Rival Traditions of Mary's Death: The Independent Origins of the Ancient Dormition Traditions

Stephen J. Shoemaker

in Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary's Dormition and Assumption

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780199250752
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600746 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

 Rival Traditions of Mary's Death: The Independent Origins of the Ancient Dormition Traditions

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Many interpreters have argued that the earliest Dormition traditions did not include Mary's resurrection and Assumption, and that these features were only added to the narratives later on, as the early Christians increasingly came to believe in these events. Alternatively, many other scholars have proposed that Mary's resurrection and Assumption were original features of the Dormition traditions that fell away as later Christians departed from the primitive orthodoxy, resulting in later narratives that omit these features, concluding only with Mary's death and the disappearance of her lifeless body. The evidence for either of these developmental typologies is lacking, however, and it seems instead that the different narrative types emerged almost simultaneously and independently of one another. The liturgical traditions Palestine do not support, neither developmental schema. It seems likely that the different fates ascribed to Mary at the end of the various Dormition narratives may have their source in the diversity of opinion in late antiquity regarding the eschatological significance of Paradise.

Keywords: Assumption; death; Dormition; Marian Liturgical Traditions; Paradise; resurrection

Chapter.  25488 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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