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Author Topic: Why does Mary play such a small role in the Gospels?  (Read 1311 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 31, 2013, 07:08:54 PM »

This question's confused me lately. Mary seems to play such a small role in the Gospels when compared to how highly revered she is by the Church and liturgies. Does anyone know a reason for this?

And why does it seem like no Fathers hold her in such an enormously high regard until around 350 AD? Where was the Church's high Mariology in the first 3.5 centuries of the Church's history and writings?

I'm speaking comparatively, of course. I realize that the New Testament and earliest Fathers spoke well of her and praised her; I just don't see anything close to this kinda stuff in (roughly) the first 300-350 years of Church writings: http://afkimel.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/st-nicolas-cabasilas-on-the-mother-of-god-by-kallistos-ware/

I hope I communicated what I mean well enough! Thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2013, 07:59:15 PM »

The first thing that comes to mind is something quite apologetic... in both the "defending" sense and the more modern "apologizing" sense. I think it's a somewhat unsatisfactory argument if taken by itself, but helpful as part of the larger picture. We find in the Church Fathers, especially of the fourth century, numerous talk about how much of the early beliefs of the Church was kept secretive. A lot of the faith was not revealed to the public before the mid-4th century, and you had to be a baptized Christian to be exposed to it. For example, St. Basil spent some time discussing it in his treatise On the Holy Spirit:

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Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church  some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us “in a mystery”  by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force. And these no one will gainsay—no one, at all events, who is even moderately versed in the institutions of the Church. For were we to attempt to reject such customs as have no written authority, on the ground that the importance they possess is small, we should unintentionally injure the Gospel in its very vitals; or, rather, should make our public definition a mere phrase and nothing more. 

For instance, to take the first and most general example, who is thence who has taught us in writing to sign with the sign of the cross those who have trusted in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? What writing has taught us to turn to the East at the prayer? Which of the saints has left us in writing the words of the invocation at the displaying  of the bread of the Eucharist and the cup of blessing? For we are not, as is well known, content with what the apostle or the Gospel has recorded, but both in preface and conclusion we add other words as being of great importance to the validity of the ministry, and these we derive from unwritten teaching. Moreover we bless the water of baptism and the oil of the chrism, and besides this the catechumen who is being baptized. On what written authority do we do this? Is not our authority silent and mystical tradition? Nay, by what written word is the anointing of oil  itself taught? And whence comes the custom of baptizing thrice?  And as to the other customs of baptism from what Scripture do we derive the renunciation of Satan and his angels? Does not this come from that unpublished and secret teaching which our fathers guarded in a silence out of the reach of curious meddling and inquisitive investigation? Well had they learned the lesson that the awful dignity of the mysteries is best preserved by silence. What the uninitiated are not even allowed to look at was hardly likely to be publicly paraded about in written documents.

What was the meaning of the mighty Moses in not making all the parts of the tabernacle open to every one? The profane he stationed without the sacred barriers; the first courts he conceded to the purer; the Levites alone he judged worthy of being servants of the Deity; sacrifices and burnt offerings and the rest of the priestly functions he allotted to the priests; one chosen out of all he admitted to the shrine, and even this one not always but on only one day in the year, and of this one day a time was fixed for his entry so that he might gaze on the Holy of Holies amazed at the strangeness and novelty of the sight. Moses was wise enough to know that contempt stretches to the trite and to the obvious, while a keen interest is naturally associated with the unusual and the unfamiliar. In the same manner the Apostles and Fathers who laid down laws for the Church from the beginning thus guarded the awful dignity of the mysteries in secrecy and silence, for what is bruited abroad random among the common folk is no mystery at all. This is the reason for our tradition of unwritten precepts and practices, that the knowledge of our dogmas may not become neglected and contemned by the multitude through familiarity.

-- St. Basil, On the Holy Spirit, 27

We find similar comments in other writers such as St. Cyril of Jerusalem and St. Ambrose of Milan. This could go some way in explaining why things like prayer to those who had passed on, devotion to Mary, etc. wasn't as explicitly and widely discussed as it later would be. You could argue that once the people started converting in much greater numbers in the mid-4th century, it became impossible for things to be kept hidden. At that point, perhaps to combat misconceptions and rumors, or perhaps just to teach the fast-growing flock more effectively, Christians began to write about certain subjects more. We perhaps see an example this in the early Church when there were charges of Christians being cannibals made by the Romans, and Christians then were willing to pull the curtain back just enough to demonstrate that this charge was false. Perhaps by the fourth century everyone could already peek inside the curtain, so there was no use trying to obstruct the view. St. Basil speaks in this passage of how earlier Christians had guarded certain beliefs and practices "in secrecy and silence," but the very fact that he was writing about it indicates that this was changing.

Now, I don't think this is the entire answer, but it is perhaps part of it. However, I am cautious as to how much weight I'd give it because, frankly, this could be used to explain away almost any difficulty. Someone could justify anything that seemed to show up later as simply being a "secret" in the early Church--whether it was actually practiced or believed early on or not. Thus I don't write the above thinking that it's some kind of proof, I just think it's part of the puzzle.
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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2013, 08:31:39 PM »

Asteriktos,

That's a pretty solid answer, thanks! I understand, like you said, that it isn't perfect or perfectly complete, but it definitely could be a help. It's all a really fascinating concept.

I would ask though: Why wouldn't the Gospel writers make more inclusion of Mary, seeing as (1) Mary was (according to Orthodoxy) tremendously significant to all 4 writers, and (2) they were already publicly writing out 'secrets' of the faith in their accounts?

I'd love to hear your thoughts -- thanks again!
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« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2013, 08:32:47 PM »

To add--I wrote the above, and then realized that I sort of focused in on the "no Fathers...until around 350 AD" part, but pretty much left out the Gospels part of it. I suppose there are always the standard/typical traditional Christian arguments any time something like this comes up...

1) They had specific things to talk about, and if this or that didn't fit within the reason for writing the letter/narrative/etc. then it didn't get mentioned

2) The Gospel of John mentions what would seem obvious: that Jesus did a ton of stuff that didn't get included, thus a lot of things were left out

3) Taking into consideration the above two points, it could also be said that much was left to oral tradition and not written down at all for centuries, let alone in the relatively miniscule amount of text we have in the New Testament or Gospels

Let me think on that a bit, hopefully I can fill this out a bit.

EDIT--Oops, I should have read your 2nd post before posting this. I'll try to chew it over and see if I can expand on the above a bit. It's been about 12 years since I was wrestling with these things, but I'll see what I can remember. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2013, 08:51:30 PM »

I'll let Asteriktos keep going, because I enjoyed his post.  Just a couple of points short on bibliography.  Tongue

IMO, Mary plays such a small role in the Gospels (in terms of how much she factors as a character in the overall narrative) because the Gospels are not about her.  They, like she, are all about Jesus.  The gospel is the "gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God" (Mk 1.1).  St John concludes his Gospel by saying that only certain things, things necessary for our salvation, were written from among all Jesus said and did, and were they all to be written down, the whole world could not hold the books necessary for telling the story (cf. Jn 20.30-31, 21.25).  Implicit in that claim, to me, is the idea that, if anything more needed to be written, the priority would always be Jesus.  It is St John who records our Lady's last known words in the Gospels: "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2.5).  So even her priority is her Son, leading others to him and fading into the background, one among the crowd, but also uniquely "the One", the "blessed among women".    

I forget which AFR podcast it was, but I remember hearing Fr Hopko talk about our Lady as a "mystery of the Church".  The idea was that the fundamental preaching of the Church, her main message, concerns Christ.  "We preach Christ crucified" (I Cor 1.23), as St Paul taught.  When someone comes to believe in Christ, comes to accept Christ, comes to repentance and baptism, is made one with the Body of Christ through Communion, when one irrevocably "puts on Christ", only in that context will talking about Mary make any sense.  Only within the Church can she be understood as she is.  Outside of that context, she'll always be misunderstood, and we see that with the Protestants and others outside the communion of the Church.  

Christ compared himself to the grain of wheat that falls into the earth and dies in order to bear much fruit.  In a way, Mary is the pearl that we do not cast before swine, because swine are incapable of appreciating it.  The pearl is kept for the heirs of the kingdom, because above all others royalty appreciate jewels.  Pearls adorn the children of kings, and she is the crown and adornment of a humanity redeemed by the King of kings, she is the pride of our race, she who gave birth to Emmanuel.  
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2013, 09:22:55 PM »

As to why she is not written about much in the gospels, I would imagine Mary would be quite embarrassed to read letters proclaiming her to be queen of heaven and such while she was still here on earth.  The gospels also make the apostles out in a rather unflattering light, but we know that both the Theotokos and the Apostles were giants of the faith.  There is much humility and wisdom in keeping the writings focused on Christ and letting the oral tradition accurately portray the faith of all of them.
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« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2013, 09:36:09 PM »

Asteriktos,

That's a pretty solid answer, thanks! I understand, like you said, that it isn't perfect or perfectly complete, but it definitely could be a help. It's all a really fascinating concept.

I would ask though: Why wouldn't the Gospel writers make more inclusion of Mary, seeing as (1) Mary was (according to Orthodoxy) tremendously significant to all 4 writers, and (2) they were already publicly writing out 'secrets' of the faith in their accounts?

I'd love to hear your thoughts -- thanks again!

While Mary was important to all the Gospel writers, they (or, according to some, their direct disciples) were each writing to a specific audience that required a specific focus.  While Mary was hugely important, she wouldn't necessarily have added credence to, say, St. Matthew's Gospel which focused on his true fulfillment of the Jewish Law and prophecy.  To a Jew of that time, she is only important to establish that he is Jewish by birth, nothing more.

St. Luke focuses more on her "parts" of the story - areas of Jesus' life that are not a part of the public ministry (pre-Theophany) - likely because he spent much time with her post-Resurrection.  His is the most vivid picture of her as a woman, "keeping things in her heart." 

St. Mark is really preaching to the Gentiles, to whom Mary would be largely irrelevant.  St. John includes some details, but his focus is largely in the clouds, on the deeper Theological message left out of the other, more historically-focused accounts.

When taken in context, she would not have resonated to much of the audience pre-conversion, and that's likely why she was largely excluded from the 4 canonical gospels.  St. Luke, the anomaly, likely wrote extensively because he spent more time with her.  If you take the attributed iconography into this context, then you have a picture of the evangelist as being deeply devoted to the Lord's mother.

Now, she is not totally excluded from the writings of the era; there are a number of letters/books of the first 2-3 centuries that focus more on her life and role in salvation history (like the Protoevangelion of James).  Many of these books are used for historical details and message, but not included in the New Testament canon for their deficient theological content/direction.
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2013, 10:30:52 PM »

I don't think I can really add much to what I said in my last post without repeating either myself or the posters who have posted since, so I'll just mention one other idea that came to mind. When I was considering the more traditional forms of Christianity, something that was (and continues to be) helpful for me is the "truth-telling thing" concept of G.K. Chesterton. To summarize (my own take on it anyway), if the Church proves to be something that tells the truth, and it even does so when the truth is surprising or uncomfortable, or unexpected, then one can begin to have confidence in it. The more it does this, the more confidence one can have. Essentially, one builds trust, and one learns to have faith.

If a Church claims to be the "theanthropic body of Christ," or "the Church of God," or the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic church," then this should manifest itself in both inward theology and mindset, and also the outward preaching and practices. Admittedly, there is a danger in testing any group, in that you can fall into the trap of simply making a check list of what you already believe and then simply seeing if that religion matches up. There is also a danger in judging a faith group based on an evaluation of its fallible adherents. Still, a sincere investigation would seem to be both admirable and healthy, and for some even necessary.

Thus I've found with some issues that instead of asking "do I believe the evidence for such-and-such," I instead ask: "can I trust that the Church got it right, even though I have my doubts?"  I explore the options, I look at the evidence, and sometimes it doesn't seem completely persuasive either way. But you don't necessarily have to be convinced on every issue--or, at least, I didn't. Sometimes it's enough to just trust, once that trust, faith, and benefit of the doubt (so to speak) has been built up.
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2013, 12:54:23 PM »

She does not play a small role, but you need to know how to understand the Gospels. The Church developed Her understanding gradually through the guidance of The Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2013, 02:01:01 PM »

She appears in few passages but the role is not small.

Luke's passages compare her to the Ark of Convenant, nothing less.

Some decades later, in Revelation, Chapter 12 describes her as the Queen of Heavens with majestic cosmic imagery and as an icon of the Church itself.

Then, when the Church was legalized, Christological doctrines started to abound and Mary is central to the concept that Jesus is both God (miraculous conception, miraculous physical virginity before, while and after birth) and Human (normal gestation, inheriting human flesh and nature from her). Icons of Mary show her pointing to Christ because her own story is evidence of Orthodox Christological belief. Also she is sang as "muting the philosophers", "destroyer of idols" etc etc. Again, the witness of her own life is what produces those effects in defying with facts, both natural and supernatural, the wrong theories of heretics.
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« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2013, 02:22:35 PM »

Actually, Mary plays a remarkable role in the Gospel of Luke:

The account of Yeshua's nativity and infancy is related from her perspective.

She also plays a double role: she's both Zechariah's and Elizabeth's counterpart.

She represents not only Yeshua, but also John the Baptist since through her miraculous pregnancy Yeshua is first manifested to the world as a true human being and started His eartly life. (comparing His birth with His baptism)

The canticle sung by Mary is based on the pair of contrasts, which is a major literary device employed by Luke.

Nazareth, which is central to the Gospel of Luke, is Mary's hometown.


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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2013, 02:49:44 PM »

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I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: Therefore shall the peoples give thee thanks for ever and ever.
Psalms 45:17

For he hath looked upon the low estate of his handmaid: For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
St. Luke 1:48

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And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him, from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, which is called by the Name, even the name of the Lord of hosts that sitteth [above] the cherubim.
2 Samuel 6:2

And Mary arose in these days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah;
St. Luke 1:39

Quote
And it was so, that, when they that bare the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. And David danced before the Lord with all his might;
2 Samuel 6:13-14

And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit;
St. Luke 1:41

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And David was afraid of the Lord that day; and he said, How shall the ark of the Lord come unto me?
2 Samuel 6:9

And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me?
St. Luke 1:43

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And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months: and the Lord blessed Obed-edom, and all his house.
2 Samuel 6:11

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned unto her house.
St. Luke 1:56

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And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud overshadowed it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
Exodus 24:16

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall abide upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God.
St. Luke 1:35
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2013, 02:53:55 PM »

So, in Luke alone Mary is compared to the Ark, to Jerusalem and to Mount Sinai. That's no small role. Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2013, 02:59:46 PM »

Actually, Mary plays a remarkable role in the Gospel of Luke:

The account of Yeshua's nativity and infancy is related from her perspective.

She also plays a double role: she's both Zechariah's and Elizabeth's counterpart.

She represents not only Yeshua, but also John the Baptist since through her miraculous pregnancy Yeshua is first manifested to the world as a true human being and started His eartly life. (comparing His birth with His baptism)

The canticle sung by Mary is based on the pair of contrasts, which is a major literary device employed by Luke.

Nazareth, which is central to the Gospel of Luke, is Mary's hometown.

Tangent: why Yeshua but not Maryam, Luqa, Zakaryah, Elishba, Yuhannan Mamdana, etc?  Seems rather silly. 
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« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2013, 03:02:56 PM »

Asteriktos,

That's a pretty solid answer, thanks! I understand, like you said, that it isn't perfect or perfectly complete, but it definitely could be a help. It's all a really fascinating concept.

I would ask though: Why wouldn't the Gospel writers make more inclusion of Mary, seeing as (1) Mary was (according to Orthodoxy) tremendously significant to all 4 writers, and (2) they were already publicly writing out 'secrets' of the faith in their accounts?

I'd love to hear your thoughts -- thanks again!

They all mention that she gave birth to God incarnate...

What are you looking for, a collection of her sayings?
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« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2013, 03:03:44 PM »

And in Revelation where we see the world from the perspective of Eternity, here's how those in Eternity see Mary:

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.
Revelation 12:1

The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness,
Revelation 12:14

Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring —those who keep God's commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.
Revelation 12:17

Did you notice that all who keep God's commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus are called "offspring of Mary"?
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« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2013, 03:03:51 PM »

They all mention that she gave birth to God incarnate...

What are you looking for, a collection of her sayings?

 Huh
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« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2013, 03:14:38 PM »

Actually, Maryam plays a remarkable role in the Gospel of Luqa:

The account of Yeshua's nativity and infancy is related from her perspective.

She also plays a double role: she's both Zakaryah's and Elishba's counterpart.

She represents not only Yeshua, but also Yuhannan Mamdana since through her miraculous pregnancy Yeshua is first manifested to the world as a true human being and started His eartly life. (comparing His birth with His baptism)

The canticle sung by Maryam is based on the pair of contrasts, which is a major literary device employed by Luqa.

Natzaret, which is central to the Gospel of Luqa, is Maryam's hometown.

Tangent: why Yeshua but not Maryam, Luqa, Zakaryah, Elishba, Yuhannan Mamdana, etc?  Seems rather silly.  

Thanks for your help! I stand corrected.  Grin

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« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2013, 03:23:28 PM »

They all mention that she gave birth to God incarnate...

What are you looking for, a collection of her sayings?

 Huh

The central thing about Mary is the role she played in the history of Salvation.. It is not necessarily that she was wise, or a great organizer or came up with some doctrine.. It is what she did. All Gospels mention it with priority.

Mary says yes to God

Mary is the Mother of God

Mary raised the Christ to manhood

Christ's last wish was for her to be taken care of

Conclusion. Mary has a special place. We believe that her prayers are most efficacious.
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« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2013, 08:31:34 PM »

until around 350 AD
To echo what Fabio said, in the 5th Century especially, a little bit later, various sorts of docetists rose to prominence. The exaltation of Mary provided a powerful defense against some of these docetists.
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« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2013, 09:20:45 PM »

The way in which the blessed Virgin is presented to us in the Gospels is precisely the reason she is so beloved. Besides being the Mother of God, from whom He took flesh and became human, she is also the one who humbly listens, who loves, and who quietly bears all things in her heart. Just read Luke, chapter 2 attentively and you'll notice that it actually reveals a great deal about who she is.
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« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2013, 02:16:05 PM »

Mary is the best kept secret in the Gospels.
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« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2013, 02:42:48 PM »

The way in which the blessed Virgin is presented to us in the Gospels is precisely the reason she is so beloved. Besides being the Mother of God, from whom He took flesh and became human, she is also the one who humbly listens, who loves, and who quietly bears all things in her heart. Just read Luke, chapter 2 attentively and you'll notice that it actually reveals a great deal about who she is.

Ding! We have a winner.  angel

I always thought one of the reasons there are not many "lines" in the Gospels about the middle years of the Theotokos and the early years of Jesus is that they were both busy living simple, holy lives. How much do we need to know about what they ate for lunch, how often they washed their clothes and so forth? Do we really need another 500 pages of quotes to tell the story?

I think the Magnificat ("my soul magnifies the Lord") says a lot in itself.  angel
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« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2013, 03:47:44 PM »

So, in Luke alone Mary is compared to the Ark, to Jerusalem and to Mount Sinai. That's no small role. Smiley

Thank you for the quotes from Luke. It's very enlightening.
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TheTrisagion
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« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2013, 03:52:15 PM »

Actually, Mary plays a remarkable role in the Gospel of Luke:

The account of Yeshua's nativity and infancy is related from her perspective.

She also plays a double role: she's both Zechariah's and Elizabeth's counterpart.

She represents not only Yeshua, but also John the Baptist since through her miraculous pregnancy Yeshua is first manifested to the world as a true human being and started His eartly life. (comparing His birth with His baptism)

The canticle sung by Mary is based on the pair of contrasts, which is a major literary device employed by Luke.

Nazareth, which is central to the Gospel of Luke, is Mary's hometown.

Tangent: why Yeshua but not Maryam, Luqa, Zakaryah, Elishba, Yuhannan Mamdana, etc?  Seems rather silly. 
LOL, I never thought of that, but quite true!  Cheesy
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« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2013, 04:54:01 PM »

Actually, Mary plays a remarkable role in the Gospel of Luke:

The account of Yeshua's nativity and infancy is related from her perspective.

She also plays a double role: she's both Zechariah's and Elizabeth's counterpart.

She represents not only Yeshua, but also John the Baptist since through her miraculous pregnancy Yeshua is first manifested to the world as a true human being and started His eartly life. (comparing His birth with His baptism)

The canticle sung by Mary is based on the pair of contrasts, which is a major literary device employed by Luke.

Nazareth, which is central to the Gospel of Luke, is Mary's hometown.

Tangent: why Yeshua but not Maryam, Luqa, Zakaryah, Elishba, Yuhannan Mamdana, etc?  Seems rather silly. 
LOL, I never thought of that, but quite true!  Cheesy

St. John the Baptist never got to say much either. And he's the last prophet before the Lord.
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"Rationalists are admirable beings, rationalism is a hideous monster when it claims for itself omnipotence. Attribution of omnipotence to reason is as bad a piece of idolatry as is worship of stock and stone, believing it to be God." (Mahatma Gandhi)
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« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2013, 05:25:19 PM »

The Gospels were written after the Ascension of Christ. The emphazis of the Gospels and the whole New Testament was on Chrystology and Ecclesiology. The Chrystological heresies were as old as Christianity. That is what the Apostles had been dealing with. It is believed that the first Gospel was written more than 10 years after Christ. Some scholars say the Gospels have been written (the majority of them) to show which is the Christology of the Apostles. As you know many pseudo-Christian(heretic) gnostic writings, including Gospels circulated in the 1st century among the Jewish gnostics, many whom were found in the Dead Sea, and who had all sort of differing accounts on the life of Jesus and stuff. The same Jewish gnostics whom also were the first Chrystological heretics. All this Chrystological heresies were Jewish. Even the Joanide Epistles touches this, even Paul, when he speaks of a different Christ. So you see , this is what the Apostles had to deal with. They needed to preach Christ and convince people of Christ, who he really was and what he really did, and what his preaching was really like. This was the focuss and the problem, not Mary. Even so high things are said and recorded in the Gospels about Mary. "Full of grace" "Blessed among women" "Mother of my Lord" "From henceforth all nations shall bless me" , etc... Not to mention that Jesus did his first miracle on account of Mary. You have John mentioning this, showing the reverence of Mary in his Gospel and you have Luke mentioning her in the introduction of his Gospel. Afaik I heard there was some greek guy (saint/father?) who wanted to meet Mary(the Theotokos) to see the mother of the very one who was Christ, Man and God and to revere her, and he did. That is from the time of the Apostles I think. Plus there are many appearences of Mary in the history of Christianity. Like she appeared in the 1st Ecumenical Council, and even before that.

"The history of Mariology goes back to the 1st century. Early Christians focused their piety at first more upon the martyrs all around them. Following that they saw in Mary a bridge between the old and the new.[6] In the 2nd century, St. Irenaeus of Lyons called Mary the "second Eve" because through Mary and her willing acceptance of God's choice, God undid the harm that was done through Eve's choice to eat the forbidden fruit. The earliest recorded prayer to Mary, the sub tuum praesidium, is dated in its earliest form to around the year 250." from wiki

Not to mention that until the 4th century and the Edict of Milano , Christianity was a persecuted religion and a religion of the catachombs. Even so you have depiction of Mary with Child in the catachombs of Rome.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 05:27:07 PM by lovetzatziki » Logged
lovetzatziki
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« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2013, 05:39:33 PM »

Actually, Mary plays a remarkable role in the Gospel of Luke:

The account of Yeshua's nativity and infancy is related from her perspective.

She also plays a double role: she's both Zechariah's and Elizabeth's counterpart.

She represents not only Yeshua, but also John the Baptist since through her miraculous pregnancy Yeshua is first manifested to the world as a true human being and started His eartly life. (comparing His birth with His baptism)

The canticle sung by Mary is based on the pair of contrasts, which is a major literary device employed by Luke.

Nazareth, which is central to the Gospel of Luke, is Mary's hometown.

Tangent: why Yeshua but not Maryam, Luqa, Zakaryah, Elishba, Yuhannan Mamdana, etc?  Seems rather silly. 
LOL, I never thought of that, but quite true!  Cheesy

St. John the Baptist never got to say much either. And he's the last prophet before the Lord.

And he rocked a lot all over the Middle East.
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Tags: Mary  Theotokos  Mother of God  gospels  Mariology 
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