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date: 17 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Today, if one were to identify a single quality that typifies Mary other than her virginity it might well be her humility, yet this has not always been so. Despite the emphasis on her humility in Luke’s Gospel the Fathers in the early centuries of the Church mainly showed more interest in her virginity and obedience. Only in the eighth century, especially with Bede, did Mary come to be widely identified with humility, leading to a remarkable shift in her image in the Western Church; in fact by the twelfth century, Bernard of Clairvaux declared that her humility was more important than her virginity in God’s choice of her as his Mother. This chapter examines the complex factors that led to Mary becoming so closely identified with the virtue in the Latin Church and discuss the nature of Marian humility in this period, often mistakenly confused with passivity and servility.

Keywords: Virgin Mary, humility, obedience, Patristic, Medieval, monastic, kenosis, biblical, Greco-Roman, recapitulation, creation

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