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Description - Mary Through the Centuries by Jaroslav Pelikan

The Virgin Mary has been an inspiration to more people than any other woman who ever lived. For Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims, for artists, musicians, and writers, and for women and men everywhere she has shown many faces and personified a variety of virtues. In this important book, a world-renowned scholar who is the author of numerous books-including the best-selling Jesus Through the Centuries-tells how Mary has been depicted and venerated through the ages. Jaroslav Pelikan examines the biblical portrait of Mary, analyzing both the New and Old Testaments to see how the bits of information provided about her were expanded into a full-blown doctrine. He explores the view of Mary in late antiquity, where the differences between Mary, the mother of Christ, and Eve, the "mother of all living," provided positive and negative symbols of women. He discusses how the Eastern church commemorated Mary and how she was portrayed in the Holy Qur'an of Islam. He explains how the paradox of Mary as Virgin Mother shaped the paradoxical Catholic view of sexuality and how Reformation rejection of the worship of Mary allowed her to be a model of faith for Protestants. He considers also her role in political and social history. He analyzes the place of Mary in literature-from Dante, Spenser, and Milton to Wordsworth, George Eliot, and Goethe-as well as in music and art, and he describes the miraculous apparitions of Mary that have been experienced by the common people. Was Mary human or divine? Should she be revered for her humility or her strength? What is her place in heaven? Whatever our answers to these questions, Mary remains a symbol of hope and solace, a woman, says Pelikan, for all seasons and all reasons.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780300076615
ISBN-10: 0300076614
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 155mm x 23mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publish Date: 16-Oct-1998
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - Mary Through the Centuries by Jaroslav Pelikan

Book Reviews - Mary Through the Centuries by Jaroslav Pelikan

US Kirkus Review » A disappointingly superficial treatment of the most revered female figure in the Western world. Pelikan, of Yale University, undoubtedly one of the outstanding scholars of Christian history, repeats a formula that worked quite well in his most recent book, Jesus Through the Centuries (1985): Follow the chronological development of a religious figure through 2,000 years of high culture and theology, organize your chapters around archetypal categories, and sprinkle liberally with literary quotations and discussions of art and music. Unfortunately, this time his approach misses the mark, for he almost entirely ignores the role of Mary in popular culture. Pelikan fails to acknowledge that even in the early Church Mary's impact on the popular imagination had already outpaced her theological importance. Details of such devotion are largely absent. For instance, Pelikan mentions in passing that a Mariocentric festival may have influenced a prominent fifth-century theologian, but we are told nothing about the festival itself, its rituals, or its participants. It is only toward the end of the book, in the brief chapter entitled "Woman Clothed with the Sun," that Pelikan begins to address such matters as Mary's supposed appearances at Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima. Here he implicitly notes, finally, that Marian miracles have meant more to ordinary folks than all of Mary's appearances in Dante and Milton put together. There are other flaws. After hyping the "nigra sum" ("I am black and beautiful") connection in the introduction, Pelikan devotes only two pages to observing that the Madonna has appeared as a black goddess in many cultures. Some strengths of the book include Pelikan's comprehensive knowledge of Byzantine Christianity (sorely neglected by many scholars), his clear passion for art and music, and his easy writing style. The strengths unfortunately do not compensate for the book's foundational disregard of popular piety. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Jaroslav Pelikan

Jaroslav Pelikan is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University. He has received honorary degrees from universities all over the world, as well as medals and awards from many scholarly societies and institutions, including the Jefferson Award of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the highest honor conferred by the U.S. government on a scholar in the humanities. He is currently president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Books By Jaroslav Pelikan

Imago Dei by Jaroslav Pelikan
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Jesus Through the Centuries by Jaroslav Pelikan
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