Mother of God
A History of the Virgin MaryBook - 2009
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.
Baker & Taylor
"Mary, the mother of Jesus, is one of the most powerful, influential and complex of all religious figures. The inspiration of faith, a model for women, the subject of innumerable paintings, sculptures, pieces of music and churches, Mary is so entangled in our world that it is impossible to conceive of the history of Western culture and religion without her." "Miri Rubin's Mother of God is a major work of cultural imagination. Mary's role in the Gospels itself is a relatively minor one, and yet in the centuries during which Christianity established itself she emerged as a powerful, strange and ungovernable force, endlessly remade and reimagined by wave after wave of devotees, ultimately becoming 'a sort of God', in ways that have made some Christians uneasy" "Whether talking about the vast public festivals celebrating Mary that sweep up entire communities or the intense private agony of individual devotion, Rubin's book is a triumph of sympathy and intelligence. Throughout Christianity's journey from mysterious origins to global religion, Mary has been a profound presence in countless lives - Mother of God is the story of that presence and a book that raises profound questions about the human experience."--BOOK JACKET.
Analyzes how different cultures and religions transformed Mary's place in history from Christianity's early years to 1600, through the art and theologies created about her.