Virgin Birth


From: golden3000997
Date: Thu Mar 4, 2004 5:14 am
Subject: Virgin Birth

Hi Frank,

Yes, Catholics have had Mary's physical virginity "drummed into their heads" but that is not the actual dogma (dogma defined as actual church doctine of the "Immaculate Conception". The physical Virginity and "Virgin Birth" is an assumption based on "The dogma which teaches that the Blessed Mother of Jesus Christ was a virgin before, during, and after the conception and birth of her Divine Son." see second entry below.

In either case, her assumed physical virginity is directly contradicted by the Gospel passages which state her to have had more children (presumably in the normal way). This of course, also assumes by the church that there was only one Mary, Mother of God.

It is this kind of contradiction of New Testament "facts" and the kinds of expressions like the ones listed below about "contrary doctrines" that contribute to (in my opinion) ANY deeply thinking person to dismiss church doctrine as irrational. Whether or not a person "chooses to believe" it all anyway, as an act of faith is an individual decision that many writers have directly stated they make "in spite of" these unexplained contradiction.

For me, Rudolf Steiner has been so far the only teacher who could illuminate situations in the bible such as these by

1. pointing out "facts" in the Bible that lead to different a priori assumptions such as the possibility of there being more than one Mary and therefore, more than one birth experience and

2. adding a different point of view about the make up of the human being altogether and the differential between body and "soul" or "spiritual" experiences and postulating (more than postulating, actually) that a person such as Mary could retain the quality of Virgin in her soul whether or not she had a sexual physical experience.

Whether or not any individual accepts Steiner's indications about matters such as these, my point to Dottie, Paulina and everyone is simply that his work creates a bridge between the strictly logical aspect of Christian church teachings, which leave gaping gulfs of reason that many people can't cross and the emotional insistence on belief in teachings which must be taken on "faith" alone as their measure of truth. At least, through Steiner's approach, I think there can be dialogue which has a more rationally accepted basis as long as the basic premise of the existence of a "spiritual world" "God" and "soul" can be agreed upon by the individuals doing the discussing.

How Paulina interpreted what I said as being offensive to Jews, I still don't understand, but I hope that I have been able to make my point of view more clear.

: ) Christine

Immaculate Conception


In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."

"The Blessed Virgin Mary . . ." The subject of this immunity from original sin is the person of Mary at the moment of the creation of her soul and its infusion into her body.

". . .in the first instance of her conception . . ." The term conception does not mean the active or generative conception by her parents. Her body was formed in the womb of the mother, and the father had the usual share in its formation. The question does not concern the immaculateness of the generative activity of her parents. Neither does it concern the passive conception absolutely and simply (conceptio seminis carnis, inchoata), which, according to the order of nature, precedes the infusion of the rational soul. The person is truly conceived when the soul is created and infused into the body. Mary was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin at the first moment of her animation, and sanctifying grace was given to her before sin could have taken effect in her soul.

". . .was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin. . ." The formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others by baptism; it was excluded, it never was in her soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin. The state of original sanctity, innocence, and justice, as opposed to original sin, was conferred upon her, by which gift every stain and fault, all depraved emotions, passions, and debilities, essentially pertaining to original sin, were excluded. But she was not made exempt from the temporal penalties of Adam -- from sorrow, bodily infirmities, and death.

". . .by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race." The immunity from original sin was given to Mary by a singular exemption from a universal law through the same merits of Christ, by which other men are cleansed from sin by baptism. Mary needed the redeeming Saviour to obtain this exemption, and to be delivered from the universal necessity and debt (debitum) of being subject to original sin. The person of Mary, in consequence of her origin from Adam, should have been subject to sin, but, being the new Eve who was to be the mother of the new Adam, she was, by the eternal counsel of God and by the merits of Christ, withdrawn from the general law of original sin. Her redemption was the very masterpiece of Christ's redeeming wisdom. He is a greater redeemer who pays the debt that it may not be incurred than he who pays after it has fallen on the debtor.

Such is the meaning of the term "Immaculate Conception."

Virgin Birth of Christ

The dogma which teaches that the Blessed Mother of Jesus Christ was a virgin before, during, and after the conception and birth of her Divine Son.


Councils and Creeds

The virginity of our Blessed Lady was defined under anathema in the third canon of the Lateran Council held in the time of Pope Martin I, A.D. 649. The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, as recited in the Mass, expresses belief in Christ "incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary"; the Apostles' Creed professes that Jesus Christ "was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin

Mary"; the older form of the same creed uses the expression: "born of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary". These professions show:

That the body of Jesus Christ was not sent down from Heaven, nor taken from earth as was that of Adam, but that its matter was supplied by Mary; that Mary co-operated in the formation of Christ's body as every other mother co-operates in the formation of the body of her child, since otherwise Christ could not be said to be born of Mary just as Eve cannot be said to be born of Adam; that the germ in whose development and growth into the Infant Jesus, Mary co-operated, was fecundated not by any human action, but by the Divine power attributed to the Holy Ghost; that the supernatural influence of the Holy Ghost extended to the birth of Jesus Christ, not merely preserving Mary's integrity, but also causing Christ's birth or external generation to reflect his eternal birth from the Father in this, that "the Light from Light" proceeded from his mother's womb as a light shed on the world; that the "power of the Most High" passed through the barriers of nature without injuring them; that "the body of the Word" formed by the Holy Ghost penetrated another body after the manner of spirits.

Church Fathers

The perpetual virginity of our Blessed Lady was taught and proposed to our belief not merely by the councils and creeds, but also by the early Fathers. The words of the prophet Isaias (vii, 14) are understood in this sense by

St. Irenaeus (III, 21; see Eusebius, H.E., V, viii),
Origen (Adv. Cels., I, 35),
Tertullian (Adv. Marcion., III, 13; Adv. Judæos, IX),
St. Justin (Dial. con. Tryph., 84),
St. John Chrysostom (Hom. v in Matth., n. 3; in Isa., VII, n. 5);
St. Epiphanius (Hær., xxviii, n. 7),
Eusebius (Demonstrat. ev., VIII, i),
Rufinus (Lib. fid., 43),
St. Basil (in Isa., vii, 14; Hom. in S. Generat. Christi, n. 4, if St. Basil
be the author of these two passages),
St. Jerome and Theodoretus (in Isa., vii, 14),
St. Isidore (Adv. Judæos, I, x, n. 3),
St. Ildefonsus (De perpetua virginit. s. Mariæ, iii).
St. Jerome devotes his entire treatise against Helvidius to the perpetual virginity of Our Blessed Lady (see especially nos. 4, 13, 18).

The contrary doctrine is called:

"madness and blasphemy" by Gennadius (De dogm. eccl., lxix),
"madness" by Origen (in Luc., h, vii),
"sacrilege" by St. Ambrose (De instit. virg., V, xxxv),
"impiety and smacking of atheism" by Philostorgius (VI, 2),
"perfidy" by St. Bede (hom. v, and xxii),
"full of blasphemies" by the author of Prædestin. (i, 84),
"perfidy of the Jews" by Pope Siricius (ep. ix, 3),
"heresy" by St. Augustine (De Hær. h., lvi).
St. Epiphanius probably excels all others in his invectives against the opponents of Our Lady's virginity (Hær., lxxviii, 1, 11, 23).

Sacred Scripture

There can be no doubt as to the Church's teaching and as to the existence of an early Christian tradition maintaining the perpetual virginity of our Blessed Lady and consequently the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. The mystery of the virginal conception is furthermore taught by the third Gospel and confirmed by the first. According to St. Luke (1:34-35), "Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." The intercourse of man is excluded in the conception of Our Blessed Lord. According to St. Matthew, St. Joseph, when perplexed by the pregnancy of Mary, is told by the angel: "Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost" (1:20).


Whence did the Evangelists derive their information? As far as we know, only two created beings were witnesses of the annunciation, the angel and the Blessed Virgin. Later on the angel informed St. Joseph concerning the mystery. We do not know whether Elizabeth, though "filled with the Holy Ghost", learned the full truth supernaturally, but we may suppose that Mary confided the secret both to her friend and her spouse, thus completing the partial revelation received by both.

Between these data and the story of the Evangelists there is a gap which cannot be filled from any express clue furnished by either Scripture or tradition. If we compare the narrative of the first Evangelist with that of the third, we find that St. Matthew may have drawn his information from the knowledge of St. Joseph independently of any information furnished by Mary. The first Gospel merely states (1:18): "When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost." St. Joseph could supply these facts either from personal knowledge or from the words of the angel: "That which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost." The narrative of St. Luke, on the other hand, must ultimately be traced back to the testimony of Our Blessed Lady, unless we are prepared to admit unnecessarily another independent revelation. The evangelist himself points to Mary as the source of his account of the infancy of Jesus, when he says that Mary kept all these words in her heart (2:19, 51). Zahn [1] does not hesitate to say that Mary is pointed out by these expressions as the bearer of the traditions in Luke 1 and 2.

A. How did St. Luke derive his account from the Blessed Virgin? It has been supposed by some that he received his information from Mary herself. In the Middle Ages he is at times called the "chaplain" of Mary [2]; J. Nirsch [3] calls St. Luke the Evangelist of the Mother of God, believing that he wrote the history of the infancy from her mouth and heart. Besides, there is the implied testimony of the Evangelist, who assures us twice that Mary had kept all these words in her heart. But this does not necessitate an immediate oral communication of the history of the infancy on the part of Mary; it merely shows that Mary is the ultimate source of the account. If St. Luke had received the history of the infancy from the Blessed Virgin by way of oral communication, its presentation in the third Gospel naturally would show the form and style of its Greek author. In point of fact the history of the infancy as found in the third Gospel (1:5 to 2:52) betrays in its contents, its language, and style a Jewish-Christian source. The whole passage reads like a chapter from the First Book of Machabees; Jewish customs, and laws, and peculiarities are introduced without any further explanation; the "Magnificat", the "Benedictus", and the "Nunc dimittis" are filled with national Jewish ideas. As to the style and language of the history of the infancy, both are so thoroughly Semitic that the passage must be retranslated into Hebrew or Aramaic in order to be properly appreciated. We must conclude, then, that St. Luke's immediate source for the history of the infancy was not an oral, but a written one.

B. It is hardly probable that Mary herself wrote the history of the infancy as was supposed by A. Plummer [4]; it is more credible that the Evangelist used a memoir written by a Jewish Christian, possibly a convert Jewish priest (cf. Acts 6:7), perhaps even a member or friend of Zachary's family [5]. But, whatever may be the immediate source of St. Luke's account, the Evangelist knows that he has "diligently attained to all things from the beginning", according to the testimony of those "who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word" (Luke 1:2).

As to the original language of St. Luke's source, we may agree with the judgment of Lagarde [6] that the first two chapters of St. Luke present a Hebrew rather than a Greek or an Aramaic colouring. Writers have not been wanting who have tried to prove that St. Luke's written source for his first two chapters was composed in Hebrew [7]. But these proofs are not cogent; St. Luke's Hebraisms may have their origin in an Aramaic source, or even in a Greek original composed in the language of the Septuagint. Still, considering the fact that Aramaic was the language commonly spoken in Palestine at that time, we must conclude that Our Blessed Lady's secret was originally written in Aramaic, though it must have been translated into Greek before St. Luke utilized it [8]. As the Greek of Luke 2:41-52 is more idiomatic than the language of Luke 1:4-2:40, it has been inferred that the Evangelist's written source reached only to 2:40; but as in 2:51, expressions are repeated which occur in 2:19, it may be safely inferred that both passages were taken from the same source.

The Evangelist recast the source of the history of the infancy before incorporating it into his Gospel; for the use of words and expressions in Luke 1 and 2 agrees with the language in the following chapters [9]. Harnack [10] and Dalman [11] suggest that St. Luke may be the original author of his first two chapters, adopting the language and style of the Septuagint; but Vogel [12] and Zahn [13] maintain that such a literary feat would be impossible for a Greek-speaking writer. What has been said explains why it is quite impossible to reconstruct St. Luke's original source; the attempt of Resch [14] to reconstruct the original Gospel of the infancy or the source of the first two chapters of the first and third Gospel and the basis of the prologue to the fourth, is a failure, in spite of its ingenuity. Conrady [15] believed that he had found the common source of the canonical history of the infancy in the so-called "Protevangelium Jacobi", which, according to him, was written in Hebrew by an Egyptian Jew about A.D. 120, and was soon after translated into Greek; it should be kept in mind, however, that the Greek text is not a translation, but the original, and a mere compilation from the canonical Gospels. All we can say therefore, concerning St. Luke's source for his history of the infancy of Jesus is reduced to the scanty information that it must have been a Greek translation of an Aramaic document based, in the last instance, on the testimony of Our Blessed Lady.


From: holderlin66
Date: Thu Mar 4, 2004 7:45 am
Subject: Re: Virgin Birth

golden3000997 wrote:

Whether or not any individual accepts Steiner's indications about matters such as these, my point to Dottie, Paulina and everyone is simply that his work creates a bridge between the strictly logical aspect of Christian church teachings, which leave gaping gulfs of reason that many people can't cross and the emotional insistence on belief in teachings which must be taken on "faith" alone as their measure of truth. At least, through Steiner's approach, I think there can be dialogue which has a more rationally accepted basis as long as the basic premise of the existence of a "spiritual world" "God" and "soul" can be agreed upon by the individuals doing the discussing.

Bradford applauds;

Here, to my taste, is a really brilliant insight. There is hardly any doubt that the gaps of faith and insight are complaisance and have pressed addiction to RC faith, and crippled and lamed a great portion of the thinking portions of souls. This failed and lamed area is where Steiner went to work on rebuilding a numbed and deadened organ. What this means is exactly as Christine has described. By putting a logical linkage to the gaps, Steiner could reveal that the edifice was shabby, had become shabby and unkempt, but it also had been set on a REAL foundation.

This Foundations is one of Steiner's deepest missions. The Foundation of the I AM.

There is no doubt that the edifice had become shabby and had outlived its terms by the time of Martin Luther. So the gamble, and the capacity to see through the chinks in the timber and rebuild the entire structure using the foundation offered, revealed a solid foundation of Initiation History and a solid Temple underneath.

It wasn't just a matter of darkened faith, but of opening the vista to the Temple out of which the I AM was built. It was all there but by encountering this ruin, this charred edifice, this collapsing, decayed and overgrown gateway we had forgotten and left unanswered what the vast edifice rested on.

Steiner went in and re-pieced the bricks and mixed new mortor and restored the entire edifice, just enough to carry Intelligence to a point that could pollinate the latent heat left in the coals of faith, embers still barely alive. That by reading and thinking into the structure the I AM could be pollinated. These are the things we bring to the table when we understand Steiner. These are the very things that divide thinking individuals from individuals stuck in the mortar of ancient dogma. That Steiner is on solid ground and is such a remarkable rennovation project in the slums, that people cannot get their habits and soul conditions around it.

Now this begs us to see the damage done by such a blind, dressed in morbid black, woe is me, abuse of truth that millions, upon millions hypnotically marched forward in a masse, via magnetic pull, to ye and nay, yet unable to see how it all fits together as a whole. ("Someone left the Cake out in the Rain") This was one of the stunning ways Steiner worked and Christine has hit directly on it. Anyone who says differently fails, where I have failed as well, to make clear the strength Steiner is offering to make firm the foundations of the human I AM. Christine and Tarjei have brought amazing mutual insights to turn the eye back to the re-construction and renewal that Steiner engaged in rebuilding a run down neighborhood.

It is the nature of Steiner to come forward to meet the human soul and scratch and pull up the carpet to reveal a blackened wooden floor and if the floor is fully polished and the moldy carpets removed, you have a stunning, not a simple, but a stunning stone Celt Temple underneath that was the real deeper structure of the very meaning behind the Christ Events.

One of the most inspiring aspects of Steiner is to feel, even on the passage of time, to feel the potent realities that he was intelligently working with. That is also how I feel about catching glimpses of how Steiner felt, in his heart, about having to Shoulder the mission of Germany that the German people did the same thing to their Thinking and I AM capacity, as the Jews did to Christ. They yelled down their own mission, at the 11th hour, at the very edge of the I AM capacity that Steiner had come to unite, "Give us Barabbas". That is why, we can hardly not feel the full impact of Paul in Steiner. That is why we look at such a statement by Soloviev, when he mentions a certain "Professor Pauli with 'nun and ya' in his "Anti- Christ. It is again a distinctly Pauline nightmare that Steiner had the skill to face and the Tragedy to see coming.

There can be no more depressing moment as when Steiner reads from his own work, when he says, "Shrug our Shoulders"...all of us on this list understand what it means when people have shrugged their shoulders and return back to wailing and moaning at a rotted out Church or educational system and resort to their old habits of thinking because they are afraid to go out and meet the work in our own hearts to reconstruct and build our own Celtic I AM temples from the ruins. This is also directly focused on Anthros as well.

Christtine and Tarjei...Tarjei for reminding us once again about Mary and Joseph and Christine for looking at this little critical angle on how reconstruction actually works and how it only creates addiction and dysfunction to continue falsely yea-ing and nay-ing in pews resting on rotting foundations.


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