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>The first-century Jewish woman Miriam of Nazareth, mother of Jesus, proclaimed in faith to be Theotokos, the God-bearer, is the most celebrated female religious figure in the Christian tradition. So varied and manifold are the traditions about Mary, both popular and scholarly, that some would speak of "Mary" as a collective noun or refer, in George Tavard's memorable title, to The Thousand Faces of the Virgin Mary.
In her long-awaited book on Mary, which forms a diptych with Friends of God and Prophets, Elizabeth Johnson offers an interpretation of Mary that is theologically sound, spiritually empowering, ethically challenging, socially liberating, and ecumenically fruitful. In particular, she construes the image of Mary so as to be a source of blessing rather than blight for women's lives in both religious and political terms.
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