Woman clothed with sun


#1

I have heard Rev. 12 used often as a defence of Mary being our spiritual mother. However, when I look at some of the writing of the Church Fathers, mainly Hippolytus, Victorinus, and Methodius, they understand the woman in Rev. 12 as being the church. Could someone respond to this? Also I would like to know if there are any Church Fathers that I can read to see the Catholic view of Mary, mainly her immaculate conception and assumption. Thanks.

Steven


#2

[quote=spau0035]I have heard Rev. 12 used often as a defence of Mary being our spiritual mother.
[/quote]

True, though the Church has never defined this association as a point of doctrine.

However, when I look at some of the writing of the Church Fathers, mainly Hippolytus, Victorinus, and Methodius, they understand the woman in Rev. 12 as being the church.

Really? I’m not so familiar with Victorinus or Methodius, but I’m pretty familiar with the writings of Hippolytus, and I don’t recall him mentioning this passage at all in any context (and I would have likely noticed this in particular, since it is very unusual for any of the ECFs to mention Revelation at all). Could you be more specific? I need to brush up on what I’ve missed!

At any rate, Mary and the Church are closely associated in Catholic theology (both are called “Mother,” and Mary is an archetype of the Church). The “man on the street” who read Rev 12 would naturally assume it was speaking of Mary (her birth of a divine and kingly male child who Satan tried to destroy - her flight into the desert (Egypt), etc). But Biblical passages can often be understood on more than one level. I would regard an interpretation of Woman=Church to be a somewhat more advanced level of Biblical exegesis. Since it is more advanced, it is harder to defend – it’s always harder to defend something that isn’t consistent with the plain and obvious sense of the text, but I believe such a defense could be constructed. I can *almost *construct it myself, but I stumble over a couple of points (like the “male child” - who, in this exegesis, would be the Faithful - ruling the earth with an iron rod. hmmmm). But, with enough thought, I beleive such a defense is possible.

Also I would like to know if there are any Church Fathers that I can read to see the Catholic view of Mary, mainly her immaculate conception and assumption.

Sure. I’d start out with St. Ephraim, St. Ambrose (Milan), and, of course, St. Augustine (Hippo, obviously).


#3

[quote=spau0035]…they understand the woman in Rev. 12 as being the church. Could someone respond to this?
[/quote]

What’s to respond to? Symbols can have more than one meaning.

Mary’s Sinlessness: catholic.com/library/Mary_Full_of_Grace.asp

General Article on Marian Dogmas: catholic.com/library/Immaculate_Conception_and_Assum.asp

– Mark L. Chance.


#4

Mary is the Mother of the Church, and therefore our Mother, and scriptural references to her, and doctrine about her is about the Church, about us: we can through God’s grace in baptism return to the innocence intended for us when original sin is removed. As she has been assumed bodily into heaven, our destination is union of soul and resurrected body in heaven.


#5

[quote=spau0035]I have heard Rev. 12 used often as a defence of Mary being our spiritual mother. However, when I look at some of the writing of the Church Fathers, mainly Hippolytus, Victorinus, and Methodius, they understand the woman in Rev. 12 as being the church. Could someone respond to this? Also I would like to know if there are any Church Fathers that I can read to see the Catholic view of Mary, mainly her immaculate conception and assumption. Thanks.

Steven
[/quote]

Hi Steven,
I’ve studied that passage a lot and I see that not only they but the commentator in the Douay-Rheims Challoner Bible took this position, I guess in light of verse 17 (And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.)

1 “A woman”… The church of God. It may also, by allusion, be applied to our blessed Lady. The church is clothed with the sun, that is, with Christ: she hath the moon, that is, the changeable things of the world, under her feet: and the twelve stars with which she is crowned, are the twelve apostles: she is in labour and pain, whilst she brings forth her children, and Christ in them, in the midst of afflictions and persecutions.

Though, as with many passages of the Word of God, it could have this meaning from the context, I generally believe that the whole context of the passage points to The Church as the children of the Blessed Virgin.

Some see this woman as Israel, but that doesn’t seem to fit to me because of verse 17. (…to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. )

This passage tied in with the foretype (is that a word?) of the Queen Mothers (Hebrew= “Giberah”) of the Davidic kings from Solomon on, seems to clarify (in my mind anyway) the case for the queenship of the Blessed Virgin and her position as intercessor for Christians (John 2:1-11)

The links that have been given above should help with your other questions, but I hope this will help as well.
Pax tecum,


#6

[quote=spau0035]I have heard Rev. 12 used often as a defence of Mary being our spiritual mother. However, when I look at some of the writing of the Church Fathers, mainly Hippolytus, Victorinus, and Methodius, they understand the woman in Rev. 12 as being the church. Could someone respond to this? Also I would like to know if there are any Church Fathers that I can read to see the Catholic view of Mary, mainly her immaculate conception and assumption. Thanks.

Steven
[/quote]

Well, I’ve seen some rather interesting connections on Mary, the Ark of the Covenant with these passages and others-- but I haven’t read anything lately that I can point to you specifically on the Church. That link may help you with Mary, her Immaculate Conception and Assumption, though.


#7

[quote=spau0035]I have heard Rev. 12 used often as a defence of Mary being our spiritual mother. However, when I look at some of the writing of the Church Fathers, mainly Hippolytus, Victorinus, and Methodius, they understand the woman in Rev. 12 as being the church. Could someone respond to this? Also I would like to know if there are any Church Fathers that I can read to see the Catholic view of Mary, mainly her immaculate conception and assumption. Thanks.

Steven
[/quote]

Part of the solution is reading the whole of Revelation in context. If you keep in mind that Revelation 12 is a continuation of Rev. 11 (there were no chapter divisions in the original), we see that the woman is directly identified with the the Ark of the Covenant. The Church Fathers do remark rather extensively on this, often taking it for granted that this is the case. For example:

St. Hippolytus (c. 170-c. 236)
“At that time, the Savior coming from the Virgin, the Ark, brought forth His own Body into the world from that Ark, which was gilded with pure gold within by the Word, and without by the Holy Ghost; so that the truth was shown forth, and the Ark was manifested…And the Savior came into the world bearing the incorruptible Ark, that is to say His own body” (S. Hippolytus, In Dan.vi., Patr. Gr., Tom. 10, p. 648) (Blessed Virgin, p. 77).

Scott Hahn goes into some depth on this subject in his book, “Hail, Holy Queen,” as well as “The Lamb’s Supper.” You might also look at “Catholic For A Reason III: The Mystery of The Mother of God In Scripture.”

Hahn also has an on-line Bible study on this:
salvationhistory.com/online/Intermediate/index.cfm

As does Steve Ray. Go to his site at catholic-convert.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=34 and look for “Mary, Ark of the New Covenant” and “Mary, Ark of the New Covenant–Quotes from the Fathers.”

Hope that helps. :slight_smile:


#8

Most Church Fathers identify the woman of Revelation 12 as the Church. I believe Saint Epiphanius, however, is one of the first Church Fathers to make an association between the Virgin Mary and the woman of Revelation 12. While I believe that the woman of Revelation 12 might have a strong Marian dimension, I don’t think it should be used to defend Marian dogmas. I believe John 19:25 is a better text used to defend Mary as mother of the Church than Revelation 12.

God Bless


#9

[quote=DavidFilmer]True, though the Church has never defined this association as a point of doctrine.Really? I’m not so familiar with Victorinus or Methodius, but I’m pretty familiar with the writings of Hippolytus, and I don’t recall him mentioning this passage at all in any context (and I would have likely noticed this in particular, since it is very unusual for any of the ECFs to mention Revelation at all). Could you be more specific? I need to brush up on what I’ve missed!
[/quote]

The quote I’m thinking of is in “On Christ and Antichrist” under 60 and 61.

You can view it here .

Thanks for all the replys!

Steven.


closed #10

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