By Mary F. Foskett
The virginity of Mary has been an influential guideline of Christian trust, a catalyst for Marian devotion, and a origin for the development of lady Christian piety and perform. not like past biblical interpreters who've drawn on both linguistic or ancient facts to wonder whether Mary the parthenos is certainly a "virgin," during this research Mary F. Foskett takes a diversified direction. 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 photographs that parthenos and virginity demonstrate in assets and describes how they take advantage of this variety of attainable meanings of their representations of Mary. Her research departs from previous biblical interpretation by way of emphasizing neither the anomaly of the time period parthenos nor the heritage of culture relating Mary. in its place, it screens the a number of meanings of "virginity" and their implications for realizing representations of the Virgin Mary.
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Extra info for A Virgin Conceived: Mary and Classical Representations of Virginity
Communion with the divine was facilitated by a virginal body. Although prophecy was seen as analogous to, but not synonymous with, sexual union, it was a highly charged physical phenomenon. 87 Priesthood While the Pythian seers were identi¤ed as priestesses, not all priestesses were associated with prophetic utterance. Many were Bodies and Selves 41 described more in terms of their priestly duties and privileges, where, as in the case of prophecy, virginity sometimes bore special signi¤cance. Among the cults of the early Empire, the Vestal Virgins stand as the premier example of a virginal priesthood.
110 Exceptions to the rule are rare. Wegner cites the example of M. Ket. 3, in which the details of how a female’s virginity is “lost” ¤gure signi¤cantly. In the case of a female who has been “injured by a piece of wood,” the majority view diminishes the bride-price, but R. Meir recommends retaining it in full as for a virgin. ” is raised, M. Nid. ”111 The reference to blood, interpreted later in the Tosefta, remains ambiguous here. Does it refer to hymeneal blood or menstrual blood, or both? Or might it refer to another kind of bleeding?
In her study of the book of Judges, Mieke Bal underscores A Virgin Conceived 28 the liminality inherent in the social and sexual status of the Hebrew betulah. No longer a young child, and not yet a married woman, the betulah stands poised at the threshold of adult womanhood. 15 Sissa’s and Bal’s discussions of the parthenos, and Foucault’s interpretation of the “culture of the self,” sound common notes of anxiety. As she awaits the transition to becoming a gyne, the parthenos is a ¤gure of testing and a reason for suspicion.