Our Lady, the high-powered frequent flyer

I was reading the account in Luke 1 of the Annunciation and Visitation, and it struck me as exactly the opposite of the 'Mary was a poor young girl' narrative that seems to be fashionable at the moment:
39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’

[...] 56 And Mary remained with her for about three months and then returned to her home.

Thoughts:

1. Mary's trip to Elizabeth must have been a major undertaking. Wikipedia, albeit on no solid evidence that I can see, thinks Zechariah lived in Hebron, 100 miles from Nazareth - at any rate, the hill country of Judea was a long way away. So she would be spending a week on the road, staying at inns each night.

2. Nevertheless, it sounds like she did this on her own initiative, i.e. she was the one who decided she wanted to see Elizabeth. So either her parents acquiesced in her wish and provided the means to do so, or else she was an independent woman of means.

3. And furthermore she was able to stay with Elizabeth for three months; presumably she wasn't needed at home to do her spinning, weaving, brewing, or whatever young women would be expected to do in those days.

Overall, it sounds like the sort of trip you could do if you were the equivalent of an upper-class heroine of a Jane Austen or Georgette Hayer novel, but not if you were one of the common people.

Another partially related thought: I always vaguely assumed that she conceived more or less straight after the Annunciation, but there's nothing in the text to suggest it; in fact, there is a clear separation between chapter 1 and chapter 2. If we take Luke at face value, and ignore Matthew, it would appear that John was conceived during the reign of King Herod (at the latest, 4BC), and Jesus was conceived when Quirinius was governor of Syria (6 AD), i.e. there is a gap of ten years between Luke 1 and Luke 2. Which would put Mary in her twenties at least when Jesus was born.
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Comments

  • I read this passage the day before yesterday.

    My brain didn't get to work on it to anything like the degree yours had! My takeaway was much simpler: it bears witness to a juxtaposition I often see in Scripture and more especially in the Nativity narrative.

    There's an entirely mundane meeting (on the face of it, excluding the practicalities you mention) of two relatives both expecting babies - combined with the Holy-Spirit-inspired leap in the womb that puts God's seal on the encounter (and produces the Magnificat).

    We can't expect that sort of thing to happen every day, nevertheless in my life I'm on the lookout for encounters that combine the mundane with the distinctive mark of God's presence in the encounter in question.
  • What about Joseph? He'd have helped with the travel arrangements, surely?
    :wink:
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Ricardus wrote: »
    I was reading the account in Luke 1 of the Annunciation and Visitation, and it struck me as exactly the opposite of the 'Mary was a poor young girl' narrative that seems to be fashionable at the moment:
    39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’

    [...] 56 And Mary remained with her for about three months and then returned to her home.

    Thoughts:

    1. Mary's trip to Elizabeth must have been a major undertaking. Wikipedia, albeit on no solid evidence that I can see, thinks Zechariah lived in Hebron, 100 miles from Nazareth - at any rate, the hill country of Judea was a long way away. So she would be spending a week on the road, staying at inns each night.
    According to the Illustrated Bible Dictionary, ‘Judea’ (after 63BC) could be used to denote ‘all Palestine, including Galilee and Samaria’ as well as in a narrower sense excluding this regions. You’re right about the slender evidence for locating Zechariah in Hebron. It appears to be based on the record in Josh 21.13 of Hebron being given to the descendants of Aaron. There are plenty of Judean hill country ‘towns’ nearer to Nazareth than Hebron is. Luke notes Mary’s haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth, and I could imagine she would have been keen to find confirmation of the angel’s message. Indeed the juxtaposition of the angelic information with Mary's visit does suggest a connection. Otherwise he has nothing to say about the journey, as if it is unremarkable. If there were family connections it would probably not have been difficult for Mary to attach herself to a group making the journey - not unlike Jesus’ later recorded visit to the Temple.
    3. Nevertheless, it sounds like she did this on her own initiative, i.e. she was the one who decided she wanted to see Elizabeth. So either her parents acquiesced in her wish and provided the means to do so, or else she was an independent woman of means.
    Again, Mary's parents' reaction to the news is nowhere mentioned. When did she tell them, and what? Since Luke is silent about much that is of interest to us (however peripheral to his intentions) we can only speculate. Maybe older Elizabeth (now six months pregnant (cf Luke 1.26)) needed some help around the house, and younger Mary (still economically dependent on her own family) was sent for that purpose, or jumped at the possibility of offering. Depending on one's predispositions about the Gospel account one can speculate about reasons for or against it being a fairly natural or a a fairly unlikely thing for Mary to have done.

    3. And furthermore she was able to stay with Elizabeth for three months; presumably she wasn't needed at home to do her spinning, weaving, brewing, or whatever young women would be expected to do in those days.

    Overall, it sounds like the sort of trip you could do if you were the equivalent of an upper-class heroine of a Jane Austen or Georgette Hayer novel, but not if you were one of the common people.
    But see above. E.g. "Your cousin Elizabeth needs some extra help around the house, and Zechariah's been struck dumb. She needs some help, and we can spare you."

    The tendency has been to read the account of the meeting of Elizabeth with Mary as reflecting Mary already being pregnant when she visits Elizabeth. (Which is why the Church calendar celebrates the birth of John the Baptist six months before the birth of Jesus.).
    Another partially related thought: I always vaguely assumed that she conceived more or less straight after the Annunciation, but there's nothing in the text to suggest it; in fact, there is a clear separation between chapter 1 and chapter 2.
    You're right about the clear separation, but there's no reason to suppose there is more to it than Luke needing to tie up the story of the birth of John the Baptist before he moves on to Jesus.
    If we take Luke at face value, and ignore Matthew, it would appear that John was conceived during the reign of King Herod (at the latest, 4BC), and Jesus was conceived when Quirinius was governor of Syria (6 AD), i.e. there is a gap of ten years between Luke 1 and Luke 2. Which would put Mary in her twenties at least when Jesus was born.
    A number of commentators (including M.-J. Lagrange (1911), A.J.B. Higgins (1969),P.W. Barnett (1973-4) N. Turner and W. Brindle (1984), N.T. Wright and John Nolland (1989)) have noted that there is no reason why Luke 2.2 Should not be translated "This was the census that took place before Quirinius was governor of Syria." To my mind there is also the additional question whether πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην in the previous verse should be read as literally meaning the whole world, or whether it might have an idiomatic usage meaning (loosely) 'everyone' - like the French tout le monde.

  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    BroJames wrote: »
    Depending on one's predispositions about the Gospel account one can speculate about reasons for or against it being a fairly natural or a a fairly unlikely thing for Mary to have done.

    Well, in the interest of declaring my biases, my predisposition is to avoid those retellings of the Nativity that make Mary excessively young and vulnerable. I think they add an unnecessary level of squick into the story, when the text itself, at face value, seems to make Mary quite independent.

    So my position isn't "This is unlikely, therefore Luke is making it up", but rather "Luke portrays Mary as a member of a social class for which it is not unlikely."
    According to the Illustrated Bible Dictionary, ‘Judea’ (after 63BC) could be used to denote ‘all Palestine, including Galilee and Samaria’ as well as in a narrower sense excluding this regions.

    I'm reliant on English translations, but ISTM unlikely that Luke would say Mary was going to a town in [the wider] Judea if she was already in [the wider] Judea, and more likely that he was contrasting "in Judea" with "in Galilee" from v26.

    E.g., if you said someone travelled from Eindhoven in Brabant to a town in Holland, then technically, since Holland is often used to refer to the whole of the Netherlands, you could mean another town in Brabant, but it would be more likely you meant the province of Holland.
    You're right about the clear separation, but there's no reason to suppose there is more to it than Luke needing to tie up the story of the birth of John the Baptist before he moves on to Jesus.

    It's also the fact that the section on John starts with a chronological marker (i.e., in the time of Herod), and the section on the birth of Christ starts with a different chronological marker. Although I'll admit that a ten year gap (OK, technically nine years as there is no year #0) seems unlikely as well, and interferes with the chronology later on when you have to reconcile Jesus' age with Pilate's governorship.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    I agree there’s no reason to see Mary as particularly poor, vulnerable, or younger than a then normal marriageable age.

    She is of course vulnerable as a woman, and more so as an unmarried mother, and particularly once she and Joseph and the child become refugees.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Is she still unmarried at that stage? She accompanies Joseph first to Bethlehem and then Egypt as if she were his wife.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Yes. I should have been clearer. As an unmarried woman who was pregnant she would have been vulnerable. That vulnerability was removed by the marriage, which Matthew’s account suggests happened straight away. There would have been no reason for them to travel to Bethlehem (and on to Egypt) together if they were not married.
  • Even if married, going to Elizabeth's might have provided a useful way to get her out of Nazareth before the gossip started about the relative timing of conception and marriage, especially if she was starting to develop a bump at c.3 months, or had morning sickness. (I don't know if the Jewish laws have anything comparable to CofE banns, but surely a very rushed wedding would raise eyebrows.)

    A geriatric primagravida (to use the medical terminology) would definitely have benefitted from extra help around the house, and it may have been that the two of them were close and Mary would have rushed off to see her cousin anyway, as well as the fact that if an angel is telling you something, you'd want to see for yourself.
  • There is tons of "stuff" about Mary as a privileged young woman.
    Her parents lived in Zippori where there is a wee church to St Anne. (Byzantine C.5). Nazareth, on the other hand, which was a tiny village of maximum 250 families. (This based on calculations from the size/flow of the well).
    There is also the school of thought she was "sent" to the Temple at age 3 "for her education"

  • I'm very sorry about the following, I was trying to resist saying it. Sorry again if it offends.

    Isn't the simplest solution that the story is made up and/or a mix of two stories?

    There are stories about Jesus of Nazareth and stories about his birth in Bethlehem. And a bunch of other things about Egypt and other places. Kinda unlikely that they can all be squared with the idea that the people discussed are fairly poor semi-skilled artisans.

    /Here endeth the unhelpful contribution by the resident doubter.
  • Blahblah wrote: »
    I'm very sorry about the following, I was trying to resist saying it. Sorry again if it offends.

    Isn't the simplest solution that the story is made up and/or a mix of two stories?

    There are stories about Jesus of Nazareth and stories about his birth in Bethlehem. And a bunch of other things about Egypt and other places. Kinda unlikely that they can all be squared with the idea that the people discussed are fairly poor semi-skilled artisans.

    /Here endeth the unhelpful contribution by the resident doubter.

    Yes, but even if it's pious fiction, it's still fiction that presents Mary as well-heeled and independent.

    And even if you strip the nativity stories out of the gospels, I don't think there is any compelling reason to believe that Jesus' family were poor semi-skilled artisans.

    (FWIW my subjective impression is that Luke is attempting to be fairly factual, whereas Matthew is more theologised / legendary / made up [delete according to degree of scepticism].)
  • Pendragon wrote: »
    Even if married, going to Elizabeth's might have provided a useful way to get her out of Nazareth before the gossip started about the relative timing of conception and marriage, especially if she was starting to develop a bump at c.3 months, or had morning sickness.

    The problem is that she then came back to Nazareth three months later.

    Her itinerary, as described by Luke, is Nazareth > hill country > Nazareth > Bethlehem, hence my frequent flyer comment (which I realise I didn't really explain).
    (I don't know if the Jewish laws have anything comparable to CofE banns, but surely a very rushed wedding would raise eyebrows.)

    According to The Jewish Encyclopaedia, a betrothal would normally last a year before a first marriage (which also rather militates against my nine-year gap above).
  • Well I think that's just pious bullshit made up after the event to tie together bits of a jigsaw that don't make any sense together. I don't think there was any deliberate effort to "portray" the characters in any specific way. There are a bunch of stories, the writers/editors made a cursory effort to make the story coherent by inventing stuff that is basically impossible.

  • I dunno, I'll get off my hobbyhorse, I'm sure you've heard it before. Sorry for the doubting interlude.
  • Blahblah wrote: »
    Well I think that's just pious bullshit made up after the event to tie together bits of a jigsaw that don't make any sense together. I don't think there was any deliberate effort to "portray" the characters in any specific way. There are a bunch of stories, the writers/editors made a cursory effort to make the story coherent by inventing stuff that is basically impossible.

    What does 'that' refer to in this sentence?
  • Well the idea that Mary was wealthy, independent yahdiyah.

    The only thing we can actually be sure is that Jesus has always been known as a carpenters son from Nazareth and when he died apparently only owned a single garment.

    Most of the other stuff seems like embellishment.
  • And/or wild conjecture to explain mythical stories that make no sense being read together.
  • Blahblah wrote: »
    Well the idea that Mary was wealthy, independent yahdiyah.

    The only thing we can actually be sure is that Jesus has always been known as a carpenters son from Nazareth

    Yeah but there's no consensus on what tektōn means. I've heard it claimed to be everything from a jobbing day-labourer to an architect's assistant. According to Wikipedia, Geza Vermes, who is hardly an apologist for Christianity, thought it meant someone learned in the Torah.
    and when he died apparently only owned a single garment.

    That's a bit like saying St Francis must have been from a poor family because when he died he owned nothing at all.
    Most of the other stuff seems like embellishment. And/or wild conjecture to explain mythical stories that make no sense being read together.

    Well, your position also looks like conjecture. If you want to argue that we can know nothing at all, then fair enough. But you seem to be arguing that we can know Jesus' family was poor, on what looks like fairly weak evidence to me, and then you explain away the descriptions of Mary in Luke by saying 'the writers/editors made a cursory effort to make the story coherent by inventing stuff that is basically impossible.'
  • Oh no, I think it is a distinct possibility that it is all made up. As far as I can see, the simplest explanation is that the stories are about a real person who was a poor artisan in Nazareth.

    Ok yes it's a conjecture but seems to require less "frequent flying" than asserting it must all be factual.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Blahblah wrote: »
    Oh no, I think it is a distinct possibility that it is all made up. As far as I can see, the simplest explanation is that the stories are about a real person who was a poor artisan in Nazareth.

    Ok yes it's a conjecture but seems to require less "frequent flying" than asserting it must all be factual.

    But what I'm trying to get at is that frequent flying isn't a problem, it's just an indicator of Mary's social position. Clearly people did travel, otherwise there wouldn't be such things as inns. And some women do seem to have possessed a high degree of independence:
    From Luke 8:
    Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, 2as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

    To put it another way: if I described a character as a footballer, then I could mean he was anything from a Premier League multimillionaire to a Sunday League amateur. But if I then describe his Mercedes and his Cheshire mansion, the simplest explanation is that I wish to indicate he is the former; it would seem perverse to insist he has to be the latter and that I made up the car and mansion as embellishment.
  • I'm going to stop now as I'm not sure I'm helping the conversation. The only thing I'd say is that you are taking things as indicative that I think are most likely entirely accidental.

    But I've scratched my itch, so please continue without my tangent.
  • Blahblah wrote: »
    I'm going to stop now as I'm not sure I'm helping the conversation. The only thing I'd say is that you are taking things as indicative that I think are most likely entirely accidental.

    But I've scratched my itch, so please continue without my tangent.

    For what it's worth, @Blahblah you are not alone. The whole thing makes very little sense to me other than being a pious legend telling us that the birth is very special. It seems to me to be so firmly hagiographical that it can't be treated as history at all.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Blahblah wrote: »
    I'm going to stop now as I'm not sure I'm helping the conversation. The only thing I'd say is that you are taking things as indicative that I think are most likely entirely accidental.

    But I've scratched my itch, so please continue without my tangent.

    For what it's worth, @Blahblah you are not alone. The whole thing makes very little sense to me other than being a pious legend telling us that the birth is very special. It seems to me to be so firmly hagiographical that it can't be treated as history at all.

    Sure, but even if it is pious fiction, it is pious fiction about someone relatively well off.

    Maybe I am guilty of over-analysing, but it seems to me that a character's portrayal has MORE significance if the narrative is fictional than if it is intended as factual. That is, if it's factual, then it needn't signify more than 'Well, that's what happened', but if fictional, then the author had a choice to tell one story rather than another, and so we can ask why they made that choice.

    Example: if I write a biography of Jürgen Klopp, and recount that after a certain match the great man broke his glasses, that probably means his glasses got broken. If I write Klopp fan-fiction, and invent an episode where he breaks his glasses, then I am probably doing so to create some kind of effect.

    Another example: if I write historical fiction about Shakespeare, it would not be odd to invent random quarrels or love affairs, but it would be odd to make him a destitute orphan rather than a middle-class glover's son.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    Well, your position also looks like conjecture. If you want to argue that we can know nothing at all, then fair enough. But you seem to be arguing that we can know Jesus' family was poor, on what looks like fairly weak evidence to me, and then you explain away the descriptions of Mary in Luke by saying 'the writers/editors made a cursory effort to make the story coherent by inventing stuff that is basically impossible.'

    We know that when Jesus was presented in the temple, his parents paid in pigeons not sheep. This marks them as poor.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Joseph was a village "carpenter", and in those days much of his work would not have been in building houses or sheds, but in making ox yokes and other items for farm use. He would not have been poor in the sense that there was never enough money for adequate food, but certainly he would not have been making sufficient for all his requirements in old age. If he did in fact live that long, he would have been needing some assistance from sons. Hence Jesus places Mary in John's care.
  • Why not in James' care, or the care of one of his blood brothers, if brothers by blood they were?
  • Duh! Because he was The Beloved Disciple
  • Because John was there, and the others had run away?

    Either that, or he was proclaiming Mary as Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea, Co-Redemptrix, and the new Eve. Which one sounds more likely, I wonder?
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Well, your position also looks like conjecture. If you want to argue that we can know nothing at all, then fair enough. But you seem to be arguing that we can know Jesus' family was poor, on what looks like fairly weak evidence to me, and then you explain away the descriptions of Mary in Luke by saying 'the writers/editors made a cursory effort to make the story coherent by inventing stuff that is basically impossible.'

    We know that when Jesus was presented in the temple, his parents paid in pigeons not sheep. This marks them as poor.

    Yeah, that is the strongest argument that I am wrong.

    But Luke also claims that Mary and Joseph went to the Temple in person every year, which would mark them as unusually mobile, at least.

  • Simply pious. The Law required it.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Well, your position also looks like conjecture. If you want to argue that we can know nothing at all, then fair enough. But you seem to be arguing that we can know Jesus' family was poor, on what looks like fairly weak evidence to me, and then you explain away the descriptions of Mary in Luke by saying 'the writers/editors made a cursory effort to make the story coherent by inventing stuff that is basically impossible.'

    We know that when Jesus was presented in the temple, his parents paid in pigeons not sheep. This marks them as poor.

    Yeah, that is the strongest argument that I am wrong.

    But Luke also claims that Mary and Joseph went to the Temple in person every year, which would mark them as unusually mobile, at least.
    Does it? As LC says, the expectation set out in Torah was that everyone went to Jerusalem for Pesach, Shavout and Sukkot? Plus there was the expectation of presenting first-born sons in the Temple 40 days after birth.

    In the context of Torah and of the Gospels, I don’t think any inference of unusual mobility can be drawn from going to the Temple at least once a year. That kind of mobility is presented as normal.

  • Because John was there, and the others had run away?

    Either that, or he was proclaiming Mary as Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea, Co-Redemptrix, and the new Eve. Which one sounds more likely, I wonder?

    10 for 10 on snark, 0 for 10 on logic.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Simply pious. The Law required it.

    And as a carpenter, Joseph would not have had flocks to tend, crops to be weeded and harvested, and so forth.
  • It’s worth considering the more communal nature of the culture. I suspect (based on personal experiences with another) that useful teenagers would have been lent around to kinsfolk much more readily; that it would have been fairly easy to find a trusted relative or neighbor traveling in the general direction of Zechariah ‘s home (Jerusalem lay that way, after all) for Mary to travel with; and a strong young woman willing to do chores along the way for the traveling party (and possibly toting provisions) could travel very cheap, esp. if on foot. As a young adult, it’s likely her parents put more faith in her ability to handle the trip than we might, with our extended adolescence; she was about to be married, after all, and leave parental control completely. And if she came of a pious family, as seems likely, chances are good she had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem at least once before. Plus, long trips on foot seem to be more usual in premodern cultures, and not so out of the ordinary as some of us seem to find this one. (And it would help to stop imagining Mary as a strict Islamic girl kept more or less in the home; Jewish women seem always to have had a large degree of freedom and self determination.)
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    I'm going to doubt the "staying in inns" idea too. That would be expensive for anybody, plus it supposes that inns would be conveniently located where one wanted them at the end of each day. I suspect most nights would be spent more or less camping, if no hospitable family could be found--much as her Son must have done in his time, with his talk of having no place to lay his head. And if she was in fact traveling in company (which was only sensible for any safety-minded traveler--again, see Jesus'parables), then the purpose of the larger group's travel was likely either pilgrimage (which suggests a group too large for most inns, which would in any case be over-crowded at such times) or else commerce--which does not rule out inns but may also imply a larger group with wagons etc and with a need to guard the merchandise, quite likely by sleeping near it. It's a balance of probabilities, but I would think it more likely for a merchant group to be carrying something fairly bulky and agricultural, given where they'd be coming from--fish or fleeces perhaps, not the more portable and inn-friendly goods of a goldsmith.
  • There's a delightful miniature by Simon Bening (1484-1561) in the Hours of Albrecht of Brandenburg in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge that shows Mary undertaking this journey accompanied by a young angel a couple of paces behind her, carrying what looks for all the world like a briefcase.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Because John was there, and the others had run away?

    Either that, or he was proclaiming Mary as Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea, Co-Redemptrix, and the new Eve. Which one sounds more likely, I wonder?

    10 for 10 on snark, 0 for 10 on logic.

    Fair cop.

    As a Prot, I don't understand the whole Mary thing. I've been told that Jesus asking John to care for her shows he is telling the whole church to venerate her, and that's far too big a jump for me. But this may be the topic for another thread.
  • cgichard wrote: »
    There's a delightful miniature by Simon Bening (1484-1561) in the Hours of Albrecht of Brandenburg in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge that shows Mary undertaking this journey accompanied by a young angel a couple of paces behind her, carrying what looks for all the world like a briefcase.

    Oh it does, doesn't it?

    https://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/illuminated/manuscript/discover/leaves-from-the-hours-of-albrecht-of-brandenburg/folio/ms-294b/section/panel-intro
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Galilit wrote: »
    cgichard wrote: »
    There's a delightful miniature by Simon Bening (1484-1561) in the Hours of Albrecht of Brandenburg in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge that shows Mary undertaking this journey accompanied by a young angel a couple of paces behind her, carrying what looks for all the world like a briefcase.

    Oh it does, doesn't it?

    https://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/illuminated/manuscript/discover/leaves-from-the-hours-of-albrecht-of-brandenburg/folio/ms-294b/section/panel-intro

    Business class?
  • he was proclaiming Mary as [...] Co-Redemptrix (...)

    News just in: you may need to revise your list to delete that term and add the descriptor: "disciple": Pope calls idea of declaring Mary co-redemptrix ‘foolishness’...
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Joseph was a village "carpenter", and in those days much of his work would not have been in building houses or sheds, but in making ox yokes and other items for farm use. He would not have been poor in the sense that there was never enough money for adequate food, but certainly he would not have been making sufficient for all his requirements in old age. If he did in fact live that long, he would have been needing some assistance from sons. Hence Jesus places Mary in John's care.
    That might be circumstantial evidence that Joseph was an older man, a widower and that there might have been tensions between Jesus's half-siblings and their stepmother. It would also fit with the notion that St James was not a disciple in Jesus's lifetime, only became one when Jesus appeared to him after the Resurrection (1 Cor 15), but was respected as the leader in Jerusalem because of his family connection with Jesus.

  • I've been racking my brains (and the internet) to recall a delightful poem I once read that describes Joseph greeting Christ on his descent to Hades with the words: "How's your mother, lad?"
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    cgichard wrote: »
    I've been racking my brains (and the internet) to recall a delightful poem I once read that describes Joseph greeting Christ on his descent to Hades with the words: "How's your mother, lad?"

    I think I found it: https://whitesmokeahoy.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-is-your-mother-son.html
  • That was purely lovely.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Because John was there, and the others had run away?

    Either that, or he was proclaiming Mary as Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea, Co-Redemptrix, and the new Eve. Which one sounds more likely, I wonder?

    10 for 10 on snark, 0 for 10 on logic.

    Fair cop.

    As a Prot, I don't understand the whole Mary thing. I've been told that Jesus asking John to care for her shows he is telling the whole church to venerate her, and that's far too big a jump for me. But this may be the topic for another thread.

    No, Gabriel tells the whole church to venerate her in Luke 2. Christ's committing her to John suggests she had no other offspring. Doesn't prove. But suggests. Otherwise to tell her, "John will take care of you now, not your natural son James," is very unnatural.
  • Thankyou so much for finding it, Lyda.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    You are very welcome.
  • The argument that I am familiar with about the poverty of Mary related to Luke 2 v24 and the sacrifice of a pair of doves. The NIV links this to Leviticus 12 v8 on the purification of a woman after childbirth and says ‘8 But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’
  • The evidence I see in the gospels is Christ's relationship with his brothers was strained at the very least. I find it surprising how quickly the become big players in the church post resurrection. This suggests to me that simply James might not have been around for Jesus to commit Mary's care to so he simply took the person at hand who he'd trust, John.
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    he was proclaiming Mary as [...] Co-Redemptrix (...)

    News just in: you may need to revise your list to delete that term and add the descriptor: "disciple": Pope calls idea of declaring Mary co-redemptrix ‘foolishness’...

    Delighted to hear it!
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