Chosen Among Women: Mary and Fatima in Medieval Christianity and Shi'ite Islam

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9780268042318: Chosen Among Women: Mary and Fatima in Medieval Christianity and Shi'ite Islam
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Chosen among Women: Mary and Fatima in Medieval Christianity and Shi'ite Islam combines historical analysis with the tools of gender studies and religious studies to compare the roles of the Virgin Mary in medieval Christianity with those of Fatima, daughter of the prophet Muhammad, in Shi'ite Islam.The book explores the proliferation of Marian imagery in Late Antiquity through the Church fathers and popular hagiography. It examines how Merovingian authors assimilated powerful queens and abbesses to a Marian prototype to articulate their political significance and, at the same time, censure holy women's public charisma. Mary Thurlkill focuses as well on the importance of Fatima in the evolution of Shi'ite identity throughout the Middle East. She examines how scholars such as Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi advertised Fatima as a symbol of the Shi'ite holy family and its glorified status in paradise, while simultaneously binding her as a mother to the domestic sphere and patriarchal authority.This important comparative look at feminine ideals in both Shi'ite Islam and medieval Christianity is of relevance and value in the modern world. It will be welcomed by scholars and students of Islam, comparative religion, medieval Christianity, and gender studies.

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Review:

." . . This work is a welcome contribution to the fields of both medieval Christian and medieval Muslim studies . . . It adds to our understanding of how gender is deployed by the clerical establishment or figures of authority in a religious tradition to negotiate the terrain of diverse theological, political, social, and religious practices in the ongoing struggle to shape orthodoxy and orthopraxy . . . The greatest contribution of the book is its demonstration that even though patriarchal constructs draw parameters around these two holy women, the possibilities such figures open up for multivalent understandings of their roles and accomplishments are nonetheless significant." --"History of Religions"

"Crossing the topics of religious studies, gender, and hagiography, Thurlkill juxtaposes the images of Mary and Fatima as they were constructed by late antique and medieval thinkers for various theological and political purposes. . . . Thurlkill's study is to be welcomed as a bridge connecting gender studies, Christian studies, and Islamic studies, and as a indicator of directions for future research." --"Church History"

." . . Mary F. Thurlkill presents a new thoughtful and provocative work, exploring the decisive role that both Mary and Fatima have played respectively in Christianity and Shi'ite Islam. . . . Thurlkill's book explores the proliferation of Marian imagery in Latin Antiquity through the church fathers and popular hagiography. "Chosen among Women" combines historical analysis with the tools of gender studies and religious studies to compare the roles of the Virgin Mary in medieval Christianity with those of Fatima . . ." --"The Sixteenth Century Journal"

"Doing substantial comparative work in rhetoric, gender, and religion, Thurlkill is outwardly interested in holy women. Her study provides a side-by-side examination of the ways in which men in medieval Christianity and Shiite Islam constructed and enshrined feminine images 'without seriously compromising conservative gender designations.' Extensively footnoted and with a rich bibliography, this is recommended for academic gender and religion collections." --"Library Journal"

Doing substantial comparative work in rhetoric, gender, and religion, Thurlkill is outwardly interested in holy women. Her study provides a side-by-side examination of the ways in which men in medieval Christianity and Shiite Islam constructed and enshrined feminine images 'without seriously compromising conservative gender designations.' Extensively footnoted and with a rich bibliography, this is recommended for academic gender and religion collections. "Library Journal""

. . . Mary F. Thurlkill presents a new thoughtful and provocative work, exploring the decisive role that both Mary and Fatima have played respectively in Christianity and Shi ite Islam. . . . Thurlkill s book explores the proliferation of Marian imagery in Latin Antiquity through the church fathers and popular hagiography. "Chosen among Women" combines historical analysis with the tools of gender studies and religious studies to compare the roles of the Virgin Mary in medieval Christianity with those of Fatima . . . "The Sixteenth Century Journal""

Crossing the topics of religious studies, gender, and hagiography, Thurlkill juxtaposes the images of Mary and Fatima as they were constructed by late antique and medieval thinkers for various theological and political purposes. . . . Thurlkill s study is to be welcomed as a bridge connecting gender studies, Christian studies, and Islamic studies, and as a indicator of directions for future research. "Church History""

. . . This work is a welcome contribution to the fields of both medieval Christian and medieval Muslim studies . . . It adds to our understanding of how gender is deployed by the clerical establishment or figures of authority in a religious tradition to negotiate the terrain of diverse theological, political, social, and religious practices in the ongoing struggle to shape orthodoxy and orthopraxy . . . The greatest contribution of the book is its demonstration that even though patriarchal constructs draw parameters around these two holy women, the possibilities such figures open up for multivalent understandings of their roles and accomplishments are nonetheless significant. "History of Religions""

About the Author:

Mary F. Thurlkill is assistant professor of religion at the University of Mississippi.

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