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812
MARY


Mary's marriage after the birth of Christ is a useful argument for the reality of the Incarnation against gnostic notions, and Origen relies upon the references to the Lord's brethren as disproving the Docetism with which he had to contend. The deurapdevia though very ancient, is in reality a doctrine of non-Catholic origin, and first occurs in a, work proscribed by the earliest papal Index librorum prohibitorurn (attributed to Gelasius) as heretical, -the so-called Protevangelium Jacobi, written, it is generally admitted, within the 2nd century. According to this very early source, which seems to have formed the basis of the later Liber de infantia M ariae et Christi salvatoris and Evaugelium de rtativitate M ariae, the name of Mary's father was Joachim (in the Liber de irtfantia a shepherd of the tribe of ]udah, living in Jerusalem); he had long been married to Anna her mother, whose continual childlessness had become a cause of much humiliation and sorrow to them both. The birth of a daughter was at last angelically predicted to each parent separately. From her third to her twelfth year “ Mary was in the Temple as if she were a dove that dwelt there, and she received food from the hand of an angel.” When she became of nubile age a guardian was sought for her by the priests among the widowers of Israel “lest she should defile the sanctuary of the Lord ”; and Joseph, an elderly man with a family, was indicated for this charge by a miraculous token. Some time afterwards the annunciation took place; when the Virgin's pregnancy was discovered, Joseph and she were brought before the high priest, and, though asserting their innocence in all sincerity, were acquitted only after they had been tried with “ the water of the ordeal of the Lord ” (Num. v. rr). Numerous details regarding the birth at Bethlehem are then given. The perpetual physical virginity of Mary, naively insisted upon in this apocryphon, is alluded to only with a half belief and a “some say ” by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. vii. 16), but became of much importance to the leaders of the Church in the 4th century, as for example to Ambrose, who sees in Ezek. xliv. 1-3 a prophetic indication of so great a mystery! Those Who continued to believe that Mary, after the miraculous birth of Jesus, had become the mother of other children by Joseph came accordingly to be spoken of as her enemies-Antidicomarianitae (Epiphanius) or Antidicomaritae (Augustine)-and the first-mentioned author devotes a whole chapter (ch. 78) of his great work upon heresies to their confutation. For holding the same view Bonosus of Sardica was condemned by the synod of Capua in 391. To Jerome the perpetual virginity not only of Mary but even of Joseph appeared of so much consequence that while a young man he wrote (387) the long and vehement tract Against Helvidius, in which he was the first to broach the theory (which has since gained wide currency) that the brethren of our Lord were children neither of Mary by her husband nor of Joseph by a former marriage, but of another Mary, sister to the Virgin and wife of Clopas or Alphaeus. At last the epithet of del vrapdévos was authoritatively applied to the Virgin by the council of Chalcedon in 451, and the doctrine implied has ever since been an undisputed point of orthodoxy both in the Eastern and in the Roman Churches, some even seeking to hold the Anglican Church committed to it on account of the general declaration (in the Homilies) of concurrence in the decisions of the first four general councils. Her Absolute Sirilessness.-While much of the apocryphal literature of the early sects in which she is repeatedly spoken of as “ undefiled before God ” would seem to encourage some such doctrine as this, many passages from the acknowledged fathers of the Church could be cited to show that it was originally quite unknown to Catholicism. Even Augustine repeatedly asserts that she was born in original sin (De gen. ad lit. x. 18); and the locus classic us regarding her possible immunity from actual transgression, on which the subsequent doctrine of Lombardus and his commentators was based, is simply an extremely guarded passage (De nat. et grat. ch. 36), in which, De Inst. Virg., “ quae est haec porta nisi Maria? . . . per quam Christus intravit in hunc mundum, quan do virginal fusus est partu et genitalia virgimtatis claustra non solvit." while contradicting the assertion of Pelagius that many had lived free from sin, he wishes exception to be made in favour of “ the holy Virgin Mary, of whom out of honour to the Lord I wish no question to be made where sins are treated offor how do we know what mode of grace wholly to conquer sin may have been bestowed upon her who was found meet to conceive and bear Him of whom it is certain that He had no sin.” A writer so late as Anselm (Cur deus homo, 16). declares that “ the Virgin herself whence He (Christ) was assumed was conceived in iniquity, and in sin did her mother conceive her, and with original sin was she born, because she too sinned in Adam in whom all sinned, ” and the same view was expressed by Damiani. For the growth of the modern Roman doctrine of the immaculate conception from the time in the 12th century, when the canons of Lyons sought to institute a festival in honour of her “holy conception, ” and were remonstrated with by Bernard, see IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. The epithets applied to her in the Greek Church are such as &;.¢6}wvros, vrzivafyvos, ¢i'yia, rravwyla; but in the East generally no clear distinction is drawn between immunity from actual sin and original sinlessness.

Her Peculiar Relation to the Godhead, 'which specially fits Her for Successful I ntercessiou on BehaU of M arikind.-It seems probable that the epithet 0eor6/<os (“ Mother of God ”) was first applied to Mary by theologians of Alexandria towards the close of the 3rd century; but it does not occur in any genuine extant writing of that period, unless We are to assign an early date to the apocryphal Transitus Mariae, in which the word is of frequent occurrence. In the 4th century it is met with frequently, being used by Eusebius, Athanasius, Didymus and Gregory of Nazianzus, -the latter declaring that the man who believes not Mary to have been Heorb/<os has no part in God (Orat. li. p. 738).2 If its use was first recommended by a desire to bring into prominence the divinity of the Incarnate Word, there can be no doubt that latterly the expression came to be valued as directly honourable to Mary herself and as corresponding to the greatly increased esteem in which she personally was held throughout the Catholic world, so that when N estorius and others began to dispute its propriety, in the following century, their temerity was resented, not as an attack upon the established orthodox doctrine of the Nicene creed, but as threatening a more vulnerable and more tender part of the popular faith. It is sufficient in illustration of the drift of theological opinion to refer to the first sermon of Proclus, preached on a certain festival of the Virgin (1ro.1/1)'yvpLs 1rap0e1/uc'/1) at Constantinople about the year 430 or to that of Cyril of Alexandria delivered in the church of the Virgin Mary at the opening of the council of Ephesus in 431. In the former the orator speaks of “ the holy Virgin and Mother of God ” as “ the spotless treasure-house of virginity, the spiritual paradise of the second Adam; the workshop in which two natures were welded together .... the one bridge between God and men ”;3 in the latter she is saluted as the “mother and virgin, ” “through whom (56 hs) the Trinity is glorified and worshipped, the cross of the Saviour exalted and honoured, through whom heaven triumphs, the angels are made glad, devils driven forth, the tempter overcome, and the fallen creature raised up even to heaven.” The response which such language found in the popular heart was sufficiently shown by the shouts of joy with which the Ephesian mob heard 'of the deposition of Nestorius, escorting his judges with torches and incense to their homes, and celebrating the occasion by a general illumination. The causes which in the preceding century had led to this exaltation of the Mother of God in the esteem of the Catholic world are not far to seek. On the one hand the solution of 'the Arian controversy, however correct it may have been theoretically, undoubtedly had the practical effect See Gieseler (KG., Bd. i. Abth. 1), who points out instances in which anti-Arianizing zeal went so far as to call David 0eo1r6.-rwp and James d6e)¢60eos.

3 Labbé, Conc. iii. 51. Considerable extracts are given by Augusti (Denkw. iii.); see also Milman (Lat. Christ. i. 185), who characterizes much of it as a “ wild labyrinth of untranslatable metaphor.”