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date: 17 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Mariological reflection in some second-century Fathers is introduced, especially the parallel with Eve; this explicit reflection on Mary is set beside second-century reflection on the Church as Virgin Mother, a tradition only later explicitly related to Mary as Virgin Mother. Attention is paid to the second-century Protevangelium of James with its remarkably developed Mariology; the nature of its esotericism is discussed, and later apocryphal texts introduced. Other tantalizing hints of devotion to Mary are mentioned, not least the use of the title Theotokos in a prayer belonging, possibly, to the third century. Mary’s virginity as an ascetic model in the fourth-century ascetic movement is briefly discussed. The first elaborate celebration of Mary is found in the liturgical poetry of the fourth-century Ephrem the Syrian. Mariology developed dramatically from the fifth century, witnessed in Proklos’ homilies, Romanos’ Kontakia, and the Akathist Hymn.

Keywords: Esoteric, Theotokos, asceticism, virginity, liturgical poetry

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