Monday, October 15, 2007

Random question from a Bible Student

Question: I have a question regarding Mary and the birth of Christ. When she was visited by the angel and told of what was to come. Did she know the prophecies regarding the birth of Jesus?

Short Answer: I don't know.

Longer Speculation: I suspect that there may have been some vague knowledge of the prophecy in Isaiah 7 and Micah 5 and of the general flow of prophecies related to the Messiah. Of course the Bible is silent on the specific question you ask but we do have Mary's own words of reflection on the angel's words to her in Luke 1:46-56 and we also know that after the fact, Mary pondered and treasured the words of the angel and Zechariah and the shepherds in her heart for the remainder of her life (Luke 2:19). But there doesn't seem to be anything acknowledged in her words in Luke 1 concerning the prophecies.

A fuller answer, though still speculative, would require us to know the likelihood of Mary even being literate. Did she know how to read? How much were women in the first century exposed to the teaching of the prophets? Were they involved in formal memorization of Scripture as we know the men were? Again, I don't know. If you are interested in finding out more, I would recommend that you consult a good Bible dictionary under the headings of women and education in the first century. You might find some help there.

Interesting question.

1 comment:

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Interesting - I wonder if all the young virgin girls didn't know the prophecy and wonder if they might be the one. Seems that it would have been something to hope for/in if you were raised in a "religious" home. I wondered too, if Elizabeth was her cousin, does that mean that Mary also was from the line of the priests and if so would that have made her more likely to have known the prophecy?