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date: 24 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

For well over half of the more than two thousand years of Christian history, Mary was viewed as much through the lens of Old Testament exegesis as through those brief passages in the New Testament that mention her, which is to say that the dominant mode of speaking about and understanding her was typological or figural. Epithets such as ‘the new Eve’ (Gen. 1–3), ‘Jacob’s ladder’ (Gen. 28:10–16), ‘burning bush’ (Ex. 3:1–8), ‘fleece of Gideon’ (Judg. 6:37–40), ‘ark’ (2 Kgs 6.14–23), ‘bridal chamber’ (Ps. 18:6), ‘tower of ivory’ (Song of Songs 7:4), ‘rod of Jesse’ (Isa. 11:1), and many more were once deeply significant to all Christians, from the most erudite of theologians to the simplest of faithful. This chapter examines the origins, nature, and significance of Marian typology and symbolism in the Patristic period with the aim of providing the contemporary reader with the necessary exegetical and hermeneutic keys for a fuller understanding of the original significance of this elaborate imagery.

Keywords: Virgin Mary, type, figure, allegory, symbolism, exegesis, imagery, biblical, Patristic, reception, hermeneutics

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