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Corporal KnowledgeEarly Christian Bodies$
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Jennifer Glancy

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195328158

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328158.001.0001

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Mary in Childbirth

Mary in Childbirth

(p.81) 4 Mary in Childbirth
Corporal Knowledge

Jennifer A. Glancy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 examines the earliest representations of Mary in childbirth in writings dating from the second and early third centuries, including Odes of Solomon, Ascension of Isaiah, Protevangelium of James, and works by Tertullian. In a period in which Mary is not yet canonized as a uniquely sinless Eve, her virginity is interpreted in multiple and complex ways. Mary’s childbearing body is located in the context of both ancient and modern discourses about childbirth. Drawing theoretically on the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty as well as feminist philosophers including Elizabeth Grosz, Luce Irigiray, and Julia Kristeva, chapter 4 considers the parturient body—Mary’s body and, by extension, the bodies of other childbearing women—as a site of corporal knowledge. Corporal knowing begins in the womb.

Keywords:   Ascension, childbearing body, childbirth, corporal knowledge, Eve, Merleau-Ponty, Odes of Solomon, Protevangelium, Tertullian, virginity

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