The Virgin Mary in the Perceptions of Women
Mother, Protector and Queen Since the Middle Ages
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About the Book
Once, the Virgin Mary was a pivotal element of Christianity, a holy figure at the heart of most Christians’ spiritual lives. She was invoked at all major life passages—baptisms, weddings, childbirths, and funerals—and images of the Virgin Mary could be found virtually anywhere, from pub signs to sacred texts. Medieval women especially looked to Mary to answer their prayers, be their role model, and serve as their advocate in heaven. They prayed to her several times a day and sometimes devoted their entire lives to her service.
This book investigates perceptions of the Virgin Mary through several centuries of literature. Focusing especially on the depictions of the Virgin Mary in medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, the author rediscovers a time when the Divine Female was very much in evidence, and good Christian women were taught to pray to a Holy Mother. Topics include the cyclical popularity of Virgin Mary; devotional objects such as Books of Hours, rosaries, and Marian gardens; the mystical qualities attributed to the Virgin Mary through centuries of reported divine visions; the historical relationships between the Virgin Mary and other religious figures, including the Devil; and Mary Magdalene as an alternative to the Virgin Mary as a feminine model.
About the Author(s)
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: 30 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
Table of Contents
1. Explorations: Why Mary Was Lost 5
2. Beginnings: Mary in the Bible 23
3. Devotional Objects: I Carry Her with Me Always 36
4. Marian Places: The Virgin at Home and Abroad 61
5. Marian Times: Days, Months and Life Passages 81
6. Context: Relationships with St. Anne, St. Joseph, Eve, and the Devil 97
7. The Virgin’s Virgins: Nuns and Mary 115
8. Mystics and Miracles: Touched by the Virgin’s Hand 132
9. Transformations: From Pagan to Christian to the Uncertain Future of Mary 154
10. Two Marys: The Virgin and the (Repentant) Whore 169
Chapter Notes 185
Book Reviews & Awards
“contains in-depth information about medieval and Renaissance life”—Renaissance Magazine.