Mary: Glimpses of the Mother of Jesus

Mary: Glimpses of the Mother of Jesus

Mary: Glimpses of the Mother of Jesus

Mary: Glimpses of the Mother of Jesus


In this lucid account of Jesus' mother, Gaventa emphasizes a literary approach, addressing in turn: Matthew, Luke-Acts, John, and the second-century work, Protevangelium of James. In a style accessible to students and general readers, the author also provides scholars with much to ponder.


Qoheleth observed that โ€œof making many books there is no end.โ€ His statement might well have been made solely for books about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Despite that fact, books on Mary by Protestant biblical scholars are exceedingly rare. Particularly for that reason, a few words about my own interests and perspectives may be appropriate.

I do write as a Protestant. In most areas of biblical scholarship that distinction no longer seems meaningful, but the differences between Protestant and Catholic perspectives on Mary remain significant. In the process of researching and writing this book, I have learned a great deal from Catholic traditions about Mary and Catholic discussions of Mary. Friends have talked with me about their own deep loyalties to Mary as well as their deep antipathy to the way in which Marian tradition has figured in the negative assessment and treatment of women. Colleagues have tolerated naive questions and explained features of Marian tradition that must to them be painfully obvious.

While I am profoundly grateful for all of that assistance, this necessarily remains the work of a Protestant and my questions are those of a Protestant. For example, readers will find almost no attention to the question of whether Mary continued to be a virgin after Jesus' birth. I respect such concerns, but they are not mine, and I will consistently point to discussions of them elsewhere. I hope those omissions will not seem dismissive of the traditions of others and that they will be balanced by what may be fresh questions and insights elsewhere. I also hope that my attention to this topic will generate interest among Protestants in an important and neglected figure.

I also write as a mother. My profound connection with my child makes it impossible for me to do otherwise, and I cannot pretend to distance myself from certain aspects of these texts. When Matthew's Gospel depicts the bloody Roman sword in Bethlehem and the threat to Jesus, a cold fear grabs me. When Luke describes Mary's puzzlement over the son who is both hers and not hers, I worry with her and for her. Some may find this lamentably sentimental. For me it is simply a fact of life.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.