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mikbone

Mary’s age

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https://askgramps.org/how-old-was-mary-when-she-gave-birth-to-jesus/

We watched the new “The Christ Child” A nativity story, and I couldn’t enjoy the production as much as I should have because of the incongruity.

I loved that they used the original language instead of English.  But was irritated that Mary was cast as a woman in her 20’s and Joseph as a man in his 30’s.  

 

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8 minutes ago, mikbone said:

https://askgramps.org/how-old-was-mary-when-she-gave-birth-to-jesus/

We watched the new “The Christ Child” A nativity story, and I couldn’t enjoy the production as much as I should have because of the incongruity.

I loved that they used the original language instead of English.  But was irritated that Mary was cast as a woman in her 20’s and Joseph as a man in his 30’s. 

As for the production, take some comfort in the assumption that back then, people looked a lot older than our modern expectations!

As for her chronological age, Gramp's probability is based on the cultural norm and not known facts, which is probably what was incorporated into the apocrypha over a narrative that she was a late bloomer or an old maid.

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1 hour ago, mikbone said:

https://askgramps.org/how-old-was-mary-when-she-gave-birth-to-jesus/

We watched the new “The Christ Child” A nativity story, and I couldn’t enjoy the production as much as I should have because of the incongruity.

I loved that they used the original language instead of English.  But was irritated that Mary was cast as a woman in her 20’s and Joseph as a man in his 30’s.  

 

Mary’s age wasn’t nearly as big of a deal as how they portrayed the windows. Everyone knows windows traditionally say 6-12” higher in that time period. And don’t get me started on one of the early Gallic weaved baskets I’m the background that somehow found it’s way into BC Jerusalem. And of course the breed of donkey they used would lot be found in that part of the Middle East... man... talk about mis portraying what really happened.

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55 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

There are some truths that the western Christian world is pretty much unable to cope with at present.  The fact that Mary was younger than any of Joseph Smith’s wives, is one of those truths.  

In general we all like to pick and choose what we will believe from the available information that comes from "historical" sources.  According to all available accounts from that time period Mary was 12 years old and Joseph likely close to 40.  That Mary was a second marriage for Joseph that had previous children - which would be step siblings to Jesus.  And that Mary was raised in the temple (an ancient definition of a virgin) by Elisabeth and Zacharias. 

Joseph and Mary were poor by today's standards but not by the standards of that time period.  Joseph was a skilled worker of some means.  In addition the gifts from the kings (wise-men) would have definitely placed the family within the definition of the wealthy class capable of sustainable "ownership" - unless the gifts were squandered and used unwisely - which is never implied.  Sometimes by some individual - Joseph, Mary and Jesus are labeled as "homeless" - but their condition and demeanor is nothing like the circumstance of inner city homeless in or society and is unwarranted.

From my investigations - the "stripling warriors" were the age of common deacons in our ward culture.  Think of sending them off to war.  In our culture few of such age can even be trusted to make their own beds in the morning or walk themselves to school if more than a few blocks (a mile).  Somethings do not translate well between cultures.  

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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I know that there is limited data within the scriptures to pin-point the exact age of Mary or Joseph.  

But to depict them as a newlywed couple from todays standards gives me the creeps.  

Today people don't want to have get married and even think about having children till they are financially secure.

Median age of first marriage 2019 -  Men 30, Women 28

Median age of first marriage 1970 - Men 23, Women 20

Before birth control (contraceptives and abortions) many couples had much larger families than today.

https://qz.com/1099800/average-size-of-a-us-family-from-1850-to-the-present/

 

I know that western culture is not willing to cope with truths as @Just_A_Guy mentioned.  But I would like the Church to break from the mold of political correctness.  

I'd like to see Adam and Eve younger too.  Although seeing an 70+ y/o mature woman play Eve in the Salt Lake Temple was a nice departure from the regular narrative.  

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34 minutes ago, mikbone said:

I know that there is limited data within the scriptures to pin-point the exact age of Mary or Joseph.  

But to depict them as a newlywed couple from todays standards gives me the creeps.  

Today people don't want to have get married and even think about having children till they are financially secure.

Median age of first marriage 2019 -  Men 30, Women 28

Median age of first marriage 1970 - Men 23, Women 20

Before birth control (contraceptives and abortions) many couples had much larger families than today.

https://qz.com/1099800/average-size-of-a-us-family-from-1850-to-the-present/

 

I know that western culture is not willing to cope with truths as @Just_A_Guy mentioned.  But I would like the Church to break from the mold of political correctness.  

I'd like to see Adam and Eve younger too.  Although seeing an 70+ y/o mature woman play Eve in the Salt Lake Temple was a nice departure from the regular narrative.  

Yeah.... it's hard to remind people of the life expectancy of 21 years in those days.  You make women wait until they're 18 before they can marry and have children, the human population might just go extinct.

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14 hours ago, Traveler said:

According to all available accounts from that time period Mary was 12 years old and Joseph likely close to 40.

No.   It is only those who believe that Mary remained a perpetual virgin that speculate that Joseph was that old (or older).   That was to explain the ages of Jesus' siblings.  If Mary remained a virgin those who believe that she did reamin so claim that the children came from a previous marriage.

For those who don't believe Mary remained a virgin throughout her life (which includes our church), the most likely age for Joseph was much younger.  He was probably in his late teens or no older than very early 20's.

Of course there is no record saying how old either is; people just speculated based on the culture at the time.

 

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3 hours ago, Scott said:

No.   It is only those who believe that Mary remained a perpetual virgin that speculate that Joseph was that old (or older).   That was to explain the ages of Jesus' siblings.  If Mary remained a virgin those who believe that she did reamin so claim that the children came from a previous marriage.

For those who don't believe Mary remained a virgin throughout her life (which includes our church), the most likely age for Joseph was much younger.  He was probably in his late teens or no older than very early 20's.

Of course there is no record saying how old either is; people just speculated based on the culture at the time.

 

I agree.  All we have pertaining to the ages of Mary and Joseph really is speculation and guesswork.  Some have relatively educated guesses, but it is still just a guess.

In truth, I don't think we have any thing in the Scriptures that actually define the ages of Mary and Joseph at the birth of our Lord.

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15 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Yeah.... it's hard to remind people of the life expectancy of 21 years in those days.  You make women wait until they're 18 before they can marry and have children, the human population might just go extinct.

 What's the evidence that the life expectancy was 21 in those days?

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6 minutes ago, Harrison said:

 What's the evidence that the life expectancy was 21 in those days?

 Frier, Bruce (2009). "Chapter 27: Demographics". The Cambridge Ancient History XI: The High Empire, A.D. 70–192. Cambridge University Press. pp. 788–789. ISBN 9781139054393.

 

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9 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

 Frier, Bruce (2009). "Chapter 27: Demographics". The Cambridge Ancient History XI: The High Empire, A.D. 70–192. Cambridge University Press. pp. 788–789. ISBN 9781139054393.

 

Can’t seem to access the book itself. Since you’ve read it can you tell me if Bruce Friar includes infant mortality in that calculation?

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4 minutes ago, Harrison said:

Can’t seem to access the book itself. Since you’ve read it can you tell me if Bruce Friar includes infant mortality in that calculation?

Hah hah.  Of course I haven't read it.  It's the source cited in wikipedia.  And Bruce Friar - if he is worth his salt - would, of course, include infant mortality as infant mortality is an integral part of life expectancy calculations.  Bruce Friar's claim is that life expectancy is 21.  If you live beyond 21, your life expectancy is +30 years.

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1 hour ago, anatess2 said:

Hah hah.  Of course I haven't read it.  It's the source cited in wikipedia.  And Bruce Friar - if he is worth his salt - would, of course, include infant mortality as infant mortality is an integral part of life expectancy calculations.  Bruce Friar's claim is that life expectancy is 21.  If you live beyond 21, your life expectancy is +30 years.

Hah hah. Whether or not infant mortality is an integral part of life expectancy calculations depends upon what one wishes to prove, or learn. Leaving infant mortality out of the calculation reveals that it wouldn't be necessary as you seemed to claim about making women bear children before age 18 in order to protect against extinction. There would be plenty of time with a life expectancy exceeding 30 years, and of course we may conclude that Mary lived beyond 30, right?

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35 minutes ago, Harrison said:

Hah hah. Whether or not infant mortality is an integral part of life expectancy calculations depends upon what one wishes to prove, or learn.  Leaving infant mortality out of the calculation reveals that it wouldn't be necessary as you seemed to claim about making women bear children before age 18 in order to protect against extinction. There would be plenty of time with a life expectancy exceeding 30 years, and of course we may conclude that Mary lived beyond 30, right?  

So, Classical Roman era, infant mortality is historically placed at 28%.  That means - more than a quarter of babies born die before their 1st birthday.  And life expectancy is not 30, it's 21.  To avoid extinction, you need a birth rate at replacement levels - which means if, say women comprise 50% of the population (I just came up with this based on the theory that men die in war, women in childbirth) every single woman needs to give birth to 3 children before they die - 1 to risk being born a boy, 1 to risk dying before producing offspring, 1 to be born a woman who will successfully produce 3 offspring before dying.  What do you think is the chance of Classical Roman Medicinal Era being able to produce 3 offspring between 18 and 21?

 

Edited by anatess2

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Life expectancy is merely an arithmetic mean, though "merely" might be a poor word choice, given the rather sophisticated statistics used to calculate such a running average over a lifetime. If the life expectancy is only 21 years old, you can still have a survivable population even if its members don't reproduce much (or at all) before 21.

For (an extremely simplified) example, suppose you have a population where 60% die at childbirth and the surviving 40% live to around age 50. The life expectancy will be 50*0.4 + 0*0.6 = 20 years old. Assuming half of the survivors are women, as long as each surviving woman averages giving birth to five children, the population will survive. On average, three of those five children will die at childbirth, but the other two will reach maturity and reproduce. If each surviving woman averages six children, the population will grow. Even with a life expectancy of only 20 years.

If @MarginOfError is around, he can probably provide a lot more insight into the issue.

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9 hours ago, Scott said:

No.   It is only those who believe that Mary remained a perpetual virgin that speculate that Joseph was that old (or older).   That was to explain the ages of Jesus' siblings.  If Mary remained a virgin those who believe that she did reamin so claim that the children came from a previous marriage.

For those who don't believe Mary remained a virgin throughout her life (which includes our church), the most likely age for Joseph was much younger.  He was probably in his late teens or no older than very early 20's.

Of course there is no record saying how old either is; people just speculated based on the culture at the time.

 

I would point out that an ancient text called The Gospel of Mary" does give her age and the copies of this text that remain are older than the Luke text.  It also gives background to Joseph.  There are copies of this text that were written while (according to tradition) Mary will still alive and living near Ephesus.   My question is - if there was no substance to such a text why was it circulated among the Early Christians and not officially disputed?

 

The Traveler

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3 minutes ago, Vort said:

For (an extremely simplified) example, suppose you have a population where 60% die at childbirth and the surviving 40% live to around age 50. The life expectancy will be 50*0.4 + 0*0.6 = 20 years old.

Just being nitpicky, you can completely ignore me...  life expectancy is calculated from live births.  So "dead at birth" (stillborns) don't count.

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4 minutes ago, Traveler said:

I would point out that an ancient text called The Gospel of Mary" does give her age and the copies of this text that remain are older than the Luke text.  It also gives background to Joseph.  There are copies of this text that were written while (according to tradition) Mary will still alive and living near Ephesus.   My question is - if there was no substance to such a text why was it circulated among the Early Christians and not officially disputed?

 

The Traveler

You can answer that question by answering the flipside - if it was of substance, why is it not included (or even at least just the doctrine) in the restored gospel?

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2 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

Just being nitpicky, you can completely ignore me...  life expectancy is calculated from live births.  So "dead at birth" (stillborns) don't count.

The idea of being "stillborn" has evolved over the years. Historically, a child who was born live but died shortly after childbirth was considered "stillborn". Today, we would consider that an infant mortality, not a stillbirth. In LDS terms, we would say that such a child needed to be sealed to his parents, even though our ancestors would have recorded such a thing as a stillbirth and the child would not have been named or sealed to parents later on.

In any case, if what I wrote bothers you, change the "at birth" to "at one month of age". Then everything works out fine.

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3 minutes ago, Vort said:

Life expectancy is merely an arithmetic mean, though "merely" might be a poor word choice, given the rather sophisticated statistics used to calculate such a running average over a lifetime. If the life expectancy is only 21 years old, you can still have a survivable population even if its members don't reproduce much (or at all) before 21.

For (an extremely simplified) example, suppose you have a population where 60% die at childbirth and the surviving 40% live to around age 50. The life expectancy will be 50*0.4 + 0*0.6 = 20 years old. Assuming half of the survivors are women, as long as each surviving woman averages giving birth to five children, the population will survive. On average, three of those five children will die at childbirth, but the other two will reach maturity and reproduce. If each surviving woman averages six children, the population will grow. Even with a life expectancy of only 20 years.

If @MarginOfError is around, he can probably provide a lot more insight into the issue.

Since you rang....See here https://history.stackexchange.com/questions/648/what-was-the-life-expectancy-in-medieval-britain

If a person survived into his/her 20's he or she could very well survive into their 40s.

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11 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

You can answer that question by answering the flipside - if it was of substance, why is it not included (or even at least just the doctrine) in the restored gospel?

Because the same men that determined the false doctrine of the trinity - determined what is scripture and to be believed from among the available documents.  To be honest - I do not know for sure but I am convinced that there are historical evidences that are discarded in the religious community that should not have been rejected.  For myself - if the Gospel of Mary is accurate - it does not offend me - if it is not accurate - that does not offend me either. 

 

The Traveler

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4 minutes ago, Traveler said:

Because the same men that determined the false doctrine of the trinity - determined what is scripture and to be believed from among the available documents.  To be honest - I do not know for sure but I am convinced that there are historical evidences that are discarded in the religious community that should not have been rejected.  For myself - if the Gospel of Mary is accurate - it does not offend me - if it is not accurate - that does not offend me either. 

 

The Traveler

Irrelevant.  Joseph Smith doesn't care what the false doctrine of the Trinity says about it.

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18 minutes ago, MarginOfError said:

Since you rang....See here https://history.stackexchange.com/questions/648/what-was-the-life-expectancy-in-medieval-britain

If a person survived into his/her 20's he or she could very well survive into their 40s.

In Classical Rome, it's - if one survives to 21, life expectancy for him becomes 51.

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21 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

Irrelevant.  Joseph Smith doesn't care what the false doctrine of the Trinity says about it.

What does this have to do with the age of Mary when she was called to service.  Historical evidence point to Mary being very young.  Not just in text but tradition of her outliving Joseph by many decades.  Are you offended if Mary was 12?  Have you read the gospel of Mary?

 

The Traveler

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