kc << Juniper Carol explicitly states that the Transitus literature is a complete fabrication which should be rejected by any serious historian >>
William Webster is simply lying about Juniper Carol. I’ve had the photocopied sections of his Mariology (3 volumes) on the Immaculate Conception and Assumption for a number of years, and only recently typed up the sections on the Assumption. What Fr. Burghardt says (he is the author of the articles in those volumes on the eastern and western Fathers on Mary, not Juniper Carol who is the editor of the volumes) is that the Transitus is “valueless” as strict history, but nonetheless significant and priceless both historically and theologically. Here is what Webster does not and won’t quote:
Burghardt: “This account is significant, in the first instance, because it affirms unequivocally the death and burial of Mary, the reunion of her soul and body without delay, and her assumption into heaven in soul and body. It is significant, in the second place, for the developed Assumption theology which links this privilege causally with Mary’s Maternity and virginity, and stresses the parallelism which ought to exist between Christ and His Mother in victory over death. The account of Pseudo-Melito, like the rest of the Transitus literature, is admittedly valueless as history, as an historical report of Mary’s death and corporeal assumption; under that aspect the historian is justified in dismissing it with a critical distaste. But the account is priceless nonetheless – historically and theologically. Historically, because it witnesses indisputably to the feeling of the faithful for Mary, a growing awareness of her dignity, even though we are unable to specify the full range of this awareness geographically or even to indicate its dawning. Theologically, because it postulates the Assumption on grounds that are valid not simply for piety but for scientific theology as well.” (Carol Mariology, volume 1, page 149-150, emphasis added)
Burghardt: “What is the value of these witnesses? As historical accounts of an actual event – Mary’s death, her translation, her Assumption – by individuals who were personally present, or else were in contact with the events through unimpeachable sources, the Transitus literature is valueless. But theologically the tales are priceless. They reveal the reaction of early Christian piety when confronted with the apparent fact of Our Lady’s death; they evidence the first unequivocal solutions to the problem of Mary’s destiny. The solutions, though divergent, disclose a genuinely Christian insight: it was not fitting that the body of Mary should see corruption. More importantly, the solution is given, incorruption is postulated, on theological lines: the principles of solution are the divine Maternity, Mary’s unimpaired virginity, her unrivaled holiness…” (Carol Mariology, volume 2, page 145-146, see above, emphasis added)
That is what Juniper Carol says (specifically Fr. Burghardt) and you and Webster can now apologize to Carol and Burghardt. This goes to show – you cannot trust William Webster. Look up what he quotes, please!
For a scholarly treatment of the so-called “Transitus literature” you want to get Shoemaker’s thorough study Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption (Oxford Univ Press, 2006 paperback). And throw Webster into the garbage can where he belongs. :mad: