The Song of Mary

The setting is Nazareth, in ancient Palestine. A devout Jew, Mary is a rural peasant — “young, female, a member of a people subjected to economic exploitation by powerful ruling groups,” renowned Catholic theologian Elizabeth A. Johnson writes in her book about Mary, Truly Our Sister. Like other Jewish girls of her class, she’s most likely illiterate, though she knows the Hebrew Scriptures from oral tradition. Those girls were typically married off at around 13 years old, bearing children soon enough, and there’s no reason to believe Mary was any different. In the New Testament’s Gospel of Luke, she suddenly finds herself pregnant, and Joseph, the carpenter with whom she’s betrothed in an arranged marriage, knows he’s not the father.

See the article in public radio’s Cognoscenti blog …

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