Mother of God: A History of the Virgin Mary

Mother of God: A History of the Virgin Mary

by Miri Rubin
Pub. Date:
Yale University Press
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Mother of God: A History of the Virgin Mary

How did the Virgin Mary, about whom very little is said in the Gospels, become one of the most powerful and complex religious figures in the world? To arrive at the answers to this far-reaching question, one of our foremost medieval historians, Miri Rubin, investigates the ideas, practices, and images that have developed around the figure of Mary from the earliest decades of Christianity to around the year 1600. Drawing on an extraordinarily wide range of sources—including music, poetry, theology, art, scripture, and miracle tales—Rubin reveals how Mary became so embedded in our culture that it is impossible to conceive of Western history without her.

In her rise to global prominence, Mary was continually remade and reimagined by wave after wave of devotees. Rubin shows how early Christians endowed Mary with a fine ancestry; why in early medieval Europe her roles as mother, bride, and companion came to the fore; and how the focus later shifted to her humanity and unparalleled purity. She also explores how indigenous people in Central America, Africa, and Asia remade Mary and so fit her into their own cultures.

Beautifully written and finely illustrated, this book is a triumph of sympathy and intelligence. It demonstrates Mary’s endless capacity to inspire and her profound presence in Christian cultures and beyond.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300164329
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 03/30/2010
Pages: 560
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

List of Maps xi

Acknowledgements xviii

Writing about Mary: An Introduction xxi

Part I From Temple Maiden to the Bearer of God: To the Year 431

1 The Earliest Glimpses of Mary 3

2 Mary in a Christian Empire 17

3 Versions of Mary 34

4 Mary of the Imperial State 43

Part II From the Eastern Mediterranean to the Irish Sea: To the Year 1000

5 Mary of the Christian Empire 53

6 Beyond the Greek World 83

7 The Emergence of European Mary 100

Part III The Emergence of Mary's Hegemony: 1000-1200

8 Mary of the Cloister 121

9 Mary of Polemic and Encounter 158

10 Abundance and Ubiquity 177

Part IV Mary, Local and Familiar: 1200-1400

11 Mary in Liturgy, Song and Prayer 191

12 Mary, the Friars, and the Mother Tongue 197

13 Teaching Mary in Parish and Home 217

14 Mary's Miracles as Reward and as Punishment 228

15 Mary at the Foot of the Cross 243

16 Mary and Women, Mary and Men 256

Part V Mary as Queen and Reformer: 1400-1500

17 Mary the Sublime 285

18 Mary: Unlike Any Other 303

19 Mary of Parish Practice and Family Life 313

20 Mary: A World of Devotional Possibilities 332

Part VI Mary Reformed, Mary Global: 1500 and Beyond

21 Mary of Reform and Reformation 355

22 From Europe to the Rest of the World 379

23 Mary in a World of Neighbouring Diversity 400

After Mary: A Conclusion 413

A Few Comments on Scholarship and Reading 425

Notes 418

Index 511

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