By Mary F. Foskett
The virginity of Mary has been an influential guiding principle of Christian trust, a catalyst for Marian devotion, and a beginning for the development of girl Christian piety and perform. unlike earlier biblical interpreters who've drawn on both linguistic or ancient facts to wonder if Mary the parthenos is certainly a "virgin," during this learn Mary F. Foskett takes a diversified 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 vital early Christian narratives: the canonical Luke-Acts and the second-century Protevangelium of James. Foskett explores the a number of meanings and pictures that parthenos and virginity exhibit in resources and describes how they take advantage of this diversity of attainable meanings of their representations of Mary. Her research departs from previous biblical interpretation by means of emphasizing neither the paradox of the time period parthenos nor the historical past of culture touching on Mary. in its place, it monitors the a number of meanings of "virginity" and their implications for realizing representations of the Virgin Mary.
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Extra resources for A Virgin Conceived: Mary and Classical Representations of Virginity
Virgins are seen at once as endangered and dangerous. 61 Ancient Jewish texts, though diminishing or even demonizing divination, elevate prophecy. ”62 Early Christian regard for prophecy has been skillfully demonstrated by David E. 63 Interpreters of the ¤rst and second centuries have noted a relationship between sexual continence and prophecy. As Peter Brown observes, Jewish, pagan, and Christian witnesses attest to the belief that “abstinence from sexual activity, and especially Bodies and Selves 37 virginity, made the human body a more appropriate vehicle to receive divine inspiration.
Without at all denying the possibility of semantic overlap between the two terms, I have chosen to focus on the meaning and signi¤cance of parthenos, the term that occurs in Luke-Acts and PJ. Since images of virginity are sometimes shared by different linguistic cultures, occasional references to the Latin virgo and the Hebrew betulah appear when necessary. Among those interpreters who have sought to de¤ne parthenos, Giulia Sissa offers an extended discussion of the relationship between parthenos and parthenia.
38 Thus the correspondence between stomata permeated both metaphorical and literal references to the female body. 39 The parthenos, however, is often seen as susceptible to risks and diseases directly related to her lack of sexual experience. Gynecological discourse, with its interest in the reproductive health of women, weighs the potential drawbacks and bene¤ts of parthenia. Here Soranus stands out as a proponent of virginal health. ”40 Soranus argues that “one must not suppose the uterus to be essential to life” and that virginity is healthful because it prevents loss of seed.
A Virgin Conceived: Mary and Classical Representations of Virginity by Mary F. Foskett