Discipleship and Imagination: Christian Tradition and Truth

By David Brown | Go to book overview

5 Mary and Virgin Promise

In the previous chapter we observed how the treatment of Job's story over more than two and a half thousand years reflected among Jews and Christians changing attitudes to, and experience of, suffering, with corresponding resultant changes in the practice of discipleship. Later attitudes could not be characterized as mere decline from the central biblical perspective. On the contrary, while some insights from the Bible need to be retained, others—of equal importance—were to emerge in the later development of the tradition of the book's interpretation. Revelation—what God is saying to us through that particular story—cannot therefore be narrowly confined either to what the book originally meant or to what it is believed to be saying to us today. Instead, we need to take with full seriousness the continuing dialogue in which the community of faith has engaged throughout history with the book's topic by means of imaginative transformations of its content. 1 In the case of Job I was concerned to argue that greater weight should be given to later tradition than is normally allowed. However, I did not intend thereby a uniform pattern of positive, advancing developments. Religious perceptivity can decline as well as progress. What, therefore, I would like to do now is examine a much more ambiguous development where regression is perhaps more prominent, and that is the highly controversial case of the treatment of Jesus' mother. Identifying such regression is

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Discipleship and Imagination: Christian Tradition and Truth
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Discipleship and Imagination iii
  • Preface v
  • Abbreviations vi
  • Contents vii
  • List of Plates viii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One Appropriating Christ for the Present 5
  • 1: Valuing and Prostituting Women 11
  • 2: Pattern and Particular 62
  • 3: Heaven and the Defeat of the Beast 102
  • Part Two the Impact of Changing Experience 173
  • 4: Job and Innocent Suffering 177
  • 5: Mary and Virgin Promise 226
  • Part Three Truth and Authority 289
  • 6: Apostolicity and Conflict 293
  • 7: Posing Pilate's Question 343
  • Index 425
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