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Mary for Evangelicals: Toward an Understanding of the Mother of Our Lord Paperback – October 18, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this dense, learned study, Perry, a professor of theology at Manitoba's Providence College, attempts to bridge the different accounts of Mary that have long divided Catholics and evangelicals. The book was born of Protestant Perry's nagging sense that his tradition did not give the mother of Jesus her due. He insists, in good Protestant fashion, on grounding his evangelical Mariology in scripture, not in "postbiblical legends." Perry first examines how Mary figures in the New Testament. The major New Testament writers, according to Perry, had wildly different views of Mary, with Luke seeing her as a prophet and Paul viewing her as "no more than an anonymous mother." Perry then turns to the church fathers, arguing that medieval doctrines about Mary were not new inventions, but elaborations and clarifications of doctrines that were articulated in the patristic era. He concludes with a constructive (but too brief) Protestant theology of Mary, including the controversial claim that, in some senses, it is appropriate to consider Mary a "mediator." Thanks to Dan Brown and Elaine Pagels, many readers are interested in the women in Jesus' life. Although this book is too scholarly to attract a large following, Perry makes an important contribution to Catholic-evangelical dialogue. (Nov.)
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"Tim Perry has provided Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox believers with a rich, informative account of the development of Marian teaching and issues a call to a sound, wise and holy appropriation of Mary for the church's life today. If you're wondering why the fuss about Mary, Perry's book is an excellent place to broaden your knowledge base. I warmly recommend it." (Christopher A. Hall, provost, Eastern University, and dean of the Templeton Honors College)

"This critical study of the Virgin Mary will be invaluable to evangelicals who wish to know Mary better; yet Perry also speaks a truth when he humbly admits that, after all this study, she is still a mystery. May this volume help readers to encounter this 'mysterious' woman whom Jesus loved so much." (Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of The Illumined Heart: The Ancient Christian Path of Transformation)

"For too long Protestant evangelicals have ignored Gabriel's assessment of Jesus' mother as the one who is 'blessed among women.' Mary for Evangelicals impressively addresses this deficiency, developing a Mariology that has biblical, historical and theological integrity. In addition, Tim Perry makes a positive contribution to the larger Protestant evangelical-Roman Catholic dialogue by addressing the right issues and taking them on with sensitivity and fairness to all. Most significantly, Perry's constant refrain that Marian doctrine has evolved largely as an implication of orthodox Christology stands as a needed corrective for many Protestants who misunderstand Roman Catholic doctrine. Perry has done the Protestant evangelical community and the 'God-bearer' a great service." (Dennis Okholm, professor of theology, Azusa Pacific University)

"Deeply informed by Scripture and by two millennia of Christian tradition, Tim Perry offers Protestants--evangelical and otherwise--a patient, mature and engaging account of the necessity of theological reflection on Mary. For those who want to take seriously the Bible's own declaration that all generations will call Mary blessed, this book is required reading." (Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Helen H. P. Manson Professor of New Testament Exegesis, Princeton Theological Seminary)

"It is one sign of the strength of this book by Tim Perry that I can heartily recommend it, even though I disagree with one of his conclusions. Perry's work is fascinating--offering many new insights for reading biblical accounts of Mary and surveying historical developments, in order to show us how and why churches have become so divided over her place in God's work of salvation. This book will make you think deeply and question your assumptions--in doing so it will contribute toward uniting the community of faith and helping us all to see and follow as Mary 'directs the faithful away from herself [and] always to her Son.'" (Marva J. Dawn, author of Talking the Walk, and Teaching Fellow in Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia)

"From the fathers to the feminists, Tim Perry surveys the history of Marian traditions and comes to some conclusions that are bound to prod and provoke. I strongly agree with his two main points that evangelicals need to take a fresh look at Mary in light of the biblical witness, and that such reflection must be christologically grounded. This is an important study that deserves serious consideration." (Timothy George, dean, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, and executive editor, Christianity Today)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (October 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 083082569X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830825691
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #494,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This is the best book I have ever read as a summary and thoughtful insights regarding Mary, and the possibility of evangelicals accepting a minimal type of devotion to her.
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"With his feet planted firmly in the evangelical tradition, Timothy Perry began to think that there must be more to Mary than generally meets the evangelical eye."
It is inaccurate to pitch this as coming from an evangelical perspective. Tim Perry is an Anglican priest. Most folks would not consider that evangelical. This informs his entire approach to the subject. He is far more willing than evangelicals to consider tradition, what the church fathers have said, and the entire development of Marian traditions. I was disappointed to find that his approach is not really evangelical at all, but simply to try to induce evangelicals to be more liturgical, more sacramental. Nothing new here.
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I defer to the excellent review of this book by Michael Potemra in the National Review, Decemeber 31, 2006 page 50.
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The fact that this book was written at all makes it interesting. Dr. Perry, a Protestant, sets out to explain and even defend traditionally Catholic views of Mary. And why? He explains that we are fascinated with Mary because, "we are fascinated with Jesus. She directs the faith away from herself, always to her Son." Indeed, this is the precisely the point Catholic theologians have attempted to make for so long and, perhaps, one reason why Protestants and Catholics have found so little to share in common. Dr. Perry correctly identifies the close linkage between Marian and Christological doctrines.

Dr. Perry is to be commended for his commitment to understand and challenge his own assumptions in order to do so. The result is well-organized record of his studies and where those studies have led. His conclusions may seem not enough for some Catholics but shocking to some Protestants. Those who would argue his conclusions fall far too short may have a poor appreciation for how difficult these questions can be for a Protestant. Those who are shocked that he has concluded too much may need to pursue a similar study themselves to see if what Dr. Perry finds is not true. A good place to start would be Dr. Gamero's Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought.

At times Dr. Perry seems to be riding the fence, at one point explaining how scripture must be interpreted always in light of the sacred tradition of the church - a bold admission for a Protestant to make. On the other hand, he keeps returning to the test of scripture alone as the test for orthodoxy - the more traditional Protestant stance.
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