The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


February 1999 Letters: How old was Mary?

Christmas cover draws praise, barbs

Congratulations on the excellent cover depicting Mary as a mature woman (December). Many of us have heard that the Virgin Mary was in her teens when she delivered Jesus. This is a myth not substantiated by Scripture. First, in Luke 1 we read that Elizabeth, Mary's cousin, was advanced in years. Who has cousins that are 40 to 50 years older? Second, Mary went to Ein Karem about 80 miles away to be with Elizabeth until John was born. Without funds? Alone? A teen runaway? Third, contrary to what has been portrayed about teenage girls marrying in those days, consider: Jacob in the Old Testament had to work for seven years before being given Laban's daughter, Leah, in marriage; then another seven years for his true love, Rachel. How old was Rachel? A pre-teen? Fourth, Moses did not marry until middle age. Fifth, it was customary in those days for men to stay at home and work until about the age of 30. How about the disciples? Are we to assume they were immature youth?

Ken Hoffman
Cambridge, Minn.

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February issue


Embracing diversity