Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dr. Edward Sri on Salvation-History Approach to Mary as the New Queen Mother

A closeup of the Blessed Mother stained-glass window directly behind the celebrant's throne used in the Novus Ordo Masses. It is the most difficult to capture because it faces North where little light penetrates the dark glass

Some time ago I had started reading a book by Dr. Edward Sri, who had a series on EWTN on the Blessed Mother, "Knowing Mary through the Bible". I purchased his book, "Queen Mother - a Biblical Theology of Mary's Queenship" (link below) and was amazed at how extensively he treats the subject. If Dr. Sri does not inspire you to study scripture through this topic, I don't know who will. Our protestant brothers and sisters would do well to read this book, especially those who are considering the Catholic faith and are struggling with how Catholics look at Mary. Dr. Scott Hahn was involved in editing.

It is so easy to look at Mary as Queen, but to not really contemplate it that much. I highly recommend the book and will provide here only a small segment of chapter 1.2.4. I am breaking it up into several paragraphs as the whitespace will make for easier reading (empahsis in bold is mine)...

We will now consider a final approach for demonstrating the biblical foundations of Mary's queenship. Especially since Vatican II, many scholars addressing this topic have taken a salvation-historical approach, using the Old Testament queen-mother tradition as the primary backdrop for understanding Mary's queenship. In the late 1950's and 1960's, scholars such as H. Cazelles, A. Del Moral, D. Stanley, B. Ahern, C. Struhmueller and R. Laurentin specifically used this theme in order to explain Mary's royal office.

A number of them discussed how in several ancient near Eastern kindgoms the queen-mother figure was given a special place ruling in the royal court. They also examined how various biblical texts in 1 and 2 Kings and the Book of Jeremiah show that, in the kingdom of Judah, the queen mother held an official position as queen, participating in her son's reign by serving as an advocate for the people and as a counselor to her son.

It is commonly noted how Bathsheba gained considerable power when she became queen mother after her son Solomon assumed the throne. Pointing to a scene in 1 Kings 2, many have shown how King Solomon honors his queen mother bowing before her, having her sit at his right hand, and saying he will grant her any request she makes.

Some scholars also demonstrate how the queen-mother figure plays an important role in two passages from Israel's tradition, which eventually became associated to some extent with the Messiah: Isaiah 7:14 and Genesis 3:15 closely associate a royal mother with her royal son and his work.

These scholars conclude that, with this Old Testament background in mind, Mary should be understood as the queen mother in the new kingdom of her Son. For example, in the New Testament, Mary and Jesus are shown fulfilling Isaiah 7:14 (Mt. 1:22-3; Lk 1-26-31), thus connecting Mary with the queen-mother concept. Most of these scholars also point out how Mary is queen mother by returning to the Visitation scene, where Elizabeth calls Mary, "the mother of my Lord" - words probably used in reference to the queen mother in the Old Testament.