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

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By Mary F. Foskett

The virginity of Mary has been an influential guideline of Christian trust, a catalyst for Marian devotion, and a starting place for the development of lady Christian piety and perform. unlike prior biblical interpreters who've drawn on both linguistic or historic proof to wonder whether Mary the parthenos is certainly a "virgin," during this learn Mary F. Foskett takes a assorted direction. 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 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 demonstrate in resources and describes how they take advantage of this variety of attainable meanings of their representations of Mary. Her research departs from past biblical interpretation through emphasizing neither the paradox of the time period parthenos nor the heritage of culture relating Mary. in its place, 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

Sample text

Without the sensitive soul the body was no better than a corpse or part of a corpse (Gen. an. 741a8–16). The dead is made quick by the spark, by the incorporeal sperma (seed), of the genitor. 21 Thus semen, composed of bodily ®uids and pneuma, became idealized as the life-giving substance in procreation. 24 Yet it was also the very emission of semen, in both men and women, that brought on the exhaustion that followed sexual intercourse. Loss of semen signaled generative potential on the one hand, and loss of power, energy, and vitality, on the other, making sexual activity a risky enterprise.

In the case of a female who has been “injured by a piece of wood,” the majority view diminishes the bride-price, but R. Meir recommends retaining it in full as for a virgin. ” is raised, M. Nid. ”111 The reference to blood, interpreted later in the Tosefta, remains ambiguous here. Does it refer to hymeneal blood or menstrual blood, or both? Or might it refer to another kind of bleeding? Whatever the case, both of these texts rely on physical criteria to determine who may rightly be called a betulah.

Consider the case of the virgo who claims that although she was once captured by pirates and sold into prostitution, she nevertheless managed to maintain her chastity. Because the virgin seeks a priesthood, discussion of her case is based upon the following law: “A priestess must be chaste and of chaste (parents), pure and of pure (parents)” (Controv. 2; cf. 13). Arguments for and against the woman alternate in focus. Some concentrate on the woman’s body, while others argue for or Bodies and Selves 43 against the quality of her character.

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