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

By Mary F. Foskett

The virginity of Mary has been an influential guideline of Christian trust, a catalyst for Marian devotion, and a starting place for the development of girl Christian piety and perform. unlike earlier biblical interpreters who've drawn on both linguistic or old proof to wonder whether Mary the parthenos is certainly a "virgin," during this research Mary F. Foskett takes a varied path. instead of investigating the which 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 demonstrate in assets and describes how they make the most this diversity of attainable meanings of their representations of Mary. Her research departs from prior biblical interpretation via emphasizing neither the paradox of the time period parthenos nor the heritage of culture bearing on Mary. in its place, it screens the a number of meanings of "virginity" and their implications for figuring out representations of the Virgin Mary.

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113 Except in cases involving virgins beyond the age of twelve and one-half (cf. M. Ket. 6), fathers, not daughters, are the parties charged with virginity suits. 13–21, 29 (cf. 9–14). In at least one instance, the Mishnah details the moment that a female passes from the domain of her father to that of her spouse (M. Ket. 5). 114 Wegner cites M. Ket. ”115 Instead, she is carefully ushered from one male jurisdiction to another. In the idealized economics of marriage, the virgin body is monitored, evaluated, and transferred.

Although interpreters have recognized the thematic function of purity in PJ, the signi¤cance of parthenia as the primary expression of such purity has remained in need of further investigation. Thus chapter 5 examines how the portrayal of Mary as a virgin resonates with images of virginity outlined in chapters 2 and 3. Just as the Gospel of Luke makes selective use of particular connotations associated with female sexual status in order A Virgin Conceived 22 to advance the characterization of Mary, so does the Protevangelium capitalize on and promote certain cultural presuppositions about virginity to tell the story of a parthenos so extraordinary that she becomes for Christians in later antiquity the exemplar of an idealized female sexuality.

7 Classicists, too, have sought to resolve the question whether parthenos refers only to age and marital status or to sexual status as well. Greek does not always distinguish between marital status and sexual status. Terms can connote either one or the other, or both at the same time. The question is compounded by the common occurrence of gyne (woman, wife) and aner (man, husband), both of which refer to gender and marital status. 8 There is less agreement on the precise distinction between kore (girl) and parthenos.

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