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The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus [Hardcover]

By Scot McKnight (Author)
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Item description for The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus by Scot McKnight...

Explores Mary's life, from the moment she learned of God's plans for the Messiah to the culmination of Christ's ministry on earth, and introduces the real Mary--a woman of courage, humility, and spirit, who is a model for faith.

Publishers Description
Adored by Catholic and Orthodox Christians for two thousand years, Mary is still mostly neglected by Protestants. Attempting to step outside of th e adoration of the Virgin, and beyond the Protestant neglect of her legacy, Scot McKnight asks: Who was she, really?

From Publishers Weekly
In this slim, engaging volume, McKnight (Protestant author of The Jesus Creed) makes the case that the real Mary of the Bible has been hijacked by theological controversies. He begins by noting that Mary has been seen by turns as a compliant "resting womb," a damaging stereotype of passivity, a Christmas figure and a source of "reaction formation" by Protestants, as well as the mother of Jesus. "The real Mary is no offense to Protestants, but rather a woman for us to honor," he insists, envisioning her as an impoverished, bold, gutsy woman of faith. He also portrays her as neither goddess nor supersaint, but as the mother of God. McKnight lends interesting cultural context to Mary's simple and courageous words, "let it be," and unpacks the Magnificat as a song of protest and revolution. He poignantly portrays Mary's gradual knowledge that her son would not be the triumphant king envisioned as Messiah, and makes a somewhat controversial case for Mary having other children. His sections on the immaculate conception and Mary as mediatrix in prayer should help debunk some Protestants' false impressions of Catholic belief. McKnight's lucid, sometimes humorous, conversational style makes this an accessible book for a wide pool of evangelical readers. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Paraclete Press (MA)
Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2006
Publisher   PARACLETE PRESS #810
ISBN  1557255237  
ISBN13  9781557255235  

Availability  0 units.

More About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight Author of more than fifty books including The Jesus Creed, Dr. Scot McKnight currently serves as a Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. A much-sought-after public thinker and speaker, he blogs regularly at Patheos under the banner of -Jesus Creed.- He and his wife, Kris, enjoy life in the suburbs of Chicago.

Scot McKnight currently resides in Chicago, in the state of Illinois.

Scot McKnight has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Ancient Practices
  2. Biblical Guides
  3. Bringing the Bible to Life
  4. Comentarios Biblicos Con Aplicacion NVI
  5. Guides to New Testament Exegesis
  6. Library of New Testament Studies
  7. Living Theology
  8. Mersion: Emergent Village Resources for Communities of Faith
  9. New International Commentary on the New Testament
  10. NIV Application Commentary
  11. Rzim Critical Questions Discussion Guides
  12. Story of God Bible Commentaries
  13. Story of God Bible Commentary
  14. Studying the Historical Jesus

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Mariology
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Saints
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Church History
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus?

Disappointed  Feb 9, 2007
I purchased "The Real Mary" after reading the glowing reports given by the publisher, the book's endorsers, and reviewing purchasers. However, I cannot in good conscience give the book anything but a low grade primarily because it is simply 80+% educated speculation interspersed with maybe 20% Scripturally warranted information. McKnight reads far too much into the little told us in Holy Writ of the mother of Jesus. How she felt when she finally found him in the temple, various conclusions she drew and how she fretted and what she thought about certain events. Please - call it fiction if you want, but it certainly is not what I would call a scholarly exposition by any stretch. If you want to be tittilated, speculated upon, and led into fanciful "facts", read away. However, if you're looking for evidence of the "real Mary", save your money.
Embracing Mary  Jan 9, 2007
In general, if you want to get Evangelical Protestants nervous, start talking positively about Mary. Not that they think Mary the mother of our Lord is a bad person or anything, but that they insist she needs to kept in her place - which usually is limited to a brief mention during the Christmas season. Even those who think that positive Scriptural role models for women are important would much rather talk about Ruth or Esther or anyone but the virgin who gave birth to the Savior. In their eyes, Mary is more a Catholic rather than a Biblical figure.

Scot McKnight thinks this sort of thinking is all wrong. While unabashedly Evangelical in outlook, he sees Mary as one of the most important figures in the New Testament. He also thinks the traditional thinking of Mary is highly skewed in both Catholic and Protestant traditions (admitting a level of ignorance on the delicate distinctions between the Catholic and Orthodox views of Mary - and preferrng that issue be handled by experts - he limits himself to the Western tradtiions). In The Real Mary he attempts to give a new view based upon the Scriptures of the New Testament and the cultural atmosphere of the world of Second Temple Judaism.

McKnight divides the book into three parts. The first and longest examines the evidence of Holy Scipture concerning Mary. In this section, the most important theme and one that is reinforced often is that the common picture of a passive Mary wiith Catholics seeing her as a blissful soul with an almost stoic acceptance of God's directives and Protestants looking at her as little more than an incubator for the Word made flesh are both entirely erroneous. McKnight points out that Mary was a forceful figure in the New Testament who knew the consequences of being an unwed mother in her world but consented in a supreme act of faith that was not only pious but corageous. This radical trusting of God shows forth in the Magnificat - a prayer that was both powerful and subversive of both both Herod and Rome's authority. This is not the "nice" Mary of Christmas cards but a woman who was strong and dangerous to those in positions of authority.

Throiughout her mention in the New Testament, Mary is a shown as a strong Jewish woman who was empowered by her radical faith she had in the God of Israel. She - like the Apostles - did not understand the fulfillment of Jesus' ministry would lead to the cross but, unlike all but John, she endured the unbearable pain of being at with Him there. She was present with Jesus' followers in the dark period after His burial and waited with hope following His ascension. She may have misunderstood some of Jesus' actions in His ministry and experienced total confusion at the point of his passion but the faith in God remained through these crises.

In the second part of the book, McKnight tackles the Mary of Church tradition. While taking the Evangelical position and thus disagreeing with the many beliefs Catholics (and often the Orthodox) hold about Mary, he does so in a fair manner. There is no "straw men" put forward and in opposing Catholic views on Mary he emphasizes Catholic doctrines do assume Mary's salvation was dependant upon God's grace and do not imply she was not in need of a Savior.

While the author meticulously and even-handedly examines these beliefs in light of Holy Scripture as interpreted through an Evangelical Protestant perspective, the weakness in this outlook is that the aforementioned perspective is almost entirely built upon modern historical-critical assumptions that have little in common with the exegetical assumptions employed by Jesus and the Apostles. Thus the typological and mystical interpretations given by the early Church (e.g., the remarkable similarities between the Ark of the Covenant coming to David and Mary coming to Elizabeth) are never addressed and the universally held opinion of all the early Church is ignored. Still, if one agrees with the Evangelical view, the discussion is remarkably free of polemic.

McKnight finishes with a discussion of how Evangelical Protestants can now fully embrace the "real Mary". Mary was one who had a deep personal faith in God that developed, gave her courage at points of great difficulty in her life and set an example of how such faith can change the world. In every way, from the moment Gabriel greeted her throughout her appearances in the Gospels and Acts she is the model for all women of faith and indeed is one whom every generation should call blessed.

While not agreeing entirely with everything in The Real Mary, Scot McKnight has paved the way for future development by Evangelicals so they no longer need be seen as running away from one of the most compelling of New Testament figures. It is a welcome addition to the surprising interest developing among Evangelicals in the Theotokos and will hopefully assist in overcoming the misunderstandings between faithful Christians of all traditions.
Great Introduction for the Novice (Me)  Dec 25, 2006
In the first chapter, Scot McKnight asks "Why a book on Mary?". One of the answers is because most Protestants haven't given much thought to Mary. He's describing me and this book was an excellent introduction to the subject of the Virgin Mary.

He covers the biblical texts referring to Mary and exegetically, doesn't really add much to the story. However, once he begins to draw out the implications and tie it into the historical background in which the Gospel story is located, he has some very excellent proposals that are plausible and tie in the Birth narratives to the rest of the Gospels story in the gospels and the epistles.

One primary example is his coverage of the Magnificat. He sees it as a very unsettling song and thought pattern that undermines the powers that be (Herod and Caesar). He gives the historical background for why. His suggestion dovetails nicely with other theologians' (N.T. Wright, Jaroslav Pelikan, etc) understanding as to why the Christian proclamation "Jesus is Lord" was a threat to to the Empire's proclamation "Caesar is Lord" and the resulting conflict between Christianity and the Empire. Each chapter has very suggestive proposals as to Mary's impact and influence on the early church. They are all plausible, but he leaves it to the reader to wrestle and decide.

His second great contribution is two chapters at the end concerning the Controversial Mary, the Mary seen by Catholics vis a vis Protestants. I am not very familiar with the true Catholic views on Mary. As a life-long Protestant, and for many years, a Fundamentalist, I have been conditioned to reject all things Catholic, especially its views on Mary. However, if McKnight is accurate in his representation of the Catholic position on Mary, then we should have a lot in common with the Catholic church on Mary. He does posit Protestant caution concerning some doctrines and leaves it up to you. He tries to be very fair in his representation of the Catholic position. He also tries to penetrate some individual Catholic overstatements and get to the published doctrine on the matter.

His last major contribution is an annotated bibliography on literature, especially Protestant literature, on Mary. He also interacts with much of it as well as Catholic literature. He provides a great introduction to other resources that go beyond this book to continue and deepen our study of Mary.

All in all, Mary is a neglected study for most Protestants. If McKnight is right about half of his proposals, and I think this is a very conservative estimate, I have robbed myself of a very vital resource in my understanding of the Gospels and early church history. I plan to correct this ASAP. I highly recommend this book.
Scot McKnight's Embraceable Mary  Dec 4, 2006
Scot McKnight accomplishes two good objectives with his latest book The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus (Paraclete Press, 2006). First, as the subtitle suggests, Scot wants to take the jitters out of evangelicals who are jumpy about honoring Mary the Mother of Jesus. Some kind of anti-Catholic Protestant Reformation residue lingers on many of us and we find it hard to honor Mary because we might be mistaken for "worshiping" her. With a scholar's keen research, a pastor's concerned heart, and a writer's competent, engaging communication style, McKnight presents a down-to-earth, gospels-based Mary. Young Mary is a true, courageous human being surrendering to her part in the unfolding drama of God's story. Scot doesn't present a religious, stained-glass goddess, but a fiesty, gutsy, intelligent, deeply devoted woman who wrestles with the demands, responsibilities and heartaches of being the Mother of God-in-flesh. Second, Scot wants the Catholic readers of the book to assess where they may have gone too far in honoring Mary, not so much in practice as in theological pronouncements. This is done, once again, in plain, understandable language. Scot is fair because he shows that some Protestants have misunderstood some basic tenets of what Catholics believe about Mary. I was surprised by how many Protestant "greats" in church history believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary. On the more controversial theological issues, Scot offers in-depth chapters toward the end of the book. Scot "unpacks" Mary's Magnificat showing the deeply held convictions Mary had regarding God's redemptive work in the world. Scot converses about how much Mary influenced Jesus' own vision and mission of his ministry. The question whether or not Mary had other children is raised and dealt with in an irenic manner. Remember the scene in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ when Jesus falls under the weight of the cross and Mary, his mother, has a flash-back to when Jesus was a little boy and fell while running? Remember how those scenes made Jesus seem more real, more truly human? The Real Mary does the same thing. Both Jesus and Mary are incarnate--flesh and blood human beings in a real mother and son relationship. After reading the book, I felt no urge to "worship" Mary, but I felt deeply challenged by her life of courage and devotion.
Mary: The Unvarnished Truth  Nov 14, 2006
Scot McKnight is a top-notch New Testament scholar who can write for non-specialists. The Real Mary shows, once again, why McKnight has a growing following among thinking Christians. This book looks carefully at the biblical picture of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and draws out implications for today. A must-read for anyone interested in Mary. (And, I might add, a fine Christmas present!)

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