The transfiguration and Mary

by
31 July 2015

A helpful book about Jesus and his mother, says William Scott

 

Mary: A gospel witness to transfiguration and liberation
Andrew Jones
BRF £8.99
(978-1-84101-651-1)
Church Times Bookshop £8.10

 

THIS book by a Welsh archdeacon about our Lady is commended by a former leader of the Iona Community. I still reel from some of the views about the Blessed Virgin from Church of Scotland ministers which I heard when an Anglican curate in Glasgow; but that was more than 40 years ago, and her foreword has helped my reconciliation processes.

Jones begins by focusing on the transfiguration of Jesus, who in the event revealed his true nature. In being born of Mary, God has entered into our human situation and transfigured it. He continues with ideas of Mary growing out of the Old Testament. This is reminiscent of part of the Roman Catholic Catechism describing Mary as the apex of Hebrew women. The paucity of mention of Mary in the New Testament is well discussed, bringing the first part of the book to a conclusion.

Mary in terms of liberation theology is examined in the context of the Kingdom. “Mary is an active member of the poor, just as her son was.” The virginity of Mary and the incarnation are explained in clear but unoriginal ways.

The incarnation and resurrection can change us. Jones uses biblical and apocryphal material. I appreciated the references to the annunciation as “not so much Mary’s love of God, but God’s love of Mary”. Because a parish I once served contains an altar of Our Lady of Sorrows, I was attracted to his thoughts on the cross and grace. “So often,” he says, “grace comes to us through weakness and that’s the paradox of grace.”

It is difficult to do justice to the last part of the book, but it centres on God’s relationship with Mary as being a covenant relationship. There is also a discussion of Magnificat and visits to many of the shrines of our Lady. Topics for group discussion end the volume.

I would heartily commend this book, especially to those who find devotion to the Mother of God in some way alien.

 

Prebendary Scott was until recently Sub Dean of the Chapels Royal.

100 Best Christian Books

How many have you read?

Visit the 100 Best Christian Books website to see which books made our list, read the judges' notes and add your own comments.

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

The Church Times Podcast

The Church Times Podcast, hosted by Tim Wyatt and Ed Thornton, features a mixture of interviews and news analysis. Listen online

Forthcoming Events

16-18 February 2018
Church Times Festival of Faith & Literature

Our literary festival with a theological slant in Bloxham, Oxfordshire. Speakers include Francis Spufford, Ruth Valerio, Eve Poole, Mark Oakley, James Runcie and many others. Find out more

5-6 May 2018
Church Times Festival of Poetry
With Sarum College, Salisbury. More details coming soon - register your interest here

Subscribe now to get full access

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read seven articles each month for free.