Thursday, August 31, 2023

Mary's Sinfulness In Pre-Reformation Sources

Gavin Ortlund recently produced a video about the sinlessness of Mary. I've written a few posts over the years (here, here, and here) providing some of the many examples of references to her sinfulness among pre-Reformation sources. I've come across more over the years, but I haven't been posting all of them.

For example, earlier this year, I was looking something up in Michael O'Carroll's Theotokos (Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, Inc., 1988), and I came across a few more relevant sources unexpectedly. As I recall, I was looking up one of the entries in the "H" section. While I was there, I decided to read a few of the nearby entries. Over and over, there are references to how various pre-Reformation sources denied Mary's sinlessness in one way or another. Helinand of Froidmont, who died in the thirteenth century, is referred to as thinking that Mary "was sanctified in the womb", meaning that she wasn't immaculately conceived (169). Henry of Ghent, in the thirteenth century, held that "Mary's soul in the very moment in which it was united to the body was both contaminated by sin and sanctified" (169). Hesychius, who died in the fifth century, interprets the sword of Luke 2:35 as a reference to doubt on Mary's part, commenting that "though Mary was a virgin, she was a woman, though she was the Mother of God, she was of our stuff" (170). Those are just a few examples among so many others like that in O'Carroll's work alone. And he leaves out a lot that could have been included.

I want to make another point relevant to Luke 2:35. During the patristic era, the verse was commonly viewed as a reference to sin on Mary's part, which is likely a correct interpretation. Basil of Caesarea, one of the sources who saw a reference to sin on Mary's part in Luke 2:35, goes as far as to say that there's "no obscurity or variety of interpretation" (Letter 260:6). That's not accurate, but it does illustrate how widespread belief in Mary's sinfulness was, that Basil would go so far in describing how popular his view was at the time. And it illustrates how we need to take into account not only what sources like Basil tell us about their own views, but also what information we can gather from them about other sources.

The sinlessness of Mary isn't just denied by a few sources in the earliest centuries, but instead is widely contradicted for hundreds of years, from the first century onward, including by apostles, prominent church fathers, and Roman bishops. Rejection of her sinlessness is still found in some sources well into the medieval era, even into the second millennium.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

David's Greater Son

Here's a collection of links to some of our posts about prophecies Jesus has fulfilled. The list is in canonical order. It's not meant to be exhaustive. We've written many posts on Jesus' Davidic ancestry and his influence on the Gentile world, for example, and I can't link all of them here. Steve Hays alone probably wrote at least a triple-digit number of posts on prophecy issues, and I haven't included every one of his relevant posts here. If you want something not included in the list below, search our archives for it. The fact that it's not included below doesn't prove that it isn't in our archives. I could easily have overlooked something or have not included it for some other reason.

I expect to supplement the list when warranted. You may want to periodically check for updates.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

More Patristic Opposition To The Assumption Of Mary

TurretinFan and Dan Chapa recently debated William Albrecht and Sam Shamoun on Mary's assumption. During the debate, TurretinFan brought up some examples of patristic passages that imply that Mary wasn't assumed and patristic discussions of subjects related to an assumption of Mary in which other relevant figures are mentioned (Enoch, Elijah, etc.), but Mary isn't. He included some examples I haven't brought up before. See here for the text of a passage in Ambrose that refers to how Jesus is the only person who's been permanently resurrected. And see here for the text of a passage in which Caesarius of Arles comments that none of Jesus' followers will ascend to the clouds until the time of Jesus' second coming. For some other examples of individuals before the Reformation who denied Mary's assumption, see here.