Monday, December 28, 2009

Some Stuff on a Couple of Marian Dogmas

So Austin and I had another big huge honkin' conversation with Austin last night. We've basically agreed that it's post-worthy. I should warn, it's long, but lots of its lines aren't full so it'll probably read faster than it seems. It's worth noting that Austin and I have been talking theology for a long time, so we don't always set our reverence-filters to max, even when we're talking about Marian dogmas.
Dan: ok
TBH i'm not the best person to ask about immaculate conception and perpetual virginity
Austin: yeah
i do understand that
Dan: the two doctrines you seem mainly to take issue with, if i'm reading you right
Austin: well now
Dan: we've talked about theotokos
Austin: immaculate conception.... i forgot what that specifically means
please re-define it
Dan: it means being born w/o original sin
Austin: oh, Christ being born w/o?
Dan: nope
that's a Marian one
obviously it also applies to Christ, but that's because he's God and is like us in all things except sin
Austin: so the idea is that mary was immaculate?
Dan: i dunno
i think the main idea is
immaculate vessel for the Son of God
Austin: ah
i thought that the sin was through adam's descendants
Dan: in vulgar terms, since her belly is the holy of holies...
and i was applying that one to Immaculate Conception...but basically, since she's carrying the son of God, the basic rationale is that she should also be without sin, OSLT. there might also be something there in terms of how Jesus received a human nature
i've no idea if that made any sense at all
Austin: i am thinking about it a bit
it just seems like the concept of an immaculate mary is not something that is based on any scripture but is a theological construct based on the necessity for it, because of the way that the theology was made in the first place
Dan: what, what with the Trinity and the Incarnation, etc.?
Austin: no, i mean those make sense
they are theological constructs out of necessity because we see them in the scripture
Dan: okay
Austin: but i don't necessarily see why God cannot be conceived in a sinful womb
especially with the HS at work
Dan: hmm
Austin: i mean, if there was a principle that led me to believe that
i could understand how (implicitly) immaculate conception could be constructed
Dan: ok
so what if it were an implication of a scriptural construct like the incarnation?
it seems then that it would be necessary
Austin: yes, indeed
iwould definitely agree with it then.
Dan: yeah
btw, when i was talking about references of Scripture
in the mass
i was including the many implicit references
in addition to the explicit ones, like "Lord, I know am not worthy to receive you, etc."
Austin: ah yes
you know, i really don't have much problem with the mass structure or the things they say even
or the prayers
it's just the theological stuff about mary
like, that SERIOUSLY trips me up
Dan: what about the declarations on free will?
Austin: free will (even with my strong views on it) is still something i'm willing to debate and consider
but i really am not open to the idea of mary being a pure human being
Dan: what's your objection?
like, how does it contradict the Scripture?
(btw, I'm playing dumb a little: I do have my own objections along those lines)
Austin: it mildly contradicts but i would argue that something so foundational should be more based on scripture
(aye, don't worry about it)
there is little mention of Mary outside of the gospels
Dan: this is true
Austin: i can't think of any epistle references to her off-hand
and none of them mention the idea that she was sinless, though the majority of the epistles talk about Christ as being pure and sinless
i just sorta think that if they were writing it, they might throw in a shout-out to Mary, you know
Dan: ...heh
Austin: something like "Jesus, He was pure and sinless, just like His mom"
Dan: maybe
the thing that i'm working on is this greek word that people won't agree on
it's in luke 1:28
the Catholics are the only ones who translate it as "full of grace" but they, or at least their websites, disagree with CARM about what the word is in the greek
and I myself couldn't say b/c from CARM's site it might just be a different way to spell said greek word in english
Austin: which word?
Dan: that's part of the problem i'm not sure
Austin: ah
being from a reformed church
i am inevitably in much agreement with CARM.ORG [Note: The relevant article on that site is “Mary, full of grace, and Luke 1:28. – KK]
Dan: carm's anglicization: kexaritomena
Austin: so it's not a great place for me to check things out
Dan: catholic answers's: kecharitomene [Relevant article on “How to Defend the Immaculate Conception,” probably anything with that title, but Jason Evert if there's more than one. - KK]
you see my problem?
those look JUST similar enough that the people might be seeing the same greek word and writing it different
now it IS quite clear that they're translating it differently
Austin: yeah
Dan: but one or both might be mixed up about what the word actually IS
and that's a problem
Austin: OH
found the word
hang on let me get this copied for you
Dan: link?
Austin: [Note: This link will be important later. - KK.]
scroll down to 28
it's near the halfway point
after a comma
Dan: yeah, that's a bigass greek word
Austin: yes it is sir
i was thinking the exact same thing
Dan: i wonder if, in some comic awesomeness, the apologists are breaking the word down at different places resulting in different roots/conclusions?
Austin: interesting thought
however i wonder what the difference between the latin and this version is
i think that's more to do with it
Dan: well yes, SORT of.
the latin version translates a lot more explicitly as 'full of grace'
the problem with the CARM argument is that it relies on the latin being the source of the confusion without considering the possibility that maybe the latin translation was keeping in mind marian language that had already become part of the church
in which case the early church, if CARM is right, must have been awfully set on contrabiblical teaching
Austin: indeed
when did the marian doctrine emerge, exactly?
in reference to the latin vulgate
Dan: ...well the nature of emergence requires me not to give an exact date
however, w/r/t latin vulgate, at least two dogmas can be seen earlier than the vulgate
these being, IIRC, perpetual virginity and immaculate conception
Austin: i see
Dan: (there's also one that's still got a chance of being dogmatized, but it only shows up in anywhere near full force in st irenaeus among the fathers, IIRC)
Austin: so it is a possibility that the translation was influenced through these dogmas
Dan: yes
but that would also imply that these dogmas were commonly held in the early church
Austin: perpetual virginity really doesn't make sense to me either :\
she got married to a dude and didn't ever sleep with him
Dan: which presents a problem for CARM guys, if they care about being the historical Christian church
is this not possible?
actually, the best argument i've heard for perpetual virginity
Austin: this is VERY possibly
i've heard it happens a lot in modern marriages
Dan: heh
Austin: i'm just saying that i don't understand why it's held as a dogma
is there some virtue in not having sex?
Dan: there might be
you'd have to ask someone more awesome than i about that
Austin: ah bummer
i must have been mistaken
i thought i was talking to the most awesome one :(
Dan: sorry
Mary's basic question "How can this be if I'm a virgin", doesn't necessarily make sense if we assume virgin simply means "unsexed one"
i mean
i'm sure she was well aware of human biology
so on some level, if she had vowed some sort of virginity, it makes a little more sense
Austin: wait, so you mean that
Dan: i'm not totally convinced by the argument, but it struck me better than most
Austin: it doesn't make sense for her to say, "how can this be, since i've never had sex?" but it DOES make sense for her to say, "how can this be, since I vowed never to have sex?"
Dan: yes, kind of
actually, yeah, that is pretty much the arg
Austin: i do not wish to be unkind
Dan: say it
Austin: that argument [fails very badly]
Dan: not as hard as you think
Austin: well
maybe i'm missing something
but how is vowing not to have sex any different than not having sex
Dan:'s not any different
let's take the first part:
''it doesn't make sense for her to say, "how can this be, since i've never had sex?" '
of course that doesn't make sense
Austin: well first
what is she responding to
what exactly does the angel say here
Dan: and that's the issue
on my rereading of luke the argument DOES fly
and the perpetual virginity IS supported
the angel doesn't say HOW she'll conceive
Austin: ok. lay it on me brotha
Dan: UNTIL she mentions her virginity
let's go with assumption A: when Mary said 'virgin' she meant she'd never had sex
under this context
the angel tells her she's going to conceive
that she's GOING to
not that she has
Austin: aye
Dan: he doesn't even give a time frame
and her response is "how can this be if i've never had sex"
even though she is currently bethrothed
Austin: so he says, "in the future you will conceive a child"... i see what you're saying
Dan: BUT
if 'virgin' implies 'i'm not planning on having sex ever'
then it seems more sensible to say 'but angel dude, how can i have a baby without having sex?'
Austin: yeah
all i'm thinking is
Dan: which of course if she were planning on having relations with joseph, would be silly
Austin: joseph signed up for the WRONG marriage here
if mary was a super hot chick
Dan: HEH
Austin: he would totally not dig that
Dan: possibly not
but if an angel came and told YOU to dig it
you might reconsider
Austin: yeah maybe
you have a point
Dan: it is also not impossible for Catholics to believe that Joseph was actually a widower; in fact it's fairly common belief in the tradition
not defined, but common
i hope the argument makes more sense to you NOW though
i thought it was in trouble for a second myself, then i read the angel's initial anunciation more carefully
it also makes more sense to me now why Calvin and Luther held to perp. virginity: they knew their exegesis
Austin: pretty much all the translations here are future tense
so there's a good indication that the greek is future tense
aye. well perpetual virginity could make sense, then. now i understand why it is a plausible dogma
Dan: dangit xeirx, now i convinced MYself basically
even if i didn't convince you
Austin: wait
convinced yourself of perpetual virginity?
honestly dude, don't try it
it's too hard
Dan: ?
Austin: mary's a champ
for sticking with it
Dan: we're already part of a religion that believes in the RESURRECTION
i thought you were talking about the doctrine
Austin: :D
i know :)
Dan: no, i only intend on that if i discern that i'm not getting married
but i've also discerned that i'm not ever joining the priesthood unless God has a really evil sense of humor
bonus: Catholic answers' analysis of the bigass greek word agrees with the site you sent
Austin: nice
my video card pulled another overheating trick
Dan: insofar as they gave their analysis of the verb as a verb
Austin: so now i am in the cold kitchen :(
Dan: i am sorry :/
Austin: hey, so far this has been a good discussion but i'm really tired
Dan: ok
Austin: and i need to get out of the house as soon as i can tomorrow
because my sister's friend is coming over and she has a wicked crush on me
Dan: i shall ttyl
Austin: i just don't wanna deal with that crap
Dan: HEH
have a good day
and good luck avoiding women as you often have to do
we shall discuss this more later
Austin: can you put our conversation on keyboardtheologians?
Dan: yeah!
i will!
Austin: sweet!
Dan: unless you want the honors
Austin: well as long as you give me credit for a post i don't care who does it
Dan: ok
Austin: it's nice to collaborate and talk about stuff
Dan: yeah
Austin: if this were a work night i would be screwed
Dan: hehe yeah
Austin: no more work nights until i get a job again!
Dan: we might be able to talk more tomorrow though, depending when i'm home
Austin: okay, cool
Dan: have a good one though
Austin: i'll keep my eyes open
you have a good one too, and Gby
Dan: Gby2
Austin: 'night
Anyway, as always, anyone who has further thoughts on the stuff we talked about is welcome to provide them.

1 comment:

Luke said...

That was a pretty cool discussion. It's nice to see two minds in an honest search of the truth. Rather epic, you might say.

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