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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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Mapping a New Approach to Early Marian Piety

Mapping a New Approach to Early Marian Piety

(p.1) Introduction Mapping a New Approach to Early Marian Piety
Mary in Early Christian Faith and Devotion

Stephen J. Shoemaker

Yale University Press

This book examines the rise of Marian piety in the early Christian period. Focusing primarily on the period from the latter half of the second century to the first half of the fifth, it shows how Mary evolved as a focus of Christian devotion and situates the origins of Marian devotion within the broader context of emergent Christian devotion to the saints. The book draws on scattered and often overlooked evidence for early Marian piety, from the beginnings of Christianity up to and including the events of the Council of Ephesus. It considers one important text, the Protevangelium of James, and bridges it with the Marian veneration of the fifth and later centuries through other sources from the second, third, and fourth centuries. This introduction clarifies some of the relevant terms used in the book to refer to the various kinds of reverence that the early Christians had for the Virgin, such as ‘piety’, ‘devotion’, ‘veneration’, and ‘cult’.

Keywords:   saints, Marian piety, Christianity, Mary, Christian devotion, Marian devotion, Council of Ephesus, Protevangelium of James, Marian veneration, early Christian period

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