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Comparative Theology, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
43- The Perpetual Virginity of the Virgin Mary
The perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is an old subject which was discussed by the Church Fathers of the second, third, fourth and fifth centuries.
In 1962, we translated a discourse written in 383 A.D. by St. Jerome, in which he defended the perpetual virginity of the Virgin Mary against the wrong teaching of a man called Helvidius. It appears that the arguments presented by our Protestant brethren resemble Helvidius’.
Summary of the opposing opinions attacking the perpetual virginity of the Virgin Mary
(1) The phrase ‘her firstborn Son’ (Lk.2: 7); (Matt.1: 25). Opposers think that the word ‘firstborn’ means the first of His siblings.
(2) The phrase ‘your wife’ which was said to Joseph of the Virgin (Matt.1: 20), and the word ‘woman’ in general wherever it refers to the Virgin Mary (Matt.1: 24).
(3) The sentences “...did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son” (Matt.1: 25) and “... before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matt.1: 18).
(4) The verses in which the words ‘His brothers’ are mentioned, such as (Matt.12: 46; 13: 54-56); (Acts 1: 14); (Gal. 1: 18,19).
With God’s help, we will reply to all these objections in the following pages.
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