By Mary F. Foskett
The virginity of Mary has been an influential guiding principle of Christian trust, a catalyst for Marian devotion, and a starting place for the development of girl Christian piety and perform. not like earlier biblical interpreters who've drawn on both linguistic or old facts to wonder if Mary the parthenos is certainly a "virgin," during this examine Mary F. Foskett takes a various 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 pictures that parthenos and virginity reveal in resources and describes how they take advantage of this diversity of attainable meanings of their representations of Mary. Her examine departs from prior biblical interpretation through emphasizing neither the paradox of the time period parthenos nor the heritage of culture referring to Mary. as a substitute, it screens the a number of meanings of "virginity" and their implications for figuring out representations of the Virgin Mary.
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Extra resources for A Virgin Conceived: Mary and Classical Representations of Virginity
She is sought to pay the penalty again” (Controv. 3). Porcius Latro offers the following against her: “Shall a woman go to worship the divinity guaranteeing the rule of Rome who has been made unchaste if not by an act of lust, at least by the hand of the executioner? . 1). In this case, unchastity is presumed, despite the woman’s sexual status. Furthermore, it is rooted not in the woman’s body, but in her reputation, her public standing. The semantic blurring of chastity, virginity, and purity, as they relate to the priesthood, lies at the foundation of the law concerning admission into the priesthood.
Among those interpreters who have sought to de¤ne parthenos, Giulia Sissa offers an extended discussion of the relationship between parthenos and parthenia. First she makes note of the equivocation evidenced by classicists who speak of parthenoi in terms of age and marital status, that is, as nubile, not-yetmarried, young females, but allude to the loss of parthenia as a distinctly sexual event. 9 She observes: Whereas the word parthenos tends to arouse skepticism in nonreligious interpreters and to call for cautious handling, it is not easy to capture the meaning of the abstract noun parthenia with a purely sociological de¤nition.
Yet the exact images that the medical writers intended to convey remain cloudy. The question remains whether the vagina, in particular, was sealed by a hymen or not. Sissa argues that the Greek writers posited the hymen (membrane) only as an anomaly, a pathological condition. 48 Contra Roman opinion, Soranus argues that menstruation and reproductive health are not contingent upon ¤rst intercourse. Defying both Greek and Roman medical wisdom, he contends that virginity is not dangerous. 49 As we have seen, the Hippocratics posited several dangers associated with prolonged virginity and recommended intercourse to promote the regular ®ow of the menses and prevent a dangerous buildup of ®uid in the uterus.
A Virgin Conceived: Mary and Classical Representations of Virginity by Mary F. Foskett
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