The Assumption of Mary

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by BRIANH, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. BRIANH

    BRIANH
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    On a recent thread, the belief in Sola Scriptura is being analyzed and dissected (nothing wrong with that; it can withstand the scrutiny) by proponents of traditon and scripture. So let us briefly examine the Orthodox(not that familiar yet myself) and Catholic tradition.

    Lets take a look at one of the big T's of traditon. A belief held to be infallible by the Catholic Church and certainly believed by the Orthodox. Remember this "T" Tradition is on par with scripture. The two go hand in hand. So lets look. The belief is simple Mary was assumed at the time of her death(the tradition is uncertain whether she died or not).

    There is a big problem. This incredible event which I would contend is the second potential biggest proof of Christianity outside of the resurrection goes unmentioned...for 300 years...

    Now some people say; everyone believed it so they had no need to mention it. This flies in the face of actual patristic writing. First of all, it is simply not true that the early Christians only wrote about things that were being challenged. When asked to provide proof of that statement, they cannot.

    Lets look at some quotes, and remember, this belief is a big T, declared infallible by the Catholic Church and believed by the Orthodox.


    The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
    by Father William G. Most
    Evidence for the Assumption
    There had been a problem of how the Pope could define the Assumption. There seemed to be nothing in Scripture on it, and what things there were in the Tradition of the Fathers seemed to come not from an apostolic origin, but from some apocryphal stories that circulated chiefly beginning in the fourth century.
    http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/marya5.htm


    The Assumption of the Virgin Mary

    The earliest known western account of Mary's bodily assumption into Heaven is in Gregory of Tours' 6th-century Glory of the Martyrs. Seventh-century Greek sermons on the subject by John Damascene and Germanus also circulated in the west in translation, and in succeeding years other works embellished the story. Although the accounts sometimes contradict each other with respect to details, these elements are common to most of them:

    http://www.aug.edu/augusta/iconography/assumption.html


    "In the first three centuries there are absolutely no references in the authentic works of the Fathers or ecclesiastical writers to the death or bodily immortality of Mary. Nor is there any mention of a tomb of Mary in the first centuries of Christianity. The veneration of the tomb of the Blessed Virgin at Jerusalem began about the middle of the fifth century; and even here there is no agreement as to whether its locality was in the Garden of Olives or in the Valley of Josaphat. Nor is any mention made in the Acts of the Council of Ephesus (431) of the fact that the Council, convened to defend the Divine Maternity of the Mother of God, is being held in the very city selected by God for her final resting place. Only after the Council did the tradition begin which placed her tomb in that city.
    The earliest known (non-Apocryphal) mention concerning the end of Mary's life appears in the writings of St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia, the ancient Salamina, in the isle of Cyprus. Born in Palestine, we may assume that he was well aware of the traditions there. Yet we find these words in his Panarion or Medicine Chest (of remedies for all heresies), written in c. 377: "Whether she died or was buried we know not."7

    http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?id=469


    Thoughts?
     
    #1 BRIANH, Jul 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2008
  2. Marcia

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    Any tales about the assumption of Mary are extra-biblical. The RC church did not declare this official doctrine until 1950 - it's celebrated on Aug. 15th.

    As usual, the RC's weakness for Mary caused this.
     
  3. Agnus_Dei

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    Wasn't 1950 the "Immaculate Conception"Dogma? That's different from the "assumption" of Mary.

    In XC
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  4. Zenas

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    If you can accept that the woman in Revelation 12:1 is Mary, and Mary fits as well here as any of the other possibilities (Israel, the Church, or Eve), there is indeed scriptural evidence that she was assumed. After all, she lived with John until her death so if anyone knew of he assumption he would. The woman may have been John's cryptic way of telling the world that Mary had been taken body and soul into heaven. This also fits with the writings of Luke that show Mary as typical of the ark of the covenanent, or the ark as typical of Mary, depending on your perspective. I posted this on another thread several months ago and I think it fits here as well:
     
  5. Amy.G

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    I think it's much more likely that the woman is Israel.
     
  6. BRIANH

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    Two things. This woman appears in heaven. The word is
    optanomai. It is never used in scripture in the context of "assumed". It says nothing about assumed. Does it?
    Next, Mary was assumed pregnant and crying in pain?
    How would you explian that?
     
  7. Agnus_Dei

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    Although my knowledge of the Church teaching is limited, I have taken both Catholic RCIA classes and Orthodox Catechesis classes. I do know that both Orthodox and Roman Catholic believes and teaches that Mary was assumed into heaven...not to be confused with "ascended" as with Christ.

    The Orthodox believes and teaches that Mary died a physical death, whereas the Roman Catholic Church teaches she didn't die a physical death.

    In the Orthodox Church we celebrate the Feast as the "Dormition Fast" which begins on August 1 and will last until August 15, the day the Church remembers her death. "Dormition" means "falling asleep".

    The earliest written tradition which speaks of the death of the Mother of God is given in the work, which, in the Western Church, is known by the title “The Transition (i.e. death) of St. Mary”; in the East that same work has the title “Sermon of St. John the Theologian on the Dormition of the Mother of God”. The author of this work is unknown. Some historians believe that this work dates from the end of the second or third century, while others place it at the end of the sixth century.

    In regard to the assumption of Mary, and as adamant as the Church is about Relics, Mary's body would've certainly been kept well guarded, especially since Mary was given into the care of St. John the Apostle. And also Mary being assumed into heaven in no way contradicts Scripture, since we see Enoch and Elijah assumed into heaven. So it's not far fetched.

    Since the Bible says nothing against assumption and evidence concerning this teaching doesn't show itself at the earliest second century, means silence is not the same as rejection, although to be sure, silence is not the same as affirimation either...silence is just...silence.

    In XC
    -
     
  8. mrtumnus

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    The Catholic church does not offer an official opinion on whether she died or not but the majority opinion is that she did die.
     
  9. mrtumnus

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    No, 1950 was the Assumption. The IC was 100 year before, and the feast of the Immaculate Conception was being celebrated hundreds of years before that.

    Agnus_Dei, I'm starting to think your RCIA classes weren't quite up to snuff.;)
     
  10. BRIANH

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    Based upon your posts I summise you studied these issues for quite some time. One thing that strikes me about the Ante-Nice fathers is the depth over all subjects. Starting with Clement or the Didache until 325 AD is like a journey as people grasp, fumble, and explore all and I do mean ALL of the elements of Christianity. To be sure some things are highlighted mroe than others but Mary alone would fill chapters; although to be sure it pales in comparision to other topics of interest.
    I do not think the church was anything about relics early on. It is generally accepted that the first possible reference to relics, and it is not one actually but I digress, is the Martyrdom of Polycarp. The church became interested in relics; heck no one denies that but I cannot grant that it was always the case.
    It is an incredible confirmation of everything. It is not a little claim. It is the very ..to make you feel comfortable...Mother of God being taken. Talk about news. The early patristic writers dissect, delve into, are consumed with the fact of the resurrection from the dead of Christ. A person being assumed is no small thing. It is major proof. Like I said, it only is surpassed by the resurrection itself. It is also proof AFTER Christ has been raised. Further confirmation.
    But no one talked about it. When they finally did; 300 years later they did not agree. Was it here. No it was there. Did she die? I don't know. Who was there? Well that differs too.
    It is an incredible proof. Extraordinary proof of an extraordinary event.
    I have read the Ante Nicene Fathers. They would have grabbed it, embraced it, rubbed it in the Gnostics and to be honest Jews face (Justyn Martyr especially). But no...nothing.
     
  11. mrtumnus

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    There is NT evidence that people were very interested in relics. Consider 'handerchiefs' that had been touched by Paul.
     
  12. Zenas

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    First question: No, scripture says nothing about "assumed." If it did we wouldn't be having this debate. Nevertheless the inference is pretty strong, in my opinion much stronger than the inference of a pretrib rapture which many on this board believe, despite there being no mention of such in scripture.

    Second question: The scene is a vision, not an actual happening. The woman in the sky is no more Mary in the flesh than the dragon is a reptile in the flesh. It portrays the cosmic struggle that we first see in Genesis 3. But the characters portrayed in the struggle ar Mary and Satan.
     
    #12 Zenas, Jul 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2008
  13. BRIANH

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    I should be clear. Thank you for pointing that out.
    I usually associate relics with parts of dead people. A desecration of a body; ie stealing someones hair or bones off a corpse.
    You are absolutely correct about Paul and such..thats in Acts..18 or around there.
    It does not say they venerated them. If people have Paul's linens, good for them. Pieces of his corpse...Im not so thrilled with!
     
  14. BRIANH

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    I do not think the inference is strong. If it were strong, perhaps any of the number of comments on the Book of Revelation or Mary as well in any of the patristic writings would have made that connection the first 700 years of Christianity.
    I am quite content with your answer to the second part :)
     
  15. mrtumnus

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    Unless they used them for that which handkerchiefs are normally used for .... they venerated them.

    The way relics like bones and such are viewed is much more of a cultural affair. We in this day and age and in this culture have very different views of what is acceptable and proper. Doesn't really make us more right.
     
  16. Amy.G

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    If the woman is Mary, how do you explain:

    Rev 12:17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    Who were Mary's offspring who kept the commandments of God?
     
  17. mrtumnus

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    BRIANH, I think the main thing you're missing here (from my perspective) is the Assumption dogma is not isolated in a view of what is believed about Mary. It is closely tied to the perpetual virginity and Immaculate Conception, both of which (also in my view) are more implicitly present in Scripture. The Assumption is the natural culmination of those as well as the Tradition of the church.
     
  18. DHK

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    all of which are heretical doctrines.
     
  19. mrtumnus

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    All of us engaged in the battle with Satan. If Christ is our brother and by this relationship we become the adopted children of God, we also become the adopted children of Mary. To claim the divine parent and reject the human parent not only fails to honor the mother of Jesus (as Christ honored her) it fails to recognize that the one person of Jesus has both a human and divine nature, and that one person does indeed have a mother. If he is our brother and God is our Father, Mary is our mother.
     
  20. BRIANH

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    Used to cure sick; not venerated. Two different things.
    It was a cultural thing but it was not universal. It was a segment of people; but no means universal. We have Numbers 19 which clearly forbids it for the Jews. Relics were something that appealed to a segment of people and yes we can say it is more right. Cultural relativism is used to justify any number of sins and abominations. Carting around the parts of dead people...not good.
     

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