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The Real Mary

August 23, 2012

As a Theology professor it is not very often I read a book that is completely new and causes me to rethink large areas of my thought and conclusions. The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace The Mother of God by Scott McKnight (Paraklete Press, 2007) Like most Christians I have certainly thought about Mary at Advent and in light of the various Biblical passages where her name appears. I have also been exposed to discussions on how the elevation of Mary was an issue duringg the Reformation and thus the issues surrounding Mary were settled theologicaly centuries ago. It took a Biblical scholar on the level of Dr. Scott McKnight to help me see that there was much more to be considered. The work begins by asking the logical question why would a protestant write a book about Mary? Scott answers this question with some brilliant insight, because Mary can model faith, because unreal views of Mary damage theology and oppress women, bbecause of the Magnificat, because most of us know more about what we don’t believe about Mary than what we should model in our own lives from Mary. The 170 page book covers every occurrence in the Biblical narrative in a systematic, logic and chronological manner which is amazingly revealing. In discussing the Magnificat Scott mentions the influence of Mary and her early life reflection on her son James and his contribution to the New Testament with parallel themes between the two sections of Scripture-WOW! Scott also talks about theological development in the Church’s teaching about Mary and does not shy away from very real protestant concerns but corrects overstatements and misconceptions about Roman Catholic teachings and their development through the years. If you work in a context of Roman Catholic thought this book is must reading. I understand so much better than before the complete picture of Mary’s journey of faith and obedience, her struggles, her character than ever before Mary is too compelling a figure in the Scriptures to be ignored, relegated to just Christmas, or to be feared. Read this book!

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