!0,000 volumes on "Mary"?


I read sometime ago that a major Catholic University claimed to have over 10,000 volumes of writings about Mary the mother of Jesus. How were so many books ever written about her considering there are probably less than a thousand words about her mentioned in the entire bible? I’ve also read the Muslim bible mentions her many more times. Thanks, I’m confused.




Why are you confused? What’s there to be confused about? Why shouldn’t there be books about Mary? She is only the Mother of God, after all. As a Catholic you need to remember that we are not “people of the book” in that everything we believe is confined between it’s covers. The Bible is one part of Sacred Tradition, which is what we Catholics go by in determining what is important for us to focus on and what isn’t.

Also, are you saying that there should only be books about Jesus? And if you believe there are too many books about Mary, it seems odd that you commend the Muslims for mentioning her more times than the NT. :hmmm:

That a Catholic university has several books about Mary should come as no surprise, especially when we consider that our Protestant brethren have little to no books about the most important woman who ever lived.


Are you talking about the wife of Martin Luther?

There is a good one just out by Mary Jackson- called “Daughter of the Reformation.”


You have got to be kidding. :rolleyes:


That university would probably be the University of Dayton. Go Flyers!


I don’t see a logical problem there. I make no claim that everything written in those books is correct.


My point in asking the original question is this. Based on the actual number of words written in the bible about Mary as the mother of Jesus, there is not enough information for writing a good English 101 report. Come on, 10,000 volumes. I would guess the great majority of them are just pious speculations written by scholars over the years. There is not enough factual or historical information available for even a small research paper.


There’s a small verse in the Gospels where Jesus said, “This is my body.” Don’t you realize that people (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, and non-Christians) have written thousands of volumes on that one idea of Eucharist?

Why is it impossible to expound on a small mention from the Bible and delve into “what” and “why” certain things or people might have signified?


If you’re talking about the University of Dayton’s Marian Library, you can pretty easily read the computerized card catalog from the library website.

Many of the books kept in the climate-controlled Marian Library facility are rare books and reference works, such as a good chunk of the Fathers in Latin, Greek, and Syriac. There’s also an art collection kept there, including UD’s collection Nativity sets from around the world, and I think the UD archives are up there too.

But yes, there are also 10,000 Marian and Marian-related books, although of course there are also Marian and Marian-related books in the circulating library collections in Roesch, the law library, the US Catholic collection, etc. (There are even a couple in the SFWA holding collection of SF/F books, because I think Fr. Greeley has a few books there.)

Ten thousand books isn’t really that many. Heck, anybody with a decent book collection has a couple thousand in the house. It’s easy to have them accumulate.

That said, there are of course more than “a couple” verses in the Bible which are generally considered to relate to Mary. There’s Psalm 45, the “Valiant Woman” chapter of Proverbs, the Song of Songs, the Book of Judith, a fair amount of verses from Isaiah about the Daughter of Zion, verses from the Book of Revelation, verses from several letters of Paul, etc.

And then there are the more extended interpretations. Just as one can read all the Psalms from a Christological point of view or as pointing to the everyday Christian, one can read all the Psalms through a Mariological lens, too. Almost any verse talking about the Church or Israel as a mother or a spotless bride or a queen can be related to Mary, just as they can relate to other Christians and Jews.

And so on. One of the strengths of the Church being determined not to declare that every Bible verse has one and only one meaning, is that people have a lot of freedom to explore and relate the Bible to their own topics of interest. A lot of people are interested in Mary.

But many of the Marian books are rare theology books, art books, music books, etc. Artists love to draw and sculpt Mary, and musicians like to write music for her. It piles up.

You also need to bear in mind that the collection is not just Marian books in English. Most of them are in Latin, Greek, French, German, and a ton more.

The Marian Library is very helpful to researchers, although obviously it would be even better if somebody would give the Marian Library a good chunk of cash to get things digitized (preferably using a non-destructive method, given the irreplaceable nature of many rare books).


Ah no, there are many references to Mary besides the few verses in the NT. The OT has many allusions to her and the Early Church Fathers wrote about her, as well. As I wrote before, and you apparently discounted, we are not “people of the book.” Not everything we know and believe about Jesus, including his mother, is contained solely within the NT. You need to explore the fullness of Sacred Tradition, not merely the NT to get the whole picture of who Mary was/is and what her life means to us as her spiritual children.


There are many types of in the Old Testament which point towards Mary, and a greaat number of works have investigated those types. There have also been many private revelations related to her.


That’s just how things roll. I mean, we also don’t know 80-90% of Jesus’ earthly life, and we don’t know much about Caiaphas’ or Pilate’s lives apart from their public politics, and they get books and scholarly, pious and lay speculations written about them too.

I’ve also read the Muslim bible mentions her many more times. Thanks, I’m confused.

Yes. Part of it is mainly in conjunction with Jesus (Isa), “the son of Mary.” The other half is the Qur’an adapting apocryphal stories about Mary.


This quote is very amusing to one who used to teach Mariology. In a Master’s programme, I had only some 15 sessions to teach an introduction to the subject and it was woefully inadequate; I could have used twice as many. My students never had a problem in completing research papers in the field.

There are a great many exquisite doctoral theses on Mary. A scholar in this field has no problem writing and publishing extensively, actually. In Rome, there is a pontifical theological institute dedicated to the study of Mary…the Marianum. Its advanced degrees, culminating in the doctorate, are quite prestigious.


I’m still wondering how, with such scant written information in the bible about Mary, that anyone could write a detailed paper or book on her. A doctoral degree is supposed to be rewarded for new and verifiable information about a subject. Anything written about Mary based the only scant written information available to a researcher, as in the bible, would seem to me to be just idle speculation, pious thoughts, and wishful thinking. I would guess the sources for such doctoral dissertation information are just other pious speculative writings by people who analyze the writings of other speculators from the past. When all is said and done, after reading all these dissertations, we really don’t know any more concrete facts about Mary than what we read in the bible.


Yes. Exactly. Books on speculations about Mary by different groups throughout the ages. Finding a specious link between a fact we know about Mary and some other female figure- real or mythological- and then running with it (usually off a cliff- not that anyone cares particularly). Feminists and liberals are always taking shots at the Catholic-endorsed view of Mary.

There is a market for this stuff, obviously. So writers crank it out.

Also, “academic” people seeking tenure in such a well-trod field as Mary-ology can be very creative. They HAVE to be.


Not true at all. A thesis can take an already-verified idea and extrapolate it into various offshoot theories, and why those offshoot theories may or may not be plausible. It doesn’t have to be verified in a scientific way; it simply has to show well-thought-out ideas from the known concepts.

Recall that the idea of the Trinity and the dual natures of Christ took the equivalent of hundreds of volumes of books to hash out in the early years of the Church. The Bible did not teach about those with verifiable information.


steve53 said:

“Finding a specious link between a fact we know about Mary and some other female figure- real or mythological- and then running with it (usually off a cliff- not that anyone cares particularly).”

Do you also advocate throwing out all those parts of the Bible where the inspired writers, or Jesus Himself, finds a “specious link” between “a face we know” about various patriarchs and matriarchs, or between patriarchs/matriarchs and Jesus, or between Jesus and the Father, or Jesus and the Holy Spirit?

I mean, I’m sure St. Paul would love to find out that he was doing it wrong, wasting all that time drawing links between Jesus and Adam, or Jesus and Abraham, or Jesus and Moses. (Not to mention wasting the time of everybody writing a book about his books.) :slight_smile:

The people who wrote the Bible, and God Who inspired their works, all expected later readers to be able to think about the intertextuality of the Bible in a way similar to themselves. Part of that intertextuality is the basic interpretative skill of seeing links between themes and people in both the OT and NT. You don’t always have to think that way, just like not all poetry has to be written in Hebrew parallel format. But if it’s not in your toolbox at all, you are going to miss a huge amount of basic meaning.

Since we believe the Bible is inspired, we also believe that it has applicability in a lot of extended senses. So yes, one is not only permitted but encouraged to point out other thematic links besides those that are explicitly in the text.

Moving along -

So tell me, what’s wrong with old European monk guys writing books on subjects interesting to them? (Particularly since a lot of the early scientists were also very fond of Mary or St. Catherine of Alexandria or the like. I don’t think you’d really want to cut off their scientific creativity by cutting off their Mariology.) What’s wrong with collecting old and rare books of pious essays or of useful prayers and meditations, and making them freely available to researchers? Is it stealing your food or clogging up your toilet?

If the only acceptable books in the world were those matching my tastes, there would have been about ten years when all the world’s writers would have been forced to write nothing but amazing adventure novels about a girl and her pony. And that’s why nobody made me God. :slight_smile:


I was going to point out the raw cynicism in steve53 posts, but I like your fuller answer better, Mintaka. :thumbsup:


For those who are sincerely interested in learning about a field that they never knew existed, I can find it very rewarding to talk about the scope of study, the nature of research, the history of the field, the content of the field’s literature, and its raison d’etre in terms of associated fields.

On the other hand, I generally find very little utility in trying to discuss such a topic with people who have a disdain for it that is rooted in an anti-intellectualism…those who reject the discipline out of hand, those who write of academics while qualifying them in quotation marks, as well as those who reduce the life and work of dedicated academics to the mere seeking of tenure. Even less is typically to be gained by attempting a conversation with those who know so little about the field of study they are critiquing that they either can’t spell it or they deliberately misspell it, in mockery of it.

Perhaps you should begin at the beginning…with Patristics…and consider devoting some number of years to an assiduous reading of the Fathers of the Church, both the Greeks and the Latins, as that would at least give you some foundation on how the Church – and therefore – theologians read, analyze, and expound upon the Deposit of the Faith as contained in Divine Revelation, in both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. You would also have the opportunity to see first hand the foundation and beginning of Trinitarian theology, Christology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, Mariology, Dogmatic Theology, Sacramental Theology, Moral Theology, Mystical & Ascetical Theology, and the field of Apologetics.

Each of the fields I have listed have been progressively blossoming from the sub-apostolic Church…so for more than 1900 years.

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