A Virgin Conceived: Mary and Classical Representations of by Mary F. Foskett

By Mary F. Foskett

The virginity of Mary has been an influential guiding principle of Christian trust, a catalyst for Marian devotion, and a starting place for the development of woman Christian piety and perform. unlike earlier biblical interpreters who've drawn on both linguistic or ancient proof to wonder whether Mary the parthenos is certainly a "virgin," during this research Mary F. Foskett takes a assorted direction. instead of investigating the that means and implications of the Virgin as a reified image, A Virgin Conceived examines the portrayal of Mary as a virgin in very important early Christian narratives: the canonical Luke-Acts and the second-century Protevangelium of James. Foskett explores the a number of meanings and photos that parthenos and virginity reveal in assets and describes how they take advantage of this diversity of attainable meanings of their representations of Mary. Her learn departs from past biblical interpretation by means of emphasizing neither the paradox of the time period parthenos nor the background of culture referring to Mary. in its place, it monitors the a number of meanings of "virginity" and their implications for figuring out representations of the Virgin Mary.

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88 In chapter 5, we examine more fully the rhetorical signi¤cance of Mary’s virginity. 89 According to their readings, the narrative’s primary concern is the establishment and preservation of Mary’s purity. So pronounced is PJ’s interest in purity that Gaventa claims Mary can almost be mistaken as a mere function of the theme. 90 It is in the midst of this sustained interest in purity that the character Mary is introduced and developed. From the very beginning of her story, purity and virginity are placed in close juxtaposition.

7). She either passes into the jurisdiction of her betrothed (or spouse) or gains legal autonomy. Given the norm of marriage that permeates the Mishnah, the latter case was likely expected to remain in the minority. Ideally, minor daughters were both constrained by patriarchal authority and attributed sexual and reproductive power. As Wegner observes, the young girl possesses one salient characteristic: She is a sexual chattel. 112 Bodies and Selves 49 Several interpreters have identi¤ed ways in which control of female sexuality, especially that of the minor daughter, permeates rabbinic sexual rhetoric.

37–40). 102 Daniel Boyarin has recently argued that whereas dominant Hellenistic understanding viewed the human person as a soul housed in a body, rabbinic Judaism de¤ned the human person as an animated body. While Boyarin’s thesis somewhat overstates the case, he successfully demonstrates that rabbinic Judaism considered sexuality bene¤cial and integral to human experience. Virginity was seen as a temporary condition that preceded proper conjugal relations. Thus the Mishnah, our earliest extant rabbinic text, and one derived from the latter part of the period with which this study is concerned, offers no positive valuation of virginity sustained beyond the customary marriageable age.

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