Our Lady standing on the snake


#21

[quote=Verbum Caro]DavidB, when you say that "this is not proper scriptural interpretation" do you mean *translation? *I understand your concerns about the translation, but I beg to differ with you that the interpretation is incorrect. It seems to me that we must take all of scripture into account in order to interpret it correctly. The meaning of this passage is what we are after, and the question (that I take LSK to be asking) is whether or not the image of Our Lady crushing the head of a serpent is scripturally based. After all, the first part of Genesis 3:15 is “I will put enmity between you [serpent] and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. . .”

The Catholic Church is aware of the various translations, but the translations admit a meaning that is consistent with an image of Mary crushing the head of a serpent.

(From John Paul II’s audience on Wednesday, May 29th, 1996, published in English in L’Osservatore Romano, June 5th, 1996)

So, it seems to me that Leslie’s (LSK) summary was quite beautiful, consistent with scripture, and faithful to the Tradition of the Church.
[/quote]

Thank you! I appreciate the support and the help from Faithful Catholics.


#22

[quote=EA_Man]Based on JPII’s reasoning, any of the ancestors of Jesus make the grade as well - why not a medal showing Ruth crushing the serpent?
[/quote]

EA_Man:
The beauty of the Catholic position is that we realize that whenever Satan’s head is crushed in his attack on us individually or corporately, it is because of the grace of God and the Blood of Our Lord. I give a prayer of thanksgiving each day I see my cousin forego his liquor because each time he does, I realize that through grace, he too is crushing Satan’s head and battling his demons sometimes more valiantly than I battle my own.

When I was a protestant, I sometimes shuddered when I saw a Catholic bowing before a statue of Our Lady or when I heard them talk fondly of her or ask for her intercession. In my protestant mind, I thought those actions somehow denied Christ in some measure. I now realize I only felt that way because my own relationship with Christ was weak. As my relationship with Christ has grown (by embracing the Holy Sacraments), I find I want my brothers and sisters in faith both here on earth and in heaven involved in that relationship with me, as well. They don’t threaten my love for Christ. They fuel it!

I pray that Christ lives in you to such an extent that you too are able to crush the serpent’s head.

In Jesus and Mary,
May St. John intercede for you,
Fiat


#23

[quote=DavidB]The masculine noun is attached to the word seed and in Hebrew is zera. That’s why the “it” could only be rendered “he”, because the seed that it refers to is masculine.

David
[/quote]

Yes! I remembered to bring my Tanach (Hebrew Old Testament) home today.

The relevant lines from Genesis 3:15 (if I may transliterate) are

u-vein zar’a-kha u-vein zar’-ah
hu’ ye-shuf-kha r’osh
v’atah t-shuf-enu 'akev

Some translations:

u-vein – and between
zar’a – seed or offspring, I presume
-kha – second person singular masculine possessive pronoun (“your”)
u-vein – and between
zar’ – seed or offspring again, I presume
-ah – (with a hard “h”) third person singular feminine possessive pronoun (“her”)
hu’ – he
ye- – third person singular masculine future tense (“will”)
shuf – strike at, I presume
-kha – “your” again (see above)
r’osh – head
v’ – and
atah – you
t- – second person singular future tense (“will”)
shuf – strike at, I presume again
-enu – first person plural possessive pronoun (“our”)
'akev – heel, I presume

The “hu’” pronoun is most definitely “he,” masculine singular third person. So God in the Hebrew is definitely talking about a man doing the striking or crushing of the serpent’s head.

The real surprise for me in this Hebrew passage is the “-enu” ending, which really is “our” and not “his.” At least that is how I remember it from my Hebrew lessons of a generation ago. I will certainly not presume to know better than the official translators of the Bible, but I see here a very clear indication that God is identifying the woman’s offspring with Himself. The theological implications are obvious.

  • Liberian

#24

[quote=maesoph]There are two old testament “types” of Mary that also support the “she” interpretation. These are two old Testament women who defeated the enemies of Isreal…

Judges 5:24-26 24 "Most blessed of women be Ja’el, the wife of Heber the Ken’ite, of tent-dwelling women most blessed. 25 He asked water and she gave him milk, she brought him curds in a lordly bowl. 26 She put her hand to the tent peg and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet; she struck Sis’era a blow, she crushed his head, she shattered and pierced his temple.

The “crushed his head” links this verse back to Genesis… and potentially the “women most blessed” could like this verse forward to Luke and the visitation. Interesting to say the least…

I am sorry, but I cannot find the other reference, but there is another old testament “type” of Mary that fits the description of a woman “crushing” an enemy of Isreal… I thought it was Judith, but apparently not. I’ll have to listen to my Tim Staples tapes again. I wish that guy would quit making tape sets - I can’t stop buying the things!!!
[/quote]

The book of Judith brings up another one. Like Jael, Judith lived during turbulent times in Israel’s threat to God’s people. Judith was a woman of renowned piety and astounding beauty. In her hometown of Bethulia, Holofernes brought an army to bear and threatened the inhabitants of Bethulia by cutting off their water supply. Judith went to Holofernes’ camp and presented herself as a defector and an informant. Holofernes soon became smitten with the woman. One night after a feast, Holofernes brought Judith to his tent. He had drunk too much wine, and soon passed out. Judith took his sword, cut off his head, snuck out the tent, and brought his head to her beleaguered city’s army. This triggered an astonishing victory of the invading army and everyone praised Judith for her role in this smashing defeat of their enemies. The episode climaxed with the city magistrate Uzziah exclaiming to Judith, "O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth" (Jud. 13:18).

What is the common thread between these two women of the Old Testament (other than the term “blessed among women”)? Both women were chosen to strike down the leader of the enemy forces with a lethal blow to the head. So how does this pre-figure Mary? Go back to the first prophecy of the Old Testament in the Garden of Eden. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). With this promise, God announced far in advance of its fulfillment that the devil’s triumph in the Garden of Eden would eventually end in defeat, with his head being crushed or bruised under the trampling blows of the Messiah and His mother. Thus while Mary’s blessedness was pre-figured in the lives of Israel’s valiant women, the comparisons worked out to her advantage - for both the enemy fought (Satan) and the victory won (over sin) would be immeasurably greater.

I hope this helps.

NotWorthy


#25

[quote=maesoph]I am sorry, but I cannot find the other reference, but there is another old testament “type” of Mary that fits the description of a woman “crushing” an enemy of Israel… I thought it was Judith, but apparently not.
[/quote]

It is indeed Judith who crushes the enemy. She crushes the spirit of the Assyrian army by cutting off their commander’s head. Here is an excerpt of her prayer before entering the enemy camp.

*Judith 9:1,8-10 Judith threw herself down prostrate, with ashes strewn upon her head, and wearing nothing over her sackcloth. While the incense was being offered in the temple of God in Jerusalem that evening, Judith prayed to the Lord with a loud *voice: “…You, the Lord, crush warfare; Lord is your name. Shatter their strength in your might, and crush their force in your wrath; for they have resolved to profane your sanctuary, to defile the tent where your glorious name resides, and to overthrow with iron the horns of your altar. See their pride, and send forth your wrath upon their heads. Give me, a widow, the strong hand to execute my plan. With the guile of my lips, smite the slave together with the ruler, the ruler together with his servant; crush their pride by the hand of a woman.”


#26

[quote=Genesis315]Our Lady would not have had the Miraculous Medal struck like this if the Vulgate was a not a good translation.
[/quote]

Please tell me you’re not serious! :confused:


#27

[quote=Hesychios]Please tell me you’re not serious! :confused:
[/quote]

Does the image on the medal not show Mary crushing the serpent? Did not Mary show St. Catherine Laboure how the medal should be struck?

As you can see above, there are also many other strong arguments for the Vulgate’s “ipsa.”


#28

It appears that there has been some circular logic at work here.

-1- A scriptural mistranslation precedes and encourages popular piety
-2- A pious public refuses to recognize the mistranslation for what it is.


#29

[quote=Genesis315]Does the image on the medal not show Mary crushing the serpent? Did not Mary show St. Catherine Laboure how the medal should be struck?

[/quote]

Once again, it becomes necessary to point out that the Faithful are not required to put any creedance in post Apostolic revelation.

As has been stated above by another, this is a very good reason to doubt the veracity of the vision of Catherine Laboure. Nothing more neeed be said about it, but now I am convinced that Catherine Laboure was deceived by her imagination.

This position of mine (brand new actually) is perfectly in keeping with the Catholic Faith which allows anyone to doubt any apparition after the time of the Apostles.


#30

[quote=Hesychios]It appears that there has been some circular logic at work here.

-1- A scriptural mistranslation precedes and encourages popular piety
-2- A pious public refuses to recognize the mistranslation for what it is.
[/quote]

Since it is private revelation you are free to reject it, but I for one think St. Catherine Laboure was telling the truth.


#31

[quote=Hesychios]Once again, it becomes necessary to point out that the Faithful are not required to put any creedance in post Apostolic revelation.

As has been stated above by another, this is a very good reason to doubt the veracity of the vision of Catherine Laboure. Nothing more neeed be said about it, but now I am convinced that Catherine Laboure was deceived by her imagination.

This position of mine (brand new actually) is perfectly in keeping with the Catholic Faith which allows anyone to doubt any apparition after the time of the Apostles.
[/quote]

Hey, that’s fine, but there were also a bunch of predictions from the apparition that came true. It’s an interesting story and I find no good reason that it isn’t true. Our Lady gave the medal at a time when the people especially in France needed a little extra something to help them stay strong when deadly force was being used on the faithful. Here’s a pretty good synopsis:

marys-touch.com/Saints/medal/medal.htm


#32

[quote=NotWorthy]The book of Judith brings up another one. Like Jael, Judith lived during turbulent times in Israel’s threat to God’s people. Judith was a woman of renowned piety and astounding beauty. In her hometown of Bethulia, Holofernes brought an army to bear and threatened the inhabitants of Bethulia by cutting off their water supply. Judith went to Holofernes’ camp and presented herself as a defector and an informant. Holofernes soon became smitten with the woman. One night after a feast, Holofernes brought Judith to his tent. He had drunk too much wine, and soon passed out. Judith took his sword, cut off his head, snuck out the tent, and brought his head to her beleaguered city’s army. This triggered an astonishing victory of the invading army and everyone praised Judith for her role in this smashing defeat of their enemies. The episode climaxed with the city magistrate Uzziah exclaiming to Judith, "O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth" (Jud. 13:18).

What is the common thread between these two women of the Old Testament (other than the term “blessed among women”)? Both women were chosen to strike down the leader of the enemy forces with a lethal blow to the head. So how does this pre-figure Mary? Go back to the first prophecy of the Old Testament in the Garden of Eden. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). With this promise, God announced far in advance of its fulfillment that the devil’s triumph in the Garden of Eden would eventually end in defeat, with his head being crushed or bruised under the trampling blows of the Messiah and His mother. Thus while Mary’s blessedness was pre-figured in the lives of Israel’s valiant women, the comparisons worked out to her advantage - for both the enemy fought (Satan) and the victory won (over sin) would be immeasurably greater.

I hope this helps.

NotWorthy

[/quote]

You BET it helps:thumbsup: . This is why I LOVE to discuss the Bible and Holy Scripture with Catholics. Because of the way we have been taught to read the Scripture we can discover the links between the old and the new, Mary and her female ancestors, and how Christianity answers all the questions posed by time itself. Thank you thank you thank you!!!


#33

[quote=Hesychios]Once again, it becomes necessary to point out that the Faithful are not required to put any creedance in post Apostolic revelation.

As has been stated above by another, this is a very good reason to doubt the veracity of the vision of Catherine Laboure. Nothing more neeed be said about it, but now I am convinced that Catherine Laboure was deceived by her imagination.

This position of mine (brand new actually) is perfectly in keeping with the Catholic Faith which allows anyone to doubt any apparition after the time of the Apostles.
[/quote]

Absolutely true - though, out of respect and in obedience to the Church you should refer to her as SAINT Catherine, as she was cannonized and her visions approved by the Holy See.

I know I know…good manners are so difficult to practice. I know I sure have a hard time with them!


#34

[quote=LSK]You BET it helps:thumbsup: . This is why I LOVE to discuss the Bible and Holy Scripture with Catholics. Because of the way we have been taught to read the Scripture we can discover the links between the old and the new, Mary and her female ancestors, and how Christianity answers all the questions posed by time itself. Thank you thank you thank you!!!
[/quote]

Leslie, I am very thankful for your orginal question and for all the discussion that it has generated. It has encouraged my faith and I have a greater appreciation for the beauty, power, and integrity of holy scripture, as well as how our tradition is related to it.

I am amazed how rich Genesis 3:15 is, especially when you read it in context, in the whole of God’s Word, and in particular with the other illuminating passages mentioned above in the earlier posts.

What import shall we give to Our Lord’s dying words? Wouldn’t he, of all people, have chosen these parting words with care (and little did we know that He would be able to speak to us later)? And what did He chose to tell us as He hung dying on the cross?

‘Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.’ John 19:27

That moves me.


#35

[quote=DavidB]The “woman” of Genesis 3:15 is interpreted to be both Israel and Mary. Originally, it was always assumed to be “Israel” only, even in the early days of the Church. Later, when Jerome mistranslated the “he” to “she”, he was interjecting his own interpretation into the translation, a “no-no” in academia, for it changes the meaning of the text. One can’t refer to a masculine noun, “seed”, with a feminine pronoun, “she” and call that accurate translation.

And ‘yes’, the scripture supports the emnity between them and the serpent, but who does the crushing is another matter entirely . . . that, scripture is clear, is reserved for the seed, who is Jesus. To infer anything more into it is just poor interpretation - and ‘yes’, I mean interpretation.

David
[/quote]

From the Douay-Rheims Challoner and it’s note:
15 I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

15 “She shall crush”… Ipsa, the woman; so divers of the fathers read this place, conformably to the Latin: others read it ipsum, viz., the seed. The sense is the same: for it is by her seed, Jesus Christ, that the woman crushes the serpent’s head.


#36

[quote=Verbum Caro]I am amazed how rich Genesis 3:15 is, especially when you read it in context, in the whole of God’s Word, and in particular with the other illuminating passages mentioned above in the earlier posts.
[/quote]

I agree! :thumbsup: :smiley:


#37

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel,To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children” (Gen3:15)

Death by Eve, life by Mary"
St. Jerome(4th century)

She, the lady above heaven and earth, must have a heart so humble that she might have no shame in washing the swadding clothes or preparing a bath for St.John the Baptist, like a servant girl. What humility! It would surely have been more just to have arranged for her a golden coach, pulled by 4,000 horses, and to cry and proclaim, Here passes the woman who is raised above the whole human race!
She was not filled with pride by this immense praise: No woman is like unto thee! Thou art more than an empress or a queen blessed above all nobility, wisdom, or saintliness!’’
(Martin Luther, Sermon, Feast of the Visitation (1532), Luther’s Works 21:327, 36:208,45:107)


#38

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