By Mary F. Foskett
The virginity of Mary has been an influential guiding principle of Christian trust, a catalyst for Marian devotion, and a starting place for the development of woman Christian piety and perform. unlike earlier biblical interpreters who've drawn on both linguistic or old facts to wonder if Mary the parthenos is certainly a "virgin," during this examine Mary F. Foskett takes a assorted path. 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 photographs that parthenos and virginity reveal in resources and describes how they take advantage of this diversity of attainable meanings of their representations of Mary. Her research departs from prior biblical interpretation by way of emphasizing neither the anomaly of the time period parthenos nor the heritage of culture pertaining to Mary. in its place, it monitors the a number of meanings of "virginity" and their implications for realizing representations of the Virgin Mary.
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Additional resources for A Virgin Conceived: Mary and Classical Representations of Virginity
As a female body, the virgin also signi¤es a condition of physical liminality. ”17 Viewed in this light, the female body appears perpetually and futilely poised at the threshold of completeness, of idealized maleness. 18 Moreover, within the schema of chronic de¤ciency, the body of the parthenos negotiates the transition from ripeness to fertility. She is moving toward becoming a gyne, when she will be expected to produce a child. Given her social, moral, and physical liminality, it is no wonder that the parthenos serves as the subject of multiple modes of ancient discourse.
In addition, he recommended a regimen designed to prevent young virgins from reaching the peak of their sexual desire too early. ”43 Thus medical prescription could both challenge and reinforce larger cultural constructions of female sexuality. Models of female sexual anatomy were both con¤rmed and debated in discussions of the risks and bene¤ts of virginity. On the one hand, Soranus af¤rmed the healthfulness of even life- A Virgin Conceived 34 time virginity. On the other, the Hippocratics and even Rufus argued the necessity of sexual intercourse for good health.
Yet the declamations also include disputation over this very point. The question of whether virginity, in and of itself, is suf¤cient evidence of chastity persists throughout Seneca’s text. Is the body an adequate witness to the chastity that a priestess should exhibit? Or must the virgin produce additional evidence of her chastity? As one argument goes, “This is enough for a bride—but not enough for a priestess” (Controv. 8). The arguments detailed by Seneca cause the reader to wonder if, in the context of the priesthood, being a virgin connotes more than virginity.
A Virgin Conceived: Mary and Classical Representations of Virginity by Mary F. Foskett