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Empress and Handmaid: On Nature and Gender in the Cult of the Virgin Mary

ISBN-13: 978-0304707812
ISBN-10: 0304707813
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Editorial Reviews


"Boss presents an original thesis about Mary's place in western culture: the virgin of the twelfth century is the true antithesis to the pornography that dominates our current visual media….informed and illuminating…Her arguments are always intelligent and based on widespread, interdisciplinary reading." -Religious Studies Review, April 2001

"This is a wonderfully robust and zestful book, which employs the resources of social theory and social anthropology to question some of the most cherished assumptions of post-Conciliar Catholicism, and to demand a fresh look at aspects of the tradition which Dr Boss believes can assist us to a fuller and richer theology of the material world and the natural order…This exciting contribution to the reconstruction of Marian theology will ruffle feathers and enliven debate: it deserves a wide readership."—The Heythrop Journal 42.2

"Dr Boss has written a work that is not only rich in historical scholarship but also illuminating in its analysis…Her objective yet appreciative approach enables certain questions to be considered that more exhortatory approaches would avoid raising…Boss's book does not close questions but opens them."
-Irish Theological Quarterly, 2001

"Boss's book is a fascinating study which combines sociology, theological, political and cultural history and takes modern Marian studies a step further. It is highly recommended reading for those interested in Marian studies as well as feminist theology and the interface between the social sciences and theology. Boss shows the potential of the philosophy of the Frankfurt School for critical theological study thereby showing the possibilities that theology offers as a critical tool within academic study, politics and society at large."—Modern Believing, July, 2001

"A provocative take on the transformation of the image of Mary from powerful queen of medieval times to the demure maiden of modernity." —Theological Studies.

"One of the most fascinating and original treatments of the cult of the Virgin Mary in recent years […] this book by Sarah Jane Boss deserves careful and serious attention." —Louvain Studies 26 (2001)

About the Author

Sarah Jane Boss is Director of the Centre for Marian Studies, University of Wales, Lampeter, UK.

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