Carrie was kind enough to forward over the writings of Epiphanius on the Antidicomarians. In this writing Epiphanius strongly defends Mary's perpetual virginity. Below are some of my reflections on the document thus far.
The document states:
7.1 For I have heard from someone that certain persons are venturing to say that [Mary] had marital relations after the Savior's birth. And I am not surprised. The ignorance of persons who do not know the sacred scriptures well and have not consulted histories, always turn them to one thing after another, and distracts anyone who wants to track down something about the truth out of his own head.
Well so far, these words could be from a host on Catholic Answers: See- if you knew the Scriptures like we Catholics do, you would see that Mary is a perpetual virgin. Let's see the first proofs offered by Epiphanius, master of sacred Scripture:
(2) To begin with, when it fell to the Virgin's lot to be entrusted to Joseph she was not entrusted to him for marriage, since he was a widower. (3)He was called her husband because of the Law, but it plainly follows from the Jewish tradition that the Virgin was not entrusted to him for matrimony. (4) It was for the preservation of her virginity in witness to the things to come- [a witness] that Christ's incarnation was nothing spurious but was truly attested, as without a man's seed truly brought about by the Holy Spirit.
7.5 For how could such an old man who had lost his first wife so many years before, take a virgin for a wife? Joseph was the brother of Cleopas but the son of Jacob surnamed Panther; both of these brothers were the sons of the man surnamed Panther. Joseph took his first wife from the tribe of Judah and she bore him six children in all, four boys and two girls, as the Gospels according to Mark and John have made clear [Mark 6:3; John 19:25].
Obviously, the majority of argumentation is not from the Scriptures at all, but rather from the Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal source. Interestingly though, Epiphanius arrives at the "brothers of Jesus" being step-brothers. He doesn't argue for cousins, as most of the current pop-apologists do. The Catholic Encyclopedia describes many of these unreliable tales about Joseph, and it appears to me their main thrust was to defend the perpetual virginity of Mary:
It will not be without interest to recall here, unreliable though they are, the lengthy stories concerning St. Joseph's marriage contained in the apocryphal writings. When forty years of age, Joseph married a woman called Melcha or Escha by some, Salome by others; they lived forty-nine years together and had six children, two daughters and four sons, the youngest of whom was James (the Less, "the Lord's brother"). A year after his wife's death, as the priests announced through Judea that they wished to find in the tribe of Juda a respectable man to espouse Mary, then twelve to fourteen years of age. Joseph, who was at the time ninety years old, went up to Jerusalem among the candidates; a miracle manifested the choice God had made of Joseph, and two years later the Annunciation took place. These dreams, as St. Jerome styles them, from which many a Christian artist has drawn his inspiration (see, for instance, Raphael's "Espousals of the Virgin"), are void of authority; they nevertheless acquired in the course of ages some popularity; in them some ecclesiastical writers sought the answer to the well-known difficulty arising from the mention in the Gospel of "the Lord's brothers"; from them also popular credulity has, contrary to all probability, as well as to the tradition witnessed by old works of art, retained the belief that St. Joseph was an old man at the time of marriage with the Mother of God.