Virginity, Perpetual

Virginity, Perpetual, is ascribed to the mother of our Lord by the Eastern or Greek Church, which calls her ἀειπάρθενος, and by the Roman, which calls her Semper Virgo. In every age of the Church, however, there have been those who have maintained that she only continued a virgin till the nativity of Christ. Epiphanius, and after him Augustine, give such the name of Antidicomarianitce. Bishop Pearson maintains the affirmative on the following very unsatisfactory grounds: Her peculiar eminency and unparalleled privilege; the special honor and reverence due to her son and ever paid by her; the regard of the Holy Ghost that came upon her, and the power of the Highest which overshadowed her; and the singular goodness and piety of Joseph, her husband. By an accommodation of Eze 44:2, he and many others are inclined to support the same side of the question. With respect to Mt 1:25, where it is said— "Joseph knew her not until she had brought forth her first-born son," it has generally been considered equivocal; but Campbell, Whitby, Bloomfield, and other critics regard the phrase as favoring the contrary opinion, that she did not continue a virgin. See, especially, Whitby's Note, and we may well acquiesce in the sentiment of Basil there quoted: "What she was afterwards (after the birth of our Savior) let us leave undiscussed, as being of small concern to the mystery." See the monographs cited by Volbeding, Index Programmatum, p. 118. SEE PERPETUAL VIRGINITY OF MARY.

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