Mary’s Perpetual Virginity
The perpetual virginity of Mary is the doctrine that Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was a virgin before, during and after the birth of Christ. Like most Marian doctrines, it has less to do with who Mary is, and more to do with who her son is.
There is a strong theme in the Old Testament of refraining from marital intimacy while in the presence of something holy. The priests of the temple had to refrain from intimacy with their wives during the time of their service in the temple and Moses had the Israelites abstain from intercourse as he ascended Mount Sinai (Ex. 20:15). The earliest Jewish Christians and the Church Fathers knew that Mary’s womb contained something far more holy than the temple. They often referred to Mary as the Eastern Gate mentioned in Ezekiel 44 (Christ being the Temple). They also considered Mary the New Ark of the Covenant, something so holy that if anyone who was unworthy touched it, they were struck dead. Scripture supports Mary’s role as the New Ark.
As the New Ark, it is possible that Mary may have taken a vow of virginity. In Luke 1:34, Mary asks, “How can this be, since I do not know man?” which is a question that, as a betrothed woman, the answer would seem obvious. Consecrated virgins were uncommon, but did exist, especially among the Essene Jews. When a female consecrated virgin reached puberty, her monthly cycle would render her ceremonially unclean and thus unable to dwell in the temple without defiling it under the Mosaic Law. At this time, she would then be entrusted to a male guardian. However, since it was forbidden for a man to live with a woman he was not married or related to, the virgin would be wed to the guardian, and they would have no marital relations. The marriage was still be considered valid even though it was not consummated through marital relations because a marriage was considered valid immediately after exchanging vows. Consummating an already valid marriage simply made the marriage indissoluble. In addition to this, according to Jewish law, if a man was betrothed to a woman and she became pregnant from another, he could never have relations with her. The man had to either condemn her in public and put her to death or ‘put her away’ privately (see 2 Sam 20:3). So Joseph and Mary’s marriage was a valid marriage, even if it was never consummated.
Matthew 1:25 states that Joseph had no relations with Mary until she bore a son, but the Greek word for “until” (heos) does not imply that Mary had marital relations after the birth of Christ. For example, in 2 Samuel 6:23, we read that Michal, the daughter of Saul, had no child “until” the day of her death, but this does not imply she had children after her death. Matthew’s intent in this passage is not to explain what happened after the birth of Christ, but rather to stress the virgin birth and that no relations took place before then. Whether there were any later siblings is inconsequential to Matthew’s point.
The “brethren” of Christ, mentioned in Matt 13:55 does not necessarily indicate immediate relation. The Greek word for “brethren” (adelphoi), could also mean step-brother, nephew, uncle, cousin, or even non-relatives such as neighbors and friends. For example, Lot and his uncle Abraham were called “brothers” in Gen. 11:26-28 and 29:15. In Hebrew, there was no word for cousin, nephew, or uncle, so linguistically it was easier to refer to the person as “brother” than “the son of a mother’s sister.” Since the New Testament was written in a dialect of Greek that was heavily influenced by the Semitic culture, many of the Hebrew idioms like “brother” intrude into the Greek text. In Matt 13:55, James is listed as one of the four “brothers” of the Lord and is referred to by Paul in Galatians 1:18-19 as both an “apostle” and a “brother of the Lord”, but there are only two apostles named James among the twelve. The first James is revealed to have been a son of Zebedee and was martyred early on (Acts 12:1-2). The second James was, according to Luke 6:15-16, the son of Alphaeus, not Joseph. If any of them had been true “brothers” of Jesus, then Jesus would never have entrusted his mother into the disciple John’s care (John 19:26–27) as this would have been an insult to his family when, by law, the next eldest sibling would have the responsibility to care for her.. It would also seem hypocritical to release his brothers from their obligation to their mother, after criticizing the Pharisees for neglecting to support their parents (Matt 15:3–6).
Historical Evidence of
Early Christian Belief in the
Perpetual Virginity of Mary:
Church Father Quotes:
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.).
Origen of Alexandria
“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 first fruit 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 first fruit 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]).
Athanasius of Alexandria
“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]).
St. 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]).
St. Augustine of Hippo
“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]).
St. 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 St. Leo I the Great
“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]).
Johannes Quasten, theologian and scholar of patristics.
“The principal aim of the whole writing [Protoevangelium of James] is to prove the perpetual and inviolate virginity of Mary before, in, and after the birth of Christ” (Patrology, 1:120–1).
Martin Luther, Father of the Protestant Reformation
“Mary realized she was the mother of the Son of God, and she did not desire to become the mother of the son of man, but to remain in this divine gift.” -Smalcald Articles, 1537.
“Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary’s virginal womb . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that.” –Luther’s Works, eds. Jaroslav Pelikan (vols. 1-30) & Helmut T. Lehmann (vols. 31-55), St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House (vols. 1-30); Philadelphia: Fortress Press (vols. 31-55), 1955, v.22:23 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539)
“Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . I am inclined to agree with those who declare that ‘brothers’ really mean ‘cousins’ here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers.” –Luther’s Works, eds. Jaroslav Pelikan (vols. 1-30) & Helmut T. Lehmann (vols. 31-55), St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House (vols. 1-30); Philadelphia: Fortress Press (vols. 31-55), 1955, v.22:214-15 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539)
“A new lie about me is being circulated. I am supposed to have preached and written that Mary, the mother of God, was not a virgin either before or after the birth of Christ . . . “. –Luther’s Works, eds. Jaroslav Pelikan (vols. 1-30) & Helmut T. Lehmann (vols. 31-55), St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House (vols. 1-30); Philadelphia: Fortress Press (vols. 31-55), 1955, v.22:23 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539) v.45:199 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523)
“On account of this personal union and communion of the natures, Mary, the most blessed virgin, did not conceive a mere, ordinary human being, but a human being who is truly the Son of the most high God, as the angel testifies. He demonstrated his divine majesty even in his mother’s womb in that he was born of a virgin without violating her virginity. Therefore she is truly the mother of God and yet remained a virgin.” –Theodore G. Tappert, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959), 595.
“Scripture does not say or indicate that she later lost her virginity . . . When Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her . . . This babble . . . is without justification . . . he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom.” –Luther’s Works, eds. Jaroslav Pelikan (vols. 1-30) & Helmut T. Lehmann (vols. 31-55), St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House (vols. 1-30); Philadelphia: Fortress Press (vols. 31-55), 1955, v.45:199 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523)}
John Calvin, Protestant Reformation Father
“Helvidius has shown himself too ignorant, in saying that Mary had several sons, because mention is made in some passages to the brothers of Christ” –Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, sec. 39 (Geneva, 1562), vol. 2 / From Calvin’s Commentaries, tr. William Pringle, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949, p.215; on Matthew 13:55}
“[On Matt 1:25:] The inference he [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband . . . No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words . . . as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called ‘first-born’; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin . . . What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us . . . No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.”
Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, sec. 39 (Geneva, 1562), vol. 1 / From Calvin’s Commentaries, tr. William Pringle, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949, p.107}
“Under the word ‘brethren’ the Hebrews include all cousins and other relations, whatever may be the degree of affinity.”
–Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, sec. 39 (Geneva, 1562) / From Calvin’s Commentaries, tr. William Pringle, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949). vol. I, p. 283. Commentary on John, (7:3)
“We have already said in another place that according to the custom of the Hebrews all relatives were called ‘brethren.’ Still Helvidius [a 4th century heretic] has shown himself to be IGNORANT of this by stating that Mary had many children just because in several places they are spoken of as ‘brethren’ of Christ.” (Commentary on Matthew 13:55)
“It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son, granted her the highest honor. … Elizabeth called Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary was at the same time the eternal God.” (Calvini Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Braunschweig–Berlin, 1863–1900, v. 45, p. 348, 35.)
“To this day we cannot enjoy the blessing brought to us in Christ without thinking at the same time of that which God gave as adornment and honour to Mary, in willing her to be the mother of his only-begotten Son.” [John Calvin, A Harmony of Matthew, Mark and Luke (St. Andrew’s Press, Edinburgh, 1972), p.32].
“There have been certain STRANGE folk who have wished to suggest from this passage [Matt 1:25] that the Virgin Mary had other children than the Son of God, and that Joseph had then dwelt with her later; BUT WHAT FOLLY THIS IS! For the gospel writer did not wish to record what happened afterwards; he simply wished to make clear Joseph’s obedience and to show also that Joseph had been well and truly assured that it was God who had sent his angel to Mary. He had therefore NEVER dwelt with her nor had he shared her company…. And besides this, our Lord Jesus Christ is called the first-born. This is NOT because there was a second or a third, but because the gospel writer is paying regard to the precedence. Scripture speaks thus of naming the first-born whether or no there was any question of the second. Thus we see the intention of the Holy Spirit. This is why to lend ourselves to FOOLISH SUBTLETIES WOULD BE TO ABUSE HOLY SCRIPTURE….” (Sermon on Matthew 1:22-25, published 1562)
“Concerning what has happened since this birth the writer of the gospel SAYS NOTHING…certainly it is a matter about which NO ONE will cause dispute unless he is somewhat curious; on the contrary there never was a man who would contradict this in obstinacy unless he were a PIG-HEADED and FATUOUS [i.e. foolish and stupid] person.” –Commentary on Matthew 1:25
Ulrich Zwingli, Protestant Reformation Father
“I esteem immensely the Mother of God, the ever chaste, immaculate Virgin Mary” -E. Stakemeier, De Mariologia et Oecumenismo, K. Balic, ed., 456
“To deny that Mary remained ‘inviolata’ before, during and after the birth of her Son, is to doubt the omnipotence of God . . . and it is right and profitable to repeat the angelic greeting – not prayer – ‘Hail Mary’ . . . God esteemed Mary above all creatures, including the saints and angels – it was her purity, innocence and invincible faith that mankind must follow. Prayer, however, must be . . . to God alone.” -G. R. Potter, Zwingli, London: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1976, pp.88-9,395 / The Perpetual Virginity of Mary . . ., Sep. 17, 1522}
“I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonourable, impious, unworthy or evil . . . I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity.”
–Zwingli had printed in 1524 a sermon on ‘Mary, ever virgin, mother of God.’ -Max Thurian, p.76
“It was given to her what belongs to no creature, that in the flesh she should bring forth the Son of God.” –Ulrich Zwingli, In Evang. Luc., Opera Completa [Zurich, 1828-42], Volume 6, I, 639].
“I firmly believe according to the words of the Gospel that a pure virgin brought forth for us the Son of God AND REMAINED A VIRGIN PURE AND INTACT IN CHILDBIRTH AND ALSO AFTER THE BIRTH, FOR ALL ETERNITY. I firmly trust that she has been exalted by God to eternal joy above all creatures, both the blessed and the angels.” –from Augustin Bea “Mary and the Protestants” MARIAN STUDIES Apr 61) [Ulrich Zwingli, Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Volume 1, 424]. Zwingli used Exodus 4:22 to defend the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity.
“I speak of this in the holy Church of Zurich and in all my writings: I recognize MARY AS EVER VIRGIN AND HOLY.” –January 1528 Sermon in Berne, as cited by Max Thurian.
“I esteem immensely the Mother of God, the ever chaste, immaculate Virgin Mary.” –E. Stakemeier, De Mariologia et Oecumenismo, K. Balic, ed., (Rome, 1962), pg 456
“Christ … was born of a most undefiled Virgin.” –E. Stakemeier, De Mariologia et Oecumenismo, K. Balic, ed., (Rome, 1962), pg. 456
“It was fitting that such a holy Son should have a holy Mother.” –E. Stakemeier, De Mariologia et Oecumenismo, K. Balic, ed., (Rome, 1962), pg 456
“The more the honor and love for Christ grows among men, the more esteem and honor for Mary grows, for she brought forth for us so great, but so compassionate a Lord and Redeemer.” –Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, v. 1, pp. 427–428.
“He who was about to remove our sins but not to make all men holy, must be himself holy. Hence God sanctified his mother: for it was fitting that such a holy Son should have a likewise holy mother….”; “I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonorable, impious, unworthy, or evil…I hope this is sufficient to have made plain to pious and simple Christians my clear conviction on the matter of the Mother of God: ‘I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity.” –Annotationes in Evangelium Lucae, and sermon on “Mary, ever virgin, Mother of God” in 1524, cited in Thurian, page 23, 76
Francis Turretin, Protestant Reformer
“This is not expressly declared in Scripture, but is yet piously believed with human faith from the consent of the ancient church. Thus it is probable that the womb in which our Savior received the auspices of life (whence he entered into this world, as from a temple) was so consecrated and sanctified by so great a guest that she always remained untouched by man; nor did Joseph ever cohabit with her. Hence Helvidius and the Antidicomarianites (so-called because they were opponents of [antidikoi] Mary)are deservedly rebuked by the fathers for denying that Mary was always a virgin (aei Parthenon). They held that she cohabited with Joseph after delivery; yea, also bore children from him. As Augustine remarks, they rely on the shallowest arguments, i.e., because Christ is called the ‘firstborn’ of Mary (cf. De Haeresibus 56, 84 [PL 42.40, 46]). For as Jerome well remarks, she was so called because no one was begotten before him, not because there was another after him. Hence among lawyers: ‘He is the first whom no one precedes; he is last, whom no one follows.’ The Hebrews were accustomed to call the firstborn also only begotten; Israel is called ‘the first-born of God’ (Ex 4:22), although the only people chosen of God. Thus ‘the firstborn’ is said to be ‘holy unto God’ (Ex 13:2), who first opened the womb, whether others followed or not. Otherwise the firstborn would not have to be redeemed until after another offspring had been procreated (the law shows this to be false because it commands it to be redeemed a month after birth, Num. 18:16). Not more solidly have they been able to elicit this from the fact that in the New Testament certain ones are called ‘the brothers of Christ.’ It is common in Scripture not only for one’s own and full brothers by nature to be designated by this name, but also blood relatives and cousins (as Abraham and Lot, Jacob and Laban). Thus James and Joses, Simon and Judas are called brothers of Christ (Mt. 13:55) by a relation of blood. For Mary (who is called their mother by Matthew and Mark) is called by John the sister of the Lord’s mother. However what is said in Jn. 7:5 that ‘neither did his brethren believe him’ must be understood of more remote blood relations. Nor is it derived better from this-that Joseph is said ‘not to have known Mary till she had brought forth her firstborn son’ (Mt. 1:25). The particles ‘till” and ‘even unto’ are often referred only to the past, not to the future (i.e., they so connote the preceding time, concerning which there might be a doubt or which it was of the highest importance to know, as not to have a reference to the future-cf. Gen 28:15; Pss 122:2; 110:1; Mt.28:20, etc.). Thus is shown what was done by Joseph before the nativity of Christ (to wit, that he abstained form her); but it does not imply that he lived with her in any other way postpartum. When therefore she is said to have been found with child ‘before they came together’ (prin e synelthein autous), preceding copulation is denied, but not subsequent affirmed. Although copulation had not take place in that marriage, it did not cease to be true and ratified (although unconsummated) for not intercourse, but consent makes marriage. Therefore it was perfect as to form (to wit, undivided conjunction of life and unviolated faith, but not as to end (to wit, the procreation of children, although it was not deficient as to the raising of the offspring.” –Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 2, 345-346