A Virgin Conceived: Mary and Classical Representations of by Mary F. Foskett

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 lady Christian piety and perform. unlike past biblical interpreters who've drawn on both linguistic or historic proof to wonder whether Mary the parthenos is certainly a "virgin," during this examine Mary F. Foskett takes a varied 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 vital early Christian narratives: the canonical Luke-Acts and the second-century Protevangelium of James. Foskett explores the a number of meanings and photos that parthenos and virginity show in assets and describes how they take advantage of this variety of attainable meanings of their representations of Mary. Her examine departs from previous biblical interpretation by means of emphasizing neither the anomaly of the time period parthenos nor the historical past of culture touching on Mary. as a substitute, it monitors the a number of meanings of "virginity" and their implications for figuring out representations of the Virgin Mary.

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A Virgin Conceived: Mary and Classical Representations of Virginity

The virginity of Mary has been an influential guideline of Christian trust, a catalyst for Marian devotion, and a beginning for the development of lady Christian piety and perform. not like earlier biblical interpreters who've drawn on both linguistic or ancient facts to wonder whether Mary the parthenos is certainly a "virgin," during this learn Mary F.

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Sexual continence is maintained for the sake of the oracle and the seer. Thus both prophecy and sexual activity re®ect ancient economies of the body. ”78 Women, whose ®esh was cooler, moister, and more porous than that of men, were considered more penetrable. 79 It is important to note the attention given to the sexual status of the Pythian priestess who mounts the tripod in order to receive the spirit of the deity and the exhalations rising from the earth. Some allude to the sexual continence of the seer who mounts the tripod, while others underscore her virginity.

Remarking upon one particular argument against the woman, the Elder Seneca observes that it is posed “in reference not to her motivation but to her body” (non ad animum hoc referens sed ad corpus, Controv. 16). The true virgin must be proven worthy in body and intention. Throughout the discussion, the boundaries between virginity, chastity, and purity become increasingly indistinguishable. While various arguments emphasize particular terms, in the context of priesthood each term appears to connote the others.

42 Prescriptions for sexual health were sometimes tempered by the popular image of the parthenos dangerously a®ame with sexual desire. Rufus, like Soranus, discussed the dangers of pregnancy and encouraged the delay of ¤rst intercourse. In addition, he recommended a regimen designed to prevent young virgins from reaching the peak of their sexual desire too early. ”43 Thus medical prescription could both challenge and reinforce larger cultural constructions of female sexuality. Models of female sexual anatomy were both con¤rmed and debated in discussions of the risks and bene¤ts of virginity.

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