Salvation Delivered: The Lukan Mary as Daughter of Israel and Mother of the Church

Israel is frequently personified as a woman in the prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible, at times by the title, “Daughter of Zion.” This personification is complex for at least two reasons: first, because the Daughter of Zion is variably presented: she is at times a faithless harlot, barren, a virgin, a mother in labor. She represents both the best and the worst of Israel, the people of God’s lowest and highest points emotionally. Secondly, the imagery is often spatial in nature, representing not only the collective of people but also the space they inhabit, including both Jerusalem and the temple.

Within Mariology, Mary the mother of Jesus is widely affirmed as a type of the Daughter of Zion, based in part on theological assumptions, but also in part on correspondences within the Lukan text. Despite the possible textual echoes, the Daughter of Zion is rarely considered as context for the Lukan infancy narratives or as a possible figuration of Mary within Biblical studies.

This paper will use a multivalent figural reading to argue that a correspondence between the Lukan Mary and the Daughter of Zion is a plausible reading. Evidence for this figuration combines textual echoes with thematic connections. Textual evidence includes the use of χαῖρε (Luke 1:28) considered as an echo of Joel 2:21–23, Zeph 3:14, and Zech 9:9, and παρθένος (Luke 1:27) as an echo of 2 Kgs 19:21, Isa 37:22, Lam 2:13, among others. A connection will also be made between the Daughter of Zion, the temple, and temple imagery in the verbs of Luke 1:35. Thematic considerations will analyze the characterization of each as both a virgin and a mother with particular focus on the Daughter of Zion’s role in Isaiah as central in Messianic salvation.

In addition, this paper will address implications of the correspondence, particularly as related to a Lukan understanding of the relationship between Israel and the church and the Messianic moment introduced in Luke 1–2.

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