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The Virgin Mary: the iconography of a goddess. Angie M. Kenna April 17, 2001 GHR 260:Religious Foundations of Greek Institutions. Five Dogmas of Virgin Mary. Mary, Mother of God. 431. Luke. Matthew. Mary, the Perpetual Virgin. 649. Infancy Gospel of James.

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The virgin mary the iconography of a goddess

The Virgin Mary:the iconography of a goddess

Angie M. Kenna

April 17, 2001

GHR 260:Religious Foundations of Greek Institutions

Five dogmas of virgin mary
Five Dogmas of Virgin Mary

  • Mary, Mother of God. 431. Luke. Matthew.

  • Mary, the Perpetual Virgin. 649. Infancy Gospel of James.

  • Mary Immaculate (her immaculate conception, born without original sin). 1854. Pope Pius IX in Infancy Gospel of James.

  • Assumption of Mary. “Body and Soul into heaven” & “exalted as Queen of the Universe”. Nov. 1950. Pope Pius XII

  • Mary, Mother of the Church. Nov. 21, 1964 (One of the Feast Days). Pope Paul VI; Second Vatican Council.

Portion of the litany of loreto

Holy Mary, pray for us. Holy Mother of God, Holy Virgin of virgins, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church, Mother of divine grace, Mother most pure, Mother most chaste, Mother inviolate, Mother undefiled, Mother most amiable, Mother most admirable, Mother of good counsel, Mother of our Creator, Mother of our Savior, Virgin most prudent, Virgin most venerable, Virgin most renowned, Virgin most powerful, Virgin most merciful, Virgin most faithful, Mirror of justice, Seat of wisdom, Cause of our joy, Spiritual vessel, Vessel of honor,

Singular vessel of devotion, Mystical rose, Tower of David, Tower of ivory, House of gold, Ark of the covenant, Gate of heaven, Morning star, Health of the sick, Refuge of sinners, Comforter of the afflicted, Help of Christians, Queen of angels, Queen of patriarchs, Queen of prophets, Queen of apostles, Queen of martyrs, Queen of confessors, Queen of virgins, Queen of all saints, Queen conceived without original sin, Queen assumed into heaven, Queen of the most holy Rosary, Queen of families Queen of peace.

Portion of the Litany of Loreto

Isaiah 7 14

Isaiah 7:14:

“Behold a(n) ‘almâh shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God is with us.”

Translation of ‘almah in Septuagint parthenos, rather than neanis.

Matthew 1:20-23

“’Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take May home with you to be your wife. It is through the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. She will bear a son; and you shall give him the name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this happened in order to fulfill what the Lord declared through the prophet, ‘A virgin (parthenos) will conceive and bear a son, and he shall be called Emmanuel, a name which means ‘God is with us’.”

Isaiah 7:14

Waiting for a virgin
Waiting for a Virgin

  • New Testament writers as Hellenized Jews.

  • Familiar with hero birth story; according to Gregory Riley in One Jesus Many Christs: the writers of the Gospels and their readers “expected a work like the story of Jesus to be the story of a hero”.(69)

Our Lady crushing the head of a serpent


The virgin mary the iconography of a goddess

In the Aenid, Virgil traces the founding of Rome, modeled after the Homeric epics. The dead hero Anchises talks with his son, Aeneas, in Elysium, giving him a prophesy.

“This man, this is he whom you have often heard promised to you, Augustus Caesar, offspring of a god, who will again found the Golden Age.”

Cameo of Augustus Caesar

The virgin mary the iconography of a goddess

Leonardo da Vinci

Leda and Her Two Sons Castor and Pollux.

Painting (c.XV-XVI century). Borghese Gallery, Rome, Italy.

The virgin mary the iconography of a goddess

But Zeus loved Semele and bedded with her unknown to Hera. Now Zeus had agreed to do for her whatever she asked, and deceived by Hera she asked that he would come to her as he came when he was wooing Hera. Unable to refuse, Zeus came to her bridal chamber in a chariot, with lightnings and thunderings, and launched a thunderbolt. But Semele expired of fright, and Zeus,snatching the sixth-month abortive child from the fire, sewed it in his thigh. On the death of Semele the other daughters of Cadmus spread a report that Semele had bedded with a mortal man, and had falsely accused Zeus, and that therefore she had been blasted by thunder. But at the proper time Zeus undid the stitches and gave birth to Dionysus, and entrusted him to Hermes. And he conveyed him to Ino and Athamas, and persuaded them to rear him as a girl. Apollodorus 3.4.3

Hermes and the Birth of Dionysus