Thanks for answering. So Mary was destined to never experience sex and Joseph was a good enough man to never again want it? Wow!
I always thought the Bible said she was a virgin until AFTER Jesus was born.
" 24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."
I guess I always thought of "until" (vs. 25) in this way. Doesn't until usually imply a certain point when it happened?
Your way seems a bit more like making up neat traditions when I thought the Bible was pretty clear about it. Is this Tradition? Would it have been wrong for Mary to have sex with her own husband after Jesus was born? They were married. Sex within marriage is holy and sacred. OK'd by God. Plan of God. Nothing sinful. In fact withholding from sex is more sinful within marriage, I'd think.
To me it seems more realistic for Mary and Joseph to refrain from sex until sometime after Jesus' birth. Then later they had more children which are the ones referred to in the Bible as Jesus' brothers and sisters. No need to invent cousins although I understand what you mean that cousins could have sibling-like status in a culture that is very extended-family oriented.
Thanks for sharing your POV.
It's not *my* point of view, though. It's the Church's.
'Brother' has a broader definition in the Bible than just the son of your mother/father. It is used to identify not just actual brothers, but cousins and nephews as well. We see this when, in the OT when Lot is called Abraham's 'brother', when we know that he is actually his nephew. Or Jacob being called 'brother' of Lavan, when Lavan is his uncle. The reason behind this is that apparently neither Hebrew or Aramaic contain a word for cousin. So relations had to be expressed differently, i.e. 'son of the brother of the mother'. The relationship had to be understood in an almost roundabout way. If we accept that the term 'brother' is used in the Bible in this wider sense, how do we know that that is the sense it was used when referring to the 'brothers of Jesus'.
Some arguments against Mary and Joseph having children together:
1. When the Archangel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will conceive and bear a son, she asks how this can be, because she knows not man. Now, at this point, she is already betrothed to Joseph. So, logically, if you're a woman betrothed, expecting to marry, then the question of 'how', doesn't enter into it. You would expect that, in the normal course of relations between husband and wife, a child would be the result. So if Mary had anticipated having a typical relationship with Joseph, there would have been no issue with the how. Her even asking the question hints to the fact that she must not have expected their relationship to be typical. It seems reasonable that she expected to be betrothed to Joseph, and under his protection, but not to share his bed.
3. Christ gave Mary to John to look after at the Crucifixion. If there had been brothers, her guardianship would have gone to them, by law. It speaks to there not being any that Jesus had to entrust her care to an unrelated male.
Now, the whole 'he knew her not until' thing. The word 'until' does not always mean that something happened after a certain point, but not before. For instance, Michal, David's wife? Is said to have born no children until the day of her death. Should we infer, then, that she had them after she was dead? No. It just means that she was barren. There are other examples, such as when Christ tells the Apostles He will be with them until the end of the age. Does that mean that after the end of the age He takes off? Goes and plays Scrabble?
As for Joseph and Mary not having the blessing of sex in their marriage. I have seen it argued, and it does make a certain amount of sense, though ymmv, that Joseph and Mary were never actually married. They were betrothed, but never married. Joseph remained as guardian to Mary and Jesus, in order that she should not be killed for being pregnant without a husband. However, in a sense, she was 'married' to God. So having sex with Joseph would have been adultery. After all, it's not as though Mary were simply an incubator, a convenient vessel for Christ, so that her interaction with Him and with the Holy Spirit doesn't 'count', in some sense.
Anyway. Keep in mind, please, that the Church existed before the Bible. The books that were chosen to be included in the Bible were chosen because they contained information that was important for salvation purposes. However, the Bible was never meant to be used apart from the teachings of the Church, and the Traditions thereof. It's not 'making up' little stories, but maintaining the beliefs that have been held since the beginning.
And what I've written above is just a poor example of the defenses for Mary's perpetual virginity that exist. If you look it up, there's been a metric ton of papers and books that have been written on the subject, both for and against.