Mary, Mother of Martyrs
How Motherhood Became Self-Sacrifice in Early Christianity
- ISBN: 9781457562372
- Published By: Feminist Studies in Religion
- Published: August 2018
The Virgin Mary has been idealized as a self-sacrificing mother throughout Christian history. But she is not the only maternal figure from early Christian history whose story is connected to violent loss. Thus, this book examines several ancient representations of mothers and children in contexts of socio-political violence (including Mary in the canonical gospels, the female figures in the Revelation to John, the Maccabean mother with seven sons, and the co-martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas) in order to demonstrate the ways that notions of early Christian motherhood, as today, are contextual and are produced for various political, social, and ethical reasons. In each chapter, the ancient maternal figure is juxtaposed with an example of contemporary maternal activism (the madres de Plaza de Mayo, Pussy Riot, women in the FMLN, and women suicide attackers), to highlight the ways that maternal self-sacrifice can be understood as strategic, varied, politically charged, and rhetorically flexible.