Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 8

Hey, so it's quarter to midnight here. I'm posting this and then going to bed. I am being distracted by things and stuff. :) It's all good...

So the first verse of this chapter is Joachim and Anna leaving the temple, amazed that Mary never turned back, or cried for them I assume. Mary remains in the temple, living like a 'nurtured dove' and receives food from the hand of an angel.

Do you guys think she was literally fed by an angel? Or is that a metaphor for her caretaker?

Verse two picks up when Mary is twelve years old. The priests are trying to decide what to do with Mary since she will start menstruating soon and she needs to be out of the sanctuary before that happens. So the high priest (Zacharias) goes in before the altar of the Lord and prays about Mary. It is revealed to him that he should call the widowers of the people together, with their staves. Whichever of them has a sign from the Lord upon him will take Mary to be his wife. So the word is sent out for all the widowers of Judea to come to the temple.


  1. I don't think she was literally fed by an angel, but I also don't see it as a metaphor for a human caretaker. I think it means either that she received "spiritual food" (knowledge/wisdom), or that an angel looked after her needs and saw that they were met by her human caretakers.

    Strange information about her marriage to Joseph (I assume, I guess craziness could happen and it doesn't turn out that way). This seems like an interesting book. :)

  2. why does she have to marry a widower?

    Sanil's answer is good re: the angel part.

    Lovin' these posts!

  3. Susanne - Just guessing, I have no information to back me up. But maybe men who had never been married were promised to other women? Mary, being raised by the Temple, would not have had her father arranging a marriage for her, and would not have had a plan for this. A widower may have had a more difficult time finding a wife, already being given their chance.

  4. sanil,

    Oh, I didn't even think of that. Good answer! :)

    She does wind up married to Joseph, yes.

  5. Susanne,

    It doesn't give any hint. Just that the priest prayed and God told him that this is what he needed to do.

  6. Maybe a widower were more likely to be well-off and be able to provide for her properly? But a good question.

    The question of her being fed by an angel is really interesting, because I think it says something in the Qur'an about food just being there, or being given to her by angels or something like that. I'll get back to you on that one.

  7. Alright found it, it's from Sura 3 verse 37 (from the Yusuf Ali translation): Right graciously did her Lord accept her: He made her grow in purity and beauty: to the care of Zakariya was she assigned. Every time that he entered (her) chamber to see her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: "O Mary! Whence (comes) this to you?" She said: "From Allah: for Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure."

  8. Becky,

    Maybe. Or maybe widowers were less desirable for marriage in the general population? So the temple married girls who were in their charge to the widowers to solve the problem.

    Thanks. I did sort of remember that there was something in the Qur'an about Mary being fed mysteriously but I couldn't recall it exactly so I left it out. There're actually a few things in the Qur'an that come from non-canonical Christian works.

  9. Hmmm yeah that would make sense as well.

    Yes, I think there's all together more about Mary in the Qur'an than there is in the Bible.

  10. I think you're right, textually. But part of the problem is that Western Christian traditions have forgotten a lot of the Traditional teachings about Mary, things that are true and a part of the faith but didn't necessarily get included in the Bible. So it seems like there's a dearth of information on Mary because of that. But in Roman Catholicism there's more known information about Mary, and even more in Eastern Orthodoxy.

  11. I'm not trying to say it doesn't exist, just that I was surprised, especially since I basically didn't learn anything about Mary growing up, aside from what's in the Bible.

  12. And I didn't mean to sound like I thought you were saying it doesn't exist. :) I love the internet but it's hell when you can't get facial expressions and tone!

    What I meant was I think it's a failing of Western Christianity, especially Protestantism. They've thrown the baby out with the bath water essentially. :)

  13. That is so true, it's way too easy for misunderstandings to arise over the internet :) but don't worry, I'm not that easy to offend :)

    Yes protestantism has had a tendency to just get rid of everything outside the Bible.


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