Elina Vuola: Jumalainen nainen. Neitsyt Mariaa etsimässä [The divine woman. In search of the Virgin Mary]

1 April 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Jumalainen nainen. Neitsyt Mariaa etsimässä
[The divine woman. In search of the Virgin Mary]
Helsinki: Otava, 2010. 220 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-1-22364-1
€ 34,  hardback

This book is about the Virgin Mary and in particular her role in women’s religious experience. Theologian Elina Vuola considers that the doctrines concerning the Virgin Mary have quite a lot in common, as the principal dogmas were formulated in the early centuries of Christianity. As a partial explanation of the difference between the Mary of the Church and the Mary of popular faith, the author adduces the fact that with few exceptions women in Finland did not begin to receive theological training until the second half of the twentieth century. The central question in the book is whether or not Mary is the crowned queen of a patriarchal religious faith that is hostile to women, a harmful role model. Vuola avows herself to be a representative of the trend in women’s religious studies that takes a more positive and multifaceted view of Mary. In the section devoted to the Mary of Karelian folk religion it becomes evident that in Finland and its surrounding regions there are interpretations that are surprisingly similar to those found in Latin America.
Translated by David McDuff

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