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Giving birth to God : the virgin empress Pulcheria and imitation of Mary in early Christian Greek and Syriac traditions

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Giving birth to God : the virgin empress Pulcheria and imitation of Mary in early Christian Greek and Syriac traditions

Foster, Judith Mary (2008) Giving birth to God : the virgin empress Pulcheria and imitation of Mary in early Christian Greek and Syriac traditions. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Since the 1970's, more attention has been paid to the early cult of the Mary, as well as to empresses in the Eastern Roman Empire. The Empress Pulcheria (399-453 C.E.), who was the granddaughter of Theodosius the Great, has been portrayed as the earthly image of Mary. This portrayal was in the context of the controversy over the title of Mary the Theotokos, or birth-giver of God, and was due to reports made by the Patriarch Nestorius and those sympathetic to him that Pulcheria had said that she had given birth to God. This study investigates the reported claim in order to establish whether it represents the patristic teaching of giving birth to Christ. I will do this by providing a survey of the cult of Mary up to the early fifth century; second, examining the theological trends and socio-religious climate from the mid-fourth to early fifth centuries; third, considering the foundational spiritual traditions of the empress Pulcheria; fourth, reviewing the development of the mystical teaching of giving birth to Christ, through Eastern Syrian, Cappadocian-Alexandrian and Constantinopolitan theologians. The thesis demonstrates that the mystical teaching of giving birth to Christ was indeed followed by male and female ascetics, wives and mothers who took Mary for their model. The practice was Christ-centered and reflected an individualistic spirituality and also a collective solidarity with women, the sick, suffering and the enslaved. The report that Pulcheria had given birth to God, specifically reflects the burgeoning conflict over the Theotokos title.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Theological Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Foster, Judith Mary
Pagination:v, 122 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Theological Studies
Date:2008
Thesis Supervisor(s):Turescu, L
ID Code:975698
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:13
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:40
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