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The Reception of the Virgin in Byzantium
Marian Narratives in Texts and Images

Thomas Arentzen, Mary B. Cunningham, Maria Lidova, Andrea Olsen Lam, Eirini Panou, Maria Evangelatou, Leslie Brubaker, Georgia Frank, Derek Krueger, Damaskinos Olkinuora, Stephen J. Shoemaker, Francesca Dell'Acqua, Evgenios Iverites, Elizabeth Jeffreys, Maximos Constas, Susan Ashbrook Harvey
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  • Publication planned for: September 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108476287


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About the Authors
  • This book explores how the Virgin Mary's life is told in hymns, sermons, icons, art, and other media in the Byzantine Empire before AD 1204. A group of international specialists examines material and textual evidence from both Byzantine and Muslim-ruled territories that was intended for a variety of settings and audiences and seeks to explain why Byzantine artisans and writers chose to tell stories about Mary, the Mother of God, in such different ways. Sometimes the variation reflected the theological or narrative purposes of story-tellers; sometimes it expressed their personal spiritual preoccupations. Above all, the variety of aspects that this holy figure assumed in Byzantium reveals her paradoxical theological position as meeting-place and mediator between the divine and created realms. Narrative, whether 'historical', theological, or purely literary, thus played a fundamental role in the development of the Marian cult from Late Antiquity onward.

    • Provides a new, interdisciplinary approach to the cult of the Virgin Mary in Byzantium focused on the narratives told about her in texts and in art
    • Discusses relatively unexplored topics such as hymnography, images, homiletics, and hagiography
    • Helps to explain the reception of earlier narratives (both scriptural and apocryphal) of the Virgin Mary in Byzantium during the Middle Byzantine period
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: September 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108476287
    • length: 378 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 181 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.93kg
    • contains: 53 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Thomas Arentzen and Mary B. Cunningham
    Part I. Telling Visual Stories: The Virgin Mary in Art:
    1. Embodied word: telling the story of Mary in early Christian art Maria Lidova
    2. Female devotion and Mary's motherhood before iconoclasm Andrea Olsen Lam
    3. The theological substance of St Anne's motherhood in Byzantine homilies and art Eirini Panou
    4. Krater of nectar and altar of the Bread of Life: the Theotokos as provider of the Eucharist in Byzantine culture Maria Evangelatou
    5. The Virgin at Daphni Leslie Brubaker
    Part II. Song and Celebration: Festal Hymnography on the Theotokos:
    6. The dialogue of Annunciation: Germanos of Constantinople versus Romanos the Melode Thomas Arentzen
    7. Singing Mary: the Annunciation and Nativity in Romanos the Melode Georgia Frank
    8. Mary and Adam on the threshold of Lent: counterpoint and intercession in a Kanon for Cheesefare Sunday Derek Krueger
    9. The spiritual and material temple: Byzantine Kanon poetry for the Feast of the Entrance Damaskinos Olkinuora
    Part III. Preaching Her Story: Narrative Discourse in Homiletics:
    10. The Coptic homily on the Theotokos attributed to Cyril of Jerusalem: an aberrant and apologetic 'life' of the Virgin from Late Antiquity Stephen J. Shoemaker
    11. Mary as 'scala caelestis' in eighth- and ninth-century Italy Francesca Dell'Acqua
    12. Christological and ecclesiological narratives in early eighth-century Greek homilies on the Theotokos Evgenios Iverites
    13. The homilies of James of Kokkinobaphos in their twelfth-century context Elizabeth Jeffreys
    Part IV. New Narratives in the Middle Byzantine Period: Marian Hagiography:
    14. The life of the Theotokos by Epiphanios of Kallistratos: a monastic approach to an apocryphal story Mary B. Cunningham
    15. The story of an edition: Antoine Wenger and John Geometres' Life of the Virgin Mary Maximos Constas
    Afterword Susan Ashbrook Harvey.

  • Editors

    Thomas Arentzen, Universitetet i Oslo
    Thomas Arentzen is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Faculty of Theology at the Universitetet i Oslo and currently a Fellow in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, DC. He is also a Reader in Church History at Lunds Universitet. He has published widely in the fields of Marian Studies, Byzantine homiletics and hymnography as well as Eastern Christianity. His books include Ortodoxa och österländska kyrkor i Sverige (2015) and The Virgin in Song: Mary and the Poetry of Romanos the Melodist (2017).

    Mary B. Cunningham, University of Nottingham
    Mary B. Ccunningham is an Honorary Associate Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham. She works on Byzantine homiletics, with special interest in the interaction between preacher and audience, as well as on the veneration of the Virgin Mary in early Christianity and Byzantium on other Byzantine literary genres including hagiography and hymnography. Her books include Faith in the Byzantine World (2002), Wider Than Heaven: Eighth-Century Homilies on the Mother of God (2008), and Gateway of Life: Orthodox Thinking on the Mother of God (2015).


    Thomas Arentzen, Mary B. Cunningham, Maria Lidova, Andrea Olsen Lam, Eirini Panou, Maria Evangelatou, Leslie Brubaker, Georgia Frank, Derek Krueger, Damaskinos Olkinuora, Stephen J. Shoemaker, Francesca Dell'Acqua, Evgenios Iverites, Elizabeth Jeffreys, Maximos Constas, Susan Ashbrook Harvey

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