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Hannah and Mary

Hannah and Mary

Q: Hannah as a type of Mary?

In response to the article entitled: "Hannah as a Type of Mary," I found this article to be anti-Jewish in retrojecting history to say that Hannah was a type of Mary. In order to be ethical and respect the text, it should read that Mary is a type of Hannah. The Gospels should be understood in light of the long history of Jewish tradition that molds them. The Old Testament is the precursor for reading the New Testament and not the other way around.

A: According to Catholic exegetical principles, the Old Testament is understood as prefiguration, preparation, and promise of the New Testament. Consequently, the notion of type is clearly defined as prefiguration. A type anticipates, intuits, and prefigures what is to come, just as a promise preceeds and antedates the fulifillment. A type is a partial realization of the full truth. That is why Mary will be called anti-type. She is no longer only promise, but fulfillment. Hannah's son will be a prophet; Mary's son is the Messiah. With the grace of God, Hannah will overcome her sterility, and conceive naturally. In Mary's case, the grace of God alone (through the overshadowing of the Spirit) will operate the conception. The foundation for type and anti-type is our faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah. There is a continuity between OT and NT. In order to highlight this reality, we use notions such as type and anti-type. At the same time, we denote a quantum leap between the two periods of salvation history. The announcement of the redeemer in the OT is now reality in Jesus Christ as presented in the New Testament. This is our deepest belief. To hold it is not anti-semitism. We are not taking anything away from the OT. We add to it, all the while seeking understanding and inspiration in the OT for a better grasp of what the NT is telling us. Thus, Hannah's song helps us to understand the spirituality and sources of the Magnificat. More important, she highlights and illustrates the Marian theme that by God nothing is impossible.

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