By Mary Jane Chaignot

Categories: Biblical Teachings

  • Mariology is the theological study of Mary promulgated by various Christian traditions.
  • A wide range of views exists among the traditions of Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Protestantism.
  • Mary is the mother of Jesus.
  • The Council of Ephesus (431 CE) was the first to sanction Mary as the Mother of God (Theotokos, i.e., the bearer of God.)
  • This simply culminated centuries of devotion to Mary. Some saw her as the new Eve, the one who was obedient to God (unlike the original Eve who disobeyed God's command).
  • Mary was also venerated as a powerful mediator between mankind and her son.
  • By the fifth century, there were many apocryphal books devoted to her life. It was also at this time that Churches began to be named after her.
  • By the seventh century, special feast-days were assigned to her.
  • Historians believe devotion to the Virgin Mary actually improved the status of women during the middle ages – i.e., chivalry, knight in shining armor, etc. (Though others claim it was vice versa.)
  • Among Roman Catholics, there are four dogmas relating to Mary that are a part of their theology.
    • She is a perpetual virgin – before, during, and after Jesus was born.
    • She is the mother of God (Council of Ephesus, 431).
    • She was the product of an immaculate conception (she had no original sin) (Pope Pius IX, 1854).
    • She did not die, but was assumed into heaven (Pope Pius XII, 1950).
  • Pope Pius also created several centers dedicated to the study and research of Mariology.
  • Over the centuries, people have been warned not to get so involved with veneration of Mary that they forget the proper veneration of Jesus. (Yet, comments like "Mary leads us to Christ" or "Mary is the way to Christ" remain popular.)
  • Mariology means different things to different theologians.
  • Some see it as an historical development, while others focus more on her role in the mystery of salvation.
  • Still others refer only to her attributes.
  • Her relation to Jesus (mother to son) is the basis for much of the current research.
  • She is considered to be the model of virginity and virtue; she was free of sin.
  • Many see her as the bridge between the old and new covenants established between God and his chosen people.
  • OT references to "Daughter of Zion" are believed to enrich one's understanding of Mary's role throughout scripture. Every remarkable OT woman pre-figures Mary.
  • Less clear is her designation as the Ark of the Covenant. This is based on parallel passages between Exodus 40:34, 35 and Luke 1:35. It builds on the idea that Mary's visit to Elizabeth was similar to the transportation of the Ark to Jerusalem, as well as the time when she (along with Joseph) brought Jesus to the Temple for his dedication.
  • In the NT she is seen as the "new Eve" (since Jesus is the "new Adam"). Many also see her as the embodiment of the woman in Revelation who joins the son in fighting the red dragon.
  • Marian scholars (mostly Roman Catholics) admit that Protestants and Fundamentalists do not share their views on Mary.

Bible Characters