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Author, Body-Poetics of the Virgin Mary


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New Release

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Body-Poetics of the Virgin Mary

The Judeo-Christian Scriptures understand humans as being made in the image of God. What exactly does this mean? Basic agreement is that it means humans can only know and understand themselves in relation to God. If, however, this God is pure uncreated spirit, where does human embodiment fit in? Is it an obstacle to understanding? Or is it in some way instructive? John Paul II comes down decisively in favor of the body’s value and importance. In his catechetical series, widely known as the Theology of the Body, John Paul II analyzes what is distinctive about human beings. He undertakes a “reading” of the body.
This book reflects on John Paul II’s interpretation, extending his findings to the Virgin Mary. Her specifically female, maternal body is seen to offer insights into how the body images God—in how it “speaks.” The transformations of the female body parallel the transformations of language in poetry. The reconfigurations and accommodations of the gestational body are, this book suggests, poetic incarnations of God-likeness. Body-Poetics of the Virgin Mary offers a Mariological slant on theological anthropology and a new way to think of how humans poetically image God. 

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“This is an author to watch! Jane Petkovic has given us a book that is at once profound and readable, imaginative and rigorous, theologically adventurous while being securely rooted in the best of contemporary Roman Catholic thought. Especially impressive is the interweaving of poetic forms with a subtle and highly original argument. This is a considerable intellectual achievement, and one that deserves to be widely read.”

Jeremy BEGBIE, Duke University 

"The selection of poems was unique; nothing

sticky or sentimental. Not what I would have imagined.  [. . . ]  This is a book well worth reading for its originality and contribution to Mariology and theological anthropology."

Denis MCGRATH, review from goodreads

"This book is a wonderful synthesis of literary elegance and scholarly erudition. The deep interface created between Pope John Paul II’s catecheses on the theology of the body and Marian poetry enables Petkovic to break new theological ground in offering a rich theology of Mary’s ‘obstetric body,’ and beautifully illuminating her life lived as ‘poem of the Father.’ Highly recommended for both students and scholars.”

John GRABOWSKI, The Catholic University of America

“. . . an original and far-reaching work whose value to its readers as a scholarly stimulus will be matched by its value as a spiritual resource.”

Ben QUASH, King’s College London

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