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Mary in Early Christian Faith and Devotion$
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Stephen J. Shoemaker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300217216

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300217216.001.0001

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Mother of the Great Cherub of Light

Mother of the Great Cherub of Light

The Book of Mary’s Repose

(p.100) Chapter Three Mother of the Great Cherub of Light
Mary in Early Christian Faith and Devotion

Stephen J. Shoemaker

Yale University Press

This chapter examines one apocryphal text that offers insights into the rise of Marian piety and cult within early Christianity: the Liber Requiei Mariae, or Book of Mary’s Repose. The Book of Mary’s Repose is the earliest narrative from the so-called ‘Palm of the Tree of Life’ traditions, or ‘Palm’ traditions. It is a lengthy account of Mary’s Dormition and Assumption and bears early witness to belief in the power of Mary’s intercessions. This chapter analyzes the contents of the Book of Mary’s Repose, beginning with the opening scene in which Mary learns of her impending death from the Christ-angel and proceeds with a discussion of marital disagreement between Joseph and Mary, the restoration of harmony in the Holy Family, and the secret prayer that will enable the soul to pass through various ‘worlds’ during its ascent after death. It also discusses Jesus’s parable of the wormy trees, Mary’s funeral preparations, Mary’s Dormition and Assumption, and Marian apocalypse.

Keywords:   apocrypha, Marian piety, Book of Mary’s Repose, Dormition, intercessions, Holy Family, secret prayer, Jesus, Mary, Marian apocalypse

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