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 earlier biblical interpreters who've drawn on both linguistic or old facts to wonder whether Mary the parthenos is certainly a "virgin," during this examine Mary F. Foskett takes a diversified path. instead of investigating the that 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 photographs that parthenos and virginity demonstrate in assets and describes how they make the most this diversity of attainable meanings of their representations of Mary. Her research departs from prior biblical interpretation by means of emphasizing neither the paradox of the time period parthenos nor the heritage of culture relating 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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Extra resources for A Virgin Conceived: Mary and Classical Representations of Virginity
As Cooper sees it, antiquity’s conceptualization of the self was inextricably linked to that of the larger society. ”6 Cooper rightly notes that the exercise of pleasure could be either limited or promoted in service to society. A word needs to be said about the literary sources I engage in this chapter. Just as androcentric texts should not be construed Bodies and Selves 25 as reliable re®ections of actual woman’s life and experience, neither should ancient literary sources such as medical writings, philosophical literature, and dream handbooks be taken as evidence of widespread sexual practice.
In an argument similar to Sissa’s discussion of virginity among pagan women, Judith Romney Wegner observes that the Mishnah posits virginity as something that is culturally assumed. Virginity is only problematized when a situation arises in which it can be assumed that a virgin has been sexually violated: Curiously, the sages judge virginity not by direct examination of the girl herself, but by external cultural criteria. “Virgin” means any girl or woman conventionally presumed innocent of sexual activity.
Whatever the case, both of these texts rely on physical criteria to determine who may rightly be called a betulah. Such references, however, are few. In the overwhelming majority of discussions, cultural convention determines who is, and who is not, a virgin. Prescriptions concerning bride-price reveal that virgin females were afforded a higher value than females who were presumed to be sexually experienced. They also provide us with a glimpse of how the Mishnah often understands the place of minor daughters.
A Virgin Conceived: Mary and Classical Representations of Virginity by Mary F. Foskett