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Author Topic: Snake with Virgin Mary  (Read 5662 times) Average Rating: 0
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anne
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« on: November 06, 2005, 03:02:35 PM »

Can anyone tell me what the significance is of a snake pictured at the feet of The Vigin Mary in some pictures--icons?
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2005, 03:08:46 PM »

It may have something to do with an Old Testament prophecy concerning the Lord's second birth from The Virgin St Mary. In Genesis 3:14-15 it states:

Quote
14And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

 15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2005, 03:25:55 PM »

Quote
It may have something to do with an Old Testament prophecy concerning the Lord's second birth from The Virgin St Mary. In Genesis 3:14-15 it states:

...
 15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.


That would be my interpretation as well.

Interestingly, I think this was also represented in Mel Gibson's Passion movie (for some reason I cannot remember the exact name of the film). Anyway the scene I believe has Christ trodding on the head of a snake after successfully resisting temptation, although my memory of the early part of that scene is foggy.
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2005, 04:23:18 PM »

The Virgin treading the snake is an error based on the Vulgate version of the Old Testament which was approved as the official version of the Roman Catholic Church by the Council of Trent in 1546. The Orthodox reject the Vulgate because it is based on the Masoretic text rather than the Septuagint.

Whereas the Septuagint says in Genesis 3:15:
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

The Vulgate contains an error which makes it read:
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; she shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise her heel."

Unfortunately, this error led to a whole bunch of other errors, for example, the RC nun Catherine Laboure having "visions" of the Virgin in which she treads the snake and asking that a medal be struck depicting this (now known as "The Miraculous Medal")....apparently they also read erronious versions of Scripture in Heaven....

Yet another instance where the Orthodox got it right Wink
« Last Edit: November 06, 2005, 04:27:55 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2005, 04:42:33 PM »

[Whereas the Septuagint says in Genesis 3:15:
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

The Vulgate contains an error which makes it read:
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; she shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise her heel."


**********************************************************************************

OK, thanks everyone... but can someone rephrase this for me in modern day phrases Embarrassed
« Last Edit: November 06, 2005, 04:43:32 PM by anne » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2005, 07:45:08 PM »

That is modern day. If you really need it....


"And I will put emnity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."


But that's really not any easier to read.
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2005, 08:51:48 PM »

I thought it had something to do with the Mother of God reversing the work of Eve.  In other words, Eve helped bring about "the fall" by listening to the snake (satan) and doing what he wanted.  The Mother of God, on the other hand, helped bring about our salvation by bearing Christ.  When she bore Christ, she helped to "bruise the snake's head" by reversing the curse that was brought on us by Eve's submission to the snake's temptation.  If you look closely at these statues, the snake often has an apple in his mouth.
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2005, 06:38:24 AM »

OK, thanks everyone... but can someone rephrase this for me in modern day phrases :-

The Septuagint Version means:
"i shall cause you (Satan, the Snake) and the woman (Eve or the Mother of God) to be enemies, and I shall make her descendant (Christ) and your descendant (Antichrist) to be enemies. You will wait for her descendant's heel which will crush your head."

The erronoeous Vulgate Version means:
"i shall cause you and the woman  to be enemies, and I shall make her child and your child to be enemies.. You will lie in wait for the woman's heel which will crush your head."
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2005, 12:24:05 PM »

St. Jerome's Vulagte was based on Hebrew texts but not the Masoretic text as St. Jerome translated in the 5th century the Masoretic text dates from the 10th century.

But as for stating that portraying the Theotokos as treading on the serpent is an error is a bit much.  It is devotional hyperbole, of which we Eastern Christians are guilty as well.


From the Akathist:

Having shed the light of truth in Egypt, You expelled the darkness of falsehood; and unable to bear Your strength, O Saviour, her idols fell; and they that were set free from them cried to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, Uplifting of men. Rejoice, Downfall of demons.
Rejoice, you who trampled upon the delusion of error. Rejoice, you who censured the deceit of the idols.
Rejoice, Sea which drowned the symbolic Pharaoh. Rejoice, Rock which refreshed those thirsting for life.
Rejoice, Pillar of fire, guiding those in darkness. Rejoice, Protection of the world, more spacious than a cloud.
Rejoice, Nourishment, successor to manna. Rejoice, Minister of holy joy.
Rejoice, Land of promise. Rejoice, you from whom flows milk and honey.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride.

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2005, 02:26:11 PM »

I'm wondering (for those Hebrew scholars out there) - is there a specific gender assigned to the "heel" - or is it one of those cases where it can be either male or female?  Same with the pronoun that indicated who will be involved in the emnity...

I'm trying to remember what my OT professor said about it, because I know he brought up this very issue...
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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2005, 02:31:48 PM »

Here's how Fr. Pentiuc translated it for us in class (thank goodness I keep my notebooks):

"I will put harassment between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it/he will strike at your head, and you will strike at its/his heel;"

The part chris was referring to was in the beginning of the Passion, when Christ was in the garden praying, and when he was done and ready to go be arrested, the snake (which had been drawing closer to him for a few minutes) reared up a bit, and he crushed it.  It is interesting to note that Christ has the advantage in the movie scene, wearing sandals (haha).
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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2005, 03:17:22 PM »

The Septuagint Version means:
"i shall cause you (Satan, the Snake) and the woman (Eve or the Mother of God) to be enemies, and I shall make her descendant (Christ) and your descendant (Antichrist) to be enemies. You will wait for her descendant's heel which will crush your head."

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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2005, 03:23:05 PM »

  I've never actually seen a statue of Mary crushing the head, she's always standing on the snake near the head, as if she is holding it in place, but she is never on the head.
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« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2005, 04:55:17 PM »

But as for stating that portraying the Theotokos as treading on the serpent is an error is a bit much.ÂÂ  It is devotional hyperbole,

Oh please!!!

Changing the wording and meaning of Scripture is NOT simply "devotional hyperbole".....

The whole blashphemous Catholic attempts at adding the proposed doctrine of "Co-redemtrix" is based on this error in the Vulgate:
see-
http://www.voxpopuli.org/faq1.php
http://motherofallpeoples.com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=139

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« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2005, 05:15:07 PM »

I was refering to her portrayal in statuary not the error in the Vulgate, which by the way has been corrected in the Neo Vulagte and every modern Catholic English translation.
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« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2005, 05:24:35 PM »

I was refering to her portrayal in statuary not the error in the Vulgate,

Her portrayal in statuary is based on the error in the Vulgate.-  as were the "visions" of Catherine Laboure (see: http://www.marys-touch.com/Saints/medal/medal.htm )
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« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2005, 07:46:48 PM »

I'm wondering (for those Hebrew scholars out there) - is there a specific gender assigned to the "heel" - or is it one of those cases where it can be either male or female?  Same with the pronoun that indicated who will be involved in the emnity...

The gender is clear in Hebrew--the enmity is between the serpent and the woman and between the offspring of each. The attacks (head and heel) are between the serpent and the woman's offspring.

I would think we need to consider in all of this Paul's remark from Rom 16:20, that God will crush Satan under "your" feet. He's writing to the Church, not to Jesus, so the Church participates in this crushing with Christ her head. Since Mary is emblematic of the Church, it makes perfect sense to me that this crushing would be referenced in her icon.
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« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2005, 09:16:45 AM »

OZGeorge,

The statuary could be produced without any reference to the Vulgate.  Was the Akathist with its refernces to the Theotokos as downfall of demons, trampler of delusion, and drowner of Symbolic Pharaoh referencing the Vulagte.  How is a statue of the Virgin treading on a serpent any different then saying she is the downfall of demons in the Akathist?  I'll answer that: there is no difference.

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« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2005, 09:22:29 AM »

ÂÂ  I'll answer that

Oh...OK....
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« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2005, 10:14:15 PM »

Don't we call the Mother of God the "new Eve?"  I thought we had a belief that her obedience to God helped undo the consequences of Eve's disobedience.  Couldn't the statue be a reference to that?
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