Mary in the Bible

  • Gabriel announces her election as mother of the Messiah (Luke 1: 26-38)
  • she visits Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56)
  • she travels to Bethlehem and gives birth to Jesus (Luke 2:1-20)
  • she presents Jesus at the Temple to Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:21-39)
  • she discovers Jesus discoursing in the Temple with the elders (Luke 2:40-52)
  • she asks Jesus to help the wine stewards at the Cana wedding (John 2:1-11)
  • she visits Jesus with his brothers (Matt. 12:46; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21)
  • at the foot of the cross, she hears her son's last words to her (John 19:26-27)
  • she experiences Pentecost with the apostles (Acts 1:14)

Apocryphal Books

early 4th c.: Earliest manuscript of the Protevangelium of James. Tells the events preceding Mary's birth through the Massacre of the Innocents.

5th century: Earliest accounts of the Death of Mary or Transitus Mariae. Appeared in Latin as the Pseudo-Melito and the Pseudo-Joseph of Arimathea.

7th or 8th c.: The Gospel of the Pseudo-Matthew appears, with the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary following in the 9th century. These amplify the Protevangelium with miracles and teachings. Pseudo-Matthew was the principal source for medieval French and English mystery plays.

high medieval period: Whole cycles of "the Life of Our Lady" develop, condemned at Trent (1545-1563).


2nd century: In his Against Heresies, Irenaeus depicts Mary as a "second Eve," a foundational statement for the later development of Christian theology especially on Mary as a representative or symbol of the church.

431: Against Nestorius, who called Mary only "Christotokos"—mother of Christ—the Council of Ephesus affirms that Mary is "Theotokos"—mother of God. This supports and extends the devotional cult of Mary in the church.

early 8th century: ...

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