In which I wonder: Purity or Paternity?

I’ve been working on this idea for a while. Thought I’d spit out the gist of it for feedback, sans proof and detailed arguement. It’s a Christmas Think. Feel free to throw things.

What I’m thinking is:

The emphasis on “the virgin birth” in Scripture seems to have nothing to do with some hellenistic idea of asexual “purity”, but rather is concerned with establishing the Messiah’s paternity.

The language used to describe Mary’s interaction with the Spirit of God (Luke 1:35) is sexual imagery (as used elsewhere in Scripture). After which, she’s pregnant. Jesus is the son of Jehovah, not Joseph.

Mary’s relations with the Holy Spirit of YHWH would not have been something less, but something greater than her subsequent relations with Joseph. “Greater” should not be defined by our Victorian, pseudo-pious ideas about sex.

The courtly love tradition either:

A. Screwed up our understanding of Mary and her sexual relationship with both Jehovah and Joseph.


B. Came about as a result of our screwy understanding of Mary and her sexual relationship with both Jehovah and Joseph.


4 comments on “In which I wonder: Purity or Paternity?

  1. Lola B. says:

    Bennster & Abra—
    1. Merry Christmas! Not to fear, I wait for the album with the patience of Jacob (I like Job, but definitely connect more with Jacob).
    2. Thoughts on the Christmas Think: I know I disagree, but how? I like your point about the paternity issue. I like your point about us being sexually prudish when it comes to God-stuff. At the same time, I think ‘sexual’ is the wrong word for whatever happened b/w God & Mary. I mean, you could SAY the Trinity & perichoresis & all that is sexual, but it ain’t. It just sounds like it to us, because we can’t think any bigger. So. I dunno. My thoughts, there they is, in brief.
    3. Love Muse, but will have to seek out the other two. Thanks awfully…I’ve been on a heinously long kick of musical unfocus.

    May your season be filled with snow, coffee, and chocolate,

  2. lola,

    don’t think we disagree substantially. there is as much reason (more, actually) to think that they just had sex as there is that Jesus spontaneously generated in Mary’s womb. i too agree that sex (as we understand it) probably isn’t quite accurate: though i frankly prefer to just use the imagery of Scripture and not over-speculate in the nitty-gritty details. enough for me to say that Joseph had a tough act to follow, whatever that act was, exactly. i’ll do more on this later. thanks for the christmas greetings. right back at you and yours.

    b (& a)

  3. […] Purity or Paternity? was a weird thought I had a while ago, that I’m thinking of resurrecting a kicking around the […]

  4. mattyonke says:

    What sort of union is created by the spousal relationship physically sealed in the action between The Blessed Mother and the Holy Spirit? What sort of relationship do we know, according to the facts, existed between St. Joseph and Our Lady?

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