On the perpetual virginity of Mary (follow up)

Scot McKnight lists the following verses as evidence against the perpetual virginity of Mary:

  1. Mark 3:31-35: “His mother and his brothers.”
  2. Mark 6:1-6: “Is this not the ’son of Mary’ and his brothers Yakov, Yosef, Yehudah, and Shimeon? Are not his sisters here with us?”
  3. John 2:12: “he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples”. (Sisters stay back in Nazareth?)
  4. John 7:3: “His brothers said to him…”
  5. John 7:5: “For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”
  6. Galatians 1:19: “save only James, the Lord’s brother.”
  7. Acts 1:14: Mary “and with his brothers.”

He notes that the burden of proof rests on those who would say that “brothers” or “sisters” would mean anything other than blood-brothers or blood-sisters. To this list can be added the references compiled from Richard Bauckham’s work on Sean du Toit’s blog, Primal Subversion. As I mentioned in my comment on Scot McKnight’s post. My feet are squarely planted in the protestant camp. I just found Rice’s argument “interesting.” As McKnight concludes:

Protestants should not be bothered if Mary and Joseph chose to remain virginal. Their decision would not be an attack on marriage or on sexuality. It would be a sacred vow of celibacy on their part, not because of their sainthood but because (and here we are guessing) they sensed an overwhelming awe at the majesty of what God chose Mary to do. Her body, in other words, became a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit for both of them. That’s how I’d see it from that perspective. I don’t think that view, however, is what we find in the NT.

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