The Emergence of the Goddess Mary: from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages
Keywords:cult, Virgin Mary, bridegroom,
AbstractWhile it has long been assumed that the goddess veneration generated by the mystery cults of Late Antiquity were subsumed into the cult of the Virgin Mary, examination of the collections of legendaries called Mariales exposes direct links between Mary’s attributions and those of Isis and Cybele, among others. While canonical references to Mary were few, and often unflattering, with the establishment of Mary as the Theotokos, or God Bearer, at Ephesus in 431 CE, she was lifted in importance in both the mind of the church and the people. The evolution of the motif of “Mary and the Bridegroom” from its origins as a legend concerning Venus to its Medieval form, which culminates in a simulated sacred marriage by a devotee, exemplifies the integration of pre- and post-conversion tales. In “Murieldis” Mary’s powers exceed those of the Trinity, while Mary’s acts of shape-changing, necromancy, control of the elements, and healing, as well as her extraordinary protection of her devotees, expose Mary as a magical helper, and demonstrate Mary as both a repository of folk religious beliefs and a subversive locus by which doctrinal Christianity might be moderated in the popular mind.
Apuleius. The Transformation of Lucius Otherwise Known as The Golden Ass. Translated by Robert Graves. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1951.
Ashe, Geoffrey. The Virgin. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1976.
Banks, Mary Macleod, ed. An Alphabet of Tales: An English 15th Century Translation of the Alphabetum Narrationum of Etienne de BesanÁon. Early English Text Society, o.s., 126-27. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Tr¸bner, 1904-1905.
Baring, Anne and Jules Cashford. The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image. London: Penguin, 1991.
Baum, Paull Franklin. ìThe Young Man Betrothed to a Statue.î Publications of the Modern Language Association 34 (1919): 523-79.
Begg, Ean. The Cult of the Black Virgin. London: Penguin, 1996.
Clayton, Mary. The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Anglo-Saxon England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
Crane, T. F., ed. Liber de Miraculis Mariae. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1925.
Davis, Leo Donald. The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325ñ787): Their History and Theology. Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazier, 1983.
Galland, China. Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna. London: Penguin, 1990.
Gordon, Richard. ìImaging Greek and Roman Magic.î In Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: Ancient Greece and Rome, edited by Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart Clark, 159- 275. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.
Herolt, Johannes. Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Translated and edited by C. C. Swinton Bland. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1928.
Huet, GÈdÈon. ìLa lÈgende de la statue de Venus.î Revue de líhistoire des religions, 68 (1913): 193-217.
Kieckhefer, Richard. Forbidden Rites: A Necromancerís Manual of the Fifteenth Century. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998.
Meyer, Marvin W., ed. The Ancient Mysteries: A Sourcebook. San Francisco: Harper, 1987.
Motz, Lotte. Faces of the Goddess. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Robertson, Noel. ìThe Ancient Mother of the Gods.î In Cybele, Attis and Related Cults: Essays in Memory of M. J. Vermaseren, edited by Eugene N. Lane, 239-304. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996.
Roller, Lynn E. In Search of God the Mother: The Cult of Anatolian Cybele. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.
Seton-Williams, M. V. Egyptian Legends and Stories. London: Rubicon, 1988; New York: Barnes and Noble, 1999.
Turcan, Robert. Cults of the Roman Empire. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.
Vermaseren, Maarten J. Cybele and Attis: The Myth and the Cult. London: Thames and Hudson, 1977.
Warner, Marina. Alone of All her Sex: The Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary. New York: Vintage Press, 1976.
Watson, Nicholas. ìJohn the Monkís Book of Visions of the Blessed and Undefiled Virgin Mary, Mother of God: Two Versions of a Newly Discovered Ritual Magic Text.î In Conjuring Spirits: Texts and Traditions of Medieval Ritual Magic, edited by Claire Fanger, 163-215. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University, 1998.
Wilson, Evelyn Faye, ed. The Stella Maris of John Garland. Cambridge: Wellesley College and The Mediaeval Academy of America, 1946.
Witt, R. E. Isis in the Ancient World. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.