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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Mary, Mother of Martyrs: How Motherhood Became Self-Sacrifice in Early Christianity
Elkins, Kathleen Gallagher

Indiannapolis: Dog Ear, 2018 pp. xxxiv + 143. $18.95

Series Information
Feminist Studies in Religion


Description: The Virgin Mary has been idealized as a self-sacrificing mother throughout Christian history, but she is not the only ancient maternal figure whose story is connected to violent loss. This book examines several ancient representations of mothers and children in contexts of sociopolitical violence, demonstrating that notions of early Christian motherhood, as today, are contextual and produced for various political, social, and ethical reasons. In each chapter, the ancient maternal figure is juxtaposed with an example of contemporary maternal activism to show that maternal self-sacrifice can be understood as strategic, varied, politically charged, and rhetorically flexible.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Johannine Literature, John, Revelation, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Old Testament Apocrypha, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism, Literary Approaches, Ideological Critique, Feminist Approaches

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Review by Alicia D. Myers
Published 9/26/2019
Citation: Alicia D. Myers, review of Kathleen Gallagher Elkins, Mary, Mother of Martyrs: How Motherhood Became Self-Sacrifice in Early Christianity, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).


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