Mary as Theotokos and not Christokos in early Church : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

to end a dispute of Theotokos vs. Christokos in the early Christian (Catholic) Church

The Protoevangelium of James

"And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by [St. Anne], saying, ‘Anne! Anne! The Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive and shall bring forth, and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world.’ And Anne said, ‘As the Lord my God lives, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God, and it shall minister to him in the holy things all the days of its life.’ . . . And [from the time she was three] Mary was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there" (Protoevangelium of James 4, 7 [A.D. 120]).

"And when she was twelve years old there was held a council of priests, saying, ‘Behold, Mary has reached the age of twelve years in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her, lest perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord?’ And they said to the high priest, ‘You stand by the altar of the Lord; go in and pray concerning her, and whatever the Lord shall manifest to you, that also will we do.’ . . . [A]nd he prayed concerning her, and behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him saying, ‘Zechariah! Zechariah! Go out and assemble the widowers of the people and let them bring each his rod, and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. . . . And Joseph [was chosen]. . . . And the priest said to Joseph, ‘You have been chosen by lot to take into your keeping the Virgin of the Lord.’ But Joseph refused, saying, ‘I have children, and I am an old man, and she is a young girl’" (ibid., 8–9).

"And Annas the scribe came to him [Joseph] . . . and saw that Mary was with child. And he ran away to the priest and said to him, ‘Joseph, whom you did vouch for, has committed a grievous crime.’ And the priest said, ‘How so?’ And he said, ‘He has defiled the virgin whom he received out of the temple of the Lord and has married her by stealth’" (ibid., 15).

"And the priest said, ‘Mary, why have you done this? And why have you brought your soul low and forgotten the Lord your God?’ . . . And she wept bitterly saying, ‘As the Lord my God lives, I am pure before him, and know not man’" (ibid.).


"The Book [the Protoevangelium] of James [records] that the brethren of Jesus were sons of Joseph by a former wife, whom he married before Mary. Now those who say so wish to preserve the honor of Mary in virginity to the end, so that body of hers which was appointed to minister to the Word . . . might not know intercourse with a man after the Holy Spirit came into her and the power from on high overshadowed her. And I think it in harmony with reason that Jesus was the firstfruit among men of the purity which consists in [perpetual] chastity, and Mary was among women. For it were not pious to ascribe to any other than to her the firstfruit of virginity" (Commentary on Matthew 2:17 [A.D. 248]).

Hilary of Poitiers

"If they [the brethren of the Lord] had been Mary’s sons and not those taken from Joseph’s former marriage, she would never have been given over in the moment of the passion [crucifixion] to the apostle John as his mother, the Lord saying to each, ‘Woman, behold your son,’ and to John, ‘Behold your mother’ [John 19:26–27), as he bequeathed filial love to a disciple as a consolation to the one desolate" (Commentary on Matthew 1:4 [A.D. 354]).


"Let those, therefore, who deny that the Son is by nature from the Father and proper to his essence deny also that he took true human flesh from the ever-virgin Mary" (Discourses Against the Arians 2:70 [A.D. 360]).

Epiphanius of Salamis

"We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of all things, both visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God . . . who for us men and for our salvation came down and took flesh, that is, was born perfectly of the holy ever-virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit" (The Man Well-Anchored 120 [A.D. 374]).

"And to holy Mary, [the title] ‘Virgin’ is invariably added, for that holy woman remains undefiled" (Medicine Chest Against All Heresies 78:6 [A.D. 375]).


"[Helvidius] produces Tertullian as a witness [to his view] and quotes Victorinus, bishop of Petavium. Of Tertullian, I say no more than that he did not belong to the Church. But as regards Victorinus, I assert what has already been proven from the gospel—that he [Victorinus] spoke of the brethren of the Lord not as being sons of Mary but brethren in the sense I have explained, that is to say, brethren in point of kinship, not by nature. [By discussing such things we] are . . . following the tiny streams of opinion. Might I not array against you the whole series of ancient writers? Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and many other apostolic and eloquent men, who against [the heretics] Ebion, Theodotus of Byzantium, and Valentinus, held these same views and wrote volumes replete with wisdom. If you had ever read what they wrote, you would be a wiser man" (Against Helvidius: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 19 [A.D. 383]).

"We believe that God was born of a virgin, because we read it. We do not believe that Mary was married after she brought forth her Son, because we do not read it. . . . You [Helvidius] say that Mary did not remain a virgin. As for myself, I claim that Joseph himself was a virgin, through Mary, so that a virgin Son might be born of a virginal wedlock" (ibid., 21).

Didymus the Blind

"It helps us to understand the terms ‘first-born’ and ‘only-begotten’ when the Evangelist tells that Mary remained a virgin ‘until she brought forth her first-born son’ [Matt. 1:25]; for neither did Mary, who is to be honored and praised above all others, marry anyone else, nor did she ever become the Mother of anyone else, but even after childbirth she remained always and forever an immaculate virgin" (The Trinity 3:4 [A.D. 386]).

Ambrose of Milan

"Imitate her [Mary], holy mothers, who in her only dearly beloved Son set forth so great an example of material virtue; for neither have you sweeter children [than Jesus], nor did the Virgin seek the consolation of being able to bear another son" (Letters 63:111 [A.D. 388]).

Pope Siricius I

"You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord’s body, that court of the eternal king" (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).


"In being born of a Virgin who chose to remain a Virgin even before she knew who was to be born of her, Christ wanted to approve virginity rather than to impose it. And he wanted virginity to be of free choice even in that woman in whom he took upon himself the form of a slave" (Holy Virginity 4:4 [A.D. 401]).

"It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when he was invisible, she too was created. A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man?" (Sermons 186:1 [A.D. 411]).

"Heretics called Antidicomarites are those who contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary and affirm that after Christ was born she was joined as one with her husband" (Heresies 56 [A.D. 428]).


"We confess, therefore, that our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, born of the Father before the ages, and in times most recent, made man of the Holy Spirit and the ever-virgin Mary" (Document of Amendment 3 [A.D. 426]).

Cyril of Alexandria

"[T]he Word himself, coming into the Blessed Virgin herself, assumed for himself his own temple from the substance of the Virgin and came forth from her a man in all that could be externally discerned, while interiorly he was true God. Therefore he kept his Mother a virgin even after her childbearing" (Against Those Who Do Not Wish to Confess That the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God 4 [A.D. 430]).

Pope Leo I

"His [Christ’s] origin is different, but his [human] nature is the same. Human usage and custom were lacking, but by divine power a Virgin conceived, a Virgin bore, and Virgin she remained" (Sermons 22:2 [A.D. 450]).

Council of Constantinople II

"If anyone will not confess that the Word of God ... came down from the heavens and was made flesh of holy and glorious Mary, mother of God and ever-virgin, and was born from her, let him be anathema" (Anathemas Against the "Three Chapters" 2 [A.D. 553]).

-- Andrew Staupe (, April 21, 2004


Send this thread to the “New Answers” section of the forum to invite further discussion by posting this comment.

-- The Bumper! (Bump@bumpitybump.bump), April 21, 2004.


Where do you find all these? Do you have a favorite reference?

-- Andy (, April 22, 2004.

Ed, under "Fathers know Best"

-- Andrew Staupe (, April 22, 2004.

Why isn't The Protoevangelium of James in the Holy Bible? I figure that if what is recorder is the truth, it should have been included in the Holy Bible that we see today.


-- rod (, April 22, 2004.

For Andrew who posted and Ian who is reading this now:

Of the six versions of the Greek septuagint, only 4/6 state that the Hebrew Almah of Isaiah 7:14 translates as virgin and not as young woman. Yet the context from Isaiah says this woman is married to King Ahaz.

He is the one given a sign of a baby, called Emmanuel by Iasaiah, to show that God Yahweh doesn't abandon people.

Yet, 2 of the six columns of the Hexapla of Origin show that Theodotion and Aquila use neannis(young woman) in Greek.

So 1/3 of the Greek Septuagint supports the Hebrew text.

As to who were Aquila and Theodotion and Symmachus

Excerp taken from this site:

Aquila and Theodotion

Other Greek Translations of the Old Testament: Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus: Around AD 128, Aquila, a pupil of Rabbi Akiba, published an extremely literal (almost unreadable) translation of the Masoretic text in which a particular Hebrew word was always represented by the same Greek word regardless of context. This translation was often used by Christian Biblical scholars like Origen and St. Jerome as an aid in understanding the Hebrew, although it also seems to have been written expressly for use in arguments against Christians, having been comissioned for this purpose by rabbinical leaders. This version is lost except for a few fragments.

Theodotion of Ephesus wrote an extremely important translation which has a very odd history. Theodotion, who evidently was not a Jew but rather a member of the Ebionite Christian heresy (which kept kosher dietary laws), lived in the second century. His translation, however, is seemingly "quoted" in Heb. 11:33 and several times in Revelations! This strongly suggests that Theodotion's version was based upon either a lost Greek translation which competed with the LXX or upon a "revised" LXX. Amazingly, Theodotion's version of Daniel is the one officially accepted by the Church and usually printed in modern editions of the LXX; the original LXX version survives in only 3 manuscripts. The oddities connected with Theodotion's version and its use by the Church were remarked upon already by the Fathers, specifically by St. Jerome, who could offer no definitive explanation.

Late in the Second Century, another member of the Ebionite sect, Symmachus, produced a loose Greek translation, almost a paraphrase. Other Greek versions already lost in the early Christian era were rediscovered not in modern times but by the ancients: Origen published a manuscript of Job, Psalms, Song of Songs, and the Minor Prophets which someone had found in a jar near Jericho in the reign of Caracalla, and another Greek version of Psalms and some other books found accidentally in Asia Minor.

Here is neannis(young woman) for you taken from this site Neanis and not parthenos in Thodotion and aquila Theodotion, otherwise Theodotus (so Suidas s.v. knizwn), author of the Greek version of the O.T. which followed, as those of Aquila and Symmachus preceded, that of the LXX in Origen's columnar arrangements of the versions. Of his personality even less is known than of either of the other two translators. The earliest author to mention him is Irenaeus, in a passage which, by reason of its higher antiquity and authority, must be our standard to test the accounts of later writers, who probably derived their accounts partly from it. Irenaeus (III. xxi. 1, p. 215), referring to the word "virgin" parqenoV) in Is. vii. 14, affirms that the passage is to be read "not as certain of those who now venture to misinterpret the Scripture, 'Behold, the damsel (neaniV) shall be with child and shall bear a son'; as Theodotion of Ephesus interpreted it and Aquila of Pontus, both Jewish proselytes; following whom the Ebionites pretend that he was begotten of Joseph." Eusebius cites this (H. E. v. 8), adding nothing to it.

Virgin is usually Bethula in Hebrew, not Almah. Neannis is the proper translation from Hebrew into Greek and not parthenos.

If Symmachus also had neannis, then 1/2 of the Septuagint will at least side with neannis and not parthenos.

The Christian Yahwist

The Man of Yahweh

-- Elpidio Gonzalez (, April 22, 2004.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ