The Virgin Mary in the Perceptions of Women: Mother, Protector and Queen Since the Middle Ages (BOK)
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Once, the Virgin Mary was a pivotal element of Christianity, a holy figure at the heart of most Christians' spiritual lives. She was invoked at all major life passages - baptisms, weddings, childbirths, and funerals - and images of the Virgin Mary could be found virtually anywhere, from pub signs to sacred texts. Medieval women especially looked to Mary to answer their prayers, be their role model, and serve as their advocate in heaven. They prayed to her several times a day and sometimes devoted their entire lives to her service.This book investigates perceptions of the Virgin Mary through several centuries of literature. Focusing especially on the depictions of the Virgin Mary in medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, the author rediscovers a time when the Divine Female was very much in evidence, and good Christian women were taught to pray to a Holy Mother. The topics include the cyclical popularity of Virgin Mary; devotional objects such as Books of Hours, rosaries, and Marian gardens; the mystical qualities attributed to the Virgin Mary through centuries of reported divine visions; the historical relationships between the Virgin Mary and other religious figures, including the Devil; and Mary Magdalene as an alternative to the Virgin Mary as a feminine model.