Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

When Medieval Pious Legends suddenly count as big news.

What I find interesting about the article is the researcher's suprise that the Medieval Church taught that women could have useful roles in society.   Because clearly, before the 1960s or so, Christian widows were expected to be buried alive with their husbands or something.

Also, I'm a little curious about why Mary's grandmother would still be living when Jesus was in his 30s... wouldn't she have been well over 100?


Anonymous said...

Not necessarily - a quick google search reveals that Mary was under 20 and perhaps only 12 when she had Jesus (and of course Google is always right). So, if 12 is a family tradition, that would make her grandmother 36 when Jesus was born and 66 when he was 30. But then another search says that Mary's grandmother was St. Ismeria who died before Jesus. Guess we'll never know.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Anon-- But traditionally, Ann and Joachim were very old (Like Elizabeth and Zechariah old, and possibly older!) when Mary was born.

So if we get Ismeria at 14, then Anne at 50 (being generous here... usually she's presented as even older) then Mary giving birth at 14, and Jesus being old enough to have the 12 along for her funeral, we get.... 108, at a minimum, assuming that she and Mary gave birth very young, and Ann gave birth younger than is traditional....

Still, it's a nice legend. And there IS a biblical tradition of widows surving the local community and praying and doing penance-- look at Anna the prophetess!

Really, what I find most amazing is that the author seems suprised that there were 'holy widows' honored by the Church... (Did she miss St. Monica somehow??) The ideals that St. Ismeria represents weren't new in the 14th Century--they go back to the earliest days of the Church. Women have ALWAYS had value apart from their child-bearing ability in Christian life!