Category:Mary of Nazareth (subject)

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Mary of Nazareth (Home Page)
Mary of Nazareth (Home Page)

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According to Christian (and Islamic) traditions, Mary of Nazareth was the wife of Joseph and mother of Jesus.

< Life of Mary of Nazareth : Expulsion of Joachim from the Temple -- Annunciation to Anne and Joachim -- Birth of Mary -- Girlhood of Mary (Education of the Virgin, Presentation of Mary at the Temple) -- Marriage of Mary and Joseph -- Annunciation to Mary -- Visitation of Mary -- Birth of Jesus -- Adoration of the Shepherds -- Adoration of the Magi -- Circumcision of Jesus -- Presentation of Jesus at the Temple -- Massacre of the Innocents -- Flight into Egypt -- Jesus among the Doctors -- Death of Joseph of Nazareth -- Wedding at Cana -- Jesus' True Relatives -- Hometown Rejection -- Crucifixion of Jesus -- Resurrection of Jesus -- Ascension of Jesus -- Gathering of the Twelve at Jerusalem -- Christian Pentecost -- Death and Assumption of Mary -- Relics of Mary of Nazareth >

< Fiction : Mary of Nazareth (art) -- Mary of Nazareth (cinema) -- Mary of Nazareth (literature) -- Mary of Nazareth (music) >


Mary of Nazareth -- Overview
Mary of Nazareth -- Overview

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is identified as the "son of Mary" and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, Simon, and some unnamed sisters; all these people are well known in the village of Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus. Nothing else is added about the Jesus Family. The only event in which Mary is directly involved is when the family of Jesus made an attempt to bring him home, but he refused.

The Gospel of Matthew introduces "Joseph the husband of Mary" and narrates the miraculous virginal conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit as revealed to Joseph by the angel Gabriel. The narrative includes the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem, the adoration of the Magi, and the flight to Egypt. Mary then disappears from the Gospel of Matthew, if not for the episode taken from Mark between Jesus and his family, which now appears more a meeting than a confrontation.

The Gospel of Luke also refers to Joseph and the virginal conception of Jesus, but presents a different narrative of the events concerning the infancy of Jesus, giving a much more prominent role to Mary. It was Mary who received the annunciation by the angel Gabriel. Mary went then to visit her relative Elisabeth (the mother of John the Baptist) and remained with her "three months." Mary followed Joseph to Bethlehem to register for the census of Quirinius and it was in that occasion that Jesus was born. Shepherds came to adore the baby. Jesus was then circumcised and Mary performed the rituals of purification in the Temple of Jerusalem before going beck to Nazareth. Mary and Joseph then returned to the temple when Jesus was a boy and witnessed his conversation with the wise. As in Matthew, Mary is absent in the narratives concerning the preaching of Jesus, except for the episode of the visit of the family to Jesus. Acts however introduces Mary and the family of Jesus, who are gathered together with the disciples at the dawn of the church.

The Gospel of John does not name Mary and does not know of the virginal birth or the infancy narratives. Mary is always referred to as "the mother of Jesus" and the wife of Joseph. She is however present in two key episodes in the life of Jesus: his first miracle at Cana (not mentioned by the other Gospels), and his crucifixion. In at least one occasion, John shows Jesus and his disciples being together with the family. "The mother" is then present at the foot of the cross, when Jesus asked her to "adopt" the beloved disciple as her own son.

Later traditions

The earliest Gospels say so little about Mary that the Christian tradition felt compelled to provide detailed information to satisfy the curiosity of the believers and to deny embarrassing rumors about Jesus being the fruit of an illicit relationship between his mother and a Roman soldier, Panthera (Celsius; Toledot Jeshua).

From the Protoevangelium of James (c.150 CE) to the Golden Legend (compiled in 1260), the few data from the Gospels were harmonized and developed as to form a consistent narrative. Christian art, liturgy and popular piety as well as theological concerns, contributed to the growth and success of the legends.

Mary was the daughter of Joachim and Anne. Generated miraculously as her mother was barren, at the age of three she was given to service as a consecrated virgin in the Temple of Jerusalem. Joseph of Nazareth was miraculously selected to be her husband when she was fourteen. The story then follows an harmonized version of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, ignores the embarrassing details in Mark, and emphasizes the continuous presence of Many at the side of his son from his infancy to his death on the cross, as well as her role in the early church, assuming that she was always there even when sources are silent. After Jesus' death, Mary went to live with the beloved disciple (identified with John). She died surrounded by the apostles (either in Jerusalem or Ephesus) and her body was miraculously assumed into Heaven.

Numerous legends also developed about Relics of Mary of Nazareth, generally some of her belongings, which are claimed to be preserved by several churches and monasteries all around Europe.

Mary is also mentioned and greatly honored in the Qur'an and in the Islamic tradition, which adapted Christian legends to its distinctive theological perspective.


Mary of Nazareth (research)
Mary of Nazareth (research)

Although the historicity of Mary is not disputed, the lack of evidence and the literary character of the narratives and genealogies concerning Mary, make any historical evaluation virtually impossible.

Related categories

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Mary of Nazareth (sources)
Mary of Nazareth (sources)

Gospel of Mark

Mk 3:31-35 -- [31] And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. [32] And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” [33] And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” [34] And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! [35] Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

Mk 6:3 -- Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Gospel of Matthew

Mt 1:16 -- Joseph [was] the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

Mt 1:18 -- Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

Mt 1:20 -- An angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit."

Mt 2:11 -- And going into the house they [i.e., the Magi] saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.

Mt 13:55 -- Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?

Gospel of Luke / Acts of Apostles

Lk 1:27 -- to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.

Lk 1:30.34.38 -- [30] And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God... [34] And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”... [38] And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Lk 1:39 -- [39] In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah... [41] And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit... [46] And Mary said, “ My soul magnifies the Lord... [56] And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

Lk 2:5 -- to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

Lk 2:16 -- And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

Lk 2:19 -- Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Lk 2:34 -- And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed

Lk 2:48 -- And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”... [51] And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

Lk 8:19-22 -- Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. [20] And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” [21] But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

Acts 1:14 -- All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers

Gospel of John

Jn 2:1 -- [1] On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there... [3] When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”... [5] His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Jn 2:12 -- After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.

Jn 6:42 -- They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

Jn 19:25-27 -- ...standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. [26] When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”... [27] Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home...


Mary of Nazareth (fiction)
Mary of Nazareth (fiction)

Second only to Jesus, Mary is a central character in Christian iconography and fiction. Recent works have given her a much more active role in the education and ministry of Jesus as well as in the development of the early Christian movement. A more dynamic image of Joseph and Mary has also emerged, as a young and loving couple.

Gabriele Boccaccini, University of Michigan

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Pages in category "Mary of Nazareth (subject)"

The following 72 pages are in this category, out of 72 total.

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