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Luke 1:26-26:

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

Many other Bible verses talk about Mary's virginity, even to the point that the Catholic church teaches she was a virgin her entire life*.

What evidence exists (either Biblical or extra-Biblical) to support the claim that she was indeed a virgin at the time of Jesus' conception?

*This question is not asking whether Mary was a perpetual virgin; only for evidence that she was a virgin at the time Jesus was conceived.

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Are you asking for biblical proof or extra-biblical proof? –  Richard Sep 7 '11 at 18:53
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Your own quote says that she was a virgin, and a few verses later she says "seeing as I know not a man?". Couldn't you even read the passage? –  DJClayworth Sep 7 '11 at 19:27
    
@DJClayworth: Mary herself saying she's a virgin isn't much evidence. Nor does it seem the potentially-embellished word of an angel is. If that's the best we have, fine... but I was hoping for something a little more solid than that. –  Flimzy Sep 7 '11 at 19:33
    
The statements in the Bible are clear, so does that mean you are looking for extra-biblical evidence? –  DJClayworth Sep 7 '11 at 19:38
    
@DJClayworth: If there is any, that would certainly be good to know about. I don't think Biblical evidence is inherently less valuable than extra-Biblical evidence, though. Perhaps I should ask for corroborated evidence that Mary was a virgin. –  Flimzy Sep 7 '11 at 19:41
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2 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Matthew 1:25 (NIV)

But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

This shows that she didn't have sex with Joseph until she had given birth.

Furthermore, it fulfilled prophecy:

Matthew 1:22-23 (NIV)

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

From the prophecy of Isaiah:

Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

From a different gospel, we have this account:

Luke 1:30-35 (NIV)

30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

If you want, we can get into the Greek and Hebrew here, but it's pretty clear all over that she had not had sex with anyone and yet she became pregnant.

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Except Jesus is not called Immanuel, or is he? :) –  Sklivvz Sep 7 '11 at 19:03
    
@Sklivvz - I'm actually going to ask that one. –  wax eagle Sep 7 '11 at 19:15
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Umm, yeah He is called Immanuel. God With Us, ring a bell? –  Peter Turner Sep 7 '11 at 19:19
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Who is Immanuel? –  Caleb Sep 7 '11 at 19:25
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From the following verses:

Matthew 1:24-25 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

The phrase "knew her" is the Biblical way of saying "had sex with". Consider the following verses...

Genesis 38:26 And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.

JUDGES 19:25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.

So in other words, Joseph did not have intercourse with Mary until after Jesus was born.

That proves her virginity after marriage.

Her virginity before marriage is proven by her profession to the angel Gabriel...

LUKE 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

...and also by Joseph's concern to take her as wife (he was afraid she was not a virgin). The angel Gabriel appeared to Joseph in a dream to dispel his fears (that she was indeed a virgin).

Matthew 1:19-20 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

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