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Chapter VI.—The Parallel Case of Mary Considered.

Let us now see whether the apostle withal observes the norm of this name in accordance with Genesis, attributing it to the sex; calling the virgin Mary a woman, just as Genesis (does) Eve.  For, writing to the Galatians, “God,” he says, “sent His own Son, made of a woman,”296296    Gal. iv. 4. who, of course, is admitted to have been a virgin, albeit Hebion297297    [i.e., Ebion, founder of the Ebionites.] resist (that doctrine).  I recognise, too, the angel Gabriel as having been sent to “a virgin.”298298    Luke i. 26, 27.  But when he is blessing her, it is “among women,” not among virgins, that he ranks her:  “Blessed (be) thou among women.”  The angel withal knew that even a virgin is called a woman.

But to these two (arguments), again, there is one who appears to himself to have made an ingenious answer; (to the effect that) inasmuch as Mary was “betrothed,” therefore it is that both by angel and apostle she is pronounced a woman; for a “betrothed” is in some sense a “bride.”  Still, between “in some sense” and “truth” there is difference enough, at all events in the present place:  for elsewhere, we grant, we must thus hold.  Now, however, it is not as being already wedded that they have pronounced Mary a woman, but as being none the less a female even if she had not been espoused; as having been called by this (name) from the beginning:  for that must necessarily have a prejudicating force from which the normal type has descended.  Else, as far as relates to the present passage, if Mary is here put on a level with a “betrothed,” so that she is called a woman not on the ground of being a female, but on the ground of being assigned to a husband, it immediately follows that Christ was not born of a virgin, because (born) of one “betrothed,” who by this fact will have ceased to be a virgin.  Whereas, if He was born of a virgin—albeit withal “betrothed,” yet intact—acknowledge that even a virgin, even an intact one, is called a woman.  Here, at all events, there can be no semblance of speaking prophetically, as if the apostle should have named a future woman, that is, bride, in saying “made of a woman.”  For he could not be naming a posterior woman, from whom Christ had not to be born—that is, one who had known a man; but she who was then present, who was a virgin, was withal called a woman in consequence of the propriety of this name,—vindicated, in accordance with the primordial norm, (as belonging) to a virgin, and thus to the universal class of women.


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