In Quest of the Jewish Mary

In stock

"Few works deliver on the promise of their title with such success as Mary Christine Athans’s book. . . .  The scholarship is solid, the prose accessible and her personal reflections engaging. The book can also be provocative, since discussions of Mary lead to questions about the contested role of women in the church....”

—Dr. Sidney Callahan, in America magazine.

Jesus, as is well known, was born and raised as a Jew in first-century Palestine. A great deal of theological study has focused on the Jewish cultural and religious context of his life and ministry. It is only natural that this attention should lead us to a new approach to his mother, Mary of Nazareth. To some extent, this quest for the Jewish Mary involves excavating beneath centuries of devotional reflection and artistic depictions that have presented a mythologized Mary, detached from history and from her specific Jewish identity.

In this book, Mary Christine Athans draws on the latest historical research, the fruits of post-Vatican II Jewish-Christian dialogue, the insights of feminist theology, and contemporary spiritual reflection to rediscover the Jewish Mary—a woman of enormous courage, strength, and prayer.

"[Readers] will come away with a renewed appreciation not only of Mary, the Jewish mother of Jesus, but of the history of the Catholic Church and its relations with Jews and with other Christians. . . . At once enormously informative and, simply put, a great read, indeed, a page turner.""—from the Foreword by Eugene J. Fisher

Mary Christine Athans, BVM, is a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, professor emerita at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) and currently adjunct faculty at Loyola University Chicago and the Catholic Theological Union.

Book Details

In Quest of the Jewish Mary
The Mother of Jesus in History, Theology, and Spirituality
Mary Christine Athans
Athan's work not only invites reverence for the religion that shaped Mary, but prompts readers to think deeply about beliefs that have developed about her in Catholic Christianity.
Athans' scholarship, her excellent resources, references, and copious notes, together with her creative imagination and use of well-known prayers and practices make this an unusual volume wherein the reader can access contemporary theological learning with Athans' personal faith experiences inspired by the Jewish tradition.
"A key aim of post-Vatican II Jewish-Christian dialogue is to understand Judaism on its own terms and subsequently to plumb the wisdom of the Jewish tradition as a source for greater Christian self-understanding. A.'s work not only achieves this goal, but it is also ultimately an edifying spiritual reflection deeply informed by a life of research, teaching, and implementing ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. It is to be read, A. avers, 'with both the head and the heart'"
"This absorbing book is the product of a lifetime of personal, intellectual and spiritual ecumenism. . . University and seminary students as well as for lay reading groups will profit from Athans' sensitive questions and answers about the Jewish Mary."
"Biblically rich and deeply moving, this is a book of rare originality and creativity that will inspire faith and invigorate religious dialogue."
"In these meditations we are drawn close to the voice of Miriam whose own prayer was and remains enfolded in the prayer of her people."
"A treasure trove of added information. . . Athans' goal is to redeem Mary, not as a "queen, empress," or "Nordic virgin," but as a "jewish woman who is 'truly our sister.'". . . The author's tackling aspects of Marian devotion may trouble some, but she does so in a spirit of truth-seeking, integrating history, theology, and spirit."
". . . recommended for all who would like to learn more about life in New Testament times, and about the woman behind the image."
"...a valuable contribution to the body of works aimed at finding Miriam of Nazareth..."
" times refreshing, in that Mary's role as the Mother of God is under-appreciated...recommended for institutions with collections dedicated to Christian Theology and Mariology."
Write a review