Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rita Nakashima Brock on "The Importance of Mary's Virginity"

There is an interesting piece in the Huffington Post on how Mary's virginity is more about resistence to the Roman Empire than Mary's "purity:"

Rita Nakashima Brock writes:

We might describe the story of Mary as a powerful rejection of patriarchal family systems and imperial powers that oppress everyone subject to them. By blessing her and trusting her with the Spirit in human flesh, God challenges the rich, proud, and haughty, which means those who love her story and follow Jesus ought to be doing the same. 

I wish she had fleshed this out more and spent less time on a history lesson.  However, this is a blog post in the Huffington Post, not a religious journal.  

But the idea intrigues me as it goes along with my theory that at the heart of many of the stories and legends the virginity and chastity of the early women saints and martyrs are a protest against a culture that gives women no say over who has control over their bodies.  I said more about this when I wrote about Santa Lucia last year.

In another life I'd write a doctoral thesis on this subject.  Someday someone will or write a book and I will bemoan the fact that I thought of it first but then remind myself I did nothing about it and be glad someone else fleshed it out.  Hopefully.  Or maybe I will write that dissertation.  I'm not dead yet, as my late husband used to say when I nagged him about things he hadn't done.


  1. I would not be surprised if Rita Nakashima Brock is, indeed, be working on a book on this theme. If so, you can bet it to have a lot of history, but also a fair amount of theology. :)

  2. I don't always agree with Ms. Brock, but I like what she's up to here! A while back, I did a little reading on how Kittel (of theological dictionary fame) joined the Nazi party in the thirties. Historical research led him to believe that Jesus was not Jesus, but Aryan. (outside sources claim that a Roman soldier was Jesus' father). So, Jesus was an Aryan.

    I certainly like where Brock is taking this, theologically, a lot better.

    And who says you can't write that dissertation?

  3. The little I've read by Brock I have liked. However I have found that occasionally she proposes good ideas but does not develop them. That was my experience of her underdeveloped redemptive theology of atonement in Ashes to Proverbs - which just left me hanging - and now it sounds like a similar lack of development here - good ideas that need more work...