Time to reassess Mary, the first Christian


Both those who think Mary gets too much attention, and those whose traditions have fostered devotion to Mary, have perhaps obscured just how active and decisive a human figure Mary was, writes Greg Sheridan. Source: The Australian.

The first person in the Gospels to proclaim Jesus was Mary, his mother. She remains, more than 2000 years later, the most popular Christian saint. She is the most influential woman in history, and the most loved.

It’s too easy to miss the vibrant humanity and historic agency of Mary, her leadership in some respects.

The best place to meet Mary in the New Testament is in Luke, the warmest of the Gospels, for there are more women there than in the others. There is an ancient tradition that Mary was Luke’s chief source, just as there is a tradition that Peter was Mark’s chief source. He was not an eyewitness to Jesus’ life. He got the story from primary sources.

The first thing a journalist sees in Luke is a scoop, an exclusive. He must have had a great source. Only Mary, directly or indirectly, could have provided Luke with the account of her learning of her miraculous pregnancy. That ought to be the first clue to Mary’s agency, her dynamism and activism. She knew part of the Jesus story that no one else could know. She gave that to us through Luke. By briefing Luke, she controlled the narrative for history.

This is an edited extract from Greg Sheridan’s book, Christians: The Urgent Case for Jesus in Our World (Allen & Unwin).


Time to reassess Mary, the first Christian (The Australian

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