St. Joseph in the Church Fathers

[We are pleased to present in the following pages a thorough treatment on the virginity of St. Joseph as understood by the church fathers. What follows is the STL dissertation of Florent Raymond Bilodeau, who has graciously given us permission to reproduce his work here. -Editor]

Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. Mary’s University

THE VIRGINITY OF SAINT JOSEPH
IN THE LATIN FATHERS
AND MEDIEVAL ECCLESIASTICAL WRITERS

by

Florent Raymond Bilodeau

A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the School of Theology
St. Mary’s University, Baltimore, Maryland.
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Licentiate in Sacred Theology

St. Mary’s University
Baltimore, Maryland
1957

Transcribed from a photocopy of the original
dissertation provided by

THE KNOTT LIBRARY
ST. MARY’S SEMINARY & UNIVERSITY
5400 ROLAND AVENUE
BALTIMORE, MD 21210

Original spelling, punctuation and basic formatting retained from the original typed sheets. This edition is somewhat different due to different type fonts, page size and numbering.  The footnote numbers have all been retained as in the original.

Formatting for the web by the Oblates of St. Joseph. Used with permission.

For non-commercial use
With the permission of St. Mary’s Seminary & University, May 2003

Introduction

The Virginity of Saint Joseph in the Latin Fathers and Medieval Ecclesiastical Writers Introduction Saint Joseph has often been called “the hidden saint.”  Indeed, we know very little about his life. The gospels, those of Matthew and Luke in particular, contain two short accounts concerning his mission. The Fathers present us with brief and scattered Read More

Chapter I: The Virginity of St. Joseph

Chapter I The Virginity of Saint Joseph A. Scriptural “Basis” Sacred Scripture has no direct reference to the question of Saint Joseph’s virginity. It does, however, bring out the fact that Joseph, while being the true father of the Son of God and the husband of Mary, is certainly not the natural father of Jesus. Read More

Chapter II: Evidence from the Latin Fathers of the Church

Chapter II Evidence from the Latin Fathers of the Church We find no general tradition in the Latin Fathers on the question of Saint Joseph’s virginity.  In fact, the material on Saint Joseph in their writings is comparatively scant.  Very few speak at any length on this saint.27 Our information, save a few scattered references, Read More

Chapter III: Testimony from the Medieval Ecclesiastical Writers

Chapter III Testimony from the Medieval Ecclesiastical Writers During this period (circa 600-1300), as we would expect, the attention given to Saint Joseph stems mainly from texts of Saints Jerome and Augustine.  These writers speak of Augustine’s idea that the marriage between Mary and Joseph was a perfect marriage, one without divorce and fornication.  However, Read More

Conclusion

Conclusion From the preceding evidence given for Saint Joseph’s perpetual virginity, one necessarily notices that the arguments in favor of this doctrine involve two factors: 1) They show that Joseph was a virgin during all the time that he lived with Mary. 2) They adduce conclusive evidence that he was not the father of the Read More

Bibliography

Sources Abelard, Sermones et opuscula ascetica, Sermo 1, In annunciatione Beatae Virginis Mariae, ML 178, 382A Albert the Great, In Evangelium secundum Matthaeum, Opera Omnia, ed. By Prost and Gigaud, Lyons, 1651, IX Alcuin, Commentaria in sancti Joannis evangelium, ML 100, 771-772. Ambrose, Homilia in Lucam, ML 15, 1589. ________, De institutione virginis, ML 16. 315, 317, Read More