The Blessed Virgin Mary…a young girl?

Was Mary really that young? Her cousin Elizabeth was barren, and Mary is a Virgin. But does the fact that she was a virgin necessarily mean that she was 13? Does anyone know how the Church ever got the idea that Mary was a “young” virgin?


About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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6 Responses to The Blessed Virgin Mary…a young girl?

  1. Lawrence says:

    Mostly because she was not yet married, nor engaged to marry. So the youngest she could have been was probably 13-14.

    However, most information I’ve seen on this is anectodal historical information and speculation.

    Personally, I do not believe Mary was that young. 16-18 is more likely, but that is just my personal opinion. 19-21 is still a realistic age range for a young unenganged rural woman like Mary.

    It is quite possible that in a rural area like Nazareth, at that given time, that there simply where no eligible men for Mary to engage. Which means she could very realistically have been in her late teens or early twenties.

    But this is mostly my opinion.

  2. Paul T. McCain says:

    Just look at all the pictures we have of her. She’s young. Next question. : )

  3. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps from the Protoevangelium of James?

  4. Christopher says:

    The Protevangelion is indeed a likely source. It is very early (early to mid 2d century) and reflects well what the traditions concerning the Blessed Virgin were in the very early Church.

    It is not inspired, of course (and has never been so regarded). But as a memorial of what the Church’s traditions were at that time, it is very valuable.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Because virgin means young woman — see all the messed up theology that came out of thinking it meant “naive” instead?

  6. Pastor Beisel says:

    Not in the early Church. Virginity was considered a “spiritual estate.”

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