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On The Veiling Of Virgins by Tertullian

Chapter VI.--The Parallel Case of Mary Considered.

Let us now see whether the apostle withal observes the norm of this name in accordance with Genesis, attributing it to the sex; calling the virgin Mary a woman, just as Genesis (does) Eve. For, writing to the Galatians, |God,| he says, |sent His own Son, made of a woman,| who, of course, is admitted to have been a virgin, albeit Hebion resist (that doctrine). I recognise, too, the angel Gabriel as having been sent to |a virgin.| But when he is blessing her, it is |among women,| not among virgins, that he ranks her: |Blessed (be) thou among women.| The angel withal knew that even a virgin is called a woman.

But to these two (arguments), again, there is one who appears to himself to have made an ingenious answer; (to the effect that) inasmuch as Mary was |betrothed,| therefore it is that both by angel and apostle she is pronounced a woman; for a |betrothed| is in some sense a |bride.| Still, between |in some sense| and |truth| there is difference enough, at all events in the present place: for elsewhere, we grant, we must thus hold. Now, however, it is not as being already wedded that they have pronounced Mary a woman, but as being none the less a female even if she had not been espoused; as having been called by this (name) from the beginning: for that must necessarily have a prejudicating force from which the normal type has descended. Else, as far as relates to the present passage, if Mary is here put on a level with a |betrothed,| so that she is called a woman not on the ground of being a female, but on the ground of being assigned to a husband, it immediately follows that Christ was not born of a virgin, because (born) of one |betrothed,| who by this fact will have ceased to be a virgin. Whereas, if He was born of a virgin -- albeit withal |betrothed,| yet intact -- acknowledge that even a virgin, even an intact one, is called a woman. Here, at all events, there can be no semblance of speaking prophetically, as if the apostle should have named a future woman, that is, bride, in saying |made of a woman.| For he could not be naming a posterior woman, from whom Christ had not to be born -- that is, one who had known a man; but she who was then present, who was a virgin, was withal called a woman in consequence of the propriety of this name, -- vindicated, in accordance with the primordial norm, (as belonging) to a virgin, and thus to the universal class of women.

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