I read an interesting piece by Catholic Biblical scholar, Michael Barber at his blog today: Mary's Visit to Elizabeth, Ark Imagery & the Fathers. Here is how he starts out and you will have to visit his blog to read the interesting quotes, citations, and commentary he offers.
Patristic sources often link Mary, the mother of Jesus, to ark of the covenant imagery. Where did this tradition originate? At first glance, it might be suspected that such language is merely the result of reckless allegorization. After all, the New Testament never links Mary with the ark . . . right?
Here I want to make the case that the imagery of Mary as ark can be found in Luke’s Gospel. In particular, I want to look at a story relevant to the Christmas season: Luke's account of the Visitation, i.e., Mary's visit to Elizabeth. The story is rich in Old Testament echoes. As we shall see, it seems the fathers were much more careful readers of the New Testament than is often realized. This should raise a few eyebrows. Please let me know what you think in the com-box [I suggest keeping the comments in Michael's com-box so they are all together, and so he can answer any questions or challenges - dk].
There are some other write-ups out there on this, not necessarily so recent, but nonetheless worthy of checking out:
- Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant (Steve Ray, in This Rock, 2005)
- Mary, Ark of the New Covenant (Patrick Madrid)
- Video – No Apologies #3- Mary, Ark of the New Covenant (Fra Joseph, Air Maria)
- http://www.answersforcatholics.com/mary.htm (scroll down for the topic or enjoy the rest of what is there, as well)
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