The following essay is a pro service paper which goal is to express a personal interest, evaluation, and discussion of the chapters from the book by David Hunter named “Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy in Ancient Christianity”. In the chapters that are going to be discussed author is concentrated on the figure of Holy Mary and her extraordinary position in the Christian pantheon. Author discusses the details behind Mary’s canonization which made her childbirth a divine event. In the chapters about Virgin Mary the main issues arise around the story of her virginity and a Christ’s birth from a virgin mother. This event is portrayed and described as a cornerstone of the entire Christian religion. By organizing it so that Jesus was born from a virgin God had in plan to secure the fact that Jesus’s birth was a miracle. Interpreting Bible that way, God also had it in mind to expiate the sin of Eve.
According to Christian theology and Catholic doctrines God made people mortal because Adam and Eve sinned. Pain of childbirth according to the tradition was given to women due to their guilt of listening to the devil in Eden. Being the exiles from Eden people found themselves in need of food, labor, health, and sex as a matter of reproduction. Therefore, reproduction, sensual love, marriage and sex are treated in Christianity as sinful activities of the mortals. By making Virgin Mary give birth without pain of labor and replacing her sexual impregnation with the act of a holy spirit Bible makes up for the sin of Eve with pure and clean act of Mary. Author points it out in the book that this traditional story considered as canonic now was not yet complete intact in the 4th century A.D. It is particularly interested that the birth of Christ became a central point in the discussion about whether Christ was a living human being or not (Hunter, 177).
The event of Virgin Mary’s childbirth is a basic foundation of the whole Christian religion. It appears wise, rational, and thorough to interpret the miracle of Jesus’s birth as both the factor that makes him different from humans and also as a detail making him similar to the mortals. Jesus was given to Holy Mary not by Joseph, not by man, and not with a physical contact. On the contrary, God’s only son has been given to Mary by the Holy Spirit and Mary remained a virgin even after her childbirth. Such events and miracles make Jesus’s birth a supernatural religious event. But the very fact of birth given by a woman from a womb makes Jesus a man (Kennedy, 34).
Jesus was born by woman as a man. But he was given to Holy Mary by God and not by a man. These absolute truths and undeniable canonic facts pose Jesus as a figure balanced between humanity and God. Therefore, Jesus is a transitional being on the verge between mortal and immortal, between spirit and matter, between everything worldly and all that is divine. Occupying such position Jesus made it able for further Catholic theologians to build a concept of the Holy Trinity. Jesus’s position as not just an ordinary living man but yet accepting the fact that he had flesh, blood, and bones played a very important fact in the Christian history as it allowed to save the importance of Christ’s tortures and physical suffering that preceded his death and resurrection.