Although mothers, as well as themes of motherhood, appear throughout the New Testament, male figures attract the most attention from biblical scholars. But as feminist and womanist scholars have shown, this male-focused lens has left much unnoticed, including mothers. While readers might be quick to note Jesus’ own mother, we overlook others, including those mentioned in the Gospels and later texts, as well as those invisible behind the texts in groups of gathered saints listening to these works.Cross-file under New Book (from OUP).
In my new book, Blessed Among Women? Mothers and Motherhood in the New Testament I argue that when we remember the unavoidable fact that we are all “of woman born”—including early Christian authors—we begin to see the theological import of these characters and metaphors. Rather than an easy acceptance of all things maternal as mere ornamental flair for more “substantive” theological positions, the constructions of mothers and motherhood in the ancient Mediterranean world helps demonstrate not only developing Christianity’s ambivalence toward maternal presence and motifs, but also its inherently gendered presentations of salvation
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