The role that Mary plays in God's plan of salvation is an issue that over the centuries has divided Christians and their churches. In part, these differences stem from disagreements about what the New Testament says about the mother of Jesus. This book should go a long way toward solving the disputes. It is not a collection of essays but rather a collaborative statement prepared by a team of Protestant, Anglican and Roman Catholic scholars who have reached substantial agreement on how Mary was pictured by Christians of the first two centuries.
This book follows the same methodology as an earlier volume, Peter in the New Testament, produced by the same research group. The status of that first book as an ecumenical achievement of American biblical scholarship is attested to by the welcome it has received and by its translation into five languages. In light of the difficulty of the subject matter, Mary in the New Testament may be an even greater achievement. If Roman Catholic and Protestant scholars can agree on what the oldest Christian sources said, is the way now open for the churches to agree on a fundamental Christian attitude toward Mary?
This book is written by scholars, but it is not meant only for scholars. The authors have taken pains to make the work intelligible to students, clergy and the knowledgeable laity of their churches. It combines scientific research with a respect for Christian sensibilities.