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Biblical Methodology and Mariology

Biblical Methodology and Mariology

The Use of Bibical Methodologies in Marian Theology Today

– Father Bertrand A. Buby, S.M.


Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus, is known by us primarily through the Gospels, especially those of Luke and John. Marian theology has its foundations in these kerygmatic statements. These proclamations of faith, written by evangelists who were inspired by their faith in Jesus of Nazareth, directed their gospels to believing ecclesial communities in the first century of the Christian era. In the most recent instruction concerning Mariology, Cardinal Baum states that the Scriptures are the "soul of Mariology."1 The Gospel narratives are therefore the points of departure for Marian theologians. It is upon these Gospels that the foundations of Christianity rest both as Scripture and Tradition. The magisterium, likewise, has as its foundation these divinely-inspired accounts especially when the virtues, the life, and the mystery of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary are clarified or explained for the Catholic communities of today.

Marian theologians know the Scriptural information about Mary, the mother of Jesus. They are well-schooled in recent developments of the exegetes, Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant. They are also aware of the wide range of differing interpretations and opinions about the role of Mary within the Gospel accounts. Though the data about her is relatively sparse, it is, nevertheless precious, and priceless as a pearl. Scholars work with the following passages from the New Testament about Mary (Mark 3:31-35; 6:1-6a; Matthew 1:1-17; 18-25; 2:11, 13-14, 20-21; 12:46-50; 13:53-58; Luke: 1:26-38; 39-56; 2:1-21; 22-40; 41-52; 3:23; 4:16-30; 8:19-21; 11;28; Acts 1:14. John 1:13; 2:1-12; 6:42; 7:1-10; 7:41-43; 8:41; 19:25-28a; Rev. 12:1-17; and Paul: Gal.1:19; 4:4-5; Rom. 1:3-4; Phil. 2:6-7). Exegetes, using the historical critical method have carefully examined these passages and have supplied Mariologists with their exegetical data and commentary . Their work has been assiduously studied and for the most part accepted for its objective and scientific analysis of these texts. However, the exegetes seldom develop any theology or Mariology within their work; it is the role and task of the Marian scholar to develop these two areas.

The Marian scholar, while depending upon an accurate and unbiased exegesis goes farther with the information supplied about Mary in the Scriptures. Meanwhile exegetes, theologians, and church authorities likewise review, scrutinize, and critique what the scholar proposes and develops from these fonts of Scripture, Tradition, and authoritative teaching. As one can surmise, the task of the Marian scholar is by no means an easy one.

In his letter, Cardinal Baum stresses the idea that Mary is a datum, that is a "given" of our faith not only because she is found in the Scriptures, but also because of the traditions surrounding her which have developed since the formation of the Gospels. Mary is not to be neglected in the developing theology of the Church, and Lumen Gentium, chapter 8, establishes the framework within which scholars are encouraged to develop a sound Marian synthesis.


This particular essay has as its focus the use of the Bible (both the Old Testament and the New Testament) in Marian theology today. The greatest resources for the Marian scholar are the actual studies that have been done through the societies and conferences developed during the past fifty to seventy-five years. Within the periodicals such as Marian Studies, Ephemeridies Mariologicae, Marianum, Theotokos, Estudios Marianos, Bulletin de la Societe Francaise, Verslagboek der Marialles Dagen (1931-1965), Societe Canadienne D'Etudes Mariales (1954-1958), excellent scriptural studies have appeared. These articles are helpful for discovering methods which have been and are being used by Marian theologians today. If one studies them in a chronological way, the results are quite rewarding for seeing how far we have come in developing our thought based on the Scriptures. For example, for the Jubilee Year of the Mariological Society of America, I was asked to review all of the writings that dealt with Scripture (Mariological Society of America: 1950-1999). There were forty-four such entries including one from the most recent meeting (given at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C., May 25-28, 1999). A trajectory of biblical Marian thought and development was easily seen, and various methodologies were presented and used from the outset such research including more recent presentations. A review by an exegete for each of these academies of research would be valuable for all Marian scholars.


For the development of New Testament background on the study of Mary, several works are recommended which help the Marian theologian using Scripture. The number of such studies will be limited in this article since each language group of scholars will have their own favorites (see bibliographies at the end).


Marian theologians depend on the best readings of Scriptural texts while being aware of the important variants presented to us by textual critics. These experts have laid the foundational brickwork for the edifice built by other studies on Mary. For example, the text of John 1:13 is important because of its variants and tradition. There may be through the translations of an early Christian community a possible reference to the virgin birth because of the evidence seen in ancient Latin manuscripts and several writings of early Christian theologians like Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen. The scholar needs to weigh such evidence which is supplied by the textual critic and expert. An excellent research tool for this work is that of Bruce Metzger.2 Differing from such a position of the text critic is the cogent argumentation that Ignace de la Potterie offers in his study of this same passage.3

The Magnificat in Luke 1:46-56 offers an easier study for the scholar. Some manuscripts attribute the Song to Elizabeth and not to Mary.4 Here the textual critics arrive at a conclusion that favors Mary rather than Elizabeth as Luke's speaker of the hymn.

Philological research often offers the Marian biblical scholar important information about many of the Marian passages in Scripture. Two important studies along this line are now "classics" and deserve to be mentioned. The first break-through along these lines was the article of S. Lyonnet in his observations about the similarities found in the Angelic Salutation "Chaire" and corresponding parallels in Daughter of Zion passages in the Old Testament prophets.5

This discovery led to developments of Lucan themes such as Daughter of Zion resulting in books, articles, hymns, and doctoral dissertations.6 Though this work is also criticized by some exegetes,7 it has fostered some important Marian developments. A more recent philological study of great worth is that of Ignace de la Potterie on the word "Kecharitomene" (also taken from the Annunciation narrative). Both the philosophical backgrounds as well as the Scriptural commentary are extremely valuable in understanding the vocation call of Mary and her sanctity. A keen and precise method of studying biblical words is presented in these two research articles and they give us a more profound interpretation of whom Mary really is through her being named the "One who has been highly favored."8

S. Lyonnet and I. de la Potterie have enabled other Marian scholars to discover the theme of the Daughter of Zion in Luke's theology. The articles pave the way for using methods which have developed in the first half of the twentieth century: form criticism, in Lyonnet's work, and redaction criticism in that of de la Potterie in so far as the theology of Luke becomes apparent. Difficult groundwork has been done by such exegesis, thus making it easier for Marian theologians to develop new Marian thought from the matrix of Scripture, the "soul of Mariology."

The perennially rich text of Isaiah 7:14 as cited from the Septuagint in Matthew 1:23 offers a similar field for linguistic and literary research. By reading the numerous articles on this text, one can discover the presuppositions of many scholars whether from a pro or contra point of view when it comes to their Marian implication.

Sufficient information on the difficulty of interpreting the text is seen in Brown's Birth of the Messiah.9 One is led to return to the original text of Isaiah 7:14 with the famous word "ALMAH" and Matthew's rendition of it as "Parthenos" taken from the Septuagint. One venerable Marian scholar has added a new dimension to this text by seeing it within the Judaic tradition.10 Even translation into modern languages shows the influence of one's school of interpretation when citing this text from Isaiah 7:14. Within Lumen Gentium, chapter 8, we note that the only texts cited from the Old Testament are Isaiah 7:14, Genesis 3:15, and Micah 5:2-3. Multiple studies have been done on the first two texts which enable the Marian scholar to discover the ramifications of new translations or interpretations for these texts which were used so abundantly in patristic thought and literature.11


In the material of the Gospels there is an evident dependence on the Old Testament. There has been a referral to Matthew's use of Isaiah 7:14 in his first chapter, verse 23. The windows offered in the New Testament look back into the Old Testament for the texts which are cited or those that are inferred. Source criticism for the New Testament is a relatively easy criticism whereby it identifies what is seen through an author's indicators such as "thus says the Lord through the prophet Isaiah." A more subtle use of sources is the author's adaptation of passages which underline or support a theme characteristic of the writer. As stated before, earlier studies in the twentieth century led some scholars to discover the theme of the Daughter of Zion as a symbolic representation of the mother of Jesus. Certain literary criteria help Marian scholars recognize when the evangelist is using a source: for example, redundancy, context, vocabulary and style, and the particular point of view which the author presents to the reader. (Cf. R. F. Collins, Introduction to the New Testament, 123). For instance, the text of Isaiah 7:14 is explicit in Matthew; in Luke, however, the text is implicit in the Annunciation narrative.

Form criticism started with Hermann Gunkel's classification and analysis of the Psalms. Later, this method of criticism was used by scholars to examine passages of the New Testament which had similar patterns in different Gospels or patterns and literary structures already used in the Old Testament books. This is evident in the Annunciation to Mary which is similar to the outline of annunciations given to persons in the Old Testament. Most scholars have tables of comparison demonstrating this similarity. (Brown, Birth of the Messiah, pp. 155-160; 296-298). Form criticism has an advantage of opening up for the scholar an insight into the oral tradition behind a particular form, especially if there are parallel passages as those found in the mention of the relatives of Jesus in the Synoptics. The Marian scholar is able to get behind the story and discover its original parts. Thus Jesus' saying, "Whoever does the will of God, is my brother, my sister, and my mother," (Mark 3:35) is the important word of God for the listener and perhaps the ipsissima verba ]esu, while the event of Mary searching for Jesus could have been a separate incident in Jesus' early ministry in Galilee. The fact that Matthew and Luke have parallels to this event and this saying enable the form critic to recover an earlier stratum of the happening and a way of discovering the originality of a saying of Jesus. Instructive information is available to the Marian scholar from original form critics such as R. Bultmann, M. Dibelius, and V.Taylor.12

Klement Stock presents the Annunciation as a mixed form, which is both an announcement to Mary as well as a specific vocation call.13 In his presentation of the same annunciation pattern, I. de la Potterie and his students worked carefully on the Annunciation in St. Luke and have given a structured analysis of its inner coherence and unity.14 Marian scholars can develop it even further by means of the theological import of a call to a designated person.

Since St. Luke has a twofold writing, the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, there is a key toward interpreting the last historical mention of Mary in the New Testament, namely, Acts 1:12-14. The context of the first appearance of Mary and the promise of the Spirit overshadowing her, is likewise the context of her last appearance in the New Testament in the upper room as the disciples and brethren together with Mary await the promise of the Spirit. Just as Mary goes with haste to visit Elizabeth after the Annunciation, so, too, the disciples go forth from the cenacle and boldly witness to the Risen Lord and preach audaciously through the power of the Holy Spirit. The similarity of a pattern in both Luke and Acts enables the reader and scholar to see the ideology and themes of the author; for in Luke-Acts both Mary and the Holy Spirit are important to the message the evangelist wishes to convey.

Perhaps, the best tool offered to the scholar is the important instruction of the Biblical Commission called The Historical Truth of the Gospels (1964). Fitzmyer's commentary on the document states, "The most significant thing in the whole document, when all is said and done, is that the Biblical Commission calmly and frankly admits that what is contained in the Gospels as we have them today is not the words and deeds of Jesus in the first stage of tradition, nor even the form in which they were preached in the second stage, but only in the form compiled and edited by the Evangelists. This form, however, reflects the two previous stages, and the second more than the first. It is good to recall that this redacted form of sayings and deeds of Jesus which the Evangelists give is the inspired form. The Evangelists were inspired by the Holy Spirit to compile and write down the accounts as they did."15 This is the role of form criticism in the approach to Marian passages or any passage which lends itself to such an analysis. Fitzmyer advises, "pay diligent attention to the three stages of tradition by which the doctrine and the life of Jesus have come down to us." (VI.2) The three stages are the very words and deeds of Jesus himself, the preaching of the apostles, and the writing of these in the Gospels by the evangelists. This instruction is a further development of Divino Afflante Spiritu. The result of the development is an encouragement to use modern methods which foster more objective research of the Gospels through the tool of form criticism. The instruction implies that Gospel truth is not to be tied up with fundamentalistic literalness.


In the late 1950's radical proponents of the form critical school were counterbalanced by the method called redaction criticism. This method concerns the final composition of the writing and considers the Gospel writers to be more than compilers or writers using other sources.

The evangelists have carefully edited their materials and have given them a specific direction which shows the authors to be theologians who have a specific point of view for the communities for which they are writing. Moreover, they are faithful transmitters of a tradition whether that be in an oral or a written form. For example, Mark's point of view throughout his gospel is that Jesus is teaching the disciples to think the thoughts of God and not human thoughts alone. Luke presents Jesus as the center of salvation history and calls Jesus, Lord and Savior. Matthew has the perspective that Jesus is a new Moses, a teacher who fulfills what has been said in the Law and the Prophets and also as one who is with the believing community as Emmanuel: God with us. In John, Jesus is seen as the Divine Revealer who stresses belief in God and the One that God sent, as the Bread of Life, the Way, the Truth, the Life (the ego eimi statements of Jesus).

Redaction criticism studies each of the Synoptics in view of discussing the proper literary characteristics as well as the particular theological viewpoint reflected in each of the first three gospels (Collins, 199). The gospels are documents of a complex literary genre which have specific themes, vocabulary, and theological point of view. As R. Collins states: "Redaction criticism attempts to draw inferences about an author's point of view and the situation of his community from the presentation of a Gospel or other New Testament work taken as a whole." (Collins, 204)

The idea that the evangelists were theologians was not a modern one. Already in the fourth century, John Chrysostom called them theologoi. What is new through redaction criticism is that the proponents of it saw a theological interest in each evangelist besides the proclamation of good news (euaggelion) about Jesus. In redaction criticism we are dealing with the third stage of the historical truth of the Gospels. For Marian biblical scholars this method requires that Mary be seen within the context or within the theological and thematic interests of a given evangelist. Thus Brown and Fitzmyer are able to see Mary as a faithful disciple of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke because she meets all the criteria of a disciple in that Gospel.16 In Mark, the Marian scholar would be interested in seeing who Mary is in the context of those who do the will of God and thus are "sister, brother, and mother" to Jesus. In Luke, Mary is both virgin (chapter one) and mother (chapter two) in the history of salvation. Her role is defined within the meaning of Christ Jesus as the center of all history for Luke. In Matthew, Mary would be seen as an active cooperating instrument in the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures, for example, as seen in Isaiah 7:14. In John, Mary is the mother of Jesus who is fittingly identified as the woman both at Cana and Calvary, thereby initiating the hour of Jesus, while being present at the foot of the Cross when the hour is totally fulfilled (the Passion, Death, and Exaltation of Jesus on the Cross). Undoubtedly, this method is one that biblical scholars will continually use because of its close relationship to the theology of the original author. The rediscovery of that theology and seeing Mary's role within it would be the objective of Marian research based on redaction criticism.17


This method emerged through the use of linguistic studies by Claude Levi-Strauss and Algirdas Julien Greimas. This method is not concerned with archival or pure factual historical truth but with the process by which the evangelists give meaning to the biblical text. "The structural approach is essentially interdisciplinary and requires the use of a terminology quite dissimilar from that commonly used by exegetes." (Collins, 231) The proponents of structural analysis attempt to focus on the meaning of the text. As their stated intention they chose as the object of their reflection the text itself rather than the author who composed it (historical criticism) or the reader who peruses it (existentialism)." (Collins, 233). The emphasis in this method is more synchronic (looking at a text in its wholeness and single time dimension) and not diachronic (looking at a text or biblical event according to which it is understood in all the moments that preceded it and how its meaning is spread throughout a given gospel and other writings in a chronological way). Ignace de la Potterie has presented the structure of the Annunciation in this synchronic way, that is, looking at the text to find out its meaning in the present existential moment of the event of the Annunciation.18

René Laurentin introduces his most recent work on the Gospel of Luke with an explanation of the structural method called semiotics.19 Perhaps, the semiotic method is more conducive to those dimensions that are often held sacred by the Church since the minimalist tendency of the historical critical method often produces problems for the faith position of the Church. This method would possibly be more in line with the ancient dictum "Fides quaerens intellectum." Because of the symbolic characteristics of the Book of Revelation, this method of semiotic-structural analysis may help the Marian scholar see the role of the Woman in chapter 12. The use of the semiotic square would enable the interpreter to see the underlying thought process of the seer of Patmos.20 This presentation through semiotics could be combined with the excellent analysis of E.Schüssler-Fiorenza who used the redactional method to give a plausible structure to the Book of Revelation.21


Canonical criticism is a methodology and perspective which has been fostered and developed by Brevard S. Childs of Yale University especially for Old Testament studies, and by James A. Sanders of Claremont University for the New Testament.22 This method emphasizes the final form of the Bible and the books contained therein. It entails a close relationship between the canon of Scripture and the Church, thereby indicating it is more focused on a theology than on literary analysis. Both Synagogue and Church are the guardians of the Old and New Testaments respectively, and, of course, the entire Bible for the Church. This method therefore involves the believing community and its spiritual life based on the Scriptures. Both the Synagogue and the Church are authoritative in describing which books are divinely inspired and how their full canonicity affects the belief and life of their communities. In such a methodology "certain traditions and values became authoritative and thus were preserved by the community of faith, because in some sense the community found its identity and direction for its lifestyle in them." (N.J.B.C. p.1128. 69:72) With such a perspective, the person of Mary the mother of Jesus would certainly be seen as a person of great value and faith especially in the Gospels of Luke and John, which R. Bultmann said have a certain respect for her in these communities of faith. Her role as the mother of Jesus and as a disciple of the Lord is enhanced through canonical criticism. She is there from the beginning in the life of her son Jesus and continues to have a role in the praying done in the upper room in her last mention in the Acts 1:14. In the New Testament a certain chronological trajectory demonstrates her continuing growth in importance as a faithful disciple of Jesus as the communities the apostles left behind continue to develop.23

Mary is an important model for the faith and discipleship of the followers of Jesus not only in the first century but also for today's faithful readers of the Gospels. The quality of the passages about her in the New Testament shows her fulfilling the criteria of discipleship and thus becoming a model for discipleship in contemporary communities of faith. The passages, though few in number, are priceless. Marian scholars by being aware of the canonical criticism method will be able to discover, examine, and make use earlier traditions in new biblical contexts.

Like many of the above methods, canonical criticism is one among many. One caution about using this method is the following "It is one thing to consider the meaning a New Testament book has within the context of the whole Testament or of both Testaments; it is another to let that issue override almost completely what the book meant to the author who wrote it and to the first readers." (N.J.B.C. p. 1144; 70:81). Nevertheless, a positive thrust of this method is that only the final form is inspired canonical Scripture and thus demands primary attention, for it is there the full effect of revelatory history can be perceived (N.J.B.C. p.1160. 71:71).

J. A. Sanders posits that the unique contribution of canonical criticism is that it addresses questions of biblical authority by situating the Scriptures or word of God in the matrix of a believing community of readers and interpreters. (N.J.B.C. p. 1161. 71:72). The fact that Mary appears in all four Gospels confirms what Cardinal Baum says in his letter, namely, that Mary is a datum of revelation for the Church and certainly for theologians.

Canonical criticism would enhance the continuance of such titles of Mary which bridge both Testaments such as "Queen-Mother" (Gebirah) and Daughter of Zion. Foundational books, articles and dissertations have already been published on these Marian themes and titles.24


Any methodology which challenges the scholar to research, reflect, and meditate on the Scriptures is a valid method. More recently some methods have emphasized the subjective role of the reader (the scholar as well). The reader searches and wants a meaningful interpretation. Certainly, coherence, an adequate relation to the context of a passage, and the fullness of its meaning are valid signs for Marian biblical studies. This leads us to rhetorical criticism. "The basic principle of rhetorical criticism is that texts must reveal the contexts of both the author and the reader." (N.J.B.C. p.1159. 71:65)

One of the best examples of a rhetorical study is the work of two professors of English who have presented the Gospel of Mark as a story.25 In this presentation the authors D. Rhoads and D. Michie carefully study the rhetoric of Mark's narrative which relates a powerful short story about Jesus who is the hero of the story and probably the only well-rounded character within it. The book is a fascinating study of the "world within the text" or the rhetorical devices used, that is, the conflict, plot, character and settings within Mark's story about Jesus. Though Mary appears as one of the "little people" within Mark, she nevertheless is there. Her full story will later be narrated in the Infancy Gospel of Luke and possibly further characterized by the narrative given by John at both Cana and Calvary.


With the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu (Pius XII, 1943) Catholic biblical scholarship received a mandate to use the newer methods of interpretation. Pius XII, through his interest in promoting higher and critical biblical research, deserves the title of Patron of Catholic Biblical Studies. This encyclical would be followed by several important documents from the Church and Vatican II. In 1964 the Pontifical Biblical Commission issued an Instruction on the Historical Truth of the Gospels and was soon followed by the Constitution on Divine Revelation from the Vatican II Council in 1965. This decree states that the Magisterium authentically interprets the word of God, yet, this teaching office of the Church is not above the word of God, rather, it serves it (Dei Verbum 2:10). For Mariologists the Constitution asserts, "The books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching, firmly, faithfully, and without error that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation (Dei Verbum 11). This is an opening for the Marian scholar to assert the role that Mary has in the history of salvation precisely because she cooperated with God's call for her to be the mother of the Son of God. Her presence at the foot of the Cross (John 19:25-28A) and in the upper room (Acts 1:14) point to her role in the Paschal Mysteries of her Son (soteriology) and to the descent of the Holy Spirit on the nascent community of the Church (ecclesiology).

Dei Verbum favors a rereading of the Old Testament in the light of the Christ event: "God, the inspirer and author of both testaments, wisely arranged that the New Testament be hidden in the Old and the Old be made manifest in the New. For, though Christ established the New Covenant in His blood (cf. Luke22:20; I Corinthians 11:25), still the books of the Old Testament with all their parts, caught up into the proclamation of the gospel, acquire and show forth their full meaning in the New Testament (cf. Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:27; Romans 16:25-26; II Corinthians 3:14-16) and in turn shed light on it and explain it." (Dei Verbum 4:16). Chapter five of the same document confirms what was said in the 1964 statement: there are three stages of development in the Gospels: 1) the historical time of Jesus of Nazareth, 2) the period of apostolic preaching, and 3) the finalization of the Gospel through the writings of the evangelists. The final chapter of Dei Verbum is pastoral in nature and essentially teaches that the Scriptures are the "soul of theology" (and, hence of Mariology). We thus see that Cardinal Baum's letter flows from Dei Verbum, especially from chapter six.

All theologians and exegetes are concerned with the literal sense of the Scriptures. The theological teachings of the magisterium concerning the individual texts or books are to be carefully set forth in Marian reflections issuing from the Scriptures. The spiritual sense of Scripture is not to be neglected but explored and expounded together with the writings of the Church Fathers and the history of the Church's interpretation ( N.J.B.C. p.1170:72:21).

Pope John Paul II who uses the Scriptures in his own Marian theology, offers the scholars a positive encouragement: "Attention must be given to the literary forms of the various biblical books in order to determine the intention of the sacred writers. And it is most helpful to be aware of the personal situation of the biblical writer, of the circumstances of culture, time, language, etc. Presented... In this way, it is possible to avoid a narrow fundamentalism which distorts the whole truth." (AAS 78 [1986] 1217-1219)


Pontifical Biblical Commission (1993)

This latest instruction is very positive about the use of all of the methods and approaches mentioned above. As an essential document about methodology and approaches to Scripture, as well as the hermeneutical and pastoral concerns of the Church, this instruction will be essential to all Marian biblical scholars. It both describes the methods and shows their limitations. Going beyond what has been said before, the document spells out Dei Verbum in a contemporary manner which retains the uplifting spirit of Vatican II. The methods and approaches are current ones. The historical-critical method is seen as the foundation for all other methods in establishing the accuracy and sound interpretation of texts. The limits of the method are also pointed out. The historical-critical method is diachronic (that is, a careful study of the history of the text and its tradition, its authorship and authenticity). This method seeks to shed light upon the historical processes which give rise to the biblical texts. It proceeds from textual criticism to redaction criticism, operating with the help of scientific criteria. In other words, this is a research into "the World behind the Text."

Besides this diachronic approach, newer methods, which emphasize a synchronic one are enumerated: 1) rhetorical analysis, 2) narrative analysis, and 3) semiotic analysis. Paul Ricouer would describe these as emphasizing the "World within the text."

Other approaches are based on the tradition and history of the development of the Bible such as canonical criticism and the recourse to Jewish traditions of interpretation including insights from studying the Septuagint, the Targum, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the apocryphal writings and also the Talmudic interpretations. This is sometimes called a rereading of the texts in the light of the New Testament. Aristide Serra, a very reputable Marian scholar, has developed this method especially in his monumental work E C'era la Madre di Gesu ... saggi di esegesi biblico-Mariana (1978-1988). This work is among the more creative studies of Mary in the Bible and offers its readers an opportunity for understanding a contemporary method of reading the Bible. Mary is situated within the culture and history of her times seen in the light of later developments from the same culture and people. The Jewishness of Mary is easily seen through such a study. The instruction mentions approaches which use the human sciences such as 1) sociology, 2) cultural-anthropology and 3) psychological and psychoanalytical studies of the Bible.

The controversial issue entitled "Mary, Woman of the Mediterranean" in the summer edition of the Biblical Theological Bulletin of 1990 shows this dimension of Mary in the Scriptures. Care should be taken to eliminate the biases of a personal nature that are foisted upon an otherwise good presentation from these sciences.

The last part of the document mentions the contextual approaches of 1) liberation studies: Mary could be seen as a person who is united with the poor (the 'anawim) and with the oppressed. She expresses this through the Magnificat; 2) feminist studies: both critique the maximalist position of Marian scholars and also offer new insights into how to explore the Scriptures with a" hermeneutic of suspicion" which often results in new discoveries about the world of women in the first century and the texts reflecting that period. Noteworthy among feminist scholars are Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Elizabeth Ann Johnson, and Elaine Wainwright.

The Pontifical Biblical Commission has offered to all biblical scholars an excellent tool for seeing the value and the limits of each method and approach. There is an updating which every Marian scholar should be aware of as they approach the Marian texts of the Bible. Once again, think of the contribution of Aristide Serra in this domain of new methodologies. Finally, the document takes on a pastoral role of showing how the Bible is to be related to today's issues. This is taken up in the last part under the title of "Hermeneutical Questions, Characteristics of Catholic Interpretation, and Interpretation of the Bible in the Life of the Church." Biblical scholars will find useful information on how to approach the texts used in the liturgy for Marian Masses and their themes. A debt of gratitude belongs to the Marianum and its professors for the research and development of these Marian masses and their attractive themes for churches and shrines dedicated to the Mother of God.


"Littera gesta docet, quid credas allegoria, moralis quid agas, quid speras anagogia"

Gerard S. Sloyan discusses at length the use of the Bible in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994). The Catechism has a reluctance to make use of the newer methods discussed in the document under consideration, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (1993). The Catechism follows more a typological interpretation with an exposition of the four senses of Scripture which prevailed in the patristic and medieval periods. The latter features typology which finds fulfillment of the Old Testament within the New but also extends it homiletically outside the Bible to illustrate the mysteries of faith by a figurative rather than a critical use of Scripture. Sloyan cautions against an overuse of typology even while he realizes this has been a long enduring mode of interpretation within the Catholic Tradition. His description of it is excellent, but it has to be balanced by what he criticizes about its continued use in the Church. First, the description:

There is nothing wrong with using the Bible typologically. Indeed there is much in its favor. Later writers with the First Testament did this with the work of earlier writers in the same collection. The books of the Second Testament regularly cite places in the First that are thought to prefigure events in the life of Jesus or the early church. This was the favored use of the Hebrew Scriptures by the tannaim and amoraim. Before them the Dead Sea sectarians did the same. The church fathers and framers of the earliest liturgies employed what may be called the rabbinic principle that mark both Testaments. Such was the way the church doctors and fathers argued in support of the dogmas of faith in their treatises and conciliar debates. Eliminate the typological use of the Bible from Christian history, and not much history of the church remains (Sloyan, B., Biblical Theological Bulletin, p. 5)

And now Sloyan asks: Is long-sanctioned typological use doctrinally helpful? He then offers the following critique:

In the matter of typology Mary, the mother of Jesus, suffers more in this volume than her Son, although the intention is to honor her In those few times Genesis 3:15 is referred to (as promise of salvation, 70; as "the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer," 410; or as the prediction to the snake that Eve's offspring will crush it with his heel, read as a promise to Eve of victory over the evil one, 499), the literal meaning of the predicted enmity of poisonous serpents and human beings is set aside. In its place is put "the Christian tradition which sees in this passage an announcement of the new Adam'" (411) in "a battle between the serpent and the Woman."(410) To capitalize "Woman" is to set Mary as the antitype of Eve, which was certainly a patristic convention. The biblical writer for his part was interested in another matter: namely, the field worker's ongoing battle with the asp that was cursed to crawl on its belly and eat the dirt. It would have done no harm to say this before the typological application was explained. There was no need to go into the fact that the autos, the woman's offspring of the LXX, became the Vulgate's ipsa, making the woman's ben of the MT the one to strike the snake's head and not the woman. Mary as crusher of the serpent with her heel would have been eliminated from Christian art by such an explanation, but the typology of Jesus Christ as the son of Eve, victorious on human behalf, would have remained. (Biblical Theological Bulletin, 10)

Sloyan concludes with a question:

The question that emerges from this essay is whether the literal sense of texts of the Bible, proposed as primary by the Second Vatican Council and the 1993 document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, can exist in harmony with typological interpretations of the sort proposed by the church Fathers and the authors of this volume. ...The literal sense of a passage, in the measure that it can be known, must always be presented first in a volume like this, not exegetically and certainly not pedantically, but simply: e.g., "The prophet Jeremiah is insisting to his contemporaries that ..." or "In this place John presents the faith of his community in who Jesus is by placing the statement on Jesus' lips: ... " or "The church has long had the practice of adapting this text to the mystery of Mary's motherhood " Then, in immediate context in this better adult catechism, the richly suggestive kaleidoscope of biblical texts can be proposed for their beauty and power in prayer. This the church has always done in her liturgies and may be expected to continue to do. This it can and should do in a modern catechism, having first done the other. (Sloyan, B., 12-13)


Under the division of the Meaning of the Inspired Scripture, the Pontifical Biblical Commission defines and describes the literal meaning, the spiritual meaning, and the fuller meaning (the Sensus Plenior) of Sacred Scripture. This section is essential for the Marian interpretation of texts whether she is mentioned explicitly or implicitly. The literal sense is foundational and is always the point of departure. It may be compared to an x-ray giving basic evidence to what is behind and within the texts. "One arrives at this sense by means of a careful analysis of the text, within its literal and historical context." (Pontifical Biblical Commission, "Interpretations" p.10), 82). There is the weakness that this may often limit a text by tying it too rigidly to precise historical circumstances. Like an x-ray, this would not display the dynamism of a human person, and we are left dry and are only touching upon the meaning of the sacred writers as limited humans. The divine inspiration that God gives to them is left unexplored. God speaks through them with their limited gifts. Hence, the document moves us to consider also the spiritual sense which pre-supposes searching the text with a spirit of faith in both their human and divine dimensions of inspiration. The spiritual sense would include attention to the influence of the Holy Spirit in the text. Thus texts in the New Testament would be seen in the light of the paschal mystery of Christ and the new life which flows into communities of faith that developed these texts. In this spiritual sense one recognizes the fulfillment of the Scriptures. "It is therefore quite acceptable to reread the Scriptures in the light of this new context, which is that of life in the Spirit. (Pontifical Biblical Commission, "Interpretations", 85). This bigger picture, so to speak, holds the biblical text as literal and as seen in the light of faith and the present circumstances of the believing reader and scholar in the life of the Spirit. This understanding is a both/and interpretation rather than a neither/nor one.

A. Fernandez developed the notion of a " fuller sense" (Sensus Plenior). This led Raymond E. Brown to his doctoral dissertation on this topic. Brown defines the fuller sense as follows: "The Sensus Plenior is the deeper meaning intended by God but not clearly intended by the author, that is seen to exist in the words of Scripture when they are studied in the light of further revelation or of development in the understanding of revelation." (Brown, R., Sensus Plenior, 92)

Brown posits that not all texts, but certain ones meet the definition of the sensus plenior, for example, Isaiah 7:14; the Suffering Servant ...Hymns in Deutero-Isaiah, Psalms 2, 22, and 110. The sensus plenior is seen through a careful rereading of such texts in the light of their use in the New Testament in relationship to how the sacred authors see Jesus as the Christ or Messiah. Added to the context of the sense taken from the Bible is, the authority of the Patristic use of such texts, church pronouncements, and the use of the texts in salvation history. Certainly, with such a definition, Marian research is right at home. The Pontifical Commission's document gives as a specific example the same one Brown does by saying, "... the context of Matthew 1:23 gives a fuller sense to the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 in regard to the almah who will conceive, by using the translation of the Septuagint (parthenos) "The virgin will conceive." (Pontifical Biblical Commission, "Interpretation", 87). However, a caution is voiced, "But when this kind of control by an explicit biblical text or by an authentic doctrinal tradition is lacking, recourse to a claimed fuller sense could lead to subjective interpretation deprived of validity." The document then offers its definition of the fuller sense: "In a word, one might think of the "fuller sense" as another way of indicating the spiritual sense of a biblical text in the case where the spiritual sense is distinct from the literal sense." (Pontifical Biblical Commission, "Interpretation", 87). It is within this spiritual sense that the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption may be better understood as having been developed in the Tradition from a trajectory of devotion and doctrine ultimately derived from a pondering over the Scriptures even though there is no explicit reference to them.

The final pages of "The Interpretation of the Bible Within the Church" are important for bringing some conclusion to this part of the essay. Emphasis is put on the interpretation of the Bible in the life of the Church. Actualization of the text is "sincerely seeking what the text has to say to the present time."(118) Inculturation is based on the theological foundation that "the Word of God transcends the cultures in which it has found expression and has the capability of incorporation into other cultures, in such a way as to be able to reach all human beings in the cultural context in which they live." (122) Finally, some essential pastoral concerns are met in the document by its references to the use of the Bible in the Liturgy, through Lectio Divina, and through the Pastoral Ministry of catechetics, sacraments, and homilies. Of course, the ecumenical dimension is not to be neglected in the use of the Bible in our relationship with other churches.

In the beginning of this instruction primarily aimed at Catholic scholars and teachers, Pope John Paul II concluded his praise of the work with the following Marian reflection: "May you be guided in your research by Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, who opened the minds of his disciples to the understanding of the Scriptures (Lk 24:45). May the Virgin Mary serve as a model for you not only by her generous docility to the word of God, but also and especially by her way of accepting what was said to her! St. Luke tells us that Mary reflected in her heart on the divine words and events that took place, "symballousa en te kardia autes."(Lk. 2:19) By welcoming the Word,' she is the model and mother of disciples (Jn 19:27). Therefore, may she teach you to fully accept the word of God, not only in intellectual research, but also with your whole life!"26


The Marian biblical scholar is faced with presenting the person of Mary within the limits of the Scriptures which mention her. Focusing on the literal sense, it is known there are relatively few mentions of her and these are always within the relationship Mary has with the central figure of the New Testament, Jesus her son. A working definition of the literal sense is one in which both the Holy Spirit and the human author directly and proximately intended. The words used directly convey, either properly or metaphorically, the intention. The precise work of exegesis is to discover the literal or plain sense of the texts in Sacred Scripture. Exegesis, therefore, is concerned with the "world behind the text." On this score, most of the literal sense of Marian passages have already been interpreted and rather clearly understood through the historical critical method. The scholar is led to explore newer methods which have been developed for further determining the meaning of the words and their context. Already in the historical critical method important insights are gained by knowledge of the vocabulary used (the Koine Greek of the New Testament sometimes has a new meaning besides the one found in the sources of the Scriptures) and by careful choice of the best reading for a given Marian text (for example, the text of John 1:13) taken from the positive science of textual criticism and analysis.

The exegete researching the texts should make use of form-criticism to determine the genre of the pericope and to probe into the possible oral traditions behind the text (for example, the parallel sections to Mark 3:31-35 and 6:1-6a in the Synoptic Gospels). Redaction criticism continues the study within the entire fabric of a given writer ( Mary within Luke-Acts) and within the theological intentions and themes of a given author. The work does not stop here for there are insights gained from the method of seeing Scripture as a whole or through what is called canonical criticism. Here the unity of the Sacred Scriptures comes into the foreground and such discoveries as the relationship in understanding Jesus' use of the term "Woman" for Mary both at Cana and Calvary in John (2:1-11; 19:25-28a) and further elucidated through the same term used in the Hebrew Scriptures (Gen. 3:15) and the book of Revelation (12:1-17). Another example would be the theme of prayer and the way Mary is an integral part of this in the Gospel of Luke and the Acts since this is one of the principal themes developed throughout Luke's twofold work. One would start with the Annunciation and Mary's dialogue with Gabriel, continue to see her at prayer in the Magnificat (now definitely attributed to Mary and not to Elizabeth through the careful examination of the best textual evidence and scholarly consensus, as well as the context in which it is found which fits Mary better than Elizabeth), and finally, Mary's presence in the upper room shows her as one in mind and heart with the disciples and brethren of Jesus.

Still other methods which seem to fit better under the literal sense of the Scriptures and in the "world behind the text" are helpful in seeing Mary as a Jewish woman of the first century within all the diversity of the Jewish culture and religion at that time. I am referring to the "social location" and the anthropology of the Mediterranean world. Mary would have behaved and would have been situated in such a world. Even archaeology as a science would help the exegete discover more about the world in which Jesus and his mother lived. For example, the authentic location of Cana could help in better interpreting what takes place in John 2:1-11. Scholars have found out that Nazareth and Cana were not far from an important crossroad in the trade culture of that time. This could help us better appreciate the trade of Joseph and Jesus, if he followed that of his foster father. The political setting is important for keeping in mind that the Romans occupied the land of Israel (Palestine) in the time of Jesus. This knowledge helps exegetes better understand the context and political history behind the second chapter of Luke and the birth of Jesus.

All these considerations deal with the literal sense which is primarily concerned with what the words really mean within a context of the time and place in which they were written. This is the original intention of the inspired author and the human touch that has been given to the texts. These excellent scientific tools and methods which show the human qualities of the author and the text are the most reliable ones we have and indicate the best efforts of exegetes to discover the original meaning. This "world behind the text" answers questions we have through the well-established historical-critical method. Since commentators are convinced that we do have the well-researched and accurate human understanding of the text, Marian scholars are indebted to them and can likewise be seen as those who are faithful to the foundation begun by the exegetes, yet, the work is far from being accomplished.


Paul Ricouer who coined the expression "worlds of the text" states that the "text has a life of its own." Besides the dynamic as well as static aspects of the life of the text discovered by the exegetes of the historical-critical method, there is another realm for deepening one's understanding of texts in the Scriptures. Today many commentators are turning to a careful study of the narrative sections of the Bible and to the use of specific rhetoric within the story of a given biblical author. This is the "world within the text" or what we can know and say about a given passage through the methods of literary criticism.

Here the characterization of persons is important as well as how they fit into the plot, setting, and tensions within the narrative. The students of these new and exciting methods do make use of information given by the historical-critical scholars, but the literary analysis discovers other meanings within the text. In addition these discoveries belong to the literal sense of the Scriptures; for we are analyzing the human creativity and style of the author. Moreover, some are convinced there are deeper levels to the use of language within these texts, hence, the need for structural analysis and even the more complicated tool of semiotics. Once again, a Marian scholar is aided by knowing more about the rhetoric and the narrative technique used by the author.

The relationships of persons to Jesus become more alive when looked at from the perspective of literary analysis. An excellent insight into this method can be gained by reading the work of Beverly Gaventa from Princeton University entitled Glimpses of Mary. This is a clear, concise, and fresh study of the characterization which Matthew, Luke, and John give to Mary, the mother of Jesus. In reading this book, one experiences the literary ability of the evangelists who have mentioned Mary in their works. Gaventa's work is singular and balanced in demonstrating what can be done with the "world within the text."27

The Marian scholar using these new biblical tools is still not finished in working with the texts. Recently, more daring and striking methods of confronting and being confronted by the text are in use. The concerns and questions of today and tomorrow are being raised from the texts and against the texts. We might call this the "Advocacy Method" for now the "world in front of the text" is being addressed. Among the approaches used here are liberation-theology advocacy and feminist rereading of the texts. In liberation theology everyone is familiar with how the example of Mary's Magnificat is a cry for social justice and economic opportunity for all. We know that the Poor of God (the Anawim) are at the top of God's list; liberation reading of the texts, especially the Magnificat makes the poor also the priority of those who believe in the Gospel. It is the opinion of some scholars that the option for the poor also be of concern for today's Marian biblicists.28

Feminist readings of the text and their analyses are a difficult method because of the patriarchal nature of the texts themselves. Yet, serious and profound work has been accomplished by such women scholars as Elisabeth Fiorenza Schüssler, Elizabeth Ann Johnson, and Elaine Wainwright. Again, as exegetes and theologians, these women are aware of the above methods and have developed feminist approaches toward understanding what is not explicitly said in the texts and what is hidden or covered over by patriarchal concerns of the first century. Using a "hermeneutic of suspicion" and a deep perception into what is happening between the lines of Scripture, these proponents of a feminist reading have made great strides in helping the reader understand the "consistent resistance" found in the Book of Revelation on the part of the writer. Fiorenza Schüssler has given us one of the best structural analysis done on Revelation; Johnson has shown that Marian scholars should retrieve from Mary the titles and work that belong more theologically to the Holy Spirit; and Wainwright has carefully analyzed the text of Matthew from a feminist critical reading of the genealogy and a careful study of the women therein. Another outstanding feminist biblicist, Sandra Schneiders, in addition to her masterful work on the Scriptures as revelatory word, has sensitized many readers to the feminist issues stemming from today and reflected in the Bible.29

Another area which is of prime importance to the Marian biblicist and theologian is how to effectively use the excellent encyclicals on Scripture, the Decree on Divine Revelation and the research on methods offered by the Pontifical Biblical Commission. We are now entering a world which I would suggest is the "world beyond the text" or the spiritual sense of the Sacred Scriptures. All of the above methods, in general, are not involved or too concerned with what is suggested and presented to the exegete in these ecclesial documents. Here is where the Marian scholar needs to keep in mind both the human dimension of the texts as well as the revelatory and divine nature of the same texts. It is possible to know and present adequately the texts of the Scriptures that treat of Mary both within their human texture and in their divine revelatory quality as the Word of God for the present day.

With a careful study and analysis and a constant return to the Decree on Divine Revelation we may be able to see that our human endeavor has to be accompanied by a profound respect for the word of God as the revealed truth. These two questions are legitimate to ask: how can humans understand how God is speaking to us throughout the Scriptures? How can we be faithful communicators of that word to readers and believers? The Decree on Revelation states:

Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted with its divine authorship in mind, no less attention must be devoted to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture, taking into account the Tradition of the entire Church and the analogy of faith, if we are to derive their true meaning from the texts. It is the task of the exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgment. For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God. (Dei Verbum, 12).

Ignace de la Potterie has demonstrated convincingly how the biblicist or Marian scholar can approach the text with a religious sensitivity, with faith, and with openness, realizing that in the Christian context of the New Testament a word or phrase can take on a new meaning not found in the prior sources; thus even a new literal sense can arise. He gives as an example in the address of Gabriel to Mary, calling her kecharitomene(30). This word is not simply emphasizing a graceful maiden quality in her, rather it is a new calling, a new name for her, which transforms the former ordinary meaning of the word into a nuanced and powerful spiritual signification. Such a profound insight comes from de la Potterie's careful and exhaustive analysis of the word both from philosophical as well as philological research. But the conclusion and application in interpretation springs from the "world beyond the text" which can be touched by the eyes of faith and a heart of fidelity to the salvific truth of God's Word.


BROWN, R.E.; DONFRIED, K.P., FITZMYER, J.A.; REUMANN, J. (eds.) Mary in the New Testament, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1978.

BROWN, R.E., FITZMYER, J.A., MURPHY, R.E., The Jerome Biblical Commentary, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1968.

_____, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1990.

BROWN, R.E., The Sensus Plenior of Sacred Scripture, St. Mary's University, Baltimore, Maryland, 1955.

_____, Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine, Paulist, New York, 1985. 86-100.

_____, The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Paulist, New York, 1973.

_____, The Birth of the Messiah,(new updated edition), Doubleday, New York, 1993.

_____, Biblical Reflections on Crises Facing the Church, Paulist, New York, 1975. 84-108.

BUBY, BERTRAND, Mary of Galilee, Vol I, Alba House, Staten Island, New York, 1994.

_____, Mary of Galilee, Vol. II, Alba Bouse, Staten Island, New York, 1995.

_____, "Research on the Biblical Approach and the Method of Exegesis Appearing In the Greek Homiletic Texts of the late Fourth and Early Fifth Centuries Emphasizing the Incarnation Especially the Nativity and Mary's Place within It," Marian Library Studies, Dayton, Ohio, 1981-1982.

CASEY, MICHAEL, Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina, Ligouri/Triumph, Missouri, 1995.

COLLINS, RAYMOND F., Introduction to the New Testament, Image/Doubleday, Garden City, New York, 1987.

DE FIORES, STEFANO, e MEO, SALVATORE, Nuovo Dizionario di Mariologia, ed. Paoline, Milano, 1985.

DE LA POTTERIE, IGNACE, L'Esegesi Cristiana Oggi, ed. Pacomio, Luciano; Piemme S.p.A., Italy, 1991. (Also translated into French, 1999).

_____, Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant, (trans. Buby, B.), Alba House, Staten Island, New York, 1992.

_____, "Kecharitomene en Luc 1:28," Biblica 69, 1987, 357-382; 480-508.

FITZMYER, JOSEPH A., An Introductory Bibliography for the Study of Scripture, Biblical Institute Press, Rome, 1981.

FULLER, REGINALD F, ed. A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, Nelson, London, 1975. (Cf. Graystone, G. and Russell, R.: "The Mother of Jesus in the Scriptures (with a note on the 'Brothers of the Lord)" 838-843.

JOHN PAUL II. Mother of the Redeemer. Boston, MA: Daughters of St. Paul, 1987.

KEEGAN, TERENCE J., Interpreting the Bible: A Popular Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics, Paulist, New York, 1985.

KIRWIN, GEORGE F., "The Nature of the Queenship of Mary," Dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1973.

LAURENTIN, RENE. Structure et Theologie de Luc 1-11. Paris: Gabalda, 1957.

_____, The Truth of Christmas Beyond the Myths: The Gospels of the Infancy of Christ. Petersham, MA: Bede, 1986.

METZGER, BRUCE M., A Textual Commentary on the New Testament, United Bible Societies, New York, 1971.

MIGUENS, MANUEL. "Mary a Virgin? Alleged Silence in the New Testament." Marian Studies 26. Dayton, OH: Marian Library, 1986.


PAUL VI. Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Paul VI. Marialis Cultus. Rome, 1974.

PONTIFICAL BIBLICAL COMMISSION, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pauline Books and Media, Boston, Massachusetts, 1993.

RATZINGER, JOSEPH. Daughter Zion. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius, 1983.

ROSSANO, PIETRO; RAVASI, GIANFRANCO; GIRLANDA, ANTONIO, Nuovo Dizionario di Teologia Biblica, ed. Paoline, Milano, 1988.

SANDERS, JAMES A., Canon and Community: A Guide to Canonical Criticism, Fortress, Philadelphia, 1984.

_____, "Intertextuality and Dialogue," Biblical Theology Bulletin, 29, Spring pp.35-44.

SCHÜSSLER, ELISABETH FIORENZA, ed., Searching the Scriptures, Vol. 2, Crossroad, New York, 1994.

_____, The Book of Revelation: Justice and Judgment, Fortress, Philadelphia, 1985.

SCHNEIDERS, SANDRA M., The Revelatory Text: Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture, Harper, San Francisco, 1991.

SERRA, ARISTIDE, E c'era La Madre di Gesù: saggi di esegesi biblico-Mariana (1978-1988), Ed. Cens Marianum, Milano, Italia, 1989.

SLOYAN, GERARD S. "The Use of the Bible in a New Resource Book: 'Catechism of the Catholic Church'," Biblical Theological Bulletin, Vol. 25, Spring, No.1, 1995. pp.3-13.

WAINWRIGHT, ELAINE, Towards a Feminist Critical Reading of the Gospel According to Matthew, de Gruyter, Berlin, Germany, 1995.

1. BAUM, WILLIAM CARDINAL, Letter from the Congregation for Catholic Education: The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, Rome, 1988.

2. METZGER, BRUCE. M. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. London: United Bible Societies, pp. 196-197, 1971.

3. DE LA POTTERIE, IGNACE . Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant. Staten Island, NY: Alba House, 1992.

4. METZGER. Textual Commentary. 130-131.

5. LYONNET, STANISLAUS. "Chaire kecharitomene, " Biblica 20 (1939), 131-41.

6. LEMMO, NUNZIO. "Maria, "Figlia di Sion, ' a partire di Lc 1,26-38" :Bilancio esegetico da11939a11982. MarianumXLV (1983) :175-258.

7. BROWN. Messiah. 320-328.

8. DE LA POTTERIE, IGNACE, " Kecharitomene en Luc 1:28," Biblica 69 (1987) 357-382: 450-508.

9. BROWN, Messiah. 143-153.

10. MOST, WILLIAM "New Light on the Messianic-Marian Character of Isaiah 7:14," Miles Immaculatae XXV: I-II (1989). pp. 54-67.

11. BUBY, BERTRAND, "Research on the Biblical Approach and Method of Exegesis in the Greek Homiletic Texts of the Late Fourth and Early Fifth Centuries, Emphasizing the Incarnation Especially the Nativity and Mary's Place Within It", Marian Library Studies, Vol. 13-14. U. of Dayton, Ohio. 1981-1982.

12. TAYLOR, VINCENT, The Gospel According to St. Mark, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1966. 245-249, 298-301.

13. STOCK, KLEMENT, "Die Berufung Marias (Lk 1,26-38)", Biblica 61 (1980) 457-491.

14. DE LA POTTERJE, IGNACE, Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant, 11.

15. The Historical Truth of the Gospels: the 1964 instruction of the biblical commission, Paulist Press, Glen Rock, New Jersey, 1964. p. 21 and p. 25. (Commentary by Joseph Fitzmyer).

16. BROWN, R.E. and FITZMYER, J.A., Mary in the New Testament, 167-170; 173-177.

17. PERRIN, NORMAN, What is Redaction Criticism, Fortress Press, Philadelphia,1969.

18. DE LA POTTERIE, Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant, 3-35

19. LAURENTIN, RENÉ, "Analyse semiotique des evangiles de Marie: bilan et perspective." Ephemerides Mariologicae. 32 (1982); 53-80.

20. BUBY, BERTRAND, Mary of Galilee, Vol I, 154-155.

21. SCHUSSLER, FIORENZA, E., The Book of Revelation: Justice and Judgement, Fortress Philadelphia, 1985.

22. SANDERS, JAMES A., Canon and Community, Fortress, Philadelphia, 1988.

23. BROWN, R.E. and FITZMYER, J.A., Mary in the New Testament, 173-177.

24. KIRWIN, GEORGE F., "The Nature of the Queenship of Mary," Dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1973. Also see LEMMO, N., "Maria, 'Figlia di Sion,'a partire da Lc 1:26-38. Bilancio esegetico dal 1939 al 1982." In Marianum 45 (1983), 175-258.

25. RHOADS, DAVID and MICHIE, DONALD, Mark As Story, 35-62.

26. JOHN PAUL II, The Interpretation.... 25.

27. GAVENTA, BEVERLY, Mary: Glimpses of the Mother of Jesus, 19-23.

28. SERRA, ARISTIDE, "The Poverty of Mary and the Marvelous Deeds of God as Seen in the Magnificat: Reflections from the Hebrew Scriptures," Marian Studies, 50 (1999) forthcoming.

29. SCHNEIDERS, SANDRA M., The Revelatory Text: Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture, Harper, San Francisco, 1991.

30. DE LA POTTERIE, IGNACE, "'Kecharitomene' en Luc 1:28" Biblica 69 (1987), 357-382; 480-508.

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