and the Second Council of Constantinople (553) gave Mary the title "Aeiparthenons", meaning Perpetual Virgin.

    Some of the early reformers, including Martin Luther, accepted the belief at first, but later changed their opinions on the insistence of more stringent reformers.

    Mary is referred to as a virgin by Matthew and Luke. The Protoevangelium says Mary was a physical virgin after the birth, and remained so thereafter. Women married around the age of 12-15. Men around the age of 30. Joseph was an older man who had children from a previous marriage, which would explain the brothers and sisters.

    The Protoevangelium would appear to be the source for the Quran's account of Mary, the selection of an older widower for her husband, and some of the infancy stories of Jesus. Islam rejects the notion of 'perpetual virginity' as it casts the wives of the Prophet in a lesser light.

    By the early 4th century celibacy was regarded as the ideal, establishing a hierarchy of virginity, then widowhood, then the married state. Because the Mother of God could not be placed in the third tier, she had necessarily to belong to the first.

    The Reformation's recourse to Sola Scriptura to undermine the place of Tradition in the church led to the belief in the virgin birth, but not perpetual virginity.

    The leaders of the Reformation, Luther, Zwingli and Calvin found themselves obliged to defend the Holy Family and, for a while, the idea of perpetual virginity against more radical reformers who wanted to present Jesus as not divine, but merely an inspired prophet. Later Protestantism largely rejects the perpetual virginity of Mary.

    Symbolically, the perpetual virginity of Mary signifies a new creation and a fresh start in salvation history, following the theology of Irenaeus (c130-202), one of the earliest Fathers and who laid the foundations of both salvation theology and the idea of the recapitulation of the world based on his exegesis of St Paul – Jesus the New Adam, Mary the New Eve.

    +++

    A 'rational' argument can, of course, dismiss the idea of the Incarnation, Virgin Birth and the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, but we are not dealing with 'rational' events, so the measure of human credulity is no real test of truth.

    Beyond that, the Church can offer rational argument in support of the doctrine, alongside rational rejections of it.

    The only lingering question, for me, is two-fold:
    1: The truth of the matter is probably known only to Mary herself, and really, it's her business and no-one else's. I can accept that she was a virgin prior to conception. I can accept that the conception was a miraculous event. I can accept her continuing celibacy (and therefore virginity) after the event. The question of whether her hymen remained intact, as the Protoevangelium states, is immaterial to me, personally, I'm dubious, but I doubt the whole of Christianity stands or falls on that biological detail.
    2: Does it – the perpetual virginity – really matter?
     
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  14. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    What about words?

    My understanding is the words we translate as Virgin again have multiple connotations.
     
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  15. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Yes, so it becomes contextual. And if one is asserting a specific connotation, there needs to be corroborating argument, at least.

    The Hebrew almah has various connotations; the Septuagint translates most occurrences of almah via neanis, meaning 'young woman' or neotes meaning 'youth', neither inferring virginity. There are two occurrences when almah is translated into parthenos, a term commonly meaning virgin in Greek. The first is in Genesis, in reference to Rebecca, and the second, famously, in Isaiah 7:14.

    Isaiah's prophecy to King Ahaz is placed within a local historical context: a young women shall bear and child, and by the time that child comes to adulthood, he (King Ahaz) will be eating "curds and honey ... (and) desolation will come upon the land of the two kings before whom you now cower (Ephraim and Syria)" (7:15-16).

    As ever with prophecy, it has a broader context, and it was seen as a a prophecy of the coming of Christ who, like the child in Isaiah, will be called Immanuel.

    In a larger context, even if the Scripture used a definitive and inarguable 'virgin', that could still be read and argued to mean she was a virgin prior to her betrothal to Joseph. It's the annunciation by the Angel Gabriel that affirms that Mary shall conceive without any knowledge of a man whatsoever.
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Everybody cherry picks to suit their tastes.
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Not everybody – not in the common sense of 'cherry-picking'.

    Unity, a la Fillmore, doesn't cherry-pick, rather it follows a vastly different interpretation of Scripture, so rather than cherry-pick, I'd say it interprets the whole text according to its own paradigm.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021 at 3:32 PM
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  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Unity's paradigm for bible study is to read it litterally, read the concordance, read various translations, ask who is.it written for (time, place, author, audience and intent). Is it purported to be truth, historical, allegory, parable, hyperbole, euphemism? Or a number of them? (As well as the MBD and RW (Fillmore above decried interpretation. And how can I use this in my life/for others/for a better future for all?
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    All good practice and process. The Catholic "Interpretation of the Bible in the Church" offers a good grounding for Biblical interpretation, detailing the pros and cons of various methods, historical, critical, etc. the genres of text, and so on.

    Traditionally, by which I mean historically, we have the Four Senses of Scripture:
    The literal sense.
    The three spiritual senses:
    The allegorical (or typological) sense. This 'speaks to faith' in light of salvation history.
    The moral sense speaks to right action, the now.
    The anagogical sense speaks to our ends, and the human destiny.

    But the MBD is all interpretation according to the then understanding of the mind as paradigmatic, surely?
    As a Catholic, I can view the mind, the psychological or anthropological, as a fifth sense?

    Consider this:

    You have often decried the God of the Hebrew Scriptures as a "passive aggressive old white man off his meds" mythology ... is that not a rather overtly literal reading of the text? It takes no account of sitz im leben, of time, place, culture and circumstance. (Perhaps it is an image in the currency of hard-right fundies, but that rather points to US culture than the Bible.)

    If an overt literalism is one extreme in the interpretation of Scripture. An overt rationalism is its opposite. Here we have the emphasis which reduces the divine to human proportions. It relativises God and casts Him as the exemplar of the anthropological ideal. God is understood as the best of ourselves.
     
  20. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Yup, my reference to the OT god is from the literal sense...hence the reason I prefer the allegory...


    Moses was angry with the officers of the army--the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds--who returned from the battle.
    15
    "Have you allowed all the women to live?" he asked them.
    16
    "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD's people.
    17
    Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,
    18
    but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.
     

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