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The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus Hardcover – November 15, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this slim, engaging volume, McKnight (Protestant author of The Jesus Creed) makes the case that the real Mary of the Bible has been hijacked by theological controversies. He begins by noting that Mary has been seen by turns as a compliant "resting womb," a damaging stereotype of passivity, a Christmas figure and a source of "reaction formation" by Protestants, as well as the mother of Jesus. "The real Mary is no offense to Protestants, but rather a woman for us to honor," he insists, envisioning her as an impoverished, bold, gutsy woman of faith. He also portrays her as neither goddess nor supersaint, but as the mother of God. McKnight lends interesting cultural context to Mary's simple and courageous words, "let it be," and unpacks the Magnificat as a song of protest and revolution. He poignantly portrays Mary's gradual knowledge that her son would not be the triumphant king envisioned as Messiah, and makes a somewhat controversial case for Mary having other children. His sections on the immaculate conception and Mary as mediatrix in prayer should help debunk some Protestants' false impressions of Catholic belief. McKnight's lucid, sometimes humorous, conversational style makes this an accessible book for a wide pool of evangelical readers. (Jan.)
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"The silenced Mary of Protestantism who only shows up quietly at Christmas needs to be dismissed as unhistorical. It is time for a Mary upgrade in the Evangelical world. Highly recommended!" BEN WITHERINGTON, Professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary" --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Paraclete Pr (November 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557255237
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557255235
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #765,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Labarum VINE VOICE on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In general, if you want to get Evangelical Protestants nervous, start talking positively about Mary. Not that they think Mary the mother of our Lord is a bad person or anything, but that they insist she needs to kept in her place - which usually is limited to a brief mention during the Christmas season. Even those who think that positive Scriptural role models for women are important would much rather talk about Ruth or Esther or anyone but the virgin who gave birth to the Savior. In their eyes, Mary is more a Catholic rather than a Biblical figure.

Scot McKnight thinks this sort of thinking is all wrong. While unabashedly Evangelical in outlook, he sees Mary as one of the most important figures in the New Testament. He also thinks the traditional thinking of Mary is highly skewed in both Catholic and Protestant traditions (admitting a level of ignorance on the delicate distinctions between the Catholic and Orthodox views of Mary - and preferrng that issue be handled by experts - he limits himself to the Western tradtiions). In The Real Mary he attempts to give a new view based upon the Scriptures of the New Testament and the cultural atmosphere of the world of Second Temple Judaism.

McKnight divides the book into three parts. The first and longest examines the evidence of Holy Scipture concerning Mary. In this section, the most important theme and one that is reinforced often is that the common picture of a passive Mary wiith Catholics seeing her as a blissful soul with an almost stoic acceptance of God's directives and Protestants looking at her as little more than an incubator for the Word made flesh are both entirely erroneous.
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In the first chapter, Scot McKnight asks "Why a book on Mary?". One of the answers is because most Protestants haven't given much thought to Mary. He's describing me and this book was an excellent introduction to the subject of the Virgin Mary.

He covers the biblical texts referring to Mary and exegetically, doesn't really add much to the story. However, once he begins to draw out the implications and tie it into the historical background in which the Gospel story is located, he has some very excellent proposals that are plausible and tie in the Birth narratives to the rest of the Gospels story in the gospels and the epistles.

One primary example is his coverage of the Magnificat. He sees it as a very unsettling song and thought pattern that undermines the powers that be (Herod and Caesar). He gives the historical background for why. His suggestion dovetails nicely with other theologians' (N.T. Wright, Jaroslav Pelikan, etc) understanding as to why the Christian proclamation "Jesus is Lord" was a threat to to the Empire's proclamation "Caesar is Lord" and the resulting conflict between Christianity and the Empire. Each chapter has very suggestive proposals as to Mary's impact and influence on the early church. They are all plausible, but he leaves it to the reader to wrestle and decide.

His second great contribution is two chapters at the end concerning the Controversial Mary, the Mary seen by Catholics vis a vis Protestants. I am not very familiar with the true Catholic views on Mary. As a life-long Protestant, and for many years, a Fundamentalist, I have been conditioned to reject all things Catholic, especially its views on Mary.
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Format: Hardcover
Scot McKnight accomplishes two good objectives with his latest book The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus (Paraclete Press, 2006). First, as the subtitle suggests, Scot wants to take the jitters out of evangelicals who are jumpy about honoring Mary the Mother of Jesus. Some kind of anti-Catholic Protestant Reformation residue lingers on many of us and we find it hard to honor Mary because we might be mistaken for "worshiping" her. With a scholar's keen research, a pastor's concerned heart, and a writer's competent, engaging communication style, McKnight presents a down-to-earth, gospels-based Mary. Young Mary is a true, courageous human being surrendering to her part in the unfolding drama of God's story. Scot doesn't present a religious, stained-glass goddess, but a fiesty, gutsy, intelligent, deeply devoted woman who wrestles with the demands, responsibilities and heartaches of being the Mother of God-in-flesh. Second, Scot wants the Catholic readers of the book to assess where they may have gone too far in honoring Mary, not so much in practice as in theological pronouncements. This is done, once again, in plain, understandable language. Scot is fair because he shows that some Protestants have misunderstood some basic tenets of what Catholics believe about Mary. I was surprised by how many Protestant "greats" in church history believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary. On the more controversial theological issues, Scot offers in-depth chapters toward the end of the book. Scot "unpacks" Mary's Magnificat showing the deeply held convictions Mary had regarding God's redemptive work in the world. Scot converses about how much Mary influenced Jesus' own vision and mission of his ministry.Read more ›
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